Posted tagged ‘coffee’

Gracie Update

June 18, 2017

It was another of those sorts of nights. Gracie was restless and wanted out every hour or so. I did her bidding. I slept little. She started vomiting which is what happened a week or so ago. I decided around 3:45 to take her to the 24-hour veterinary service. She was the only one there and got immediate attention. They decided to rehydrate her with the under the skin hydration and also gave her an anti-nausea medication. That’s what worked the last time, and it worked again. When we got home, around 5:30, we both went to sleep. Gracie was up around 9 and wanted out. I, of course, obeyed. She came back inside and slept. She is still asleep.

I learned that at 3:45 on a before summer Sunday morning there isn’t any traffic. I also learned that the drive-up Dunkin Donuts opens at 5 which was just in time for me. Butternut donuts are freshest at 5:10. The sky is light at that time of the morning. I hadn’t thought about that. It was the light at the end of the day which has mostly taken my attention.

I learned a lot this early morning.

“All sorrows are less with bread. ”

May 21, 2017

Today is glorious. It is sunny and squint your eyes bright. There is barely a breeze. The high today will be 65˚. I’m thinking a perfect early spring day.

I woke up at some time during the night as I was cold. When I checked the thermostat, it said 63˚. I turned the heat on and it started right away. I went back to bed and fell asleep snuggled under a second afghan and warmed by the dog next to my legs.

This morning I had English muffins. I used them to hide Gracie’s pills. She was suckered by the butter. Sometimes I am too. It melts into those nooks and crannies. Coffee was the rest of my breakfast, a blend from Uganda. I had three cups.

I love bread. When I buy a loaf, I try all differents sorts of bread. I really have no favorite though Scali bread is right up there. When I was a kid, I thought bread came only in squishy white except for Saturday night’s brown bread which really didn’t seem to me to be bread at all. I like cornbread which always comes in squares. In Ghana, the bread was sold as an uncut loaf. At stops on the road, women ran to the windows to sell fruit and those loaves of bread. They cost 20 pesewas, about 20 cents. We used to pull pieces off the loaf and eat it plain. My last bread purchase was naan. It makes a good toast and an interesting sandwich. When I’m out, the choices are limited. I usually end up with rye.

Crackers are another favorite of mine. When I was a kid, my mother always bought Saltines and Ritz crackers. I’d put saltines in soup and wait to eat them when they were mushy. They also made a great snack, a peanut butter and jelly or a peanut butter and Fluff sort of cracker sandwich. Now I buy all sorts of crackers mostly to go with cheese. I really haven’t any favorites.

My favorite pie is lemon meringue, and I always have some lemon curd around the house. I also love pineapple. When I was a kid, we only had canned pineapple, and I don’t remember eating it all that much. I don’t even remember seeing a fresh pineapple in the supermarket. We always had apples and oranges and sometimes tangerines and strawberries, always as strawberry shortcake. I first tasted a variety of fruits in Ghana. I was amazed at how good mango and pawpaw (papaya) are.

It was Africa which introduced me to different foods. It gave me a willingness to try new things, some of which I still can’t pronounce, but that doesn’t matter as long as whatever it is I’m eating tastes good.

“The eyes of spring, so azure, Are peeping from the ground; They are the darling violets, That I in nosegays bound.”

May 18, 2017

My wish came true. Yesterday was sunny and hot, 75˚ hot. I’d complain, but Boston hit 90˚ so I’m content at 75˚. It will be the same today.

The morning has a languid feel to it. I do hear a single bird, but the rest are gone, probably perching in the shade. This room where I spend most of my time is a refuge from the heat as it is in the back of the house and stays dark and cool until the afternoon when the sun moves to the west and streams through these back windows.

I went to the dump yesterday, one of my three errands. Poor Gracie stayed home as the other errands would have meant her sitting in a hot car. I tricked her by bringing the trash bags out early then sitting down for coffee and the papers. She forgot all about the trash and hopped on the couch for a morning nap. She is now back to getting into her crate. Her back legs were iffy, but they seem fine now. She gets in the crate and sticks out her head for a treat. I never refuse.

When I was a kid, I gave my mother dandelion bouquets. She always gushed at the beauty of the flowers then she’d put them in a vase, usually a jelly jar, which exalted them from their weedy status. I remember making a wish then blowing the dandelion seeds and watching the wind take them.

In my mother’s backyard, she had lilies of the valley and violets growing on the top dirt shelf of a rock wall. Some of the lilies were blue from their contact with the violets. I dug up and took some lilies and some violets home with me so I could plant then in my yard. They have spread all over. The lilies are in a front side garden with only a few violets here and there among them. The violets in the backyard took a while to grow while the lilies dug in right away and are now in clumps around the fence and some trees. Every time I see them, I think of my mother and her garden.

“It was a morning like other mornings and yet perfect among mornings.”

October 25, 2016

When I first got home from Ghana, I was waking up around 4, or if I slept in, around 5. Now I am waking up at 8 or, like today, closer to 9. In Ghana, I was asleep by 9 or 9:30 at the latest. Every morning, the rooster woke me up when it was still dark, and I’d sleep fitfully until 6 or so. I go to bed much later now, and there are no roosters or calls to prayer   in the early mornings to wake me up. Where am I going with this? Well, I am writing Coffee so much later now. I take my time in the mornings and read both papers. I also do the crossword in the Globe and the cryptogram in the Cape Times. Sometimes I have breakfast, but most mornings I just drink coffee. I am in no hurry. That’s a piece of Ghana still with me, and I’m holding on to that for a while. Mornings should be leisurely. I can think of no better way to start the day.

For the first time, Massachusetts is allowing early voting. I figure on hitting the booth today. I figure it is a foregone conclusion as to who will win the state. Massachusetts is about as blue a state as there is. We even voted for McGovern, and I think we were the only state which did. Later, after President Nixon resigned, bumper stickers appeared which said, “Don’t blame me. I’m from Massachusetts.”It was wonderful being clairvoyant.

This morning I watched an Edward G. Robinson movie on TCM called Confessions of a Nazi Spy which was released in 1939. EGR played an FBI agent who hunts down Nazi spies one at a time by capturing members of a spy ring operating in the United States. I did a bit of sleuthing and found out it was based on the articles of former FBI agent Leon G. Turror who had been active in investigating Nazi spy rings in the United States prior to the war and lost his position at the Bureau when he published the articles without permission. The movie was banned in Germany, Japan and many Latin American and European countries. The music played during the credits was God Bless America. I liked the movie and figure the obvious propaganda was well timed.

My laundry is sitting in front of the cellar door where it has been for five or six days. I have plenty of clean clothes of all sorts. Needing clothes seems to drive my doing the laundry; however, I am getting tired of looking at that laundry bag so I have a couple of choices. I can throw the bag down the cellar stairs and shut the door or I can do the laundry. I’m leaning toward doing the laundry. I can be a sloth for only so long.

“Where would we be without salt?”

October 20, 2016

Today I feel lazy. I woke up early but have done nothing of any substance unless you count reading 2 papers and drinking 3 cups of coffee. I’m counting them.

Yesterday I was busy. First was helping at the high school from 8-11. It was a practical exercise for the seniors to give them an idea of an adult’s budget, what salary each might make and what had to be deducted from that salary. I actually had to set my alarm to get up in time. In the early afternoon, I spent an hour and half with my neighbor. We are working to improve her English. After that was a quick trip to the lab then we went to the dump. I didn’t settle in at home until close to 4. I figure a busy day earns me a lazy day.

For the most part, I watched the debate last night. I chuckled a few times and groaned every time Donald sniffed. Had I been in college the sniffing would have prompted a great drinking game. Some of his comments were frightening.

Sometimes I have a craving for salt. That always reminds me of the Star Trek episode where Kirk, Bones and a doomed crew member beam down to a planet so Bones can give his former girl friend, Nancy, and her husband physicals. Nancy is really a shift-shaping monster who sucks salt from peoples’ bodies. Sometimes I totally understand that need, but most times Lay’s potato chips work for me. Today is a beautiful day. It is cooler than it has been, but that’s okay as it’s been far too hot for this time of year. My house is chilly. I had windows open all night. I’m wearing a sweatshirt and my feet are cold. I do hate cold feet.

“Adventure is worthwhile.”

October 10, 2016

This morning came at 4 o’clock, but I did go to bed at 8 so the early day wasn’t surprising. Right now I’m catching up with the debate by watching MSNBC. I despair.

Yesterday it rained all day and last night the rain fell in a deluge. It was the wettest day in the entire year. The wind blew so hard I could hear it howling. Gracie wouldn’t go out before bed. She took one look and backed away from the door. Smart dog!

I will try and empty my luggage today. I might even do a wash. I did exert myself and go shopping yesterday for animal and people food. We will all eat well for the next few days. I figure one of the best parts of a trip is not having to do anything but enjoy the travel. My room is cleaned. I eat at restaurants. My clothes get washed.

In Ghana time is relative. The Ghanaians distinguish between African time and European time. If Grace, one of my former students, said she’d be at our hotel at 10. We figured if she was there by 11, she’d be early. I’m coming is a favorite Ghanaian comment. It just means that at some time the expected visitor will arrive. The only exception is at a red light. The time between the light turning green and the first horn is about a second or two.

I am glad for the cool days here at home. I spent my entire time in Ghana sweaty. Beads of sweat rolled down my cheeks, and the back of my head was always soaked. Needing a sweatshirt in the cold, early morning is a joy. I probably won’t think the same when the temperature drops to below freezing.

Ghana is not known for its coffee. It is always instant with either evaporated milk or milk powder. I am now on my third cup of real coffee. Maybe I won’t need a nap today.

“Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow.”

October 9, 2016

I have traded the roosters for the morning songs of the birds. No more do I hear the calls to prayer. Nobody is sweeping my yard, and I can’t smell the wood charcoal burning. I am home.

The flights were uneventful. The 10 and a half hours from Ghana gave me time to watch 2 and 1/2 movies, 4 Big Bang Theories and 2 Bones. I also read and I think I napped for an hour. The food seemed endless then the flight attendant brought a basket of snacks. The hot towels were wonderful. The flight from New York to Boston was over in a minute, actually 38 minutes.

I waited at Logan for an hour. I saw my car go by a couple of times but couldn’t get Lee’s attention. Finally, he saw me when I was moving across the street hauling my luggage. The ride home was longer than the flight from New York.

When I got home, the animals were thrilled to see me. The cats head butted me and purred. Gracie  wagged every part of her body. I was exhausted but couldn’t get to sleep. I was up until 2 which was 6 am for me. I slept two hours but had naps on and off all day. One bag is emptied but two more sit on the floor. My house had to be put back to rights. The coffee is gone so I’m going out to grab a couple of Dunkin’ Donut coffees. Maybe I’ll get a donut.

Being in Ghana in the morning and at home in the night is still amazing to me. As glad as I am to be home, I am missing my friends and Ghana. The trip was just about perfect. The only glitch was that pesky stomach ailment from which we all suffered.

Every time I go back I realize how much I love Ghana. The Ghanaian people are warm and friendly. As soon as I greet them in their own languages, they beam. They smile. Ghana was familiar this time, as if I hadn’t left. Every morning I waited to hear the morning call to prayer and the roosters one after the other. The brown rooster was always close to my window. During the day he traveled with a few hens and a Guinea fowl but he was alone for his morning greeting. I was in the restaurant early in the morning for the wifi. Coffee and eggs weren’t until 7. The eggs were always fried, the toast cold. Once I tried to explain French toast. I ended up with an egg sandwich fried only on one side. There wasn’t any maple syrup anyway. Bill went out to the road hoping to find the donut lady selling along the roadside. It wasn’t a real donut but a fried, greasy ball which we love. There used to be many small girls selling them, but now the donuts are difficult to find.

(We are back from our coffee run. The roads were almost empty of cars. I was the only one at the drive-up window. It is raining.)

Even though it takes a long while. I love traveling between cities in Ghana. We go through small towns and villages. I see women carrying loads on their heads, and I’m always amazed . Sometimes it is market days and the streets are filled with people. The goats are everywhere; some are tied but most are loose. All are munching. On a stretch of road with no houses, I’d see a woman walking without an apparent from where and going to. I always figure there is a lone compound somewhere off the road. At any stop, we are swamped by sellers hawking their wares. You can buy gum, fruit, veggies and already cooked food like kenkey. We usually don’t buy but just keep moving. There are police stops. They are checking for all the vehicle stickers. At one stop they nailed our driver for not wearing shoes. He was wearing slippers. I saw the driver grab a log book and stick 10 cedis inside then go to the officer. When the driver came back, the book was empty of cash and we got permission to drive. In Ghana, that is not a bribe but a dash.

Our last day in Ghana was spent shopping. We had all those cedis to get rid of. I did so well I had to get a few more to pay for lunch. We first shopped at a wonderful jewelry store. It was small and only a couple of people were allowed in at the same time. The silver jewelry is weighed to determine the price. I bought Christmas gifts and earrings for me. We then walked across the street and has Lebanese food for lunch. So ended our culinary adventure and our trip to Ghana. We left early the next morning for home.

On this trip I learned how much I love spending time with and traveling with my friends. I learned Ghana is still a home for me. I remembered how much I love the Ghanaian people. I got to see elephants, baboons, warthogs and a variety of antelope. Kelewele is still my favorite Ghanaian food, and goat is tasty. I don’t know if I’ll go back as it takes so long to save the money, but I’d like to think Ghana is waiting for me to return.