Posted tagged ‘spawns of Satan’

“Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons.”

February 23, 2017

Gracie and I were out and about yesterday. The weather was amazing. It was sunny and warm: sweatshirt weather. Today is much the same, and Gracie and I have a few errands: buying canned dog food at Agway, a few storage bins at Benny’s and my favorite sandwich at Buckies, number 14: bacon and cheddar with tomatoes, avocado, and horseradish sauce on a panini. Life is good.

Snow is still around on corners and in the shade, but it is warm enough that I can leave my inside doors open to the storm doors. Gracie goes in and out her dog door, and, best of all, she gets to watch the doings on the street from the front door. She sits and looks hoping for a bit of activity. Every now and then she barks. I check, and usually it’s someone walking a dog. Gracie does not like dogs walking on her street and makes no bones about it.

I have a new bird feeder, a bag of sunflower seeds, and two packs of suet. Cleaning the older feeders and filling them is on my to-do list for later. Loading my shotgun to attend to the spawns of Satan is next on the list (okay, I don’t have a gun, but I do wish the spawns would disappear).

I haven’t used real money in a while. The 3 dollars in my wallet are weeks old. Mostly I use my ATM to pay for stuff though sometimes I do use my credit card, mostly at the pharmacy. I don’t write many checks anymore. I pay my bills on line or have the amounts automatically deducted. I don’t really need much money. It seems to have gone out of style.

When I went to Ghana last fall, I brought some cash but mostly I used my ATM to get money as no one in the markets, the small stores and kiosks or the sides of the road take other than cash. I did use my ATM card at Zaina Lodge and my credit card in one large shop by the ocean in Accra. Money still counts in Ghana. I kept a pocketful.

Gracie is giving me the paw, her signal that it’s time to eat. I doubt she’ll accept that I have none left so I need to get going. Gracie want to eat!

“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.

“It was June, and the world smelled of roses. The sunshine was like powdered gold over the grassy hillside.”

June 29, 2014

The day is breathtakingly beautiful. My day lilies in the front garden have started to bloom with orange flowers tilted to the sun. The deck pots are awash with flowers, and the vegetables seem to double in height each day. Birds are plentiful at the sunflower feeders, and the grape jelly needs to be refilled. It seems the orioles have found their feeders. On the deck this morning were two grey spawns, two huge grey spawns, chasing one another. I watched them jump from chair to chair then jump off the deck to scurry up trees one after the other. I think love is in the air.

My neighbors at the other end of the street had company last night. Their voices carried through the chilly night air. I felt like an eavesdropper so I shut my windows, but those voices brought back a flood of memories of summer nights when I was a kid. All the neighborhood back doors faced each other from houses at the top and bottom of a tall grassy hill. I’d lie in bed on a summer night trying to fall asleep in the heat, and I could hear the neighbors. The closest neighbors had distinct voices, whole conversations, while those from up the hill seemed more like whispers. I’d hear the clink of dishes and silverware being washed. The houses were duplexes, and their floor plans were all the same. The sinks had windows above them and they all faced the hill. Soon enough, though, as the night got older, the sounds from the kitchens faded.

One of my bedroom windows faced the living room of the duplex beside ours where my Aunt Ruby, Uncle Billy and Cousin Susan lived for a while. I used to listen to their TV. Most nights it was the last sound I’d hear before I fell asleep.

My street is busy this week. The house beside me, the rental, has people. The other usually empty houses, all second homes, have owners down for the weekend or even the week with July 4th coming Friday. Mornings and evenings are noisier than I am used to, but I’ll adjust. Besides, I’ll be making my own noises soon enough when Saturday night movies on the deck begin. I can hardly wait for the premier.

“Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes.”

January 10, 2014

The alarm went off at eight as it is breakfast Friday, the once a month get-together of women I worked with for years. I turned off the alarm, looked out the window, saw snow and went back to bed for another half hour. The breakfast is a come-if-you-can sort so I wasn’t expected. I’ll go next month.

The day is dreary. The snow, only a dusting, covers everything. Even the pines look sort of nice with their branches layered in snow. The birds were missing from the deck feeders during the coldest days, probably holed up in tight clumps of bushes or branches somewhere, but they returned in yesterday’s warmth, a word loosely used here, but they aren’t around again today. Only the red spawn was at the sunflower seeds. He does his trick of jumping from the deck rail to the squirrel buster feeder (note the feeder’s name), grabs a seed in flight then lands back on the rail to dine. I get crazed and usually chase him off the rail into the yard. I think I have him so paranoid that the door opening scares him right off the deck away from the seeds for most of the day. Banging my feet on the deck as I run at him probably helps too. I suspect the birds will return tomorrow when it is supposed to be 50˚.

I was all set for a dump run today, but now I’m not so sure. The dump is always cold with a strong wind which cuts to the bone, and I’ve had enough of bone-chilling cold this week. I’ll stave off my conscience by doing laundry, but if the afternoon looks better, Gracie and I can still do the dump run.

Christmas gives such color and brightness to the winter that I miss it terribly when it’s gone. I left my outside lights and my fake inside pine tree lit until the day after Little Christmas. My neighbors did the same. Now we have all gone dark except for my palm tree. It stands on deck near the backdoor and is bright green with a yellow trunk. My neighbors love my palm tree.

I crave color in winter. Even my winter wardrobe tends to be drab, utilitarian. The clothes are meant for warmth, not fashion. I could remedy that I suppose, but since my retirement I am seldom inclined to buy new clothes. I did buy a flannel shirt this winter, but that’s it. Maybe I’ll add a jaunty scarf in brilliant pink to my winter ensemble.

“Well, many’s the long night I’ve dreamed of cheese–toasted, mostly…”

November 14, 2013

The weather is quirky. Snow fell the other day, but today and the next few days will be in the 50’s, tolerable weather. The nights will be cold but that’s November, and that’s why I have a comforter on the bed and animals who snuggle.

The bird feeders need filling and the red spawn needs to be shot. It has defeated my squirrel buster feeder by being small. It jumps from the deck to the feeder, grabs some seed then sits on the deck rail to eat it right in full view of me. I run out to scare it away but it knows when to come back. I’m thinking some acorns, a bit of irony probably lost on the spawn, or small rocks as ammo stored upstairs. I’ll open a window and aim though the sound of the acorn hitting the deck should sent that spawn running. He knows he is targeted. Think hose and last summer.

Much to do today. My friends are coming to dinner, a very late birthday dinner. They both have their birthdays in September and mine was August, and we have yet to give each other our gifts. I have to shop so last night, to save time from today, I set out all the dishes and silverware. We’re having pork tenderloin with an herb crust, smashed potatoes baked in the oven and glazed carrots. I’ll make my Moroccan appetizer, muhammara, and put out cheese, to me the most versatile food of all.

I am a cheese lover except for gorgonzola and blue. They even smell bad to me and blue always looks as if it has been around too long to eat. Cheese is a staple in my fridge as many of my meals are just cheese with bread or crackers. Brie is a huge favorite.

Ghana has no cheese because it has no milk. Ghana has cows but no Ghanaians drink milk. When I went back to Ghana, I was forced to use evaporated milk in my instant coffee just as I did in 1969. Ghana is not a place for coffee lovers or cheese lovers for that matter. If I were in the Peace Corps there now and still lived in Bolga, I’d find the Fulanis who tend the cows, buy milk from them and make my own cheese. It isn’t difficult.

In 1969, I figured everything was just part of the experience as did most of my friends, but when we got together, food always became part of the conversation. We all mused about what we missed the most. In Accra, we’d spend money at Kingsway Department Store to buy bruni food, white people’s food, to bring home. We’d travel to Lome, Togo because you could get ice cream, pastries and yup, even cheese. Lome was a volunteer’s paradise of food. One wonderful memory is when a bunch of us from Ghana were together in the Peace Corps hostel in Lome, something that didn’t happen often. We had all bought stuff to bring home, special stuff you couldn’t find in Ghana. Well, we had a huge party for no reason except we were together, had food and loved parties. We ended up eating just about everything.

“You can wear anything as long as you put a nice pair of shoes with it.”

August 26, 2013

Today I’m tired for no reason as I slept just fine. It may be the clouds and the coolness giving me a bit of a down day. My to do card has change litter, change bed, shower, do a wash and go to the dump. I’m thinking that list has something to do with my mood. Not one thing is fun. If I were a Disney character I could just sing The Happy Little Working Song and the spawns of Satan, the chipmunk who lives in my lawn, the mice probably still hiding in the cellar and the birds from the feeders could join in the cleaning. Then again I could just Whistle While I Work and even make it a happy tune. Somehow, though, none of that is appealing. I choose to wallow in my mood.

This is it: the final week before school starts. It was a mad dash for my mother to get us all ready. Mostly we needed new school shoes and whatever parts of the uniform we had out-grown over the summer. I usually got a new blouse or two, always white, and my brother generally needed new pants and new white shirts. The shoes were always sturdy, meant to be worn most of the school year. We didn’t have much money, but my mother never skimped on school shoes and clothes because we had to wear them every day. She always figured it was cheaper in the long run to buy more expensive clothes rather than constantly replacing them. The rule, of course, was to get out of our school clothes into our play clothes as soon as we got home.

I don’t remember when the categories disappeared and all of what I wore just became clothes. When I was little, we had school clothes, play clothes and church clothes. None of them were ever interchangeable. Most of my clothes were play clothes because I wore a uniform to school and a dress to church, usually an old Easter or Christmas dress. My Sunday shoes were also dressy, sometimes patent leather with a strap. My play shoes were usually sneakers or shoes which in a former life had been school shoes demoted because they were worn and scuffed with a sloping heel.

I really liked going to the shoe store, putting my feet in the x-ray machine to see the bones and having the shoe salesman check my size using the sliding silver sizer. I’d wander to look at the shoes on display, always only one shoe of a pair, and them pick out some to try on until I’d found the perfect pair: the pair my mother and I could agreed upon. She’d pay for them, but I always proudly carried the bag with the shoe box inside. They were my new shoes.

“The power of finding beauty in the humblest things makes home happy and life lovely.”

August 5, 2013

Today has already been busy and it really just started. First it was Sunday breakfast, changed to Mondays until after Labor Day, then Skip, my factotum, came over and we went through the list of stuff needing to be done. He measured then off we went to the paint store then the lumber yard. He is replacing a board and two steps in the original part of the deck, sanding and painting a small table, filling in Gracie holes which are half-way to China, repainting parts of the deck chairs, painting both bathrooms and repairing an antique small cabinet which just needs gluing. I wait until I can keep him busy for most of a week before I get him over to work. Right now he is working on the Gracie holes. She’ll be thrilled. Tomorrow she can dig them all again!

My friend Clare has had spawns of Satan chewing the back webbing of her deck chairs, similar chairs to the ones I have where the spawn gnawed off the paint a couple of years back. Her spawns have eaten one chair so much the back is no longer attached to the frame. This morning I noticed one of my chairs has been gnawed a bit on both sides at the top, same spots as hers. I’m thinking her spawn has ranged about and found my deck. I sprayed the chairs with a red pepper spray the spawns don’t like and put chairs one on top of the other so the spawn has no access to the tops. I’ll check tomorrow to find out whether or not my efforts have thwarted those offsprings of Satan.

I have new neighbors. I think they are weekenders as they were here from Friday until this morning. The house they bought was in some obvious disrepair, needing paint and landscaping, but it seems the worst couldn’t be seen from the street as the backyard was filled with trash bags and hadn’t been touched by a mower or trimmer. My new neighbors did exactly what I would have done. They hired Sebastian, my neighbor and landscaper, to do all the back clean-up.

Today is an absolutely perfect day, sunny and cool. It was only 68˚ earlier this morning and has since warmed up but only to the low 70’s. The sun is brilliant and beautifully framed by the bluest of skies. Not a cloud mars the beauty. It’s a day to be on the deck with a cold drink and a good book. That’s it: my entire plan for the day. My work is done.