Archive for the ‘Musings’ category

“It was one of those humid days when the atmosphere gets confused. Sitting on the porch, you could feel it: the air wishing it was water.”

August 22, 2017

My neighbor came by with eclipse glasses so I got to see the partial eclipse we had here. It was so very cool to watch the moon move across the sun and darken the day just a bit.  Two things jumped into my head from my memory drawers. I was reminded of when I was young, and we used negatives to look through at the eclipse. I have no idea if they were all that safe but figure they must have been as I didn’t go blind. I don’t even remember if there were warnings. Now, of course, there are no negatives. The second memory was of reading A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. Our Yankee is sentenced to be burned at the stake but is saved by magic, or at least what King Arthur thinks is magic but is really an eclipse. He, the Yankee, said he’d blot out the sun, and it happened as he’d predicted because our hero had remembered the eclipse. I would have been burned at the stake.

Today is supposed to be hot and humid. When I went to get the papers and take Gracie to the backyard, I could feel the humidity, and it was still early, usually a cooler time. Right now it’s cloudy and breezy, but that humidity is hanging in there.

When I was waiting for my coffee to brew, I saw a feeder moving back and forth and knew it was a spawn of Satan. I could see its tail and knew it was the worst off them all, a red spawn. It was inside the keep the spawn away wire and was dining on seed. I sneaked over to the feeder. The spawn saw me and jumped to the rail, but I was there so it fell to the ground, two floors away. The spawn’s fall scared the doves feeding from the ground, and they flew into the air. The birds at the feeders were spooked so they too took off. The whole thing was a comedy of errors with birds flying everywhere.

I have to go out in a bit, and the sun just made a quick in and out entrance. Right now it’s among the missing. I’m glad. I figure the humidity is enough to make for a dismal day without adding more heat.

“No one appreciates the very special genius of your conversation as the dog does.”

August 21, 2017

The house is still chilly from the air conditioning being on all last night even though some windows and the two doors are now opened; however, it will be a hot day so I expect to be behind closed doors and shut windows for most of the afternoon. The sun was around earlier but has since disappeared behind grey clouds. We are going to have a partial eclipse, but it seems unless things change, we won’t even see that.

Last night the temperature was in the high 60’s so movie night was pleasant, even a bit chilly because of the high humidity. We watched Monster on the Campus. Oops, I’m really sorry. I should have warned you that was a spoiler. I just gave the whole plot away. The movie was released in 1958 so we did chuckle quite a few times at the special effects and the plot twists. The cars were as big as boats. The women all wore dresses, kind of ugly dresses, and accessorized with white gloves. The men, of course, wore their suits and fedoras. Troy Donahue had a small role. We applauded at the end not because it was over but because the monster had engineered its own demise. Such is the lot of monster in 50’s science fiction movies.

Gracie had a really bad night. She was sleeping in her crate. I was on the couch. It was around 4:00 when I was awakened by the sound of her paws frantically scraping over and over against the mat in her crate. I guessed she was trying to stand up but couldn’t. I raced to the kitchen. Gracie was lying on her side, her eyes huge, and she was scared. She tried again to get up but couldn’t. I grabbed her halter and lifted and pulled her out of the crate. I was scared that her back legs had given out, but when I pulled her upright, she stood. She was also wet. I figured that had been triggered by her fear. I dried her and we went to the couch. She jumped on it but sat upright for a while before she finally fell asleep. This morning everything is fine with her, but not with me. When I walk, I resemble a question mark because of the pain in my back. Poor Gracie and me!

“Coffee first. Save the world later.”

August 20, 2017

The morning is just so beautiful with a bright, bright sun, the bluest of skies and a slight breeze, deck weather for sure. It is already getting hot, an August heat, but the deck has branches hanging over it and an umbrella to keep the sun at bay. Tonight is movie night.

My next door neighbors barbecue every Sunday. He cooks, and it is always chicken wings, just plain chicken wings, no sauce, no sides. I can usually smell the wings cooking so I go outside to yell hello from my deck to theirs. They always invite me over.

As soon as I wake up, I look forward to my first sip of coffee. I can hear it dripping into the carafe, and the house fills with the aroma of that coffee brewing. My sense of smell works overtime. I impatiently wait and sometimes even stand in the kitchen to watch. I could take it mid-brew, but I choose to wait, to heighten the expectation.

Recently I’ve been drinking African blend which is a bit funny as I never had real coffee in Ghana, only instant. I got used to it but was never a fan. On my last trip, my friends brought coffee bags, and they tasted far better than the instant, but we had had real coffee at Zania Lodge which spoiled me a bit; however, I adjusted to the instant though my taste buds were severely disappointed.

My house is a full cape which means it has two front windows on each side of the door. In the back, there is a dormer which gives my house three floors in the back but only one floor in the front. My deck is off the second floor in the back. I like being suspended above the ground.

I have to go out to get the fixings for tonight’s movie food. We’re having a jalapeño dip with blue corn chips and maybe a Stromboli. I have the ingredients for that on my shopping list, but oftentimes my trip to the store means seeing something already made which looks delicious so I change the menu right then and there. I’m nothing if not flexible.

“No rain but thunder, and the sound of giants.”

August 19, 2017

Last night we had the best rainstorm complete with thunder right over my house and lightning bolts striking in the sky above my backyard. One clap of thunder made Gracie and me jump as it was both unexpected and close. The rain pelted the roof and windows. It was so loud I had to turn up the sound on the TV. At one point, around 10:30, the rain stopped so I raced to take Gracie outside. The rain started again only minutes after we had gotten back inside. The drops were so heavy and loud they were the only sounds I could hear. I figured it was serendipity the rain stopped for just that small while. Gracie lasted the rest of the night and into the morning.

I’ve nothing on my to-do list for today. The roads will be filled as Saturday is turn-over day at cottages, and tourists will be looking for something to keep kids busy on a dark day, on a no beach day. Board games can only work for so long.

The remnants of the storm are a gray sky and high humidity, the sort of humidity my father used to say you can cut with a knife. The small breeze does nothing to change the close, damp air. We won’t see the sun until tomorrow.

I remember when I was a kid and the thunder and lightning kept me inside. I’d take a book and find a quiet place to read. Sometimes it was in my room because everyone else was downstairs watching TV. It was dark enough I needed a light to read by, the light on the headboard behind me. It seemed to shine only on me and the pages of my book. I felt safe and cozy.

Thunder never scared me even when I was a kid. I remember being told thunder was angels bowling in heaven. I also remember reading Rip Van Winkle’s thunder was the men in the mountains, Henry Hudson’s crew, playing nine-pins. Either way, it was just bowling.

I love lightning, jagged and bright in the sky. One lightning bolt hit the ground right in front of my house in Ghana. It was magnificent. I’ve never seen the like.

“Quiet diplomacy is far more effective than public posturing.”

August 18, 2017

Yesterday was a perfect day. The weather was warm but breezy enough to keep the heat at bay, the sun shined all day and we even found a table by the water at lunch. My sisters arrived with cake and presents. We went to lunch at one of my favorite places. As a surprise my sisters had invited my friends, and I was definitely surprised. My lobster roll was filled with huge chunks of lobster and the fries and onion rings were perfect. Just ask the gulls who snapped up the French fries we threw on the rocks. After lunch we came back to my house for cake and ice cream and presents. My sisters had chosen the best cake, mocha, and my favorite ice cream, coconut. After that, I opened my presents and was overwhelmed by the generosity of my sisters and my friends. We then sat on the deck a while chatting and laughing. I can’t imagine a better day, a better birthday.

Today is cloudy and a bit humid. The breeze is blowing the top branches of the oak trees. Rain is predicted for later. I do have to go out but not far and off the main roads. The bird feeders need to be filled again, and the fountain is empty of water. Gracie drinks much of the water away. The fountain is the perfect height for her. I fill it, she drinks it and we do this several times a day. She has a water dish on the deck but she ignores it. Dogs aren’t logical.

Quiet seems to be the order of the day after the excitement of yesterday. I don’t hear a sound: not a kid, not a car and not even a bird. I had Alexa play sixties rock, but I kept singing with the music instead of writing so I turned on the TV to MSMBC. It is still reacting to Trump’s latest diatribe so I turned that off. Instead, I watched the Food Channel with Giada who was making a Peruvian chicken dish and showing pictures of her trip to Peru. I suppose I could just turn off the TV, but I’m not in the mood for quiet, for silence. I have stuff I could do, but I don’t want to do them. I’m just fine with being a sloth, napping on the couch, wearing my comfiest clothes and going barefoot.

“How terribly strange to be 70.”

August 17, 2017

The morning is again glorious. The sun is wonderfully bright, the sky looks like the blue in a Van Gogh painting, and there is no humidity. Here it is August, and there is no humidity. The days are in the high 70’s and the nights in the mid 60’s. If I were Mother Nature, I couldn’t do better than today.

Every morning I put the coffee on then Gracie and I go get the papers. After the first paper and cup of coffee, I feed the animals. Each of my companions, Gracie and Maddie, have two dishes: one for dry and one for canned food. After filling their dishes, I have another cup of coffee and read the Cape Times. It seems my morning rituals are etched in stone. Maddie and Gracie have expectations so I seldom divert from the usual.

I have wonderful memories of growing up. At times I seem to have an idyllic view of my life back then mostly because I held on to the good with all my might and pushed the bad memories to the backs of my memory drawers. The things I remember aren’t milestones in my life. They are simply the good memories.

My life is filled with lucky choices. One you hear most about is my time in the Peace Corps, in Ghana. My hopes, my beliefs and my sense of self grew out of those two plus years. I can’t imagine what my life would have been without that experience. I think of all the places I’ve traveled, all the strange, weird foods I’ve tried and the wonderful people I’ve met, but mostly I think of how easy it has been to pick up and go to unfamiliar places and never feel lost or alone. Ghana gave me that.

Today I turned 70. It feels no different than yesterday when I was 69. It feels no different than when I turned twenty or thirty, but I don’t look the same. My hair is mostly gray. My face is wrinkled. My back hurts so I sometimes walk stooped. But what hasn’t changed are the basics of who I am, all I believe, all I know and all I have experienced through time. For that I am immensely thankful. For that I celebrate turning 70.

“With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.”

August 14, 2017

Gracie wanted out close to seven this morning so out we went. I was surprised at how cool it was. When she wanted out again, it was close to ten. I was surprised at how warm it had gotten. My house, though, still feels cool from the AC last night. I wanted to open doors this morning to all that cool air, but all I could hear from my neighbor’s yard was the beep-beep machinery makes when it goes backwards. Shutting the door helped, but I still had trouble getting back to sleep with all the noise, but I did manage. I’m a good sleeper.

We had game night last night and an early birthday for me as my friend will be out of town for my real birth date. I wore my Happy Birthday tiara and blew out the candles to a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday. To make the night perfect, I won all three games we played. I was the birthday girl and the champion.

When I was a kid and it was close to my birthday, I’d sit on the front steps waiting for the mailman. I was hoping for birthday cards with money tucked inside. Usually it was a dollar, a huge amount in those days when even a quarter went a long way and my fifty cent allowance every week made me rich. One grandmother sent money while the other usually gave gifts. I still have a couple of Bobbsey Twin books with a Happy Birthday message from my grandmother. I was eight.

It was sunny earlier but is now cloudy. The weather says partly sunny today. I figure that’s an optimist’s view like the half full glass.

Today is a quiet day for me, on purpose. I am foregoing a dump run. I’m just not in the mood though I’d be hard-pressed to define a no dump mood. It is just a sense of it. I will go to Agway as I need small cans of Gracie food, the ones she has in the morning. I am also going to buy some plants on sale to fill in empty spots in the front garden. The bird feeders need filling again. The hungry avians emptied them in two days.

That’s all. I got nothing else. Oops, one more thing: tomorrow I am having my other eye done so no Coffee. I’ll see you on Thursday.