Posted tagged ‘green’

“Stars of heaven, clear and bright, Shine upon this Christmas light, Vaster far than midnight skies Are its timeless mysteries.”

December 19, 2017

Last night it rained. The snow became pockmarked by the raindrops then most of it disappeared. The last of the snow is soft and wet. It was cloudy this morning, but I can see blue sky now and a hint of sunshine. Today is already 49˚ but it will be cold again tonight.

When I was a kid, the closer we got to Christmas the more difficult it was for me to breathe. I was in a constant state of excitement with all the Christmas doings. I loved the late afternoon when my brother and I raced to turn on the window candles. The best, a five candle tier, was in the picture window. It had all orange bulbs. The candles were sort of an off-white plastic, and most were taped to the window sill so they wouldn’t keep falling over from the weight of the bulbs. We had to screw the bulbs on as there were no switches. We had to screw them off as well, but we never raced for that. The bulbs were always hot to the touch. I used to lick my fingers before I touched the hot bulbs.

My mother kept us busy to distract us, to keep us calm, a huge undertaking. My favorite day was when we decorated sugar cookies. My mother made Santas, bells, trees and angels. She’d have bowls of white frosting and colored frosting in green, red and yellow. None of us were particularly talented. The trees were the easiest. I’d color them green, naturally, then I’d make strings of yellow and red lights. Santa was a bit more complicated because of the white pompom on his hat and his beard. The key was to frost the red parts first and try to leave space for the white. My Santas tended to look all the same. The angels got the yellow frosting. Sometimes we’d cover the whole cookie in white then we’d sprinkle with green or red or colored jimmies. That was usually when we had gotten tired and maybe a bit bored.

I always thought that at Christmas time everything seemed to look different, as if the world around me was covered by an aura. Even now I sometimes think that, especially at night when the air is clear and the sky star-lit and Christmas lights shine from the houses. Last night I went around and turned on my tree lights. In the kitchen I turned on the red pepper and scallop shell lights entwined around a shelf. I stood for a while enchanted by how lovely my house looks at night, how warm it is, how perfect for Christmas.

“A lawn is nature under totalitarian rule.”

May 5, 2015

The morning is warm but cloudy. Rain is a possibility, but I won’t mind because we haven’t had much rain lately. A while back we had days of rain then it stopped, plugged by an unseen hand. Gracie and I have a couple of errands later including our first stop at the garden center. I have a list of flowers I hope to add to the front garden, and I know what herbs and veggies I want.

When I was a kid, I never thought flowers would become important to me. My father and his pansies were all I knew. Few of the yards around us had gardens either because my neighborhood was filled with lawn people. A green, lush, beautiful lawn was a status symbol. It had to be mowed just right and frequently watered. On hot days we’d run through the sprinkler which sort of annoyed my dad. It wasn’t good for his lawn to have us tamp it down as we ran. The neighbor behind us was a radical lawn lady. Even though we shared a hill, she never wanted us walking on the grass. She’d yell from her kitchen window if we dared pass the line of demarcation between her part of the hill and ours. It wasn’t a real line, but it was the visual boundary between her yard and ours, between a lush lawn and just grass. My father didn’t care about that hill. It was his front lawn which he tended lovingly.

When my parents came to visit, my dad brought all his lawn tools including his mower. My mother and I would go shopping, and my dad would tend my yard. He’d mow and rake the grass then trim the bushes. He’d even venture into my wild backyard and mow the tall grass, reminiscent more of a field than a lawn. I think my neighbors were probably cheering as I never mowed until I figured the grass was high enough to make it worth my while. When my mother and I would get home, my dad would give us the grand tour of all he’d done. The difference was amazing. He always made my front yard looked cared for and loved. That was his gift to me, one he enjoyed giving. I loved him even more for it.

“I’ve just been bitten on the neck by a vampire… mosquito. Does that mean that when the night comes I will rise and be annoying?”

May 27, 2014

Yesterday was a weird weather day. It was cloudy then sunny then rainy then cloudy and rainy again. We ate outside under the umbrella. I could hear the heavy drops over my head and loved the sound. The rain didn’t last long, but the clouds hung around the rest of the evening. Today is really warm and the sun is playing hide and seek: disappearing and then returning. The prediction is for rain and the cloudy skies make me believe it.

The Cape was filled this weekend and the line of cars waiting to leave over the Sagamore Bridge stretched for miles. The paper today was filled with glowing predictions for the summer based on this weekend. I groaned a little, but that’s the price to pay for living here. I knew it going in so any complaints are just from frustration, useless at best.

My world is turning green from pine pollen. My voice is already raspy and I cough. The windows are closed as I’m trying to keep the pollen at bay, but I am Sisyphus with a dust cloth instead of a rock.

I grew up in summer darkness. My mother kept the shades down all day so the house would stay cooler. We didn’t even have a fan to push the night’s hot air around, but most times we kids were so exhausted from playing all day sleep came easily despite the heat.

I have these wonderfully funny memories of being wakened up at night from the bed rocking and finding my father standing on my bed trying to keep his balance as he chased down mosquitos on the ceiling with a newspaper in his hand. My father was a bit obsessive sometimes and flies and mosquitoes were among his nemeses. He wielded the fly swatter with perfection. The fly would be stationary, and my father with swatter in position would sneak up on it, swat it and then throw away what was left of the fly. Sometimes he’d have to clean the ceiling or the lampshade or worst of all, the kitchen counter. He kept count of his triumphs, “Got it,” was his summer refrain.

” St. Patrick’s Day is an enchanted time – a day to begin transforming winter’s dreams into summer’s magic.”

March 17, 2013

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!! I am, of course, wearing green. With a name like Ryan, green is an essential part of today’s wardrobe. Gracie too is dressed for the day and is wearing her St. Patrick’s Day collar. Tonight I will dine on traditional corned beef and cabbage with my friends. I checked the TV for St. Paddy’s Day movies and had two channel choices. I can watch TCM and Finian’s Rainbow or Syfy and Leprechaun, a movie about a maniacal, murderous leprechaun. I’m opting for Finian.

I went to St. Patrick’s Grammar School, and we never went to school on St. Patrick’s Day. Boston schools never did either only because it is also Evacuation Day, the day the British left Boston harbor during the Revolutionary War. Why that event has a holiday of its own I’ll never understand, but that piece tends to get overlooked and even forgotten. It is St. Patrick who is honored today.

My parents had many parties. I remember their smoke-filled kitchen was always packed with people, mostly relatives, and they always sang. I, with the worst of all voices, comes from a family which loves to sing. On St. Patrick’s Day they sang every song, and that’s how I learned the words. Of all the people, it’s my Dad I remember the most. I can still see him standing by the counter near the table. He had this great voice, and he sang with such vigor his face would sometimes turn red from the effort. He loved the Irish songs. My Dad also loved corned beef and cabbage, and my mother always made it for him. When I was there for one St. Patrick’s Day dinner, my Dad gave my dog Shauna a dish of corned beef. It was her first St. Patrick’s Day, and my Dad thought she ought to celebrate. One time the potatoes in the corned beef and cabbage disappeared: they fell apart and were absorbed. My Dad hunted through that pot in vain. He just couldn’t understand where they went. He was horrified when he realized there were no potatoes. He was a lover of meat and potatoes, and the loss of  those potatoes was a blow he never forgot. It became a family story: St. Patrick’s Day and the disappearing potatoes.

Even if you’re not Irish, celebrate the day. We don’t celebrate enough so grab any day you can and enjoy it!!

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