Posted tagged ‘lights’

“Departure of a year welcomes so many new memories”

December 29, 2016

Cape Cod will get rain and high winds but no snow, but I didn’t need a forecast. One look at the sky was enough. It is a storm sky, dark and foreboding. The wind is starting to pick up a bit, but we won’t feel the brunt of the nor’easter until tonight. Meanwhile, I’m staying home. I’m staying comfy.

I woke up so late this morning I am embarrassed. This weird sleep cycle has to be broken. I stay up until one or two or even three and never wake up until some time after ten. I figure I’ll have to set my alarm for an early time in the morning and then hope to fall asleep before midnight.

I still light my Christmas tree every day although it is getting dryer and will so enough have to come down. The house always looks so empty and dark without the tree. It brightens even the deepest and darkest winter nights.

I always expect the new year to be better than the old. I know nothing around me changes too much but everything I saw, whatever I learned and anybody I met makes me more than I was, makes me a bit better than I was.

The highpoint for me this year was my trip back to Ghana. My friends and I had the most amazing time. We saw elephants walking around our chalets just nonchalantly stopping and stripping trees of their leaves while we stood close but still a safe distance away. We saw our former students almost every night in Bolga. We ate our favorite Ghanaian food. We went shopping on market day which was always my favorite day. It was a trip of highlights.

I don’t need a whole to keep me happy. Summer movies and Sunday game nights are never boring or tiresome. We loved sitting on the deck on a summer night with a small breeze keeping the evening comfortable. We laughed at all the bad black and white B movies we saw. One of my favorite creatures was the giant spider scaling the wall of the skyscraper. On Sunday it is Phase 10 and Sorry. With Sorry, just as you think victory is yours, your man, right next to home, gets knocked off back to start. That’s when someone always says  I hate this game.

I’m going to do laundry today, and that’s it. Gracie and I went to the dump yesterday, and there were so many cars, you’d think they were giving something wonderful away. Gracie’s head swiveled.

Now it’s time for lunch and the rest of the lazy day!

“Christmas! ‘Tis the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.”

December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas!!

Last night was wonderful fun. We sat, chatted and had a drink or two in the living room bright with colored lights from the tree, the window candles, and some lit branches by the fireplace. We moved to the dining room for food and gingerbread house construction. We noshed on an antipasto, a platter filled with meat and cheese from the Italian cheese shop, dates, cashews and mustard, including a caramelized fig sauce, hot corn dip, and bruschetta. We forgot about dessert so we’ll have it today. I made cookies and a chocolate cream pie.

We started construction on our houses. All conversation ceased. First we put up the walls then the roof then we decorated. I bought houses from a different company, and we were very pleased. The frosting tasted good which was perfect considering how much we had on our hands and how much we had transferred to things like phones and glasses. When we opened the gingerbread package, we could smell the ginger. It was divine, like being in a bakery filled with the aroma of cookies in the oven. The frosting was in a pouch, and it was so easy to be creative by squeezing the pouch to cover the roof with snow. I even squeezed swag designs on the back and front of the house. The candies were all colors. A gingerbread boy and a gingerbread girl were the finishing touches.

This morning I didn’t wake up until 10 given I was up until 3. I turned on the tree lights, made coffee and gathered my gifts from my sisters. The boxes were filled with the best gifts. One sister found the ugliest felt Christmas tree. She knows I love old, ugly decorations. The tree is already on the dining room table. She also gave me a wire bucket with peeling paint I recognized as one for quahogs or oysters and a gift certificate to iTunes. I love all the gifts. Gracie got the most beautiful dog biscuits which look more like frosted cookies than treats for a dog. My other sister too had all sorts of vintage stuff she’d found for me. She also gave me so much more including earrings because I whined that I give them but never get them, a new shirt, a red and white one I’m wearing today, Starbucks Christmas coffee, two pounds of it, and many more gifts including a gift certificate to Rings, the grocery store which gets so much of my money. I am thrilled with my presents.

In a while, I’m going to my friends’ for dinner and more presents. I love getting to watch them open the stocking stuffers I found. Some are quirky, some funny, some a bit strange and some perfectly wonderful.

Christmas is a day to be cherished and celebrated. I wish you all the happiness and joy today brings.

“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.

“Nothing burns like the cold.”

December 15, 2016

Today is a busy day. Peapod is due to arrive so I’ll have to put my groceries away, and my house will be getting cleaned this afternoon. I just have to lift my feet for the vacuum and the mop.

The Polar Vortex has appeared again. I always think it sounds like the title of a low budget scifi movie, but it isn’t. Tonight we will get down to single digits and there is a high wind warning for down here. Winds will be 25 to 35 mph with gusts between 55 and 65 mph. Bitterly cold wind chills are expected overnight. The warning also says there is a danger of power failures. If that happens, we’ll freeze to death (note: overly dramatic).

My tree is just about finished. It needs a few ornaments in the middle, in a spot with few branches, and it needs to be moved. I couldn’t move it, too heavy for me. When Lee comes to clean, I’ll have him move it to the corner then I’ll finish decorating. Last night I sat in the living room looking at my tree. It’s beautiful.

Many ornaments on the tree are memories. My mother needle-pointed my sisters and me ornaments with our initials. Mine is K for kings, the three kings. One Christmas I cross-stitched ornaments for everyone’s gift. My mother collected sheep so a few of her ornaments had sheep. I have them now. Pinocchio was bought in Florence, in a small toy shop my mother and I found. There is a stitched ornament from Hungry, a harp from Ireland my friends gave me, molas from Panama we got at the San Blas Islands, beaded ornaments from Ghana, a wooden angel also from Ghana and a small red and green Bolga basket I hang at the end of a branch so it doesn’t get lost. My mother gave us ornaments from our childhood for our trees. A few are mssing paint but most are in wonderful shape for being old. I love putting them on the tree.

My house is almost decorated. Gracie’s crate is getting some lights this year. A small plastic Santa is on the counter in the bathroom as sort of a night light. My kitchen has the pepper lights. Gracie has a holiday collar. I love festive!

“Tradition is a fine thing. Nothing comes out of the blue, except perhaps thunderbolts and they are not really very useful things.”

November 6, 2016

Today is dark and rainy. The street is now covered with wet leaves and pine needles. They’ll dry then be blown away. My lawn too is covered in brown pine needles and has mostly disappeared. Every small breeze drops yellow oak leaves to the deck. I can watch them fall from the window. My den light is lit giving the room a cozy feel. Gracie and Maddie are asleep. I love mornings like this.

This week I have a meeting on Tuesday, and that is the only entry on my dance card. The rest of the week is wide open. I have some stuff I could do like go through the Christmas presents piled on a guest room bed and catalogue them by person so I can know what I still need to buy. I love to find just the right gifts for people, and it takes a bit of shopping to do that, and Christmas isn’t really all that far away. I did some Christmas shopping in Ghana, and I’m glad for that as the gifts will be unique. I bought yards and yards of traditional Ghanaian GTP cloth to be used to make presents. Now I wish I’d even bought more.

Some gifts have become part of the Christmas tradition. I give everyone a bag filled with smaller gifts including a new ornament with some sort of a personal touch like a fish for my brother-in-law the fly fisherman. The kids also get Christmas books. I give all the women earrings or some sort of jewelry. This year the jewelry is from Ghana. I buy soap for every bag like lobsters or starfish. I also try to find fun gifts. I bought an old fishing drop line for my nephew, a gift of memory for him. There are bigger gifts for the kids. The younger boys get Hess trucks. They are on the way. My only grandniece is getting a doll and a dress from Ghana. My nieces and nephews get gift certificates stuffed into their gift bags, something I started doing when they got into their 20’s and finding just the right gift got too difficult. They love the small gifts and opening the bags is always done on Christmas Eve. It is the tradition, and my family is big on Christmas tradition.

“I cannot pretend to feel impartial about colors. I rejoice with the brilliant ones and am genuinely sorry for the poor browns.”

January 10, 2016

It’s raining. It’s pouring. The old man is snoring.

I don’t know when the rain started, but it is now a heavy rain and a strong wind. Outside is so dark my deck lights came on. The timer was duped.

I have written the start of several second paragraphs but have deleted each of them. Usually I have an idea which spreads across time and conjures memories. This morning I have nothing.

Sunday has never been a productive day. It was always church and family dinner day and some Sundays there was a visit to my grandparents. Nobody did lawn work, always reserved for a Saturday, and my mother didn’t vacuum or dust. She made dinner. Usually we stayed around the house. I’d read the Sunday funnies. The TV would be on a Sunday Matinee movie or a football game. I remember my brother watching and sitting close to the TV set, his legs bent and splayed behind him. I never found that comfortable.

The papers are so much bigger on Sunday. It is a three cup minimum to finish both papers. The Globe crossword takes the whole day as I fill in a bit then do something else then go back to it. I hate the crosswords where the longest answer is a quote and other answers finish the quote. Usually I start with the smallest part of the quote and work up hoping the answers will be hints. The capital of Ghana is often a crossword clue.

In the winter, I crave color. Often I buy myself a bouquet of flowers to remind me of spring and to brighten the darkness. The worst of winter is still ahead of me. January and February are usually snowy months. I’ll just have to be patient, never a strong suit of mine.

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

December 20, 2015

Winter arrived yesterday. It was 35˚ last night, and I had to wear a jacket for the first time as the wind made it feel even colder. Today is also cold but not as cold as it was, but winter won’t staying long. The weird weather we’ve been having will be back by Christmas. It could reach 60˚ here.

The play was great fun. Christmas on the Air was about a radio station at Christmas in 1949. There was a bit of drama, a few laughs and some wonderful Christmas carols. Dinner afterwards, at Felicia’s, was delicious. We started with shrimp and then both had fettuccine Alfredo and I ordered a side of sausage. Frank Sinatra played in the background just as he should. The place was crowded, no empty tables. The festivities have begun.

My neighbor and his three boys delivered pumpkin bread this morning. They also have a baby girl born last July, but Tiffany found time to make bread for all the neighbors.

I find myself filled with feelings of nostalgia this year. Riding through the square of my old home town brought back a flood of memories. The store fronts mostly look the same, but the stores are different. I called out their names as I went by. Hank’s Bakery is now an extension of the restaurant next door to it. I don’t remember the name of the store the restaurant replaced as I never shopped there. It had fruits, vegetables and cold cuts. The Middlesex Drug is now a butcher shop. My sister said it is expensive. The Children’s Cornet is now an Indian restaurant. My sister and I ate them and it was good except for the green sauce which burned my mouth.

The square is all lit for Christmas. Each tree has white lights and the town green, a new spot to me, has a beautiful lit tree of colored bulbs and an ice skating rink not yet opened. The fire station had Santa on the old police station roof. He used to be on the siren tower.

So much in my old home town has changed but so much somehow stays the same.