Posted tagged ‘lovely day’

“Babies have big heads and big eyes, and tiny little bodies with tiny little arms and legs. So did the aliens at Roswell! I rest my case.”

July 25, 2015

It would seem a bit egocentric to believe we are it in this universe. Those science fiction movies about aliens can’t all be make-believe though I admit most of the the aliens are a bit much, totally unrealistic, in the looks department, but I digress so it’s back to the news. What has happened is the plot of one of those movies is bumping into real life. At the start of the movie Battleship, the scientist notes that they have found a planet in orbit around a sun almost equidistant from its sun as we are from ours. They speculate it has conditions similar to Earth’s and could sustain life. They are sending a beacon to that planet from a communications array in Hawaii; of course, the aliens directed by the beacon find Earth and set out to conquer it. We defeat the aliens, no surprise there. Okay, here’s real life: scientists have discovered an Earth like planet orbiting its sun just a bit further away from its sun than we are from ours. It is the third planet from the sun. Sound familiar? I’m thinking no beacon.

Today is an on again off again sunny day. Earlier it was all sun then all clouds. Now the sun is making a return engagement. The day feels pleasant, no humidity. It is in the mid 70’s. Tonight will be cooler, perfect for sleeping. It is also movie night. We are going to watch Breaking Away. My friends who were apparently brought up in closets haven’t ever seen it. I’m going to buy movie candy: Junior Mints and Malted Milk Balls and they’ll be popcorn.

Everything this morning is very quiet. I don’t even hear a mower. When I was a kid, my neighborhood was never quiet. Every house had multiple children so the place overflowed with kids. The little kids stayed close to home and played in the backyard. I can still see my two sisters sitting on the back steps playing with their dolls. The rest of us were nomads traveling for the sake of traveling. We had the world to explore.

“My first car was a motorcycle.”

July 23, 2015

Today is lovely with very little humidity and a cooling breeze. I slept in until nearly 10 o’clock. Last night I was tired so I went to bed early (for me) but was still awake at 3. To pass the time I watched a movie on my iPad, A Foreign Field. I kept thinking I’d finish it in the morning, but I watched it through to the end.

A flicker, a bird I haven’t seen in a long while, and a huge woodpecker were the stars this morning at the bird feeders. The usual complement of birds also dropped by, but they, especially the chickadee, looked tiny compared to the flicker. The red spawn hasn’t been by in a long while. I think it has to do with the spawn having gotten caught a few times inside the wire feeder while the full brunt of the jet spray of the nozzle was directed at it. The spawn just couldn’t escape fast enough to avoid the spray.

In Ghana, during my second year, Peace Corps relaxed its rules and allowed us to buy motorcycles. I bought a small motorcycle, a Honda 90. It was designed for modesty, with no middle bar, perfect for me as I had to wear dresses all the time. I learned the gears and the brake when I bought the moto, as it is called it in Ghana, and then rode it over 100 miles from Tamale to Bolgatanga. It was exhilarating. I loved the road and the wind on my face. The bugs were not so welcome. I learned to be exhilarated without smiling. A few inhaled bugs and a choke or two taught me that lesson. I rode along singing out loud to pass the time. I figure a few villagers told stories later about the crazy baturia (white woman) on the moto screeching as she rode.

The road home was a good one, paved all the way. It was called the road to Bolga and it went straight there so I never worried about getting lost. The ride was a long one so I stopped to stretch my legs and once I bought a warm coke at a store along the road. Kids from villages beside the road followed a bit and waved. I was even comfortable enough driving by then to wave back. When I got to the school gate, I honked so the gateman would let me in. He smiled a toothless grin and pointed to my bike. I smiled back and nodded.

I would love to have another motorcycle, but I dare not given how often I bang my leg or fall up or down stairs. Traffic here goes far too fast and hugging the sides of the road is a recipe for disaster. I’m liable to hit a giant rock or branch or have something from the sky fall directly on my head, such is my luck.

“I think there’s just one kind of folks. Folks.”

May 31, 2015

Clouds dot the sky this cool morning. A breeze comes and goes. The sunlight is bright. Today is another in a string of perfectly lovely days.

I didn’t do much yesterday other than potting a plant. Today I’ll plant the rest of my new flowers and sweep the deck. I do have to get a few things to make my dessert for game night, and I’ll go shortly. The morning is the best time to shop once the tourists arrive.

Last night I watched To Kill a Mockingbird. It is among my favorites and a superb movie. I used to teach the novel to ninth graders. Prior to their reading it, I gave my students a sense of the time and the place, essentials to understanding the events of the novel. Usually my kids were pulled into the book, and they found they liked reading it despite themselves. For some it was the first novel they ever finished. I remember how indignant they were with the outcome of the trial. Their senses of right and wrong were dependent on circumstances, not race or color.

My first encounter with a person of color was when I was three. My mother and I were in an elevator at a Sears, the big Sears near Fenway Park which has been closed a long time. Three of us were alone in an elevator, the other person being a woman of color. I had only seen white people all my life so I asked my mother about the woman’s color. The woman took offense and started screaming and calling us names like white crackers and white trash. My mother was embarrassed. I was scared. I didn’t understand why she was screaming. I was only three.

I don’t remember what my mother said to me afterwards, but whatever it was both comforted and reassured me, just what I needed right then.

“Space is disease and danger wrapped in darkness and silence.”

May 24, 2015

If I were prone to burst out in song, I’d be singing Oh What a Beautiful Morning. The sun is squint your eyes bright, and it’s warm even bordering on hot. I have already been busy. I potted the last of the deck plants and polished the old silver butter knives with the names of the herbs on them then stuck them in the planters.

The deck is still a mess from the last rain storm, but I’m hoping I can get my landscaper’s guy to blow it clean and save me the sweeping. I have an errand today in a bit as I’m making appetizers for game night tonight and need a couple of ingredients for the brie and strawberries, mostly brie and strawberries.

Gracie had a tough night so we were up until 2:30. I don’t know what she ate but she had indigestion again. I gave her sea grass and it did the trick though I needed to do the clean-up, but that’s a small price to pay for a happy dog.

Every now and then I have a craving for something salty. When I do, I am reminded of the episode from the original Star Trek about Nancy, the shape-shifting salt fiend. Kirk, McCoy and a red-shirted crewman go down to the planet to administer physicals to the two inhabitants, Nancy and her husband. Well, it doesn’t take long until red shirt dies. That is a rule in Star Trek-all red shirts are doomed. Two more crew members beam down, both wearing red shirts. Nancy kills them then shape shifts into one of them and goes back to the Enterprise. Well, Nancy isn’t Nancy-she is a salt sucking fiend who attacks Kirk, but McCoy kills her before she can suck all the salt and kill him. I don’t use much salt but when I do, thoughts of Nancy come to mind.

“November always seemed to me the Norway of the year.”

November 10, 2014

Today is a lovely fall day with a slight breeze, mottled light shining through the backyard branches and birds at all the feeders. It is a quiet day. I don’t even hear cars. I do hear the snoring, especially Gracie’s. She seems herself. The next test for her is Saturday.

I have to buy cat food and litter today so Gracie and I will be out and about later. I also need some cold cuts so I can keep hiding the horse-sized pill she takes each morning.

I have started my Christmas shopping. Everything I’ve bought is on one of the guest room beds so I have to start checking what’s there and making a list of what I need. My sister in Colorado never helps. I ask and she says she’ll have to think about it. That drives me crazy. My other sister usually has one big item in mind and always asks if it is too expensive. It never is. The best part of Christmas presents is getting something you really want. I may drive my sister crazy this year as I have nothing in mind. I’ll just let her surprise me.

The three boys are getting Hess trucks for one of their gifts. They get one every year. The baby will only be 5 months by Christmas, but I figured I’d start his collection. Both babies got hand-knit stockings already, and I have ordered each of them a wooden box containing three handmade ornaments including Baby’s First Christmas. Kids are easy. Adults seldom are. To some I give magazine subscriptions including Afar, Smithsonian, Bon Appetit and Yankee. They are always a big hit as gifts. I’ll also do some hunting in local stores as I love to find different and off-beat gifts, and there are a few stores I can always count on for something special.

Well, my back is horrific today. I did too much yesterday. That’s always the way with me. It happens all the time. I am a slow learner.

“I couldn’t help thinkin’ if she was as far out o’ town as she was out o’ tune, she wouldn’t get back in a day.”

September 7, 2014

The rain arrived sometime after 1:30. At 5 I woke up and could hear drops hitting the window. I don’t know how long it rained, but it rinsed away all the humidity and heat. This morning is a delight. The deck is dappled with sunlight. The air is dry and cool. All the windows and doors are open letting in the feel and smell of fresh air. Gracie is sleeping on the rug by the front door. She knows a good thing.

I sing but am always off tune. I wish I weren’t. Mostly I sing at home or in the car. I never sing in front of people. In the third grade I was told to mouth the words during the May procession. I was eight. Luckily that never dampened my love for music. I still remember that nun, Sister Eileen Marie, who was one of my favorites until that fateful practice. She was the only nun who let my dog stay in the classroom when he followed me to school. With other nuns, I had to leave school to take him home which was actually sort of fun. It was permission to take a field trip of my own, just the dog and me. My mother was always surprised.

Duke slept on a rug on the floor under the clock. Our classroom was in the cellar of the rectory as the school had run out of rooms and no one knew except us that Duke was allowed to stay. I thought that pretty neat, like we had a mascot. We had tables instead of desks, and the windows were high up and small like cellar windows are. We entered through a door beside the garage as the cellar was mostly above ground. We were the only class not in the school, and I loved having a private room. I loved the tables and folding chairs instead of desks. We piled our books and supplies in front of us down the middle of the tables. We had our own bathrooms: one for girls and one for boys and it was one at a time like a real bathroom. There were no bells. In the old building a student would stand on the top floor and ring a hand bell to tell us to change subjects, eat lunch or go home. In the cellar we kept an eye on the clock especially as we got closer to the end of the school day. We didn’t want to stay an extra minute.

The next year we were back in the old building on the top floor. We were one among many. It just wasn’t as fun.

“Then Sister Aquinata abandoned the nonviolent methods and produced a rolling pin from somewhere.”

August 23, 2014

The house is so cold I was surprised when I went to get the papers at how warm it is outside. This is so not the usual August. I should be complaining about the heat and saying to strangers as we stand in lines together, “I can’t take this humidity.”

I do the Globe crossword puzzle every day. Often there is a clue asking Bert’s twin. I know the answer is Nan because I used to read The Bobbsey Twins. I figure others know the answer because of context or familiarity with the clue. What I wonder is why The Bobbsey Twins. It isn’t as if they’re widely read. I took one off my shelf not long ago and read a few chapters. It was a book I had received as a birthday gift when I was nine. There is an inscription from my Grandmother. The book was so dated it was funny but not in a kind way. I really enjoyed that series.

My mother always told me I was the smartest little kid. She might have told my siblings the same thing, but I’m going with she didn’t for ego’s sake. She told me I used to sit on her lap while she read to me usually from a Golden Book. When I was two, I could name every animal on the back in Spanish. Okay, not in Spanish. I just threw that in to shock you, but I did know the names of all the animals in English. My mother thought that was quite an achievement for a two-year old. It even made my baby book of milestones.

Because I was the oldest, my life was chronicled. My biographers will have a field day with such information as my first word, mama, my success at potty training and my speaking in sentences before I was even two. I walked at nine months. My mother was quite faithful in filling in my baby book. My siblings weren’t so lucky. My brother had several entries, being child number two, but by child number four there was only an envelope with a few jottings on it. Her first word is forever lost.

I was trying to remember my first day of school but I don’t. I do remember going to the nursery school across the street from where we lived in South Boston. I remember because of the trauma. I cried the whole time and had to be dragged across the street the second day. My mother then wisely decided I didn’t need to go to nursery school so the planets realigned and life returned to normal.

I think I must have been fine for elementary school, and I figure my mother walked me to school that first day. It was an easy walk in almost a straight line so even without her I never feared getting lost. I did fear the nuns. They were different and in those habits they seemed barely human because all we saw on each of them was a face and hands. That was creepy. They did make noises when they walked because the giant rosary beads around their waists clicked against each other. It was like an early warning system.

The older I got the less I feared nuns. I don’t know exactly when, maybe by third grade, but I know at one point I recognized they were mostly humans in strange garb.


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