Archive for the ‘Musings’ category

“My doctor told me I had to stop throwing intimate dinners for four unless there are three other people.”

October 23, 2017

My back is a bit better. I can walk without holding on to anything. Yesterday was a sit on the couch day, and I thoroughly enjoyed it, the back aside. I have to go out today so I hope for the best.

I think I’ve used every adjective perfect to describe our weather of late. Think warm, sunny, deep blue sky and nearly breezeless. My house is again cooler than outside. In here it is sweatshirt weather. Outside is short sleeve weather.

My mother used to make fried dough for supper on Fridays, the no meat day. We’d all hang around the kitchen counter making sure we got our dough turn. My mother’s frying pan held three small or two big pieces of fried dough. She used to buy the dough at the supermarket. I remember it came in a blue and white box. We slathered butter and sprinkle salt on it. Fried dough was one of our favorite suppers.

We ate a lot of hamburger growing up, but my mother was a whiz at cooking hamburger so many different ways we never got tired of eating it. I still love meatloaf and American chop suey. She made spaghetti sauce with ground beef, another fake oriental dish of hamburger with water chestnuts and crispy chow mein on top,. The fall back was always  burgers. I love cheeseburgers.

My food in Ghana didn’t really vary a whole lot. We were lucky to live in the only area of the country which bred beef so we could always buy meat in the market. There was even a meat factory where we could buy some sort of tubular meat masquerading as a hot dog. The meat from the market was always tough. Only old cows were slaughtered. The meat was cooked in a broth like sauce with tomatoes and onions which tenderized the meat. I think we had that most nights though we also ate chicken, free range chickens because the chickens wandered all over the place all day but did came home to roost at night. We mostly ate mashed yams  but also had rice on occasion. Breaking teeth was a PC volunteer problem as the rice always had a few rocks. You needed to spend time cleaning it, but it was easier not to. When volunteers got together, food was always a topic of conversation.

Living alone means I don’t always make dinner. I improvise with whatever is in the fridge. I’m content with cheese and crackers or hummus and pita bread. I’m even happy with cereal. I do have meat in the freezer, heavy on the chicken, but I usually forget to take it out. Last night, though, I took out some Chinese sausage to defrost and I have some rice I can cook. That’s like a gourmet meal for me.

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“The farther we’ve gotten from the magic and mystery of our past, the more we’ve come to need Halloween.”

October 22, 2017

My back is pure misery. I grab things so I can move from room to room. I keep wishing for a Star Trek doctor with his medical tricorder to knock at the door and with one button take the pain away. I guess I’ll just have to keep wishing.

We are again blessed with a warm, sunny day. The house is even cooler than outside. The blue sky is striking. I figure I’ll make my way to the deck in a bit to enjoy the day.

When I was a kid, we always carved pumpkins. I loved to pull out what we always called the pumpkin guts. Every year the pumpkins looked the same when we were done. They had triangle eyes and a triangle nose and a wide grin with a few teeth up and down. The pumpkins went on the front steps. We’d put in real candles and light them. The wind was always blowing them out, but we’d keep lighting them. There is something magical about lit pumpkins grinning in the darkness.

We loved being afraid, not actually afraid but afraid of scary stories we knew weren’t real. My dad told great stories. We all know the hook. I swear it is a universal story. Small parts of it change, but the hook is always on the car door.

I remember walking on the sidewalks and seeing my shadow. It looked tall and eerie this time of year. Add the sound of my footsteps, and I’d keep an eye out to make sure I wasn’t being followed. I never was, but my imagination worked overtime. Ghosts flew.

I still love the old black and white horror movies. They were always on this time of year. When Dracula hid his face with his cape, we knew, without seeing it, that he was about to bite some poor victim. Renfield was one of my favorite characters. He’d do his master’s bidding and eat flies to keep up his strength. Bela Lugosi had the best voice. Frankenstein wasn’t as scary as Dracula. The doctor’s creation never really had a chance. One of my favorite scenes is when the villagers carrying torches and pitchforks follow their dogs to where the monster is. I always felt bad for Larry Talbot who turns into the Wolfman. His fate was decided by Bela, the Gypsy. I still love these movies. Lots of blood and slashers do nothing for me.

I am resting my back today, not that I need an excuse to be a sloth.

“Sooner or later, everybody dreams of other worlds.”

October 21, 2017

Today is another wondrously beautiful day. The air is clear and the sunlight is sharp. The house had an early morning chill but a blast of heat warmed it. It will be in the high 60’s.

My mother would ask us to stick out our tongues to prove we were telling the truth. She said if we were lying, our tongues would turn black. When we refused to show her our tongues, she knew we’d lied. We’d run to the mirror and stick out our tongues to check. They were never black, My mother said only mothers could see the black tongues. We believed her. It never crossed our minds that our mother had manipulated us. I wish it were that easy to distinguish lies from truth.

My mind has been saturated with far too much news. I am still watching YouTube. Last night I watched three episodes of Rocky Jones Space Ranger, and one is playing right now. The series was made in 1954. The special effects are awful by today’s standards but that’s an unfair comparison. Rocky spent a whole lot of his time talking into a tube to Earth, his boss and to the leaders of other planets. With one exception, the alien leaders all spoke English. There was a sort of a teletype translator on the rocket ship. I recognized some of the minor actors including the star of Mr. Ed who wasn’t the horse. One exchange between Rocky and his crew members, Vena Ray, was reminded to pack her lipstick for the next space journey. She laughed and said lipstick was more important to her than oxygen. Such were the fifties!

I never did go out yesterday. Being home was just too comfortable. I didn’t do my laundry either, but I have made a list for today and laundry is at the top.

When I was a kid, fall was just about my favorite season. The weather was perfect. It was neither hot nor cold. The trees were beautiful and all different colors. We saved the most colorful ones ironed in wax paper. Every Saturday until they were gone, my dad raked the yard and burned the leaves. We rode bikes.

Campbell’s chicken noodle soup with Saltines was my favorite Saturday fall lunch. I’d crumbled the Saltines and put them in the soup. I usually put in so many pieces the broth disappeared. I’d eat the top layer and work my way down to the noodles and vegetables.

My dad loved a snack of buttered crackers. His favorite was Milk Crackers, Royal Lunch Crackers, but Saltines would do in a pinch. From my memory drawer I can still see my dad bringing his crackers on a small plate to the living room. He’d sit in his usual seat on the couch beside the table and munch while watching television. He always left crumbs.

“Stay low, stay quiet, keep it simple, don’t expect too much, enjoy what you have.”

October 20, 2017

Today is another beautiful sunny day in the high 60’s. There’s an intermittent breeze strong enough to sway the branches. It is a perfect day to take a ride.

Lately I have been quite lazy. I haven’t even made a single list. There’s no reason. It’s just inertia.

Laundry is piling up in the hall. A few dishes are in the sink. I figure I’ll get to all that later. There’s no hurry. I don’t have to do something every day.

The flowers beside the house are still blooming. The pumpkins are on the front steps and corn hangs on the gate. I saw a tree covered in yellow leaves. Fall is so filled with color. I always think of it as Mother Nature’s last gift before winter.

My lawn is disappearing under dead leaves from the tall oak tree and brown needles from the pine. It will be raked a few times before the lawn reappears. The irrigation system will be blown cleared of water and my outdoor shower will be turned off until the spring. It’s the same every year. All the pieces of summer disappear in turn.

I think being retired has brought me back to a simpler life. My wardrobe is mostly casual, and I seldom add to it. Once in a while I go out to eat, but mostly I spend time with friends. I watch TV movies but every now and then I treat myself to a newer movie though I do complain about the $5.99. I get books from the library. I used to buy the newest hardcovers, but now I get then for free. I don’t deny myself stuff. I just need less stuff.

When I was a kid, all my TV heroes always won. The bad guys were alive when nabbed. The only violence was usually a fight or a bullet to the arm or hand. Good guys never lost their hats in any fights. The animals, mostly dogs and horses, had names and were important to the plot. I remember Sergeant Preston of the Yukon, his dog Yukon King and his horse Rex.  I learned history and geography from watching this program. I remember at the end of each show he’d tell King this case is closed.  Sometimes there was even a bit of humor. Pat Brady provided that in the Roy Rogers Show. I never questioned that Roy and Dale rode horses while Pat had a jeep, Nellybelle. I was a kid. I just believed.

“The bicycle is the noblest invention of mankind.”

October 19, 2017

I admit it. I am addicted to YouTube’s black and white science fiction movies from the 50’s. No more MSNBC for me. Give me flying saucers, creatures from other worlds, space ships, really bad special effects and even a Nazi scientist. He was in The Yesterday Machine and unsurprisingly, wanted to save Hitler. The opening scene in that movie is a majorette twirling a baton, and that’s a highlight. I’m got to break this addiction. Library here I come.

Today is beautiful, the first in a string of beautiful days. It will be in the high 60’s, even reaching 70 by next week. Despite that near week of rain and clouds, this fall has been a delight.

When I was a kid, I had all the kid things every other kid had. I had a bike, roller skates, ice skates and a sled, something for every season. My bike was my favorite. It took me all over town and even far out of town. Unless there was snow, I could ride. My first bike was blue. It had a wire basket in the front and a bell on the handle bars. I loved that bike.

I remember a tingling on the soles of my feet when I roller-skated. I remember the sound of the skates. They were the loudest on the street and the quietest on the tar parking lot near my house. I carried the key on a rope around my neck. I’d sit on the curb to reattach the skate to my shoe. The skates were heavy.

Like every other girl, I had white ice skates. We all carried our skates tied together on our shoulders, one skate in the front, the other in the back. The trick to skating was always to make sure the laces were tight or I’d have to stop to retie them. My best skill was skating backwards.

When I was in Ghana, kids played with hoops and sticks. They’d use the sticks to roll the hoops. The first time I saw the kids playing, I remembered seeing the same game in old pictures. I never saw bought toys there. I saw cars and planes made from tin cans. Ghanaian kids are ingenious. I did see bicycles, lots of bicycles, but mostly adults rode the bikes as they were dear, expensive. I would borrow a bike to go market. It was an easy ride downhill from my school compound, but going home uphill was, at first, difficult. I had to walk part of the way pushing the bike loaded down as I was with vegetables, fruit and even a chicken from the market, but soon enough I could ride all the way home.

I have a bike but haven’t ridden it in a long while. It has gears. It doesn’t have a basket or a bell. It’s a good bike, but I’m still partial to back pedal brakes and no gears. They were more than enough to whisk me away!

“Never fire a laser at a mirror.”

October 17, 2017

Last night was seasonably cold. When I woke up, the house was down to 64˚, too cold for me. I grabbed my sweatshirt and turned on the heat to warm the house. Coffee helped to warm me.

The day is beautiful with a bright, squint your eyes sort of sun and deep blue skies. A few thin branches high in the oak trees are swaying. Dead leaves are falling, some slowly, some far more quickly to the ground. The bird feeders need my attention. I also need to fill the suet feeders.

I took my time this morning. Usually I am quick to get my papers and to take Miss Gracie out to the back yard. Instead, I sat inside for while finishing a book. When I finally did go out, I met my friend Tony walking Darcie, his westie. We chatted, and he helped me empty my trunk of seeds and canned animal food. I saw a dead rabbit in the space between my house and my neighbor’s house. Sadly, I think it is rabbit I came to know. It visited my yard all summer. Tony offered to bag the rabbit so I could take it to the dump, but I knew I’d have trouble doing that so I thanked him and said I’d bury it or have my neighbor bury it. I’m going to miss my rabbit.

YouTube is on. I’ve been watching those black and white science fiction movies from the 50’s all morning. The Giant Claw is my favorite so far. It was awful, even laughable, but that’s its best feature. The giant claw belongs to a giant bird with eyes which never move. It eats planes, trains, cars and people. It scooped parachutists from the sky with its mouth. The movie has all the best elements: a hero, his new found love, a scientist of sorts, city crowd scenes where men wearing overcoats and fedoras run along side women wearing dresses, hats and heels, all trying to escape the falling buildings destroyed by the bird. I loved this movie.

I have nothing planned for today, and that’s just fine with me.

“Dinosaurs are extinct today because they lacked opposable thumbs and the brainpower to build a space program.”

October 16, 2017

That pesky sun is still among the missing. Everything is wet so it must have rained during the night. The weather report says sun later in the day, but I’m skeptical because of yesterday when the sun was everywhere but here.

I have been watching black and white science fiction films from YouTube on the TV. They have, thus far, been awful but good awful. I am watching 1951’s Unknown World. Scientists have predicted that the continued detonation of H-bombs will devastate the Earth; instead, scientists are suggesting the building of a Cyclotram, a space ship type machine built to bore through the Earth’s surface so they can find a place where humanity can live and escape the bombs. This movie has it all: the future visionary predicting the end of mankind whom few people believe, government skeptics, a fun loving playboy who has financed the trip as a lark and the pretty female scientist chronicling the trip who didn’t leave home without her hat.

When I was a kid watching these movies, I never noticed the bad acting, the terrible sets or the inaccurate science. It all seemed spectacular and amazing especially the space ships and the trips to Mars. I believed in all the possibilities.

My house is an indoor dust bowl. I could write my name on the surfaces in this room, my cluttered den. I’m in trouble. I see work ahead. When I went to the bathroom, I cleaned and dusted everything, not my intention at all. Now, looking around this room, I know I’m going to end up cleaning today. Luckily, this feeling is rare.

I did all my errands yesterday. The traffic was light so the going was quick. The animal food, though, is still in the trunk. I left bird seed, suet, cans of dog and cat food and cat treats there. It was all so heavy I brought in only what I needed. I’ll make a couple of trips today and clear the trunk.

Okay, the woman scientist just fainted. The playboy saved her. I don’t think there is any doubt as to where this plot is headed.