Posted tagged ‘warmth’

“One should not attend even the end of the world without a good breakfast.”

September 24, 2017

We have sun and a blue sky, both among the missing for the last five days. I was surprised by how warm it is when I went out to get the papers. My lawn and deck are a mess. Leaves and branches cover both. The leaves are so wet they are pasted to the lawn and driveway. The deck is slick. I had to take mincing steps to keep my balance. I hope the leaves are quick drying in the sun.

Breakfast is my favorite go out to eat meal. I like my bacon crisp and my eggs over easy. My toast is usually rye. I love to use it to sop up the yoke. Sometimes I get French toast. I slop on maple syrup, the real stuff. I also get crisp bacon with my French toast. Some places offer home fries, but I only like them seasoned so most times I just pass.

In Ghana, my breakfast was the same every day. I had two eggs fried in peanut oil, toast and coffee. Butter was expensive so I used margarine from a tin. The coffee was instant with tinned milk. The eggs and the bread were fresh. Sometimes the eggs came from my own chickens. The rest of the time I bought them in the market. The bread was fresh and sweet. Cooking the eggs in peanut oil added a wonderful taste. I always had two giant cups of coffee, one with breakfast and the other sitting out on the steps in the front of my house. I’d watch the little kids walk to schools close to my school fences.

Every place I’ve stayed on return trips to Ghana serves a complimentary breakfast. It is generally two eggs, toast and coffee, and yes, the milk is still tinned.

I don’t often cook breakfast for myself. Usually I just have coffee and, of late, toast or an English muffin. I don’t ever use margarine, and I use light cream in my coffee. I like to indulge myself. My favorite coffee is called African blend, but I like to try different coffees. I just bought some Ugandan coffee. It was expensive partly because it came in a red striped cloth bag with beadwork. I admit I was drawn by the bag.

Peapod has come and gone. The driver was nice enough to leave freezer and refrigerator items in bags near the fridge so I’ve already put them away. When I finish here, I’ll put the rest of the groceries away. I had to be inventive to fit everything in the freezer, and my fridge is hardly ever this filled. My kitchen has become a land of plenty.

“Getting an inch of snow is like winning 10 cents in the lottery.”

March 9, 2017

Gracie went to the vets this morning. It was a combination well dog, clip her nails and check her her back legs visit. I explained all the leg issues and how her paws slide on the floor and steps. The vet checked and thinks it might be arthritis. She prescribed some pills mostly for ease of joint movement. I should keep an eye on Miss Gracie, and if there is no change in three weeks, I’m to bring her back. Other than that, the vet thought Gracie looked wonderful for her age.

Yesterday afternoon was beautiful. The sun came out, and it was warm, almost hot. I bought lunch and ate it sitting outside. We did some errands and both of us, the dog and I, were glad to be out. Today it is 56˚. The sun is bright. A strong wind is blowing. You’d think spring but you’d be wrong. We are under a storm watch. The snow should start after midnight and continue during the day. They are predicting 4-8 inches. It could get as cold as 16˚. I’m going to pick up some storm goodies. The joke is people always buy bread and milk before a storm or a hurricane. I, however, will buy a chicken already cooked, some sweet potatoes, also cooked, some cole slaw, biscotti for breakfast and a couple of cupcakes. I’m thinking chocolate with white frosting.

When I was a kid and snow was expected, I’d periodically look out the picture window hoping to see furiously falling snow. The light below the streetlight right near my house was my weather watch spot. The light was bright so I could see the snow falling and blowing sideways in the wind. Once the snow started, I’d keep an eye on the street and front lawn hoping both would disappear under snow. No school was always the reason for the vigil. The worst disappointment was to go to bed during a heavy snowstorm and wake up to find there just wasn’t enough snow. It was time to get dressed for school.

“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.

“I’m not making any plans. I’m just going to let the universe surprise me.”

April 18, 2015

Today smells like fresh earth. It smells like grass. The air is warm. The sun is bright. I keep going outside to the deck drawn by the warmth. Gracie has been out all morning mostly lying in the sun. Off in the distance is the sound of a leaf blower cleaning winter away. I think today is glorious.

The sun has made me energetic. I have completed and crossed off chores on the list for weeks. I am even getting closer to tackling the cabinet under the counter. I am curious as to what lies hidden there. I know there must be mice nests as I found some the last time I cleaned the cabinet, and I also found their cache of rice. I am on the hunt for a special baking pan long-lost in the Bermuda Triangle of my cabinet.

When I was young, I confronted noises. “Come out. Come out. I know you’re there,” I’d yell, but the last thing I wanted was for anyone or, even worse, for something to come out of the darkness. My bravery was bravado. I had this idea that by yelling I’d scare away whatever was making the noise. Nothing ever came after me. I figured I’d scared them or it. The older me knew better. Nothing was really there.

In the summer we could play outside even when it got dark. The street light rule was no longer in effect. We had to stay in the neighborhood, but our neighborhood was filled with wonderful places and so much to do. Hide and seek was even more fun in the dark. Sometimes we’d jump out at the seeker and scare him or her half to death. The more the seeker yelled in fright the more fun it was for us. Kids do have a bit of a sadistic streak.

Being a kid meant taking each day as it came. Saturday was the day filled with the most possibilities. We could go to the movies or ride our bikes or walk the tracks. We could catch grasshoppers in the field or watch the polliwogs in the swamp. We’d decide on Saturday morning. Planning is never a kid thing. Life is so much easier without a calendar waiting to be filled.

“The flowers of late winter and early spring occupy places in our hearts well out of proportion to their size.”

February 23, 2015

Tonight’s projected temperature is -2˚. I have nothing to say. Complaints don’t help and neither do prayers. Loud sighs are just  an audible angst caused by this winter.

If I could be anywhere, I would choose somewhere warm but not too warm, not sweaty warm. A breeze would be pleasant. I don’t need an ocean. I mostly need color. I want beautiful flowers in window boxes and along the sides of walkways. I want to be stopped in my tracks by the luscious gardens. I want people wearing clothes made from bright cloths with colorful designs. I want to eat outside at a table under a tree. I want just picked fresh fruit. Music would be nice. A single guitar player would be enough. I’d sit and linger over my meal. Finally, I’d be ready to move on. I’d applaud and tip the guitar player, pay my bill then take a leisurely walk. I’d smile a lot. That would be a best day.

I don’t want to live in Florida to escape winter. As ugly as this one has been, it is still just winter, worst than most, but it will end and spring will follow. I always greet the first sunrise of spring, my welcome to the hopeful season.

I love spring mornings when the birds sing to embrace the new day and the air has a freshness redolent with the sweet smell of flowers. I check my front garden every morning so I know when a flower has bloomed or a new shoot has appeared. I drink my coffee and read the papers on the back deck. I watch the birds at the feeders. Spring has a newness every year. I marvel at every flower.

I know this the dead of winter. but I also know spring is coming. I just have to be patient.

Like snowflakes, my Christmas memories gather and dance — each beautiful, unique and too soon gone.

December 22, 2014

Last night it rained. I never heard it so I was surprised to find everything still a bit wet this morning. The sun keeps trying to break through the clouds but hasn’t quite made it. It is a warm day, in the mid 40’s. Today is a baking day for me.

I have a memory of a day much like today, a warm, cloudy day, the day before Christmas. I think I was nine or ten. My mother sent me on an errand to the white store probably for milk or bread, staples we seem to run out of often. I could barely believe she expected me to do a plain, every day errand on Christmas Eve, but she did. I took my bike out of the cellar, walked it around front and then rode down my father’s grassy hill, the one we were never to ride down but the one we always did. I remember riding around the corner, passing the brick house, stopping at the next corner to check for cars then pedaling as fast as I could straight away on the next street and around a corner to the stop at Spring Street to check for cars all the while muttering and   bemoaning my fate. I made that trip to the white store so often I can still see the streets and the houses in my mind’s eye. There were two odd houses. One was the brick house near my street and the other was a ranch squeezed on a small lot among houses built in the 40’s. It always looked out-of-place. I remember putting the package in the front basket of my bike and using one hand to hold it so it wouldn’t bounce out at bumps in the road. My other hand was steering. The ride home that day seemed endless, far longer than the ride to get there. I think it was the bumps and the package and the day before Christmas.

“Don’t let schooling interfere with your education.”

March 12, 2012

The day is glorious. I have been outside sitting and reading the paper in the sun. Begrudgingly I came inside to write Coffee and hope for a quick inspiration so I can go back outside. Gracie has been in the yard all morning. This is her lie in the sun on the grass and take a nap sort of weather. Ah, the life of a pampered pet!

I know exactly why it is called a spring in your step, and I think it’s a metaphor having nothing to do with the verb spring. Today I feel more alive than I have. Today is warm and sunny and the sort of day which makes the heart sing. It is a hopeful day as spring always bring hope and a new beginning.

My garden is filled with shoots, and the first crocus is in bloom. It’s yellow. I can also see the knobs on the top of the hyacinth and two daffodils are tall and heavy with buds. The air smells sweet.

I used to love to walk to school on days like today. I’d shed my winter coat and mittens and wear only a sweater under my spring jacket. My friends and I always took our time walking when the weather was this beautiful as we knew we’d spend most of the day locked in and sitting at our desks. I used to look longingly out the windows and wish I were outside in the  sun. It seemed such a waste to be learning fractions when I could be running in the field with the warm sun on my face. Recess made it even nore difficult to go back into the building.

When I was in the 8th grade, I used to hide my lunch bag, no more lunch boxes at the sophisticated age of  thirteen, and I’d leave as if I were going home for lunch. My friend Jimmy, always a co-conspirator, came with me. We’d find a bench in the sun up the street near the town hall and eat lunch then we’d go back to school. Sometimes we were really late returning, long after the bell, and we’d tell Sister Hildergarde we were at the library or talking to some priest or other. She always nodded, and we’d take our seats. On a few really beautiful spring days we’d leave early telling some story about where we were going which Sister Hildergarde always bought. We were a clever pair, Jimmy and I, and maybe even a bit devious.

It is strange, but I have never camped anywhere in Africa where I have not felt, as I left it, that we all have left something of ourselves behind.”

October 9, 2011

The day is simply gorgeous with the bluest of skies and a summer warmth. It has been a different sort of Sunday as I didn’t go out for breakfast, but I did sit outside to drink my coffee. I closed my eyes and let the sun warm me, and I listened to the birds greeting the day and to Gracie wandering through the backyard grasses. Every now and then a car went by, but it only disturbed my reverie for a moment. Around eleven, I dragged myself back inside to call my sister in Colorado, a call I make every Sunday, and now I’m still inside to write Coffee. It will be a quick post. The day is calling me.

Gracie is on the bad list. Last night I heard a rustling sound, the sort a package makes, and looked from here in the den down the hall to the crate on which Gracie’s food and treats are kept but saw nothing. Later I went to give Gracie one of her Happy Hips treats and the package, the newly opened package, was gone. This morning I found the empty package in the yard. That noise I had heard was Gracie stealing the package. She then sneaked outside with it. No question she knew she was doing something wrong.

I have a wedding to go to today at four. Receiving the invitation meant I needed to buy a fall dress to join my summer dress, the dress which came with me to Ghana. I told my sister my new dress is in the pink family and has a jacket with a scalloped edge. I also told her I bought new black shoes. The dress came Wednesday. It is green. The shoes are brown. Now I’m thinking I’ll look like a tree.

I never should have gone to Ghana. Now all I can think about is getting back there for another visit. When I first came home from the Peace Corps, the feeling was even more intense. It took months before I stopped longing for Ghana, but I never stopped thinking about it. I have it all figured out. I need to replenish my savings to the pre-Ghana level then I can start saving for the next trip. I’m guessing two years max before I get back there.