Posted tagged ‘Christmas trees’

“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.

“Little Jack Horner sat in the corner, Eating a Christmas pie. He put in his thumb, and pulled out a plum, And said, ‘What a good boy am I?’”

December 19, 2014

It is quite late for me because I had several errands. I also treated myself to lunch in between as I had a half hour wait before I could finish my last errand. Today is a still day, a windless day. It is dark and cold. Everyone was bundled up and was moving quickly from store to store.

I need to get out of my public clothes into my cozies. I’ll be glad when I’m really old because I’ll wear whatever I want in public and people will chalk it up to old age.

The Christmas tree lot at Stop and Shop is gone. A few trees are on the ground, the leftovers I expect. Agway is still open but has very few trees. I remember my mother talking about her Christmas tree and how it was decorated when they were in bed on Christmas Eve. They’d wake up in the morning to a glorious tree and gifts from Santa. I like having the tree around longer. I get to admire it in the living room, and I get to sit and read surrounded by Christmas. Both trees are lit now. They have given the day its only color.

Fern has taken to sleeping on the tree skirt. She falls asleep warmed by the lights and sleeps so deeply she snores but ever so slightly. I have to listen closely to hear her. Gracie, on the other hand, snores loudly, like a grown man, a big grown man. She snorts as she sleeps. Sometimes I can’t fall asleep for the racket. Boxers tend to be snorers.

A few Christmas jobs remain. I have my baking to do, presents to wrap for my Cape friends and Christmas dinner to plan. I ordered a pork roast from the butcher, but that is as far as I’ve gotten. I know I’ll do an apple dish and some sort of potato, and I’m thinking baby carrots for color and one more vegetable yet to be decided. I’m going to do a relish tray. My grandmother always had one on her table when we ate there. I was always drawn to the celery. I have the perfect dish to use: a very old glass sectioned plate just like the one my grandmother had. The old touches are always great memories to add to the table.

When I think of dessert, I think of the Cratchits and their Christmas pudding. The flame was always so dramatic and such a splendid finish to dinner.

“The only real treasure is in your head. Memories are better than diamonds and nobody can steal them from you”

December 2, 2012

When I let Gracie out, it felt warm, but the papers aren’t here yet so I haven’t been outside. For some reason I woke up at 6. I can’t even remember the last time I did that. That early was too much for Gracie. She is already back to sleep on the couch. The sky is lighter now, but it’s still grey. What a surprise!

One side of my cellar is filled with Christmas decorations. For a while I collected really ugly 50’s decorations, those ceramic pieces we all had as kids and plastic light up Santas with holes in the back for lights. I remember my mother had four ceramic Santa mugs. Each handle was a letter and all of the handles together spelled out Noel. I found a set just like that and was thrilled. It was like finding an old friend. I have Santa head salt and pepper shakers and several angels wearing red dresses. They’re holding ceramic candles. All of the angels are blondes. I have a whole village of cardboard houses, some with intact windows, some without. I have a Tom and Jerry serving set and a couple for egg nog. They too are from the 50’s. In an antique store the other day I saw similar pieces to ones from my collection. They were expensive. Those ugly decorations are now treasured antiques.

My tree is hung with memories. Many of my ornaments have stories attached. A few hung on our family tree every year. My mother gave each of us some of those ornaments a long while back, and I treasure them. Some ornaments are from different trips I’ve made, and I have a few from Ghana. When my friend Michele came to visit last June, she gave me some ornaments she’d had since we were in Ghana together. I can’t wait to hang them on the tree for the first time this year. They’ll be memories of Michelle and Kumasi and hot water. I know the last one seems strange, but I remember how amazed I was when I stayed with her and found out she had hot water straight out of the shower. I have ornaments my mother stitched for me. My favorite is a K with the three kings on it. One year I made name ornaments for my whole family out of blocks. I have the one I  made for my mother and I put it on my tree every year. She loved Christmas, and by putting it on the tree, I keep her in mine.

“Each day has a color, a smell.”

October 5, 2010

It is a put a mirror under her nose to make sure she’s breathing sort of morning. I went to bed really late, or early if you’re a stickler for exactitude, as I just wasn’t tired. I watched bad movies, read a bit and shopped through some catalogs. It was nearly ten when I woke up. Even the animals slept in with me. The day is rainy and chilly. I think I chose a good morning to stay in bed. I hate wasting sun.

Smells are amazing. They let us travel through time and space. One of my favorites is the aroma of freshly baked bread. When I was a kid, two bakeries in the square made their own bread, and I’d sometimes buy a roll still hot from the oven. It didn’t need butter. It was sweet enough on its own.

Fall is still the smell of burning leaves for me. I always thought of smoke signals when I saw piles of burning leaves with their gray smoke snaking into the air. In my memory, the day was always chilly and standing near the fire was warming. My clothes smelled like the burning leaves, and I hated to put them in the wash. Christmas smells like a fir tree. I remember walking downstairs every morning and smelling the tree in the living room. Christmas couldn’t come soon enough. On Thanksgiving, the house was filled with the smell of the turkey roasting in the oven. The kitchen windows were covered in steam, and I couldn’t see outside. I’d watch my mother baste the turkey, and we’d share a small piece of the crusted stuffing she’d pull off the end.

The smell of charcoal lighter fluid brings back my father. He was a firm believer in soaking the briquettes, and as soon as a match hit them, the flame would rise high into the sky. The whoosh of the fire always sent him reeling backwards. He set his pant legs on fire many times.

Burning wood is Ghana. Everyone used wood charcoal. Some villages were charcoal villages, and long logs were kept smoldering to make the charcoal. Every morning I smelled sweet burning wood as my breakfast was cooked on a small round charcoal burner. First it was the water for coffee, then the eggs while the toast leaned on the burner and was turned so both sides would brown. My dinner was cooked the same way.

At night, the sides of the street were filled with women selling food. They fried plantains in white enamel pots over wood fires or roasted skewers of Guinea fowl and chicken on screens over the fires. The town was mostly dark so the small fires looked like bright, low flickering street lights. The whole town smelled like wood burning, like a cozy fire in winter.