Archive for the ‘Musings’ category

“The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found.”

February 24, 2017

I was shocked when I went to get the newspapers. It was far warmer than I expected. It’s a deck day, a winter deck day. I’m going to finish here and get outside to enjoy the warmth before it disappears.

I am very late because I went to buy Chinese food for lunch. I had a hankering. After Gracie and I got home, I had to eat before my food got cold. It was totally delicious which is a good thing as that Chinese food, now a leftover, will also be my supper.

I have favorite leftovers. My chili is better on the second day so I make it a day ahead. That means, stay with me now, we are eating a leftover, a sort of leftover anyway, the first time I serve it. It is the same with my sausage cacciatore. I figure the tomatoes are what makes the dishes better the second day. They get to meld with everything else overnight. Dinner of Thanksgiving leftovers is almost as good as the original meal.

When I was a kid, a dinner of all the Thanksgiving leftovers was almost as good as the original meal. I know the turkey generally outlasts its welcome and is sometimes greeted with groans of not again, but for a few days after Thanksgiving, the turkey appeared in every meal except breakfast, and we never complained. The turkey sandwich was my favorite. On the toasted bread, I piled turkey, cranberry sauce and stuffing. I used mayo.

I made meatloaf a couple of weeks back. I had it with mashed potatoes and peas, my favorite combination. That was my dinner for two nights then the leftover meatloaf became an always delicious sandwich for my lunch. I use mayo.

I know people who won’t eat leftovers. Their reasons are seldom rational. The favorite answer is,”I don’t eat them because I don’t like them.” A why don’t you like them never gets an answer.

I bought dog food yesterday and I also bought 2 boxes of girl scout cookies. A friend at Agway stores the cookies for her daughter. My favorite used to be thin mints, but now I buy tagalongs which are peanut butter and chocolate, known elixirs for what ails us.

“Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons.”

February 23, 2017

Gracie and I were out and about yesterday. The weather was amazing. It was sunny and warm: sweatshirt weather. Today is much the same, and Gracie and I have a few errands: buying canned dog food at Agway, a few storage bins at Benny’s and my favorite sandwich at Buckies, number 14: bacon and cheddar with tomatoes, avocado, and horseradish sauce on a panini. Life is good.

Snow is still around on corners and in the shade, but it is warm enough that I can leave my inside doors open to the storm doors. Gracie goes in and out her dog door, and, best of all, she gets to watch the doings on the street from the front door. She sits and looks hoping for a bit of activity. Every now and then she barks. I check, and usually it’s someone walking a dog. Gracie does not like dogs walking on her street and makes no bones about it.

I have a new bird feeder, a bag of sunflower seeds, and two packs of suet. Cleaning the older feeders and filling them is on my to-do list for later. Loading my shotgun to attend to the spawns of Satan is next on the list (okay, I don’t have a gun, but I do wish the spawns would disappear).

I haven’t used real money in a while. The 3 dollars in my wallet are weeks old. Mostly I use my ATM to pay for stuff though sometimes I do use my credit card, mostly at the pharmacy. I don’t write many checks anymore. I pay my bills on line or have the amounts automatically deducted. I don’t really need much money. It seems to have gone out of style.

When I went to Ghana last fall, I brought some cash but mostly I used my ATM to get money as no one in the markets, the small stores and kiosks or the sides of the road take other than cash. I did use my ATM card at Zaina Lodge and my credit card in one large shop by the ocean in Accra. Money still counts in Ghana. I kept a pocketful.

Gracie is giving me the paw, her signal that it’s time to eat. I doubt she’ll accept that I have none left so I need to get going. Gracie want to eat!

“You spend the first part of your life collecting things … and the second half getting rid of them.

February 21, 2017

Today is lovely, sunny but cool at 42˚. The breeze is ever so slight. It’s morning nap time for the dog and cat. Maddie is 18 now. Gracie is 12. Lately, Gracie has had trouble maneuvering the stairs. Her back legs slide when she is coming downstairs so I am always in front of her just in case. When she was young, Gracie jumped the six-foot fence in the backyard, but now she and I share the infirmities of growing old and the dangerousness of steps.

I could never play a dead body. Yesterday I watched a few CSI New York episodes. In just about every one of those, one scene is in the morgue. The actor is lying on the slab while trace evidence is removed or explained. I’d be giggling.

I’m a slug. I have laundry to do, but the bag sits by the door. I have no ambition. When I was working, I was always busy on the weekends. I actually got more done in two days than I now finish in a week. Time is the reason. I always figure I have lots of time to do stuff so I procrastinate and stuff doesn’t get done. I used to feel guilty about that. I am now guilt free. The nuns would be horrified.

I collect cookbooks with literature inspired recipes. One whole shelf in my kitchen bookcase is filled with them. My first was a Shakespearean cookbook. When I did a medieval meal a long way back, I used many of the recipes from that book. Little House on the Prairie, Hemingway, Nancy Drew, Sherlock Holmes, The Boxcar Children, Jane Austen and Louisa May Alcott are just a few of my cookbooks. I love sitting and reading the recipes and planning a menu in my head. I think about colors and melding herbs. I mix and match vegetables. Mostly I have one grand meat dish but sometimes I need two. The table decorations are part of the planning. One meal, inspired by Dickens, had laminated pages of old books for place mats. In the middle of the table were different piles of books. They held the hot dishes. For music, I played an album of authors singing. It was just horrible. I don’t even remember how I found it, I don’t remember its name and I have no idea what happened to it. Maybe it was burned at the stake by my guests.

When I was a kid, I collected stamps and belonged to a stamp club. We met after school and some Saturdays at John Hickey’s house. I filled an album then lost interest in stamps. Besides, it was actually John Hickey more than stamps which held my interest. Strangely enough, my aunt and uncle now live in what was John Hickey’s house. I have no idea where he is. We went to different high schools.

I haven’t collected anything in a while. I’d hard pressed to find room, but if something strikes my fancy, a new collection might just be born.

“Someone once called Lincoln two-faced. “If I am two-faced, would I wear the face that I have now?” Lincoln asked.”

February 20, 2017

The gray sky has returned. After the beautiful day yesterday, I was hoping for more, but I guess one sunny, warm day will have to do for the meanwhile.

When I was a  kid, we didn’t have President’s Day. We celebrated Washington and Lincoln’s birthdays. Well, we actually didn’t do any celebrating. It was always the first day of February vacation which was a celebration in itself.

My first president was Truman, but I was too young to notice. President Eisenhower, however, I knew because he got a toast from me every day. I watched Big Brother Bob Emery on TV, and we all lifted our glasses of milk and toasted President Eisenhower while Hail to the Chief played. I have to think I was a bit fuzzy as to the connection between President Eisenhower and me.

The politics or the political parties of these presidents didn’t matter to me as I didn’t even know what a political party was. I just knew some neat stories about the presidents. George Washington cut down the cherry tree and told the truth when confronted. I always pictured him as a little kid wearing his general’s uniform and tri-corner hat and standing by a cut-down tree with an ax in his hand. To me, Lincoln always wore his top hat making him even taller than his contemporaries. I always liked Teddy Roosevelt. I saw him with sword in front as he and his horse charged up San Juan Hill.

When I first got to Ghana, the country was in the middle of a campaign to replace the military government, formed after a coup, with a civilian government to be called the Second Republic. It was exciting. Women wore dresses made from cloth covered in party symbols. I saw Busia, one of the candidates, speak at a rally in Bawku. He spoke English which was translated to Hausa. The crowd went wild listening to the Hausa. In my town, there were impromptu rallies with singing and drumming. On election day, the lines were long. You couldn’t see the end of the line from the beginning. People voted the symbols of each party, not the names, so literacy wasn’t a prerequisite for voter registration. Busia was elected. Later, he would be deposed in a peaceful coup.

If given a choice, I’d pick drums and dancing. I’ve had enough rhetoric.

“The most serious charge which can be brought against New England is not Puritanism but February.”

February 19, 2017

Today is a bit of a gift from Mother Nature, and considering how many times I cursed her this winter, I am surprised by her generosity. It is sunny and warm, even springlike. A few puffy clouds add texture to the blue sky. A breeze ruffles the brown leaves. It is a day to be outside. I’m working on getting there.

My neighbor put my newspaper on the front steps for me this morning. I saw it and one other paper when I opened the door. The other paper is the Cape Times from February 13th. I have no idea where he found it. I didn’t  miss a paper. I figure it must be my neighbor’s, and it got tossed here with the snow when her driveway was shoveled.

Small mounds of snow are still visible but only on the corners of the streets. Between the rain and the above freezing temperatures, the snow had no chance. I’m glad it’s mostly gone.

My front lawn, mostly on one side, is a total mess. It is covered with branches and needles from the tree sized branch which fell. There are long gashes on the grass. I’m thinking that whole side of the lawn may need a reboot.

This is school vacation week. I used to like traveling to one place for the whole week. My mother and I spent this week in Rome on our last vacation together. We saw it all. One of my favorites was the catacombs, a couple of bus rides and a long walk away.

Each night we’d have a drink in the bar before going to our room. My mother had cognac. That was a shock. My mother was a whiskey and coke drinker. When I mentioned my shock, my mother said it was vacation mode when anything goes. I loved that.

My week will be quiet. Actually, the rest of February will be quiet. I have an empty dance card until March.

Gracie needs to be fed, and I need to get dressed in my outside the house clothes. We are going out to enjoy the day.

“The best bridge between despair and hope is a good night’s sleep.”

February 18, 2017

My neighbors didn’t try to break-in with their mirrors to test my breathing. I don’t know why they didn’t check or at least call as my newspaper was sitting in the driveway until noon. Maybe there needs to be a stack of papers before the neighbors notice.

I slept so late to make up for the interrupted sleep on Thursday when Gracie was shaking enough to wake me up three or so times. I took her out each time then gave up the bed to sleep downstairs on the couch.

I think I’ve figured out the shaking. It has nothing to do with going out. When I turned the bedroom light on to get ready to go downstairs to take her out, Gracie was always by the edge of the bed looking nervously at the floor. I’m now thinking she might have fallen off the bed, but I can’t imagine when. She is always with me upstairs so maybe it was when I was gone; anyway, last night I decided to switch sides of the bed. It was easy, and it worked. Gracie and I both slept the whole night and the whole morning. We didn’t wake up until noon. She didn’t shake once all night. Solution found though the question still lingers.

Today is a beautiful, warm sunny day. There is a breeze and sometimes even a wind which makes the pine trees sway. The oaks still have brown leaves at the ends of branches. I know spring is coming, it always does, but I get impatient around this time of year. I figure winter has held sway for far too long. The snow last week was the final straw.

My front garden has green shoots. I think they’re daffodils. I also think they’re brave and I do hope they survive. February isn’t finished yet, and March can be snowy.

Baseball spring training is in full swing.

“My knowledge of computers begins and ends with hit power switch, magic box comes on.”

February 17, 2017

When I start to mutter and it morphs into cursing, you know I have reached the end of my patience. Sometimes it takes a long while t other times it doesn’t take so long. It happened this morning, the cursing out loud and the long while. My computer is not cooperating. It has frozen a couple of times. I restarted once then gave up for a while and just left it on. I watched a bit of TV, ate some toast and had another cup of coffee.

I’m watching a really bad movie filled with actors who never became stars and are now relegated to movies like this and unknown actors just glad for the chance. The movie is called Awaken. Avoid it at any cost, even if it’s free. Oops, Michael Pare just bit the dust.

The morning was cold, mid 30’s, but sunny. Since then the day has gotten warmer and is in the mid-40s’. The sun has stayed around for the first time in days.

My house is a giant dustbowl especially here in the den. It’s where the cat, dog and I spend most of our time. The cat sleeps on the chair while the dog and I share the couch. She gets two cushions because she stretches out when she naps, like now, and I get one.

I can’t take it anymore.  I watched the end of that horrible movie and for the last hour I have been sitting here waiting for my computer. It has returned, but I am done.