Archive for the ‘Musings’ category

“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.

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“Memories are like a garden. Regularly tend the pleasant blossoms and remove the invasive weeds.”

January 16, 2018

I woke up to the sun and a blue sky, but I knew it was just the sun with light, no warmth. The temperature is 33˚. My feet crunched on the grass when I went to get the papers. The dusting from yesterday’s snow has frozen. Nothing will melt. The snow covers the ice. I’m careful.

I don’t remember much about being really little. I have only fleeting pictures in my memories. I remember the nursery school where I lasted a single day. It was a brick building covered in ivy and was across the street from our apartment building. My mother told me I cried so much the second day she never sent me again. That part I don’t remember. I remember the backyard. It was filled with clothes lines stretched from metal poles. They were in boxes outlined by chain link fences, and each apartment building had its own lines in its own box. I remember how the lines were surrounded by the brick buildings filled with apartments. The front of my building had steps which were in a small round row.

When I was five, we moved from the city to the town where I would grow up. I don’t remember moving, but I do remember exploring and being found by the police who said I was lost. I didn’t notice. My sister lives on the same street only a block away from where I was found. Coincidence is funny. I have no recollection of my first day of school, but I remember being terrified by Sister Redempta. Mrs. Kerrigan was my second grade teacher, and she was old. I remember flowered dresses and gray hair and seeing her walk across the street from the church to the house where she lived. Her apartment was on the second floor. I loved my nun in the third grade, Sister Eileen Marie, and I remember our classroom was in the cellar of the rectory. I remember tables and chairs instead of desks, and I know I sat on the outside of a table toward the back of the room. I was eight that year. Going to school in the cellar was a sort of adventure.

From then on, my memories are more vivid, but they are fragmented as my memory drawers are nearly full. I cram the most recent memories way in the back of the drawer almost in a pile. I figure it is a good thing when I have sloth days as there is nothing memorable, nothing to keep in mind except warmth, comfort and a good book.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

January 15, 2018

It seems I get later and later which reminds me of the nursery rhyme about the scholar who used to come at ten but now comes at noon. That fits me perfectly. My late mornings are because I have been going to bed so late or early depending upon how you see the day. It was close to 3 this morning before I went to bed, and then I read a few pages.

When I went to get the papers, there were snow flurries. I swear that happens only when I go outside. They fall for a short bit then disappear. I have a vision of Old Man Winter tossing out the flurries as soon as he sees me. It is cloudy and cold still and will stay that way all week. The weatherman probably describes it as seasonal.

Today is a sloth day. I don’t need to go out for anything so no need to get dressed. My house is clean so no strenuous dusting. I could make my bed, but it is upstairs where no one can see it. I suppose I could bring the clean clothes up from the cellar as they have been down there quite a while. No, on second thought, they can stay there for a while longer.

I didn’t watch MSNBC today. The he said, he didn’t say is still the lead story. I believe he said that. Our president has no filters when he speaks off the cuff.

The two years I spent in Ghana were the most amazing years of my life. The country and its people stay in my heart. I always speak of Africa in superlatives.

Today is Martin Luther King Day so I have posted excerpts from Martin Luther King’s speech delivered on August 28, 1963 at the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington.

“And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!

And this will be the day — this will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning:

My country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.

Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim’s pride,

From every mountainside, let freedom ring!

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.”

“It is a happiness to wonder; — it is a happiness to dream.”

January 14, 2018

No doubt about it. Winter is here. The day is cold, a biting, damp cold, and it will get even colder tonight. When I went to get the papers, there were snow flurries, and they’re still around, small flakes from the north. It is a dark, cloudy, snowy day, the sort of day which gives winter a bad name. When I was a kid, I’d stay in all day near the hissing radiator. I’d color at the kitchen table or lie in my bed and read. I’d be wearing my flannel pajamas and slipper socks. Okay, I admit that it even sounds a lot like me now. I’m talking flannel bottoms, a sweatshirt on top and new slipper socks. Add a coloring book, and I could be ten again. I guess cozy doesn’t change much over the years.

Tonight is game night. We’ll play our two games, Sorry and Phase 10, and we’ll eat something while we’re playing and then we’ll have dessert after the games. Rumor has it we may be noshing on tacos. I’m doing the dessert this week, and I’m thinking chocolate pudding. I have all the ingredients and even have heavy cream. After the games, we watch The Amazing Race saved from Wednesday. It was always on Sundays before this so we maintain the tradition of games, food, the Race and dessert.

Poor Maddie got called Fern and Gracie this morning. She didn’t seem to care. That name mixup reminded me of my mother who used to take care of her younger brothers, Jack and Joe, long before she was married. If she wanted our attention or wanted us to stop what we were doing, she sometimes went through a litany of names to get to us. She’d say Jack, I mean Joe, I mean Kat. I never took offense.

My niece just posted pictures and videos of her two boys, ages 5 and 3, on Christmas morning. The older one stood in the entry way to the living room with his mouth wide open when he saw the toys left by Santa. He was amazed. I remember those days of walking downstairs on Christmas morning and seeing the lit tree surrounded by toys and gifts. It is one of the wonders of the world.

 

“The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.”

January 13, 2018

My house is quiet, emptier. I keep expecting Gracie to be sleeping on her part of the couch. I know missing her will get easier, but right now it isn’t. I think dogs make us better people.

The rain poured last night. I was treated to the pounding of rain on the roof and the howling of the wind. It was weather from a Vincent Price movie. When I got up around 3 or 4, it was still raining. I fell back to sleep, and at 10, when I woke up, the rain was gone. Now it is sunny with the blue sky as a backdrop. Today will be warm. Tonight will be freezing, only in the 20’s. The weatherman described it as a quick freeze. It will be cold the rest of the week.

All of Christmas is packed away until next year. Leandro and Roseana came to clean but did so much more. Lee took down my tree and put it outside. He brought my pine tree down the cellar. He and Roseana rid the living floor of pine needles though we all know they never really disappear. One or two will pop up every few days. Lee took Gracie’s crate to the cellar leaving a huge, open space behind.

Last night my friends took me out to dinner. We went to a Thai restaurant, Bangkok Kitchen, new to all of us. It was tiny and had only 8 tables and all of them were filled. People were waiting. After tasting the food, I knew why there were no empty tables. I had a dish called Massaman Yellow Curry. It was assorted vegetables and roasted peanuts in a coconut massaman curry sauce. The coconut drew me right away. It was a great choice: the dish was a delight.

My dance card is empty for the weekend. I’ll watch the Pats play Tennessee tonight but that ‘s as far in the future as I’ve gone.

“Dogs’ lives are too short. Their only fault, really.”

January 11, 2018

My Gracie couldn’t get up this morning. She has had issues with her back legs, but we managed, she and I, until today when her front legs couldn’t hold her either. I called my friend Claire who came over and we both went to the vets. I had called them so they were expecting us. Two techs came to the car and brought Gracie inside to one of the exam rooms. I knew. Nobody had to tell me. I knew as soon as she couldn’t walk.

I held Gracie and said goodbye. I thanked her. She has been the best dog, the funniest, the most recalcitrant and the most loving. My house is empty without her.

I will not be posting today or tomorrow.

“We all have our time machines. Some take us back, they’re called memories. Some take us forward, they’re called dreams.”

January 9, 2018

That sun is back in favor with me. It is here again, and it brought along the blue sky. Outside is warm at 41˚. Very little snow is left, only piles along the sides of the road from the plowing. Those piles are ugly, pockmarked and dirty. Snow has a short shelf life once the sun appears.

When I began to think of snow as a nuisance, I was caught in a dichotomy. I still loved to watch the flakes fall and would turn on the outside lights so I could see the snow, but I didn’t want the flakes to touch the ground; I didn’t like shoveling, and I didn’t like cleaning off the car. There I was caught in the middle where I still stay sit.

I watch TV, not as much as Chance the Gardener, but I watch. I also bitch and moan. Even with a zillion stations, I sometimes find nothing to watch. HGTV is one of my stations of last resort. I’ve watched so much I can now throw around phrases like curb appeal, focal point and window treatment. I know to look for hardwood floors, a master suite, a farmer’s sink, stainless steel, tile and granite or its ilk. Mirrors will make the room look bigger. Neutral colors are best.

I am getting forgetful; it’s a matter of aging. My word retrieval skills are blunted. I get distracted and forget what I wanted in the first place. Mnemonics have become my best friends, and I use my mother’s trick of going through the alphabet. Most times that works. My spelling skills often take a vacation. I wonder about the spelling of a word, and the longer I look, the stranger the word looks. I could use spell check but that only makes it worse. I figure given the way I’m going my lists will soon be scrolls furled because of their lengths.

It always amazes me that I am the age I am. I don’t feel old. I don’t think old. At least as far as I can remember.