Archive for the ‘Musings’ category

“All creatures must learn to coexist. That’s why the brown bear and the field mouse can share their lives in harmony. Or course, they can’t mate or the mice would explode.”

June 26, 2017

When I woke this morning, I had to take a minute to figure out what day it was. Yesterday’s newspaper was what came to mind so today, small paper day, is Monday.

Though the morning has been leisurely, my dance card for today has things to do and places to go. The deck needs attention, its plants need watering and the rail lights have to be replaced. I also have an outside plant to pot. Inside the house is a litter box needing changing and houseplants dying for water. The places to go include the dump and two different vets to pick up refills for Gracie’s meds. I have those listed for afternoon. Some place on that list, I need to sandwich in some nap time.

The day is sunny and is already 75˚, but there is no humidity and a slight breeze makes the air feel cooler. I’ll be happy to clean my deck later so I can get out there and enjoy the fresh air, the birds and the breeze.

We are all old here, Gracie, Maddie and I. Maddie, who is 17, mostly sleeps during the day alternating between my bed and the den chair. She has knotted fur on her stomach. I try to cut it, and she whacks me or pretends to bite me as a warning. Maddie, like most cats, roams at night. Sometimes she sits on the couch arm and purrs in my face. Last night she licked my arm a couple of times. I pat her then fall right to sleep. Maddie doesn’t always use the litter box, but she does use the puppy pads. Gracie, at nearly 12, has morning and afternoon naps. I take her into the backyard several times a day where she does her business and then sometimes just wanders the yard. Rabbits and squirrels still get her attention though she doesn’t chase them anymore.  I, at nearly 70, take a nap in the afternoon some days. On the days I have motivation and energy, I’ll clean or do laundry. I don’t go out much during the day, and that’s fine with me.

I know there is another mouse in the kitchen. I found fresh poop. So far there has been 1 dead mouse on the floor and two live ones in the trap. The two live ones are since the exterminator came. Either they are mouse zombies or the exterminator’s traps didn’t work. This morning I reset my trap with peanut butter. All I need now is one hungry mouse.

 

“In summer the empire of insects spreads.”

June 25, 2017

The morning is just perfect. The air still has a bit of the night’s chill. The sunlight is sharp.  The sky has a few clouds but is still mostly blue. It will get warm today, into the low 80’s, but tonight will be sleeping weather, in the low 60’s.

Gracie had another good night. She also slept in her crate again. That gave me the whole couch so I could stretch my legs. Right now she is having her morning nap on the couch. She’s already eaten a small can of food. Last night she finished the pills for dizziness so I have to call to see if she can get a refill.

I was about to toast a couple of pieces of rye bread when I remember I had bought a cinnamon roll yesterday. I was delighted. Those bakery rolls are a favorite of mine and they’re filled with goodness.

I love the quiet of my house. It keeps me settled, centered. Most things I need are here in the den. I have books, magazines and the TV. In the basket under the table are what’s left of the corn chips. The fridge with the guac is just a bit down the hall. The bathroom is close. Alexa is here and is ever willing to entertain me with music and stories. This is just the perfect room to while away the hours.

Gracie needed to go out, and I have to take her so she doesn’t have to go down the stairs. It is hot out already. I’m thinking the sun is best seen from inside the cool house.

The deck got cleared of leaves and poop yesterday, but it is again filled with the black caterpillar poop. After I water the deck plants later, I’ll clear it off, and then I’ll do the same thing tomorrow. When I was taking Gracie out the front door a few minutes ago, I saw what appeared to be a long, green caterpillar with more legs than it needed working its way up the pine tree. Naturally, I went to check. It happened to be a small piece of a fur tree with the needles appearing like legs. I was glad, but I was also a bit disappointed.  My world is filled with black caterpillars right now so a long green one would have been a nice surprise.

Bugs don’t bother me though I do hate meal moths and miller moths. In times past I didn’t protect my flour, dog food, cereal or dry mixes so they were alive with larvae and pupae, future moths, which I hate at any stage. I tossed all the infected food and bought containers which closed too tightly for an infestation. The meal moths disappeared, but not the miller moths. They are still here. They are audacious and will fly at my head as if to taunt me. I try to grab them as they fly, and I’m pretty good at it, but there are too many of them for me. I just have to hold on a bit longer as they’ll disappear soon.

In Ghana, I accepted bugs in my flour and even some dying in my soup. I’d just pick the bug out and keep eating. I had totally different standards for bugs in those days. Even now when I go back, the old rules still apply. It is only here, at home, that I am a ruthless hunter of insects. it’s time to bring back those disgusting, long sheets of sticky paper. Die, insect, die.

“Fine, but if and when the zombies team up with the mummies to take over the world, you can’t live in my underground bunker.”

June 24, 2017

The air is damp and chilly. The day is so dark that Gracie’s lights came on when she was in the backyard. There is a constant breeze which sometimes blows hard enough to be a wind. It is not an inviting day. The birds sang earlier, but they are gone now. Everything is quiet. Gracie is in her crate sleeping. Maddie is standing under the table lamp getting warm. Her fur is hot to the touch. Animals know how to tbe comfortable.

I have to get more dog food so I’ll be going out later. Other than that, my dance card is empty. I did my laundry yesterday, a huge accomplishment for me as I usually leave it in the hall long enough for the dirty clothes to double in number. I do admit, though, that the clean clothes didn’t make it upstairs yet. They’re on a living room chair. They’ll go up today, maybe.

I fell asleep early last night. The TV and all the lights were left on until about 1:30 when I woke up. I then took Gracie out to pee. I couldn’t even see the house next door in the deep darkness.

Oops, my lights just went out for a minute, long enough that I have to reset appliances and my cable box has to reboot. It has also started raining. At first it was a mist, but it’s now a heavy rain. I can hear it against the windows, and I can see a sheet of rain falling off the eaves outside my den window. The day has become even less inviting.

Last night I made a divine supper sandwich. I toasted English muffins, slathered them with guacamole and then added tomatoes, bacon, and eggs. Every bite was delicious though a bit messy. I blame that on the eggs.

I wonder how much longer the zombie fad will last. It took a while for the undead to take over from vampires, but they did, big time. I’m figuring animals, as in The Zoo, are the next threat to humanity’s survival, but, if that doesn’t work, we can always go back to hostile aliens. They never go out of style.

 

“If all the cars in the United States were placed end to end, it would probably be Labor Day Weekend”

June 23, 2017

Right now the day is beautiful with a breeze and sunny skies. The clouds will be intermittent, and there is a possibility of rain. I love days like this. The daytime is perfect, and it rains at night keeping the grass green and the flowers bright with color.

I have to go to Agway to pick up a flat of annuals. Four of the same plants in clay pots on the deck are dying. I also need dog and cat food and treats. I’m going to have to resist the temptation to buy more flowers.

Gracie has done well the last two days. She has eaten dog food and a whole bag of treats. She hasn’t had the dizziness and nausea of the previous three nights, and that is the best of all as she has slept through the night. I, however, am still exhausted. I don’t sleep deeply as I listen to check her breathing.

July is when all the hoopla begins here. The highways will have backups of cars trying to exit. The main roads will be filled with gawking tourists riding in slow motion so they don’t miss anything on either side of the road. It is even worse when it rains. I never leave the house in the summer on a rainy day because running into a traffic jam is cause for my swearing aloud and occasionally whacking the steering wheel.

I remember going to Islesboro, Maine one summer. We had to take the ferry as Islesboro is on an island. One day we went into nearest town, and my dad gave each of us some money to shop. I roamed through the store filled with postcards, individual inflatables, and all sorts of touristy kitsch. I ended up buying small dog magnets. One was white and the other black. They were both Scotties. I had them for years. They always reminded me of that vacation.

My deck is again a mess. It is covered in leaves and frass, the official name for caterpillar poop. I don’t even want to be out there under the trees, usually the perfect place as it is shady and gets any breeze. Now it also gets something else.

“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.

“People don’t take trips, trips take people.”

June 20, 2017

Cloudy, rainy weather is now on day 4. The breeze today is strong, and the humidity gives it a chilly dampness. The thick air subdues sound. I don’t even hear the birds.

Gracie is sleeping on the couch after her hectic two days. I haven’t been able to give her the morning pills yet. She is far too smart. I gave her some deli turkey this morning, and she spit out any piece with a hidden pill. She ate the rest. I’m down to hand in mouth pill distribution. Gracie has actually eaten a whole can of dog food. I’ll try a second can later.

Another mouse got caught in my trap two weeks after the exterminator was here. I noticed poop on the floor near the trap, a sign of a nervous mouse, so I checked. It was a gray, adult field mouse. I took it and the trap to the car, drove a bit then let the mouse go. It bounded through the tall grass. I never realized mice could bound.

On Sunday night, I was out back with Gracie. The house behind me on the next street had three outside lights lit. All of a sudden I heard a guy scream, “Come on, rabbits, I’m ready.” He yelled that a couple of times. I figure he has a garden the rabbits are enjoying. Beyond that, I have no idea what awaits those poor creatures. Peter Rabbit and Watership Down came to mind.

I finally loaded my Ghana trip pictures to the computer. I also loaded and posted last Christmas, this Easter and February’s snow storm. I did all this yesterday while I was waiting to hear about Gracie. I needed to keep busy. Looking through my trip pictures was joyful. I got to relive it all. The only thing I’d change about that trip is maybe to make it longer, spend a few more days watching elephants and use a day to visit the Rhino preserve on the river.

I have Peace Corps friends who have no intention of going back to Ghana. I know things have changed. The cities are huge and choked with traffic. People are everywhere: walking, riding in cars or taxis or on bikes, but inherently Ghana hasn’t changed nor have the wonderful Ghanaian people. In Bolga, market day is still every third day. Mostly women sell cooked food along the sides of the roads. Kids are still drawn to white people though I don’t understand why. I know in my day it was the rarity of white people in the Upper Region. Taxi drivers still inflate the fares so we still get to bargain. The food was and still is amazing, except for kenkey which I never liked. If I were rich enough, I’d go back for a farewell tour.

Miss Gracie

June 19, 2017

The vet called and, sighing with relief here, he found no masses. Her, I forget which, gland is slightly enlarged, but he said it doesn’t pose a problem. The vet suggested she see a cardiologist and a neurologist.

Gracie has come home with three new medications. One is an appetite stimulant, another is for dizziness and the third for indigestion. She just ate some deli turkey, Boar’s Head of course. I’m hoping she’ll eat the chicken now being poached.

She is sleeping on the couch, not at all restless.