Posted tagged ‘socks’

“I’ve buried a lot of my laundry in the back yard.”

March 14, 2017

 

Today is miserable. The snow started early. When I first woke up at 9, I checked out the window and saw snow blowing north to south. I went back to sleep. When I woke up at 10, it had just started raining. I went out to get the papers and yesterday’s mail. Gracie was with me on her leash. She hated it and looked beaten walking close to the ground with her ears down. The street was pure slush, snow topped by rain. I left footprints right down to the street. Gracie finally peed then ran to the door. She should have stayed out as I know she still has more to do, but I wanted in as well. I was soaked. Later she wanted out again but didn’t take the plunge. The wind was ferocious so Gracie just backed into the house. We did that twice, both to no avail. She is sleeping now. I hope she enjoys her nap. My hair is still wet.

The first load of laundry is in the dryer. I threw the bags down the cellar stairs last night so I wouldn’t have to look at them anymore. This morning I decided to bite the bullet and do the laundry. I found a missing gray sock on the floor in front of the dryer so I reunited the pair. Two other socks wait for partners. I first thought them a pair but realized in the light one is black and the other dark blue. There must be another exact pair in today’s laundry.

On the Peace Corps Ghana Facebook page are pictures of current trainees doing their laundry. They are all sitting on the porch edge with buckets of clothes in front of them. Clean laundry hangs on lines behind them. I got a chuckle out of that bucket brigade. All through training, my group found Ghanaian women to pay to do our laundry. During the first two weeks of training, the women were from Winneba where we were staying. You gave laundry to them one day, and it came back the next, ironed and folded. The only exception was undergarments. Those we had to wash ourselves. I hated bucket laundry. In retrospect, I figure maybe a smidgeon of that feeling is responsible for two bags of laundry sitting in the hall for nearly a week. Maybe, though, it is just laziness, but I suspect running out of clean undergarments forced my hand and prompted my memories.

“There are three things that I’ve learned never discuss with people: religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin.”

October 24, 2016

I was snuggled under the covers, and Gracie was right beside me with her head on the other pillow. She is my thermometer so I knew the house was cold, but I got out of bed anyway. The temperature was down to 63˚. I turned on the heat for a bit. I also put on socks and a sweatshirt. This is the time of year when the house is colder than outside. Last night it rained. I heard the drops before I fell asleep, but the morning was sunny. The day is rather pretty.

We have a couple of errands today. The most important is for dog food. Gracie seems to expect to eat every day, and I always oblige. When she’s ready for dinner, she sits in front of me and stares. Sometimes she is hungry early and other times much later. I used to keep her to the clock, but I realized I eat when I’m hungry and so should she.

When I got home from Ghana, I was really worried about Fern. She seemed so delicate. I could feel her bones when I patted her, and she didn’t have much energy. Lu, my house and pet sitter, said Fern didn’t eat much. I knew she had gotten her medicine as another pet sitter came by every night to give it to her, but usually she is quite the eater. I started giving her treats, lots of treats, and I bought several cans of her favorite food. Fern has bounced back. She demands treats and eats her canned food. Yesterday she wouldn’t let Gracie go by her. She just sat in front of Gracie immobile and threatening. Gracie went the other way. That’s my Fern.

I’m thinking I need to do a bit of baking. Apples and pumpkins are two stars of this season. Time to go through my recipes.

I have been avoiding it, shutting down the deck. It seems like giving up, giving in to the change of season, admitting winter has its toe inside the door. Turning on the heat this morning was another admission that summer is really over and fall is starting to pack.

“The leaves fall, the wind blows, and the farm country slowly changes from the summer cottons into its winter wools.”

October 16, 2016

Warm days are coming back starting tomorrow. That’s a good thing as last night was cold. When I woke up, the house was 61˚ so I gave in and turned on the heat. It’s cozy now.

The sunlight seems sharper this time of year. In summer the light touches everything. In the fall the light is more focused. Summer light is scattered and strewn about. It shines through the leaves. This time of year the light is behind the leaves as if the sun is getting stingier. Winter is not so far away.

I wore socks yesterday. My sandals are back in the closet. Just a short while ago I was sweating from the heat of Ghana where the coolest day was 95˚. Now I’m staying warm by wearing a sweatshirt inside the house. I’m just fine with that.

I don’t want to watch the news anymore. I don’t want to hear about the election, about drug tests, sexual assault or threats of violence. We have always taken pride in the peaceful transition of government. I’m afraid that will no longer be true.

Yesterday I treated myself to lunch and a whoopie pie for dessert. I had my favorite panini: avocado, cheddar, bacon with horseradish sauce on focaccia bread. The whoopie was filled with cream. It was the perfect finish for the meal.

My sister makes whoopie pies all the time. Her kids, a little old to be called kids but I still do, ask for whoopie pies on their birthdays instead of cake. The recipe is an old one from my other sister who first made the whoopies in home ec class in elementary school. The whoopies from that recipe are the best ever. My sister hasn’t yet passed along that recipe though she has been asked by her daughter-in-law. It has now become a family heirloom, a secret recipe.

Tonight is game night. I haven’t won recently. I’m hoping that trend will end.

“The three little kittens, they lost their mittens, And they began to cry…”

November 3, 2014

The wind has stopped. Today is cold but sunny. I went to the deck to fill the bird feeders and noticed the table had been blown as had all the chairs. They were flush against the deck rail, and the chairs were lined up in a row. The whole deck is covered in leaves and pine needles. I checked the yard but only one small limb didn’t survive the wind which reached 60 miles per hour. Some parts of the cape had snow but we had all rain. It was a mighty storm.

My guys are here to close down the deck. Soon it will resemble a deserted house with the furniture all covered. All the candles are off the tree limbs, the umbrellas closed and covered and the clay pots put away. The only things left are the bird feeders swinging from the branches. This is one of the sad days, the day I start to hunker down, the day I admit that winter is coming.

I don’t remember complaining about the weather when I was a kid. It was just part of the day and had to be tolerated. My mother made sure we dressed accordingly. If left to our own devices, we would have gotten soaked or frozen to death. Nothing is worse than wearing pounds of clothing during the winter. I never admitted to being cold even if my lips were blue.

Mittens and socks have a lot in common. Both cover digits and both seem to get misplaced, lost. Even now I have one sock downstairs on the washing machine waiting for its mate. I’m hoping it will appear when next I do laundry. Mittens too seemed to get lost one at a time, never in pairs. I didn’t ever understand that. The mittens were always together either on my hands, in my pockets or up my sleeves in my coat hanging in the cloak room. Maybe it was a borrower or a mitten elf or some creature from a different dimension. I had no explanation and my mother was never happy when a mitten went lost. By the middle of the winter, we were wearing unmatched mittens, but that was no big deal to us. At least our hands were warm until the next one disappeared.

“Colder by the hour, more dead with every breath.”

January 28, 2014

Cold isn’t enough of a descriptor for the weather today. Bone-chilling comes a bit closer but even that seems inadequate. Yesterday was “…Just spring when the world is mud-luscious.” The snow was soft, perfect for snowballs. The streets had reappeared and the icicles were melting from the roof. It was like a day in early March when the first green shoots start appearing and winter begins its swan song. Today, though, is pure winter. The snow is hard and the water of yesterday has frozen making it slippery especially along the sides of the road. I walked gingerly and carefully to the driveway to get my papers. The high today will be 20˚. The only bright spot is we will not be getting any snow. That will fall in the most unlikeliest places like the Virginias and the Carolinas where more than six inches are predicted. Forecasters have called this storm a once in a generation winter storm. I have to think kids will be thrilled with their first ever snow day.

I have errands, but they’ll have to wait until tomorrow because of the dump. It is closed on Tuesdays, and I really need a dump run so I might as well lump all of the errands together for tomorrow. I do fear the dump most of all. It is open ground and like the frozen tundra with the wind blowing and howling and with no place to find shelter. I will even wear my winter coat for the first time this season. I swear I saw a polar bear on the last dump run.

My mother used to keep her heat so high we wore t-shirts around the house when we visited her in winter. She was always cold. I finally understand why. The older we get the less resistant we are to the cold. I always wear a sweatshirt around the house now. I used to wear only a long-sleeve shirt and was plenty warm. That won’t do any more. Socks with my slippers are now a necessity. Nothing is worse than cold feet. I haven’t moved my thermostat any higher to combat the cold. I’ve decided to layer, even in the house.

I got an energy report from the gas company. It seems I burn more gas than my neighbors. That makes perfect sense considering four of the neighboring houses are empty most of the winter and my two closest neighbors heat with oil. I guess I win the prize by default.

“One man’s fish is another man’s poisson”

July 6, 2013

Boston is officially suffering through a heat wave. We aren’t because the cape is a few degrees cooler. Today will be 88˚, but the humidity is making the weather even more unbearable. Walk around outside and it smothers you, draws the life right out of your body. I, however, will never suffer that fate. I have become a hermit in the comfort of my air-conditioned home. Yesterday I went out about three times to the deck. The first time was to water the plants and the other two times were to warm up my feet. Yup, the AC forced me to put on socks. I felt sort of silly.

Gracie loves being in the cool house. She goes outside and squats then runs right back to the door to be let inside. The cats, however, have a different take on the AC. They find sun spots on the floor from the windows and sit there taking in the warmth. Fern, especially, misses the warmth. Usually in the morning she would lie in the sun streaming through the front door and sleep so deeply I could hear her small snores.  The poor babies will have to wait a bit before it is cool enough to turn off the AC and open doors and windows.

Where I lived in Ghana was about as far from the ocean as you could get and still be in Ghana. The only fish you could find in the Bolga market was smoked and dried and looked disgusting, almost leathery. I didn’t even try it. It always seemed a bit strange to me that many Ghanaians actually preferred the dried fish to fresh. I used to think it was because they didn’t get fresh fish, but Grace, who lives in Accra, which is right on the ocean, buys dried fish. She won’t eat it fresh, thought the whole idea was a bit disgusting, but for those of us who love fish the Ghanaian seaside is like paradise. Some of the best fish dinners can be bought at small thatched huts along the shore. The huts have a few tables with benches, always a bit unsteady on the sand, and brightly colored umbrellas with beer logos to shield diners from the hot sun. The owners, who are generally the cooks, buy the fish right off the boats. The fish is usually wrapped in banana leaves and cooked over charcoal. The taste is amazing. Red snapper is my favorite.

In Togo, a country bordering Ghana, I had my first taste of barbecued lobster. It was dinner on the patio of a fairly large, sort of posh hotel, where we could never afford to stay but eating on the patio was within the budget of a Peace Corps volunteer: translation-it was inexpensive, maybe even cheap. My friend Ralph and I sat under an umbrella and watched as the lobster was cut down the middle then cooked. It was delicious.

Our mid-tour conference was at Dixcove, a neat little fishing village down the coast from Accra. We stayed in small cottages right on the ocean. I don’t remember anything about the technical parts of the conference, but I remember the rock lobster. We’d went to the village and paid a few guys small money to dive for the rock lobsters then we paid to have them cooked. Eating them was a divine experience I’ll never forget.

“His socks compelled one’s attention without losing one’s respect”

September 26, 2011

Today is perfectly beautiful. The sun is warm without being hot, the sky is blue and there is a slight breeze. All week the temperature will be in the low 70’s. I doubt it gets much better than this.

My right arm is peeling, a souvenir from my Ghanaian journey. On the way up-country to Tamale, I got quite the sunburn. I told Thomas, my driver, I had to sit backwards all the way to Accra. He told me I would be uncomfortable.

Every now and then I run into a day when I have absolutely nothing going on in my head. I stare out the window hoping for some sort of inspiration and am usually disappointed. The neighborhood has a barking dog at the moment, and that’s the only excitement, and I’m stretching the meaning of excitement by even using that word. I guess this will just have to be a stream of consciousness day.

When I was young, the tops of all my socks were stretched and hung down near my shoes. My mother told me not to pull on the tops to put them on my feet. I never listened, and I really didn’t care if they were stretched. I’m not even sure if I cared if they matched. I have a friend who only wears white socks, the same kind of white socks. He never minds losing one sock.

I can sew on a button so it stays on. Sometimes I sew it so well I can’t get it into the button hole. The button has no give. My clothes can be wrinkled or faded, but I won’t wear shirts missing buttons. I even have a box of buttons so I can through and try to match the missing one. I don’t sew anything else.

Crooked pictures drive me crazy as do candles leaning to one side or the other. The rug in the living room is an area rug. It came from Turkey, and I love it for its figures and its muted colors. I have this thing about the sides being placed exactly the same on each outside board. The dog is prone to bringing her toys to that rug and play on it. She also brings a biscuit to picnic on the rug. Both things drive me crazy, but I allow them and then go back and clean up and move the rug so it is even. I figure it’s a small thing in the realm of things.

I don’t always make my bed. Strangely enough I did when I worked, and back then I left for work by 6:20 each morning. I think the reason I don’t now is every day has the potential of being a nap day, and I’d hate to mess up a well made bed.

Well, it’s time to finish. My heart is pumping. Two dogs are now barking, and Gracie is going out to investigate. I’m not sure how much more excitment I can take!