Posted tagged ‘warmer’

“Seafood makes you live 10 years more.”

February 24, 2018

Today is glorious. It is sunny and warmer than it has been. When I got the papers, I stood a while and listened. The birds were singing. I was thrilled at the sound. Nothing says spring more than birds welcoming the day. We will have showers later, but I’m okay with that. We have sun, if only for a while!

Yesterday it rained again but on and off as I went home from my appointment. I drove down Route 28 and stopped at Jerry’s. I have history with Jerry’s. I started going there when I was in high school when the original Jerry was the owner and the cook. It had take-out windows, and Jerry screamed at us if we, in any way, blocked the windows.  “Get out of the way. Get out of the way!” Jerry’s was open all year, a rarity in those days, in the mid-1960’s. It is still open all year, and the only difference from back then is there are no take out windows and Jerry is long gone. I ordered a shrimp plate and substituted the fries with onion rings. From where I was sitting, I could watch the cook. I watched him breading then frying my lunch. When he delivered my plate, it was full. I was delighted and snagged a shrimp right away. It was so hot from the frying, I grabbed my drink to cool my mouth. I waited a bit then dove into my onion rings and another shrimp. They were sublime.

I love hot dogs. I love to toast my rolls by slathering the sides with butter and cooking them in the frying pan. The rolls open at the top so the sides can perfectly toast. My hot dogs are usually fried. Sometimes though I steam them. When they are done, I add my toppings. Chopped onions, piccalilli, some sort of mustard and sometimes jalapeños are my toppings of choice. I always have a jar of sliced jalapeños in the fridge as I usually add them to my sandwiches and eggs.

I think I’ll go out later. I have no destination in mind. I’ll just keep moving until some place catches my eye then I’ll stop.

“My theory on housework is, if the item doesn’t multiply, smell, catch fire, or block the refrigerator door, let it be. No one else cares. Why should you?”

January 20, 2018

The day is warmer than it has been. The little snow left is melting. It’s cloudy and breezy. I did go out yesterday and got my errands done so today is an around the house day. That laundry I keep talking about is still upstairs and needs to come downstairs to get washed.  I put that on the maybe list.

Last night I used the sleeve of my sweatshirt to dust the bottom shelf of the desk. It had so much dust I could have written a whole novel, okay maybe a short story, in the dust the same way Clean Me is often written on cars’ back windows. I then moved to dust around the TV. I even did the remotes. I stopped there before the dusting could take hold of me.

I get absorbed into tasks which then lead to other tasks which then go on and on with me in a bit of a frenzy. The dusting in here would have led to the living room and then the dining room and kitchen. From there I’d move on to sweeping floors and wet mopping the kitchen floor. I wouldn’t just go to bed when I was done. I’d change sheets first.

The couch in here, the den, isn’t all that old, but Fern used it to sharpen her claws so the stuffing is popping up behind the pillows, but I’m the only one who knows because the white stuffing is hidden by the pillows. Gracie slept in the same spot on the couch, but I have washed the couch covers many times. I know I’ll have to break down and buy a new couch, but the problem is you never just put in a new couch. Instead, there is the domino effect. The three baskets under the large metal table here will have to be cleaned out. Books will go down to the cellar to make the room less cluttered, but I’ll have to put up shelves for those books and clean the cellar to make room for the shelves. I’ll need a dumpster. The cellar is the repository of anything I no longer use. Most of what’s there can be tossed, but I’ll have to hire someone for the heavier stuff, maybe a couple of someones. I’ll need bins for storage on those shelves which I don’t have yet. I’ll probably need hooks from the ceiling for my bike and some of the more awkward items.

First I dusted then I wet mopped then I bought a new couch. After that, I winnowed stuff from the baskets in this room and finally moved on to reorganizing and cleaning the cellar; however, all of that, except for the dusting, is from my imagination where I choose to keep it because winter is not the time for cleaning. That would be in spring. Until then I’m very good at doing nothing and waiting, especially the doing nothing part.

“Maybe lots of people go through life never knowing they’re peculiar.”

January 18, 2018

The sun is brightly shining, but it is only in the 20’s. Warmer weather is predicted for  the weekend when it will be in the 40’s which, at this time of year, seems more like a heatwave. I’m thinking flannel shirt weather.

The rhythm of winter life is slow. I sleep in every morning, linger over coffee and the papers and take my time getting dressed though sometimes I don’t even get dressed. I just loll.

I need to fill the bird feeders. They have been empty since the snow as I didn’t want to venture onto the deck for fear of falling, but yesterday’s rain uncovered a good portion of the deck so today I’ll haul out the seeds and fill all the feeders including the two suet feeders. I’ll  also throw millet seeds under the deck for the doves.

I used the top of Gracie’s crate for storage of sorts. I put her food, all her treats, cat food, both canned and dry, bird seeds and my flashlight on it. Now all of that is on chairs and on the top of the dining room table. My house is filled so I haven’t anywhere to put them, and it’s driving me crazy which, I suppose, isn’t all that difficult. For instance: I can’t stand crooked pictures no matter where I am. One picture in my house never stayed straight. I was driven crazy until I bought some blue clay like stuff meant to keep pictures in place. It helped me regain my sanity. Once, in a novel I was reading, an already dead character carried on a conversation, quite a lively conversion too for a corpse. The editor had missed it. That one I couldn’t resist. I had to replace the dead character’s name. My sister read the book after me and laughed when she saw the correction. My slippers are always side by side halfway under my bed when I’m not wearing them. My shoes have no particular spots and they stay where they landed when I kicked them off my feet. My bedspread needs to be even, but not the top sheet. I just tuck away the long side. My towels have to be folded in a certain way. When I’m inside, I dress comfortably. I don’t care if my clothes are tattered or if they don’t even match. I do chuckle at the thought of my passing in such an ensemble. I suspect I’d be referred to as the peculiar old lady who lived alone with her animals though I think that might even be a compliment.

“The true essentials of a feast are only fun and feed.”

December 18, 2017

Today is cloudy but it’s warm, in the 40’s. Last night was freezing.

In the dark last night Gracie went out and wandered down the hill by the side of my house. I went to check on her in the front yard and found her gone. I got my flashlight and looked but didn’t see her. I called my friends in panic, and despite the time of night and the cold, they came, one walking using his flashlight and the other driving. By then I had found Gracie at the bottom of the hill. She couldn’t get back up. I went down the hill to her and grabbed her, but I couldn’t get us back up the hill either. I kept sliding. Finally I found a route which got me and her to the front yard. We both went inside. She had a treat. I had an asthma attack.

Today I’m planning my cookies and the Christmas Day dinner. I have a method. I write down the name of the recipe, its source and the ingredients by aisle. I’m thinking 3 kinds of cookies. For dinner I’m leaning toward pork of some sort, but that’s just a maybe.

Yesterday’s Patriot’s game still has my heart atwitter. The last minute was amazing. My friends and I cheered, stood up, moaned and screamed. The final play was unbelievable. After a Steelers touchdown was called back as an incomplete pass, the Steelers decided to pass for the touchdown instead of spiking for a chance at a tie and overtime. The pass was batted away, it flew into the air and was caught by a Pat for an interception. End of game!

I saw a Facebook picture taken in the Tongo hills outside of Bolga. The caption mentioned the harmattan, the hot dry season with sand blowing in from the desert which is happening now. During my first harmattan, the back of the soles of my feet cracked from the dryness. I had to tip-toe. I started getting ballerina muscles. Finally the soles heeled (sorry-a written pun looks like a misspelling) into the ugliest thick callouses. I didn’t care. My feet felt fine.

I ate a lot of goat in Ghana. The first time I had no idea what I was eating. It was during Peace Corps training, and I was at my live-in, a three week span where we lived with a Ghanaian family. I was alone at dinner and was served soup with bony meat in one dish and in another dish, a glob of I had idea what. No fork or spoon mean I had to use my fingers. I grabbed some glob and ran it through the soup then ate it. The reddish soup was spicy hot, but I managed. I had to pick up the meat, also with my fingers, to chew around the bone. When next I saw my hostess, I asked why I was eating alone and what did I eat. She said she thought I’d prefer to be by myself. I didn’t. She said I ate t-zed with red soup and goat meat. Tuon-zafe, t-zed, is best described as a porridge of boiled corn meal, a glob. The goat meat was okay which is a good thing as I ate it often. I even found it once here in a Caribbean restaurant and ordered it as a bit of food nostalgia.

I don’t know how I got on to goat. I guess it was mentioning Christmas dinner as that’s what I had my first Christmas in Ghana. It was a feast.

“Her routine was as predictable as the rotation of the earth.”

November 11, 2017

Last night was bitingly cold. When I took Gracie out around 1:30, the cold took my breath away. Gracie didn’t like it any more than I so she peed as she walked. It was not squatting weather. Today is much warmer in comparison. I went into the yard with Gracie and didn’t mind waiting. She roamed a while then picked her spots. She squatted just fine.

I have all these patterns of movement every morning. I take Gracie out and fetch my papers then we both go to the backyard. Once Gracie’s finished in the yard and we’re back inside the house, I make the coffee then get Gracie’s dish. That’s kitchen to hall to den. On the way back from leaving Gracie’s dish, kitchen to den, I get the cat’s dish. That’s den to living room to kitchen. I fill the cat food dish then pour my first cup and head back to the den. That’s kitchen to living room to den. I read the Globe first then it’s back to the kitchen where I put the toast in the toaster oven and wait. Once it’s done, I fill my cup for the second time and walk back down the hall to the den to read my second paper, the Cape Cod Times. That’s where the usual pattern ends. The rest of my day is free form.

I didn’t make it to the dump yesterday. Even on warmer winter days the wind rips across the recycle center, and it’s cold. Yesterday the dump would have been freezing, frozen tundra like. I won’t be able to go until tomorrow as it is closed for Veteran’s Day.

Today I have an empty dance card. I’ll go through my recipes to find appetizers for game night tomorrow. I expect to get the laundry done. I’ve hit my breaking point. The pile is high enough to have my full attention and merits a sign: beware of falling laundry.

“Easter spells out beauty, the rare beauty of new life.”

April 15, 2017

Today is warmer than yesterday, and tomorrow will be even warmer than today. I’m thinking that’s just as it should be. Easter Sunday is spring to me and tomorrow won’t disappoint. It will be a spring day in the mid-60’s, perfect Easter egg hunt weather and perfect for showing off new clothes, maybe even spinning the petticoats.

At Christmas, the mere mention of Santa kept us in line. We didn’t dare be bad and risk losing a gift or, worse yet, many gifts, but Easter was always different. The Bunny was never a threat. No elf on the shelf reported me and my behavior. There was no list so the Easter Bunny was completely in the dark as to who was naughty or who was nice. That was definitely to our advantage. The baskets were always full.

Gracie and I did all our errands yesterday. All the items on the list got crossed off and the list was subsequently crumpled and thrown away with fanfare. I have no list today. I’m not going anywhere. I have some wrapping to do and a couple of baskets to fill, but that’s it for the day.

In Ghana, we celebrated Christmas with a decorated tree and presents. The tree was acacia, but that didn’t matter. It was the celebration which was important. Easter, though, was different. In Ghana, it is purely a religious day, spent mostly in church. No rabbit or hare is involved. It was Easter vacation time for me, and I usually traveled down south to Accra for a few days then on to Togo or somewhere else. I do remember Easter Sunday during my second year. Three or four of us went to the beach, to Labadi Beach, which was the best beach in Accra. We swam and walked down the beach. Using a coconut as a ball and a dead piece of palm tree as a bat, we played a makeshift game of baseball on the sand. We were at the beach all day.

We out for dinner together, but I don’t remember where. Peace Corps volunteers know all the cheap places with good food so I’m guessing dinner was delicious.

That Easter Sunday is one of my favorite memories of the day. There I was in Africa walking on a sandy beach lined with palm trees. Only my eleven-year-old self, the dreamer, would not have been surprised. She knew I’d be there some day.

“How often have the greatest thoughts and ideas come to light during conversations with the family over the evening dinner?”

April 2, 2017

The sunlight is wonderfully bright. The sky is a dark blue. It is warmer than it has been so it feels warm to me. When I helped Gracie into the yard, I stayed outside for a bit basking in the sun. She ran around the yard the way she used to when she was younger then bounded up the stairs into the house. She deserved her treat!

When I went to bed last night, it was close to 2 AM. I was watching television, going through those pesky catalogs and checking out recipes on Pinterest. I woke up this morning at 10:45. My mother would have called that the sleep of the dead.

I never used to need lists. My memory was enough. Now I need list after list. Alexa keeps my grocery list and stickies hold the rest. There is a great deal of satisfaction in crossing off completed tasks despite how mundane some of them are. I have to sweep the kitchen today. That’s an easy one to complete. One down!

Despite the season or maybe because of it, a few movies on the deck films have already arrived. Most are 50’s black and white B movies with aliens or gigantic creatures or both; also, I have ordered a few of my favorites like Gunga Din and Rear Window. Spring needs to step up so summer won’t seem so far away.

If I were to choose a favorite day of the week, I’d choose Sunday. I wasn’t keen on going to mass when I was young so I consider that the only blight on the day. Most Sundays when I was a kid were quiet. I’d read the Sunday funnies. After the Sunday matinee movies started on TV, we’d watch those in the afternoon. I remember watching Lassie, Come Home. We were all at Sunday dinner in those days, jammed into the small kitchen. On the cold days, the windows there got steamy. I remember my mother used Melmac plates and bowls. For some strange reason, I have a visual memory of a bowl heaped with mashed potatoes. Sunday night meant earlier to bed because of school, but I never really complained. I was usually tired.

Even now, Sunday is different than the rest of the week. I have two papers to read, and I like to take my time. Sometimes I make eggs, bacon, and toast for breakfast. I usually have dinner though I often buy it rather than make it. More than not I have mashed potatoes.

I figure more than any other day, Sunday holds the most family memories.

“It is not the cook’s fault when the cassava turns out to be hard and tasteless.”

March 7, 2017

Mother Nature has it out for me. This morning as Gracie and I were going to the far side of the deck it started to rain. I walked Gracie down the stairs and went back inside the house. My sweatshirt had gotten wet. I then went to get the papers and yesterday’s mail. My sweatshirt got wetter, and I was cold. The rain stopped not long after I got into the house.

Today is much warmer at 40˚. It may even get as high as 45˚. A bit of sunshine would be welcomed, but I’m stuck with clouds and a rainy day. I suppose I’ll survive.

The other night I had a fluffernutter for dinner. I was in the mood for peanut butter and Fluff was the perfect partner. The only thing missing was Wonder Bread.

I love cheese of all sorts except blue cheese and any of its relatives. When I was a kid, we ate yellow cheese and only yellow cheese. It came in a block. It didn’t have much flavor but made for a wonderfully gooey grilled cheese sandwich. I don’t remember when I found real cheese. The first was probably cheddar.

In the beginning of Peace Corps training, eating Ghanaian food was cause for bathroom runs (think dual definition for this word). One night I fell asleep upright my back to the wall on one of the steps leading to the school bathrooms. I didn’t trust the distance between my room and the bathroom. It seemed to take forever, but by the end of training, my stomach had accepted its lot. Most of the time I was just fine though there were still moments. Ghanaian food can do that to you. Every time I visit Ghana I eat and drink what I want. Living here removed any fears or even thoughts of germs or diseases. It is what it is. I also make bathroom runs. They’re like the price of admission.

“Silence is also speech.”

February 25, 2017

Today is far warmer than I expected. It’s a sit in the sun day because tomorrow will be colder, back down to the daytime 40’s, to our usual February weather. This morning there was some fog. I couldn’t see more than an outline of my neighbor’s house. After I got the paper and yesterday’s mail from across the street, I stayed outside a while just to take in the warmth, the fog and the songs of birds.

The aroma of wood smoke is one of my favorite smells. The guy in the house on the next corner has been burning wood in a rusty metal barrel. At first I though a house fire then I saw him putting more wood in the barrel. He’s the same neighbor who thought Gracie was a wolf when she jumped the six-foot fence into his yard to go after his dog. I’m thinking he doesn’t have a permit to burn wood. but I don’t care one way or the other.  I like the wood smoke. It is one of my strongest memories of Ghana where wood charcoal is used for cooking every meal.

I had a portable cassette recorder in Ghana. The tapes stuck all the time because of the humidity so mostly they had to be rewound by hand using a Bic pen. I didn’t have a huge number of tapes, but I had my favorites including PP&M, CSN, Simon and Garfunkel, and Joni Mitchell. I think I played music every night. The adaptor had a red Christmas light size bulb attached so I could play without a converter. I could plug the cord directly into the wall. My friends Bill and Peg and I got together every night. We had dinner outside in their small courtyard. After their one-year-old went to bed, we played games. Password was our only actual comes in a box game, and we played it over and over and never got bored. We had the cards memorized through repetition so we sometimes changed the game. There were contests like the winner is the one who finishes the whole card first. That kept life into the game and kept us occupied.

I lived alone for the first time in Ghana. It was quite an adjustment getting used to being alone in a place so different, so far from home. My PC friends weren’t close to me geographically. (They were a letter away, no phones back then). I was teaching for the first time and not teaching well. My students didn’t understand my English. I was frustrated and lonely but determined. It took time. I did my best and so did they. Finally, we understood each other, and I was teaching, really teaching. I loved going to town and the market. I filled my days with teaching and my nights with music and books.

After my first year, Bill and Peg moved to my school, and we lived in a duplex. I loved having them near, being with them, and I also loved my quiet times, my alone times. We gave them to each other.

“Half the fun of the travel is the esthetic of lostness. “

January 15, 2016

It is warmer today than it has been. I didn’t gasp from the cold when I went to get the papers. It is around 40˚  and will even be a bit warmer tomorrow; however, the cold will be back with a vengeance on Tuesday so these warm days are a bit of a gift from fickle Mother Nature. Gracie and I have a few things to do today so I’m glad for the winter warmth.

My heat is forced hot air. I hear the blast when the furnace goes on. When I was growing up, we had forced hot water. I used to love the sound of the radiators. It was comforting in a way. A few years ago I lost electricity because of a winter storm. My house was 37˚ before the heat came back on. I don’t ever remember losing electricity in the winter when I was a kid. I remember we lost it during a hurricane when a tree fell on the wires, but that was in late summer. I never felt inconvenienced. I doubt kids do. Most things become an adventure of sorts. Having to use candles for light and the barbecue for cooking was a kind of camping, but at home with comfy beds and no mosquitos. I thought it was great fun.

I still love adventures. Around here I go for rides down roads I’ve never been on before. I take all lefts or all rights and am always surprised by what I see. I went to Morocco on my own, and that was an adventure. I did all right turns in the souk one day. I loved everything I saw and found. At one point I had no idea where I was, but I didn’t care. I knew I’d eventually find my way. I just had to choose a direction.

I love my life, but sometimes I wish I had more money to travel. I want adventures in places I’ve never been before. I want to get lost.