Posted tagged ‘cloudy’

“Your words become your world.”

March 6, 2018

No sun again today, just clouds, darker than yesterday. The wind is brisk and cold. It is another stay cozy and warm at home day. I have a few things I could do like the laundry and changing the bed, but I don’t want to do anything so I won’t.

When I was working, I got everything done. The house got cleaned, the laundry washed, the groceries bought and the trash dumped. Now I have all the time, day after day of time, but I procrastinate. Like Scarlett, I think,”After all, tomorrow is another day!”

I have redefined my lexicon. I have removed words like lazy and non-productive; instead, I stress lifestyle words like settled and describe myself as comfortable and undemanding. I still long to travel, and that won’t ever change. It is in all capital letters should you look it up in my lexicon.

I live on a small street with nine houses. Three of the houses have kids. Three have dogs. This time of year I hear only an occasional dog barking. I know when the mailman comes. I can hear his truck. A few cars go up and down, but they usually belong to neighbors. If I’m out, we always wave. Some of us have lived on this street since the beginning when the houses were first built. My neighbors across the street are the oldest residents. I don’t see them much anymore. He has Alzheimer’s and she is his caretaker. Seldom do I see any of my other neighbors. I rarely see any of the kids. I’m beginning to think we’re all in a hibernation of sorts.

Another nor’easter is predicted but not fierce or damaging like the last one. We will get rain; snow is north of us. The rain in winter always seems to come in at an angle, driven by the cold wind. It lashes against the windows in a constant barrage of heavy, noisy drops. The cold air is so damp it chills to the bone. Streets flood. The ground is hard, and the rain has nowhere to go. I have no affection for winter rain.

“Life is more fun if you play games.”

March 5, 2018

I am reminded of the scene in War Games when it appeared as if ballistic missiles had destroyed bases in the US. Using the radio, the general asked the radio operator at one base if anyone was there: if anyone was left alive. There was silence then a voice, “We’re still here. We’re still here.” Well, I’m still here too. I have no idea if the powers that be have commuted my death sentence. I think so, but I could be off by a day or two.

My morning was a busy one. I was out early to finish two errands. I was thinking about  rewarding my efforts with coffee and a donut, a Boston cream donut, from Dunkin’, but I decided to go home, put the coffee on and get comfortable.

The weather is still ugly. The day is chilly and raw. We have clouds and wind gusts. Some people are still without electricity. Another nor’easter is coming this week but will be far less destructive as the moon is no longer full. We could get rain or even snow.

I used to love to play jacks. Every Christmas in my stocking and most Easters in my basket I’d get a new set of jacks. I’d sit on the floor and toss the ball then hurry to pick up the jacks, starting with onesies. For some reason all the numbers were like that. After onesies came twosies then threesies then on and on. The throw was always the key. Another small favorite toy was the wooden paddle with the red rubber ball attached by an elastic. At first I’d be totally frustrated. I’d hit the ball, and it would fly back and hit me in the face or some other part of my body. Sometimes I’d get so frustrated I’d even throw the paddle but then I’d always pick it up and try again and eventually I’d coordinate my eye and hand. My mother sent me one of those when I was in the Peace Corps. My friends and I would stand in the back of one of our houses and have contests. We got really good and paddled into the hundred’s. It was, until the elastic broke, one of our favorite diversions. We didn’t need much to keep us occupied.

In Ghana, the day started early and ended early. It was in the evening that my friends and I would get together. We always ate supper together. The table and chairs were brought outside during the dry season. When it got dark, we’d go inside. We played word games and listened to music. Once in a while they’d be a movie in town at the Hotel d’Bull. It was usually really old or Indian, but we didn’t care. It was a grand night on the town.

I never got bored in Ghana. What I didn’t have didn’t matter. Living there was more than enough.

“Strange to see how a good dinner and feasting reconciles everybody.”

March 4, 2018

My hopes are high that Coffee will be here tomorrow. If not, remember to go to as I’ll be waiting there for you.

Today is damp but lighter than it has been. The sun is working to get out of the clouds. I’m its most ardent cheerleader. There is still wind which makes the day feel even colder. I think it rained during the night as the sides of the street were still wet this morning when I got the papers, the dry papers. I can’t fault a day which starts with dry papers.

When I was a kid, Sunday was always boring. It followed the same regimen every week. Eat breakfast, put on church clothes, walk to church, go home and hang around until Sunday dinner, the most lavish meal of the week. It always included a roast of some sort, potatoes and vegetables. The potatoes were mashed and the vegetables, except for the carrots, came from cans. Those fresh vegetables, the carrots and the potatoes, were always boiled. We never had salad, and we never had bread on the table. A roast of beef as my grandmother called it is still my favorite.

My mother grocery shopped on Friday nights. As she had no license, my father drove her. They’d return with a trunk load of filled paper bags. The only foods we, my brother, sisters and I, cared about were the cookies. We knew they’d be Oreos and sometimes chocolate chip cookies or some other kind. We’d want them right away, and my mother would warn us that once they were gone, they’d be no more. We were kids. We were in the moment. We wanted the cookies.

I have grown my palate since I was a kid. Canned vegetables will never grace (sort of grace) my table. I like to cook potatoes all different ways, but I love mashed potatoes covered in gravy the most. I love carrots, and I experiment when I cook them. The last recipe called for ginger. My favorite is honeyed carrots. I use the baby carrots still with their greenery.

I just heard a loud crash which seemed to come from my deck. I ran outside but saw nothing except the man in the house behind mine burning leaves in a barrel. What I saw made me laugh. The wind is taking the burning leaves, and they are falling on the carpet of leaves in the guy’s yard. Small fires start, and he goes around with his rake putting the fires out. Maybe this will teach him why burning leaves is illegal.

“How strange it is to view a town you grew up in, not in wonderment through the eyes of youth, but with the eyes of a historian on the way things were.”

February 22, 2018

For two days Boston has hit 70˚. We hit a high of 55˚. The sun has deserted us. It is cloudy again and damp and chilly. Last night it rained a little. I was lying in bed reading and heard what I thought at first was a mouse gnawing. It wasn’t. It was the patter of rain falling quite slowly at first then more heavily, but it quickly stopped.

Yesterday I went to the deck and did a bit of cleanup. I also filled the bird feeders. The cover for the barbecue has disappeared. I checked the yard from the deck but didn’t go under the deck. My first thought was an army of squirrels has set up camp somewhere close and my cover, which already had a huge section chewed off, was perfect for their tents. Two bricks were on the top to prevent the cover from blowing off. I found those on the deck. Maybe a spawn of Satan will be back to get the bricks for their camp walkway.

I actually cleaned most of this room. I polished and washed all the curios on shelves. I did such a good job I need sunglasses now because everything shines. I also caught up with the laundry. I feel accomplished.

When I sleep, I look a bit like a question mark as I still make room for Gracie to sleep beside me.

When I was a kid, my town was my world. I never thought it was small. Uptown had wonderful stores, and the library and the post office anchored the beginning and the end of the square. Some days the square smelled like fresh bread from Hank’s Bakery or popcorn from the candy makers behind the square. O’Grady’s Diner was across the street from the library. Once in a while, my father took me to breakfast there. We sat at a booth with red vinyl seating. I used to beg for dimes or a quarter to play the juke box. Every booth had a small box, and I’d turn the pages in our booth to find a favorite song. On Saturday mornings seats at the counter were mostly filled with all men. Saturday was their errand day with stops at the Chinamen, the barber and maybe the drug store or the Redmen then finally the diner. I loved my little uptown

“A basket of ripe fruit is holier than any prayer book.”

February 19, 2018

When I got the papers this morning, I expected a warm day, but I was disappointed. It’s a chilly day. The sky is cloudy and rain is predicted for tonight. I do have a couple of errands to do later.

This morning, while my coffee was brewing, I had a surprise burst of energy. I polished a shelf, swept the kitchen, washed the cat dish and cleaned the sink and counter. That’s the most housework I’ve done in a few weeks. I’d like to think this burst of energy will be a rare event.

I treated myself this morning and had two lemon biscotti with my coffee. I love the taste of lemon so much I could live on lemon squares. Lemon meringue pie tops my list of favorite pies. I think we were one of the few families where a lemon meringue pie was traditional for Thanksgiving. I even learned to cook a few dishes with preserved lemons.

I’d never turn down anything made with pineapple except maybe pizza. In Ghana I ate pineapple just about every day as part of my lunch, always a bowl of fresh fruits. I like Thai food with pineapple. I almost don’t care about the other ingredients. In my cook book from Peace Corps Ghana was a recipe for pineapple upside down cake. I always wanted to make it, but I had no oven, only a charcoal burner. A couple of old cook books from the 50’s have pictures of a finished pineapple upside cake. They are perfect and have a cherry in the middle hole of the pineapple.

When I was kid, only a few fruits were available all year. My mother bought bananas, oranges and apples. The apples were always red. The oranges had seeds. In the summer we had watermelon and grapes, green grapes. At Thanksgiving we had tangerines, our parade snack. I didn’t even know fruits likes mangoes and papayas existed. Coconuts were on tropical islands in the books I read. We were fruit deprived.

“Sometimes broken shoes and tattered clothes can tell us beautiful stories!”

February 16, 2018

Last night it rained. I was still watching television so it was early. The rain was intermittent. It was the last thing I heard before I fell asleep.

I have had a few false starts this morning. First I wrote about obituaries. The one of the woman described as loving to shop had caught my eye. I wondered if she’d approve of that legacy. I wrote about the man who bowled, his favorite pastime, and wondered about my own obituary, but then I got stuck so I stopped, thought a bit then went on to another subject. Yearbooks were next. I always felt bad for the kids with nothing under their pictures. They spent four years of high school being phantoms. From there I jumped to still waters run deep, the classic description of the shy kid no one knew well. At that point I stopped and deleted what I’d written. I began again.

Today is still. Not a branch is moving. Even the dead leaves on the oak trees are still. The sky is white cloudy. The bare pine branches stand stark against the light sky and look almost like fingers grasping for something. It will be a warm day, the last warm day before the cold comes back tomorrow. Snow is possible at the beginning of the new week.

My broken bone has been the perfect excuse to do nothing. I still can’t lift anything if it has any weight. The downside, though, is trying to read a hardcover book in bed. I rest it on the bed and hold it with my left hand but then I have trouble turning the pages. I gave up after a short while.

I thought I was at the stage of my life where I didn’t really need anything new. Old clothes are comfortable and old shoes fit my feet best of all. I wear a sweatshirt during the day to stay cozy and most of them are so old they’ve lost their shape. I do save a few good ones to wear in the world at large mostly because I don’t want to be the eccentric old lady wearing tattered, misshapen clothes who mumbles to herself in the grocery store. Now I can add a new shirt to my ensemble. I bought two flannel shirts on sale. Both have  patterns in muted colors. They are warm enough for days like today, in the 40’s; however, they don’t help with the mumbling.

“Memory is the space in which a thing happens for a second time.”

February 9, 2018

The sky is cloudy but bright. It is only 31˚, but the next three days will be warm. The prediction is for 48˚ each day. That’s almost tanning weather, no sunscreen necessary. Maybe a road trip is in order to take advantage of the warmth. I’ll open my car window and take in the sweet smell of the clean air.

Since the winter solstice, we have gained an hour of sunlight. It makes me hopeful that winter’s end is not so far away. February, though, is sometimes the snowiest month. I’ll just keep my knit hat and mittens handy.

In summer, the trees surrounding my deck are lit with candles hanging off the branches. In the backyard, solar lights shaped like flowers glow and a few strands of white lights are twisted around tree trunks. I always think my yard a fairyland, especially in July when the fireflies return and twinkle among the trees. Now, in the bleak winter, the one strand of lights around the deck fence has stopped shining. I need to replace it. I always love looking out the back window and seeing those lights.

I always think it is the darkness of winter which palls the spirit so I do my best to compensate. I keep white candles lit in the front windows, and their light shines across the dark lawn. This year I left my Christmas lights lit in the front. One is a giant star with a trail of lights. The others are multicolored. My neighbor across the street has called to thank me for leaving the lights shining. She said she loves looking out the window at my house.

Winter is my time of memories, of introspection. I don’t add much to my story, but I recall to mind the best parts. I smile a lot at the images in my mind’s eye. My journeys, my explorations, are the brightest memories.

During my travels, I learned a few things. I hate washing clothes by hand. I decided that for any trip of great length I’d pack ragtag underwear which I can just throw away. It isn’t a big deal for me to find any. I can just check my bureau drawer. The rest of my clothes can get so grungy they can walk away by themselves. I won’t care. I’m not washing them. I learned never to ask what I’m eating.  Many of the traditional foods are pets here, like the guinea pig in Ecuador. I think I can eat just about anything as long as I don’t know what it is and it isn’t slimy. Bras are a great place for hiding money. I had my pocket picked when I was at a train station in Ghana. I’d like that thief to try it now. Toilet paper, always carry toilet paper. Sometimes you get stuck and have to rush, and those hole in the ground toilets don’t have toilet paper. Just imagine. The middle of the bus and a seat near the window are usually the best. The aisle fills with standing people who hold on for dear life as the bus goes around corners but sometimes they fall, into the aisle seats. The front and the back of the bus are where people sit with their chickens or goats. Eat where there is a line, especially street food. Don’t shy away. It’s sometimes the best and is usually the cheapest. If everything pales compared to home, just stay home.