Posted tagged ‘errands’

“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.”

December 31, 2017

It is 1:49 AM. I was up late, and it was getting cold. Because the thermostat is programmed to go to a lower temperature at 11:30, I went and moved it from automatic to manual and put up the heat. The furnace did not kick in. I turned the thermostat up a bit higher and still nothing. I went down the cellar and the furnace was silent so I came right upstairs and called the emergency service. The house is now down to 64˚. The pleasant woman who answered the phone at this ungodly hour said someone would be right there. Of all times for my furnace to die it has to be in the middle of a record breaking freeze.

I did some errands yesterday. One was to the hardware store, another for dog food and the third to the grocery store for toilet paper. I also bought two pieces of pizza for supper as a sort of reward for going out when the temperature was only 19˚.

The snow started before dark. It was a fluffy use a broom to clear sort of snow. The weather man even suggested using a leaf blower. I don’t know when the snow stopped, but it must have been quick as only an inch or so is on the lawn.

Gracie was shivering a bit. My hands are cold and so is my nose. Maddie is curled in a ball on the chair and sleeping soundly. I put an afghan on Grace, and she stopped shivering and has now fallen asleep. I’m glad the two of them are comfortable.

I checked the thermostat. We’re down to 62˚. It’s been longer than I expected for the furnace guy to come, but then I don’t know where he is coming from, and I’m guessing he was sleeping. Being roused at this hour to go out in the cold has to be unpleasant at best. Luckily I have a movie to watch: Alien Tornado. I’m thinking the title is a spoiler. I already know the plot.

I’m getting tired, but I know I can’t go to sleep not only because the repairman is coming but also because in every movie about people freezing they die if they fall asleep. Okay, I know that’s silly, but I couldn’t resist.

Girls scouts came today selling cookies. I didn’t really want any, but I figured they deserved to make a sale considering how cold it was. The oldest one said her mother told them not to come home until they’d sold at least half their cookies. She said they were just about there.

Today is going to be a nothing day. I don’t need to go out for anything except to bring Gracie out. I have another new book to read, and I’m really hoping I can say I’m going to be warm and cozy because I am neither right now. It has been almost an hour. I am getting impatient.

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“It is the life of the crystal, the architect of the flake, the fire of the frost, the soul of the sunbeam. This crisp winter air is full of it.”

December 15, 2017

Yesterday I hunted down and found the missing ornaments and decorations. Most have since been placed or hung so I am just about finished with the house. My errands were done in about an hour. I even found parking places right by the stores, a bit of Christmas magic.

I don’t know how it happened, but yesterday I forgot to tell you about the snow and the spawn of Satan. Snow first: starting early Thursday morning and ending in the afternoon, we got about 2 1/2 inches of snow. The amount must have seemed insignificant as there were no plows. The main roads were cleared by the traffic. My road remains snowy in places and a bit slippery. I didn’t shovel. I used my foot to push the snow away. I couldn’t find my car window brush so I used my sleeves on the side windows to clear them. The defroster in the back and the windshield wipers in the front cleared those windows. It was freezing yesterday as the night before had been in the teens, the coldest night so far, so it took a while for the day to get a bit warmer, all the way to the 30’s.

Now moving on to the spawn story.  I went out on the deck to check one of the back light timers. All of a sudden I stopped short out of amazement. As I had walked by the barbecue, I noticed the cover, a good thick cover, with a fleecy sort of inside. A huge, and I mean huge, part of the cover was gone. A perfect square had been chewed off and taken away as no part of it was on the deck or in the yard below the deck. I figured the spawn was either renovating or building a new nest and wanted it cozy inside and waterproof outside. I could do nothing so I just shook my head, turned around and came back inside.

Today I have been a sloth. I took my shower and that’s it for my accomplishments. I’m watching another Christmas Carol, my fifth so far. This is the Disney one. I’ve never seen it before. The faces of the characters are a bit strange, especially their eyes, but that’s its only drawback. The dialogue is true, as true as any.

I have a few cards to write and a new Christmas cooking magazine to read. That sounds like the start of a great day to me.

“When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things — not the great occasions — give off the greatest glow of happiness.”

December 11, 2017

Yesterday I finished my chores but did little else. Today I need to send packages and cards, and I’ll do that as soon as I finish here which leaves me the best of the afternoon to decorate the house and tree. I am always ambitious in the mornings.

I’m watching yet another Christmas Carol, this one with Patrick Stewart. Every Christmas it doesn’t matter how many times or how many Scrooges I watch. I still love this story. The Cratchits here are presented poorer than in other films which makes their Christmas feast seem grander with its goose and Christmas pudding. The Ghost of Christmas Present shows Scrooge and us Christmas in a lighthouse, on a ship and at a coal mine. Scrooge has no words to describe what he sees.

My mother, sister and I saw A Christmas Carol at the Wang in Boston. At the point where Scrooge is as “giddy as a schoolboy” the fire alarm went off, and we had to evacuate the theater. It was a false alarm. I was so very disappointed not to see Scrooge and his total reclamation. I know the ending of A Christmas Carol and I remember much of the dialogue but watching Scrooge open his heart is the best part.

My mother always teased me about my Christmas presents. “Wait until you see what you’re going to get,” she’d say to me every year. It didn’t matter if I was in my 30’s or 40’s. Teasing was part of the ritual. She and I used to buy every Christmas issue of all the magazines. We’d chat about the decorations and the recipes. Some we even tried. I remember her gingerbread biscotti and the bread which looked like teddy bears. One year she made figgy pudding because the song made us wonder what it was. The best gift  my mother gave us was Christmas. I remember making ornaments, frosting cookies, shaking presents and hanging my stocking with much fanfare. I always went to my parents’ house for Christmas, but I always had a tree here and decorated my house. I remember once being asked why I had a tree if I wasn’t going to be here for Christmas. I thought that the silliest question of all.

“Yes! Yes I do! I like Christmas! I love Christmas!”

December 10, 2017

Winter wonderland skipped us. We got rain the whole day, heavy rain at times. In the late afternoon, when I let Gracie out and brought trash to the car at the same time, we both got soaked. She wasn’t thrilled. My sister got around 6 inches of snow. I watched the news and saw the snow in Texas, an unusual occurrence in San Antonio. I laughed out-loud when a kid did a snow angel. Obviously snow was new to him. He did the angel face down.

Yesterday was a day of doing little for me. I made four or five trips carrying stuff like the displaced by the tree living furniture upstairs, wrote out more cards and went through catalogs but mostly I just sat. All the hauling up and down stairs made me tired. Today I have more energy and a to-do list. Gracie and I are going to the dump, to the small grocery store for bread and such and Agway for cat and dog food. I will decorate my wreaths and put them outside, and I’ll bring up bins from the cellar with the tree lights and some decorations. If I have any energy left, I’ll at least put on the tree lights. Tonight I’ll make myself a nice dinner and have some egg nog and watch Hallmark.

When I was a kid, Santa Claus had power over me. If I did anything wrong or fought with my brother, my mother threatened to call Santa. That was enough to get us to stop. I remember trips to Jordan Marsh to visit Santa. We’d take the bus to Sullivan Square then the subway to the Jordan’s stop. In those days Jordan’s and Filene’s had entrances from the stores to the subway. They were destinations.

I love Boston at Christmas time. The city is filled with people, some shopping, some just enjoying the festivities. The trees in the Common are lit for the holiday. Frog Pond is open for skating or for just sitting and watching the skaters while drinking a cup of cocoa. The giant tree from Nova Scotia is covered in lights. Small push wagons around the common sell roasted chestnuts and hot popcorn. Garlands hang from stores and street lights. People just seem happier.

My town was always decorated for Christmas. Swags of evergreen were hung from one side of the main street to the other. The store windows had trees and wrapped gifts and Santas. Carolers sang every night. The aroma of sugar cookies and bread wafted from Hank’s Bakery and hung in the air. The fire station was outlined in lights, and Santa was climbing a ladder to the chimney. I loved going uptown at night, and I still remember singing in the square.

I get excited for Christmas even now. I love the lights, and I could eat a dozen sugar cookies. Christmas music plays in the car and around the house when I’m decorating or baking. I sing along, out of tune, but that doesn’t matter. It’s Christmas!

“Dinosaurs are extinct today because they lacked opposable thumbs and the brainpower to build a space program.”

October 16, 2017

That pesky sun is still among the missing. Everything is wet so it must have rained during the night. The weather report says sun later in the day, but I’m skeptical because of yesterday when the sun was everywhere but here.

I have been watching black and white science fiction films from YouTube on the TV. They have, thus far, been awful but good awful. I am watching 1951’s Unknown World. Scientists have predicted that the continued detonation of H-bombs will devastate the Earth; instead, scientists are suggesting the building of a Cyclotram, a space ship type machine built to bore through the Earth’s surface so they can find a place where humanity can live and escape the bombs. This movie has it all: the future visionary predicting the end of mankind whom few people believe, government skeptics, a fun loving playboy who has financed the trip as a lark and the pretty female scientist chronicling the trip who didn’t leave home without her hat.

When I was a kid watching these movies, I never noticed the bad acting, the terrible sets or the inaccurate science. It all seemed spectacular and amazing especially the space ships and the trips to Mars. I believed in all the possibilities.

My house is an indoor dust bowl. I could write my name on the surfaces in this room, my cluttered den. I’m in trouble. I see work ahead. When I went to the bathroom, I cleaned and dusted everything, not my intention at all. Now, looking around this room, I know I’m going to end up cleaning today. Luckily, this feeling is rare.

I did all my errands yesterday. The traffic was light so the going was quick. The animal food, though, is still in the trunk. I left bird seed, suet, cans of dog and cat food and cat treats there. It was all so heavy I brought in only what I needed. I’ll make a couple of trips today and clear the trunk.

Okay, the woman scientist just fainted. The playboy saved her. I don’t think there is any doubt as to where this plot is headed.

“A rainy day is like a lovely gift — you can sleep late and not feel guilty.”

October 14, 2017

It was a late night so it is a late morning, actually an early afternoon. I was still awake at four when Gracie finally settled, Maddie got comfortable on my sweatshirt, and I was snuggled under the afghan to stave off the chill.

This morning when I took Gracie out I was surprised to see everything was wet, and the air was a bit chilly from the dampness. I came back inside and put on my sweatshirt which Maddie had been kind enough to leave for me. It’s raining again. I opened the window behind me to hear the drops on the leaves in the side yard. It started as a gentle rain but is now heavier, a steady storm.

I have no lists today. I could do a couple of errands but I’ll wait until tomorrow. Today I have designated a do nothing day.

My friend Bill keeps track of the weather in Bolga where we lived. I checked today, and it is currently 94˚, a cool day. Tomorrow will be 99˚ and every day for the rest of the week will be over 100˚ but will drop to the low 70’s at night. I used a woven wool blanket this time of year as the 30˚ drop was chilling. It was an unexpected but wonderful feeling being cold. I still have that wool blanket.

My house is dark except for a lit nightlight and a small driftwood tree lit with white lights in the bathroom and a strand of scallop shells and a cluster of red peppers lit in the kitchen. They give the house a cozy feel.

I’m watching a really bad movie called Deep Space. You’re probably thinking of course you are. The creature sort of looks like giant bug with lots of legs and sharp teeth. I had to laugh when it traveled on a sidewalk as it looked like a wind-up. None of its legs moved. It attacks by jumping at the necks of its victims. A few babies just as lethal as their mama have been born. The death count of their victims is rising.

It feels strange to have a Saturday with no baseball.

“Each day has a color, a smell.”

October 8, 2017

The day is cloudy dark. Rain is predicted. It is also windy which makes it feel colder than it is. I had to shut the back door. Last night was Gracie busy. She had me up every couple of hours, and we went out at 3:30. I went back to sleep but woke up when I heard her moving around at 8:00, but she readily jumped on the couch with me, and we both slept until 10.

I did all my errands yesterday. I had a route in mind, but the cars in long lines at the lights had me reconsider how to get there from here. I should have realized they’d be lines as this is, after all, a three day weekend, sort of summer’s last hurrah. Today is a stay off the roads day as the weekenders will be driving around looking for something to do.

I can smell wood burning again. The smell has again triggered memories. I remember overnights at Camp Aleska, the Girl Scout camp in the town where I grew up. The camp was up a dirt road across from the zoo and was surrounded by tall pine trees. Paths were behind the camp and led all through the woods. There was one big room in the camp with a huge fireplace. My favorite part of the overnight was falling asleep as the fire waned and the embers glowed in the dark. I have mentioned mornings in Ghana several times. The air smelled of wood fires as breakfast was cooked over wood charcoal. In the market, huge bags of charcoal were for sale. In some villages tree trunks were slowly burned into charcoal and bags of it were for sale on the sides of the road. Even the irons were filled with wood charcoal.

At night, aunties, older women, sitting along the sides of the main road in Bolga cooked food over wood charcoal and sold it.  I remember the smell in the air was a combination of the wood charcoal burning and food cooking at my nighttime snack stops. That was the first time I ever tasted grilled corn and deep fried plantain and yam chips. Guinea fowl was rare, but I always bought it if I found it. I remember the spots of light from the lit lanterns up and down the street and the blazing embers under metal bowls filled with groundnut oil where the food cooked.

I am ever so thankful for having served in Ghana and for the memories still strong and vibrant.