Posted tagged ‘lights’

“Progress isn’t made by early risers. It’s made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something.”

February 27, 2018

The sun is beautiful and warm today. It is in the forties and will get even warmer each day, into the 50’s, until Friday when it will be in the 40’s again, and a nor’easter may be making its way here with heavy winds and lots of rain.

My deck seems to have been the place to be for all the spawns of Satan. Over Christmas I had four strands of lights strung on the top of the deck rail. They were beautiful shining through the blackness of the backyard but then after Christmas the strands started to go dark, one at a time. I just left them there. Skip, my factotum, is here today to put the outside lights away and do a few more chores for me. He took each set of lights and tested it. Every one of the deck rail strands did not work. The spawns of Satan had bitten through the light wires and in a couple of cases had even taken a piece of wire with them as the plug ends were missing.

The cover for the barbecue is missing. We’re talking a large cover. It had a section missing as it had been chewed and taken away by a spawn, but the rest was still covering the grill. I had put a couple of bricks on top to keep it from blowing away. A few days ago, I was outside on the deck for the first time in a while and noticed no cover. I checked the yard, no cover. I checked under the deck, no cover. I am totally amazed by its disappearance. Perhaps it was a spawn army doing night maneuvers or a backyard thief who came through the gate and stole the cover then made his way through the darkness to his getaway car.

I have no neighbors on one side of my house. It is a summer rental. Across the street my neighbors have their shades down, and I seldom see them. Herb has Alzheimer’s and his wife is his caretaker. On the other side is the house of family whom I get to see every now and then. They’re always after me to visit so I sometimes do. I am up late. The rest of my neighbors are not.

I have just heard that my little library has a hole in the wood. It did one other time when a bird got inside but couldn’t ‘t get out. I’m hoping for nothing dead this time.

This is a slow week for me, a totally empty dance card. Today I’m staying in my cozy clothes and will go through catalogues and magazines then start a new book. It’s a lazy day, my favorite kind of day!

“Memory is the space in which a thing happens for a second time.”

February 9, 2018

The sky is cloudy but bright. It is only 31˚, but the next three days will be warm. The prediction is for 48˚ each day. That’s almost tanning weather, no sunscreen necessary. Maybe a road trip is in order to take advantage of the warmth. I’ll open my car window and take in the sweet smell of the clean air.

Since the winter solstice, we have gained an hour of sunlight. It makes me hopeful that winter’s end is not so far away. February, though, is sometimes the snowiest month. I’ll just keep my knit hat and mittens handy.

In summer, the trees surrounding my deck are lit with candles hanging off the branches. In the backyard, solar lights shaped like flowers glow and a few strands of white lights are twisted around tree trunks. I always think my yard a fairyland, especially in July when the fireflies return and twinkle among the trees. Now, in the bleak winter, the one strand of lights around the deck fence has stopped shining. I need to replace it. I always love looking out the back window and seeing those lights.

I always think it is the darkness of winter which palls the spirit so I do my best to compensate. I keep white candles lit in the front windows, and their light shines across the dark lawn. This year I left my Christmas lights lit in the front. One is a giant star with a trail of lights. The others are multicolored. My neighbor across the street has called to thank me for leaving the lights shining. She said she loves looking out the window at my house.

Winter is my time of memories, of introspection. I don’t add much to my story, but I recall to mind the best parts. I smile a lot at the images in my mind’s eye. My journeys, my explorations, are the brightest memories.

During my travels, I learned a few things. I hate washing clothes by hand. I decided that for any trip of great length I’d pack ragtag underwear which I can just throw away. It isn’t a big deal for me to find any. I can just check my bureau drawer. The rest of my clothes can get so grungy they can walk away by themselves. I won’t care. I’m not washing them. I learned never to ask what I’m eating.  Many of the traditional foods are pets here, like the guinea pig in Ecuador. I think I can eat just about anything as long as I don’t know what it is and it isn’t slimy. Bras are a great place for hiding money. I had my pocket picked when I was at a train station in Ghana. I’d like that thief to try it now. Toilet paper, always carry toilet paper. Sometimes you get stuck and have to rush, and those hole in the ground toilets don’t have toilet paper. Just imagine. The middle of the bus and a seat near the window are usually the best. The aisle fills with standing people who hold on for dear life as the bus goes around corners but sometimes they fall, into the aisle seats. The front and the back of the bus are where people sit with their chickens or goats. Eat where there is a line, especially street food. Don’t shy away. It’s sometimes the best and is usually the cheapest. If everything pales compared to home, just stay home.

“As long as we know in our hearts what Christmas ought to be, Christmas is.”

December 17, 2017

It was freezing cold last night, down to 19˚, and it is freezing cold right now. Today’s high will be 24˚ though I think calling it high is a misnomer. I’m glad for the de-icer on the front steps as the two steps are dry and safe for both paws and feet. The day is pretty with a blue sky and sun but both are best seen through the window. I am staying warm and cozy right here.

I don’t have a list for today. My laundry got done yesterday, a miracle for me as it usually sits a while, the house is decorated, presents wrapped and the cards written. Maybe I’ll decide what to make for Christmas or maybe I’ll just sit in the living room with the tree lit and read a bit.

When I was a kid, each day closer to Christmas made me even more excited. I remember watching Santa Claus on TV every afternoon, and he’d do a countdown to Christmas Eve, his busiest day of the year. He’d read letters from kids, tell stories and show off new toys. I don’t even remember if I thought he was the real deal or not. I was never skeptical about Christmas. I believed everything.

I do love Christmas. My house is awash with decorations. The living room tree is as tall as it can be and still accommodate the star at the very top. Other trees, mostly wooden, are strewn around the house. The scrub pine in the dining room is lit every evening. The small wooden tree on the side table has white lights wrapped around it as does the driftwood tree in the bathroom. They all look so very lovely when lit. They make my house feel warm even on the coldest nights.

I seem to have run out of films of A Christmas Carol to watch. My number sits at six. Today I’ll watch another favorite of mine, The Bishop’s Wife. I know I’ve seen all these movies many times, but I still look forward to seeing them again. The Christmas season does that to me: it keeps the wonder alive.

“Yes! Yes I do! I like Christmas! I love Christmas!”

December 10, 2017

Winter wonderland skipped us. We got rain the whole day, heavy rain at times. In the late afternoon, when I let Gracie out and brought trash to the car at the same time, we both got soaked. She wasn’t thrilled. My sister got around 6 inches of snow. I watched the news and saw the snow in Texas, an unusual occurrence in San Antonio. I laughed out-loud when a kid did a snow angel. Obviously snow was new to him. He did the angel face down.

Yesterday was a day of doing little for me. I made four or five trips carrying stuff like the displaced by the tree living furniture upstairs, wrote out more cards and went through catalogs but mostly I just sat. All the hauling up and down stairs made me tired. Today I have more energy and a to-do list. Gracie and I are going to the dump, to the small grocery store for bread and such and Agway for cat and dog food. I will decorate my wreaths and put them outside, and I’ll bring up bins from the cellar with the tree lights and some decorations. If I have any energy left, I’ll at least put on the tree lights. Tonight I’ll make myself a nice dinner and have some egg nog and watch Hallmark.

When I was a kid, Santa Claus had power over me. If I did anything wrong or fought with my brother, my mother threatened to call Santa. That was enough to get us to stop. I remember trips to Jordan Marsh to visit Santa. We’d take the bus to Sullivan Square then the subway to the Jordan’s stop. In those days Jordan’s and Filene’s had entrances from the stores to the subway. They were destinations.

I love Boston at Christmas time. The city is filled with people, some shopping, some just enjoying the festivities. The trees in the Common are lit for the holiday. Frog Pond is open for skating or for just sitting and watching the skaters while drinking a cup of cocoa. The giant tree from Nova Scotia is covered in lights. Small push wagons around the common sell roasted chestnuts and hot popcorn. Garlands hang from stores and street lights. People just seem happier.

My town was always decorated for Christmas. Swags of evergreen were hung from one side of the main street to the other. The store windows had trees and wrapped gifts and Santas. Carolers sang every night. The aroma of sugar cookies and bread wafted from Hank’s Bakery and hung in the air. The fire station was outlined in lights, and Santa was climbing a ladder to the chimney. I loved going uptown at night, and I still remember singing in the square.

I get excited for Christmas even now. I love the lights, and I could eat a dozen sugar cookies. Christmas music plays in the car and around the house when I’m decorating or baking. I sing along, out of tune, but that doesn’t matter. It’s Christmas!

“Christmas is a bridge. We need bridges as the river of time flows past. Today’s Christmas should mean creating happy hours for tomorrow and reliving those of yesterday.”

December 9, 2017

Today is cloudy and the rain has started again. When I took Gracie out at one, it had already rained a bit and was cold and damp. I expected a bit of snow when I woke up, but the cape is too warm so it’s raining. My sister, north of Boston, is getting snow. She says it’s pretty.

Yesterday the Christmas spirit took a short hiatus. I brought my ugly fake spruce pine tree up from the cellar one step at a time and put it in the dining room. First I uncovered it then I worked on the branches which had bent and given the tree more of a bush look. Ornaments had fallen to the bottom of the cover so I put them back on the tree. I plugged in the lights which always stay on the tree. They didn’t work. The strand had 200 lights and was intertwined in the branches. Getting the strand off was a monumental project which frustrated the heck out of me so I went with scissors and cut off the strand a piece at a time. I threw each piece to the kitchen floor accompanied by a few curses. I then put new lights on the tree. After the tree was lit, I sat and looked at it for a while. It was beautiful and worth all of that trouble.

Today is decorate the tree day, and I love to decorate my tree. First go on the lights then the garlands then the ornaments. Many of the ornaments carry a story. A few were needlepointed by my mother. One is a K for Kathleen and the three kings which are on the ornament. Another is Father Christmas holding a steaming pudding. Many of the ornaments came from my travels. Pinocchio came from Italy, the felt stars from Hungry, the tassels from Morocco, the fish from Portugal, a string puppet from England, old clip glass ornaments from Russia and round compounds and Black girls in bright cloth from Ghana. Glass ornaments from my childhood, some a bit scratched, go in prominent places. Other ornaments I found here and there, even in thrift shops. An ugly angel with wispy hair, a gift from mother, a circus lion tamer, a pink flamingo, Mark Twain, Sherlock Holmes and Peter Pan are some favorites which come to mind. One of my garlands made up of realistic pop corn and cranberries reminds me of Shauna, a boxer of mine, who ate the real popcorn off the tree by dragging the garland with her teeth.

Christmas is filled with warm memories.

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

December 5, 2017

The morning has been a busy one here at the Ryan estate. The staff has decorated the grounds with multi-colored lights. Large ornaments hang from trees, and a spotlight gives the ornaments a twinkle. The back deck is awash with lights. A smaller star joins the big star on the fence gate. A wooden sled draped with white skates is now by the front steps and is lit by a string of colored lights. A wreath is on the front fence gate and hanging in the middle of it is a wooden fish. The front door also has a wreath but hanging from its middle is bright coral. The crowning achievement is the tree. It is in the stand in the living room where it will sit for a day or two before being decorated. The tree, even naked, is beautiful and full of branches and soft needles. Already the aroma of pine has begun to waft through the living room. A bayberry centerpiece is ready to take its place in the middle of the dining room table once the Christmas runner has been found.

The outside is finished. All I need to do is check the lights tonight to make sure the timers are correct, and the front and back lights are turning on around the same time.

The living room is a chaotic mess. All the presents are now downstairs. They are piled on the couch and chair and even the floor. They need to be catalogued and wrapped, but that is for another day. I did vacuum the dirt and needles which came in with the tree but that’s it. I’m done for the day.

I’m watching the 1966 Andy Williams Christmas show. Already his brothers have dropped by as have his mother and father. His mother is wearing a fur stole. His wife Claudine, not yet notorious, wants help picking the tree. The Osmond Brothers are now singing. They are dressed in pink shirts and white bib overalls and singing about peppermint. Donny is tiny compared to his brothers. I probably saw this back in the day as we never missed an Andy Williams Christmas.

Though the temperature is in the 40’s, the dampness has made the day feel even colder. There have been clouds all day, but the clouds are darkening. The rain will soon be here.

I’m thinking I deserve a bit of egg nog.

“we can watch x-files together while we browse the internet for info on area 51?”

August 27, 2017

I’m not sure the adjectives running through my head are quite descriptive enough to tell you about the morning, but I’ll give it my best shot, the old college try. (Every now and then I do like to pepper my musing with a few idioms.) Today is a delight filled with sunshine, blue skies, cool temperatures and no humidity. It is a quiet day, almost a throwback Sunday from the 50’s when church and Sunday family dinners were the highlights of the day.

I have a couple of errands. I need bird seed and the two things I mentioned yesterday: hot dogs and toilet paper. I also need to plant the flowers I bought the other day and any other perennials I might find today. Those are the only items on my lists, and my dance card is totally empty for the rest of the week. The plays are done, my friends are traveling and my larder is filled. I do have some laundry, as usual, but I haven’t yet run out of underwear. I was thinking a Mad Hatter move and ordering some new ones so I don’t have to do wash quite yet, but even I think that’s might be a bit extreme and massively lazy.

I heard acorns hitting the deck again yesterday. The spawns are at it again. I don’t go barefoot out there anymore, and poor Gracie yelped when she stepped on an acorn. The spawns seeking vengeance against me. I swear I heard cheering when I first stepped on an acorn remnant.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind is celebrating its 40th anniversary. I’m watching it now which I expect explains my delay in posting. I can’t take my eyes off the screen when the UFO’s are on it. They are amazing with their colored lights, just like Barry said when he called them ice cream and toys. I smiled the whole time. It is still a wonder of a movie.

I’m in the camp of those who believe there is intelligent life elsewhere, not just on Earth, though I admit I sometimes wonder about Earth. It seems a bit of a conceit to think we are it.

“I’m the nap champion.”

July 28, 2017

The deck is now perfect for summer. The rug is down. The umbrella lights up. The fountain gurgles. The grill is clean, its metal shiny. New white and multicolored lights along the rails brighten the night, but I wonder for how long. When will the spawns of Satan notice and chew off bulbs? I did buy a backup set.

My outdoor shower is all set. The rotten wood plank has been replaced and the inside is clean again. Nothing is better than an outside shower on a warm, star lit summer’s night.

The drip pan under the grill top held a surprise, a squirrel’s nest. It was filled with the fluff I had put out for the birds building nests and fir branches from I have no idea where. It’s gone now, but the fluff is available.

The morning glories are in bloom. They are in a huge blue pot at the end of the deck. Their tendrils are woven around the slats and the top of the rail. One plant is pink and the other blue. In the front garden the hollyhocks are filled with buds. Other flowers, their names unknown to me, have bloomed. Some look like baby Black-eyed Susans. They have spread all over the garden. When I get the papers, I always check the front garden.

I couldn’t get to sleep last night. I turned off the light around 12:30 then turned it back on at 1:30. I decided to watch Star Trek back in time episodes so I went hunting to find when, in each series, they were broadcast. The first, one of my all time favorites, is from Deep Space Nine. It is Trials and Tribble-ations when the DS9 bridge crew goes back to the original Star Trek and interact with Kirk and his crew and save the ship from a bomb hidden in a tribble. I next watched The City on The Edge of Forever from the original Star Trek. McCoy, temporarily insane fro hypospray, goes back in time and changes time. Kirk and Spock follow to restore history. Kirk has to let a woman he has come to love be killed. The last one was The Little Green Men from DS9. Quark, his brother Rom and nephew Nog on their way to Earth go through a temporal anomaly and end up in 1947 near Roswell, New Mexico. Odo, the shapeshifter, had hidden away on their ship. Quark wants to stay and sell technology, but Odo insists, and they escape through an atomic blast which propels them back to the future.

By the time, Quark, Rom and Nog get back to their to-ime, it was almost 4:30, my time, and was beginning to get light. I took Gracie outside so she wouldn’t have to wake me in a few hours so she could go out. I woke up at 9:30. I’m tired. It’s nap time.

“Some old-fashioned things like fresh air and sunshine are hard to beat.”

July 3, 2017

Today is beautiful, sunny and clear, but it’s hot, already 84˚. Tonight the low will be 65˚,  far more to my liking. I was surprised when I brought Gracie out around 8 at how hot it already was. My AC has been on since yesterday. Last night I woke up and grabbed the afghan as I was a bit chilly. I snuggled, got warm and easily fell back to sleep for another hour or so.

Gracie slept with me on the couch for the first time in a while. I heard her panting around 3 and knew she needed to go out. We walked across the lawn to the driveway. It was just so dark the houses were mere shadows. In the backyard, I could hear Gracie walking on the bed of leaves so I knew where she was. While I sat on the steps waiting and enjoying the coolness of the night, she roamed the yard. After she joined me, we went back inside to the couch and both of us fell asleep quickly.

I have outside stuff to do. The lights the spawns chewed need to be replaced as does the string of lights from the huge star on the fence. Half of it went dead which drives me crazy. Three plants died in pots, all the same plant, but I have replacements ready. I need to water the deck plants and clean my outside shower. My fountain can be connected as I found its adaptor. Gracie will like that as she drinks from the fountain; however, that presents a problem as I love the sound of the water as it moves through the fountain, but Gracie often drinks it so dry that I can only hear a gurgling sound.

Often I’ve been traveling on the 4th. I remember Ghana where it’s just another day. I was in Venezuela for the bicentennial 4th of July. It went by me without my even noticing. It is easy to lose track of the date when there is no set itinerary, no expected times of departure or arrival, and that’s my favorite way to travel. I’m not big on escorted tours. Often the best trips are serendipitous.

I saw a chickadee, a nuthatch and a titmouse taking seeds from my feeder, but my favorite was watching a goldfinch remove lint from the container of nesting materials hanging from a branch over the deck. I wish I knew where she was building. I’d love to see the nest and meet her babies.

“Laugh and the world laughs with you, snore and you sleep alone.”

June 2, 2017

Yesterday stayed warm and beautiful. It didn’t even rain. I was outside reading for a while in the sun, and before I came inside, I emptied the water from the deck furniture covers so they’d dry and be ready to store for the summer. Today is just as lovely as yesterday, sunny and warm. The tiniest of breezes barely stirs the leaves. I have only one item on my to-do list: buy my garden and deck plants.

Gracie slept well last night. I didn’t. First off, she was snoring while I watched TV so I kept nudging her. She got annoyed and went to her crate where she fell asleep. I could hear her snoring from all the way down the hall. At 11:30, I turned off the TV and fell asleep. Around midnight, Gracie woke me up so we went outside. Other than my house, every other house on the street was lost in the darkness. The star on my fence was still lit and illuminated the way to the gate. After we came inside, Gracie got on the couch and fell asleep. I couldn’t get comfortable so I kept moving my feet hoping for a comfy spot. I didn’t find one: not on the floor, the table or the couch under the dog bed. Gracie slept while I tossed and turned. I’m tired. She’s sleeping again.

I wish I could make things, build stuff. I’d make some sort of ride for Gracie to go down the outside deck steps. It would be similar to those people chairs that go upstairs. Gracie would enjoy going and coming whenever the mood strikes her.

Today is national donut day. Dunkin’ Donuts will give out a free donut with each drink. My favorite is a butternut donut, but it goes fast. I sometimes have to make do with a Boston Cream. Make do and Boston cream seem incongruous.