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Monthly Archives: November 2012

Holiday Decorating Memories


A Christmas tree inside a home.

A Christmas tree inside a home. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The anticipation of holiday arrival is overflowing with joy coupled with an overlay of stress, usually experienced in equal amounts.  Whether its Christmas, Channukah, Kwanza or any of the other grand traditions celebrated around this Winter season, they come with their own unique share of the frenzies.

There is something else that waltzes in with the joyful season and that is the memory of years past.  The memories are either good, bad, sad, humorous, but never can they be said to be irrelevant.

Since it is just the very beginning of the season, I will save my salute to those loved ones who are no longer here with me for a more Spiritual post and get on with what is on my mind, getting the house ready for the time of the year!  I will leave aside the present shopping, fretting on the perfect gifts to buy loved ones, and the tons of holiday food treats one needs to prepare to concoct the traditional feast.

It seems to me we leap from Halloween to Thanksgiving.  This is an easy transition as I put away skeletons and jack-0-lanterns, leave out the pumpkins and corn stalks, and just add a turkey or two. Wahlah!  Done.  All that remains to do is cook a turkey and over eat.

However, the bump up to Christmas Decorating is a whole nother ballgame.  It is a massive undertaking and only the determined and stout-hearted can complete it.

For the last several years I have had family and friends help me with this job, not without much mishaps and frustration.  Fortunately, outdoor light stringing and electric connections are handled by hubby Jim.  In that realm I need only shop for bulbs and point where I would like them strung.  He does this feat without further assistance from me, and he does it in record time.

All else falls to me.  The tree set up, holly, garland, wreaths, throughout the house.  Singing Moose, caroling penguins, dancing trees jingling, “I wish you a merry christmas”.  Then there are holiday dolls, moving santa, and stockings for the door.  Don’t forget the bells, bells, bells, to greet guests as they enter.  There is more, but you get the picture.  I over do, therefore I need help.

I remember one year my friend Roger assisted with the tree set up. Not the decorations (that is my peccadillo) but with the lights.  Yes, the dreaded lights around the tree.  It took us a few hours to get them untangled to place them just so around.  Finally the testing.  We plugged in.  Ah how lovely.  Yes, twinkling, colorful, tiny bulbs, which stayed lit for about one minute before the tree went dark.  I never saw a man so distraught.  If he had hair, that was the moment he would have pulled it out. I needed to get him out-of-the-way while I figured out what was wrong.  It took a while, but no fear, we had a beautifully lit tree that year.  He was much relieved.

Friends, who are taller than I, have topped the tree and also crawled around the floor to tie the Santa Claus skirt.  Decorations are placed on the pinchy branches.  Many of them are gifts given to us by friends that attended Christmas parties past.  I remember who gave me each one and smile while thinking of the wonderful time we enjoyed on the day I was given each.  I hang this Tinkerbell, or that huge painted ball.  Perhaps thoughts of St. Martin when I place a Christmas Palm tree near the middle.  Yes, all these memories flood my mind.  Is it worth it?  All the work and frustration of burned out bulbs, broken balls, hauling boxes out of the shed, standing on step ladders to hang wreaths, and covering every surface with some holiday decor. Is it worth it?

Sure it is.  Its making happy memories for now and forever.  With a class of wine in hand and Christmas music in the back ground it can even be fun.  Happy Decorating, my Friends.

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Posted by on November 29, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Stopping Short of the Kitchen Sink


English: Plastic suitcase Deutsch: Schwarzer K...

English: Plastic suitcase Deutsch: Schwarzer Koffer aus Plastik (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I adore traveling and going on trips.  The length of a trip doesn’t matter nor correlate to the height of my anticipation and excitement.  Three days warrants the same attention to detail and wardrobe as a two-week vacation. Does not matter if the mode of transport is Plane, Train or Automobile.  I wind into a fevered pitch. Therein lies the small problem that cast a note of anxiety on my pre-vacation pleasure.

Packing the suitcase or suitcases, as the situation calls for, is a horror and I dread it every time.  Day clothes, evening wear, bathing suit and coverup, whether its winter or summer, shoes, make-up, shoes, meds, shoes, body lotion, shoes, hair products, shoes, slippers, sneakers, robe, sweaters, different weight jackets and shawls, band aids, face cream, candles, chips, booze for the room, seltzer, matches, stockings, socks, knee highs, shoes, tums, hair brushes, hair clips, safety pins, needle and thread, jewelry, computer with its charger, and so on.

Then there is rearranging my pocket-book so that I am prepared for check-in without going through the suitcase.  Glasses, driver’s license, hotel confirmation printout, Master Card, club card, tissues, comb, lipstick, lipliner, blush, writing paper, pen, money, which must be broken down into all kinds of denominations for tips, hand lotion, sunglasses, cell phone, and car charger.  All needs to be on hand all the time.

There are items I have left out of this extensive list.  It takes me days to pack.  I like to be prepared for all events.  Heaven forbid I don’t have a choice of earrings.  Or my mood dictates full evening regalia and the shoes don’t match the gown.  Yes, I pack everything just short of the kitchen sink.

BTW, Jim and I travel together.  He throws some stuff in his suitcase and is done packing in 15 minutes.  Go figure.

 

 

 
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Posted by on November 14, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Apple Pie and Coffee


American cultural icons, apple pie, baseball, ...

American cultural icons, apple pie, baseball, and the American flag (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What says Love like a fresh-baked Apple Pie?  Whether you bake it yourself or go to your favorite bakery to purchase it for someone you care about.

My son-in-law, Gee, made us Apple Pie when we visited last Christmas.  It was really good, and perhaps better yet because he made it for us.  My daughter Crissy, and granddaughter Emily, put together two pies and a Chocolate bunt, just the other day, for Jim’s birthday. Emily placed a candle on it, and we were good to go. The pleasure it brought us was from the expression of Love it demonstrated, and Emily’s joy at baking it with her two beautiful hands side by side with her Mom. It also tasted wonderful. My friend Leslie told me a while back that some of her fondest memories of her Mother was cooking and baking with her in their family home. Til today Leslie is a great cook and  it is obvious that Love is one of the ingredients in everything she conjours up.

I just finished taking an Apple, Berry pie, out of my own oven.  It was the aroma filling the house that brought to mind the pleasure of Apple Pie and Coffee.  But it also reminded me of something else.  What’s more American than Apple Pie?  The only thing I can think of is our Men and Women in Uniform that forego the joy and safety of their own homes.  They leave behind loved ones, family and friends, parents, spouses, and children, to take up arms in some foreign land.  They  protect us all and allow us to indulge in the luxury of Pie and wonderful smells, and keep us bathe in Freedom. They are the pride of America. These generous members of the Armed Forces  express their Love for us better than any Apple Pie.

Today we celebrate Veterans Day.  Thank you with all my heart to the Members of the Armed Forces serving Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.  God bless you. This is my virtual Apple Pie to you.

 

 
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Posted by on November 12, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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An Unmade Bed


Hurricane Sandy Redecoration

Hurricane Sandy Redecoration (Photo credit: dakine kane)

The term ‘An Unmade Bed’  can mean so many things.  It can refer to a state of mind, the inside of a purse, one’s appearance, the condition of a room or house, a real bed on which the blankets and sheets have not been smoothed, and the pillows not in the proper place at the head of the mattress.  An ‘unmade bed’ is something and someone in disarray.  We are rarely completely at ease in the presence of that ‘unmade bad’.  Its doable though.  We lie down, burrow in the coziness of the familiar and drift off thinking we will fix it tomorrow.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy my beloved New York and her sister states, New Jersey, and Connecticut, have been left much like an unmade bed.  This is not a bed that despite the rumpled sheets you can still straighten it out a minimal amount, lie down, rest your body and mind; still get a good nights sleep.  No, this disorder does not allow one to rest.  It settles in your heart and brands you with sadness.  Nothing can be left until tomorrow.

We prepared for this hurricane, having been giving much warning by the meteorologists on television, radio, and internet.  Many of us didn’t take it as seriously as we should have.  Afterall this is not New Orleans, Mississippi, or even Florida.  We don’t have life changing storms here.  Yes, we did have Irene, but in week to ten days time life went back to normal for all but a few.

New Yorkers and Jerseyans don’t ask for help, we give help to those towns and neighborhoods that flood, burn, or experience tornadoes.   Our national guard, redcross and volunteers go to places like Haiti to assist them with their tragedies and on and on.  Benefit concerts are not staged for us.  This time we are on the wrong side of the giving and receiving.

After we grieve and mourn the lives lost, the pets wrenched from us.  After we get angry and rail against the fate that brought mother nature’s unrelenting power down upon our ears.  After we shed those tears and view the devastation of Manhattan, Staten Island, Long Island and the Jersey Shore.  After all that, we open our arms and hearts to those, our neighbors, for we are all family.  Whether we live near or far.

Many of us were blessed with little or no damage.  However, for so many, too many, their lives will never be the same.  We will all come together.  Do what we are able, whether that is to donate clothing, time, food, money, opening your home, or praying.

Together we will take the four corners of the sheet and remake this unmade bed so that it is even more beautiful and comfortable than before.

 
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Posted by on November 4, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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