Posted tagged ‘chilly’

“There are no such things as curses; only people and their decisions”

October 7, 2017

The sun predicted for today has yet to appear. It is cloudy and damp. I could feel the moisture in the air when Gracie and I went out to get the papers. It made me feel a bit chilly and I wished I had put on a sweatshirt. The house, though, with all the doors and windows closed is warm.

We’re going out today, Gracie and I, to the dump, the market and Agway. My trunk is filled with trash from Thursday’s great cabinet clean-out. Gracie needs canned food and a treat or two, and I need the essentials for life: bread, coffee and cream.

My friends are coming on Tuesday for a couple of days. These are the friends I traveled with to Ghana last year. We first met in 1969 at Peace Corps staging in Philadelphia at the Hotel Sylvania. Staging is the first time the whole group of trainees get together before leaving for in-country training, and it is where we got shots, had interviews and were introduced to PC staff from Ghana. Right away we became friends and co-conspirators. The three of us skipped some of the orientation to tour Philadelphia. It didn’t take a whole lot of convincing. They were supposed to be posted in Tamale, a city 100 miles from Bolga. That would have made us neighbors. Instead, after Peace Corps found out Peg was pregnant, they were posted to New Tafo, in the south. I visited them every time I went south, and we traveled together. Just before our second year, there was an open post at my school. They were willing to join me in Bolga, and the principal agreed to make the request to Peace Corps so we became neighbors living in a duplex on the school compound. Bill had a red motorcycle. I had a grey one. We used to take day trips around Bolga. He’d take Kevin, their son, and I’d take Peg. We had adventures. I remember a couple of picnics during school holidays, one by a watering hole and another in the hills of Tongo where school boys stood and watched us the whole time. It was there an old man threatened us with the gods because he claimed we had desecrated a sacred rock by putting our small charcoal burned on it. The schoolboys said he just wanted money. We decided to take our chances. As we were leaving, Bill’s motorcycle stopped dead. It just quit running. We sort of chuckle and hoped the old man didn’t see us. The motorcycle did start right away, but it gave us pause.

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“Flowers… are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty outvalues all the utilities of the world.”

October 2, 2017

I’m getting used to these beautiful fall days. Earlier, the morning was crispy and chilly, but the bright sun has dispelled the chill. The sky is a deep blue. A breeze shakes the branches, and more leaves keep falling, mostly oak leaves. I was excited and surprised to see newly bloomed flowers in my front garden. The flowers are purple, and that’s all I know about them. Now,hite and purple flowers are blooming in the front beds. It as if the garden is giving me its last gifts before the end of fall, before the coming winter.

I slept the whole night last night. The phone woke me at 8:15. It was a robo-call which I didn’t answer. Ten minutes later there was another call, but this one I answered. I knew the caller. Gracie then joined me on the couch, and we both went back to sleep.  The phone woke me again, and I cursed until I saw the time. It was late morning, close to ten. I answered the call then got up and began my morning rituals.

I am getting braced for the coldest times of year, for winter. In Ghana this time of year I braced for the dry season, for the total lack of rain for at least 5 months. I knew intense heat was coming with days hot enough to melt my unlit candle, but I also knew a reprieve was coming. The nights would start to get chilly, not New England chilly but chilly by comparison with the days. The temperature dropped over 30˚ every night. My bedroom had two rows of louvered windows; one row was the whole length of the wall beside my bed while the other was a single louvered window on the end wall next to the armoire. I’d leave the windows opened. It got cold, but feeling cold was glorious. I’d snuggle under the wool blanket I kept on my bed. I still have that blanket and keep it folded over the back of my couch. It brings smile from all the memories. It is also pretty itchy. I guess I forgot that part.

“Autumn seemed to arrive suddenly that year. The morning of the first September was crisp and golden as an apple.”

September 10, 2017

Today is sunny but chilly. Though I have the doors and windows closed, the house still isn’t warm. Last night I woke up and grabbed for the afghan as nights are colder this time of year especially when the days are in the mid 60’s.  I’ve taken to wearing a sweatshirt when I bring Gracie to the backyard. She seems better this morning, and she ate her breakfast. I just hope she keeps it.

This is my favorite time of year here on the cape. The ocean which stayed cold so long in the spring stays warmer in the fall. The cranberry bogs are red with fruit. The trees hold their leaves a bit longer thank north of us and change color later in the season, mostly to red. Dogs are allowed back on the beaches. The weather is usually sunny and a sweatshirt is more than enough to keep me warm.

When I was a kid, I never planned ahead except for the times before my birthday, Halloween and Christmas. I just took each day as it came. I knew I had five days of school, and that was the constant. What we did after school depended on the weather and the time of year. In the fall we’d bike ride or we’d skate in the parking lot which never had a car. It was up the hill from where we lived. The lot was lined into spots, but people preferred to park in front of their houses. We’d skate mostly in the middle as there was sand next to the curb surrounding the lot, and a spill meant a cut, usually a bloody cut from the grit. We’d play crack the whip with all of us in a line holding hands as the front skater moved us in circles. I hated being at the end where the force was the greatest. Ends didn’t last long.

On our bikes, we loved the grit. We’d ride on the sand, hit our brakes and skid to make  an arc on sand. The key was to get your foot on the ground before the bike fell. It took some skill. I seldom fell.

“To this day, I have the most fond memories of some of my old toys.”

September 3, 2017

It has been raining since the early morning. The dampness coupled with the strong breeze has made it a cold day. The house is chilly. I put on a sweatshirt. The heat is off but were it on, the temperature is 1˚ from triggering the furnace.

When I first went to take Gracie out, she backed away from the door. I had to grab her by the halter to get her outside. She squatted right by the walkway.

Gracie needs canned food, and the bird feeder needs thistle so we’ll be heading to Agway sometime later. I think I’ll stop at the new Thai place and treat myself to lunch. I know I’ll order coconut shrimp then I’ll check out the menu to see what else appeals to me.

This room is so dusty I could write my name on just about any surface. Actually, on the larger surfaces I could write adages, messages and things like Wash Me or Dust Me with several exclamation points following behind. I used to feel guilty about the dust, but now I don’t care. I subscribe to the if I clean it now, it will be dusty again by tonight school of thought.

I got a few boxes yesterday from Amazon. I haven’t opened them yet. They’re still on the floor by the door. My lack of curiosity is explained by the e-mail confirming my orders have been delivered. I bought two balsa airplane kits for two of my grandnephews. I remembered flying the same sort of plane when I was a kid. I’d buy it at Woolworth’s for ten cents. The plane had to be put together slowly and gently or the wood would split. The front had a red plastic nose to give the plane a bit of weight. The back had two pieces: one like a fin and the other a small wing-like piece. The pieces had to be slid into their positions. The main part was the wing. It was slid through the middle of the plane really slowly and required a deft hand or the wing would split. Moving the wing up and down in the slit made the plane fly different ways like in loops. We’d fly the planes in a field so they could land on grass. The wood was too flimsy to save the planes if they hit anything. We hated losing the planes but knew a dime would buy us another one.

Both the boys have grown up with electronics, but maybe the novelty of the planes will pique their interest. Watching them loop and fly was the best fun. I hope it still is.

“I’m not going to buy my kids an encyclopedia. Let them walk to school like I did.”

August 31, 2017

Today is a delight. The humidity is still among the missing. The morning was even a bit chilly. I wished I had a sweatshirt on when I was outside waiting for Gracie. It rained all Tuesday night into Wednesday early afternoon but then the sun came out and the rest of the day was lovely. I hung around the house yesterday and finally did the laundry. It has made it upstairs only as far as this floor, but I still feel accomplished.

The kids around here go back to school next week, the day after Labor Day. It was also when I went back to school. I complained every year because that is the responsibility of kids the world over, but I didn’t really care. By the end of the summer I had run out of things to do. I was bored though I would never have admitted it.

On the weekend before going back to school, I checked out all my school supplies again and again. I sharpened my pencils and loaded and unloaded my school bag. I used to carry it with the strap across my chest, and I’d check out the look in the mirror.

I got to wear a new outfit on the first day of school, the only day of no uniforms. My mother would lay out our outfits on our beds. New clothes and new shoes were special.

On the schoolyard, I’d see my school friends for the first time since the summer had begun. When the bell rang, a hand bell rung by a nun, we’d go into the building but not in lines. Those would start the next day after we had found our classrooms and classmates. There were two classes of every grade, each with 40 or more students. One class got a nun while the other class didn’t. The nuns by their very natures kept us quiet and attentive. We didn’t dare do otherwise. The not nun teachers were just as strict. We all knew the being attentive position. It was sitting at our desks with our hands folded on top of it.

After the first few days, school became routine. We were back in uniform. Bells ruled our lives. We entered and left the school in lines. We did homework. It was a long way until June.

“The uniform makes for brotherhood, since when universally adopted it covers up all differences of class and country.”

August 29, 2017

Yesterday was a lazy day. I watered the newly planted flowers and took a shower. That’s it for the day except for the two naps I had. My mother would have said I must have needed the sleep. Today, however, will be different. It is the dreaded laundry day. It’s not the doing but the carrying I hate, the lugging of all that laundry up two flights of stairs. I do it in shifts: one flight, a pause then the other flight. Sometimes the pause lasts a day. The laundry sits on the rocking chair glaring at me.

The day is cloudy and a bit dark. I felt chilly so I shut the windows. It is only 67˚ and won’t get much higher. What happened to the dog days of August?

I remember late summer and school shopping with my mother. The first stop was always the shoe store. My mother had to drag the four of us though only my brother and I needed new shoes. My sisters were still young and didn’t go to school yet. At the store, they’d measure our feet with that silver slide and then have us put each foot, one at a time, into the x-ray machine. I always thought it was so neat seeing the x-ray of the bones in my feet. My mother bought sturdy shoes for us hoping they’d last a while. The next stop was for new uniform clothes. I needed white blouses, a blue wool skirt and a blue cowboy looking tie. My brother needed white shirts and a blue tie. The Children’s Corner, a clothing store up town, carried the uniforms. Uptown was sort of close so we’d walk. My mother bought me a few blouses but only a single skirt. She’d also buy a couple of long-sleeve shirts for my brother. From there we’d head to my favorite stop, Woolworth’s, for school supplies. I got to pick out my pencil case, lunch box and school bag. We’d buy crayons, always Crayola, glue and pads of paper, the ones with the Indian chief on the front. I was so excited with all the purchases and was thrilled to carry the bag home.

When I was working at the high school, I used to call my mother this time of year and asked her when she was taking me school shopping. My mother would laugh, and that was her only response. I hoped for more, shoes at least.

“August rain: the best of the summer gone, and the new fall not yet born. The odd uneven time.”

August 26, 2017

Today is a carbon copy of yesterday. Carbon copy? Where did that come from? I haven’t seen a carbon copy for years. It has gone the way of the phone booth.

Last night got really chilly. I grabbed the afghan, snuggled under it and fell right back to sleep. When I woke up, the morning still had a chill, especially the backyard as the sun doesn’t get there until the afternoon. The first cup of coffee was especially inviting this morning,

Peapod came this morning, and all the groceries are already put away. I noticed I bought hot dog buns but no hot dogs. I also forgot toilet paper. I swear I looked and chose the paper I wanted, but obviously I didn’t; however, I did remember the Twizzlers. I do have priorities. I’ll just have to hit the grocery store later.

Artichokes are ugly. They are also too much work to eat. I sometimes wonder who was brave enough to taste one for the first time, and how long did it take to figure out how to eat it?

When I first started eating brie, I didn’t like the brie mold. I’d dig around underneath it and leave a gaping hole, sort of like eating the pie filling and leaving the top crust. It took a while before I realized the mold was tasty.

The world knows I hate beans. Where that came from I have no idea. Even as a kid I didn’t like beans. Our Saturday night baked beans never touched my plate. I look with distain at most beans, but one type makes me grimace, makes me crinkle my face in disgust. That would be refried beans. I can never get pass how they look. They are gross.

I love kitchen tools. My favorite is my juicer. It is orange metal and is the easiest way ever to get lemon or lime juice. I also love my avocado skinner, parer and my corn cutter which takes the kernels off the cob. I have this amazing little wheel which you roll and it minces garlic as it goes. I bought onion glasses but they didn’t really help all that much. Now I buy chopped onion to save myself. I have a mandolin, but the first time I used it I cut my finger so I don’t use it so much. I have knife sharpeners, but I can never seem to get them to work. Most off my knives are depressingly dull. On my sometime in the future to do list is to bring a few knives at a time to be sharpened. Lord only knows if my fingers will be safe.

Last night I was standing outside the Cape Playhouse before going inside. It was only 7:30, and it was already getting dark. I wanted to scream. Summer is too quickly coming to an end. Labor Day, the traditional end of summer, is next weekend. It’s time to accept the seasons are changing and it’s time to bring the sweatshirts out of the guest room closet.