Posted tagged ‘sunny’

“My doctor told me I had to stop throwing intimate dinners for four unless there are three other people.”

October 23, 2017

My back is a bit better. I can walk without holding on to anything. Yesterday was a sit on the couch day, and I thoroughly enjoyed it, the back aside. I have to go out today so I hope for the best.

I think I’ve used every adjective perfect to describe our weather of late. Think warm, sunny, deep blue sky and nearly breezeless. My house is again cooler than outside. In here it is sweatshirt weather. Outside is short sleeve weather.

My mother used to make fried dough for supper on Fridays, the no meat day. We’d all hang around the kitchen counter making sure we got our dough turn. My mother’s frying pan held three small or two big pieces of fried dough. She used to buy the dough at the supermarket. I remember it came in a blue and white box. We slathered butter and sprinkle salt on it. Fried dough was one of our favorite suppers.

We ate a lot of hamburger growing up, but my mother was a whiz at cooking hamburger so many different ways we never got tired of eating it. I still love meatloaf and American chop suey. She made spaghetti sauce with ground beef, another fake oriental dish of hamburger with water chestnuts and crispy chow mein on top,. The fall back was always  burgers. I love cheeseburgers.

My food in Ghana didn’t really vary a whole lot. We were lucky to live in the only area of the country which bred beef so we could always buy meat in the market. There was even a meat factory where we could buy some sort of tubular meat masquerading as a hot dog. The meat from the market was always tough. Only old cows were slaughtered. The meat was cooked in a broth like sauce with tomatoes and onions which tenderized the meat. I think we had that most nights though we also ate chicken, free range chickens because the chickens wandered all over the place all day but did came home to roost at night. We mostly ate mashed yams  but also had rice on occasion. Breaking teeth was a PC volunteer problem as the rice always had a few rocks. You needed to spend time cleaning it, but it was easier not to. When volunteers got together, food was always a topic of conversation.

Living alone means I don’t always make dinner. I improvise with whatever is in the fridge. I’m content with cheese and crackers or hummus and pita bread. I’m even happy with cereal. I do have meat in the freezer, heavy on the chicken, but I usually forget to take it out. Last night, though, I took out some Chinese sausage to defrost and I have some rice I can cook. That’s like a gourmet meal for me.

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“Stay low, stay quiet, keep it simple, don’t expect too much, enjoy what you have.”

October 20, 2017

Today is another beautiful sunny day in the high 60’s. There’s an intermittent breeze strong enough to sway the branches. It is a perfect day to take a ride.

Lately I have been quite lazy. I haven’t even made a single list. There’s no reason. It’s just inertia.

Laundry is piling up in the hall. A few dishes are in the sink. I figure I’ll get to all that later. There’s no hurry. I don’t have to do something every day.

The flowers beside the house are still blooming. The pumpkins are on the front steps and corn hangs on the gate. I saw a tree covered in yellow leaves. Fall is so filled with color. I always think of it as Mother Nature’s last gift before winter.

My lawn is disappearing under dead leaves from the tall oak tree and brown needles from the pine. It will be raked a few times before the lawn reappears. The irrigation system will be blown cleared of water and my outdoor shower will be turned off until the spring. It’s the same every year. All the pieces of summer disappear in turn.

I think being retired has brought me back to a simpler life. My wardrobe is mostly casual, and I seldom add to it. Once in a while I go out to eat, but mostly I spend time with friends. I watch TV movies but every now and then I treat myself to a newer movie though I do complain about the $5.99. I get books from the library. I used to buy the newest hardcovers, but now I get then for free. I don’t deny myself stuff. I just need less stuff.

When I was a kid, all my TV heroes always won. The bad guys were alive when nabbed. The only violence was usually a fight or a bullet to the arm or hand. Good guys never lost their hats in any fights. The animals, mostly dogs and horses, had names and were important to the plot. I remember Sergeant Preston of the Yukon, his dog Yukon King and his horse Rex.  I learned history and geography from watching this program. I remember at the end of each show he’d tell King this case is closed.  Sometimes there was even a bit of humor. Pat Brady provided that in the Roy Rogers Show. I never questioned that Roy and Dale rode horses while Pat had a jeep, Nellybelle. I was a kid. I just believed.

“Don’t wait, just sweat.”

September 15, 2017

It is sunny and breezy, a strong enough breeze to chase the earlier humidity away. It rained last night but not much. The temperature will stay in the mid 70’s all day. Gracie is restless and already panting, a sign the day is too warm for her. I have given her treats, pulled her onto the couch and taken her outside, but she’s still not happy. I can’t take the staring. Maddie too is impatient. She keeps meowing at me. I give her treats but they’re not enough. Both these animals feel far too entitled, my fault I know.

I got most of my errands done yesterday but not the dump. I was gone a couple of hours in and out of stores so when I got home, I was too hot and tired for the dump. It will have to be today as I have no time tomorrow.

The paper explained that older people don’t have the capacity to adjust to temperatures as well as younger people because old people don’t sweat as much, and many take medication that affects body temperature. I mustn’t be at that stage yet as I was sweating yesterday. All my life I have been a head sweater (as in one who sweats not in reference to a garment to be worn). That might already have been obvious to you, but sweater just didn’t look right to me: hence the aside. I’m glad I’m not a pit sweater. That always looks gross to me.

When I was packing for Ghana, my mother and I looked for a strong antiperspirant knowing how hot it gets in Africa. We found one with maximum protection which keeps you smelling great for 48 hours. Who could have asked for more? Well, I used it and ended up with boils under each armpit, a carbuncle, meaning a cluster of boils, a word I wish I didn’t have to learn. I couldn’t even lift my arms to write on the board. I didn’t connect with the deodorant right away as Ghana has all sorts of diseases, but I stopped using the deodorant anyway. The boils did their thing and eventually broke. I wrote the Peace Corps doctor asking for information. He figured it could be an infection or even my deodorant and said to stop using it. I had guessed right. After the boils finally disappeared, I used powder. It didn’t provide 48 hour protection, but I didn’t care. Those boils were the worst.

“Without ice cream, there would be darkness and chaos.”

September 14, 2017

The humidity is making the day sticky and uncomfortable. Last night was the same. I ended up cooling the house by turning on the AC. Both Gracie and I slept comfortably.

Today is sometimes cloudy and sometimes sunny. Rain is a possibility, a holdover from Irma. I don’t mind as it hasn’t rained in a while.

Yesterday I filled all the bird feeders and washed off the deck and the deck furniture with the hose nozzle on jet. It was a power wash of sorts. The birds had left calling cards.

Today I have errands. The lens fell out of my glasses so I need to get them fixed. The old pair I’m using sits at an angle on my ears so I have to keep tilting my head when I read. It’s a bit disconcerting. I also need a few grocery items with toilet paper topping the list.

My house is still dusty, and I still don’t care.

Gracie is just fine. She scared the heck out of me last night when she barked at me. She had been standing beside me and staring for a while so I had blocked her out. The bark made me jump. It was an I’m hungry bark even though she had already eaten dinner and her after dinner treats. I tried to ignore her but it didn’t work. I got the paw, twice. I fed her another small can, and she was fine. I bow to her whims and wants.

I like ice cream. My favorite changes with my moods. Coconut was a favorite last summer. Couple it with hot fudge or caramel, both salted or unsalted, and it’s food bliss. Lately I’ve bought mint chocolate chip gelato. It needs no enhancements. Vanilla by itself is boring to me. It begs for toppings like hot fudge or peanut butter cups and maybe some jimmies (sprinkles to those of you not in New England). I like a sugar cone. It adds to the ice cream, but a sugar cone often ends up with a hole in the bottom. That means licking the ice cream from the top and the bottom. It’s a talent to keep the drips away. I’m very talented.

“It’s difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato.”

September 8, 2017

Today is a delight. It will be in the 70’s during the day and the mid 50’s tonight. The breeze is ever so slight. The sunshine has a fall look about it. I stayed outside with Gracie a little bit this morning so I could watch the birds. The goldfinches love the new thistle feeder, and there were four of them on it at once. One got a little possessive and chased a chickadee away. I have a new thistle feeder I haven’t put out yet, but I will in a bit as I have to fill the sunflower feeders again. Luckily I bought new seeds the other day: mixed, sunflower and thistle. I’m ready for the onslaught of the birds. Where’s Alfred Hitchcock?

This has been a busy week for me. I was out every day but yesterday. I even lost track of the days. This morning I had to think about yesterday in order to remember today. I double-checked my guess by looking at the calendar. I guessed right.

My neighborhood is noisy. I can hear lawn mowers, hedge clippers and blowers from next door. They’re probably due here next. What I don’t hear are voices or even cars. The kids are in school, and the traffic has lessened since Labor Day.

My garden has flowers in bloom. They are beautiful. Three of the four front fence pieces are covered by white clematis. I keep the gate open as the flowers have spread and have started covering the gate space. I have to sidle through. When I do, I worry a bit about the bees, but they don’t seem to care about me. They have the flowers. I added red hibiscus two weeks ago to the back of the front garden, the only bare spot. The flowers were on sale so I took the chance. The first few days I hand watered, but then it rained and it rained again. The flowers took hold. The buds have blossomed. They are tall enough to be seen from the road and add a wondrous color to the garden. Now I want more color for the few here and there spots needing flowers, but that will be for next year unless, of course, I find another great sale.

I think I’ll go to the farm stand. I’d like some home-grown tomatoes. I’m also still hoping for Thai food. My taste buds crave coconut shrimp. It is probably not a coincidence that the farm stand is on the way to the Thai restaurant.

“The first rule of hurricane coverage is that every broadcast must begin with palm trees bending in the wind.”

August 25, 2017

Some mornings all the elements converge just right and the most gorgeous day dawns. Today is one of those mornings. The breeze is from the north, and I could smell the ocean when I was out with Gracie. Both of us stayed on the deck, not wanting to come inside. The smell of the salt water flooded my mind’s eye with familiar images. I saw the ocean with its tiny whitecaps hitting the sand. I saw the grasses atop the dunes dancing, blown by the slight breeze.

The morning air is cool today. Sharp sunlight glints through the trees hanging over the deck and leaves shadows of armlike branches. The small round mirrors hanging from the pine branches send a reflection of white circles bouncing around the side yard. The birds fly in and out, and I was glad I filled the feeders yesterday.

Today in all its glory needs to be savored.

I’m watching the news about Hurricane Harvey. I know what it’s like to dread the coming wind, rain and high water. I remember Hurricane Bob. It left trees across roads, wires hanging from split telephone poles and branches all over streets and yards. I lost a fir tree in my front yard, my second Christmas tree, but I still felt lucky because the tree fell away from the house. Stores were closed. I was without electricity for days. I cooked all of the freezer meat on the grill trying to save it. I drove all over to find ice. I couldn’t believe the damage I saw. It took a long while for the clean-up and for everything to get back to normal.

On August 25th 1954, two amazing events occurred. Hurricane Carol developed near the Bahamas and started its way toward New England. It would reach the coast days later, at the end of the month. Carol was devastating and deadly. Cape Cod was evacuated. More than 10,000 homes across New England were damaged including 1,545 that were completely destroyed. 3,000 boats and 3,500 automobiles were wrecked. Even Boston wasn’t spared. The wind sheared off the steeple of the Old North Church. Though I was only seven, I have memories of this storm. The giant, old elm tree across from my house went down and fell on the street making the road impassable. My father brought my brother and me outside during the eye of the hurricane to see the tree, and we climbed among the branches. I remember how still it was and how quiet.

The second amazing event was my sister Moe was born. Today she turns 63. She was under 5 pounds at birth so the hospital kept her until she gained more weight. That was the practice back then. She was still in the hospital when we lost electricity so we glad she was. By the time she came home, our house was back to normal.

My sister and Carol are forever joined in my memory.  That’s not to say they have anything in common except both were born on the same day.

“How terribly strange to be 70.”

August 17, 2017

The morning is again glorious. The sun is wonderfully bright, the sky looks like the blue in a Van Gogh painting, and there is no humidity. Here it is August, and there is no humidity. The days are in the high 70’s and the nights in the mid 60’s. If I were Mother Nature, I couldn’t do better than today.

Every morning I put the coffee on then Gracie and I go get the papers. After the first paper and cup of coffee, I feed the animals. Each of my companions, Gracie and Maddie, have two dishes: one for dry and one for canned food. After filling their dishes, I have another cup of coffee and read the Cape Times. It seems my morning rituals are etched in stone. Maddie and Gracie have expectations so I seldom divert from the usual.

I have wonderful memories of growing up. At times I seem to have an idyllic view of my life back then mostly because I held on to the good with all my might and pushed the bad memories to the backs of my memory drawers. The things I remember aren’t milestones in my life. They are simply the good memories.

My life is filled with lucky choices. One you hear most about is my time in the Peace Corps, in Ghana. My hopes, my beliefs and my sense of self grew out of those two plus years. I can’t imagine what my life would have been without that experience. I think of all the places I’ve traveled, all the strange, weird foods I’ve tried and the wonderful people I’ve met, but mostly I think of how easy it has been to pick up and go to unfamiliar places and never feel lost or alone. Ghana gave me that.

Today I turned 70. It feels no different than yesterday when I was 69. It feels no different than when I turned twenty or thirty, but I don’t look the same. My hair is mostly gray. My face is wrinkled. My back hurts so I sometimes walk stooped. But what hasn’t changed are the basics of who I am, all I believe, all I know and all I have experienced through time. For that I am immensely thankful. For that I celebrate turning 70.