Posted tagged ‘Christmas lights’

“Christmas time! That man must be a misanthrope indeed, in whose breast something like a jovial feeling is not roused – in whose mind some pleasant associations are not awakened – by the recurrence of Christmas.”

December 12, 2017

Today will be rainy and warm with a temperature in the 50’s, but tonight will be  different. Old Man Winter, who’s tired of waiting in the wings, is coming back to lay claim to December. It will be in the 30’s all week during the day and even colder at night. One night is predicted to be in the teens. On that night, I’ll be cozy and warm in the house with all the Christmas lights glowing and spreading their warmth. I’m thinking I’ll have egg nog in hand, in keeping with the season of course.

It has been really difficult of late to maintain a bit of optimism. I hold on to mine with every muscle in my body especially now, at Christmas time, when all of my memories  surface and help me believe in goodness, generosity and faith. Even though we live distances apart, my sisters and I celebrate together when we honor family traditions. We keep our mother and father close. How could I be anything but an optimist at this time of year?

My first Christmas in Ghana was my first Christmas away from my family, but my mother made sure I had a bit of home. She sent ornaments from our family tree. She also sent a small plastic tree to hang them on. I used the brick-like paper from the box to make a fireplace on the wall. From it I hung the small stocking she had sent. A few Christmas cookie cutters were also in that wonderful box. Though I had never made sugar cookies, I did that Christmas. They were delicious and shaped like a star, a tree and Santa. I found out much later that my mother and my aunt Mary had split the huge cost of sending that box airmail so I’d have it in time for Christmas.

I have many memories of that first Christmas in Ghana, but I think my favorite happened while I lying in bed waiting to fall asleep. It was cold, and I was bundled in a wool blanket I had bought and even still have. At that time of the year the harmattan is in full force. The days are hot, usually over 100˚ hot, but the nights and really early mornings are delights when the temperature drops sometimes even 30˚. On that night, I heard a boy’s voice singing. I think it came from a family compound just outside the school walls. The boy sang all the verses of We Three Kings in a sweet, clear voice. It was the only sound in the cold night air. It brought delight and joy to me, and I knew I’d be fine that first Christmas away. I always think of that boy as my Christmas miracle.

“A good many things go around in the dark besides Santa Claus.”

December 4, 2017

It has already been a long day. Alexa woke me up at seven. I asked her for another half hour, and she obliged. I got up after the 7:30 Alexa call, got dressed and hit the road. Gracie had her second acupuncture appointment. She was good and stood patiently until it was over. It took about an hour. When we got home, she ate and I had coffee and read the paper. The morning was normal. Then I took a nap. Yup, a morning nap, and I just woke up, got another cup of coffee and turned on the TV. I’m watching Krampus. Nothing is better than a movie about a horned-beast at Christmas who punishes naughty children. That sure beats coal in the stocking.

Today has a muted sun hiding behind the clouds. Every now and then it appears and  brightens the day for a bit then the clouds take over again. At least it is warmish.

I did get a few things done yesterday, but I’m the only one who’d notice. The clean clothes piled on the rocking chair have disappeared. I carried them upstairs and put them away. The two bags of newspapers and the boxes which were by the front door are now in the trunk. I’ll bring them to the dump on Wednesday when it reopens. The kitchen floor and the hall are clean. I vacuumed. The pile of catalogues is greatly diminished. I went through most of them and ordered a few things on line. I’m sure, though, they’ll be plenty in today’s mail to take their places.

Last night was game night. This time I was a winner. At the last game night Tony and I won nothing. Clare won them all. Last night she won Phase 10, and I won two games of Sorry. Tony was stuck with the L on his forehead.

I’m going out later. Skip is coming tomorrow to do my outside lights so I need a few things: a spot light, a couple of wreaths and some lengths of pine garland for inside the house. Tomorrow, Skip and I will go and choose my tree so he can lug it inside and set it up for me. I’ll start decorating it and the house tomorrow.

I noticed last night that many houses have Christmas lights, more than usual this early.  Some houses are decked in all white lights, some are LED colored sets and others are regular colored bulbs. Mine will be a combination. The driveway fence already has a trail of white lights leading to a huge star. That is always lit to keep the darkness at bay. The front fence will have colored bulbs as will the deck rail in the back. One tree on the side of the house will have huge ornaments lit by a spotlight. An old sled will stand by the front door with ice skates draped on it. They’ll have regular lights.

Krampus is just about over now. It isn’t Hallmark, but it sort of had a happy ending. It just depends on your definition of happy.

“I used to cover my windows in heavy curtains, never drawn. Now I danced in the sunlight on my hardwood floors.”

March 21, 2017

Today is a wonder. It is bright and warmish, almost springlike. I stood outside on the deck for a while watching Gracie, but I got a bit chilly so I came back inside. She stayed outside. Both doors are open. The sun is streaming through the front door working its way to the back, to the south. A day like today recharges my batteries. I have a long to-do list, but I have already crossed off two chores. Granted, they were quick and easy, but I still feel accomplished.

I figure my energy is a reflection of the warmth and the sunlight. Winter days make it easy to do nothing but lie on the couch under something cozy and read or watch television, but I’d feel guilty wasting a day like today.

When I was a kid, I loved to go miniature golfing. It was at Hago Harrington’s where the windmill was my nemesis. It had three lanes at the bottom leading from under the mill to the green. I don’t know how many times I missed them all. I still remember the thud sound of the ball hitting the wooden windmill, not the lanes. It was frustrating. My favorite had a slope which, if played right, dropped the ball right into the hole. On the last hole, a hole in one got you a free play. Hago Harrington’s is still there.

On the way to the beach yesterday, I saw a couple of houses still lit with Christmas lights. The colors lit up the darkness. I have new lights, all white bulbs, I need to put on the gate trailing the new star I bought. I also have a multi-colored set for the deck rail. They are on my to-do list. My neighbor will be glad. She called me a while back to say how much she loved my lights.

I’ve been watching CSI: New York on Netflix. They have a plethora of dead bodies, a necessity for the crime lab. After watching murder after murder, I’ve decided that being a murder victim would be the perfect role. There are no lines to learn so all I’d have to do is lie down and try not to breathe or blink. Sounds easy to me.

“I dont hate it he thought, panting in the cold air, the iron New England dark; I dont. I dont! I dont hate it! I dont hate it!”

January 10, 2017

Last night was bitterly cold. It was 7˚. Everything which had melted froze again. My front step was so icy I was afraid to walk on it. I thought it was an accident waiting to happen, but it didn’t. I got in and out of the house without incident. Gracie slides on the last couple of deck steps. They have been de-iced several times as have the front steps. Today is currently 36˚, the predicted low. The high temperature will be 40˚. Tomorrow could hit 50˚. My whole world will melt.

My outside Christmas lights are still connected and glow every night. They are beautiful under the layer of snow. The star on the fence is my favorite. It doesn’t matter if there are clouds, a bright star always shines. When I went out last night early in the evening, I saw many houses still had their nights lit. They looked beautiful.

We have added over 20 minutes of light since the Winter Solstice. Red Sox pitchers and catchers report to spring training on February 12th; the rest of the team reports February 16th. Despite snow and cold, the signs are evident. We will have a spring!!

When I was a kid, I never really took notice of the seasons as much as the events of each season. This stretch from New Year’s Day to February vacation seemed to take forever. Nothing happened. It was as close to a rut as any kid gets. If we wanted to play outside after school, we’d have maybe an hour, maybe less, before it got dark. Putting on layers, boots, hats and mittens seemed far too much work for such a short time. If there was no snow, I’d haul my bike out of the cellar then put it back when I had to go inside the house. That was a lot of work for a short time as it took some wrangling to get the bike out of the cellar because of the concrete wall right across from the cellar door. I had to put the bike on end to get it out of the cellar. In summer I’d leave the bike in the yard, but in winter it went back inside.

My mother used to have to reach up into the arms of our winter coats to pull down our shirtsleeves by the cuffs. She was thrilled when we finally learned to hold on to our cuffs when she’d put on our coats. I was watching TV the other day, and I saw a character hold on to his cuffs when he put on his topcoat. I had to chuckle. His mother must have been thrilled.

It is sad. Tonight President Obama is making his farewell address. I will miss him.

“Christmas is not a date. It is a state of mind.”

December 18, 2016

No countdown can start until the week before the event. It is a rule. That means the countdown to Christmas begins today. If I were little again, this would be momentous.

The day is damp again. It rained during the night. We are left with warmish temperatures, a bit of a wind and gray skies. I went out on the deck earlier to dump the rain puddles from the table cover. The deck got soaked so did my feet.

I’m staying home again today. I don’t mind at all. My house is cozy, and every room is bright with Christmas lights which shine so lovely on a cloudy, dark day.

We used to string popcorn for the tree. We’d sit at the table with bowls of popcorn in front of us and needles thread with thin string in our hands. They were dangerous weapons. Several times we’d prick our own fingers and break the popcorn. Yelps were common. My mother would join our strands to make one long strand of popcorn which was circled around the tree. Shauna, one of my Boxers, would eat the popcorn and drag a strand off the tree to the floor for better access. My father always chuckled. Later, when we were older, we’d string cranberries with the popcorn. They stayed on the tree.

My sister and I were talking last night about our trees. We all buy live trees every year. My family always did. My father and his sister, my Aunt Mary, had a running joke. My mother bought the tree and never told my father the actual price. He’d have been apoplectic. Instead, she’d give him an amount in the $30’s. When my aunt saw the tree, always big and magnificent, she’d ask how much it cost, and my father would tell her. She never believed him. He’d swear it. It was the truth as far as he knew.

“For centuries men have kept an appointment with Christmas. Christmas means fellowship, feasting, giving and receiving, a time of good cheer, home.”

December 17, 2016

It was nearly 4 when I fell asleep. Gracie, however, had no problem as she was snoring away as soon as she hit the mattress. It snowed a bit last night, but I missed the best of it. I woke to rain. The snow is now slush, the sort where you leave deep footprints when you walk through it. Both today and tomorrow will be warm which is a good thing as the slush won’t turn to ice. I’m staying home. I’m going to turn on all the Christmas lights, watch Hallmark movies and enjoy a lazy Saturday.

My friends came to dinner last night. It was a wonderful evening. The meal was great says the cook. The conversation was funny. We just sat at the table a while after dinner. I love to do that, just sit and talk. My friend did all the clean-up which I completely appreciated as it takes a while to make the dinner, clean up as you go along then clean everything. Her doing the dishes was a gift. We then played a word game and sat in the living room so we could enjoy the tree. I had a come from behind victory. We also exchanged gifts. Usually we don’t get together for presents until after Christmas so we figured early was due. I was thrilled with my present, an Amazon Echo and a speaker. I’ll play with Alexa today. My friends too loved their presents, and my friend Claire, the dishwasher, especially loved her present from Ghana.

Woolworth’s and the annual parish Christmas fair were my go to places to buy gifts for my parents then my sisters and brother if I had any money left. My mother was the consummate actress. When she opened my gift, she always looked so excited and happy.  I was thrilled that I’d found just the right gift at such a bargain, usually about 50¢. My father  loved his handkerchiefs, white ones, Woolworth’s best.

My favorite of all the Christmas movies is A Christmas Carol starring Alastair Sims. It hasn’t been on yet so I keep looking. I watched the old Miracle on 34th Street the other night. The book is dated 1947 the same as I am so that makes it special. The old Bishop’s Wife is another favorite. Come to think of it, even the worst of Christmas movies are favorites of mine.

“It’s in the singing of a street corner choir. It’s going home and getting warm by the fire. It’s true, wherever you find love, it feels like Christmas!”

December 9, 2016

 

Last night was freezing. Gracie slept right beside me with her head on my arm. I guess she needed the body warmth. We have sun today, but I’d gladly trade it for a warmer day. The temperature is in the 30’s and will go down to the 20’s tonight. At least we won’t get snow.

Al my Colorado presents are wrapped. The bin holds only unwrapped Cape presents, and I have time yet. Today is busy. Gracie and I are going to the dump then to UPS. I also need to get a Dunkin’ gift card and a few groceries. I have to make fudge for my sister. I’ll be seeing her tomorrow and the fudge is a tradition, a gift she loves. Tonight I’ll watch Hallmark Christmas movies and write out my Christmas cards. I have my Edward Gorey cards, special ones for the family and a few I bought in Ghana. The tree is postponed until Sunday. I am disappointed.

This end of the street is dark, no Christmas lights, except for my house. One of my neighbors does have a white light in each window, but that is it. At the other end of the street three of the houses have lights. And on the next street, one of the houses is amazing. The lawn is filled with lights and lit figures of Santa and his reindeer. The house is outlined. All the trees are ablaze with light. It is the best house in the neighborhood.

When I was a kid, the square at Christmas always had carolers the nights before Christmas when people were shopping. The John Hancock Company gave out free soft cover books of carols, and they were passed out each night to the carolers. I remember one cover had a church with a lit stain glass window. Another cover had three choir boys wearing white gowns and red bowties. I still have a couple of books, one of each cover. I remember singing in the square. We stood on a platform right in front of the drug store and the Children’s Corner. I was in the fifth grade. We probably weren’t all that good but we were enthusiastic. I remember it all.

“The best Christmas trees come very close to exceeding nature.”

December 8, 2016

I think the sun went on vacation. Yesterday it rained in the morning and stayed cloudy the whole day though it was warmer than I expected. Today is also drab and gray. I am so glad that I was out for quite a while on Tuesday, the first sunny day in a while. I took the highway down cape but came back Route 28. It was a beautiful ride. I passed the ocean a few times. It was low tide and the water was still. It had a grayish tone. I saw a wild turkey fly. I hadn’t ever seen one fly before. It took a lumbering leap into the air and over a fence. I wasn’t sure the turkey had the height but it did. When I was passing the cove, the only boats moored, other than a single sailboat, were fishing boats. Most needed paint and had nets and lobster traps on deck. They all looked weathered and old. In Chatham, the store where I wanted to shop was gone. It didn’t matter. I really enjoyed the ride.

Last night my house was aglow. The front fence has strands of colored lights. The gate has a huge white star on top with trails of white lights coming from it. The top of the fence to and from the star is also white. Beside the driveway, bare branches on a bush are covered in huge Christmas ornaments. A floodlight shines on them. My deck rail has strands of colored lights atop it. I added bows to the three wreaths, put balls of colored ornaments in the basket on the steps and put my old sled with my ice skates beside the step. When it got dark last night, I went outside and stood on the street to check out my house. It is beautiful.

I did what I thought was quite a bit of wrapping yesterday. Come to find out I have so much more. All of the gifts are now downstairs filling the den and the hall. Maddie, though, is complicating the process by lying on the paper. She looks so comfy I don’t want to disturb her. I’ll probably just use different paper.

Tomorrow I’ll get the tree, the highlight of my Christmas. I love to sit in the living room just to look at it. Its aroma fills the house. I have a couple of new ornaments from Ghana. They aren’t really ornaments, but they’re big, round and colorful. They’ll do just fine.

“Christmas isn’t a parade or concert but a piece of home you keep in your heart wherever you go.”

December 2, 2016

Yesterday I expected to be welcomed home by a marching band playing and a couple of burly men waiting to carry my packages. I actually shopped for nearly three hours, a bit of a marathon for me. I had a list, and I finished it though it was close. I nearly gave up on the last item, but it was Gracie’s medicine so I went to CVS. The God of Parking was with me as I got a space directly across from the entrance. The line was long but I was patient. By the time I got home, I had set a new around town shopping record.

Two wreaths and a swag are sitting on the lawn. I think I’ll put them up today. My lights will be put up on Monday or Tuesday. I need to get my tree, probably Sunday. Meanwhile, the scrawny scrub pine artificial tree will take its place in the corner of the dining room. I’ll bring it upstairs when I bring my laundry down. Yup, it is still in the hall, and I have added to it. I don’t know what it is about laundry that makes me so loath to do it.

Yesterday, I was browsing the shelves looking for a bag for the Christmas tree. On one shelf, I saw stencils and a can of white spray for windows. Seeing them whisked me back in time to when I was a kid, and windows were covered with Santas and trees and bells. Our picture window was artfully stenciled by us taking turns. One would hold the stencil while the other sprayed. My fingers were covered in white by the time we were finished. My mother kept an eye to make sure we didn’t overdo. We’d run outside after spraying each stencil to see how it looked. We always thought they were perfect.

I remember the Christmas cards taped around the doorways, the colored candles in the windows, the tree in the corner with the hanging icicles, the Santa and Mrs. Santa salt and pepper shakers and the four small Santa cups which spelled out noel. I always said I got the N because I was the oldest.

“At the heel end of the day, I need my glass of wine. Christmas lights for the brain.”

November 25, 2016

Dinner was delicious yesterday, and I even brought home a doggy bag so they’ll be a dinner  of leftovers this evening. The restaurant was bustling when we arrived but quieted down as we sat and dined.

The day is cloudy as it has been seemingly forever. I don’t remember the last time I saw the sun. The temperature has been in the high 40’s, but without the sun, it seems colder. The trees are bare with only a few brown leaves clinging to the ends of branches. Winter is coming with all its starkness.

Some houses have their outside colored lights lit, and I saw a few Christmas trees through living room windows as we drove home last night. One strand of lights on my deck rail comes on every night. It is my way to beat back the darkness, but within the next week or two, all my outside Christmas lights will be put up on the fence, the gate and the deck to brighten the night. I need to buy a few wreaths, one for the door, one for the front gate and one for the fence off the deck.

Gracie and Maddie are napping. Neither of them was good company last night. They had no problem sleeping the night away. Gracie woke me up this morning by tapping the mattress near my head with her paw. That dog has no patience. I, of course, got up to let her outside. I don’t toy with a dog needing out.

I will avoid going out today because of the shopping crowd and the uninviting weather. Tomorrow I’ll do some local shopping for small stocking type gifts. Sunday will be dump day. I didn’t get to sleep until after 3:30 this morning. I have no idea why this sudden insomnia. I entertained myself by watching the new Anne of Green Gables, Star Trek Deep Space Nine and by looking through catalogues and magazines. I cut out recipes and dog-eared pages with interesting stories. I found a few neat things to order. I like shopping in my comfy clothes from my warm house.