Friday, June 24, 2011

The Memories of the Screen Door

It is said that familiar fragrances and other smells can transport you back to an earlier time. I believe sounds can do that also. This morning, I went outside to cut roses. I came back into the house through the screened porch and let the door slam behind me. At that moment, I was transported back to the childhood of my children and my own childhood as well.

When my children were young, we lived in a vintage, remodeled home with a screen door in the front and a screen door in the back. The front door opened on to a large porch with a wooden floor. My three daughters were an active bunch, coming in and out and in and out. Those were the days when it was safe to play outdoors, to run a block down the road to the grandparent's house, to go to the neighbor's to play. Each weekend was filled with play, and running, bike riding, and the sound of happy children's voices. However, what I remember most as I stood at the kitchen window washing dishes, is the sound of the footsteps running on the porch and the slamming of the screen door as each girl came in and out, engaged in the business of playing.

When I was a girl, I also lived in a vintage home with a wooden front porch and screen doors at all four entrances to the house. Some of my best memories are of going in and out the screen door and letting it slam behind me. There is just something very nostalgic about that sound even though it was the catalyst for both my mother and grandfather to remind me (in a not so soft voice) to "not slam the door".

As a child, a slamming screen door sounds like freedom; as the mother of active children, a slamming screen door sounds like contentment and unrestrained joy; and at my age, a slamming screen door can still evoke wonderful memories as it slams behind me and stirs up echoes of the past.

I really don't want to return to my own childhood or the childhood of my children. However, I'd love another house with a screen door in the front.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Windows Are Sweating

It certainly is not a monumental news flash and it's not like it doesn't happen every summer, but the windows seem to be sweating much earlier this year. It has been hot here for two months and winter just slid into summer with barely any spring to speak of. Yes, my windows have condensation on them because I keep the inside pretty cold. However, with two menopausal women living in this house, it would be foolish to do otherwise!

As bears hibernate in the winter, I hibernate in the summer. Even though I love to work in the garden, I must reserve that luxury for early evening when the temperatures are cooler. It hasn't always been this way. When I was much younger, my favorite place was on the beach, in the sun. I could lay out there all day taking only brief respites into the water to cool off. I could never do that now. Do you think that as we age, our internal thermometers get faulty? That's what I think. Along with every other body part that begins to need replacing, internal thermometers must be the first to go.

And so, I enjoy my garden from the inside. It was fortuitous indeed that we built this house with large windows and glass doors from which to see the outdoors. I can see the tons of birds that inhabit the backyard and, yes, I set the sprinkler during the heat of the day so that they will have some relief also. I can sit in the living room and see the birds in the fountain outside the front door and enjoy the cardinals as they use the entry garden for a fly-way.

And so, all is not lost. It is just a different way to enjoy nature. And in the late afternoon, with a glass of wine in hand, I will sit on the screened porch and not really care if it is hot.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

New Pot

I used my Reward Points to purchase (with no money exchanged) a pressure cooker. I haven't used a pressure cooker since I was about twenty-five years old. However, this is a new fangled one and it is awesome. Tonight, I cooked an entire head of cauliflower in two minutes. Can't wait to see what I can speed cook next.

Monday, June 6, 2011

A Smattering of Rain And Other Trivia

Pathetic though it was, we got a small smattering of rain today. We haven't had rain in over a month and the grass crackles when you walk on it. There was a smokey haze all through the area today and it smelled like smoke from a fire. It was too miserable to remain outdoors for any length of time and I was grateful for air conditioning each time I went out for the shortest little time.

I go out each day to tend the plants which are withering in the heat unless I set the drippers on them. And I turn on a very small sprinkler for the birds who delight in flying through the water and drinking from the saucers out in the garden.

I spent last week trapping a feral cat and kittens that were living in the wheel-well of my truck. This week, I am trying to keep the yard from burning up from the dryness. In the interim, I am highly involved in couponing--an activity that I honed while the mother of three young children. Today, I shaved fifteen dollars off the grocery bill and seven dollars off the bill at Walgreen's. Such small pleasures. I am turning into my father. He was the king of sales, two for one offers, and the Publix Promise (where if you are charged the wrong price, the item is free).

Tomorrow, I test two home-schooled children. I have been testing these children since they were in kindergarten and they are now going into the seventh grade. I only see them once a year but it always surprises me to see how much they've grown and how smart they are.

And Friday, my grandchildren arrive for a visit. I bought Cuban bread, filled the sand and water table, washed the porch so I can sit out there without being covered in cakes of dust (no rain, remember) while playing with the six year old. In three more weeks, I will have been retired for one year. Where has the time gone? I've decided that I like retirement. I have to work hard at not frittering away my time. But what if I do? Frittering is not such a bad thing. And I can stay in my pajamas and drink coffee as long as I want in the morning.

And I have a new art project in process. I bought some small tiles today for a mosaic I am working on. And I made some new tags. And I'm getting ready for a big cross-country trip that involves fly fishing. What could be better than that?