Posted tagged ‘Christmas tree’

“Departure of a year welcomes so many new memories”

December 29, 2016

Cape Cod will get rain and high winds but no snow, but I didn’t need a forecast. One look at the sky was enough. It is a storm sky, dark and foreboding. The wind is starting to pick up a bit, but we won’t feel the brunt of the nor’easter until tonight. Meanwhile, I’m staying home. I’m staying comfy.

I woke up so late this morning I am embarrassed. This weird sleep cycle has to be broken. I stay up until one or two or even three and never wake up until some time after ten. I figure I’ll have to set my alarm for an early time in the morning and then hope to fall asleep before midnight.

I still light my Christmas tree every day although it is getting dryer and will so enough have to come down. The house always looks so empty and dark without the tree. It brightens even the deepest and darkest winter nights.

I always expect the new year to be better than the old. I know nothing around me changes too much but everything I saw, whatever I learned and anybody I met makes me more than I was, makes me a bit better than I was.

The highpoint for me this year was my trip back to Ghana. My friends and I had the most amazing time. We saw elephants walking around our chalets just nonchalantly stopping and stripping trees of their leaves while we stood close but still a safe distance away. We saw our former students almost every night in Bolga. We ate our favorite Ghanaian food. We went shopping on market day which was always my favorite day. It was a trip of highlights.

I don’t need a whole to keep me happy. Summer movies and Sunday game nights are never boring or tiresome. We loved sitting on the deck on a summer night with a small breeze keeping the evening comfortable. We laughed at all the bad black and white B movies we saw. One of my favorite creatures was the giant spider scaling the wall of the skyscraper. On Sunday it is Phase 10 and Sorry. With Sorry, just as you think victory is yours, your man, right next to home, gets knocked off back to start. That’s when someone always says  I hate this game.

I’m going to do laundry today, and that’s it. Gracie and I went to the dump yesterday, and there were so many cars, you’d think they were giving something wonderful away. Gracie’s head swiveled.

Now it’s time for lunch and the rest of the lazy day!

“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.

“Snow was the most beautiful thing Amitola had ever seen. It fell so gracefully and drizzled her skin like a cold whisper.”

December 12, 2016

My friend called last night and said it’s snowing, and the tips of the snow have such beautiful ice crystals you have to see them. She was so right. The ice crystals looked like white lights shining in the darkness from the deck. The rail and the deck box too were bright and shining. I watched the snow fall until I was too cold to stand any longer by the back door. This morning it’s raining. The wind was fiercely blowing when I got the papers and is still blowing, but it’s a bit subdued. It’s warmer than it has been the last few days.

My days have names. Yesterday was tree day. Today is decoration day as the trees branches have nicely fallen. I need to start hauling up my Christmas bins from the cellar. I hope to get to the boxes closer to the wall as there are some decorations I haven’t used in a while, and I like to alternate. I need to find my collection of tall, plastic, lit from the inside, Santas from the 1950’s. I also have Christmas Carol figures somewhere way in the back. I haven’t used them for the longest time. My mother used to say she had enough decorations to decorate several trees. I could say the same.

I have to shop because cookie day is coming. I need a list of ingredients and a lot of energy.   My Christmas cards are still waiting. They are on the table in front of me making me feel a bit guilty that I haven’t started even though I have the cards and the stamps. There are still presents to wrap for my Cape friends, but I have all week for that.

The smell of pine is already filling the house.


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

December 11, 2016

My tree is standing in the living room. It is fresh and a lovely dark green. When I shook it and banged it on the walkway, no needles dropped. The guy at Hart Farm, where I buy many of my flowers, pumpkins, and cider, told me it is one of the freshest of his trees. I believed him. When I ran my hand up the green on the branches, the green bounced back. This evening I’ll start decorating my beautiful tree.

The play, Mame, was wonderful yesterday. It was one of the best plays I’ve seen at the Stoneham Theater. The crowd loved it. There was laughing and lots of applause. The house was filled. Going to that theater always makes me a bit nostalgic. I spend so many Saturdays there watching the matinees when I was a kid. It is configured differently now, but when I look, I can still see the seats the way they were. The back rows were always couples making out. I used to gape at them when I was going to the bathroom. The balcony was usually empty because when it was filled it was like a war zone. Missiles of JuJu candy rained down on us from above. Al, the owner, would stand in the balcony to make sure nobody threw stuff. He wasn’t always successful. The stage is where the screen and a small stage used to be. The small stage was in the front of the screen. My mother said someone would stand on the stage when there were dishes or prizes given away. That was before my time.

Dinner was at Felicia’s, where the fish market used to be. I can’t help but remember the square of my time when I visit it now. As always the meal did not disappoint. We started with mussels in a thick red, hot sauce which was so good we had to get more Scali bread to sop it all. We both had Rustica Chicken which is linguini in an Alfredo type sauce with charred red peppers, and sausage. I topped off the meal with Sambuca coffee.

Yesterday was a wonderful start to the Christmas season. I saw a fantastic play, ate a great dinner and spent the whole day with my sister. When I drove her home, I got to see so many houses filled with lights shining in the night. I figure a ride to see the lights is coming. It is traditional!!

“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.

“For every year this Christmas tree, Brings to us such joy and glee.”

December 8, 2015

Today is colder than it has been, and it’s raining which adds a bit of bite to the chill. A strong breeze is blowing the leaves and some of the branches. It’s a day to stay inside and be warm and cozy. I’m thinking Hallmark movies.

The Christmas tree has sometimes been a prime target. One of my cats loved to climb it. I remember the first time I saw her halfway up the tree. She was peeking out from the branches and looking at me. I didn’t know if she wanted help or if she was just letting me know where she was. I decided to let her figure out the way down. She did and took a few ornaments with her. That same cat also loved sleeping on the tree skirt under the warmth of the lights. By the end of the Christmas season the tree skirt was black with fur.

My mother put food on her tree. Foolishly we didn’t think of it that way. We saw decorations, but Shauna, my dog at the time, another boxer, saw real sugar cookies and strands of popcorn. We have a picture of her pulling a cookie off the tree. She was quite adept as only the cookie came off the tree and not any other other ornaments. When the cookies were gone,  Shauna decided the popcorn looked good. She grabbed the closest piece of a strand and pulled. It wasn’t the best plan as the strand was around the tree front to back. She might have gotten away with it, but the tree shook and a few ornaments fell. We found her munching on popcorn still attached to the strand and having from the tree. We decide that surrender was the best response so we took the rest of the popcorn off the tree.
Gracie doesn’t touch the tree. She gives it a few sniffs, finds nothing and moves on. My cats were five when I adopted them and were too old for tree climbing though Fern does love to sleep on the same tree skirt under the warmth of the lights. At the end of the season the tree skirt is now white with fur. Cats do love to be cozy.

“Paradise can take the form of anything! It can be a flower or it can be a word or it can just be a sincere smile!”

January 8, 2015

I’m running late. I changed my bed, showered, shopped a bit on line and watched CNN. There was no urgency in getting things done. In due time I thought. The tree is still in the stand, bare of Christmas and sitting in the middle of the living room. I tried to get it out of the stand myself, but I couldn’t. It is the only glimmer of Christmas left, and later today it will be gone. My outside lights continue to be lit each night. I am loath to return to darkness.

It was so cold yesterday I brought the bird feeders into the house to fill them. My sister thought it strange and said I should have bundled up and done it outside. I fear the cold has warped her thinking. There I’d be out on the deck layered and wearing mittens and fumbling to get the seed into the feeders. Getting dressed to go outside would have taken longer than the task.

Today is sunny, but the light is muted, even chilly looking. I am not going out. This will be the second day in a row of my self-imposed exile from the world. I have all of life’s essentials: books, TV and Christmas cookies.

Last night I cooked chicken. I rifled through my herbs and spices and found one I hadn’t used, Caribbean Calypso Spice. It came from Penzey’s Spices, an occasion of sin for me. I’m sure a few of you are shaking your heads and wondering what in heck is an occasion of sin. I’ve known since childhood as the nuns were diligent in teaching us to avoid an occasion of sin, “Any person, place, or thing that of its nature or because of human frailty can lead one to do wrong, thereby committing sin.”  When I was younger, the list was long. Now that I’m older, I don’t even think I have a list. I live life with abandonment and am better for it.

I am wearing my new sweatshirt. It says Doctor Who and has a picture of the TARDIS. I am also wearing new slippers. I am warm and comfortable. I just ate a couple of cookies. I’m thinking this is a bit like paradise.

“It is the personal thoughtfulness, the warm human awareness, the reaching out of the self to one’s fellow man that makes giving worthy of the Christmas spirit.”

December 16, 2014

Today is warm even without the sun. I woke up early, around 5:30. Though I tried to go back to sleep, I couldn’t so I came downstairs, brewed my coffee and checked out the TV news. I heard the thud of the papers hitting the driveway a little later and wandered outside still surprised at how warm a day it is.

This morning I have to bring goodies to the library’s Christmas open house and I have PT at 11. After that I get to decorate my tree. It is not as tall as usual but is beautiful and fresh. I ran my hand up and down the needles just for the pine smell. The tree is sitting in the middle of my living room all ready for the lights.

One snippet in the paper caught my attention. Yesterday the police arrested a drunk driver on the highway. He was also cited for an unsafe car. It seems he was riding on three tires and a rim. When asked about it, the driver said he hadn’t noticed.

Every Christmas Eve my mother and I were always the last to go to bed. We’d sit, have a drink and chat and exchange one present, one special present. One year my present to her was a replica of a framed picture which used to hang in the bathroom when I was young. It had a small boy wrapped in a blue towel and a poem with started, “Please remember, don’t forget never leave the bathroom wet nor leave the soap still in the water…” It was hung on the wall across from the toilet, and I used to read it every time I went to the bathroom, and it is permanently etch into my memory drawers. We saw it in a house in Ireland, and my mother tried to buy it but wasn’t successful. I found the replica on-line. She loved it.

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

December 5, 2014

I have already been out and about this morning and will go back out later. The day is chilly but not cold, in the mid 40’s. On my journey, I saw people wearing all sorts of outer garb including puffy jackets, sweatshirts, vests, just plain shirts and one guy in a t-shirt. I was among the vest wearers.

Gracie just brought me the most disgusting chew I’ve seen in a long while. It was crusted in dirt. She obviously had buried it in the backyard and now had a hankering to eat it. She dropped it at my feet, a gift of sorts I suppose. I took it in the kitchen and scrubbed it. The dirt swirled in the sink then went down the drain. I dried it as best I could and gave it to Gracie who wouldn’t take it. Maybe without the dirt it had lost its appeal. A bit later she went back and smelled it and decided it was okay. She is now eating it beside me on the couch. When I put things away for safe keeping, they often end up lost for good. I should have Gracie bury them for me. She never forgets.

The tree always went in the same corner, where the TV usually was. My father would lie on the floor to turn the screws on the tree stand while one of us tried to hold the tree straight and upright. He’d say let go, and when we did, the tree would sometimes lean. We’d hold it again, and he’d try to tighten the screws even more, this time with a screw driver to turn the metal loops. When the tree stayed straight, it was time for the lights. My dad always had tangled lights, and they always drove him crazy. It would take him a while to untangle the mess of all those sets. He was never patient. Once he’d finished that, he’d check to see if the strands would light. If they didn’t, he’d try to figure out which bulb had died. He was smart about that and would replace all the bulbs then check the ones he’d removed one at a time. When it was time to put them on the tree, he was always haphazard about it. My mother would say let the lights drape from branch to branch, but my father never did. He just walked around the tree and put the lights wherever. His only Christmas responsibilities, the outside lights, the tree and inside lights, were complete. He’d then watch TV. The rest was up to us.

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

December 23, 2013

The day is warm but rainy and dreary. The temperature, though, is due for a radical change: from the 50’s of this morning to the 30’s tonight. I just hope the roads don’t freeze. The paper even mentioned the possibility of snow. If I were a little kid, I’ll keep checking out the window hoping to see flakes falling. It was always fun to be the first to yell. “It’s snowing!”

Last night Gracie was barking her intruder bark, and I could hear frantic knocking on my front door. I jumped out of bed and stood in the hall but heard nothing. I turned and saw Gracie asleep on the bed. I realized I had been dreaming so I rejoined Gracie and went back to sleep.

Yesterday I wrapped again and am down to two unwrapped presents. I like this leisurely approach. Tonight I’ll finish up and put away all the paper and tags until next year. My presents, from my two sisters, are in the living room. Some are under the trees and others are arranged in front of the table, an arrangement being a genetic trait. I remember Christmas mornings and coming downstairs and my first look through the bannister. The tree was always lit, and the presents were arranged in front of it. My brother’s gifts were to the left then came mine then each of my two sisters’ gifts. Santa never wrapped our gifts. That made sense to me as I doubted he and the elves had time. They were too busy making the gifts. Games were upright in front. One year my brother’s new bike was in the kitchen, a surprise. He was sent to get matches and did so in the dark and didn’t even see his bike. My parents sent him back and told him to turn on the light. I remember his yelp at seeing his bike. We’d each sit in front of our spots and check out our gifts one by one. We’d show my parents who would act surprised. I don’t remember ever being disappointed.

%d bloggers like this: