Posted tagged ‘sunshine’

“I don’t know who invented high heels, but all women owe him a lot!”

January 5, 2018

You’re probably wondering why I am up at the crack of dawn. Okay, that’s an exaggeration as it is 7:30, but I am so seldom up this early that it seems totally out of character for me, the winter sloth. Gracie had a vet appointment at 8 for acupuncture, but I have cancelled. My road is a sheet of ice, and my car’s tires are encased in the ice which probably wouldn’t matter that much in getting it out to the road, but I just don’t want to make the effort. I haven’t even gotten the newspapers.

Bitter cold is the only description for today’s temperature. I am living on the tundra in the dead of winter. It is 18˚, close to the forecast of a high of 19˚. The low will be 4˚. I can see sunshine breaking through the clouds and shining in the backyard against the pine trees, but I am not impressed. It is only a prop. It carries no heat. The blue sky is pushing away the clouds. I’m glad for the color.

I am not bored staying home. Last night I read until close to one. My tree is still up and decorated though I have removed Christmas from three other rooms. The laundry still sits in the hall. In the old days, I seldom had undone chores as I used to feel guilty. I had a schedule I religiously kept. The laundry never sat in the hall and the finished laundry went right upstairs and was put away. Now the clean, folded laundry sometimes sits for a while on a living room chair. I don’t really care, an attitude which took me a long while to foster, but I’ve done well in espousing the sloth effect.

My trunk has trash and recyclables. It is dump time, but I’m thinking, “Tomorrow Is Another Day!” the Scarlet way of looking at life.

I am so glad I have missed the return of high heels, some so high you could get a nose bleed. I watch and wonder at the women wearing them. Their feet and calves must really hurt after standing on those heels for a while, but I figure it comes down to fashion. No self-respecting maven would be caught in small heels. The binding of women’s feet in China was all the rage, especially among the upper class. Think on that for a bit.

“Never hesitate to go far away, beyond all seas, all frontiers, all countries, all beliefs.”

June 22, 2017

Today is lovely. I woke up to a blue sky and the brightest eye squinting sunshine I’ve seen in a while. My house is comfortably cool. Outside my window, I can see chickadees on the branches munching sunflower seeds. None of the leaves of the oak tree are blowing. It is a still day.

Though Gracie ate on Tuesday, around midnight she started panting and walking from room to room. She’d sit on the couch for a bit then get up and walk some more. Around 12:30 am, I took her to the emergency vet for the third early morning in a row. She was given anti-nausea medication which settled her down. The vet told me that this was treating only a symptom. I already knew that. She suggested a battery of tests, most of which I probably can’t afford.

Last night was different. During the day, she ate two small cans of dog food, not her usual as I was tempting her taste buds. She ate treats, new treats. She napped and last night slept through the night. I had anti-nausea pills for her, but she didn’t need them. She and Maddie, the cat, are having their morning naps now. I’m going to take one later. I am exhausted.

The best part of any summer has always been having empty days to fill.  When I was a kid, it was games and crafts at the local playground. I’d be there all day. During high school, I did little on summer days, but I was never bored. When I was in college, it was a summer job which I didn’t really mind. Working in the post office was easy and paid well. The pace was slow. Europe filled my summers when I was a teacher. My trips generally lasted 4 to 5 weeks. I knew how to travel on little money. I slept in hostels or on night buses. I ate as cheaply as possible sometimes buying bread and sandwich fixings. I found bars where I could get a drink and eat my way through happy hour. I had only a broad itinerary open to change. It was a wonderful way to travel. They were some of my favorite summers.

Posting my Ghana pictures yesterday got me thinking about the faraway places I love. Ghana, of course, is my favorite. The rest are in no order, no preference. Old Quito is on that list. The narrow streets, the old buildings, the colors and the women’s hats still have a prominent place in my memory drawers. I loved Portugal and Morocco and the Roman ruins in Italy. Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso was my second favorite spot in Africa. It was my weekend getaway. The beauty of the Andes took my breath away. On overnight bus rides, stops at roadside restaurants where the menus were in languages I didn’t understand and peeing in a hole in the little house in the back were part of the adventure. In Morocco and in Ghana I found out that thitting the hole is a lifetime skill.

I don’t travel summers anymore, but I keep my passport up to date just in case.

“To be overcome by the fragrance of flowers is a delectable form of defeat.”

June 1, 2017

The rain yesterday was torrential at times. We even had thunder and lightning. Not once did the sun make an appearance. It was too busy shining in Boston. Gracie and I left for the dump when the rain was misty, but by the time we got there, it was pouring. I figured I was there anyway and might as well get rid of the trash. My sweatshirt got soaked. I decided right then and there I deserved one more stop, the chocolate store, the best decision of the day.

My eye is clear, but I still have to take eye drops four times a day. My other eye will be done June 6th.

The early morning was lovely. The air had a crispness almost more fall than summer, and it had the best after the rain smell, both fresh and clean and smelling of flowers and mulch. I stood on the deck watching Gracie and taking in the morning. Finally, we both went inside: me to coffee and the papers and Gracie to her morning snack. It will be warm today, a welcome change in the weather. I’ve already opened a window.

I’ve got to empty the water in the outdoor furniture covers so they can dry and then be put away. My deck still looks like it’s winter. A lot needs to be done. Plant shelves need to be sanded then repainted. The clay pots need cleaning before they can be filled with flowers, the same with the deck boxes. Placing the candle hooks in the pine trees will take a bit of ingenuity as some of the branches were lopped off during the fall clean-up. Lights on a few backyard trees have to be replaced. They died over the winter. I’m hoping for lots of warmth today, enough to dry everything so I can be outside on the deck reading and enjoying the air. I’ve had enough of the house.

“Do you see that out there? The strange, unfamiliar light? It’s called the sun. Let’s go get us a little.”

May 16, 2017

When I opened the front door this morning, the sunshine flooded my living room, and I could feel its warmth through the storm door. Gracie and I went outside to a wonderful morning, to bird songs, to a warmer day, and a temperature of 63˚. The sky is a vibrant, deep blue. The sun touched my mood, and I felt alive, energized. It’s a day to make me smile.

My papers were never delivered today. I feel adrift. I know I can read them on-line, but I don’t find doing that satisfying. I went to TV and MSNBC. I was horrified by the lead story of Trump giving classified information to the Russians because he can, “I have the absolute right.”

Gracie is being Gracie. She is a happy dog of late. The one problem was she peed in her sleep yesterday afternoon but has been dry for 4 nights. I feel like a proud mother who is potty training her toddler.

I remember a bit of South Boston where we lived until I was almost five. I remember the brick nursery school across the street from our apartment building. My mother brought me there a couple of times, and I walked out and went home both times. My mother was surprised to see me at the door. She then wisely decided not to bring me back. I remember my broken wrist from jumping off the fence backward and how proud I was of my cast. I remember the front steps and the hallway.

I remember the first place we lived in when we moved to Stoneham. The apartment was small and had only two bedrooms. My brother and I shared. My favorite spot was a small landing on the steps. I’d grab a pillow and my book and get comfy on the landing. It was my private place though it was also the way to the bathroom. I’d move my legs to give access to the stairs. I was never bothered by the interruption. I’d just keep reading.

We moved to a bigger apartment down the road in the same complex, one with three bedrooms. We lived there the longest of anywhere. Most of my growing up memories were made there. I went to first grade and stayed the whole day and then kept going from there. I learned to ride a bike. I wandered the fields and woods. I went from childhood to adolescence. All my dreams were mostly born there.

I hated the cape when we first moved here. I had no friends. Nothing was within walking distance. I’d get home from school and go to my bedroom and emerge only at dinner time. Weekends I’d take the bus to Boston and stay with my friends. Gradually, though, I got involved in school and made friends. The trips to Boston were far fewer and then stopped. My parents moved back to Stoneham when I was in Ghana. I never moved with them. The cape had become my home. My mother commented that when we first moved to the cape I went to Stoneham all the time, and now that they were in Stoneham, I chose to live on the cape.

My paper has arrived. It’s in the driveway. Now I can really start my morning.

“The first day of spring is one thing, and the first spring day is another. The difference between them is sometimes as great as a month.”

April 7, 2017

We’re back from the appointment for Gracie at the vets. The good news is she didn’t have a stroke. The head tilt is probably from a lesion on her brain which may cause problems down the road, but she is fine for now. Her weak back legs are just that, weaker than her front. I should continue what I am doing to help her get around. Gracie was given a refill of her pain meds and got shots which were due anyway.

I had my MRI, but it is too early to hear the results. I figure there won’t be anything there, my lower back, as the earlier MRI’s showed nothing.

The most painful part of the last two days has been the $700 the two appointments cost me. I won’t ever be cured of that.

Yesterday it poured all day, a deluge to use my mother’s description, but today is the loveliest of days. The sky is a deep blue. The sun is bright, an almost need to squint bright. It is warm. When I left the house at nine, it was already 48˚. It is flannel shirt weather, a downgrade (or maybe an upgrade) from sweatshirt weather. I could do my outside work today. I still have that list, but I don’t want to for no reason except maybe relief. I was worried about Gracie. I still am, but it is a general worry about keeping an old dog healthy. The dread is gone. I just want to enjoy the afternoon, maybe sit on the deck with the sun on my face.

Lots of green shoots are appearing in my front garden. I saw the bumpy bud of a hyacinth this morning. Its color is starting to appear, a light purple. Daffodils are blooming. The yellow ones are first. The white ones are budded and waiting their turn. On my trip down Cape last Tuesday, I sat in a line of traffic on 6A. It was a long line so I had time to look around. I saw a tree with tiny, tiny buds. They were red and easy to see. I was thrilled. For me, that is the second sign of spring, after the bulbs flower.

My grass is squishy with mud. The ground wasn’t frozen when the days of rain began last week so the extra water just stayed right there, right on top, making the grass muddy. Footprints stay when you walk across the lawn. I try to avoid that.

I’m getting sucked in. I can feel it. Today makes me want to believe it’s really spring, but this is New England, and there are no guarantees so I’m still a bit skeptical, but the weather report is so amazing I can feel that skepticism draining away. By mid-next week, we may hit 60˚ and 50’s all the way to get there. That’s spring. No doubt about it.

“And never resist a perfect moment.”

March 6, 2017

Today is bright with sunshine. The sky is mostly blue. The breeze is slight, so slight only the brown leaves are ruffling. It’s a pretty day, but it’s a cold day, wintry cold. It is around 34˚.  I have nowhere I have to go today. I haven’t even gotten dressed and probably won’t. I got Gracie down the steps to the yard earlier. She does well with me beside her. She is actually going by herself. I’m just a safety net.

Yesterday we went to the dump. I had two weeks worth of recyclables and trash. It was so cold at the dump it took my breath away. An Arctic wind was blowing across the whole dump. Every stop meant freezing wind. I was quick to finish, to go back into the warm car.

In my life, I have had some perfect days and nights. I can’t tell you why as the days were all different. The feelings, though, were the same. I felt joyful in a way, happy to be alive. I was aware of everything around me. I could have been Maria twirling on the mountain.

The night in Ireland, in Youghal, is one perfect night. We ate in a small room with a peat fire burning. The aroma was wonderful. We walked upstairs and each step sloped to the middle. My room had a bed with layers of quilts and blankets. The bathroom had saloon doors which left the toilet exposed to the world. The tub was claw-footed. I took a hot bath then ran to get dressed and under the covers as there was no heat. It was early spring cold. I nestled and began to read my Peter Whimsy mystery and eat some of my fruit and nut Cadbury chocolate bar. I realized in that very moment I didn’t need anything else. What I had exactly then was perfect.

“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.

” First we eat then we do everything else.”

August 13, 2016

This morning I felt like a mole stepping into the sunshine after living underground for too long. I shielded my eyes on my way to the driveway to get the papers. I was blasted even in that short while by the heat and humidity. After getting the papers, I ran back into the house, into the cool darkness.

Last night I had to go to Stop and Shop to pick up a few things Peapod couldn’t deliver as the warehouse didn’t have them. It was close to eleven o’clock. I walked inside and had to look around as the store had changed considerably. I went from aisle to aisle reading the signs until I finally found what I wanted. That one short shopping trip reminded me why I use Peapod.

I love cheese, all sorts except blue cheese and gorgonzola. When I was a kid, my mother always bought Velveeta. It made the best grilled cheese sandwiches. I still buy it to make a quick dip with salsa, jalapeños and sometimes crumbled hamburger. I haven’t a favorite cheese so I usually buy a variety of cheeses. We have a new store which carries Italian cheeses many of which are unfamiliar so I usually need a taste before I buy. Any sandwich I make aways has a cheese of some sort. I even spread Brie. Crackers and cheese are a favorite snack of mine so I always have crackers in the cabinet. When I was in Ghana, there was no cheese. Even now it is scarce and expensive. Obruni stores, as in white man stores, do carry it, and you can find it in Accra. Ghanaians don’t eat cheese. Now I wonder why my mother never sent me Velveeta. It doesn’t need to be refrigerated, being processed cheese.

With my trip to Ghana getting closer, I’m thinking of all the Ghanaian food I’ll have, all my favorites. I’m also thinking about the Middle East restaurants which used to be all over Accra but are now difficult to find. Luckily, down the street from my Accra hotel, is a Middle Eastern restaurant where I had dinner the last time I stayed and hope to visit again. The safari lodge where we’re staying has a combination of European food and Ghanaian. In Ghana I am a European which just means white to Ghanaians. All this talk of Ghanaian food has my mouth is salivating for kelewele, Guinea fowl and, yup, even fufu.

“Santa Claus is anyone who loves another and seeks to make them happy; who gives himself by thought or word or deed in every gift that he bestows.”

December 10, 2015

Fern, Gracie and I slept in this morning. It was 10:30 before we dragged ourselves out of bed. After two papers and two cups of coffee I am awake. Notice I didn’t say alert. Fern and Gracie are having their morning naps.  They are exhausted. I have no idea why.

I have a to do list today. The wrapping might just get done so I can send the packages to Colorado. I need animal food so Agway is on the list, and I need a bit of people food as my larder is empty. I really want to get outside as it is warm and the sun is beginning to appear. It isn’t winter despite the date. Today is already 54˚.

When I was a kid, Santa never wrapped presents. He left them under the tree in a pile for each of us. My pile was aways the first one on the left. The only wrapped presents under the tree to be opened on Christmas Eve were the pajamas and slippers. The tags were signed from mom and dad.

When I was an adult, my mother wrapped every gift and signed the cards From Santa. Those gifts were left around the tree on Christmas Eve just as they had been when I was kid. My spot was next to the chair and the overflow was in front of the fireplace screen, first pile on the left. Wrapped gifts made for excitement and surprise as if we were kids again. I remember picking up a package, feeling around and shaking it so I could guess what it was.

I don’t remember having breakfast on Christmas morning when I was a kid. I suspect we were too involved with our gifts so it was catch as catch can. Our adult Christmas breakfasts were wonderful. We all sipped mimosas as we opened gifts. The breakfast, a casserole made the evening before as per the directions, was cooking in the oven so we could give all our attention to the pile of gifts.

I wrap everything, even the small gifts. It takes a lot of time, but I figure I’m keeping the spirit and the excitement alive.

“Come, pensive nun, devout and pure, sober steadfast, and demure, all in a robe of darkest grain, flowing with majestic train.”

October 2, 2012

It is another beautiful fall day with lots of sunshine. The breeze is ever so slight and just ruffles the leaves. When I closed down the deck, I left out a table and a comfy chair so I can enjoy days like today. That’s where I’ve been for the last couple of hours. I fed the birds and read a while then figured it was time to get on with my day. I came inside but oh so reluctantly.

I have a couple of errands today, left over from yesterday. One I couldn’t do and the other I forgot to do. Looks like I’ll be putting four or five more miles on the car this week!

I wore uniforms for almost my entire time in school, from grades 1 though grade 11. They made it easy to choose what to wear, and uniforms made us all equal. My grades 1 though 8 uniform was a blue skirt, a white blouse and a blue tie: a cowboy tie is what we used to call it. The skirts had to be at least half-way down the knee. I remember the eighth grade when crazy Sister Hildegarde was my teacher, and she went after a girl who had rolled the waist of her skirt to make it shorter. Eleanor Garland was the girl’s name. It is a name I’ve never forgotten as the incident was so awful. To make it even worse, Eleanor was somehow related to crazy Sister Hildegarde, and we all knew it. I can still remember Sister Hildegarde storming down the aisle to the back desk, her veil blowing behind her, where she made Eleanor stand up. We always thought of her as poor Eleanor even before the incident. She had teeth which needed braces, was too skinny, not all that bright and was really shy. To have rolled her skirt so high was a defiant, rebellious Eleanor none of us recognized but should have applauded en mass when the incident happened. I’ll never forget Sister Hildegarde standing in front of poor Eleanor berating and yelling at her. Crazy Sister Hildegarde then  grabbed the hem of Eleanor’s skirt and pulled it down to where the rules said it should be. Eleanor never moved and crazy Sister Hildegarde never stopped yelling. Poor Eleanor cried silently, tears streaming down her face. She was humiliated and we were horrified. When Sister Hildegarde was finally finished her attack, Eleanor was told to sit down. She did so without a word. None of us said anything either. We turned around to let Eleanor have as much privacy as a room full of kids and a crazy nun could give her.

After graduating from the eighth grade, I went to a Catholic high school where every one of the nuns was sane. It was in a different town. I never saw Eleanor after the eighth grade. I sometimes wonder about her.