Showing posts with label Holidays. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Holidays. Show all posts

Friday, December 18, 2015

Holiday Expectations

They no longer call
But if they did,
And asked how I was,
What would I say?
This morning I saw the pileated 
destroying that old tree.
This afternoon I heard a loon’s lonely call 
across the silver gray river.
Tonight I will spend an hour flipping through channels
Before I find something I watched before
And will watch again.
Tomorrow I have nothing on the list
Of things I used to do.
They never call
But if they did 
What would I say?

(Yes, this is a sad little poem, but it kept forming and reforming and so to get it out of my head I had to write it down.)

Friday, December 07, 2012

The Annual Visitor

There it sits with patience, or is it insolence, in a dark corner of the basement.  Plastic green sheeting with bright red handles protects it from dust and mice droppings.  Every year it gains weight.  What does it eat down here?  It has melded into its little corner with such fossilized determination and like a big fat dog it fights our every tug and pull to break it free from other large unidentifiable objects.

Finally it falls between us with a soft whoosh like a beached green whale just inches from our toes.  Hubby lifts the heavy end and I lift the other heavy end.  We both grunt and groan and wonder if we really want to do this.  Every year we put off the task until we reach a tipping point in time.  The lump gets bumped and dragged past the covered unused dining room table, past the antique doll house and over the threshold toward the stairs.  This is where we wipe our brows and put our courage to the sticking place.  At our age this could be a life or death decision.

With hands tightly grabbing canvas and stitched pulls we drag it ever so slowly over each wooden step up to the main floor using our (my) body weight to prevent it from running back down the stairs and taking me with it.  At the main level it is like a heavy dust mop as we pull it down the hallway.  It accordians various throw rugs until it reaches the designated place: the bay window.  This means we no longer have a place to eat breakfast.

We should feel successful at this juncture, but an even greater effort and struggle awaits us our expended energies.  We catch our breath.

Hidden in the dense plastic branches, there are green tips to match green holes, red tips to match red holes and black tips which are impossible to see to match anything.   Then buried deeper in the darkness of the plastic pine needles, there are numerous male and female plugs, so many that we have never been able to count them all.  One year long ago when I was determined I labeled them AA, BB, CC, DD.  We have never again found the DDs in the dense green.  There is one string of lights that no longer lights (perhaps related to the DDs) and we must add our own little string across that area.

After an hour in which we do not swear because it IS the holiday season, we have a perfectly symmetrical plastic tree in place.  It does not smell of pine, but smells of age and mildew, a perfect tree for old people.  We tweak the ends of various wire branches turned inward like the bowed head of a timid dog that has been subdued by its master and does not want to be here.  Then we decorate each branch in red and gold glass ornaments because it is an adult tree with sophistication and no whimsy as all the family ornaments have been given to the children now that they have their own homes. 

Once it is lit sharing all its glory we remember why we go through this every year.  It cleans up pretty good and so does my floor!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me

Thus far today my birthday has proceeded according to a typical plan.

  1. Last night my granddaughter, who is staying at my house this week, had a horrendous nightmare and then proceeded to come down with a nasty cough the rest of the sleep for me.
  2. This is birthday breakfast at my house in the photo above.  E-Z prep.
  3. Last night hubby asked if by any chance I had purchased the cake candles when I went grocery shopping!
  4. This morning, on my birthday, hubby asked if I had come across the cake mix and candles that he hid!  He can't find  the bag anywhere!  (Don't ask, because I cannot answer your many questions on this.)  I have spent 15 minutes helping him look without luck.
  5. He finally found the bag under his jeans on his bedroom chair.
  6. The first, and thus far only, birthday call I have received by 10:00 A.M. was on my cell and it was from my stockbroker!  
  7. We are eating dinner out (the 3 of us) and I am hoping that the restaurant doesn't burn down today.
  8. My last gift today will probably be a cold from that precious little girl in the photo.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

What Makes a Classic?

Above is my granddaughter sitting in the basement TV room of my daughter's house watching TV.  She has self-dressed this morning in a black velvet and red-silk Christmas dress with a "diamond" clipped waist bow.  Since it is winter, she has on leggings with orange stripes and her favorite pink-colored socks.  She reminds me of Pippi Longstalking in this funky outfit with a polka dot headband for some more bling.  She will not let anyone touch her hair and wears pigtails only to school.  The rest of the time it must flow with tangled abandon.  One of her favorite movies is Tangled...surprise, surprise.

Here she sits watching the 1930 movie version of A Christmas Carol with Reginald Owen.  I think she is enthralled because the ghost of Christmas past looks a little like the Good Witch in the Wizard of Oz and she is also very much into that tale right now.  She was Dorothy from Oz at Halloween.  She followed this entire movie without break.

I am fascinated that such a classic in black and white and without special effects can hold the interest of a three-year-old in 2010.  It seems a clean story told simply and with universal themes to an un-jaded mind can hold its own and becomes a classic!  What do you think?

Friday, December 24, 2010


These are two silver ornaments that are part of the centerpiece on my dining table.
Last year at this time I opened a virtual trunk filled with presents for my bloggers to add to their winter holiday celebrations.  I tried to keep it diverse and filled with love.  I think that some may have enjoyed that because the sizes were correct and the colors were perfect and the style...well, I always have style, don't I?  One of my gifts was not 'just right' for a certain someone and I miss him every single blogging day.  But I cannot help but think he can read blogs without restraint now, and while mine may not be the first blog he reads each day, I know he will get around to it eventually.  I am hoping that whatever holiday you celebrate or honor with holy remembrance in December, it is filled with memories of loved ones now and forever and that you have some wonderful seasonal music to enjoy along with those memories and some delicious seasonal food.  (Like many of you I will be away for the weekend...missing blogging...but loving the time with loved ones.)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The National Tree

I could not resist posting this photo of the National Tree in front of the White House with the Washington Monument in the background.  The star on top of the tree is being backlit by the winter morning sun.  It was somewhat breathtaking in the cold morning air.  The workers were around on all sides busily taking down fences, collapsing cold metal chairs and removing about an acre of snap-together flooring that had been installed for the tree lighting ceremony just a few days before.  The state trees standing in a circle around the big tree, which were fenced off at the time I was there, seemed smaller then when I saw them years ago.  They were only 3 feet high!  Such is recession I am guessing or maybe it is because we are trying to be green?  I know it is not because I have grown taller!  The National Tree greenery is almost hidden and weighted down by the strings of decorations and lighting.  It is sort of an instant decoration kind of thing.

There is a sad postscript to this photo above.  I had just lost all the photos I took in December.  None of my photos are publishable or worth turning into artwork, but they are mine and hold all my December memories and I am sick about this.  This photo and about 500 others are gone, gone, gone.  I did not delete them.  Something very similar to this happened last September when I was working with about 1,000 photos from my Canada trip and tagging them in my software and 100 from the first file disappeared.  A file recovery did not work.

I use PhotoShop Elements 8 which allows me to index photos by adding subject tags, people tags and even GEO/place tags.  I spent several hours going through bird photos tagging them by species and when I was all done, I checked my email and when I came back the entire December folder and most of the Bird folder were missing their files! Nothing was in my recycle bin and I couldn't find them using Windows Explorer.  Therefore, they were not just disconnected from the photo catalog in PSE8...they were gone!  I have tried to find the solution on the web but mostly Adobe just tells people they must have done something wrong because the software does not delete files by itself...!

I have been reasonably good about backing up photos either on CDs or another hard drive I have...but I only do that once a month, so missed that opportunity by a few days as I was still reviewing and weeding files.  I will get over this.  It is not someone's wedding or birthday photos...just my precious crap!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Big Food Day

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  Why?  I don't have to buy and wrap gifts that may or may not be on needed and appreciated.  I don't have to decorate more than the table.  The day is all about food, one of my favorite vices.  It is all about cooking, a favorite hobby.  Even vegans will find enough to eat at my table.  It is all about being thankful for anything and everything that has happened during the year.  It is about the history of our country and the hard working people that held it together so that we now have this beautiful if somewhat dysfunctional democracy to shelter us.  It is (even if somewhat anecdotally) about the history of two disparate cultures coming together during a time of hardship.  It is not about a specific religion, so every friend and family member can agree on the reason for the day.  (All the whiners, complainers, and dieters please stay home.)

My TG day will be smaller this year which is a little strange for me.  TG is supposed to be lots of people and lots of food and with my family going different directions as my life moves on this is not always the case.  BUT it is supposed to be a time of thankfulness and I certainly have much to be thankful for.  My daughter has decided to go to the in-laws (even though mashed potatoes come out of the box, some people only eat chicken, and pies come from the bakery there).  My son is coming here and he is coming with his new girlfriend, so there will be some good reason to cook.  This will be the third time we have gotten together this fall, and that is super cool.  I am going to use the best china, my M.I.L.s silver (plated) utensils which I have NEVER bothered to use and buying some flowers for a centerpiece.  Weather is supposed to be cloudy with a 50% chance of showers...who cares!

May you have enough to eat and someone to share with on this holiday.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy Festival of Summer's End

In the U.S. and in some European countries we celebrate a holiday called Halloween. Some say it comes from a Celtic festival meaning summers end.  It is this time of year when the lighter half of the day gets shorter and the darker half grows longer, which therefore, allows both evil and benign spirits to pass through into our world for a short scary time.  It is a festival in which we turn our innocent and beloved young lads and lassies into monsters and send them out to ask strangers for candy in the early evening...yep, we really do this....

There is an even scarier side on my other blog.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The American Turkey

Dear readers, enjoy in moderation. (Photo of wild turkey taken in the mountains of North Carolina.)

If you want to do something today when you are feeling too full you can go here or here or here.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Mums on Acid

Am I the only one who wonders about wildlife like this when the 4th of July comes around? The very first explosion sent two geese (this photo above is of ducks) high into the air and away from the river. We watched, for the very first time, from our boat, the small town fireworks. It was preceded by some very nice smaller fireworks shows on the lawns of several mansions at the mouth of the river. The boats were anchored in comfortabe space along the mouth before the entry to the bay and while the water carried the banter of celebratory boaters, the dusk and darkness provided a blanket of privacy. Since it was just hubby and I we could freely neck as the nightflowers exploded against the black sky. Other things I noticed in the glass half full side was that the weather was a breezy 72 degrees and the normally sweltering sun was hidden behind a high gray sky that threatened rain which never happened. This is the coolest 4th of July I have experienced in a long time. For a while the wakes of the boats prevented me from reading while waiting for the dark, but eventually the surface of the ocean calmed down.

The glass half empty side was that the almost full moon was hidden and could not light our way home at the end of the show. The glass half full was that all 99% of the boaters were intelligent and polite and actually followed the Rules of the Road and wending our slow way home watching the red and green bow lights on the motor and sailboats along the 5 miles up river was actually quite nice.

I know that it is impossible to take a photo of fireworks when sitting on a rocking boat, but the photos below were fun to process anyway. They look like mums on acid.

We almost didn't take this holiday challenge as our neighbors had said the boating was crazy on the 4th, but since we had been alone all day we needed to do something. We were pleasantly surprised and now feel perhaps we can take our grandchildren out on this holiday.

Saturday, May 09, 2009


Here's to those who got it right and to those who at least tried.

What a nice present from Mother Earth on the day before Mother's Day!

Monday, February 16, 2009


I always thought that over-sugered, obnoxious kids would not be my cup of tea. BUT, it looks like Valentine's Day breaks all the rules. Anyone want to label or caption this? Click to enlarge if you need more creative angst. (Please help me with a caption.)

I would post a photo of the flowers or candy or romantic dinner that I got for Valentine's Day...but I didn't get any of those! But this man has dived into waters to save a drunk stranger, work long hours without pay for environmental causes, and is cooking dinner tonight (if he remembers) so I have to accept my lot in life. Romantic, not. Good and honest, definately.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Back Seat Valentines

I started this blog to track the important times and thoughts in my life and maybe to help me build a road map as to where I am (or should be) going in these later and important years of my life. I also wanted to build a history for any grandchild or great grandchild that needed to understand how and why they got to be so quirky and slightly crazy (blame it on granny). Little did I know that I would acquire backseat drivers (my blog readers) along the way who would challenge, agree, suggest new paths, and map my way in directions I had not planned. If I was down they would reason and cajol and if I was up I would find balance by reading how they were facing the big challenges in their lives. This depth of relationships with and among bloggers was not something I expected. Thus I thank you and wish a Happy Valentine's Day to all of you and those you love.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Isn't It Romantic?

When you have been married as long as I have, and I have been married a lot longer than I ever thought people could tolerate each other, it is hard to buy an original romantic something for that certain someone. Since we were heading up to the city to babysit last week, I had planned a nice dinner at a favorite restaurant in the city for the following night and then taking in Casablanca on the big screen at a theater. My idea of real romance...probably not my husband's...but as much as I love him, he is no where close to being a romantic, so I took the lead on setting this up.

Anyway, as is well-known, he got the flu big time last week and all had to be cancelled including the theater with the resulting loss of the pre-paid
theater tickets.

So, not to be stymied, I had a fall-back idea. I had ordered something for him that I knew he was going to love. It was very expensive and I didn't
realize how heavy it was until it arrived, and over three days, continued to arrive in various boxes! Thus, hubby had to find out ahead of time about the gift to help me lift and put the thing together.

I am sure any nosy neighbors across the river were wondering what kind of sex toy this enormous frame with chains, etc. represented since we put everything together in the bay window of the master bedroom. The directions said that it could be put together in about an hour. Well, that is assuming your husband reads directions and lays out all the parts ahead of time. He started pushing in plastic parts and it wasn't until we reached an impasse that I pointed out that the plastic parts were supposed to go elsewhere. (No you cannot comment on our sex life here.) This was about an hour into the project and we sighed in exhaustion and gave up until the next day. This morning hubby was determined to pull out the plastic end pieces and with some drilling and pulling and sweat he succeeded. We once again started the project. In about an hour the project was finished and looked pretty good.

Boy are the lights bright on this baby! Now we will worry about whether the neighbors think we are growing medicinal plants in the bedroom. We also will have to watch the timer as that might indeed have an impact on our sex life.

This unit has three long shelves that he gets to fill with spring seedlings and he is so excited he even said I could have some of the space. Cool huh?

Post Script: No I do not have shades or drapes for the bedroom. We are saving up for that, although with this recession that may be a long time coming. If anyone wants to watch two old farts walking around naked in their bedroom, here' s to em!

Post Post Script: I think this little project with its hundreds of pieces should count for good elder brain exercise. I haven't done something like this in a while.

PPPS: Yes we once had a homemade seeding unit (quite ugly), but we no longer have the patience to try to build something like that again. We are the kind of people that keep the gardening catalogs going.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy

Been just a little busy and except for the first photo you can see I have been away from the house. The arrow in the first photo is to illustrate the numerous places that busy hands go while you are measuring flour. You may need to click on the photo to understand.

I am now catching up on blog reading.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Window to Past, Present and Future

Looking back at a time when I was a little girl, I can remember the colorful and interesting Christmas cards that my parents would get from across the United States and occasionally across the world. I would look at the photos, read the personal notes and wonder who these people were that had known my parents so well before I was born. What was this life that they had shared with people in another era? They were just old boring parents as I knew them.

This past weekend I was at my daughter's house when she was opening her mail which consisted of at least a dozen holiday greeting cards that were, for the most part, photos of grinning or mugging little children. Who were these dozens of little people? What part were they playing in the lives of my daughter and son-in-law? The cards were a little window into a current social world that was unfamiliar to me.

Last week I got an email from my son's girlfriend letting us know that we would not be seeing her over the holidays as she and my son had recently broken up. It was a mature separation that appears to have left them both in a lot of pain. This was sad news for me as my son is not a social butterfly and being alone over the holidays is not how I wanted to picture him. What we have is a failure to communicate when it comes to this parent son relationship and this gal was my little tiny window into his life of un-returned phone calls and rare email responses. Now that this window has been closed, our worlds are once again drifting apart. I am so sad.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Rewarded with Rushing

Hubby and I are heading into the city not to see the lights or go to a fancy holiday party...but to babysit, of course. This activity seems to be the most popular on our social calendar over the winter holidays. We have also been asked to pick a 'few' days during the two weeks that school is closed over the holidays to spend time with (take care of) the grandchildren.

I know the cost of babysitters and know that we would be saving them a fortune, and I love being with my grandchildren, and do not resent this in any way. We are asked and not 'expected'. But I can see how some grandparents would consider this an imposition if they found children exhausting or their own lives more interesting.

I, on the other hand, know how fast life rushes by and how fast these children will want to spend time with friends their own age rather than old people, so do not regret one second. And my holidays do not require much rushing around now that I no longer work.

Having said that, rushing to make and decorate Christmas cookies is not as good an idea. But my problem is that I say "When life gives you lemons, you can try still life art." My reach frequently exceeds my grasp. I also say that cookies that look handmade are far more delicious to eat. (I admit that adding the sprinkles was a bit too much!)

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Blue Christmas

I am sitting here in the early evening after a cold winter wind has rattled the windows all day long. Even the wrapping of presents could not shake the gray loneliness from my shoulders. I was in a pensive and cold mood. I had read Tammy's post where she indicated that her holidays did not necessarily leave her with nice cozy memories. Divorces and children scattered to other geographies left her more pensive than celebratory at this time of year. I put on my old Christmas CD's, and of course, the first to be played was an Andy Williams CD. Talk about nostalgia!

After reading Tammy's post I remembered those Christmases after the children had grown and were living too far away to come home for any holiday. Our house was so quiet and empty. I just could not wait for the weeks to pass and get on with preparation for springtime!

Now once again I am blest with family that is close and even new little ones to bring back the old memories. But Tammy's post reminded me that not everyone is feeling so warm and friendly this time of year.

I will keep this thought close and remember to smile more when I go out, say nice things to strangers that I may encounter and to keep my wallet close to the top of my purse for those charities that need help. I will also remind myself to gulp every day as if it was golden honey, because the times will come when each day is not this way.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Keeping Busy

Yesterday I made stuffing, washed and dried the turkey, made strawberry apple pie, printed out the thankfulness memory cards, cooked a chile dinner for everyone at night, kept toddlers away from fireplace, redecorated the house,

took pictures of family jumping in the leaves outside and cleaned-up kitchen and watched The Kite Runner and then to bed.

Today thus far, made cinnamon rolls for breakfast while I let everyone sleep in late, turkey was stuffed and is now in oven, daughter made a green bean casserole, made sweet potato casserole, I set table, washed the toddlers clothes, tended the fire (AGAIN), adults kept kids entertained and safe.

Now waiting for son and his gal to get here along with a pumpkin dessert (Yum!). Hubby has a breather while the kids have driven off to a nearby playground and he is mowing (!) the front yard so that it looks nice for the holiday.

I have no idea what they were doing yesterday in this photo below....

I am so thankful that, thus far, everything is on schedule and no one has killed anyone! HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all who read my blog!