Posted tagged ‘quiet’

“Whoever thinks of going to bed before twelve o’clock is a scoundrel.”

June 16, 2017

The weather is wonky. When I woke up, it was sunny. A little while later it got cloudy then it got sunny again. Now it is back to cloudy and is chilly and windy. It is 64˚ and the intermittent clouds foreshadow the rain predicted for later in the day.

The black and white science fiction movie I just finished watching was awful, which, as you know, is one of my favorite sorts to watch as I find the awfulness of the movie  wonderfully entertaining. From Hell It Came was released in 1957. Doctors are on an island which is suffering from plague and is the site of fallout from a nearby nuclear blast. One native, the prince, Kimo, is accused of murdering his father the chief by Tano, the witch doctor, the real murderer; however, the real reason for the accusation is because Kimo befriended American doctors. Kimo is found guilty and is executed by having a knife driven into his heart. He is boxed and buried where there is radiation which transforms him into Tabanga, the walking tree stump with the perpetual scowl. He even develops legs. Tabanga seeks vengeance. He throws his unfaithful wife into quicksand. Tano decides to kill Tabanga and lures him, or it, into a pit which is set on fire; of course, Tabanga doesn’t die. His bark just takes on a charcoal complexion. I’m going to stop here as I don’t want to be a spoiler, but I will say the rest is perfectly awful.

I brought Gracie outside at 1 this morning. The darkness was almost impenetrable. The only sound was the jingle of Gracie’s tags as she walked. She stopped for a bit in the middle of the driveway and just listened. Hearing nothing, she moved to the gate, and I opened it to let her in the yard. I sat on the steps to the deck. She triggered the lights off the deck, and the yard was lit. I could hear her as she walked through the dead leaves on the ground. Finally, she was ready to go back inside the house. We went out again at 5:30. There was daylight, and there were birds singing. When we got back inside, we both slept until nine. She is sleeping again, and I’m thinking that’s one smart dog.

My mother and father were wonderful actors. They always acted surprised and thrilled by the gifts and cards we’d make for them. I remember popsicle stick creations like a coaster for under a drink, and I remember making a popsicle stick plaque and using macaroni letters on it to express my love. The letters were crooked and you could see all the glue holding them to the sticks, but it never mattered to my parents. They called it a work of art.

My dance card has been fairly empty, but I haven’t minded. I’m enjoying doing nothing. I’ve become quite good at it.

“An optimist is a fellow who believes a housefly is looking for a way to get out.”

May 27, 2017

We have some blue sky and a sun which can’t quite make up its mind about coming or going. It is also chilly, not a morning chill: it’s just cold.

My dance card is empty today. I do have some Gracie stuff to wash but nothing else. Yesterday’s amazing spurt of industry has left me with nothing needing doing except to put my banners and flags on the fence.

The lawns are green and lush from the rain. Even the leaves seem to glint in the sun which seems to have made up its mind and is staying for the duration. I’ll go on the deck later and empty the water from the furniture covers hoping they’ll dry so they can be put away for the season. Next week is buy my flowers and open the deck week.

My neighborhood is eerily quiet for a Saturday. Once in a while the dogs across the street bark but usually at Grace and me walking to my backyard. I don’t know where all the kids are, but I’m glad they’re missing. I’m happy for the peaceful morning.

My around the house cozy pants have permanent creases from sitting down when I wear them. One crease has given way. I didn’t figure sewing it would work as it wasn’t torn so I did the next best thing. I duct taped the worn area.

Some of the best things I learned in Ghana were to make-do, throw nothing away and repurpose. Tires became soles of shoes and sandals. Beer bottles were filled with palm oil or groundnut oil for sale in the market. Cones made from newspapers held rice for sale. In the butcher’s market, newspapers were used to wrap meat being sold. That mightn’t sound all that healthy, but the butcher’s market was filthy anyway. Newspapers might have been a step up. I always think it’s amazing what I learned to ignore or tolerate during my time in Ghana. Water with floaties (our word for whatever was in the water sold in beer bottles ), food from the street vendors or from the tables of aunties (older women) who were selling along the sides of the roads and, my favorite, eating in a chop bar ( usually a hole in the wall with a few wobbly tables and mismatched chairs serving local food) never gave me pause after my first few months of Peace Corps training. I even shooed flies off my food before I ate it and sifted my flour for as many weevils (small worms) as I could get. The rest just became protein. All of that became a part of life in Ghana and didn’t merit second thoughts.

The tolerance and forbearance I learned are forever a part of me. I admit my standards are definitely higher now, but I’m not squeamish about most things. I still flick flies.

“Youth is when you’re allowed to stay up late on New Year’s Eve. Middle age is when you’re forced to.”

December 30, 2016

Today is sometimes sunny and sometimes windy. The big storm yesterday was a disappointment. Not that I wanted snow, but I was hoping for a nor’easter and the loud  drumming of rain against the windows. I wanted to see branches fiercely blowing left to right and almost reaching the ground; instead, it just rained.

Today is quiet. Even the dog is bored looking out the front door. She kept hoping for foot traffic where there was none. She is now napping on the couch.

I went to bed earlier and woke up earlier. I’m working on getting up before nine, okay, maybe by nine thirty.

When I was a little kid, I always wanted to stay up to greet the new year. I seldom did. I’d fall asleep before the ball dropped or Auld Lang Syne played. When I got a bit older, I managed to stay awake but found out it was no big deal. Blow a horn and yell Happy New Year was the sum total of my celebration. Come to find out, all the celebrations are almost the same. Add a kiss and a drink then yell Happy New Year.

Nothing much is going on around here. I scoured the paper looking for diversions. All the local New Year’s Eve festivities were listed. There is an indoor farmer’s market tomorrow and an antique fair on Sunday. None of these tempt me to brave the cold.

In the Globe today was a picture with the header, “Seniors ring in New Year with a bit of rock and roll.” At the party yesterday they counted down to noon. They ate mashed potatoes and chicken. They twisted and shimmied and danced away the afternoon.  That, I guess, is full circle.

“And falling’s just another way to fly.”

October 18, 2016

The morning is cloudy and damp. I could smell the ocean when I went to get the papers so I lingered outside a while. It was quiet. I knew my neighbors were awake as their shades were up, and their paper was gone. I don’t see them much. Thinking about it, I don’t see many of my neighbors. When I do, we always wave.

My groceries arrived right on time yesterday. My fridge is now filled. I bought some plantain hoping to make kelewele. I’m also going to try my hand at jollof rice. It’s fun making something new, especially dishes filled with memories.

I left my windows open last night. I had thought them closed for the season, but yesterday was warm. Today will be even warmer. I got to hear the birds sing when I woke up. They were far less intrusive than that Ghanaian rooster. It doesn’t really matter where I am. I love mornings the best. My dad used to switch to storm windows around this time of year. It took him the whole day. He had to get each window on hooks, and it wasn’t easy because he also had to lean on the ladder for balance. We all watched.

It is from my dad I inherited the gene associated with all my falls. His falls were sometimes spectacular. They were also sometimes funny like the sawing himself out of the tree fall I have mentioned before. He didn’t fall far. He did break his hip on a fall from a high ladder when he was painting his house. He always limped after that. I have been luckier with only a broken bone in my shoulder, and no after effects because of physical therapy. I just accept falls as a fact of life.

“Wisely and slowly; they stumble that run fast.”

October 13, 2016

hinesThe morning again came early. I was awake at 4:30 but stayed in bed until 5 hoping to fall asleep again. That didn’t work. I brewed coffee, checked my e-mail and watched the TV news. When I went outside to get the paper, the air had a bit of the ocean about it. Most of the houses were still dark. My neighbors across the street still had their shades down. It was quiet. I miss the hubbub of Bolgatanga’s mornings. I even miss that rooster.

Getting back to the usual takes time.

Ghana wasn’t my last trip. My wanderlust has only been sated, not eliminated. I figure in three years or so I’ll have enough for a trip somewhere. I’m thinking the Dominican Republic.

The last couple of days have been delights. The temperature has been in the 60’s. The sun shines and the sky is a lovely pale blue. Today a few clouds are hanging around to legitimize the possibility of rain predicted on the early weather.

Fern, Maddie and Gracie survived quite nicely. The housesitter favored Gracie, and all the dog’s treats were gone. The home health aid, the person I paid to come every day to give Fern her medicine, did a great job. Fern looks good though a bit skinny. She has been eating up a storm including lots of cat treats. I suspect the cats missed me. Cats are like that. Either they will eat everything or very little when upset. There were too many unopened cans. They are now making up for lost time.

My dance card is empty for today. I could do a second wash, and I need to water my plants, but all in good time is my current view of life. I had to go to Hyannis yesterday and I have a dentist appointment tomorrow. That is far too much excitement.

“I think insomnia is a sign that a person is interesting.”

August 30, 2016

Most mornings are starting the same way. I turn off the air conditioner because the air is cool. The sun bobs in and out of the clouds. It gets dark for a while then lightens. The animals nap. Maddie prefers the chair, Fern the couch and Gracie her crate. I have a couple of cups of coffee, one with each newspaper. It is quiet both inside and outside.

Yesterday I did laundry. Today we’re going to the dump. Peapod came last night so now my larder is full. Mostly I order the same things, but this time I added a few new items. I bought popsicles. They didn’t have root beer so I went with the combo of cherry, orange and grape. I’m not a big grape fan, but I do love cherry. I also bought bagels, onion bagels. I like them toasted crispy and slathered with cream cheese. I also went wild and ordered crunchy peanut butter.

I had a hankering for Chinese food yesterday so I ordered take out for dinner. It was delicious: jumbo shrimp, spare ribs and house special fried rice. I added the hot mustard to the sweet sauce for dipping. My eyes watered from the heat of the combination. It reminded me of my father who used the mustard straight. He had to blow his nose a lot. It was a good thing he carried handkerchiefs.

Usually I fall asleep almost as soon as I go to bed. Last night was an exception. I didn’t even go upstairs until after one and then tossed and turned for an hour. I gave up the idea of sleeping and watched Netflix on my iPad. It was The Fifth Wave, not a great movie but good enough for two in the morning. It wasn’t enough. I was still wide awake. I watched a few episodes of The Last Ship. By then it was after four. Finally, I fell asleep. I’m tired.

“There is no sincerer love than the love of food.”

August 15, 2016

My doors and windows are open. I have rejoined the world if only for a while. There is a breeze coming from the north, the window behind me, keeping the den cool, and the sun is still working its way around so it’s also dark. The weather report is for heat but less humidity so I’m taking advantage and giving the house some fresh air before the onslaught of the heat.

My life of late has been boring. Staying inside the house doesn’t make for adventure, for stories. I do have to go to the dump, but that’s not a plot line for a good story. It’s just trash.

My neighborhood is quiet. I have no idea where the kids are. There are 9 of them on this street. I’m thinking it’s difficult to hide them all. Perhaps their parents are using gags and tricking the kids into thinking it’s a game. When you’re little you believe everything your parents tell you. That’s why I didn’t eat Chinese food until I was around ten or eleven.

I’ve tried salmon a couple of times but I still don’t like it. It’s the only fish I haven’t liked. No respectable fish is pink and why don’t you pronounce the l?

I make a great chili. It is a recipe from my brother-in-law. In his recipe, Rod has beans listed. For my copy, he also has a footnote: if making chili for me, don’t add the beans. I have never made chili with beans. My defense is that real chili has no beans.

I eat a lot of chicken. It’s not all that expensive and chicken recipes number in the millions. I like chicken thighs and think they are the tastiest part of the chicken.When I go out for a casual dinner, I usually order a cheeseburger.

When I go out for a casual dinner, I usually order a cheeseburger with onion rings on the side, but one pub where I eat doesn’t make onion rings at night, only during lunch, so I order French fries. I don’t eat my fries with ketchup; instead, I dip them in mayonnaise. I seldom use salt, but I do salt my fries. They seem to taste better that way.

My mother told us stories about World War II and rationing. She said they seldom got butter so they used oleo instead. It was white but it came with packets of yellow to make it butter-like. When I was a kid, my mother never bought oleo. Having it in the war was enough for her; instead, she always bought butter. My sisters and I still do.

I remember a lunch at a friend’s house.  She made sandwiches with salmon and dessert with peaches. I ate both of them out of courtesy. It rates as the worse lunch in my memory drawers.