Posts Tagged ‘christmas’

The holiday season has started slowly for us. The household just was not ready for the onset of lights, decorations, and cheer! For instance: last year, I decided that if my neighbors were not going to play along, I was done with over 15 years of putting up outside lights and decorations. It takes a lot of work to do even the modest amount that I was doing, and so I boxed it all and dropped it off at a thrift store in January.

This year, 6 of my neighbors decided to put out Christmas lights in their yard or windows. Some of those neighbors have been subjected to my annual display and never once bothered to play along until I got rid of all the outdoor stuff. As Rodney Dangerfield would say, “I ain’t got no respect!”

We were late going out to get the tree, partly because of company over the Thanksgiving weekend, and – well, the loss of the family patriarch on my husband’s side. We would have gone into the mountains, but… Darn! The snow levels dropped to 3500 feet, making it impossible to get up to where wild noble firs grow. We were left with finding a tree lot with fresh trees or a U-Cut lot with wild-looking noble firs. There’s a tree shortage, and prices have skyrocketed. Oy vey, as my mother would have said.

We crossed that bridge with a very nice (but rather huge) noble that cost us $40 less than we expected to pay (whew! and thank God for short measuring tapes in the hands of those who charged us!).

Tree is up and the house (inside) is over-decorated as per usual. All the Santas, the snowmen, the ornaments, the Nativities (yes, I have more than one or two), and the wall hangings are up. We even hung our stockings, but it is a sad display without Harvey’s and Murphy’s stockings. Darn dogs!

Therefore, I made plans for us to attend an “Irish Children’s Christmas” at our favorite brew pub & tap house: Feckin’ Brewery.  We arrived early (no surprise) and locked in a first-class seat to watch the festivities. My grand plan was to stay long enough to see the Irish dancers, listen to some music, and watch the dog show (“best Christmas sweater on a dog”).

I dressed up these two over the years:

They were never very willing, especially not the dog on the right (Murphy, the German Wirehaired Pointing Griffon, who preferred to eat anything I tried to dress him up in). Harvey just looked sad, which was pretty much his default setting: looking sad and put-upon by his human family. Murphy always managed to look quite cheerful, especially as he demolished whatever costume I attempted to dress him up in.

There were seven dogs at Feckin’ today, which is possibly a record low. Usually, the number of dogs vs. children in the pub is about equal, but considering the Santa Claus draw, the children easily outnumbered the four (and three-) footed crowd. (Yes, one dog had only three legs. It gave me a doggie hug early on.) I tried to take photos, but the crowd was standing room only and I could not get close to the stage. Suffice it to say that the Standard Poodle should have won, the three-legged dog did well, and the dog that did win was a sweetheart.

Then Santa Claus arrived and even children who no doubt do not believe got into line to shake his hand and take a gift. Then, again, maybe all the little ones present believed, unlike my own children and grandchildren.

My daughter told her entire kindergarten class that Santa wasn’t real. That was in 1991. Yes, I am the mother that received THAT phone call. I assured the Kindergarten teacher that it was an anomaly, because *I* believe. Somehow, I never could pass that faith in the jolly old fellow on to my descendants. Just this last November, the four Alaska grands informed me that Santa is not real.

“How do you know that?” I asked. They couldn’t provide an answer, so I stand by my belief in Santa Claus.

I miss them so much at holiday time, and my Georgia grands as well. Hanging out at the pub amid a crush of young families, small children, and a few brave doggos is my compensation. I’m happy my husband was a willing conspirator (even though he also does not believe).

Oh, what are we to do with all these nay-saying folks whilst Santa and his elves are loading up the sleigh?

“Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, Donner and Blitzen!”

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Happy Holidays! God Jul!

I have been so blessed this Christmas between little gifts and cards at work, and Christmas cards in the mail, that it makes me feel almost ashamed to admit that I was pretty darn lame this year. I didn’t put as much thought into the gifts I gave at work and I sent fewer cards than usual (and those all went out on the 23rd, so will not arrive at their destinations until after Christmas). We didn’t buy any gifts for nieces or nephews, sisters or brothers, or parents. Of course, there’s a reason for this thrift: the last quarter of 2013 was rather expensive and we had to tap into our precious savings to cover those unexpected bills. We’re learning how to live in our new reality of one less paycheck per month now that Don is retired. We don’t use credit cards, so everything is cash.

No, I don’t really feel that guilty: what I really feel is BLESSED.

We’re so grateful for family that is still living, for family that has passed on, for “real life” friends, cyber friends, and co-workers! We feel incredibly blessed and touched by all those lives around us! Don’s family, my family, our family: we love all of you so very much!

If you know us personally and you didn’t get a card from us, we didn’t forget you. Life just got in the way.

Every time I turn around, I am reminded of someone. Tonight, I sat on the floor with Harvey and watched the lights on the tree. It reminded me of – no, it took me back to – a time when my mom and dad were still living and my little sister was my buddy. My grandparents came to life. A memory floated before me for that moment in the lights and I realized just how precious all those memories are.

Memories are our gift to you this year: all the times we’ve laughed together, cried together, prayed together (or prayed for each other), shared something on Facebook or in a letter or in a blog post – all those brief moments of connection, that’s our gift to each other.

Thank you for your gifts to us. Please accept our gift to you. It really isn’t as lame as I made it out to be, because it’s really about friendship and love, not the getting of presents or cards.

Merry Christmas and thank you for every moment!



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I had this great idea to try feeding peanuts to the squirrels to keep them out of the bird feeder. I don’t have a platform feeder, but I figured I could punt (this is how I operate), so I bought a bag of raw peanuts (animal grade) and set up a station.

I did not expect to lose my chickadees over this, but they took to hiding for the next few days because of the raucous activity the peanuts brought on.

No, the squirrels did not immediately leave the bird feeder full of sun-flower seeds. They were not impressed with my ploy, darn them!


I gained three Stellar’s Jays.


Two Western Scrub Jays.






Band-tailed Pigeon.

The pigeon flew off. unimpressed.The jays battled for supremacy. And I also gained this visitor for a brief moment yesterday before the rain moved in:


A North American Crow who stopped to steal a few peanuts and to scry his future in the bird bath water.

You will note that I managed to get out the outdoor Christmas lights.

Since we are on the subject of Peanuts and Christmas, I thought I would share my all-time favorite Christmas song. I know, I know – you are groaning inwardly because you, my dear reader who has followed me for the length of my blog – you know what I am going to post.

Merry Christmas!

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It starts the day after Thanksgiving.

No, it isn’t Black Friday.

It’s Christmas Decorating Time. And I think I may have a problem.

No, the problem isn’t my incredibly small storage space. (This is what it looks like when all the Christmas boxes have been pulled out. Before the boxes are pulled out, you can’t see into it.)

And that is the problem. I have TOO MUCH CHRISTMAS STUFF for this house!

Pretty much every square inch of available space is taken over by Christmas. And while I am deeply spiritual about Christmas, a lot of my stuff is about Santa Claus.

I picked up this set of Lennox figurines depicting Saint Nicholas/Santa Claus for very little money at a charity auction one year. I absolutely love it.













Each figurine is beautiful, but I really like the one of Santa and the little girl.


I even have retro Santa in plastic “stained glass” – I found these at a yard sale for a quarter. You can imagine my husband rolling his eyes.

Santa is everywhere in my little Christmas Village.

Santa even makes it to my front yard – with a couple of his reindeer and a sleigh full of toys.

Then there are Boy Scout tins. My son grew up and quit Scouts, but I can’t bring myself to discard the tins that popcorn came in.

(Okay – I store lights and ornaments in the tins)

The snowman has nothing to do with Scouts, but he fit in the corner with the tins.

I like Nativity sets, too. Even tacky ones, like this Eskimo Holy Family. I assume the eagle, the moose and the husky are the Magi and the baby seal is the equivalent of a lamb?

How about an African theme? No Mary or Joseph here, just a miraculous Baby Jesus/Mowgli in a land where lions lay down with zebras, giraffes and elephants.

Another African Nativity, but one that is not so tacky as it is simply stated.

You can’t see it in the photo, but the Babe has no hands.

It was a Nativity that my Grandmother Melrose hand-painted. When I inherited it, Jesus had been broken. I should just toss it, but it has my grandmother’s name etched under each piece.

A friend gifted the two Magi to me last year. I think they sort of round out the whole scene.

I do have a big Nativity scene, but it isn’t up yet. It takes up a lot of room and these days it is relegated to the loft, safe from dogs’ wagging tails.

I will set it up next weekend when we get the tree and put it up.

I really do not have room for everything. I couldn’t photograph it ALL because it is strung out through out the house.

I think I need help. I think maybe I have too much Christmas stuff.

Is that even possible? To have too much Christmas stuff?

(Don’t answer that.)

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