Posted tagged ‘wreaths’

“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!

“…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.

“Christmas isn’t a parade or concert but a piece of home you keep in your heart wherever you go.”

December 2, 2016

Yesterday I expected to be welcomed home by a marching band playing and a couple of burly men waiting to carry my packages. I actually shopped for nearly three hours, a bit of a marathon for me. I had a list, and I finished it though it was close. I nearly gave up on the last item, but it was Gracie’s medicine so I went to CVS. The God of Parking was with me as I got a space directly across from the entrance. The line was long but I was patient. By the time I got home, I had set a new around town shopping record.

Two wreaths and a swag are sitting on the lawn. I think I’ll put them up today. My lights will be put up on Monday or Tuesday. I need to get my tree, probably Sunday. Meanwhile, the scrawny scrub pine artificial tree will take its place in the corner of the dining room. I’ll bring it upstairs when I bring my laundry down. Yup, it is still in the hall, and I have added to it. I don’t know what it is about laundry that makes me so loath to do it.

Yesterday, I was browsing the shelves looking for a bag for the Christmas tree. On one shelf, I saw stencils and a can of white spray for windows. Seeing them whisked me back in time to when I was a kid, and windows were covered with Santas and trees and bells. Our picture window was artfully stenciled by us taking turns. One would hold the stencil while the other sprayed. My fingers were covered in white by the time we were finished. My mother kept an eye to make sure we didn’t overdo. We’d run outside after spraying each stencil to see how it looked. We always thought they were perfect.

I remember the Christmas cards taped around the doorways, the colored candles in the windows, the tree in the corner with the hanging icicles, the Santa and Mrs. Santa salt and pepper shakers and the four small Santa cups which spelled out noel. I always said I got the N because I was the oldest.

“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.

“When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things – not the great occasions – give off the greatest glow of happiness.”

December 13, 2014

The clouds are back, and the day is gray. The limbs of the oak trees are silhouetted against the sky in a jumble of branches. The morning is cold. Maddie has her head under the lampshade to get warmth from the lightbulb though the house isn’t cold. Fern and Gracie are having their morning naps. It is the usual start to the day.

The week or so before Christmas seemed to have a spark, an edge of excitement. I remember the early darkness and all the houses and front bushes lit up with the big colored lights which always got hot. The square was strung with garlands across Main Street and a huge lit wreath hung from the middle of each garland. A bandstand of sorts was erected in front of The Children’s Corner, a long ago store, and every night a different group sang Christmas carols for the shoppers. When I was in the fifth grade, we got to sing. I remember how cold it was and how we huddled to stay warm. We each had one of those carol booklets John Hancock gave out. The nun would tell us the page rather than the name of the carol. It was quicker that way. I remember feeling proud and important and hoped there were neighbors who would notice me singing. In those days the square had all the stores, and the sidewalks were filled with shoppers. You always ran into someone you knew.

Tomorrow is the Dennis Christmas stroll. All the stores are open, there are singers in the bandbox, a horse-drawn wagon takes people up and down the road, the library has a crafts fair and there is food in a tent and in many of the stores. The insurance company usually has hot dogs and the fire station gives out hot chocolate. At the Cape Playhouse there is a sing-a-long. Mrs. Claus is usually there. Mr. Clause wanders a bit. Many of the towns have strolls but this one always seems local to me, filled more with people from Dennis than from other towns. I always meet lots of people I know.

Today I’ll be going off Cape. Gracie has a sitter, her Uncle Tony. The cats are fine on their own. It’s our traditional Christmas play day and then out to dinner. My mother started the tradition, and my sister and I keep it going. My favorite was the year my mother took us to see Death of a Salesman with Brian Dennehy. After the play, with tongues in cheeks, my sister and I thanked her for such a merry Christmas offering then we all went out to dinner.

“A Christmas candle is a lovely thing; It makes no noise at all, But softly gives itself away.”

December 2, 2014

My house smells of rosemary. I just came from Agway. I needed dog biscuits, and I ended up also buying two wreaths for outside, a rosemary plant for here, two small poinsettias, and I scooped some greens off the cutting area for my outside bowl. It is definitely beginning to look like Christmas. I went outside last night and admired my lights. They are lovely. I’ll take pictures, but I am so bad at posting. A bunch are sitting in my camera.

After 60˚ yesterday, we have a raw, cold day today. I was out before ten as I had PT then I  had a list of places to go and things to get. I made it to all six places, and it took me two trips to bring everything into the house. Most are for decorating though I did buy myself a new pair of shoes. My physical therapist kept telling me I needed new shoes as even the treads were gone on my old ones. At the shoe store the clerk told me I had certainly gotten my money’s worth from the old ones. The new ones feel great.

Cats tend to throw up. Sometimes it is just hairballs, gross I know but not gag worthy. Fern will sometimes eat too much too fast and then get sick. This is the story of one cat and her throw up. I got up during the night to go to the bathroom and in the darkness I stepped in cat vomit and was totally grossed out. I tried to walk without using the affected foot, but ended up with a weird limp.I cleaned both me and the floor then went back to bed. This morning I went to put my slippers on and saw that Fern had left her mark on one of them. I cleaned the slipper but didn’t choose to wear it.

I have one small errand to do later, but I’m going to read a bit and have lunch. My book is a Clive Cussler. I find his fun to read. I don’t have to think a lot about the plot or the characters. They are perfect for when I put my feet up, brew a new pot of coffee and just relax.

“Let us not curse the darkness. Let us kindle little lights.”

November 28, 2014

Last night I was in bed before eleven, most unusual for me the night owl, and I slept until almost ten. I figure I was suffering from a Thanksgiving dinner hangover. My plate was filled with turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole and squash. I was so filled I had to pass on dessert, on pumpkin pie and chocolate pie. I will have some today after my second Thanksgiving dinner.

Snow flurries fell this morning, but they didn’t last too long and no snow stayed on the ground. Right now it is so very cold and grey, an unpleasant day. Every now and then, though, I see a brightness, a break in the grey. I figure it is from the sun trying to find its way out of the clouds.

Tomorrow I’ll shop and take Gracie to the dump. That means we’re each going on a favorite trip. My trunk is filled. I’d go today, but the dump is closed.

Now is the time for Christmas to move front and center. My factotum needs to come and decorate the outside of my house. I need to go to the garden store and get wreaths. A giant one is hung on the fence and a smaller one on the door. My house always looks so wonderful that I sometimes drive by just to look, just to see the lights. My neighbor across the street tells me she loves looking out her door at my house. She especially loves the old sled with the pair of skates hanging off the steering bar. That sits by my door. On the step is a pottery bowl filled with colored ornaments. One of my favorite decorations is a tree with naked branches decorated with huge ornaments and a flood light shining on them at night. The fence in front of my house is lit as is the back rail and the fence across the driveway.

My neighbor just called and said a flock of wild turkeys is in my yard. I opened the door and one was on the front step but took off at the sound of the door. More were on my lawn. The flock was fourteen turkeys looking plump and healthy. I took pictures.

Today is a relax at home day, one of my favorite way to spend a day.

“Even though it’s dark and cold there is always a shade of light.”

November 26, 2013

My stops took far more time than I expected. At Agway, I bought three wreaths and had to wait while the ribbon on one was changed so all three would be the same color. The two plain wreaths are for the fence and gate while the one for the door has starfish and shells and a tiny bird’s nest. It’s lovely. I also bought a rosemary tree for the house, and my car was filled with the wonderful aroma of the rosemary as I finished the rest of my errands. Why do people put those pine tree air fresheners in a car? I’m thinking dried rosemary would be amazing. At Ring Brother’s, a favorite stop of mine, I bought a sandwich for lunch, a turkey breast so I can have left overs and a pine kissing ball with golden bells, also for outside. I bought stuffing, but Rita, who owns Spinners, the pizza place inside Rings, was horrified. She had me buy bread, and she made stuffing for me with bread, Ritz, onions, celery and sausage. She told me that every good dish has only 5 ingredients. The stuffing is scrumptious. I hope it lasts long enough to cook with the turkey breast.

It is dark and overcast. A storm with heavy rain and strong winds will be here tomorrow, but today is dry and still and warm at 45˚.  I’m back to my sweat shirt.

On the day after Thanksgiving I’ll light up my Christmas lights. I love how beautiful the colors are and how they shine so brightly even on the darkest of nights. I still take a ride to see the lights the same as we did as a family when I was young. I think back then it was the only time we didn’t fight for our spaces in the backseat. The car was filled with oohing and ahing and pointing at the best houses. The ones all outlined in lights were the most spectacular. There were no white lights back then or computer programs setting the lights to music. There were just these big colored bulbs that got hot to the touch but shined ever so brightly. I have a few of the old sets and should check to see if they still work. Maybe I’ll throw them on a bush by the door the same as my father did.

“Christmas is the keeping-place for memories of our innocence.”

December 1, 2011

Sorry for the rather late start today, but Skip, my factotum, is here to put up the outside lights, and I am periodically called outside to check progress and to see if everything is in the right place then when the spotlight blew I had to go to the store to buy another one and some new garlands for the fence. Last year there was enough garland to span the fence but it seems to have disappeared over the summer. My artificial tree, the ugliest scrub pine you ever saw, is now up in the dining room. Over the summer, a few of the ornaments were gnawed in places and some of the ribbons were eaten, nesting material I suppose. All that seems to be the work of the mini-spawns, the field mice who call my cellar their home. Around here we all have mice. My brother claims that anyone who lives on Cape Cod and says he has no mice is living in a fantasy world. Luckily my cats are adept at catching the critters, and I often find one lying perfectly still on the rug in the hall having peacefully gone to its rest.

The lights outside are all connected to timers. I’m crossing my fingers that everything will light as hoped. The newest light is a giant star with a trail of lights. It is atop the fence. If all goes well, it should be spectacular.

Tomorrow will begin the transformation of the inside of the house. The tree will arrive either Sunday or Monday. I’m wondering if a parade might be a bit over the top.

I was going to decorate only a little this year, but once I started I got the Christmas bug. It’s a disease most of my family has, inherited from my mother’s side of the family. My father’s parents were more the socks and underwear sort of  Christmas givers while my mother’s parents, with their eight kids, went all out for the holiday. Most of my cousins have also inherited the same disease.

The goldfinches are back to the feeders, drab and pale. Gone is the brilliant yellow of their summer feathers. Today there were five or six of them. I wonder where they’ve been.

I opened day one of my Advent calendar today. Only 24 more to go!