Christmas Decoration Rules…….Really?

 

Christmas begins early. The week before Thanksgiving, boxes are carried down from the attic. Boxes and more boxes filled with generations of memories. My sister once told me “You never can decorate a Christmas tree right. Why is your garland going up and down when it is obviously needs to be wrapped in circles around the tree?”
Where are the rules to decorating a Christmas tree? No two homes decorated for the holidays look alike.
My neighbor in Colonial springs has a beautifully decorated Christmas tree, but she has not one set of Christmas lights on the tree. Red ribbons, red ornament balls, and red bows fill each branch of the tree.
There is a Christmas tree on the south side that has the old fashion bubble lights. More than one tree in Greenwood has miniature blinking lights. There is a tree in Villa Heights with only blue lights. In Oak Meadow there is a house with the larger lights that do not blink at all.
My cousin in New Mexico has a train that runs underneath his Christmas Tree. He placed plywood beneath the Christmas tree skirt. When the Christmas lights are on the train runs continually around and around underneath the tree. He must position each wrapped gift just so or it might derail the train.
In my parents’ home you will find a traditional tree trimmed with pretty heirloom ornaments. Children’s ornaments made at school or church decorates the tree. Saving these treasures to display each year shows visitors how special and wonderful their artwork is to the entire family.
I decorate for the holidays in a haphazard way. I have no master plan when it comes to the Christmas tree. I set a day for family gathering and make it an event. I serve an informal supper and have a tree-trimming party. It is a wonderful way to get some holiday decorating accomplished and have fun at the same time. I keep a pot of soup on the stove and give each one of my nephew’s two boxes of ornaments. We don’t get to eat until the tree is finished.
My husband brings the Christmas boxes down from the attic and my nephews come over to help me decorate the tree. Regardless of my sister’s opinion, once again my garland will be placed in an up and down direction.
One of my nephews did let it slip that his mom can’t understand why I decorate a pine tree when everyone knows it should be a spruce tree.
Just where is this book on Christmas tree rules anyway?

 

 

 

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It’s Only the First of November

 

Notice all the houses decorated for Christmas before Thanksgiving Day?
In Mission Hills subdivision there is a turkey made from a bale of hay. Driving around town you see more than one cement goose lawn ornament dressed as a Pilgrim. In Colonial Springs there is a Minnie Mouse statue dressed as Pocahontas.
Early in the week you could hear the leaf blowers throughout the different neighborhoods. Streets were lined with piles of leaves waiting on city crews.
Yes at our house we opted to get ahead of the bad weather and decorate the outside lights. Although we will NOT turn the lights on until it gets closer to Christmas, it was easier to string the lights along the eaves when our fingers weren’t so cold.
There is a house on Smith Valley Road that has Christmas lights up and lit for display the day after Halloween. I’m afraid if we start with the Christmas decorations in October we might tire of them by December.
But then again there is a house in Northern Park that has their holidays up already….simply because they have never taken them down all year.
It is difficult to get in the Christmas spirit still munching Halloween candy.

 

 

 

 

 

Superstitious? Take the Day off Work

 

Superstition is a continuous conversation today at work. Basically because Janice isn’t at work today.
Janice suffers from paraskevidekatriaphobia. Yes – that’s a word. It’s a clinical definition for saying its Friday the 13th and she’s staying home.
Is she just staying home or is her stress management really doing a number on her. Statistics do have the fear of this day the most feared day in history.
Superstitious? I was once with my sister when we literally stopped the car and backed up in a drive way and went around the block ….because a black cat had run across the street in front of us.
Wayne would never walk under a ladder but then again he is over six feet tall and would more than likely hit his head. Ronnie does carry around a rabbit’s foot on his key ring. I question how lucky that was for the rabbit.
I have been to her desk and seen Karen literally knock on her wood (desk) twice for luck. And walking with Cathy if she sees a penny lying around she will say, “See a penny pick it up and all the day you have good luck.” So she does pick it up.
By far the most annoying superstition to me is when I am at my uncle’s house. Once I was going out the back door. “Oh no!” he said looking at me. “You have to go out the front door. You must go out the door you came in.” Really? I am here with my hand on the door knob and I can see my car.
Once I opened up my umbrella in the office, and Dianna snapped at me. “Don’t open that up in here. You’ll put someone’s eye out.” Well excuse me the only person in the office is you on the other side of the room. Whatever.
My aunt taught us kids to throw salt over our left shoulder anytime the salt shaker fell over. My mother put a stop to that real quick but we secretly still kept it up.
Oh oh…my left palm itches. That means I am coming into money. I have to remember and pick up a lottery ticket tonight…maybe even a powerball ticket too.
Yeah….right… that will be a winner for sure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Jump Start to Bridge

My Aunt Mayrose is proud to say she is a “Life Master”.   Yes a Life Mater of the card game Bridge. Aunt Mayrose has been playing the age-old card game since she learned it while my Uncle Earl was in World War II. Wanting to learn the game I recently tagged along to one of her bridge games.

She belongs to more than one club. Members range in age 19 to 99. While youngsters learn the game each year, bridge is dominated mostly by older adults.

True, Aunt Mayrose spent the better part of one afternoon introducing me to the game. Perhaps some people are just not meant to play bridge.

Before we begin she explains, “In order to make the most of your hands, you will probably have to play them through more than once. “ I raise my arms in the air, “Sorry, I only brought one set of hands.” She was not amused.

A standard deck of cards is used: Ace (high) through 2 (low). There are four players, each pair forming a partnership. Partners sit opposite each other. A game is won by scoring 100 points, earned by taking tricks during the hand. Sounded simple so far.

Aunt Mayrose leaned over and said, “The auction begins once players have had a chance to study their cards.” I was more than a tad confused. Were we playing cards or having an auction?

Terms like – clear suit, long suit, follow suit, major suit, minor suit, plain suit, side suit, short suit, and void suit – were used all afternoon. I wondered why they were so worried about suits when most of these ladies were wearing sun dresses.

My Aunt Mayrose spoke right up and said, “First lead the King of Spades from the Dummy and follow suit.” What a remark. Obvious to me: I was the dummy of the group not the lady to my left.

“Take the early tricks in the short hand and the later tricks in the long hand,” Aunt Mayrose says. Who’s the dummy now? I look down at both of my hands: they are the same.

I should have known that the afternoon was a wash out from the start. First they call each other by positions. South, West, North and East. I am quite certain that I was sitting northwest all afternoon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Sound of Birds Stopping By…..

Construction of birdhouses and bird feeders can be as simple or as complex as you wish to make it. Bird feeders can look like tiny bungalows, wooden A-frames or miniature chalets. Bird houses need no ornamentation to serve the birds using them, but an attractive design can enhance a yard. Thus, the custom built bird feeders are for the person filling them not for the birds.

My neighbor has two wood salad bowls with a wooden rod through the center. The house across the street has a large glass hanging feeder.  

A feeder could be attached to any window.   It will bring the  bird up  close for an exciting view.   The tube bird feeder,  found in any variety store,  could be fun.   One neighbor has a  bird feeder  made from old car license plates.

My  nephew  made an egg carton bird feeder in school. My Aunt Hilda has bird houses made out of gourds hanging off of her porch. My grandmother has a rustic barn creation bird feeder that has painted on the top, “See Rock City.”

Building a bird house can be purely practical or absolutely outrageous.   In   Greenwood  I have found bird house  and  feeders built to resemble a  gazebo,  a church,  a log cabin,  a totem-like housing complex,  a pagoda,  a school house,  even a little outhouse!    It was a one-holer of a different sort.

Would the blue jays, sparrows, starlings or finches that visit the feeder in my yard be more excited if I had a little deck for the feathered guests to stand on? I think not.

Bird feeder and houses are designed to bring pleasure for you and benefit our feathered friends. Where is it written that I have to build a fanciful birdhouse? It doesn’t seem to matter to the birds.

Mix together my plain and simple looking bird feeder with bird seed and it looks like a scene from the movie  The Birds  in the back yard.  Works for me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mother Nature Has Done Her Best

Don’t put away those snow shovels, heavy coats and gloves just yet.   Better double check that bag of salt for the sidewalk too.

Mother Nature has done her best, teasing us that spring is right around the corner. The daffodils have jumped up out of the long silent lawn. Within a few days the tulips should pop up to say hello. Yet, you can bet there is plenty of a snow, ice and below-freezing temperature waiting to grab our attention.

The old saying about Indiana, “If you don’t like the weather, stick around another five minutes and it will change,” rings true. Less than a week ago registration was taken for the men’s and women’s softball leagues. Will they have to clear home plate of any snow?

Last Saturday, folks ignored the occasional raindrops to enjoy the first few days of comfortable weather. My brother-in-law, who supposedly is a winter couch potato, could be found on the golf course. Who can tell what winter will be like in March?

It is nice to see the garden shops around town preparing for their openings. Walmart is getting their patio display in order on their side parking lot.   More than one produce stand is setting greenhouse items. With the promise of warm days not too far away, we will be able to plant that garden!

Remember if you do not like Indiana weather; give it a day or two. Within days of the last snow this month, there were customers in Walmart wearing t-shirts and shorts.

Definitely, the warmer temperatures forecast for the next week is a welcome diversion from ice, snow and freezing temperatures. Yet it means only one thing—potholes.   And plenty of them.

 

 

 

 

Soup’s On !

 soup-clip-art-supper-scrapbook-recipes

 

My friend Larry was to be released from the hospital today. What better way to say “I care” than to take over a kettle of vegetable soup. My mother is staying with me a few days and the issue sparked a heated debate. Not that she thought it was a bad idea — it was my cooking of the vegetable soup. How could I possibly make vegetable soup without a head of cabbage?

Who is to say there is only one way to fix vegetable soup? I make an easy hamburger vegetable soup. When I opened a box of frozen peas my mother simply left the room.

My grandmother used to put (beef) neck bones in a kettle, boil, and let them simmer. Then she would skim the residue from the top. Major Yuck! Today we can just buy a can of beef consommé (stock).

I found out that my neighbor uses Tofu in her vegetable soup. Naturally it was a recipe she jotted down from The Food Television Channel. My friend Myrna swears by her microwave vegetable soup recipe. Vegetable soup in only twenty minutes for those who can’t wait.

I asked around the office and found more than one person willing to share their favorite vegetable soup recipe with me. It is interesting to note that no two recipes were alike.

The majority of recipes did call for the standard; carrots, lima beans, potato, tomato, green beans, corn, celery, onion, peas and yes a head of cabbage. A few recipes were unique adding rice, okra, red peppers, avocado and mushrooms, even a rutabaga.

Why was I worried about not adding the head of cabbage when no two of these recipes even called for the same meat. I could have put in lamb, sausage, ham, chicken, beef or no meat at all. Tom’s rendition of the time-honored hearty vegetable soup calls for one pound of frozen or fresh skinless cod fillets.

My co-worker Stella makes an herbal vegetable soup that you refrigerate and served chilled. The recipe calls for cucumbers, radishes, zucchini, and yogurt. Across the room from her, Betty gave me her recipe that has been in her family for years. It is served with dumplings.

Also in  the office is  Candy, who gave me  her  recipe  for vegetable soup that originally, come from Finland  and  it calls for spinach.  Charlotte  gave me  a vegetable  soup  recipe of her   great  aunt  from  Italy.  It was  a  pasta  vegetable soup.

What about this head of cabbage in the vegetable soup? Larry came home from the hospital and later that day I took over a crock of vegetable soup. It was a labor of love – but no cabbage.