Archive for the ‘Musings’ category

“Happiness is when you are content with who you are, what you are, and where you are.”

April 28, 2017

The morning has already been a strange one. Gracie woke me up at seven. It was legitimate. She ran into the backyard. I got the paper. Notice I said paper. The Boston Globe wasn’t there. I put my coffee on and sat down to read the Cape Times. I heard a rumble. It sounded like a big truck on my street, but then the rumbling started again. It was thunder, mighty loud thunder. My lights went out. It was only for a few minutes but was a major nuisance. I had to reset my CD player, my microwave and my coffee maker which had totally stopped in mid-brew. It took me longer to get everything on time than the electricity had been off.

After the election, I decided not to be the political news junkie I had been, but that was like my making my yearly New Year’s resolutions which I never seem to keep. I can’t stay away from what is happening. The worst is yesterday’s Trump comment, “There’s a chance there will be a major, major conflict with North Korea, absolutely.” I wonder, though, how enthused South Korea is about all this since they just received their bill from President Trump who wants South Korea to pay around $1 billion for the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery. South Korea said no. The Korean nuclear problem is, of course, Obama’s fault. Flynn’s disregard for the law is also Obama’s fault. Building the wall has now become a metaphor. We should have known Trump meant building up security around the border.

I have to go to the dentist this morning to have my teeth cleaned. I have a few errands after that. Gracie and I went to the dump yesterday. It wasn’t on my list, but the trash in the trunk needed to go. It had been a bit long. I had to open all the car windows.

Gracie and I went to the dump yesterday. It wasn’t on my list, but the trash in the trunk needed to go. It had been a bit long. I had to open all the car windows.

When I was a kid, my father used to drag the trash barrels to the sidewalk on the morning of the trash pickup. He’d get mad if he found the empty barrels still on the sidewalk when he got home. We didn’t really care when he blustered at us about our laziness. We looked interested, but it was a blah, blah, blah thing. That’s a skill kids learn early.

I’m back, and I am a bad mother to Gracie. I put her in her crate and left. When I got home, there was dog poop on the PeeWee pads I keep down for the cat. There were a couple of small piles off the paper and a trail into the kitchen. Gracie was standing in the living room wagging her tail for all she is worth. It seems I closed but didn’t latch the crate. Gracie is a nervous wreck loose in the house when I’m not here. She loves being safe in her crate. I was just surprised Gracie figured out what the pads were as she never used them.

It’s time to take off my outside clothes for my comfy clothes. I’m having Chinese food for lunch, leftover from dinner last night. Gracie is happy, Maddie is sleeping. All’s right wit the world.

 

“As they say, ‘It’s all downhill from cupcakes.”

April 27, 2017

Any discussion of the weather is off the table, but if I ever see the sun again, I’ll let you know.

Gracie had a great day yesterday. I did not. She drove me crazy. Whenever she wants out, I walk her through the driveway gate and let her loose into the backyard. At her insistence, we went out together at least 8 times before dark. Dinner is served in the late afternoon, but around eleven, she started hounding (notice the pun) me. When I ignored her, she hit my leg with her paw a few times. I gave in and fed her. Before she got sick, she’d stand in her crate and poke her head out when she wanted a treat. She hasn’t done that in a while, but she did yesterday. I was thrilled so I gave her treats. She was never satisfied. Gracie ate her dry food yesterday, a second dinner course. She used to eat every bowl of it but hasn’t for a while. She did yesterday and ate half a bowl this morning. I hope her driving me crazy continues.

Yesterday my friend made me the recipient of an act of mercy. I have been home with Gracie so my larder is pretty empty. My diet has consisted of cheese, eggs, and bread. I had only one cup of coffee yesterday morning so I’d have enough cream for a cup today. I nursed a can of Coke as I had only one other can left. I told my friend how conservative I’ve had to be. She surprised me with cokes and cream and a package of green Hostess Sno Balls. I was over the moon. I consider anything Hostess to be a gift from the gods and Sno Balls have it all: the chocolate cupcake, the cream middle and a special coconut and marshmallow top which comes off easily so it can be saved for last.

When I was a kid, my mother surprised us once in a while by putting Hostess cupcakes in our lunches. I was so excited I wanted to stand on my desk, demand attention and announce the treasure I’d found. Mostly it was the iconic chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting and a vanilla swirl. I used to eat around the middle so I could savor the cream at the end. Back in those days, most neighborhood stores had a display of all sorts of Hostess products. I loved Ding Dongs and Ho Hos. How can you go wrong with chocolate covered in chocolate? I found Twinkies a bit boring. Every now and then, I’d have a coffee cake but that was when I was older. Coffee cakes didn’t have a taste attractive to kids. Cinnamon was not a big draw. I never ate the muffins and only once in a while ate the pies, always apple.

I have to go out today. It’s about time I gave up being a recluse. I’ll take Gracie. She always likes a car ride.

“Pizza is like the entire food pyramid!”

April 25, 2017

What a surprise! Today is dank: cloudy and damp. Rain is expected, heavy at times. I’m glad to stay inside dry and warm.

It is my fault. Gracie woke me up at 3:00 AM. She was panting. Now that she can’t use the dog door, her panting is a signal she needs to go out. The reason it’s my fault is I didn’t take her out after nine last night. She was sleeping so deeply I didn’t want to disturb her so, at the ungodly hour of 3, she and I went outside. We both paused on the front lawn. The street was dark except for my house. A few birds were singing. It had rained as the concrete front steps were wet. We got to the gate, I opened it and she ran to her favorite outdoor privy spot. Afterward, she met me at the back door and we went inside. I gave her a treat and we both went back to bed, well, back to the couch. Gracie went right to sleep. I didn’t, couldn’t, so I turned on the TV and watched Hawaii Five-O on Netflix. I was driven crazy. They carry on conversations in the car, and during them, they look for the longest time at each other and not the road. They should have been killed in horrific accidents. The other bone of contention is a small one. They live in Hawaii. It gets hot, but they wear long sleeve shirts with the sleeves folded up to above the elbows. Why in the heck didn’t they just buy short sleeve shirts? Is it a weird guy thing? A fashion statement?

It’s now raining. I can hear it on the windows.

I still haven’t emptied my camera. The pictures of Ghana from my last trip are still there. Laziness is the only excuse. I have added posting the pictures to watering the plants, my only other chore today, but I can’t make a promise. My camera has been sitting in front of me on the table for a week.

My diet of late has been sketchy. Yesterday I ate some of a chocolate bunny starting at his ears and a grilled cheese sandwich. That sounds like lunch when I was ten. Part of the problem is an empty larder. The other part is nothing is appealing. The solutions would be the delivery of a pizza or the hiring of a cook. My favorite is the cook, but the pizza is all I can afford.

Today I am going to take a nap.

“Don’t allow your life to become just a dead ritual. Let there be moments, unexplainable.”

April 24, 2017

The house was cold when I woke up. I needed my sweatshirt so I had to dump poor Maddie off. She had slept on it last night. Gracie and I went to get the papers. It was warmer outside than the house. I wanted to cheer. It’s a sign of spring.

When I was a kid, my dog was named Duke. He was a boxer, a fawn boxer. In those days there was no leash law. Duke was a wanderer. Some mornings he’d follow us to school. My father would see him, call him and then go crazy when Duke ignored him so my father would hop in the car and go get him. Duke used to visit my aunt and get Sam to go play with him. Sam was his son. My favorite Duke story is when he followed my grandmother uptown. She wasn’t a dog lover. To try and get away, my grandmother went into Woolworth’s. Duke followed. Once inside, he lifted his leg on the comic book carousel. My grandmother was asked if he were her dog. She said no which was technically true. She left quickly. Duke, not her dog, followed right behind her.

I am not a lover of daily rituals yet I have a few. I take Gracie into the yard first. I start my coffee. While it is perking, I feed the cat, fill the water bowl and, after she comes inside, I give Gracie her treats. I drink a cup of coffee with each of the two papers. I thoroughly read each paper though I admit I only read baseball news on the sports pages and articles which catch my attention in the business section. I check my e-mail then hope for divine inspiration when I open WordPress. I have been writing Coffee for 12 years. Divine inspiration is all I have left after all this time.

The rest of the day is open. When I worked, I went to the dump on Sundays. Now I usually go on Thursdays, a quiet day at the dump, but any day will do. If I have any errands, I make a list and do them all in one day in geographic order hopping from village to village. Sometimes I get that favorite sandwich of mine at Buckies in Dennisport. I consider it a reward for doing all those errands.

When I get home, I put on my comfy clothes. The rest of the afternoon is for reading, maybe napping, doing chores like the laundry and if something is going on, watching the news on MSNBC. I check Facebook.

Dinner is whatever I have on hand which is sometimes as simple as an egg sandwich or cheese and crackers.

I go to bed, actually on the couch, whenever I’m tired. I seldom go early. Gracie sprawls at one end. I try to get comfortable around her.

That’s it. That is sort of my day every day.

 

“Food is the most primitive form of comfort.”

April 23, 2017

Weather is so relative that today’s 57˚ feels warm and springlike, a sit on the deck in the sun sort of day. I might even need sunglasses.

My sister in Colorado and I had our usual Sunday phone call. Today we found two hours worth of conversation ranging from potty training to Trump.

When I was a kid, I never spent much time on the phone. I remember the party line and Mrs. McGaffigan who shared the line. Sometimes I’d pick up the receiver and hear her voice and listen to her conversation: I’d eavesdrop. She caught me several times. I never said a word when she did. I just put the receiver down. My phone number started with ST 6. I used to love the sound of the rotary dial when it clicked back after I entered a number. The phone was black. I think all the phones back then were black.

I miss phone booths. Anytime I passed by one, I’d check the coin return. Once in a while, I’d be lucky enough to find a dime, big money back then. It never seemed strange to me that Clark Kent had room enough to change to Superman in a phone booth. I did wonder what he did with his clothes and why nobody noticed when he was changing. Maybe he was just too quick.

Back then, I didn’t know a single kid who was a skeptic. We accepted most things at face value. The movie monsters were scary. We never saw the strings propelling spacecraft. We accepted the odd looking aliens. We didn’t make fun of movies. We naturally suspended disbelief. I laugh now at those same movies, but I love them still.

Roast beef, gravy, mashed potatoes, and peas are my favorite meal. My mother cooked it for our last family dinner before I left for Peace Corps. She used to put slices of onion on top of the roast, and they were delicious. It is the best of all my comfort meals. I remember my mother peeling potatoes at the sink and my father carving the meat. I still count mashed potatoes and peas among my favorites. I don’t have roast beef all that much anymore. Roast chicken has replaced it and stuffing has been added as a side.

I don’t cook much for myself anymore. I’m into quick and easy, but I’ve found shortcuts for that chicken dinner. I buy rotisserie chicken, real, already mashed potatoes and frozen peas. I call that the modern interpretation of down home comfort food.

“The environment is where we all meet; where all have a mutual interest; it is the one thing all of us share.”

April 22, 2017

At 7:15 a couple of banging sounds at the window woke me up. It was a bird. It flew at the window a couple of times more then I whacked the window with my hand, and the bird flew away. I tried to go back to sleep, but a robo call at 7:45 was the end of my sleeping. Gracie, though, sighed and went back to sleep. Maddie never even woke up.

As for today’s weather, ditto yesterday’s. As for my plans for today, ditto yesterday’s.

I missed the first Earth Day. It happened during my time in Ghana. I read about it when the New York Times Week in Review was sent to me by Peace Corps Ghana. It was their way to keep us connected to what was happening at home. I admit I wasn’t all that interested in Earth Day. My daily life revolved around my students and Bolgatanga, my town, but in retrospect, I realize Ghanaians saved the Earth every day. They repurposed everything. My sandals had soles from old tires. My rice was wrapped in the New York Times compliments of Thomas who worked for me. Tin cans were recycled. My meat from the market was wrapped in leaves. Mammy lorries and buses never left the lorry park until all the seats and even the aisles were full of passengers though that always irritated me, the waiting time.

When I was a kid, we never thought twice about throwing everything in the trash. There were no recycle centers because none of us knew about recycling. The trash was put out on the curb once a week, picked up and willy-nilly thrown into the back of the trash truck. I liked to watch the trash being compacted by the truck. That was my only interest in trash.

My town encourages recycling, and I do my best, but I still feel helpless. So much is way beyond my control. Mr. Trump is not a friend of the Earth. That scares me.

“When I was a kid, we never heard of smog, ozone depletion, acid rain, green house gasses.”

April 21, 2017

The day is overcast and dark. It’s raining again. Rain always makes me lazy. I have nowhere to go and nothing to do except water the plants, and I’m delighted. The house feels chilly so I have draped the afghan over my shoulders. I’m thinking all I need is a rocking chair and some knitting to complete the picture.

When I was a kid, I didn’t care about the rain. I didn’t care about getting wet. This was always spring vacation week and no day could be wasted, especially Friday, the last day. I think my mother applauded when we went outside, and I remember her gleeful goodbyes as we shut the door behind us.

We didn’t ever have a plan or a destination. We just walked. Our usual route was walking by the town barn to see the horses then we’d cut across the back lawn of the town hall and go uptown. We mostly window shopped. From there, our route often varied. Once in a while we’d walk to the zoo or we’d do the tracks again, the ones near my grandparents. When I was young, the train still ran a couple of times a day. The train stopped at the chemical plant then continued to the station, the end of the line, where the engine was switched to the back, now the front. Sometimes we were lucky enough to b there to watch. I remember putting a penny on the rail so the train could flatten it.

We’d head home when we were hungry or really soaked and cold. My mother would send us right down the cellar to take off and leave our wet shoes. I remember leaving footprints on the floor from my wet socks. The trail led from the cellar door to the living room to the stairs to the bedroom where I’d put on dry clothes and dry socks.

For the rest of the afternoon, we’d watch TV. We’d eat Oreos and drink milk. I was a dunker. I think that’s why I love biscotti.

I love listening to the rain and watching it fall. I don’t love getting soaked and cold. I do love Oreos.