Posted tagged ‘sunny’

“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.

“Don’t Trust Blindly If in shark infested waters, don’t assume the fin coming toward you is a dolphin.”

July 30, 2017

The morning is lovely. It is sunny and warm with a cloudless blue sky. I was surprised when I took Gracie out at how warm it is. My house is still nighttime chilly especially here in the den which the sun won’t reach until the late afternoon.

The new renters next door were laughing and talking until at least 2:30. I kept my window closed which muffled most of the noise. When I woke up, at 7:30, I was tempted to wake them, but I couldn’t figure out how without annoying my neighbors. Even now they still haven’t stirred.

My yesterday’s list is now my today’s list as movie night was postponed until tonight. My laundry is growing moss, maybe even legs of its own. I have to go down the cellar anyway so it’ll get it done.

I bought a Venus flytrap. It’s a small one so we’re all safe. Okay, that last sentence is from my B science fiction movie fascination. I’m imagining the plant growing and growing to man eating height, sort of a Little Shop of Horrors Audrey without the pictures. I don’t know why I bought it, but it amused me. Maybe that’s enough.

It is shark week on the syfy channel. The new movie tonight is 5-Headed Shark Attack surpassing by two heads the old 3-Headed Shark attack of last year. The new shark is shaped like a starfish and invades the beaches of Puerto Rico. I can’t even, with my wild imagination, visualize a shark looking like a star fish. I wonder if it has any attributes of star fish like regenerating its arms. If so, stay out of the ocean.

I find myself getting more sentimental as I get older. Puppy videos kill me. My eyes get a bit teary. Happy or sad movie scenes do the same thing to me. Even The Star Spangled Banner touches me. By the time I’m eighty, I’ll be a blubbering old lady tearing up at commercials. All the drug side-effects will have me weeping uncontrollably.

I watched the Red Sox last night. They won in 11 innings in exciting circumstances. Sandy Leon, one of their catchers, slid into home and managed, somehow, to escape the tag. The problem, though, is staying awake until the ends of these games which last so long they seem interminable. Sox games are averaging 3 hours, 11 minutes, and 34 seconds, the longest of any team in baseball, not an enviable record.

During last night Sox’s game, Jonny Gomes, who was on the 2013 World Series champ team, was the NESN color commentator. He said the Sox batters were nipping at the bit. I love a good mixed metaphor.

It is time to face the dreaded laundry.

“Life is an adventure, it’s not a package tour.”

July 22, 2017

When I woke up, the day was bright and sunny, but it isn’t any more. Clouds have blanketed the sky. The weatherman claims those clouds will be intermittent, but I’m skeptical. A little rain would be welcomed, forecasted or not.

The spawns of Satan have mounted a new assault. They are chewing my outside lights. The gate had a trail of white lights coming from the giant star near the back door. Last night I noticed the trail had gone dark. I checked and found chewed wires. On the deck rail, two sets of colored lights have been chewed. I found bulbs from the newest set laying on the deck, chewed off the wire. The spawns seem to like the red bulbs, cementing their Satan connection. What perplexes me is those lights have been untouched for a couple of years. I’m guessing there’s a new spawn in the neighborhood. The next set of colored lights is here, but I haven’t put it on the deck rail yet. I’ve ordered a new white set. It’s crazy I guess. I’m beginning to feel like Sisyphus.

I went to Russia in the 1970’s. My friend and I took a train from Helsinki to Leningrad. We were in the last car. When it got to the border, the car was uncoupled and joined to a Russian train. A Russian train lady boarded our car. She brought us tea over and over throughout the trip. In Leningrad I learned there were two lines for taxis, one for women and children and the other for the rest of us. At the hotel they asked for our passports. Visions of the KGB jumped int my head. When I refused, I was told no hotel room so I gave in. Yup, I gave in that quickly. We had a tour guide. In those days everyone had a tour guide. We liked her. She brought us to the Hermitage Museum. Women sat in chairs in every room at the Hermitage, and it was the same in every museum. They also sat at the bottom of escalators in every metro station and on every floor in the hotels where we stayed. We saw the Winter Palace and Peterhof and the Peter and Paul Fortress. We saw a memorial commemorating the Siege of Leningrad. On buses, the honor system was in effect. At the hotel, the food was terrible. We went to a few Beryozka shops, which no longer exist, where you could buy Russian goods for hard cash. We bought snacks and some beautiful small wooden figures.

When it was time to move to our next stop, we got a new guide. We didn’t like her. She told us nothing and didn’t answer questions. We then got on the train which the Frenchman, a fellow tourist, likened to a cattle car in France. We were on to stop 2, a city on the Volga whose name I can’t remember for good reason. The tours in that city included a dental school and a publishing plant where they gave us all sorts of Lenin material. It was the worst.

We had more adventures, but I’ll save those for another day. I will say we had a spy who was uncovered in Moscow.

“I am not the same, having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.”

July 20, 2017

The weather has settled into monotony. Every day is sunny and hot. We reached the mid 80’s yesterday while Boston was over 90˚. The shade was bearable, but the sun was unrelenting. The only times I went outside were to bring Gracie to the yard where I sat in the shade and waited for her.

I did nothing yesterday and will probably do nothing today as well. A dump run is in our future but probably tomorrow. I do need to water the plants, inside and outside, but that’s it.

When I was a teacher, I traveled every summer, mostly to Europe, and went for three or four weeks. I traveled on the cheap. Go Europe was my travel Bible. University housing and hostels were my hotels as such. Meals were sometimes at bar happy hours where I’d nurse a single drink until I’d eaten my fill or at railroad stations which had kiosks with cheap sandwiches. I usually traveled with a friend. B&B’s were sometimes our stops mostly through Ireland, Scotland and England. I remember one in London, in Earl’s Court. The owner barely spoke English and played music quite loud from the kitchen which was next to my room. The song I remember best is Cielito Linda with the damn ay, ay, ay. I swear it was played over and over. My favorite B&B was in Dingle Ireland. It was over a grocery store. The woman was old. She entertained us with stories about guests including the Frenchman who didn’t know how to eat Corn Flakes and another who wanted a facecloth. She laughed at the thought that the face had its own cloth. Breakfasts were eggs, bacon, toast and coffee and sometimes a grilled tomato. The hostels were cheap enough but didn’t offer breakfast, but they had a value of their own. Hostels were where I’d trade books and information with other travelers. All these trips were cheap enough that I could saved enough money every year for a summer in Europe.

Last year’s trip to Ghana was expensive enough for a couple or even close to three trips to Europe in the old days, but I was perfectly fine with that. I enjoyed the lap of luxury as if I had been born to it.

“Anything seems possible at night when the rest of the world has gone to sleep.”

July 18, 2017

Today was gray when I first woke up. I went back to sleep, and it was sunny when I awoke the second time. I stayed awake. After two coffees and two newspapers, I was ready to face the day. The animals got fed, I took Gracie outside, put dishes away and  cleaned the kitchen counter. That’s it, my chores, for the day. I do have to take Maddie and Gracie to get their nails cut, but that goes into the errand column and is the singular entry in that column. Most of my day will be lazy and quiet.

I take Gracie out for her last outside trip just before I go to bed. It can be any time between 12:30 and 3. It was around 2 this morning. I turn on my outside light, and it is the only light. All of the houses around me are dark. I walk gently and slowly to the driveway feeling with my foot the change from grass to hardtop. It is downhill to the gate and I shuffle my feet for safety. Once Gracie and I are inside the gate, I sit on the deck steps and wait. After she triggers the yard lights, I can see when she’s done and when we can to go back inside to bed. Sometimes I sit outside a bit longer because the night is so lovely. Gracie recognizes my mood and leans against me, her pat me signal. I listen to all the night sounds. I check out the stars. After a while, I drag myself inside to bed.

The night sky in Ghana was ablaze with stars. Nights were never dark. When I slept outside, during the harmattan, I watched for shooting stars. I saw many. Despite the heat, I slept soundly in my back yard. Roosters were my wake-up calls. When I think back, I realize it all seemed ordinary to me, a usual night. When I go back to Ghana, I have the sense that all of it is familiar especially that rooster outside my window crowing as the day dawns.

“I will continue my path, but I will keep a memory always.”

July 16, 2017

Today is a sunny, bright, warm but getting hotter day. The blue sky is perfectly clear. The breeze is ever so slight. Every now and then I hear voices from down the street, but mostly it’s quiet, quiet enough that the birds can easily be heard singing. It’s like a Sunday from my childhood memories.

Roast beef, peas and mashed potatoes with gravy have long been my favorite meal. It was a Sunday dinner treat to have the beef. Mostly we had chicken. We always had mashed potatoes. My father didn’t believe dinner was dinner without the mashed potatoes. Back then we had canned vegetables. I remember the French green beans and my father’s asparagus. My mother served Le Sueur small, sweet baby peas, the ones in the silver can. I loved those. When I was really little, I mixed them with the mashed potatoes. The concoction wasn’t pretty but it was tasty and that was the easiest way to eat the peas. They were never fork food, too round and too small.

A long time ago there was a club in Bourne with male strippers. One night my friends and I were brave enough to go. We went, each of us, with many dollar bills. The place was filled. It was smoky. In the middle of the room was the stage. The fully dressed men, the policeman, the firefighter, the soldier, came out together and faced the different sides of the room. When the music started, so did they. The clothes flew off until the men were down to their G-strings. We didn’t approach them at first, being a bit embarrassed. Other women were quick to leave their dollars bills in the tops of the g-strings. I don’t remember who but one of us got brave, and the rest of us followed. We laughed a lot. It was a fun evening. We never went again and the place at some point closed down. I think it was because everyone went just once.

I used to love going to the Melody Tent in Hyannis when it was a theater in the round. I remember The Unsinkable Molly Brown with Debbie Reynolds. I was so excited to see a real movie actress in person. Much later, I saw the house of the real Margaret Brown on whom the character is based. It is in Denver, Colorado. I even found that exciting.

My life is filled with all these memories. Every now and then one pops up, one I hadn’t given thought to in years. Today’s memories are some of those.

“It isn’t how much time you spend somewhere that makes it memorable: it’s how you spend the time.”

July 13, 2017

The weather is crazy. It is sunny then cloudy then sunny again. The humidity is so thick you can cut it with a knife (my father loved that old saw. The wording is repetitive, I know,  but what the heck). It is supposed to rain later today and again tomorrow. I have nowhere to go so I’m just fine with rain.

When I was a kid, I loved summer rains. We used to stay outside and get wet, even soaked. The stronger the rain, the more the fun. We’d splash at each other with the rainwater running down the gutters in the street. Sometimes the water ran so strongly it resembled a river with white rapids, or at least it seemed that way to us. Paper boats never had much of a chance. I think my love of the rain came from the joy we felt during summer storms.

We didn’t always go on vacation when I was a kid. Mostly we stayed home and did day trips, what they call a staycation now. I think my family invented that. We kids didn’t care. My mother and father planned great excursions. We did beach days. I remember swimming in water left by low tide and surrounded by sand bars. The sandwiches always had a bit of grit. We’d walk the beach and collect shells. By the end of the summer, I’d have quite a collection.

I remember the museums. They weren’t air conditioned in those days, but they always felt cool, the way my hometown library and post office did. I have two vivid memories of stuff at museums. At the Museum of Fine Arts, I remember the sarcophagi. They were in one giant room and they looked enormous to me. I was impressed and amazed they once all held mummies. At the Peabody Museum at Harvard I remember the outrigger hanging from the ceiling and the ape heads in jars. For some reason those heads fascinated me. They were in rows, jar after jar.

We went to the drive-in often as my grandfather had a pass so our car got in free. Bringing bug juice and popped corn from home and candy from the store made it a fairly inexpensive evening. There were always two movies and an intermission. The first movie was for kids and the second for adults as kids were expected to have fallen asleep by then or why the pajamas?

We’d go out to dinner one night during our stay at home vacation which was such a treat as we seldom went out to dinner. We’d go to Kitty’s in the next town over. It was always busy and cheap enough. I remember the waitresses carrying huge trays with several plates of foods on them. I watched kind of hoping to see plates hit the floor. They didn’t.

It never occurred to me we stayed home because we didn’t have the money for an away vacation. All the wonderful day trips are what I remember the most. I love museums thanks to those trips. I have seashells on display in the kitchen. Our Saturday outside movie nights are like the drive-in without the car but not without the candy.