Posted tagged ‘sleeping animals’

“My knowledge of computers begins and ends with hit power switch, magic box comes on.”

February 17, 2017

When I start to mutter and it morphs into cursing, you know I have reached the end of my patience. Sometimes it takes a long while t other times it doesn’t take so long. It happened this morning, the cursing out loud and the long while. My computer is not cooperating. It has frozen a couple of times. I restarted once then gave up for a while and just left it on. I watched a bit of TV, ate some toast and had another cup of coffee.

I’m watching a really bad movie filled with actors who never became stars and are now relegated to movies like this and unknown actors just glad for the chance. The movie is called Awaken. Avoid it at any cost, even if it’s free. Oops, Michael Pare just bit the dust.

The morning was cold, mid 30’s, but sunny. Since then the day has gotten warmer and is in the mid-40s’. The sun has stayed around for the first time in days.

My house is a giant dustbowl especially here in the den. It’s where the cat, dog and I spend most of our time. The cat sleeps on the chair while the dog and I share the couch. She gets two cushions because she stretches out when she naps, like now, and I get one.

I can’t take it anymore.  I watched the end of that horrible movie and for the last hour I have been sitting here waiting for my computer. It has returned, but I am done.


“I think insomnia is a sign that a person is interesting.”

January 20, 2017

The clock just struck one. I’m not even tired. I went up and down the TV dial and checked out Netflix, but I didn’t find anything I wanted to watch. I tried to read, but I just couldn’t settle down and pay attention. Gracie and Maddie had slept most of the night away, but Gracie just woke up, had a snack and a drink of water then climbed back on the couch to go back to sleep. In about two minutes she was snoring. I envy her.

The weather stayed lovely all day. It hit 43˚. Gracie and I did our errands. We went to the dump, and she got her nails cut at the vets then we took a ride. Gracie liked the window down.

When we got home, the alien took over my body again. The kitchen is gleaming. This sudden spurt of housecleaning has to end.

When I was a kid, I read all of the time. I visited the library just about every week in the summer and every couple of weeks in the winter. I can close my eyes and still picture the children’s side of the library. The librarian sat behind a round counter made of wood set in the middle of the room across from the door. The shelves filled with mysteries were against the wall behind her. The tables and chairs were all wooden. The chairs were spindlebacks though I didn’t know back then that’s what the style was called. Some of the chairs had arms. The tables were different lengths. I’d sit for a bit and look through books to decide which ones I wanted to read. When I was ready, I’d bring the books to the librarian who would stamp the lined sheet in the back with the due date.

I loved mysteries. My favorite detectives were Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden. The library didn’t have those books, but I’d use my fifty cent allowance to buy the Trixie Belden books and just about every birthday and Christmas I’d be given new Nancy Drews. I loved that they were girls solving mysteries. Nancy drove a roadster. I had to look up what kind of a car a roadster was. Trixie was much younger, closer to my age. I always envied their sleuthing. I would have loved stumbling on a mystery.

Well, I finally settled on a Netflix film about conspiracies. Hitler and Eva were replaced by doubles who were shot. The two of them were then spirited out of the country. Now I’m going to find out what really happened to Nazi gold.  This program was a great choice. I’m getting sleepy from watching it.

Where thou art – that – is Home.

June 6, 2016

Yesterday I chose to do little. I took a shower for the sake of cleanliness, but that was it for constructive. Today I go back to the old list and change my bed and do laundry then I’ll need a new list. I’m not all that enthused about doing anything so the new list will be short. Outside might just be the only item. I have chairs to clean and lights to fix, and being outside might make doing work a bit easier.

It’s noisy right now. I hear hammering and wood being piled. I suppose in the scheme of things they aren’t very loud, but this is generally a quiet place. Dogs do bark and kids do yell but that’s it. The bird songs tend to be the loudest.

Usually all three animals are here with me when taking their morning naps. The only one here now is Maddie and she is roaming. Fern is in the living room and Gracie is in her crate. I can hear her snoring. If I move around, Gracie sticks her head out to see where I’m going. She’ll follow me if it looks interesting enough. Gracie is never far from where I am.

When I went to Ghana, it was the first time I ever lived alone. It took time to be comfortable living alone because I couldn’t just pick up the phone and chat or drop over to visit. Here I was trying to adjust to a new culture and a new country so being lonely and homesick at the same time felt crushing. I had to figure ways to deal with it. I wrote letters, some of which were never sent. They were filled with my feelings, my sense of failure and my wondering if Ghana was right for me. I ached for letters from home and ran to the staff room to check my box at least twice a day. I also concentrated on figuring out how to speak English so I could be understood by my students. I gave myself until Christmas. Come to find out, that was more than enough time. I adjusted to speaking English slowly with an emphasis on letters like t in better or letter. My students were catching on as well. The more they heard, the more they understood. I started going to the market and shopping for food. It connected me to the town and the people. They stopped seeing me as simply the white lady. Now I was madam, the teacher at the training college. I used Hausa, the language Peace Corps had taught me. The Ghanians were delighted.

I began to feel I was home, a different home but still home. I stopped running to check the mail. Sometimes I ever forgot for a day or two. I read in the evenings or wrote letters about my day to day life. Every one of those got sent. I loved being in Ghana.

“But what minutes! Count them by sensation, and not by calendars, and each moment is a day.”

August 20, 2015

We have rejoined the world. The doors and windows are open to the breeze. The stale air is disappearing. It is still hot but not unbearably hot. Here in the dark den all three animals are sleeping near me, each in her special spot. The breeze is coming mostly from the north, from the window behind me. Pleasant best describes the morning. I usually shy away from using generic adjectives. I was, after all, an English teacher, but I think pleasant conjures all the best of today: the sun, the clean, dry air and most of all the breeze.

When I was a kid, I had little concept of time other than a few minutes, an hour and maybe as far away as tomorrow. “Are we there yet?” drove my father and every father crazy, but it was because we had been in the car for what seemed like hours or even days so we figured we had to be there no matter how far away there was. We had countdowns to birthdays and the best of all days, Christmas, but the whole concept was a little blurry. Three weeks until Christmas really didn’t mean a whole lot to us. Even the number of days in three weeks didn’t help. We understood two days or maybe three days, but we never really caught on until the big day was close, like a day away. When you’re six, every day is endless.

Time in Ghana was frustrating at first. Six o’clock meant six o’clock to us but not to a Ghanaian to whom six o’clock meant whenever. If I invited someone to my house, I was always asked if I meant African or European time. I had been raised to be punctual, a courteous sign of respect, so it took me a while to unlearn European time. I learned to be patient and to wait. People would come in their own time. Lorries would leave when they were full. Stores would open when the owners got there. Dresses would be finished when the seamstress got around to finishing them.

I had to be on time for my classes and to take the government bus, but that was it. I came to like Ghanaian time. I was never late to anything. Things got done whenever. Life was slow and easy. I didn’t even wear a watch, still don’t.

“I made a sandwich out of things. I’m an American. We can eat anything as long as it’s between two pieces of bread.”

January 24, 2015

The road was covered in slush when I went to get the paper. I left deep footprints and could see the track of the car which had been driven down the street some time this morning. Gracie was hesitant to go down the back steps. They were covered in slush like the road. It was raining, but there had been a sprinkling of snow first. After Gracie came in, I threw de-icer on the steps. I don’t want the steps freezing. Off-Cape is getting the snow.

Today lends itself to laziness. It is an I won’t get dressed day or do any chores day. I will most decidedly take a nap later. That is not in question. I may have a pizza delivered. I don’t know. That sounds too much like a plan, and today is not a day to plan. It is a whatever happens day. Fern and Gracie are asleep on the couch beside me. They are my role models.

I cut out recipes and have a gigantic folder filled with them. Periodically I go through the gigantic folder and put the recipes I’d most like to make in a smaller folder. I have yet to make any. Most times I fall back on the familiar: my curry recipe, my brother-in-law’s chili and my uncle’s sausage cacciatore. This week I am going to make Peg’s corn chowder. She brought it down when she and Bill last visited, and I loved it. It is a perfect winter recipe, one to warm the innards.

When I was young, my mother sometimes gave us Campbell’s tomato soup and her grilled cheese sandwiches especially on cold days. I still love grilled cheese sandwiches, especially gooey ones, but mine have become a bit more sophisticated than using yellow cheese unwrapped on Wonder bread. My aunt was the first to give me one with tomato, and I still like tomato as a basic addition to the sandwich. I also like bacon, jalapeño or avocado with pepper jack. I think grilled cheese is the best sandwich to personalize. A BLT is just that. Bologna is about as unsophisticated as a cold cut can get.

A couple of Christmases ago I got a panini maker from my sister. It elevates sandwiches from a simple lunch to something far greater, far tastier. Avocado is the best addition of late to grilled cheeses and regular sandwiches. I now have an addiction to them. When I was a kid, I would have thought avocados too squishy and far too green. The rule of thumb back then was to avoid anything green. The only exceptions were green beans and unripe bananas as they had a yellow future.

“Sand was dribbling out of the bag of her attention, faster and faster.”

September 30, 2014

Today is a bit chilly and rainy, and I love it. The house is dark and cozy and I feel as if I’m in a cocoon, safe and happy. The two cats and the dog are sleeping, each in her usual spot. Fern is behind me lying on the afghan on the back of the couch. Maddie is sleeping in the warm light from the lamp, and Gracie is in her crate with her head on her dog pillow. I slept in this morning because I was awake until well after three. I just couldn’t get to sleep. I finished my book, watched a couple of documentaries on my iPad, got up and changed the two litter boxes and washed the cat food mat in the upstairs bathroom. By about three I was thinking I might just get up and find something to do, like clean that cabinet which has been driving me crazy because I have no idea what’s in the back of it. I’m guessing a few old mice nests as that’s where some lived before they were relocated by Grace and me. Mostly I want to find my apple peeler/corer and my old double loaf pan. I know they’re in that cabinet probably way in the back. I’m hoping to find a few surprises as well.

I’m having one of my distraction days. Nothing gets done straight through. I feel a little bored with what I’m doing and stop to do something else. Earlier, between the two papers, I decided to look through the two small wooden boxes on my table. It was like finding treasure chests filled with memories. The first small box had all the commemorative pins I got from working the Boston Marathon. It also had a Peace Corps cloth badge and a returned volunteer pin. Two nails were on the bottom. They are the size I usually want for something but can never find in my tool drawer. I love the red bead bracelet I found. It came from Ghana. Several coins were on the bottom. A couple were from Iceland but most were from Ghana. They are coins which are no longer used. My favorite was the twenty pesewa coin. That was the cost of a taxi ride anywhere in the city of Accra. I thought of all the arguments I had with taxi drivers who wanted to charge more. One even said he hated Peace Corps, a guess as to who I was on his part, because they always knew the right price.

The other box is filled with addresses, a few boxes of wooden matches, an old Winston lighter, an eyeglass kit and a few odd items in a small plastic bag. I bought them just because I liked them and figured I’ll find a way to use them.

The last is a cigar box, and I’ve saved that one for later, for my next distraction.

“If a man whistles at you, don’t turn around. You are a lady not a dog.”

August 28, 2014

Even though it is still summer I can feel the season packing its suitcase to get out-of-town. The changes are subtle. Shadows are different, the nights are comfortable despite how warm the day gets, the morning breeze is sometimes from the north and there is little humidity. The cars seem fewer. Even the rental next door was empty all week. This weekend, though, will be busy being the last hurrah and all.

Today is lovely. Only bird songs break the quiet. It is nap time for all my animals. Gracie is snoring from her crate, Fern has settled on a couch pillow and Maddie, for once, has the spot in the sun Fern usually grabs. They must be exhausted after sleeping all night.

On the front page of the Globe, one of the stories was about the debate between democratic candidates running for attorney general. Ordinarily I couldn’t care less. I can’t even name the current attorney general. This debate, though, has created, according to the Globe, a firestorm. The male candidate called the female candidate’s aggressive line of questioning “unbecoming” which, according to women’s political groups, is one of those inflammatory sexist words. The male candidate, Tolman, apologized the next day and explained that he meant “as candidates for attorney general we should be held to a higher standard.” Romney, in a 2002 race for governor, described his female opponent in the same way. I don’t know if Tolman was being sexist but his word choice is incendiary. I was reminded of when I was a kid and told to stop whatever I was doing and “act like a lady.” I hated being told that and it made me sad and a little afraid for the future. I couldn’t imagine growing up and living by a behavioral code which limited how I dressed and what I said and did. Who decided how a lady acts? I figured I was going to be in trouble most of my life. I was never a kid for convention.

My favorite quotes in the article came from previous campaigns in other states. In 2012 in Missouri the male candidate described his female opponent as not particularly “ladylike” during a debate. In Minnesota the same year, Senator Amy Klobuchar was referred to as a “Daddy’s little girl” and a “prom queen” by her opponent.

How to act like a lady has gotten blurry, but it has yet to disappear. I’m thinking I still might need a handbook.

“Today a new sun rises for me; everything lives, everything is animated, everything seems to speak to me of my passion, everything invites me to cherish it”

August 15, 2011

Today is one of those days which comes around every now and then. It’s gently raining, a cool breeze is blowing, and I can hear the swish of the leaves as the branches wave back and forth. The birds are singing right beside my window. The animals are so deeply sleeping I can hear their breathing. My coffee was perfectly brewed. During my shower I noticed I had lost an earring during the night. I went looking but couldn’t find it. My guess is it fell under the bed, and I’ll need a flashlight to see it. I did find the back which I usually never find. I was a bit put out as I like the earrings, but I let it go and went looking for another pair in my bureau drawer in boxes where I hardly look. It took me the longest time to go through the boxes as many of the earring had memories attached, and I just sat and let the memories wash over me. There was a pair of golden cable cars my dad had brought back from San Francisco. In one box was a Christmas gift card signed by Santa, something my mother always did. Each Christmas she gave the three of us new earrings, and that year I had tucked away the card. The antique cameo earrings my mother also gave me one Christmas were there. I remember how pleased she was that I loved them so much. I went through everything in that drawer. It took me about forty minutes. The time was so well worth the memories.

I came downstairs. The house was dark the way I like it on rainy days when it feels as it the house is keeping me close and warm. I set the coffee brewing and went to get the papers. It was raining just a bit. When I came in, I got a cup of coffee, turned on the light in the den and read the papers. I did both crossword puzzles and the cryptogram. They seemed easy today. Playing in the background was my Joni Mitchell Pandora station, and all the songs were exactly right.

I am staying home today because I can’t think of a better place to be. Today is perfect.

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