Posted tagged ‘decorating’

“‘Twas Easter-Sunday. The full-blossomed trees Filled all the air with fragrance and with joy.”

April 16, 2017

Happy Easter!!

Alexa woke me up at 7:15 this morning so I could go down the street and decorate the tree beside my friends’ deck. It is a tradition. I draped garlands, old cards and egg shaped ornaments all over the tree then left quickly. I hate getting caught. I’ll go back down to my friends’ house later for baskets then we’ll leave for dinner.

It is a glorious Easter Sunday, sunny and warm, perfect for showing off new clothes and whirling dresses. The pictures will all be outside in front of budding trees, flowering bushes and the bright bulb flowers like the dafs and hyacinths.

When I was a kid, we wore our new clothes to church then over to my grandparents’ house in East Boston. My grandparents always had special Easter treats for all of us like candy and small baskets. I have one very distinct memory of an Easter Sunday with them in East Boston. My grandparents lived in an apartment before they moved a couple of streets away to a house. The apartment was the one on the second floor. My great-grandfather was still alive and living with my grandparents. He used to sit on a rocking chair in the room with the big gas heater. He’d yell and spit. We used to run as fast as we could to get by him to get to the TV room. I remember all of that, and I remember the Easter he snatched my basket away from me. I don’t remember the snatching, but I remember the horror, and I remember running to the kitchen crying to tell my mother what happened. My grandmother came to the rescue and got my basket back. I stayed in the kitchen for the rest of the visit.

When I was down the street this morning, I noticed the house across the street had eggs all over the grass and under trees. Later I heard the kids hunting and one yelling that he’d found more eggs. I figured he’d gotten to the lawn which had tons of eggs scattered  all over, no hunting skills required. The eggs were all colored plastic unlike the eggs of my day which were real, hard-boiled colored by hand eggs. Sometimes the count of found eggs was less than the count of hidden eggs. That’s why outside hunting was always best.

I hope you have the loveliest of Sundays and a wonderful Easter.

“My stomach rumbles. Plates of cookies, cake, and fudge. Christmastime is here.”

December 23, 2016

Today is Christmas Eve Eve, just about the longest day of the year to any kid. It has no significance. Nothing happens. It is the last day until tomorrow.

Last night, actually, sort of early this morning, I watched A Christmas Carol with Alastair Sims, my favorite Scrooge. I’ve also watched George C. Scott, Patrick Stewart and Mickey. My other must-see Christmas movies are The Bishop’s Wife which I watched the other night, A Miracle on 34th Street, the original, White Christmas and Holiday Inn. The only one I haven’t yet seen is White Christmas. I’m saving that for tomorrow night.

Tonight Gracie and I are going to look at lights. It is one of the traditions left over from when I was a kid. Back then, a Saugus neighborhood was our first destination. House after house, bush after bush and tree after tree were covered in lights. It was magnificent. The rest of the ride was hit or miss. We loved the houses decked all over in lights. They drew the oohs and ahs. There were no houses with white lights. All the bulbs were large and multi-colored. We had some on our front bushes, and they’d get so hot they’d almost burn your fingers. We had orange lights in the front windows. Other houses had red or blue, few had green. All the window lights in each house matched. I figured it was an unwritten rule of Christmas decorating.

I have to make cookies this afternoon. I’m thinking my orange cookies. They take a while to make then frost, but they are so worth it!

My living room smells like a forest of fir trees. At night, only the two window lights and the tree lights are lit. Between the aroma and the lights, my living room is the best place to sit.

“The cookie-verse is infinite”

November 28, 2016

Trying to find something to watch on TV is a losing battle. I told my remote to find me science fiction movies. The choices were strange. Cinderella was one. I guess it is the talking mice and the fairy godmothers. The only scifi choices I wanted to watch I’ve already seen or they cost money. I don’t get that money piece as many of the films are old and have already been on regular TV. If I had my druthers, I’d have a free channel devoted to B science fiction movies, the old black and white ones. I’d totally binge on those. Luckily, though, I don’t really need movies. I have books from the library, a couch and an afghan. I might even make popcorn.

The plastic dog door fell off again so I had to shut the back door because of the cold. It’s a good thing this is Gracie’s nap time or I’d be standing at the back door waiting for her to come inside. Later, I’ll try yet again to attach the new plastic door piece to the dog door frame. Because I did it once on the old plastic, I am determined to do it again.

My mother used to start calling around this time. She’d say, “Guess what I bought you this weekend,” and then she’d chuckle. I’d guess a few things, but I wasn’t ever right. On another call she’d tell me I was going to love what she had just bought me. Teasing me part of the fun of Christmas. My mother loved these days leading to Christmas with all the decorating and the baking. We’d discuss what each of us was making. I always made date-nut bread, coffee cake for Christmas morning, fudge for my sister and my dad, orange cookies for my mother and English toffee. My mother made sugar cookies, chocolate chip sometimes, biscotti one year and cookies press cookies another year. She’d also make a pie or two. The dining room table always had trays of goodies. My dad used to make several trips each night. He always drank milk with his cookies.

Every week I keep track of the number of miles I drive. Why I do that, I have no idea, especially now. I don’t go out every day. Tomorrow is my only must go out to do something day as Gracie has a vet appointment. Maybe on some other day, I’ll get a sudden urge to hit the road, if only for a ride, but then again, my house is warm and cozy and, best of all, I love being at home.

 

“There are many reasons to celebrate, but National Mustard Day just isn’t one of them.”

November 21, 2016

This morning I got to thinking. Thanksgiving is a day, one single day of family and food. For most of us the menu is the same. Turkey has the most prominent spot on the table. It generally arrives uncut so we can ooh and ah at the beauty of the roasted bird. My dad, at the head of the table, did the carving. He’d fill a platter with slices and then tear off a leg or two to complete the dish. He was the only one who loved a leg. The rest of the meal depends on family traditions though I suspect they’ll be gravy and mashed potatoes on many a Thanksgiving table. We always had a squash and carrot dish which originated with my aunt but was tweaked by my mother who substituted butternut squash, far more seasonable, for the undefined squash in the recipe. That was always the favorite vegetable. My father got his canned asparagus. None of the rest of us ate it. My mother would cook a few more vegetables, sometimes peas, creamed onions and a new dish or two. Cranberry sauce came from the can. One year my mother made a wonderful orange cranberry sauce and served it in oranges. It wasn’t a hit, especially for my father who seldom liked anything new for the holidays. I loved it and was glad it was packed in my doggy bag.

Okay, I majorly digressed. What I was originally thinking was Thanksgiving is a single day, while it is the Christmas season, many days. I know it seems to come earlier each year, but we do have 4 Sundays of Advent, the start of the season for me. During that time there is so much to do and most of it fun. Cookies have to be made, and best of all, they have to be decorated. The house gets decorated. I alternate decorations year by year, but the tree never really changes. New ornaments are added but the usual appear every year. Cards need to be addressed and sent. I love buying Edward Gorey cards and found 2 wonderful sets of them this year. I know people sour on having to buy gifts, but I love shopping for just the right ones. Years ago one of my friends said she loves anticipating what I give her as it is always so neat which is why I love to shop. Just because I’m older (not old, older) doesn’t mean I forget the joys of the season. We decorate gingerbread houses. I play Christmas music and always sing along. I sit in the living room just to look at the tree.

Thursday is close. In the morning I’ll watch the parade, crack nuts, eat a few tangerines and some M&M’s just the way I did when I was a kid. My friends and I are going out for dinner, a new tradition started last year. I’ll probably cook a small turkey so I can have a mini Thanksgiving complete with leftovers. On Friday I’ll let everyone else shop, but on Saturday I’ll finish my list. Saturday night I’ll put my feet up, enjoy some egg nog and a Hallmark movie, and I’ll not wonder how it will end!

“Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas.”

December 15, 2015

The sun is shining, the sky is blue and the day is quite warm. I’m thinking winter has forgotten to come. Not that I’m complaining, but there is a certain expectation here in New England about Christmas and winter and maybe even snow.

My mother was always the architect of Christmas. She bought the gifts, did all the baking, trimmed the tree and decorated the house. My father did his best. He’d help my mother wrap, do the outside lights and put the tree in the stand. He used to do tree lights, but one year they were so tangled he refused to hang them. He just threw them on the floor and sat down. No one wanted to remind him he had put the lights away the year before. The lights then became my responsibility. I was quite fussy about where they were hung, and I tried to vary the colors of the bulbs so same colors wouldn’t be together. My father also helped by being the official taster of Christmas goodies. He did love his sweets. He knew he could count on having sugar cookies, her peanut butter balls, a pie or two, and some different cookies, whatever struck my mother’s fancy from a magazine or a cookbook. I remember her Auntie Mary’s, a chocolate cookie with a cream in the middle.

I began baking and bringing the goodies to my mother’s. I made fudge which was grainy and was my father’s favorite. I made my grandmother’s date nut bread and one year I made orange cookies. My mother liked them so much she hid several so they’d be some left just for her. My English toffee always disappeared quickly.

One year my sister and her family from Colorado came for Christmas. She bought goodies including whoopie pies, one of our all time favorites. What was amazing and extraordinary was she brought spritz cookies because my mother always made them when we kids. She’d add coloring to the dough and we’d have white, red and green cookies. I also made spritz cookies for the same reason. We were all going to be together for Christmas for the first time in many years and spritz cookies was a connector to our childhood Christmases. My mother remembered those years, and she too made spritz cookies. The three of us through those cookies celebrated the shared memories of Christmases past.

“Christmas is coming; it is almost here! With Santa and presents, good will and cheer!”

December 12, 2015

The Christmas lights are going up right now. Skip is hauling the boughs out of the cellar and putting them on the front fence. I will no longer have the darkest house in the neighborhood.

We’re still in that warm spell. Today’s high here on the cape is supposed to be 59˚. Last winter was crazy because of all the snow. This winter has its own brand of craziness with the warmth of December.

I bought some ribbon candy the other day, the thin kind, the sort which carries a whole bunch of memories. When I was a kid, we didn’t have all the choices of candy decked out for the holidays that we have now. Boxes of chocolates were around, but they were more for gifts than for our consumption. We had lots of hard candy. Some of it came in a box similar to the animal crackers box including the string. The boxes I remember best were blue and had the Three Kings and the star on each side. I liked the peppermint, the cinnamon and the green ones which tasted of spearmint.  My mother also bought hard candy for the house. I remember the candy would stick together in the bag, but she’d put them out anyway. We’d pick through to get our favorites. I loved spearmint the best.

The thin ribbon candy stuck to our back teeth so we used to click our teeth together to hear the sound of the candy, a sort of thud. I liked the green ones best and then the red.

We used to get lollipops in our stockings. They were the see through types made in a mold and were mostly Christmas trees. It took ages and ages of licking to finish them so sometimes we’d get to the point where we couldn’t lick one more time. We were done. They’d get tossed.

I buy my sister thin ribbon candy every year. It is a connection to all of our Christmases. It is a tradition.

Christmas is a day of meaning and traditions, a special day spent in the warm circle of family and friends.”

December 15, 2014

Today is much the same weather as we’ve had for days. The temperature is in the 40’s. The sun is gone and probably enjoying warmer climes so we are stuck with perpetually gray skies. On my to do list is the tree. I still need to move a few small pieces of furniture to open the corner where the tree fits beautifully. I also need to do a bit more hunting downstairs as I haven’t found the Christmas stockings yet. The tree ornament boxes are already up from the cellar. The tree stand is stored in its box and will be easy to find. I hope to finish decorating tonight.

When I was a kid, once December came around, my house always felt like Christmas. My mother didn’t put up tons of decorations, but the lights in the windows, the huge tree in the corner, the stockings hanging on the bannister and a few Santa knickknacks were more than enough. I remember the Santa cups. There were four of them and the handles spelled Noel when the Santas were beside each other. I don’t know what happened to the original cups, but I found the same set and bought it. I also bought a few other ceramic Santas from the 50’s and some plastic ones which light up with a single white bulb. Of all the holidays, it is Christmas which brings back my childhood and fills me with joyful memories.

My mother gave us the gift of Christmas. My dad came from a socks and underwear family. My mother put whimsy in Christmas and found the best stocking stuffers. Decorating the tree was a full family affair, and my mother was the director. As we’d get closer to Christmas she’d tease us about what we were getting and did that the whole of her life. She’d call and say, “You’ll love what I bought for you today.” She was always right. The other night my brother-in-law called. He said listen to this and I heard paper being crumbled. He told me that was the wrapping paper he was putting on my gift, the perfect of all gifts. My mother would have loved that phone call!