Posted tagged ‘fall’

“Sooner or later, everybody dreams of other worlds.”

October 21, 2017

Today is another wondrously beautiful day. The air is clear and the sunlight is sharp. The house had an early morning chill but a blast of heat warmed it. It will be in the high 60’s.

My mother would ask us to stick out our tongues to prove we were telling the truth. She said if we were lying, our tongues would turn black. When we refused to show her our tongues, she knew we’d lied. We’d run to the mirror and stick out our tongues to check. They were never black, My mother said only mothers could see the black tongues. We believed her. It never crossed our minds that our mother had manipulated us. I wish it were that easy to distinguish lies from truth.

My mind has been saturated with far too much news. I am still watching YouTube. Last night I watched three episodes of Rocky Jones Space Ranger, and one is playing right now. The series was made in 1954. The special effects are awful by today’s standards but that’s an unfair comparison. Rocky spent a whole lot of his time talking into a tube to Earth, his boss and to the leaders of other planets. With one exception, the alien leaders all spoke English. There was a sort of a teletype translator on the rocket ship. I recognized some of the minor actors including the star of Mr. Ed who wasn’t the horse. One exchange between Rocky and his crew members, Vena Ray, was reminded to pack her lipstick for the next space journey. She laughed and said lipstick was more important to her than oxygen. Such were the fifties!

I never did go out yesterday. Being home was just too comfortable. I didn’t do my laundry either, but I have made a list for today and laundry is at the top.

When I was a kid, fall was just about my favorite season. The weather was perfect. It was neither hot nor cold. The trees were beautiful and all different colors. We saved the most colorful ones ironed in wax paper. Every Saturday until they were gone, my dad raked the yard and burned the leaves. We rode bikes.

Campbell’s chicken noodle soup with Saltines was my favorite Saturday fall lunch. I’d crumbled the Saltines and put them in the soup. I usually put in so many pieces the broth disappeared. I’d eat the top layer and work my way down to the noodles and vegetables.

My dad loved a snack of buttered crackers. His favorite was Milk Crackers, Royal Lunch Crackers, but Saltines would do in a pinch. From my memory drawer I can still see my dad bringing his crackers on a small plate to the living room. He’d sit in his usual seat on the couch beside the table and munch while watching television. He always left crumbs.

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“What hath night to do with sleep?”

October 1, 2017

Welcome to October: fall, football season, pumpkins on my front steps, cold nights and crisp mornings, leaves turning and falling and a sharp, slanted sunlight. Today is all of those. Last night it was in the high 40’s, and I needed an afghan. This morning my house was only 64˚ so I turned on the heat until it was warm. I’m wearing a sweatshirt. First we had sun then clouds and now sun again. I’m watching the Patriots.

Here on the cape, this is the best month. The tourists are mostly gone except on the weekends, and this is the high season for busloads of guided retirees on weekdays. They stop at Cuffy’s for sweatshirts with Cape Cod across the chest, and at Christmas Tree shops for who knows what.

This is the season for soups loaded with fresh vegetables, especially squash. I love butternut squash bisque, and it is on my fall menu, those recipes I want to make.

The colors of fall are beautiful. I always love the first appearance of mums. The bright yellows, the muted reds, the bronze, the whites and the lavenders sitting out front of farm stores always catch my eye. Sometimes I stop and buy only one or two, but I have been guilty of mum buying sprees so I’m cautious.

It’s time for me to decorate my house with my yin and yang decorations. I have gourds which look real, pumpkins of all sizes, some lit, some unlit, and garlands of colored leaves. My Halloween storage boxes are filled with rats, really ugly life-like rats, ravens, monsters, skeletons and witches. I have purple and orange lights. I’ll start after my nap today and finish tomorrow.

A nap? Yes, I am in dire need of a nap. I didn’t turn off my light until close to three this morning then I was tossing and turning. I heard the cat throw up, and I just ignored her and turned over. The dog woke me at eight. She needed to go outside. I dragged myself off the couch and took her out. It was a good thing I did. When we came back inside, we all, the three of us, went back to sleep, but it wasn’t enough for me. I slept for only an hour, but I’m still tired and grouchy. I’m even hoarse. I did find a hairball Maddie had tossed up and cleaned it. I’m so ready to join Maddie and Gracie in the land of Nod.

“Suddenly, the wind got hold of the hammock. Leaves murmured. It was cold and the sun had gone down.”

September 1, 2017

September has arrived far too quickly. The summer sped so fast I swear my body, especially my face, was contorted by the G-force acceleration. Today is even autumnal weather with temperatures in the high 60’s. Tonight will be even colder, the high 40’s, sweatshirt by day and warm blanket weather by night. The day is really pretty with a clear blue sky and lots of sun. The breeze is brisk so the trees and leaves are swaying. I filled the bird feeders yesterday, but I noticed they are only half full already. I have more seed in the trunk so I’ll fill the feeders again later.

My mother had a small flower garden on the side of her house beneath some kitchen windows. She had bird feeders among the flowers including a statue of St. Francis with his arm extended and his palm up so it could seed. She put a wire fence across the entrance of that garden to keep my dog Maggie away, but it seldom worked. She always found a way inside. I swear Maggie did it just to drive my mother crazy. I used to have to retrieve her and reset the fence. A while later, though, Maggie was back in the garden, and I was retrieving her again. It was a game she always played but only when the flowers were in bloom.

I always call this coming season fall rather than autumn. If I lived on a farm, I guess I’d call it the harvest season. When I was a kid, I figured it was called fall because of all the leaves falling off the trees. The sidewalks and the gutters were always covered or filled with leaves. I’d walk in the gutters on my way to school and kick the leaves all over. They’d mostly land in the street strewn about like a trail you could follow all the way from my house to school.

Fall eases us into winter. It’s a shoulder season. We have warm days then cold days hinting of winter. I open my windows during the day and close then at night. The house holds the night cold in the mornings now. The backyard is shadowed so it is chilly when I first take Gracie out. I beg her to hurry so we both can go back inside, me for coffee and warmth and her for breakfast. Today she didn’t linger.

“Laziness is the first step towards efficiency.”

November 29, 2016

or mThere isn’t any sun again. I’ve lost track of how many days. I get up and see clouds out the window; I go to get the papers and feel the cold and damp. The wind is slight so that’s a good thing. Only the edges of the brown leaves flutter and none fall to the ground.

Gracie has a vet appointment at 12:00, an old dog appointment which just means a second physical to make sure all is well. She also needs one shot and to have her nails clipped. It will be expensive. It always is.

Maddie howled me awake this morning. It was late so she probably had lost her patience and wanted her treats and some loving, in that order. Now she is standing beside me getting her neck scratched, and she is purring. If I dare stop, she nudges me with her head.

The laundry is back downstairs in front of the cellar door. Last time it sat here nearly a week. I finally got sick of seeing it. I could have thrown it downstairs, but that would have been far too lazy even for me.

I went through all the catalogues I had yesterday only to get more in the mail. They are never ending.

When I woke up this morning, my first thought was how to fix the dog door. The plastic fell again. I’m thinking a plastic strip over the holes would keep the screws attached. The big holes would disappear. I think I have just what I need in the cellar. That is now today’s other chore. Changing the bed is tops on the list.

Winter makes me lazy. The summer invites me outside and the spring demands attention. Fall catches my eyes with all its color, and I don’t want to miss it. Those colors never last long enough. In winter I’d much rather stay home. Being outside has little appeal. I don’t have to get dressed but can stay in my laze around the house clothes. Any chores can keep. I figure if I dust, I’ll only have to dust again so why bother. The house is neat, and that’s enough.

“I write to express and I shop to destress”

November 26, 2016

Okay, last night started off great. I watched, binge watched, all four episodes of Gilmore Girls. I had wanted to savor them, but I couldn’t wait. Each one got better than the one before so the last one, fall, was wonderful. It was like Gilmore Girls of old. I hated finishing. That happened about 1:30. I then went up to bed followed closely by my faithful hound Gracie; however, Miss Gracie didn’t settle down on the bed. She sat up, started gulping then panting. She moved around trying to get comfortable but couldn’t, and she was shaking. I turned on the light and tried to comfort her. That didn’t work. We went downstairs, and I let her out. By this time it was after 2. She came in, jumped on the couch and laid down. So did I. That lasted only minutes before she was up and panting again. We did the spider plant routine. I cut and held and she ate. Now we were closing on 3:30. I went upstairs, got my pillow and blanket. I took all the cushions off the couch and made myself as comfortable as possible. Gracie jumped on and was okay for about 15 minutes. I went back to the dining room followed by Gracie. I snipped more spider plant fronds which she scarfed down. After that, Gracie seemed okay so we went back to the couch. That didn’t last either as she wanted out again. It was close to 4:30. When Gracie came back inside, she jumped on the couch, got comfy and fell asleep. I couldn’t get comfortable. My last time check was 5:00. I woke up at 11.

Last night had a silver lining. Maddie didn’t howl. I think she was entertained by the antics of Gracie and me; also, she had company.

It is a good thing I live alone as I am a bit grumpy. I woke up with a headache and a back ache. Both are almost gone due to the miracle of modern over the counter medicines, but grumpy still remains. I have hopes of getting out today despite the rain. Perhaps a bit of shopping and a stop for lunch will make me fit for human company again.

“Never complete. Never whole. White skin and an African soul.”

November 4, 2016

If I pulled out that dusty old dictionary of mine and looked up autumn, I’d find it is a noun defined as,”the third season of the year, when crops and fruits are gathered and leaves fall, in the northern hemisphere from September to November and in the southern hemisphere from March to May.” The words in the definition just aren’t enough. What about autumn’s almost indefinable beauty? What about autumn’s colors, its cool, sometimes cold nights, and its warmer mornings? What about a perfect autumn day? Well, I’ve got that one covered: today is the perfect autumn day. The sun is bright. The sky is deep blue but has a few wispy clouds for contrast. The air is warm, long sleeve shirt warm. A slight breeze is enough to drop the brown leaves off the boughs of the oak trees. They slowly flutter to the ground as if they know their time is done. Today is a day to be out and about.

I met two former students the other day. We did the pleasantries and caught up with one another. I met one’s baby and another’s nine year old. They asked what I was doing to stay busy. I described my life as a sloth and I mentioned traveling. They wanted to know where. “Africa,” I told them. “Wow,” was the response from each of them and both mentioned how exciting Africa must have been. I told them about the elephants. Seeing those elephants was nothing short of amazing for me, and they thought seeing elephants had to be the coolest thing.

Those conversations got me thinking. Elephants and game parks aside, going back to Ghana is almost commonplace for me. Were I to go to Mali or Botswana, I would think of each as an unbelievable trip to Africa. Ghana is going home. It is familiar again. I get to see my former students, and we are at ease with each other, the sort of ease which comes from years of friendship. I am not surprised by what I see. The rooster wakes me up, but I can always go back to sleep. I enjoy goat and Guinea fowl as much as beef or chicken. I know Ghanaian food is spicy hot and best eaten with my hand. I am adept at noticing and walking over deposits left by goats and sheep on the streets, the walkways and in the market. All the smells are Ghana to me. Ghanaians smile at me, and I smile back. I even greet them in Hausa and a bit of FraFra.

Though Bolgatanga is bigger and far busier, I just think of it as home. It being in Africa is merely serendipitous.

“Autumn burned brightly, a running flame through the mountains, a torch flung to the trees.”

October 22, 2016

The clouds and the on again off again rain have put a damper on my day, literally and figuratively. I just can’t seem to scare up enough energy to do anything but sit and watch television; however, I’m watching Syfy, not MSNBC.

It is warm right now, but that will change. By the late afternoon, we’ll be down into the 40’s, sweatshirt weather. It will be autumnal (I love this word).

When I went to get the papers, I was struck by how quiet the morning was. There was no breeze to rustle the leaves, no one was outside and no cars traveled down the street. I stood outside for a bit.

This is my favorite season. I used to think the Cape didn’t have much color until my first autumn back from Africa when I found the color so beautiful, so bright with reds and yellows. I saw cranberry bogs filled with deep red, ripe berries and watched when they were harvested. Pumpkins and sheafs of wheat decorated front steps. Mums in autumn colors came alive in the gardens. I fell in love with fall.

I have a couple of errands to do today. Gracie will come along to keep me company. She loves rides. She stands on the console between the front seats and looks out the windshield. When we stop at lights, she sticks her head out the back window. I swear she smiles.

I am losing my mind. I bought a bag of anise bears. The other night I ate so many I decided to put the bag away to eliminate temptation. Last night, I went to get the bag. I couldn’t find it. I looked in all my usual hiding places and in some odd places like the fridge just in case. It seems I did a remarkable job at keeping temptation away. I never did find those anise bears.