Posted tagged ‘cloudy’

“It is a happiness to wonder; — it is a happiness to dream.”

January 14, 2018

No doubt about it. Winter is here. The day is cold, a biting, damp cold, and it will get even colder tonight. When I went to get the papers, there were snow flurries, and they’re still around, small flakes from the north. It is a dark, cloudy, snowy day, the sort of day which gives winter a bad name. When I was a kid, I’d stay in all day near the hissing radiator. I’d color at the kitchen table or lie in my bed and read. I’d be wearing my flannel pajamas and slipper socks. Okay, I admit that it even sounds a lot like me now. I’m talking flannel bottoms, a sweatshirt on top and new slipper socks. Add a coloring book, and I could be ten again. I guess cozy doesn’t change much over the years.

Tonight is game night. We’ll play our two games, Sorry and Phase 10, and we’ll eat something while we’re playing and then we’ll have dessert after the games. Rumor has it we may be noshing on tacos. I’m doing the dessert this week, and I’m thinking chocolate pudding. I have all the ingredients and even have heavy cream. After the games, we watch The Amazing Race saved from Wednesday. It was always on Sundays before this so we maintain the tradition of games, food, the Race and dessert.

Poor Maddie got called Fern and Gracie this morning. She didn’t seem to care. That name mixup reminded me of my mother who used to take care of her younger brothers, Jack and Joe, long before she was married. If she wanted our attention or wanted us to stop what we were doing, she sometimes went through a litany of names to get to us. She’d say Jack, I mean Joe, I mean Kat. I never took offense.

My niece just posted pictures and videos of her two boys, ages 5 and 3, on Christmas morning. The older one stood in the entry way to the living room with his mouth wide open when he saw the toys left by Santa. He was amazed. I remember those days of walking downstairs on Christmas morning and seeing the lit tree surrounded by toys and gifts. It is one of the wonders of the world.

 

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“I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars.”

January 8, 2018

The day was sunny when I first woke up. It’s cloudy now, but it’s warm so I’m fine with the clouds. The temperature is above freezing. I can hear the drips of the melting snow from the roof. They sound like rain.

This is the week of the January thaw, earlier than usual. Each new day will get progressively warmer and by Friday it will be 50˚. My mind can’t fathom 50˚ after this last week which forever changed my definition of cold. I got to the point where 8˚ felt warm.

Today is tackle the tree day. It is still lit and decorated and is the last remnant of Christmas. The living room is drab and dark without it. Winter, with its early nights and late dawnings, is back, but there is some consolation. The cold air gives the night clarity. The light of the moon shines on the snow, and stars blanket the sky. Everything is perfectly still. Lights from windows arc across the snow. Smoke curls from chimneys, and sometimes I can smell wood burning. I stand outside and brave the cold just to take in the night.

My street has no streetlights. Sometimes it can be so dark the house across the street disappears. I keep lit candles in my front windows all the time. They are but a small break in the darkness.

When I was a kid, I always greeted the first star, “Star light, star bright, The first star I see tonight; I wish I may, I wish I might, Have the wish I wish tonight.” Even now that wish just jumps into my head. I’d hate to outgrow believing in things I can’t see.

I haven’t been out in a while to go anywhere. The cold has kept me inside the house. I’ve read, watched TV, napped and saved recipes I’ll never make from magazines.

After days when we were stuck inside because of the weather, my mother would demand we go out and get fresh air. I never thought to question the importance of getting fresh air. I just bundled up and went out. I was much older before I realized my mother’s fresh air fetish was really a bid by her to stay sane. She had four kids who whined constantly about being bored after only two days stuck inside the house. She needed relief and it came under the guise of fresh air. I can still hear her. It was never go out and get some air. It was always go out and get fresh air. I don’t know why, but I love this memory.

 

“Christmas Eve was a night of song that wrapped itself about you like a shawl. But it warmed more than your body. It warmed your heart…filled it, too, with melody that would last forever.”

December 24, 2017

Last night it rained, but it’s still cloudy. The clouds, though, are light and give hope for a bit of sun. Yesterday I made my orange cookies and today is lemon squares. That’s it for the day except to shower and get ready for tonight’s festivities.

When I was a kid, this was an endless day. I remember us begging our mother to let us go to bed around 5:30. We figured the night would pass quickly if we were asleep. We never got to test that theory as we never went to bed so early. After dinner my mother always let us open a present on Christmas Eve. We didn’t have a choice as to which one we opened. We moaned and groaned because we always had to open the new pajamas. Under the tree were more presents but they were hands off until the morning.

A Christmas Carol was usually on TV, and we watched it every year. That’s where my love for the movie began. The TV screen was small and the movie was in black and white, but it was still magical as Scrooge was helped by the ghosts to see joy in Christmas and his connections to other people. I remember being older and reading A Christmas Carol and feeling as if it was an old friend I’d read often.

Dinner was no big thing on Christmas Eve. None of us was really all that hungry for regular food. We ate cookies, as many as we could get away with. My mother put hard Christmas candies in a dish on the table. The pieces were sticky and some were stuck together. That was a good excuse to eat a couple at a time. The candy didn’t last long.

Opening the pajamas signaled the start of our Christmas rituals. We’d run upstairs and put the pajamas on right away. Next was the hanging of the stockings on the stair rail. We did it by age with mine at the top, George’s next then Sheila’s then my sister Moe’s at the bottom. Sheila and Moe went to bed first. George and I went later. It took forever to fall asleep. We’d talk across the hall from one bedroom to another. I never remembered finally falling asleep. It just happened.

When I woke up on Christmas morning, it took a moment or two before I remembered it was Christmas. My parents had us wait until the four of us were awake then we raced down the stairs. Nothing is more spectacular than seeing the lit Christmas tree with the presents around it.

It doesn’t seem to matter how old I am. I still love Christmas. Under my tree are wrapped presents. I won’t open them until tomorrow. I might shake a few tonight!

Merry 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.

“A good many things go around in the dark besides Santa Claus.”

December 4, 2017

It has already been a long day. Alexa woke me up at seven. I asked her for another half hour, and she obliged. I got up after the 7:30 Alexa call, got dressed and hit the road. Gracie had her second acupuncture appointment. She was good and stood patiently until it was over. It took about an hour. When we got home, she ate and I had coffee and read the paper. The morning was normal. Then I took a nap. Yup, a morning nap, and I just woke up, got another cup of coffee and turned on the TV. I’m watching Krampus. Nothing is better than a movie about a horned-beast at Christmas who punishes naughty children. That sure beats coal in the stocking.

Today has a muted sun hiding behind the clouds. Every now and then it appears and  brightens the day for a bit then the clouds take over again. At least it is warmish.

I did get a few things done yesterday, but I’m the only one who’d notice. The clean clothes piled on the rocking chair have disappeared. I carried them upstairs and put them away. The two bags of newspapers and the boxes which were by the front door are now in the trunk. I’ll bring them to the dump on Wednesday when it reopens. The kitchen floor and the hall are clean. I vacuumed. The pile of catalogues is greatly diminished. I went through most of them and ordered a few things on line. I’m sure, though, they’ll be plenty in today’s mail to take their places.

Last night was game night. This time I was a winner. At the last game night Tony and I won nothing. Clare won them all. Last night she won Phase 10, and I won two games of Sorry. Tony was stuck with the L on his forehead.

I’m going out later. Skip is coming tomorrow to do my outside lights so I need a few things: a spot light, a couple of wreaths and some lengths of pine garland for inside the house. Tomorrow, Skip and I will go and choose my tree so he can lug it inside and set it up for me. I’ll start decorating it and the house tomorrow.

I noticed last night that many houses have Christmas lights, more than usual this early.  Some houses are decked in all white lights, some are LED colored sets and others are regular colored bulbs. Mine will be a combination. The driveway fence already has a trail of white lights leading to a huge star. That is always lit to keep the darkness at bay. The front fence will have colored bulbs as will the deck rail in the back. One tree on the side of the house will have huge ornaments lit by a spotlight. An old sled will stand by the front door with ice skates draped on it. They’ll have regular lights.

Krampus is just about over now. It isn’t Hallmark, but it sort of had a happy ending. It just depends on your definition of happy.

“It is a great Nostrum the composition of this Pasty,”Christmas Pye”; it is a most learned Mixture of Neats-tongues, Chickens, Eggs, Sugar, Raisins, Lemon and Orange Peel, various kinds of Spicery, etc.”

December 3, 2017

Today is yesterday without the small breeze. The clouds are white grey. No rain is expected but the air is damp. It will be in the mid-40’s most of the day. I’ll be watching the Patriots play starting at one.

This morning was the same as most mornings. Maddie and Gracie now with full bellies are back to snoozing. I woke up too late to read both newspapers, but that’s okay as I’ll read the rest tonight. I held my breath, as I usually do, when I turned on MSNBC. I’m always afraid of what I might hear and especially afraid about any news from the White House. I’m beginning to think I’m being masochistic. Nothing I read or watch gives me hope, but there is still a piece of me that won’t give up.

I  woke up around 2 because my back was killing me. It was Gracie’s fault. She had moved from the other end of the couch to my end and was leaning against me with her head resting on my legs which were bent to accommodate her. She was so asleep she didn’t stir when I moved her. I stretched my legs and got comfy. My back was none the worse for wear this morning.

My house is cluttered. Boxes and bags of papers and magazines are in the living room until I can move them to the trunk. My clean clothes haven’t yet made it upstairs, but I’m determined to move them today. The vacuum is still leaning against the couch. I’ll use it during commercials then put it back downstairs to gather dust of its own. A few dishes are on the dish towel on the counter and are probably dry so I’ll put them back into the cabinet. I will then be decluttered.

I did watch Hallmark last night though I toyed with watching Krampus, but my good mood countered my dour mood. I watched the vet fall in love with the doctor after they had known each other just a few days, but that’s the magic of Hallmark. I know the movies are schmaltzy, but I don’t care. Those movies drown out politics and help me forget what’s going on so I get to hold on as tightly as possible to Christmas and all the joy it brings, compliments of Hallmark.

I’ve been watching Christmas cooking shows; however, I doubt I’ll make many of the dishes. On The Kitchen they made shaved Brussels sprout salad with pomegranate vinaigrette and pecans. What?

Christmas dinner has never been as traditional as Thanksgiving. My mother alternated roasts like crowned pork roast, crowned beef or honeyed ham. We always had some sort of potato but not usually mashed. My favorite was roasted potatoes. The vegetables included creamed onions so my Dad wouldn’t complain and root vegetables like turnip. The table was always lovely. My mother used her Spode dishes, and her red or green tablecloth and napkins. There was always a centerpiece of flowers. We lingered at the table. I’d usually clear, put the coffee on and start washing pans and such. When I finally sat, I’d grab a cookie or two or maybe even three to eat with my coffee.

I think if you visited any of our houses on Christmas you’d see Christmas dishes, flowers and holiday tablecloths. My mother lives in all of us.

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!”

December 2, 2017

The sky is cloudy, gray. A small breeze just about ruffles a leaf or two, brown ones left on the branches. It is a bit colder than yesterday but not so bad that I’d need to bundle going out. I have a list of errands, but I haven’t ventured beyond the yard for the last few days. I’m either becoming a hermit or I’m practicing for hibernation.

I actually vacuumed the kitchen yesterday and hope to do the rest of downstairs today. I can’t even remember the last time I vacuumed. I do some spot cleaning between visits from my cleaning couple, things like using my sweatshirt cuff to dust and a wet paper towel under my feet to wipe the kitchen floor, but I don’t vacuum or rather I didn’t vacuum.

I have started writing down what I want to bake for Christmas. One sister always gets fudge and date-nut bread. I add a few other cookies but those first two are more than enough for her. My sister in Colorado always wants my English toffee. I don’t make it every year, but I used to because my mother loved it. The orange cookies are on Clare’s list. They remind her in a way of her mother’s orange cake. I also usually make a new cookie each year, but I haven’t decided which one yet.

I’m Hallmarking it today. It is a perfect day to stay home and watch Christmas movies with happy endings. Last night I watched Alistair Sim find Christmas in his heart. I never tire of him as Scrooge. One of my other favorites is called Scrooge and stars Seymour Hicks. It was released in the US in 1926. It opens with Charles Dickens pacing his library and hoping for inspiration. He writes A Christmas Carol. This movie presents a graphic picture of London with its beggars and lines for food. Scrooge falls asleep with his money around him. But watching Alistair Sim is the real beginning of the Christmas season for me. Let the bells jingle and the carolers sing. It’s time to start getting ready for Christmas.