Posted tagged ‘cloudy’

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

August 11, 2017

The early morning was cool. Gracie wanted out before six so out we went. It was quiet. My newspapers hadn’t yet been delivered. Gracie finished her business, and when we came back inside, both of us fell back to sleep.

The sky is gray for a while then the sun breaks though for a short time, but the grey clouds never quite disappear. The sun does. The humidity is returning today.

Next door is still noisy but not as much as yesterday. The digging has stopped. The rest of the neighborhood is quiet. Even the birds aren’t singing. I figure they feel as oppressed by the clouds as I do. It seems to be getting darker though rain is not in the forecast.

I haven’t anything to do today. My house is clean, the laundry isn’t worth washing, too few clothes, and I don’t need any groceries. I suppose I could clean things like the bookcases filled with stuff, but I figure that’s over the top and good for a winter’s day. The downstairs plants do need watering so I guess I’ve found something to do. Hurrah!

I’m seeing commercials for survival food good for 25 years. I’m going to pass.

Many of the commercials are aimed at my generation because we, the baby boomers, are a bulge on the population chart and are so much older now. Today I watched one for the stair climber. Reverse mortgage is Tom Selleck’s ad. Another one is for insurance to pay off all the bills left when you die. Local Cape ads tout retirement communities with all the amenities including a doctor on call. AARP is all over the dial, okay not the dial but the remote though it doesn’t matter, you get the idea. I chuckle at the commercials for Consumer Cellular. Every actor is older, my age older, as in the older woman who reminds us we had to go to the library to look up stuff. She uses her cell phone for a walk in a field with her friends, a GPS app I figure, and says we can learn new technology. I’m so glad to hear that!

Some memories are unforgettable, remaining ever vivid and heartwarming!

August 4, 2017

The air is dripping. The humidity is so thick it seems to coat my skin when I go outside. This morning’s gray clouds are giving way to blue skies and intermittent sun. It is already hot. Here in my den, it is still cool. It won’t get hot until the afternoon after the sun moves from front to back.

The bird feeder I filled yesterday is already half empty. The birds flying in and out seem endless. One eats and two wait. They are mostly chickadees, black capped chickadees, the state bird of Massachusetts. I like to sit and watch them. The birds fly right over my head almost close enough to touch.

I can’t seem to find a story or a memory. That is rare for me as I have a huge memory drawer overflowing with scraps and pieces of my life. I guess I’m going to visit Ghana today, and I’m bringing you with me. There are so many stories yet to tell.

One day there was a knock at my door. It was a man I didn’t know. He greeted me. I returned the greeting. He told me he was looking for a white woman and was I interested. I said no. He asked me if I knew any Canadians. I said no again. He thanked me and left.

A blind beggar was being led by a small boy. The beggar was holding one end of a stick and the boy was holding the other. The beggar stopped in front of me and asked for money. This was while I was in training. It was my first beggar. I said sorry and sent him off with good wishes as you have to give a beggar something. He called me batoria, white woman. I wonder what gave me away? I also wondered if he was really blind.

I always went to the same vegetable lady in the market. I bought tomatoes and onions from her. She gave me my change the first time I bought from her, and I put it in my bag. She didn’t speak English but indicated with her hands that I should count it. I shook my head no. That cemented our relationship. After that she would dash me extra tomatoes and onions. Once she had a small watermelon. I have no idea where she got it, but she had saved it for me. When I was leaving to come home, I went to say goodbye. She was crying and gave me a hug. She also gave me a small gift. It sits on the table here in the den. She always comes to mind when I see it.

I loved the mornings in Ghana. The roosters crowed. The air smelled of charcoal fires. I could hear water filling the metal buckets where my students waited in line to take their bucket baths. I’d sit outside my front door drinking my first cup of coffee before breakfast. I had the same breakfast every day: two eggs cooked in groundnut oil (peanut oil) and two pieces of toast toasted against the sides of the small charcoal burner. I’d watch the school children cutting through my school compound to go to schools outside the gates at each end of the school. At one end was the primary school and at the other was the middle school. I was an object of curiosity until the students got used to me then they’d wish me, “Good morning, sir. How Are you? I am quite well thank you, ” all said one after the other without a break. I’d have one or two more cups of coffee between classes.

It seems my bemoaning my lack of memories was massively premature.

“I’ve buried a lot of my laundry in the back yard.”

July 27, 2017

My quiet mornings ended this morning. I heard a dog barking, a little girl yelling from down the street, two mowers from different directions and voices from the next door deck. Gracie even barked out the front door. I didn’t bother to get up to see why. I was hoping to fall back to sleep, but then it got quiet and the silence was as loud as the noise.

Today I have people. Skip, my factotum, is completing the deck decorating. He has connected the umbrella light, gotten the fountain working and put down the deck rug. The barbecue has been cleaned, and the squirrel nest on the tray underneath the burners has been cleared. My shower has a new board replacing the mushy one. New lights are on the rails just waiting for the spawns to eat. Lee and Rosanna, my cleaning couple, are due here in the afternoon. Peapod is coming Saturday morning with all my groceries. My job is to write checks, worthwhile checks, as a recent study has shown that if you hire people to do household jobs you are far happier. That would be me sitting here with a grin on my face.

It was sunny when I woke up, but clouds have taken over the sky, and the breeze makes the air feel a bit chilly. Last night I woke up cold and added a light blanket. How silly this weather is for late July.

My menu is set, my movie chosen and the deck is ready for movie night. The only issue is the weather. It may rain on Saturday night at the movies so we’ll have Sunday night at the movies.

I’m getting the urge to cook again. I used to love making new recipes and inviting people to dinner. I’ve been mulling an international dinner with dishes from a variety of countries, each identified by a tiny flag. It would be fun.

When I worked, I had a schedule for weekdays and another for weekends. I got everything done: the cleaning, grocery shopping, laundry and garden and lawn work. Now I have people. The only thing left for me is the laundry, and I admit I procrastinate. The laundry bag sits in front of the cellar door for a few days and sometimes even a week. I don’t even care. If I could hire a laundress I would. I have no pride!

“Cherish every moment with those you love at every stage of your journey.”

July 17, 2017

I turned off the air conditioner just to refresh the house, but that’s not going to happen. The air is thick with humidity, and there is no breeze to stir it. There are clouds where there is supposed to be sun. It will be 77˚ at the highest and in the mid-60’s tonight.

Movie night was fun, and the appetizers were delicious. We noshed on a feta dip with pita chips, cold cuts in baguettes, delicious cheeses and honeyed figs. Gunga Din was as wonderful an old movie as I remembered. It was one of those movies with a cast of thousands. The night was humid and hot but cooled down as we watched. I have neighbors on one side and renters on the other. I always wonder if they’re a bit jealous of us watching movies outside in the summer, such a wonderful way to spend a warm evening.

Summer had its own set of rules when I was a kid. The street lights no longer controlled our play time. We stayed out after dark. Bedtime was when we went to bed. Meals were usually catch as catch can except for supper which my mother cooked for all of us.  Mostly it was cereal for breakfast and sandwiches for lunch. We’d make our own. Bologna with hot peppers was my favorite sandwich. The peppers were round so I had to cut them, but they were still thick. The bologna came in a roll so I had to cut slices which were never even; they were thin on one side and thick on the other. My sandwiches were messy. White bread was just too soft and easily prone to holes. For dessert we’d grab Oreos, but they quick to disappear. The week days were ours to do as we wanted. My mother would ask where we were going, but most times we didn’t know. Riding our bikes or going to the playground were our usual answers. At least one weekend day was family day when we were stuck together in the hot car going to the beach on Sunday or to a drive-in movie theater Saturday night.

As we got older, we spent less and less time with the family and more time with our friends. I had drill two nights a week and competitions on the weekends. I slept late every day. My bicycle stayed in the cellar. My friends picked me up with their cars. Sometimes we did nothing but ride around. Other times we hung at one house or another just talking and laughing. That was pretty much the end of family time, but it reappeared when I was older, living away and teaching. I’d spend a weekend at my parents’ house. I even remember the three of us going to a drive-in together. The movie was A New Leaf with Walter Matthau and Elaine May. We laughed a lot. I had a wonderful evening with my parents.

“It isn’t how much time you spend somewhere that makes it memorable: it’s how you spend the time.”

July 13, 2017

The weather is crazy. It is sunny then cloudy then sunny again. The humidity is so thick you can cut it with a knife (my father loved that old saw. The wording is repetitive, I know,  but what the heck). It is supposed to rain later today and again tomorrow. I have nowhere to go so I’m just fine with rain.

When I was a kid, I loved summer rains. We used to stay outside and get wet, even soaked. The stronger the rain, the more the fun. We’d splash at each other with the rainwater running down the gutters in the street. Sometimes the water ran so strongly it resembled a river with white rapids, or at least it seemed that way to us. Paper boats never had much of a chance. I think my love of the rain came from the joy we felt during summer storms.

We didn’t always go on vacation when I was a kid. Mostly we stayed home and did day trips, what they call a staycation now. I think my family invented that. We kids didn’t care. My mother and father planned great excursions. We did beach days. I remember swimming in water left by low tide and surrounded by sand bars. The sandwiches always had a bit of grit. We’d walk the beach and collect shells. By the end of the summer, I’d have quite a collection.

I remember the museums. They weren’t air conditioned in those days, but they always felt cool, the way my hometown library and post office did. I have two vivid memories of stuff at museums. At the Museum of Fine Arts, I remember the sarcophagi. They were in one giant room and they looked enormous to me. I was impressed and amazed they once all held mummies. At the Peabody Museum at Harvard I remember the outrigger hanging from the ceiling and the ape heads in jars. For some reason those heads fascinated me. They were in rows, jar after jar.

We went to the drive-in often as my grandfather had a pass so our car got in free. Bringing bug juice and popped corn from home and candy from the store made it a fairly inexpensive evening. There were always two movies and an intermission. The first movie was for kids and the second for adults as kids were expected to have fallen asleep by then or why the pajamas?

We’d go out to dinner one night during our stay at home vacation which was such a treat as we seldom went out to dinner. We’d go to Kitty’s in the next town over. It was always busy and cheap enough. I remember the waitresses carrying huge trays with several plates of foods on them. I watched kind of hoping to see plates hit the floor. They didn’t.

It never occurred to me we stayed home because we didn’t have the money for an away vacation. All the wonderful day trips are what I remember the most. I love museums thanks to those trips. I have seashells on display in the kitchen. Our Saturday outside movie nights are like the drive-in without the car but not without the candy.

“Mosquitoes, how wonderful! No one puts them in cages or makes pets out of them.”

July 1, 2017

I am late again. This time I can’t blame my computer. It is my fault. It was close to 10:30 when I woke up then I had two papers to read and a couple of cups of coffee to drink before I could face the day. Last night I was restless and woke up several times. Gracie was the sleep disruptor twice, the first at 3:30. When we went outside, it was so dark I had to feel with my foot to figure out where we were: the grass or the driveway. Once back inside, I had to read a while before I could get back to sleep, back to my restless sleep. It’s no wonder I’m tired.

Today’s weather is like yesterday’s but with a breeze instead of a wind. The leaves at the end of the branches are waving but only slightly. I don’t hear my chimes.

Summer has officially started. The house next door has its first renters of the season. I heard them this morning. They weren’t loud but the open window a bit above the couch where I sleep faces their small deck and slider. I haven’t figured out how many are there yet, but I think there is only a single car.

My house is dark though the clouds are light-colored, not like storm clouds. I can feel the humidity. I’ve nothing planned for today but I might switch out the spawn eaten lights for the new ones I have. The spawns prefer red for chewing.

We didn’t have many organized summer activities when I was a kid. The playground under the trees on the field at the end of my street was about the only close place to spend a summer day. The pool was another spot, but it was about as far away from my house as you could get and still be in my town. Sometimes we’d bike ride to a pond in the next town and go fishing. The library was another place to spend some time before leaving with an armful of books. Other times we didn’t do anything but stay around the house.

My mother kept the living room dark. All the shades were down. She believed this was the best way to keep the house cool. We didn’t have AC back then, and we didn’t have any fans. Upstairs was a hot box. It took a while to fall asleep.

My father had an obsession about mosquitos. He always yelled for us to close the outside doors quickly; somehow, though, that didn’t work. My father hunted down mosquitos.  They were his prey. He had a rolled-up newspaper as his weapon of choice. He’d jump on beds to whack the mosquitos on the ceilings. He woke us up a lot when the beds rocked as he walked across the mattress swatting bugs. All the ceilings had smashed bug marks and a few splotches of blood. My father announced each kill, each triumph. He was a mighty hunter.

“You get what anybody gets – you get a lifetime.”

June 29, 2017

I have been sitting here cursing aloud since 11 am. My computer stuck on the WordPress starting page and refused to go any further. I shut it down a couple of times, but the restart was still stuck. I have renamed my computer Hal.

Gracie has become a Hobbit in her eating habits. She snacks when she wakes up, constantly demands treats when she comes inside the house and has already had her elevenses.  Her afternoon and evening meals will be starting soon.

The day is breezy and cloudy. Every now and then the sky lightens, but the clouds don’t disappear. Rain is not in the forecast through the weekend.

This morning kids screaming woke me up. It was the brood from down the street. They go out and play before the school bus comes. It seems their play must be accompanied by screams, not words, just screams. They left and I fell back to sleep.

Most of the caterpillars must now be Gypsy moths. There is much less poop on the deck. (That sounds a bit nautical, but then it is Cape Cod.) I’ll be glad when the deck stays clean. I watered all the flowers out there this morning. I haven’t yet put down the rug or started the fountain. They’re for another day.

The spawns of Satan are at it again. Last night I noticed my new lights on the end of the deck weren’t lit. I went to check this morning and found a couple of bulbs chewed off the strand. I’m only sorry the spawns weren’t shocked. I can visualize a cartoon spawn with a bolt of lightning through its body.

When I was a kid, the last day of school was always a half day. We did a bit of room cleaning then we sat around waiting to get our final report cards. Once we had the cards in hand, we all turned to the back side where it said promoted to on the bottom. That’s all we cared about, even more than grades, but then I didn’t know a single person who wasn’t promoted. Bad behavior and poor study habits were never tolerated by the nuns.

Today is a sloth day. I deserve it after two busy days. Leandro and Rosana are here cleaning the house. Lee also fixed a cabinet for me and hung a shelf. He is quite a talented fix-it-guy.

My larder is filled. I have choices for meals instead of having to scavenge through the fridge and the cabinets. I even had to rearrange to make room. Life is good!