Posted tagged ‘singing birds’

“Life, now, was unfolding before me, constantly and visibly, like the flowers of summer that drop fanlike petals on eternal soil.”

August 7, 2017

This morning is a delight. We have bright sun and a blue sky. The birds are singing: better described as the hungry birds as so many of them are coming to my feeders I have to fill the feeders again. I also need more seed, and I need dog food as well so a trip to Agway is on my list today. Gracie and I are also going to the dump. I’ll make two trips as I don’t want Gracie waiting in the car while I shop at Agway. I also need bread so I’ll add the grocery store to my errand list.

The temperature is in the 70’s and will go down to the 60’s tonight. It will be the same the next couple of days. That’s perfect for me. The weather report says showers tonight. I hope so. We haven’t had rain in a while. Summer showers are my favorite of all sorts of rain though thunder showers are a close second.

I do the Globe crossword every day. It seems to be getting easier as I get older. I figure the puzzle maker is young and thinks his clues are head scratchers. The historical stuff I’ve lived through so they’re really easy. The capital of Ghana is often one of the clues, a no-brainer for me. The clues which stump me are often about current singers or television programs I never watch. I can only hope to fill in from the clues around those.

Last night the crowd chose Creature with the Atomic Brain as our movie. It is black and white and was made in 1955 but is a tick better than most we’ve watched. Richard Denning is the star. The evil scientist is a former Nazi and his boss a deported gangster who has returned illegally. They both deserved hissing. We had a few appetizers, played a game of Phase 10 and enjoyed meatballs in marinara sauce, frozen from last week, and a great salad for supper before the movie. We, of course, had candy for movie watching.

When I retired, I had no idea how I’d spent my time, but I wasn’t worried. I knew I’d find something to keep me busy or not. It will be thirteen years this summer, and I have enjoyed every day especially days when I did nothing. I have a routine for the mornings, but the days are come what may. That’s my favorite part, the spontaneity of it all.

“If you’re really a mean person you’re going to come back as a fly and eat poop.”

August 1, 2016

The reason for my tardiness is I spend Mondays with my neighbor. She is the neighbor who just became a citizen. We used to go over the citizenship questions, but mow we sit and talk just so she can practice her English. Usually I stay an hour or an hour and a half. Today we lost track of the time, and it was two and a half hours.

The day is just about perfect. All that’s missing is the sun, and I’m just fine with that. There is nice breeze keeping the house cool, the birds are singing loudly and the kids are quiet. I have nothing to do today. I was going to water the outside plants, but it rained last night. I don’t know how much or how long it rained as I slept through it. The wet deck was the only evidence.

The cat, Fern, woke me up the other night. She nipped my elbow. That was the first time in nearly 18 years she has ever nipped me. I woke up with a start. She was purring and then ran her head under my hand. She had woken me up because I was ignoring her need to be patted. After I had finished, she let me sleep.

The other day I bought cat food, dog food and dog treats. The treats are dried chicken strips. I put the bag on the floor as I was carrying so much, and that bag was quite heavy with all the cans. Later that night, Gracie was in the den, with me. She was scratching at the rug. I figured one of her toys must be under that rug so I got up to retrieve it. Well, it wasn’t a toy. It was the bag of treats. Gracie had gone into the bag, moved a couple of dog food cans out of the way and grabbed the treat bag in her mouth. That was the first time Gracie has ever done that.

My animals are getting brazen as they age. Gracie is nearly 12. Fern has been so sick I have been babying her so she must think I have given tacit permission to be harassed.

My father once said he would love to come back as a pet in any of our houses. Mine would be a great choice. He’d get the best dog food, canned and dried, the best dog treats and a couch to sleep on during the day and a bed at night. If a cat, my dad would get canned and dry food, pine litter instead of that awful clay and cat treats, mostly Temptations. He would be able to sleep on any couch, chair or bed. The only drawback would be those trips to the vets. My father always hated having to go to the doctor’s.

“At the base level, a burger is a piece of meat and a bun with something on it. It’s simple but it seems to make a lot of people happy.”

June 27, 2016

I love my den in the mornings. The cool night air lingers, and I can see the beauty of the day through my window. I hear birds singing and my chimes sweetly ringing. The three pets take their morning naps on their usual spots: Maddie on the chair and Fern and Gracie each sleeping on a couch pillow.

Every Monday I spend an hour or more with my neighbor. I was helping her learn the booklet for her citizenship test, and she passed that and has been sworn in as an American citizen. Now we just chat as we are concentrating on her verbal English. We are working mostly on has or have. Sometimes I have no idea what she is trying to tell me so we go slowly word by word. I help her pronounce words. English isn’t easy is what she tells me all the time.

The Fern crisis has put me behind. I haven’t yet connected the adaptor to the umbrella nor have I started the fountain. The rail lights stopped working, and I haven’t replaced. This is my deck week. Today I need clay pots and flowers to replace the ones the spawn broke. I sometimes wish I were Granny Clampett happy to have a squirrel for stew. I’d be in the kitchen chopping vegetables right now.

In Iceland I had Icelandic game for dinner at a really lovely small restaurant. I always like to try food native to any country I’m visiting. The meat was wonderful, perfectly spiced and cooked. I remember puffin and goose, but there was one more meat I don’t remember. My neighbors are Brazilian. In the summer I can smell their dinner cooking. It is not an aroma I know. Come to find out it is a meat stew served with a side of rice and plantain. One night I was there for a barbecue. They served linguica which was a very different linguica than the sort I usually buy. This was Brazilian, not Portuguese. It looked like any sausage, not the reddish color I buy. You buy this by the pound and it’s one long strand of meat. It reminded me of what they use for intestines on The Walking Dead. That may sound gross, but it didn’t prevent me from digging right in. The meat was so delicious I decided right then and there I would make the trek to Hyannis and the Brazilian butcher.

The only food which made me think twice was grasscutter in Ghana. It was a giant rodent. I think if I had seen it before eating it I would have been hesitant, but I had been eating it for year or more so I just didn’t care. Bring on the rodent.

“The sun has come out… and the air is vivid with spring light.”

May 17, 2016

Today is a bit chilly somewhere between a sweatshirt and a long sleeved-shirt. The sky is cloudy though the sun is close enough behind the clouds that the day is bright and the sun sometimes shows itself. Many flowers are starting to pop up or bloom in my front garden. Now I know where the bare spots are, and I’m excited to buy new flowers to fill in the blanks (sort of blanks). I know I need some tall ones. Before I shop, I’ll do a bit of searching on line to find different flowers than I have.

This is a busy medical week. Fern goes to the vets today to see if the medicine has helped her kidney remain stable without any further deterioration. I have two appointments of my own. My house is beginning to resemble a pharmacy. All of us are on some sort of medication.

Spring is a noisy season. The birds start singing early, a bit before dawn. The kids are outside in the morning screaming and playing while they wait for the bus. I can hear lawn mowers most mornings and today I heard hammering. Generally I prefer the quiet, but this time of year I’m happy for the noise. It means people are coming out of hibernation. They are no longer hunkered down in their warm houses but are outside in their gardens or just walking the neighborhood. People are especially friendly this time of year. We all survived the winter together so a wave or a hello is a reconnection.

Riding in the car this time of year has its danger. My eyes are attracted to colors, and I can’t help but look: along the sides of the roads. I have to be careful to take quick peeks as a couple of times I found myself heading toward the sidewalks-no people but plenty of trees.

I haven’t taken pictures in a long while, but my camera has plenty of pictures needing to be uploaded and posted. Most are from last year. I’ve got to put the camera on my to do list.

Right now the sun is out. It is quiet. The only sound is Gracie’s deep breathing while she sleeps. A bit of a breeze has appeared and the tops of the pine trees are swaying. It is a lovely day.


“To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.”

April 25, 2016

The day started grey but it is now sunny, not bright but sunny. It is also noisy with birds singing and calling. Monday always seems quiet to me. It’s the day to recuperate from the weekend and all the errands and chores and evenings with friends. I spent the morning with my neighbor. We chatted in English to improve her skills. The have/has problem is the one she can’t seem to shake. I explain it. She thinks about it, repeats it a few times, then a bit later says she have when telling me a story. I want to bang my head on the table. Maybe she’ll connect my head banging with has.

When I was a kid, it was easy to be happy. I had everything I wanted. I had a bike, ice skates, regular skates and a sled. The library was a good walk away but worth the walk. It was filled with books so I never wanted for something to read. I liked school so going every day was no big deal. I loved learning new things. My friends were neighborhood friends so we saw each other even day walking to and from school and on Saturdays for whatever we decided to do. I think it was when I was a teenager that I started to want more.

Clothes became important when I was older. We all wanted to look alike without looking alike. It was a strange conundrum. Transistor radios were a must, the smaller the better. Saddle shoes were in for a while, and I still have a pair of them. Maybe I ought to wear them. My Easter bonnet was a hit so maybe the shoes will be too. Back then only white sneakers would do. We wanted more. Discontentment replaced happiness. Envy was big.

I went through a few more transitions. One of my favorites was my overalls-flannel shirt phase. I wore them with high tops, pink high tops. Individuality had become more important.

I think the Peace Corps made me brave. I was living in a far different culture where I had to do most things on my own including traveling. I learned to be self-sufficient and a bit daring. When I told my family I was going to Morocco by myself, they chatted among themselves and were quite nervous. They even designated my brother-in-law Rod as the rescue person should I break a leg or need saving for some reason. They told me this when I got home. I thought it was pretty funny. I think, though, I should be thankful for a family with emergency back-ups plans for me when I travel. You never know!

“Memory is the diary that we all carry about with us.”

February 26, 2016

Gracie snores, and last night she snored so loudly she kept waking me up. My bedtime was late enough without being disturbed by her multiple snores and an occasional snort. I’m tired and it is only 11 o’clock. Gracie, of course, is having a morning nap. The poor baby must be tired.

Cold day today, it is in the high 30’s, but the sun is shining so I’m not going to complain. When I went to get the papers, I heard birds singing to greet the morning. It sounded like spring to me.

I have random memories which loop through my mind. Some I see only once while others recur. Some of my memories of growing up are faded and worn while others are so bright they could have happened yesterday. My grey jacket reappears out of one my memory drawer every spring. It was my favorite jacket because I started wearing it only when the weather got warmer. It had no lining. It did have pockets on each side, and it had a zipper. My brightest memory is wearing that jacket and skipping on the sidewalk on my way to school.

I still remember biology and dissecting a frog. My memory drawer has a picture of the frog lying on its back on a silver lab tray. It looks washed out, too long preserved. My lab partner wanted nothing to do with that frog and the scalpel. It was left to me. She took all the notes. That was our deal. Making the first cut took me a while. I had to forego the urge to gag. Dead frogs didn’t bother me, but their insides were better left inside.

My first Ghana memory is of the morning after our arrival. My room was on the second floor of a school dorm. I remember walking outside, standing at the rail and looking at what was spread out below me. I saw greenery everywhere. I could see rusty tins roofs. I remember the awe. I was in Africa.

My memory drawers overflow. Some I can’t even open; others I can’t shut. The sad memories have their own places. Sometimes they come unbidden. They are not always welcome.

“Every morning a new sun greets us and our new life begins.”

August 13, 2015

Gracie and I are out on the deck. She is sleeping in the shade of the oak and pine trees. It isn’t quiet. Inside my house Roseanne and Lee are cleaning, and I can hear the vacuum and conversations in Portuguese. My next door neighbor is back from Brazil. I can hear her yelling at her kids, but she too speaks Portuguese so I have no idea what the kids are doing. The ever-present birds fly in and out. They eat at the feeders and wait in line to use the fountain as a bird bath. Gracie thinks it’s a water fountain. All of us appreciate it. The day is lovely, warm in the sun but cool with a nice breeze in the shade. I am in the perfect spot.

Yesterday morning I was up early. When I went to get the papers, I could feel, hear and smell the morning. That probably sounds strange, but I swear early mornings are different. It doesn’t matter where you are. Ground fog rises in the morning and lingers until the sun holds sway. Birds sing louder than during any other part of day. On city streets, outside the small cafes, sidewalks are swept and chairs and tables are arranged. Some places serve eggs and bacon but others serve cold cuts, rolls and cheese. The bread is always fresh, soft. In other places the smell of wood burning fills the air as breakfast is cooked over the flames. Smoke curls above the fires. There are fewer people out and about in the early mornings. They always look a bit sleepy to me as if they have yet to find the day.

I am also drawn to the night. I love staying up late and being the only one still awake. The houses around me are dark except for the one behind me. He leaves his back light on. I think of him as the unpleasant neighbor. If Gracie barks more than three times, he yells which makes her bark more. He plays his country music so loud on Saturdays I have to go inside the house for a bit of peace. I don’t yell, one in the neighborhood is enough.

Last night I went outside to try to see the meteors. I was barefoot and walked tentatively as I didn’t turn on the light. My feet got wet on the grass, but I avoided the pitfalls and made it to the road without incident. I stayed for about 40 minutes, saw only two, got discouraged and went inside.

“Night is certainly more novel and less profane than day.”

May 3, 2015

Warm weather is coming. Starting tomorrow we’ll have 60+ degrees for most of the week. Given my penchant for falling, I’ll forego clicking my heels in the air to celebrate. A yay will just have to do.

I walked most places around town even when I was a teenager. None of my friends had their own cars and most of our families had only the one, the one our fathers drove. I remember walking home at night by myself. I was never afraid because we hadn’t learned fear. I never rushed because I loved those night walks, especially in the summer. The air was always warm, the sky covered by stars and night birds sang me home. Circles of light were on the sidewalks courtesy of the streetlights. Few cars were on the road. Houses were always lit and most of the time I could hear TV’s. Sometimes I could even see the flickering black and white screens.

The furthest walk I had was from the diner at the end of the square. I used to belong to a drill team, St. Patrick’s Shamrocks, and we had practice at Recreation Park twice a week in the summer during the competition season. There were no lights at that field so practice ended when it got dark. After practice, we’d walk from the field to the diner for a brownie and a coke. For the walk home, my friends went in the opposite direction, and I walked by myself.

During one late walk, a police car stopped beside me. It was driven by my friend’s brother who offered me a ride home. I took it. He turned on the blue lights just as we got close to my house. He walked me to the door. I can only imagine what my neighbors were thinking.

Those long ago walks gave me a love for the night, and I sit on the deck at night with Gracie beside me. The sky is filled with stars, the night birds sing and peepers from the pond at the end of the street join their chorus. Sometimes I even fall asleep on the lounge with Gracie at my feet.

“The sun has come out… and the air is vivid with spring light. “

March 13, 2015

I read it in the paper so it must be true. Spring is finally on its way. Although today’s forecasted high will be 32˚, there will be more sun, a sure sign of the changing season says the Cape Times. Fern agrees. She has started lying on the floor in a crescent of sunlight shining through the front door. Her fur is warm to the touch, on one side anyway.

Some of my deck furniture is no longer hidden by snow, and my road is almost completely clear of ice. Three more shoots and a whole section of grass have appeared in my front yard. The sky is the deepest of blues. More and more birds sing every morning. I get seed and flower catalogues every day in the mail. My papers are easy to retrieve. They are no longer sliding out of reach on piles of snow. I get out of bed happy to greet the morning, to welcome one day closer to spring.

Yesterday I went out to lunch, to a new place down cape. You sort of have to know where this place is as it doesn’t have a sign. It was filled with people who knew where and why. The food is excellent, the restaurant has wi-fi and offers lots of coffee drinks. I went with a cappuccino and a porchetta sandwich with pickled onions on a toasted ciabatta. It was a good choice.

The older I get, the longer my list of doctors. I refer to them as my stable of doctors because there is no group name. You just add an s to the singular which pales in comparison to a murder of crows or an intrusion of cockroaches. I seemed to have scheduled most of my stable for days in March. Two come with blood tests, the same tests, but they don’t share. Monday is my sixth month dental check up. I still do PT twice a week for my back. I suppose I should be glad that all parts of me get checked and probed. I just hope they don’t find anything, not even a cavity.

“I don’t feed the birds because they need me; I feed the birds because I need them.”

January 12, 2014

This morning was a busy one. Gracie and I went to the dump, out to breakfast, and finally to the store to buy a few grocery items for my friends who are house-ridden. I figured I’d get everything done in one fell swoop so I can loll the rest of the day. It was pleasant driving around this morning with the sun shining and the day warm at 48˚. I think a ride would be nice later today.

The birds are back in force, most are house finches. I watched them for a while this morning. A few chickadees dropped by the largest feeder and the gold finches staked their claim on the thistle. I saw birds drinking from water along the side of the road, water leftover from yesterday’s tremendous rain storm. The roads are still damp in places, mostly under the shadows of the trees. One bird was singing this morning from a tree behind the window, and I thought it glorious like on a spring or summer day when the birds greet the morning. Maybe it was just thanks for the seeds.

Festivities are in short supply after Christmas. January, except for New’s Year’s, is a dull month. Valentine’s Day is the only February highlight though when I worked I did have a week’s vacation. March has St. Patrick’s Day, always an excuse to have a few friends over for corned beef and libations. April is my hopeful month when I look forward to a few warm days and a feeling that spring is not so far away. My friends and I go out to dinner on Easter, a wonderful tradition. We go to the same restaurant every year, right on the water, where the food and drinks are delicious. We take our time and enjoy each other’s company. Usually the sun is shining and the day warm, or warmer by comparison. I think of it as the harbinger of spring, hence the hopefulness.