Posted tagged ‘windy’

“Your words become your world.”

March 6, 2018

No sun again today, just clouds, darker than yesterday. The wind is brisk and cold. It is another stay cozy and warm at home day. I have a few things I could do like the laundry and changing the bed, but I don’t want to do anything so I won’t.

When I was working, I got everything done. The house got cleaned, the laundry washed, the groceries bought and the trash dumped. Now I have all the time, day after day of time, but I procrastinate. Like Scarlett, I think,”After all, tomorrow is another day!”

I have redefined my lexicon. I have removed words like lazy and non-productive; instead, I stress lifestyle words like settled and describe myself as comfortable and undemanding. I still long to travel, and that won’t ever change. It is in all capital letters should you look it up in my lexicon.

I live on a small street with nine houses. Three of the houses have kids. Three have dogs. This time of year I hear only an occasional dog barking. I know when the mailman comes. I can hear his truck. A few cars go up and down, but they usually belong to neighbors. If I’m out, we always wave. Some of us have lived on this street since the beginning when the houses were first built. My neighbors across the street are the oldest residents. I don’t see them much anymore. He has Alzheimer’s and she is his caretaker. Seldom do I see any of my other neighbors. I rarely see any of the kids. I’m beginning to think we’re all in a hibernation of sorts.

Another nor’easter is predicted but not fierce or damaging like the last one. We will get rain; snow is north of us. The rain in winter always seems to come in at an angle, driven by the cold wind. It lashes against the windows in a constant barrage of heavy, noisy drops. The cold air is so damp it chills to the bone. Streets flood. The ground is hard, and the rain has nowhere to go. I have no affection for winter rain.

“Strange to see how a good dinner and feasting reconciles everybody.”

March 4, 2018

My hopes are high that Coffee will be here tomorrow. If not, remember to go to www.keepthecoffeecoming.blogspot.com as I’ll be waiting there for you.

Today is damp but lighter than it has been. The sun is working to get out of the clouds. I’m its most ardent cheerleader. There is still wind which makes the day feel even colder. I think it rained during the night as the sides of the street were still wet this morning when I got the papers, the dry papers. I can’t fault a day which starts with dry papers.

When I was a kid, Sunday was always boring. It followed the same regimen every week. Eat breakfast, put on church clothes, walk to church, go home and hang around until Sunday dinner, the most lavish meal of the week. It always included a roast of some sort, potatoes and vegetables. The potatoes were mashed and the vegetables, except for the carrots, came from cans. Those fresh vegetables, the carrots and the potatoes, were always boiled. We never had salad, and we never had bread on the table. A roast of beef as my grandmother called it is still my favorite.

My mother grocery shopped on Friday nights. As she had no license, my father drove her. They’d return with a trunk load of filled paper bags. The only foods we, my brother, sisters and I, cared about were the cookies. We knew they’d be Oreos and sometimes chocolate chip cookies or some other kind. We’d want them right away, and my mother would warn us that once they were gone, they’d be no more. We were kids. We were in the moment. We wanted the cookies.

I have grown my palate since I was a kid. Canned vegetables will never grace (sort of grace) my table. I like to cook potatoes all different ways, but I love mashed potatoes covered in gravy the most. I love carrots, and I experiment when I cook them. The last recipe called for ginger. My favorite is honeyed carrots. I use the baby carrots still with their greenery.

I just heard a loud crash which seemed to come from my deck. I ran outside but saw nothing except the man in the house behind mine burning leaves in a barrel. What I saw made me laugh. The wind is taking the burning leaves, and they are falling on the carpet of leaves in the guy’s yard. Small fires start, and he goes around with his rake putting the fires out. Maybe this will teach him why burning leaves is illegal.

“Talent is useful, but always keep your dagger sharp.”

February 18, 2018

The predicted snow stayed north of us. My sister who lives 14 miles from Boston got 5″. We got rain. The rain storm started around eleven and was still going strong at 12:30 when I fell asleep. Today is bright with sun. The blue sky is almost cloudless. The breeze is strong, and the pine branches are swaying and bending enough to make noise. It is a chilly day.

Tonight is game night, and we’ll also celebrate Chinese New Year. One year we did origami and folded the different color papers into dragons and kites and other symbols. I was horrible at it. I thought I had folded the papers just right according to the illustrations, but the finished produces had no resemblance to the pictures of them. It was frustrating, but I knew it would be as I had learned from experience I can put almost anything together by following the word directions and not the picture directions.  There’s that old left brain in action.

When I was kid in elementary school, we had art every couple of weeks. It alternated with music. There was no music teacher and there was no art teacher. The teacher or the nun I had did it all. Sister Hildegarde, my eighth grade teacher, had music class more often than once every other week. She had a keyboard which one of my classmates played. She also had pitch pipe which was round and had the keys listed next to the hole to blow. She’d blow the note then start us off with the first line. She sang so badly we had to hide behind our music books so she wouldn’t catch us laughing at her. I think it was also in her class I learned Gregorian chant notes. We even had tests of reading and writing chant.

I don’t remember much about my art classes. The only one I remember is when we made paper mâché puppets. We also had to write a small play and team up with classmates. I made a devil, and it was the best thing I ever created in any art class.

As I grew older, I found out that words strung together in the right way created beauty, a beauty of language which conjured images and memories and feelings. It was my talent.

“Cats have it all – admiration, an endless sleep, and company only when they want it.”

February 5, 2018

My Patriots lost the game. It was heartbreaking. The game, however, was what a Super Bowl should be and was exciting the whole way through. Brady being stripped of the ball was the end of hope. I did wear my new sweatshirt, now relegated to the closet. It is time to bring out my Red Sox garb.

Today is sunny. It would be warm if not for the wind. The top branches of the backyard pines are swaying. I stood outside for a while when I got the papers. The air smelled fresh, even sweet. It was quiet.

Last night it poured. The rain pummeled the roof. I loved it. I even wished I had a tin roof so the sound could surround me the same way it did in Ghana. The rain dissolved the snow. Only the smallest of piles are on the street corners where the plows had left them. They’ll be gone today.

Maddie is sleeping on my sweatshirt on the den table. She followed me to the kitchen meowing at me while I put my coffee on. She wanted a treat. I gave her some roast beef. I think Maddie is deaf. Even when she is near me she never responds to my voice. I could chalk that up to a cat being a cat, but she used to come when I called. She is the soundest sleeper.

When I was in the second grade, I became a brownie. My mother bought me my one piece brown uniform and a darker brown beanie with a dancing brownie on the front. The gold brownie pin was attached to the pocket. I loved wearing that uniform and could even wear it to school instead of my regular uniform when I had a troop meeting. Lots of my friends were brownies too. We all stood taller in our uniforms. We learned to hold up three fingers and recite the brownie pledge. It was always recited with great solemnity. I don’t remember what we did at meetings, but I remember marching in the parade every Memorial Day. It was my proudest moment as a brownie. I also remember telling my parents that everyone was out of step but me.

“At last the dishes were set on, and grace was said. It was succeeded by a breathless pause, as Mrs Cratchit, looking slowly all along the carving-knife, prepared to plunge it in the [goose] breast; but when she did, and when the long- expected gush of stuffing issued forth….”

December 14, 2017

Yesterday and last night were quite cold. During the day the wind was a blast of frigid air making it feel even colder. When I took Gracie out early, I was hoping she’d be quick. She was. The only good part was my chimes bounced around in the wind and sounded  lovely.

I finished decorating my tree yesterday. I had put the lights on the day before so I added the finishing touches: garlands and ornaments. I took my time and sat down periodically.  What tired me out was hauling bins up from the cellar and then hauling them back down. I still need to check some bins today as I am missing a few traditional decorations. I’m a bit afraid to look as I figure I’ll see more decorations for the house, and I’ll be back to hauling again. I also haven’t found the lights on, lights off floor button, and I don’t want to be crawling under the tree. I was a sweaty mess when I finished, but it was worth it. The tree and the house look lovely and are filled with Christmas. After my exertions, I had an egg nog, a well-deserved egg nog, and sat in the living room admiring the tree.

I still have cards to send, and I need to choose my cookies and make a shopping list. Looking through recipes is enjoyable for me. When making a dinner for guests, I image how the dish will look, how it will taste and what might go with it. Cookies are easier.

One Christmas season I invited my friends to dinner a couple of weeks before Christmas. That was the year of the goose. A Christmas Carol and goose for dinner at the Cratchit’s house piqued my interest. I looked up recipes to use and presented my friends with an English feast. The goose was delicious with its crisp crust and moist meat and a bread stuffing with sage and onions. We dined on mashed potatoes and gravy, apple sauce just as the Cratchits had, and I added a combination of roasted root vegetables: parsnips, turnips and carrots. The dessert was the crowning glory. I made Christmas pudding, poured brandy on it and brought it to the table aflame. There was applause. I bowed though I figured the applause was more for the pudding. That dinner was remarkable.

Okay, I brought some bins down the cellar while my coffee was brewing, and I couldn’t help myself so I went hunting in a few bins I hadn’t checked. Eureka!! I found what I wanted: my small aluminum tree, my on and off light button and a few ornaments I wanted to add. That ends the hunt.

Today I have a few errands and I’ll write out the rest of the cards. I will do nothing  strenuous. All those bins took their toll.

“Glittering tinsel, lights, glass balls, and candy canes dangle from pine trees.”

November 26, 2017

The first thing I saw when I opened my eyes was the strikingly blue sky. I could see it out the window beside the couch where I sleep. I stayed there, on the couch, a little while just looking at that beautiful sky but then I got up to take Gracie outside.

It is a windy, warmish day. The temperature will hover around 50˚ but will fall to the 30’s tonight which makes me suspect winter is reminding us he is waiting in the wings. My house feels cold though it is at the usual daytime temperature. Maybe I just need another cup of coffee.

Last night I shopped some more on line. I know I haven’t finished buying for everyone on my list but my list is incomplete. Uncatalogued bags and boxes still sit on the guest room bed. Last year, before the list was complete, I bought two or three presents for a few people so I saved them until this year. They’re at the bottom of the pile. I don’t remember what they are.

My cat is too old, at 18, to care about a Christmas tree and its ornaments, but my cats from long ago loved batting the ornaments, especially the colorful glass balls. I learned to leave the bottom third of the tree bare of ornaments and later also bare of garlands which attracted the cat but for pulling not swatting. A couple of my cats even honed their climbing skills on the trunk. I can remember looking at the tree and seeing a cat’s face looking out at me from near the top. The older cats slept on the tree skirt under the lights which kept them warm. Only one of my dogs liked the tree. That was Shauna who stood by the tree eating the corn kernels from the popcorn-cranberry garland I had made. She pulled the tree down one year. That was the last tree with the popcorn. I stopped putting icicles on my tree after I caught one cat eating them. That was the year the litter box seemed decorated with all the silver icicle strands glinting from the cat poop. I stopped putting ribbons on gifts, mine or my sisters’. The cats, always the cats, chewed the bows and the ribbons, more cat box decorations. The last few years none of the animals have touched the tree. Gracie sniffs it. Maddie ignores it. But despite their lack of interest, I will decorate with them in mind. I really like the tree without icicles, and I bought a realistic looking popcorn and cranberry garland. I found wonderfully colored wrapping paper which could use ribbons but doesn’t need them. I know my Christmas was nonetheless though the animals were always a bit disappointed. .

“Let it all go and enjoy the profound gifts found in your quiet places.”

November 17, 2017

The sun has decided to reappear and the blue sky frames it perfectly. The wind is strong enough to make the day seem colder than it is. I was out early this morning, at 7:50, when the wind was so strong it made me run to the comfort of the car to get away from the cold.

Gracie had her first acupuncture appointment at 8:10. She did quite well. The vet had some tasty, or so I assumed, dog food frozen in a small jar. Gracie kept lapping and was totally unconcerned about the vet and the needles. Gracie stood there until the very end when she decided it was time to sit down. The vet has the gentlest manner and she spoke softly and soothingly. Gracie gave tail wags. We go back in two weeks for another session.

When we got home, I went back to sleep as did Gracie, and the two of us just woke up. 6:45 is far too early to get up unless it’s Christmas or I have a flight to catch though getting up that early gave me time for one paper and a cup of coffee. I’m about ready for another cup. It is sort of my second morning.

I need to go through a few catalogues I’ve saved because I dog-eared some of their pages for second looks at possible presents. Making a list of what and for whom I’ve already bought gifts still hasn’t been done so it is the only item on my to do list. I’m figuring this weekend.

I watched the Celtics last night. I used to watch them all the time, but my interest had fallen back in the lean years. When I was a kid, I used to go to games at the garden. It was a quick bus ride to Sullivan Square then the subway to North Station and the old Boston Garden, the one which once fogged up during the playoffs. The last time I saw them live was about three or four years ago. Last night they won their 14th straight. It was against the Warriors, the world champion Golden State Warriors, and the game was jaw dropping. It was a test of sorts for the Celts to show how good they really are. They came back at one point from a 17 point deficit to win with a score of 92-88. Charles Barkley, never a favorite of mine, now an analyst for TNT, was all over the Celts before the game and at half time. I just hope when he ate his words they soured his mouth.

I’ve chosen today to be a quiet day with some music and some more of the mystery I’m reading, The Crossing Places, by Elly Griffiths. Gracie will have to fight me for the couch.

“Soup is cozy.”

October 24, 2017

Last night I just couldn’t fall asleep. I tried to watch television, but that didn’t work. On Netflix I saw the start of several movies but couldn’t get interested in any of them. I then watched most of my DVR’d programs and got the number winnowed to two, both Dirk Gently’s. To watch that program I need a different mood. At 3:00 I turned off the light and tried to sleep. At 3:30 I turned the light back on. Finally, at 4:30 or so I fell asleep. Television is definitely a wasteland late at night but not enough to lull me to sleep.

Today is dark and windy, but surprisingly warm. It will rain later tonight. We could get inches of rain. My mother would call it a deluge.

Unlike Mother Hubbard, my cupboard is full. Peapod came yesterday.

My coffee maker loses water all over the counter. My washing machine won’t spin. I had to put towels on the line in the cellar. They were heavy with water. I hand wrung them, but they were still soaked. The other clothes went into the dryer. I hate when stuff starts to fall apart. I have ordered another coffee pot and will call an appliance man with hopes the washer can be fixed. Both are essential.

We live in the toss it and buy another age. Stuff is not build to last anymore. It is often cheaper to replace than repair.

My mother always made pea soup after we’d had a bone- in ham for dinner. The soup was thick and green. It was my father’s favorite, but because I liked it too, my mother would save some in jars and freeze it for my next visit. I reciprocated and made chicken soup. I always brought my mother some. She loved my chicken soup.

My mother used to come down to visit often. We shopped, went out to dinner and sometimes out to lunch as well. At night we’d play Big Boggle, her favorite game. We played countless times. She used to fill her trunk with shopping bags. The joke was she’d only bring in a couple when my father was home. He always remarked about little she’d bought. When he went to work, she’d empty the rest of her trunk.

It has started to rain. I heard it dripping from the eaves onto the deck. The wind is  stronger, and the biggest branches on the oak trees are swaying. I was going out as I do have one errand, but now I’m staying home, cozy and dry.

“Each day has a color, a smell.”

October 8, 2017

The day is cloudy dark. Rain is predicted. It is also windy which makes it feel colder than it is. I had to shut the back door. Last night was Gracie busy. She had me up every couple of hours, and we went out at 3:30. I went back to sleep but woke up when I heard her moving around at 8:00, but she readily jumped on the couch with me, and we both slept until 10.

I did all my errands yesterday. I had a route in mind, but the cars in long lines at the lights had me reconsider how to get there from here. I should have realized they’d be lines as this is, after all, a three day weekend, sort of summer’s last hurrah. Today is a stay off the roads day as the weekenders will be driving around looking for something to do.

I can smell wood burning again. The smell has again triggered memories. I remember overnights at Camp Aleska, the Girl Scout camp in the town where I grew up. The camp was up a dirt road across from the zoo and was surrounded by tall pine trees. Paths were behind the camp and led all through the woods. There was one big room in the camp with a huge fireplace. My favorite part of the overnight was falling asleep as the fire waned and the embers glowed in the dark. I have mentioned mornings in Ghana several times. The air smelled of wood fires as breakfast was cooked over wood charcoal. In the market, huge bags of charcoal were for sale. In some villages tree trunks were slowly burned into charcoal and bags of it were for sale on the sides of the road. Even the irons were filled with wood charcoal.

At night, aunties, older women, sitting along the sides of the main road in Bolga cooked food over wood charcoal and sold it.  I remember the smell in the air was a combination of the wood charcoal burning and food cooking at my nighttime snack stops. That was the first time I ever tasted grilled corn and deep fried plantain and yam chips. Guinea fowl was rare, but I always bought it if I found it. I remember the spots of light from the lit lanterns up and down the street and the blazing embers under metal bowls filled with groundnut oil where the food cooked.

I am ever so thankful for having served in Ghana and for the memories still strong and vibrant.

“In wildness is the preservation of the world.”

June 30, 2017

I love this morning. It isn’t sunny but it is windy and cool. I can hear the leaves rustling and the tinkling of the chimes from my backyard. Out my window I can see the branches being tossed by the wind. They look like dancers swaying and bending in the same direction. The weather report said sun, but I don’t miss it. A cloudy day has its own beauty.

The kids from down the street woke me again this morning. It was around 8:30. They were playing in front of one of their houses. I heard a couple of them singing, but I have no idea of the song. I also heard a couple of them yelling and a couple of them screaming. They’re gone now except for one, the oldest. He is shooting baskets. I can hear the ball when it hits the road and when he dribbles. I have no idea what happened to the rest of them.

Our girl scout camp, Camp Aleeska, was in the woods at the end of a sandy road across the street from the zoo entrance. The camp was in a pine forest and had been built by the fathers of scouts. Inside was one huge room with a tall fireplace and storage benches lining two walls. The kitchen and bathroom were off the big room as was a small room where the adults slept. Cots, the old canvas type with the wooden bars at each end, were stored in the benches. A couple of times, my troop went on overnights at the camp. After we had brought in the food, we set up our cots with a lot of laughter as sometimes they collapsed. We went on hikes and followed trails in the pine woods. Other times we did stuff to earn another badge for our sashes. We all had jobs like cooking, cleaning, doing dishes or sweeping. I remember the stew we usually had for dinner, poor man’s stew. It was hamburger, a can of soup, potatoes, carrots and sometimes canned corn. The stew cooked a long time on the stove. It was always delicious. I remember cooking breakfast with eggs and bacon and toast. We each had a single task at every meal. I always hated it when I had to wash dishes.

I loved the inside of that camp. It had the aroma of a wood fire. It was always quiet as there was nothing near us. We made the only noise.

The camp is gone now as are the trees that kept it hidden. It is the site of construction equipment and piles of sand. I don’t know when the camp was demolished. I’m sorry for its loss as no one else will make memories there.