Holiday Lights 2014


I had my own version of Christmas morning on the day I went into the garage to get out the boxes and start decorating outside: A whole shelf of new light displays that I totally forgot about buying at a year end sale last season!! The bells on either side of the garage and the bow displays on the side wall are from those. I also added some more twinkling LED sets to the front palm trees and another couple of sets of net lights. Otherwise it’s all pretty much the same though it seems like I cover more of the hillside each year 🙂  The photos are a mixture of inside and out. No time for captions – just enjoy the blend of old school and newfangled lights. Oh, and the first official card of the year on the mantle:2014-12-06 11.40.08 2014-11-29 19.52.21 2014-11-29 19.52.33 2014-12-03 21.50.15 2014-12-05 17.06.39 2014-12-05 17.07.07 2014-12-05 17.07.24 2014-12-05 17.07.48 2014-12-05 17.08.00 2014-12-05 17.08.25 2014-12-05 17.09.01 2014-12-05 17.09.13 2014-12-05 17.09.26 2014-12-05 17.09.41 2014-12-05 17.09.55 2014-12-05 17.10.32 2014-12-05 17.11.17 2014-12-05 17.11.33 2014-12-05 17.11.52 2014-12-05 17.12.42 2014-12-05 17.12.52

The transition from Thanksgiving to Christmas is complete!


I toyed with the idea of putting off the outdoor decorating until next weekend given that Thanksgiving was SO early this year. But then, I saw that there is a first winter rain storm predicted to arrive next weekend – and this weekend was gorgeous. Warm even in the middle of the day.

So after two days of Thanksgiving, I did move on.

Renee played helper elf again for the harder parts requiring the ladder. Thank heavens too because I had to break the rules and stand on the very top step to place lights at the highest point above my front door.  It also helps to have two brains straining to remember the logistics of light and extension cord placement – one of us could usually get a spark of memory going!

There was still a bit of drama and, yes, a complete redo of a major segment. Just as Renee was leaving we noticed there was a strand along the long wall that was burned out. Ugh! Then we both remembered this foiling us last year too and I had discovered that the strands I used on the wall were kind of off market and not sold in local stores so I couldn’t replace any dead bulbs easily. Figures! I guess when I started switching to LED strands, I bought some online that aren’t commonly used. Last year I think I “hid” that segment on one end when we tend to have extras anyway. Then I was supposed to buy new lights for the wall at the after Christmas sales….but, I forgot.

After she left, I ran to the store, bought the necessary replacement strands and proceeded to take down everything we had put up from the back fence all the way around the long wall – double UGH! All in the dark along with some bonus cold fog. Yay.

This morning I waited until the fog had burned off and went back out to finish. Then I waited until it was dark so I could see the results. And then? I saw that the two red bows hung on the two palm trees that are the hardest to access – were each only half lit up. ARGH!

I’m ignoring those for now.

The inside will be done over the next week or so. Window frame lights and mantle/piano/TV stand are done but the tree will take time. I saw a tree posted by a friend on Facebook and now I have a bit of an inspiration for a new decorating theme. One that does not require any new purchases. Winner!

New feature – wrapped the post with strands my mom gave me. Please note that the snowflakes go all the way UP. Rawr!

View from across the street of the side wall and hillside. Those are the cooperative bows on palm trees. I cut off the rebellious ones.

New fence – much easier to hang lights on than the too low crumbling mess that used to be out there. That corner behind the peach tree was a challenge – thanks Renee for squeezing back there!

One of my favorite views – since the backyard is pretty small, with every edge covered, it just glows all around you. Plus, you can see in to the white lights inside.

I was one of THOSE people this week


You know the ones.

People who don’t do a stitch of Christmas shopping until the days of December begin with a ‘2’.

It was just a horrible combination of time + money availability not lining up until after the 15th of the month.

Then because my company is so generous with the holiday time off, I looked at my last day being 12/21 (ending at noon mind you) and thinking that 3.5 days was somehow PLENTY enough to get things done.

Sure, I am hosting lunch as usual which means cleaning and meal planning but NO WORRIES right? 3.5 whole days!

OK, then I remembered I was invited to an old friend’s house on the evening of the 24th. Which is GOOD since Alex is gone and I am quite used to sitting at home on the 24th watching It’s A Wonderful Life and waiting for his dad to drop him off here. Which isn’t happening this year since they are in Sweden. So rather than possibly sitting at home feeling blue it is good that I have a change of routine that takes me out of the house.

Except I have to leave here at 3:30 tomorrow.

So now I am down to 3 days.

And then Nick calls to remind of the 3 appointments he has Wed afternoon, Thursday evening and Friday mid-day.

All good and necessary as he FINISHES his DUI classes (finally!) and also gets some much needed medical visits in. He got himself a JOB starting next week – just part time but it’s WORK and that’s awesome.

But – this means chunks of time taken out of each day.

And suddenly, 3.5 days doesn’t seem quite so much!

I shopped locally Wed afternoon and marveled at how crowded it was. Not horrid, but surely more packed than normal in our local shopping center.

I had to hit the mall Thursday and it truly was PACKED. I was mostly surrounded by men or men +boys shopping for their women. I even was asked to consult with a couple of them on purses! Even though it was packed I was able to check out pretty easily and zipped out of there feeling not too stressed.

The roads were just teeming with cars though. Many zipping around as if no one else was on the road. That part was kinda scary.

Another outing early this morning  to another packed to the gills store where the checkout line wound just about half way back into the main aisles. It moved quickly thankfully and the gal noticed that a picture frame I had picked up had been cracked. Of course, what she didn’t know is that it most likely was cracked IN my basket as I carried it through the store along with a wine bottle which clearly rolled into it one too many times! Oopsie.

Got out of there and then had to take Nick to the doctor and then we went to Wal Mart. Yes, Wal Mart on December 23rd. THAT was fun! So many people were cruising through those aisles that I swear we were breaking a capacity load of some kind. And I only had to get ONE thing!

The checkout line Gods smiled on me again though and we got out of there largely unscathed (there was the shopping cart that clipped Nick’s ankle, but he’s recovering nicely).

Another sort of stressful drive home past a fully engulfed big rig fire and YAY – I was done!

Then the wrapping began.

It’s still not done.

3 more boxes.

And I still have to get a few things at the grocery tomorrow.

And clean the house.

But I took the time tonight to make a pot of Glogg and Renee and I wandered around looking at Christmas lights.

New traditions.

But – I would be quite happy to never again be the last minute shopper driving around between 12/21-12/23 pulling her hair out to find everything for everyone on her list.

I suppose everyone has to do it once and that I am lucky it took this long to hit me.

I much prefer ordering online in November & sitting at home while UPS & Fed Ex deliver the gifts!

I’ll be the one sleeping all day Monday for sure 🙂

Merry Christmas!

Indoor Christmas Decorations 2011


Tree ornaments finally done!

At this point the pre-lit tree is about only half working so I end up having to string about 5 strands manually on the thing.

New tree topper as well since last year’s fizzled out. Went with a simple shimmery bow.

I love how you can see the outdoor lights from inside.

Cats in the frames are a bonus – as you can see from the blog header – sometimes they like to chill out under the tree 🙂

<Click on photos for larger views>

Sweet Home Sweden: More Christmas Decorations


I thought I would share this post of some light displays in Stockholm since that is where Alex will be this Christmas

Via Scoop.itChristmas Lights

More and more Christmas decorations have been appearing in Stockholm the past week. Friday I did bring my camera with me and took a few pictures on my way to work. It may look like I took them in the middle of the night …

Has anyone seen my Christmas spirit?


I’ve determined (ok, perhaps my body determined) that I can no longer deny the existence of the cold that has been trying to take hold since last week. I am now officially snuffly & coughy & generally cloudy headed & feeling icky and I will most likely whine about these things for a few days while I continue to drown myself in vitamin C. I am sure the 2 day burst of super warm, dry air over the weekend did not actually help the situation (WTF with the 80 degrees and less than 20% humidity?!). Of course, now we are plunging into another cold snap with possible rain so – yay?!

Anyhow, I pretty much crashed after the decorating frenzy on Friday and my tree currently contains about 12 ornaments. The boxes are still out and opened all around it and I have yet to find proper inspiration to finish it up. Not that the cats care as you can see above – they have already staked out their favorite new spots.

I may be the only person on a diet after Thanksgiving. Well, diet is a strong word – let’s just say I am making sure to eat my proper share of fruits and veggies every day and I’m avoiding all desserts until I can get in for my 6 months cholesterol checkup blood test. I was due in last week, but who wants to fast and deal with something like that the week of Thanksgiving? I could go this week, but well, I don’t feeeeeel welll (whine whine)…and I kind of want to at least have 7-10 days of a healthy diet in my system just to be safe. So I have not yet begun my next stage in holiday mania – the cookie baking explosion. I think that might have to wait until the second weekend of December.

Alex has made his dad and I apoplectic again over his grades and his overall attitude towards school. He has a head bang inducing 1.83 GPA right now which means that if he DID want to play a winter sport, he couldn’t. Kinda sad when you can’t even maintain the low 2.0 it requires to play sports!  Two of his teachers have contacted me about it now. One says she spoke with him and his response to her was that he “just didn’t want to do the work”. Lovely. Where in the heck does he get this idea that he doesn’t have to even try? We don’t understand and all we can do at this point is remove EVERYTHING fun from him. We’ve demanded a 3.0 GPA in order to return his Xbox and internet access and a 3.5 in order to get his driver’s permit (he’s eligible in Feb). I’m sure that means we are in for a not so jolly time with him over the next couple of months but…oh well!! He has got to get over this “I can do the bare minimum to get by” crap.

I tried to run on Sunday which was most likely not the best idea but I just HAD to try! The results were that I can barely manage 20 minutes and that I most likely need to just not attempt it again until I truly feel better. Which I hope is this weekend because I cannot stand not moving! (more whining, yes!)

My company holiday party is this Saturday and I have almost no interest in going! Free food (and it’s good) and I just can’t muster up enthusiasm. (whine whine).

It’s day two back at work after Thanksgiving and I have not made one move to decorate this place. And I normally go just as crazy here as I do at home. So far? Bah! (whine whine).

Maybe I can blame it on the calendar. After all, it IS still November. I mean, it sure seemed awesome to have Thanksgiving so early at the time. But…maybe it’s throwing me off?

Or maybe it’s just this damn cold (whine whine).


Outdoor Christmas lights 2011 edition


Thanks to my new camera that actually captures the light display rather decently (except for the odd purple glow in the backyard with all the multi-colored lights surrounding it) – here is the 2011 edition of my Griswold-like yard. As always, this was put up in one day. This year my eager helper was Renee who objects to being called a jolly helper elf. I don’t know why – she was a boat load jollier than either of my boys would have been (and have been in prior years!) She fully supported my notion that we should leave no lights on the shelf – old school or new. I’ve largely replaced all the strings with LED’s now anyway so the few old style lights aren’t going to burn that much more electricity. So we dangled the old red bows on the palm trees and hung the other displays on the corner bougainvillea.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

That’s 4 strands of C7 LED’s on the side wall & 2 on the back wall

5 strands of C6s strung together from the edge of the front wall, around the corner and then along the hill – ALMOST to the end. Will be all the way when I hopefully received 3 more thanks to another SDG&E light exchange program.

12 strands of multi-colored icicle style LED strands on the back patio and roof line and in the peach tree

8 strands of snowflake LED lights on the main roof line

4 large LED snowflakes on the wall posts

2 LED shaped displays on either side of the garage

4 strands of white icicle LED lights on the front hill

6 candy canes

3 LED figurines

1 old school see-saw

4 old school red bows

4 old school rope lights on the hill

2 old school displays hanging from the bougainvillea

Set on two timers to run from 5-11pm

In other words – a shit-ton of Christmas lights! All strung up by two people over 5 hours. Woot!