Posted tagged ‘reading’

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

January 20, 2017

The clock just struck one. I’m not even tired. I went up and down the TV dial and checked out Netflix, but I didn’t find anything I wanted to watch. I tried to read, but I just couldn’t settle down and pay attention. Gracie and Maddie had slept most of the night away, but Gracie just woke up, had a snack and a drink of water then climbed back on the couch to go back to sleep. In about two minutes she was snoring. I envy her.

The weather stayed lovely all day. It hit 43˚. Gracie and I did our errands. We went to the dump, and she got her nails cut at the vets then we took a ride. Gracie liked the window down.

When we got home, the alien took over my body again. The kitchen is gleaming. This sudden spurt of housecleaning has to end.

When I was a kid, I read all of the time. I visited the library just about every week in the summer and every couple of weeks in the winter. I can close my eyes and still picture the children’s side of the library. The librarian sat behind a round counter made of wood set in the middle of the room across from the door. The shelves filled with mysteries were against the wall behind her. The tables and chairs were all wooden. The chairs were spindlebacks though I didn’t know back then that’s what the style was called. Some of the chairs had arms. The tables were different lengths. I’d sit for a bit and look through books to decide which ones I wanted to read. When I was ready, I’d bring the books to the librarian who would stamp the lined sheet in the back with the due date.

I loved mysteries. My favorite detectives were Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden. The library didn’t have those books, but I’d use my fifty cent allowance to buy the Trixie Belden books and just about every birthday and Christmas I’d be given new Nancy Drews. I loved that they were girls solving mysteries. Nancy drove a roadster. I had to look up what kind of a car a roadster was. Trixie was much younger, closer to my age. I always envied their sleuthing. I would have loved stumbling on a mystery.

Well, I finally settled on a Netflix film about conspiracies. Hitler and Eva were replaced by doubles who were shot. The two of them were then spirited out of the country. Now I’m going to find out what really happened to Nazi gold.  This program was a great choice. I’m getting sleepy from watching it.

“fuzzy black lines hiccuped across the screen.”

January 2, 2017

All the hoopla is over. It is time to put Christmas away, my project for the week. I also need to grocery shop. Alexa is keeping my list. I added coffee filters and trash bags this morning.

Tomorrow Gracie and I are going to the dump. It’s back to the mundane. All the anticipation is gone. January is a boring month.

Being stuck in the house was always a winter woe when I was little. It was either too cold or too wet or too snowy to go out. We’d play games until we got bored then we’d watch TV for a while. We’d play in the cellar. The bottom of the banister was a horse to me. I’d use old blankets to make a saddle to put over the wood. I’d concoct a story of me as the sheriff or the marshall, and I’d ride that horse until I’d captured the bad guy. I was every character, and I’d use different voices. My lowest voice was the bad guy’s. He always got caught.

My favorite way to spend time was lying in bed reading my new Christmas book. I was cozy under the blankets. The headboard lamp was warm. It lit the pages perfectly. I was by myself. I heard nothing. I had been captured by my book.

Even now, so many years later, I find books the best way to while away time. I don’t read in bed much anymore as I tend to fall asleep; instead, I get cozy here in the den on the couch with an afghan keeping me warm and Gracie asleep by my feet. It is always time well spent.

Today I watched Highway Patrol with Broderick Crawford who always wears a suit and his fedora. It is in black and white and dates from the mid-1950’s. In this episode, the Highway Patrol is hunting an escaped mental patient with homicidal tendencies and abnormally strong hands. He is a frustrated violin player whose hand jumps so he can no longer play. That is often what triggers his rage: any mention of his hand or music. He just killed a man who mentioned the shaking hand. 21-50 to headquarters. Body found! 10-4!

“Summer has set in with its usual severity.”

July 16, 2016

Yesterday I mentioned how living in an air conditioned house was like a voluntary solitary confinement. This morning, to add to the isolation, I was totally disconnected from the digital world. My phone, internet and cable weren’t working. I did have my two newspapers so I pored through each drinking coffee all the while. I decided to call Comcast. They attempted to reset my modem. The modem didn’t respond. I decided to stay on the line for what seemed forever. Finally, a real person answered who said the East Coast had lost its connection, but they were coming back a section at a time. He said mine should reconnect by 9:30. He was almost right. It was 9:50 when my internet came to life followed by the phone and about five minutes later the TV.

I thought it horrible to be so disconnected. It wasn’t as if I needed the connection, but I like the choice. I did have my book to read after I finished the papers so I was content. Now I’m watching The Great British Baking Show and have the urge to bake bread.

My broom is at the ready. I have to sweep away the last of the poop which is under the table. I have just unfurled my table umbrella. I next need to connect the umbrella adaptor to the lights and unfurl my second umbrella. Once all that is done, it will be deck time.

I love coconut. In Ghana, small girls used to sell balls of toasted coconut. The balls were in a square glass container with wooden corners which the girls carried on their heads. I always stopped to buy a few when I saw the small girls. Along the sides of the road, aunties, older women, sold coconuts. When you bought one, they’d use a nail and a mallet to make a hole so you could drink the coconut milk. I aways love buying food from the aunties on the sides of the road.

The caterpillars have left and the moths have taken over. If this were a science fiction movie, I’d go outside and the moths would cover my body. When they were sated and had flown away, only my bones would remain. Okay, maybe I have been alone too long!

“You’ll wake up on Easter morning, And you’ll know that he was there, When you find those chocolate bunnies, That he’s hiding ev’rywhere.”

March 21, 2016

First we had rain then we had snow last night but only a dusting to an inch. The weather today is in a weird cycle. The snow started to melt earlier so most of the branches are no longer covered. Right now, though, it is snowing again, big flakes falling straight down or from the north. The snow cover on the ground has slush underneath it. My shoes would leave only a hole, not a footprint if I walked in the yard. The day is dark and uninviting. It is a read a book day or a day to do that project I need finished by Easter. The problem, however, is I have little ambition, not even enough to turn pages. Cozy under the covers on a dark and snowy day seems just about right.

Easter never had the anticipation Christmas had. It didn’t have any rules about the necessity for good behavior but it didn’t have any wishes either. We knew pretty much what we’d find on Easter morning. The only surprises were the small toys and books my mother tucked into our baskets. A tall chocolate rabbit was always the eye-catcher. Around it were jelly beans, big round hard colored candies which were white in the middle, a few small pieces of chocolate and some yellow Peeps, wild out of the box. I remember if I ate a piece from something, like the ears from the big rabbit, and put the rest of the rabbit back into the basket, it would stick to the grass at the bottom. Later, before I could have another bite, I’d have to pull off the grass shoots.

We didn’t have a giant rabbit at the mall the way they do now. We just had Santa at Christmas. Seeing Santa made a lot of sense but seeing the rabbit doesn’t. What do you talk about? What do you ask him to bring? He doesn’t care if you were good or bad. You’ll get an Easter basket regardless. I suppose you can always fall back on the sort of stuffed animal you want, the one usually sitting beside the basket, but beyond that, I’m clueless.

“It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.”

February 4, 2016

Some mornings I am Cinderella. Blue birds are singing and helping me get dressed. They alight on my shoulder and tweet a lovely song. The world is a happy place. Today is not one of those mornings. The phone woke me up, but I didn’t answer. I knew it was the first robocall. Several more will follow. I went back to sleep. Fern woke me up with her constant meowing. I tried to ignore her, but she was far too loud and grating. The meowing was my fault-the water dish was almost empty. I filled it and went back to bed. Gracie then got restless and went downstairs. I tried to go back to sleep. It didn’t work. I went to brush my teeth and found a cat had been sick on the hall floor. I cleaned it up. Next I went downstairs, ran out into the pouring rain and got my paper. I then noticed the dog had gotten sick on the rug. She always aims for that rug. I cleaned it up. The coffee went on. I started to read the paper and then I realized it was quiet: all the animals were sleeping. That was my morning.

On winter days the choices were limited. After school we’d bike if the weather was winter warm. Snow still on the ground meant sledding but only for a few runs. The dark came early. By twilight we were done. On really cold days we were stuck inside school during the day and in the house the rest of the time. The walk home was our only outside and it was freezing.

Most times I never minded staying inside. I’d cozy up with a book. That was all I needed. Sometimes, though, I’d get bored. There was nothing to do. I couldn’t go outside and risk frostbite. Good TV was an hour or so away. I didn’t want to read anymore. I didn’t want to talk anybody. I didn’t know what I wanted.

I still get bored. Sometimes I just throw up my hands in surrender and go take a nap.  Other times Gracie and I go for a ride. I never stay bored long. There are so many choices now, but I usually seem to choose the standby, reading. The afternoon disappears while I’m caught by a book. I forget about boredom.

“And now we welcome the new year, full of things that have never been”

January 1, 2016

Happy New Year!

The weather doesn’t look much different being grey and overcast, and I slept away the morning having stayed up way too late last night, but I feel a bit different, a little more excited for each new day. I have no expectations so whatever happens will be a surprise. I know I’m hoping to go back to Ghana in the fall with my friends, my friends from Peace Corps days. We traveled together all the time back when, and we lived in a duplex on school grounds. They are funny and are great travelers, and they love Ghana. It feels like home to them as well. How lucky we are!

When I was a kid, New Year’s Day wasn’t especially significant to me. It meant the end of vacation so it had a pall about it. I’d had a whole week of no bedtime and playing as long as I wanted with my new toys. I’d read my new books well into the night without being told to turn off the light. One week just wasn’t enough.

It really didn’t take long for routine to grab us right back into it. Get up, get dressed, eat breakfast, walk to school, sit there all day with just lunch and recess to break up the monotony, sit back down after lunch then with great hoopla run home at the end of the day hoping for some outside play time before it got dark.

The funny thing is I never thought of that as a routine. I just thought of it as the lot of every kid. Weekends also followed a pattern. On most winter Saturdays we walked uptown for a movie. The sun was always low in the sky when we’d walk home. I remember that for some reason. When I was older, we’d often skate on a Saturday. We would walk to Rec Park and skate on the temporary rink the town put up every year. It was circular, and we always skated one way.

Sundays were seldom exciting. They were masses in the morning and family dinners in the afternoon before we were free. Bedtime came early on a Sunday. My mother always used the excuse we needed our sleep for school the next day. We never bought it.

“A book is a garden, an orchard, a storehouse, a party, a company by the way, a counsellor, a multitude of counsellors.”

September 27, 2015

The morning is warm, but the house is still nighttime cold. The sun was so pleasant I sat outside for a while then with great resolve went inside to brave the chill of the house. The animals were huddled beside me when I woke up. If this had been winter, the furnace would have gone on triggered by the low temperature.

I’ve decided I am stuck in a rut, not an unpleasant rut but a rut nonetheless. This last week I stayed home most of the time by cramming all four of my errands into a single day. The reason for this inactivity is a new book. It was slow reading at first, but not anymore so I read and keep reading. Every now and then I take a nap then I read again. Last night I was in bed well before midnight but didn’t turn the light off until 1:30. I kept telling myself I’ll finish this chapter then go to sleep. That went on for several chapters. Today I’ll finish my book when maybe I can rejoin the world. (In case you’re wondering: The Nature of the Beast: A Chief Inspector Gamache novel.)

Losing myself in a book is one of my favorite ways to spend time. I’ve been doing it since I was a kid. I devour books sometimes reading them in one sitting, one very long sitting well into the night and into the next morning. I used to hide my books when I was in school. I’d pretend to be reading the textbook but instead was caught up in a mystery or a suspense novel smaller than the textbook so easily hidden between the pages. In biology class we read the text a lot. Among many I finished The House of the Seven Gables during that class. I never once got caught. I’m thinking I looked intensely interested in my text.

I remember my mother reading Treasure Island to my brother and me. That novel whetted my appetite for more. I think I’ve read most of Stevenson’s books, but Treasure Island will always be my favorite. I am so grateful my mother gave us a love of reading. What a wonderful gift!