Posted tagged ‘colored lights’

“I love Christmas, not just because of the presents but because of all the decorations and lights and the warmth of the season.”

November 27, 2017

It was just after seven when I woke up. I would have gone back to sleep, but Gracie was staring at me with her I need to go out look so out we went. I was a little chilly as I didn’t grab my sweatshirt. Maddie was sleeping on it, and I decided one of us, at least, ought to be still asleep at this early hour. Once we were back in the house, I fed Maddie and Gracie, started my coffee, turned on the TV to find out if there had been any jaw dropping news overnight and then started reading the papers.

The animals wolfed down breakfast, the coffee was delicious, there was no big news, and I finished the Globe crossword but not the Cape Times cryptogram.

Gracie has a bit of anxiety. I figured this time she’d be fine as we’d already been outside. I was wrong. When I go upstairs to shower, Gracie waits and watches at the bottom of the stairs. She also goes the bathroom sometimes on the floor and sometimes on the treads. Today she hit both. While I showered, Gracie always waited for me. She used to lie on the bathroom rug. Now she can’t do stairs so she gets upset. I understand. I also wish for summer so I can shower outside.

Today is cloudy and cold. The wind is strong enough to sway the pine limbs. Nothing about outside looks enticing, but I’m stuck going out to an appointment. I’d much rather be comfortable reading on the couch. I’ve started a new series about Flavia de Luce, an eleven year old who enjoys chemistry and murder. The series was recommended by two avid readers so I bought the first two novels. I love the title of the first one, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie.

Two houses on my street are already decorated for Christmas. I’m thinking I need to call Skip, my factotum, to do mine. I always have white bulbs on the fence to the backyard. They are the trail of a giant star attached to the fence. The front of my yard has colored lights across the top of the fence. On the side, a small tree is decorated with giant ornaments highlighted by a flood light. In the back, the top of the deck rail sports colored bulbs.

I do love Christmas lights. They brightened the darkness of winter. They celebrate the season, and most of all they remind me of all the family rides we took to see the lights. That is one of my favorite Christmas traditions, and I still take a ride to see the lights. I bring Gracie so I can comment aloud without feeling silly. She’s a good listener.

“Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone.”

December 5, 2016

The day is dreary with early morning rain leaving the sky dark and the air feeling a bit dank. The house is as warm as usual but somehow feels colder. I’m wearing a sweatshirt. Gracie finds the couch more inviting than her outside jaunts.

I’m going to bring up some Christmas from the cellar. I’ll keep going as long as my back does. It looks like no outside lights today as I doubt Skip, my factotum, will be by to put them up. Tomorrow is supposed to be sunny.

I’ve turned on all the lights strands in the different rooms. The kitchen has red chili lights and seashell lights. The bathroom has a small tree made of driftwood and strung with white lights. This room has a string of colored lights wrapped around the old wooden ironing board leaning against the closet. In the dark, the lights give the house a festive glow.

I’m not doing any errands today. Like Gracie, I am content to be inside where it is dry and warm. Other than Christmas I have nothing on my household to do list. I changed the bed yesterday and you already know about my triumph over the laundry. I do have my Christmas cards to sign, address and send, but I need to buy stamps so I’m thinking to put them on the list for later in the week. Wednesday will be my errand day.

We vote tomorrow for the Water Commissioner. I don’t remember why it wasn’t on the November ballot, but because it is the only race, the number of voters will probably be low.   One of the hopefuls is doing some door to door. I used to work with him so he’ll get my vote. Besides, even if I didn’t know him, I’d be impressed he is running a campaign.

Okay, I admit I am watching the Hallmark holiday movies. All that sugar is addictive. There is also a comfort in knowing all of them have happy endings. I look forward to that.

 

 

 

“At Christmas I no more desire a rose, Than wish a snow in May’s new-fangled shows; But like of each thing that in season grows.”

December 14, 2015

The rain is coming and should be here by the afternoon. It is welcomed as we are down from our usually rain amounts. The summer was pretty dry. Gracie and I were out early because we scoped out the kennel where she’ll be staying. The owners are quite nice and Gracie was on her best behavior. On the way home we stopped at the vet’s where Gracie got a shot against kennel cough and had her nails trimmed.

I was out the other night and meandered home so I could have a short see the lights ride. It is amazing how many houses have lights, the most I’ve seen in a long while. My street with only eight houses, including one which is empty all winter, is ablaze of lights. The houses are beautifully  decorated some with white lights, some with colored lights and others, like mine, with a combination. We’re talking fences, wreaths, trees and houses lit for the season. The house at the end of the street has a train lit up in its front yard. Blinking lights are wrapped around a tree, and they look as if they’re floating in air as the tree trunk is too dark to see. They have four kids who must be so excited to see their house decked out for the holiday. The other house with so many different lights has stars of light hanging from their tree. They have a tree of colored lights in their front yard. They too have four kids who must be delighted.

I remember how excited I was when my dad put the outside lights on the front bushes. They were the big bulbs which shone so brightly and were always so hot to the touch. After finishing outside, he’d find the window candles and tape them to the sills. The bases were made of plastic and had a tendency to be top heavy because of the bulb, always an orange bulb, so tape was a necessity.

At Christmas time the lights shine brightly against the dark of winter. They seem hopeful and remind us that winter will end. The days will get longer. We’ll all soon be back in the light.

“At Christmas, ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ makes me cry in exactly the same places every time, even though I know it’s coming.”

December 13, 2015

Today is a grey day but still warmer than it should be. Last night my house was ablaze with Christmas lights. My neighbor from across the street called to say she loves the lights and can’t stop looking at them from her window. Most of the house has colored lights, but a giant white star sits atop the fence to the backyard and strands of white flow from the star. I love that star.

When I was a kid, we had turkey for  Christmas dinner. With it we had creamed onions, mashed potatoes, stuffing and another vegetable or two. Over time my mother changed the menu. We’d have some sort of a roast, fresh vegetables and always those mashed potatoes. We’d eat dinner in the dining room instead of the kitchen. First came the festive table cloth which changed from year to year. My mother and I would then set the table with her Christmas dishes. The centerpiece was made of boxwood and decorated with red balls and ribbons. The middle of the table groaned under the weight of all the dishes. We’d pass each dish and fill our plates. We’d compliment my mother on how delicious everything tasted. The mashed potatoes and gravy never had lumps. The vegetables were just right. It was every time a perfect feast.

I had been my mother’s sous chef for dinner and after dinner I was her cleaner upper. My mother would stay in the kitchen, dry the dishes and keep me company. We’d put on Christmas music. My mother loved the Carpenters Christmas, Frank Sinatra’s and Andy Williams. It was a treasured time for me. My mother and I chatted the whole time. Everyone else was in the living room, but they’d appear every now and then for some more desserts. The table was filled with choices: whoopie pies, cookies or candies, all made by my mother and me.

My mother made Christmas a joy. We all honor her by doing the same.

“…freshly cut Christmas trees smelling of stars and snow and pine resin – inhale deeply and fill your soul with wintry night…”

December 1, 2015

Today is a dreary day with dark grey clouds and maybe some rain this afternoon. We can look forward to that forecast for the next three days. It is that same storm which dropped snow and left ice all over the Midwest. We are too warm for the snow and ice for which I am thankful.

So many houses are already lit for Christmas that any ride is a light ride. Last night I took a few side roads on my way home from getting bread and dinner. Many houses have gone all out this year, and there are more colored lights than in other years. They always remind me of my childhood.

I miss my parents and still think to grab the phone to call my mother even after ten years, but it is Christmas time when I miss her the most. My sisters and I laugh and say my mother cursed us with the Christmas bug. We all put lights outside, still buy real trees and have enough decorations for several living rooms. My mother used to say no more decorations then she’d see something amazing and just have to buy it. She’d laugh and tell us she could decorate for years and never repeat ornaments or decorations from year to year.

My childhood tree sat in the corner which usually housed the TV console. It was connected by wires to the windows because it sometimes fell down, being heavier than the stand could hold. I remember holding it up by the trunk while my father attached the wires. I hated that job as I always had branches sticking in my face because I was reaching through the branches to the trunk of the tree.

When we decorated, my mother always put the really big glass ornaments around the top branches as those were her fancy ornaments, and she was afraid we’d break them. I have one of those ornaments and, of course,  it goes up top. Those trees of my childhood had bare spots between the branches, and we’d put things like the Coca Cola Santa and a few cards we kept from year to year in the middle of the bare spots.

When we were older, my mother always bought the most gorgeous trees. It was a joke between her and my father. He’d ask the price of the tree, and my mother would say $20 or $25 when it was really $40 or more. My aunt would visit and remark on how beautiful the tree was, and my father would tell her $20.00 knowing full well my mother had paid much more. My aunt always scoffed at my father. That was part of the fun.

“A cheese may disappoint. It may be dull, it may be naive, it may be oversophisticated. Yet it remains cheese, milk’s leap toward immortality.”

September 21, 2015

Last night was cold, not chilly but downright cold. This week will be cool every day and cold at night, hints of the season to come. My windows were all shut last night, and I was warm and cozy huddled under the blankets. Today I’m wearing a long sleeve shirt. I can’t remember the last time I wore one.

My lawn is cluttered with fallen leaves and bunches of pine needles. The flowers are just about gone, their colors fading away. I always miss color the most when winter comes. It is a drab season. Christmas is winter’s only salvation. It brings light and color back but only for a short while, never long enough. Last year the thought of winter’s darkness returning was too much so I decided to keep color alive. I left two strands of colored lights wrapped around the deck rail. They have been lit every night since Christmas, and every night I marvel at the colors and how brightly they shine. It is the one spot winter doesn’t dim.

I’m getting the urge to bake, something I haven’t done in a while. I snip recipes and save them in a bulging folder. The recipes are in no order so I go through them one at a time looking for the perfect recipe for my mood or for the occasion. My friend is coming over tomorrow afternoon for a few drinks and I’ll make a couple of appetizers. I have been through the file and have three possibilities. I’m leaning towards roasted figs and prosciutto as one of them then maybe a charcuterie as the second. I bought a honeycomb a bit back and I think it would be perfect with the meat and the cheese. I guess I’ve made my choices. Next I’ll make my list.

I enjoy making dishes I’ve never made before. I’ve been lucky: nobody has ever spit any out or been rushed to the hospital. Most times the food disappears, and many times I get asked for the recipes. I always give them. I consider that the highest of compliments.

“They talked on into the early morning, the high, pale cast of light in the windows, and they did not think of leaving.”

March 15, 2015

Yesterday it rained all day and into the evening. Much of the snow is gone and whatever is left is sad-looking, beaten down and dirty. A whole section of my backyard has reappeared, and in the front I can even see sections of my lawn on both sides of the house. The first things I saw when I went to get the papers were the white buds of the snowdrops by the steps. That made me glad. I know now the green shoots survived winter’s onslaught. Now they can thrive with the coming of spring.

I would have said today is cold, but it is actually 40˚. The chill is from the dampness. Nothing seems to dry. The rain has left the streets still wet and the above freezing temperature is melting the snow. Water is everywhere. The giant mounds on the sides of my street are shrinking, and the water from the melting snow is rolling downhill. There are no sewers so the water rolls until the hill ends and then it puddles.

My house seems coziest in the daytime darkness. I am warm and comfortable. I have plugged in the different strands of lights so the house is gently lit. The kitchen has a red glow from pepper lights. The living room has lights on branches standing in tall stoneware bottles in the corners. Small wooden houses in the dining room are lit and the light shines from their windows. The bathroom has a nightlight, a snowflake, whose season has finally passed. This room, my den, where I spend the most time has a lit lamp on the table and no other lights. It shines on the pages of my book, and that’s all I need.

At night I still like looking at the colored lights left on the deck rail and on trees in the backyard. When Gracie goes outside in the dark, she triggers her yard sensor lights. The shadows of the trees are beautiful. They stretch the width of the yard. I like to see the lights so I stand on the deck and Gracie, when she’s finished, usually joins me. We stay until the light finally goes out then we go inside the house.

“No one lights a lamp in order to hide it behind the door: the purpose of light is to create more light, to open people’s eyes, to reveal the marvels around.”

December 4, 2014

Yesterday I had a vision of the post-apocalyptic world, and very few had survived. There were only four cars at the dump, a miracle as it was closed for the two days prior to yesterday. I went to Benny’s for lights and cords, and it was near empty. I was almost tempted to buy a million batteries for when the lights go out. In front of my coffee-sandwich store there were several parking places right in front. I was the only customer at the counter. The roads were nearly empty, and I had no trouble crossing two lanes of traffic. It was cold out yesterday, and it did start to rain but not until I was nearly home so the weather wasn’t a deterrent. Where were the people?

This morning an uninvited cat was sitting outside on my front steps. It looked quite at home. I was upstairs as was Gracie. That was a good thing because Gracie doesn’t like cats other than her own, and she’s not even sure about them. Gracie would have gone through the glass to get at that cat daring to invade her yard. I made noise and the cat just turned and looked at me and didn’t move. Finally I went down the stairs halfway and the cat scooted. Gracie never saw it. Catastrophe averted.

My outside Christmas lights look lovely. I added some white lights on top of the fence which look as if they are emanating from the giant star, and I outlined my sled and the skates hanging from it in colored lights. I put ball ornaments in a basket on the front step. My neighbor called last night to tell me how wonderful my house looks. Now I just have to get inside decorated. That will be a multi-day project but one which brings me joy and even wonder as I remember the history of the ornaments especially the ones from our family tree.

This afternoon I will finish the deck lights and call it a day. That book is waiting.

“A snowball in the face is surely the perfect beginning to a lasting friendship.”

December 27, 2013

Yesterday was an odd day. I never did get dressed, but I wasn’t a sloth either. I did a variety of chores. Al the bird feeders were filled, the laundry was brought up, folded and put away, the camel’s head was glued back as was the zebra’s ear. Paw prints were cleaned off the kitchen floor, and the litter boxes were emptied and refilled. It was a banner day. The funny event was when I pulled out the barrel with the bird seed in it from underneath the grill cover on the deck. A chipmunk jumped out and ran by me as if his life depended on it. The chipmunk scared me as much as I had scared him.

Last night the house was ablaze with color. The tree lights were on in both rooms as was the wooden star, a plastic Santa, shell lights, the red pepper clump in the kitchen and the snowflake night-light in the bathroom. The house looked so lovely.

I remember the tree after Christmas with the toys still underneath it. My brother and I would sit by it and play one of our new games while my sisters played dolls. New sleds had to wait for snow but new bikes could be ridden despite the cold. The excitement of counting the days and waiting and hoping was gone, but we had all these new toys, and I always had new books so we were glad. I remember sitting in bed and being cozy and warm and reading a new Trixie Belden. The day passed almost unnoticed.

If we had snow, we’d be outside sledding on the hill behind our house or making snow forts. We older kids would sled down our street if it still had a layer of snow. That was the best ride of them all. It was a huge hill. From the top, you could barely see the bottom. I’d be wearing snow pants, my winter jacket, boots, a hat and mittens. When I walked, my snow pants made a swishing noise. My mittens would get clumps of ice attached to them, and snow found its way into my boots.

I was always freezing when I finally went into the house. I had to go through the cellar and hang up my wet clothes on the laundry lines. My skin was always beet red from the cold. I’d run upstairs to my room and put on warm pajamas and my slippers then I’d sit in front of the radiator to get warm. It was always the best day.

“In the right light, at the right time, everything is extraordinary.”

November 28, 2011

Today is still warm but cloudy and lifeless. I don’t even see the birds at the feeders. The animals, as usual, are having their morning naps. I showered, read the papers, gathered my Thanksgiving decorations to put away and got caught up in my book for a while, but I disciplined myself to stop to get busy with Coffee. I have several errands today so Gracie and I will be around town for a bit. She’s always up for a ride.

Christmas lights are up all over. I noticed them the other night. I think it has to do with the warm weather. People don’t mind being outside putting their lights around when it is in the 60’s. I love the lights, and I love the ride to see the lights. I still do it with just Gracie for company. I talk to her and let her know which houses are especially pretty.

I’m a colored lights person myself. It’s a throwback from my childhood when everyone used those big colored bulbs. Today I need a couple of new timers, a few more light sets, a spotlight and a giant wreath for the fence then I’m good to go.

When Gracie was a puppy, she was out front as the fence hadn’t yet been erected in the backyard. At Christmas time she amused herself by pulling the garland off the fence and chewing on the light cords until they split and the lights died. I had to replace several sets of them. Why she wasn’t electrocuted I’ll never know. I eventually unplugged the lights each night before I went to bed then plugged them back in the next night, but that didn’t stop her from dragging the garlands and pulling the lights. It just prevented her electrocution. I got quite expert at unwinding and rewinding sets of lights.

The winter nights are long, dark and cold, and I have always been thankful for houses bright with Christmas lights. The lights brighten the night and bring a sense of warmth and a burst of color. It’s like a bit of summer drops by for a quick visit.