Posted tagged ‘Clouds’

“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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“Life is an adventure, it’s not a package tour.”

July 22, 2017

When I woke up, the day was bright and sunny, but it isn’t any more. Clouds have blanketed the sky. The weatherman claims those clouds will be intermittent, but I’m skeptical. A little rain would be welcomed, forecasted or not.

The spawns of Satan have mounted a new assault. They are chewing my outside lights. The gate had a trail of white lights coming from the giant star near the back door. Last night I noticed the trail had gone dark. I checked and found chewed wires. On the deck rail, two sets of colored lights have been chewed. I found bulbs from the newest set laying on the deck, chewed off the wire. The spawns seem to like the red bulbs, cementing their Satan connection. What perplexes me is those lights have been untouched for a couple of years. I’m guessing there’s a new spawn in the neighborhood. The next set of colored lights is here, but I haven’t put it on the deck rail yet. I’ve ordered a new white set. It’s crazy I guess. I’m beginning to feel like Sisyphus.

I went to Russia in the 1970’s. My friend and I took a train from Helsinki to Leningrad. We were in the last car. When it got to the border, the car was uncoupled and joined to a Russian train. A Russian train lady boarded our car. She brought us tea over and over throughout the trip. In Leningrad I learned there were two lines for taxis, one for women and children and the other for the rest of us. At the hotel they asked for our passports. Visions of the KGB jumped int my head. When I refused, I was told no hotel room so I gave in. Yup, I gave in that quickly. We had a tour guide. In those days everyone had a tour guide. We liked her. She brought us to the Hermitage Museum. Women sat in chairs in every room at the Hermitage, and it was the same in every museum. They also sat at the bottom of escalators in every metro station and on every floor in the hotels where we stayed. We saw the Winter Palace and Peterhof and the Peter and Paul Fortress. We saw a memorial commemorating the Siege of Leningrad. On buses, the honor system was in effect. At the hotel, the food was terrible. We went to a few Beryozka shops, which no longer exist, where you could buy Russian goods for hard cash. We bought snacks and some beautiful small wooden figures.

When it was time to move to our next stop, we got a new guide. We didn’t like her. She told us nothing and didn’t answer questions. We then got on the train which the Frenchman, a fellow tourist, likened to a cattle car in France. We were on to stop 2, a city on the Volga whose name I can’t remember for good reason. The tours in that city included a dental school and a publishing plant where they gave us all sorts of Lenin material. It was the worst.

We had more adventures, but I’ll save those for another day. I will say we had a spy who was uncovered in Moscow.

“Here Comes the Sun”

July 8, 2017

Yesterday we had the mightiest of storms. Down cape got nearly five inches. We got three. Roads were flooded, cars were stuck and small rivers ran along the sides of the road. The rain came down in sheets. I could barely see beyond my window. Gracie wouldn’t go out. She didn’t even stick her nose out the front door. I, on the other hand, ran out to get a package left by the mailman. I got soaked. When I got inside, I checked the package. It wasn’t even mine.

The sun was shining when I woke up, but in the shortest time, it disappeared and clouds, instead, filled the sky. It is warm and still a bit humid. I’m hoping the sun will be back to dry the deck for movie night.

Gracie has returned to the couch for sleeping. I wake up several times trying to get comfortable. Gracie sleeps soundly. This morning at 4:30 I heard her panting so I took her, outside. We both easily fell back asleep.

I like living alone, but there are times when I need another person. The bulb over the sink is out, but I’m not climbing. I need to trip a fuse or two as some outlets are not working. I went down the cellar and tripped a few, but not the right ones. I need someone to yell, “All set!” But, instead, I’m stuck going up and down the stairs.

Angela Merkel gave Putin the best eye roll while he was talking, and she was listening. Merkel is amazing. She is assuming the mantle of western leadership vacated by the United States.

Man spreading was the topic of a couple of newspaper columns and on MSNBC. Trump is the king of man spreading. He is sitting as forward as he can on the white chair with his legs as far apart as he can manage. Putin too was man spreading, but he appeared more comfortable than Trump who kept looking around as if to figure out what to do next. Hand shaking seemed to be his fallback.

Today is dump day. I haven’t told Gracie yet. I’ll just surprise her.

The menu is set for tonight. We’ll have sausage, pepper and onion in rolls. I chose colorful peppers instead of the dull green. We have Chinese and Italian sausages. It’s like a festival of foods, seemingly common but not common.

Glory Be! The sun is back and has brought blue skies with it.

“Spring is a powerful spell. The blue. The clouds high up and puffy. The air warmer than it’s been for weeks.”

June 3, 2017

I have no flowers yet. Yesterday was a bust. I didn’t even leave the house except to walk Gracie to the back gate a few times during the day and into the night. I just had no ambition. Some days I’m like that.

Today is sunny and warm, but there is a possibility of showers. It is in the mid 60’s now and may get as low as 51˚, normal spring time weather for New England. I’m happy with showers. They tend to come quickly and leave as quickly. Rain stays around.

All the rain has made for a lush, green world. My lawn has new grass in spots, Gracie squat spots. The rest of the lawn is filling in nicely, and every day new blooms open in the garden. I noticed some of the flowers have seeded themselves and are blooming in new spots. The irises have buds, large purple buds close to blooming. Every day a different delight in the garden catches my eye.

While I’ve been writing this, the sun has disappeared. Clouds have covered it, and I’m not so sure it will be back. The chance of showers is closer to a certainty.

The longer days confuse me. I’m surprised when I check the clock and find out it is still early afternoon but therein lies a problem. I’m a bit confused as to when early afternoon ends and late afternoon begins. I’m leaning toward 4 o’clock.

I’m having hot dogs for dinner tonight, but I’m skipping the beans and brown bread. I never did eat the beans, and I can’t remember when last I ate brown bread. Regardless, though, I’m still calling tonight’s supper a Saturday tradition.

“I care not for a man’s religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it.”

May 13, 2017

This has been one of those mornings. Gracie has wanted out five times. She comes inside, jumps on the couch then wants down and out again. Maddie meows in a demanding way over and over. I finally reached the end of my patience and told both of them to leave me alone in a not too quiet voice. I felt silly afterward.

A nor’easter will be here tomorrow. Meanwhile we’re living with forever clouds and cold, so cold I was surprised by it on my first outside trip with Grace. I was also surprised to see the guys working on my lawn and gardens. They were spreading mulch in the gardens and reseeding Gracie’s dots. The air smells of the mulch.

The other day I watched a YouTube video about Ghana. I think I smiled all the way through it. I love the country and its amazing people. That seems to grow over time. I have been back three times and would love to go one more, an anniversary trip in 2019, fifty years since I started training, or a trip in 2021, fifty years since my Peace Corps service ended. To get there, I’ll have to scrimp. Each trip was about 6 or 7 thousand or somewhere in between the two. After last fall’s amazing trip, I’m starting with almost nothing, but that’s okay. I like a challenge.

I could go to the dump today, but I’m thinking a sloth day. I watered the plants yesterday and that was it, but I still felt a sense of accomplishment. It doesn’t take much.

I watched The Lone Ranger this morning, one from 1950. I recognized one of the actresses. She also played Penny from Sky King. I think the Lone Ranger is the second best dressed TV hero in black and white, following Paladin, quite the sharp dresser.

I remember Paladin’s business card with the knight chess piece in the middle and Have Gun Will Travel across that middle of the card and the knight. Underneath it said Wire Paladin, San Francisco. When I was young, I thought Wire was his first name. When I was older, I found out that a paladin is a knight.

The Lone Ranger and the Indian chief just ended their conversation each with one open hand raised. The chief said go in peace. Immediately Spock came to mind. The Indian’s gesture was like a live long and prosper from Spock.

Gracie and Maddie are awake. My peace has ended.

“There is divinity in the clouds.”

May 9, 2017

Gracie woke me up around six this morning. She was panting, a sign she needed out. I put on my sweatshirt and took her out to the back yard. It was so cold I could see my own breath. My heat has gone on a few times. When I went to my early morning library board meeting, I saw people dressed in layers and wearing hats and gloves. Today is spring gone awry.

The sun was shining earlier, but now the clouds have taken over. The sky is a range of grays from dark to light. The prettiest clouds are the darkest of grays so dark as to be almost blue. No rain is predicted, just a cloudy day.

When I go back to my hometown, I pass houses where my childhood friends used to live. I remember them all. I used to envy Kathleen whose house was two houses away from school. She used to go home for lunch every day. My friend Eddie lived right across the street from the church. He also went home every day. Paula and Dennis lived close to each other about a fifteen-minute walk to school. Everyone walked. There were no busses, and very few parents drove kids to school as most families had only one car driven by dads and gone to work early, too early for school. I never gave walking to school a thought except when it rained.

My favorite lunchbox sandwich was bologna with mustard, the yellow kind of mustard. It was always a white bread sandwich. I didn’t even know bread came in a variety of tastes and colors. Friday was tuna fish sandwich day as we couldn’t eat meat. I can’t even remember the number of tuna sandwiches I ate all through elementary school, but I ate my fill. I don’t eat tuna fish anymore. I still eat bologna.

I used to love milk. It was perfect for washing down dinner and even better for dunking Oreos. I stopped drinking milk when I was in the Peace Corps as Ghana had no milk except evaporated in the can. I have milk now but only with my cereal. The best part of that is the flavor of the milk left on the bottom of the bowl after the cereal has been eaten.

Nothing much going on here. Today is a perfect day to stay home, to do nothing. My laundry finally made it upstairs, and I even put it away. That was my yesterday’s accomplishment. I’ll take what I can get and be content, maybe even a bit proud of finally getting that chore done.

“Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night.”

April 20, 2017

Sorry for the lateness of today’s musings. Last night Gracie had a bad evening which translated into a bad night for me. She fell asleep at the foot of the couch, and every time she moved I checked on her. She slept through the night. The last time I checked the clock it was 3:30. The next time it was 5:00. I spent the evening watching Netflix and reading. This morning Gracie was just fine. We went to the backyard three or four times. She was happy to be outside and went running into the yard from the gate.

We just got back from buying dog, cat, and me food. Gracie was hungry and just about snorted her dinner. I did the same with my lunch, a barbecue pork wrap. I also bought soup, beef barley and turkey noodle, and a roast beef sandwich for tonight. It was a banner shopping trip.

It poured last night. Even on this floor I could hear the rain pounding the roof. I don’t know when it stopped, but it left a gray, ugly day; however, there was a bright spot. There’s always a bright spot if you pay attention. I saw the sun. Okay, not the sun as it’s so cloudy, but the forsythia are in bloom and bright yellow flowers are everywhere. They almost make me forget the clouds.

I’m going to nap today. Gracie and I will curl up on the couch and be cozy and warm. She is already napping stretched out on the couch beside me.

Sometimes I have a craving for something salty. When I do, I always think of that Star Trek episode when Kirk visits his one-time girlfriend and her husband on some planet. The first murder victim is the red shirt. Everyone knows that on an away mission the red-shirted crewman is doomed. All the salt was sucked from his body. Come to find out, that old girlfriend was really a salt sucking monster. I can sympathize.

Every day new blossoms open in my front garden. When I get the papers, I stop to look at all that beauty. What a wonderful way to start the day.