Lights – Action – Trees

It’s the season for Christmas trees. The current culture insists on doing away with anything religious, but I’ve noticed the trees remain. It think it’s because when you see one you immediately think presents. And then you remember your list and have an anxiety attack, which sends you hustling to the mall. Christmas trees are the brain’s signal to get you shopping. If you saw one in February, you wouldn’t react at all.fullsizerender-15

I see several this time of year. They sit proudly in office lobbies winking their lights and strutting their bows for all who walk by and take a second look inside.

The one with the red bow is in the building that houses Uber and Square. Very traditional in its color scheme for two companies that have broken all the rules of transportation and commercial transactions.

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The one with the flowers is one I decorated for our office. Who says you have to stay within boundaries? And the one with all the gold and silver dripping from its branches is found in the Twitter lobby.

Calvin says, “Oh the fuss of it all.  Just toss me a bone with a bow on it. It’s the only day in the year when you’ll give me one, I don’t know why, but you do, so let’s have it.” beagle

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Ho Hum

It’s the season. As I walk down mid-Market the buildings are showing off their trees.

They seem to pop up from the underground overnight.

Who decorates them, I wonder?

Do companies have “decoteams” that appear at night, dressed in black, with boxes and ladders and glue guns?

Or do they contract out? Probably wiser since you don’t need them the rest of the year, unless of course they’re your HR people.

“Christmas decorator for hire. Experienced with 12 foot trees and all the trimmings. Any color scheme. Brings her own tools and elves.”

Here are some of them:FullSizeRender (7)

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Okay, so the poinsettia isn’t a tree and it required no decorating, but these plants say Christmas more to me than a tree.

Calvin says, “Christmas trees – ugh. Not easy lifting a leg around those low hanging ornaments.” beagle

Bring Out the Tamales

IMG_9279What is it about holiday parties that they always seem the same? I’ve hosted hundreds of them, attended even more, and every one of them is a replica of years past. The dinner whether served buffet style or delivered to the table, is usually the same fare – the requisite ham, turkey, and green bean casserole. I know some of you love all this tradition, but I don’t. I want to bring out the chicken smothered in mole sauce with a garnish of pomegranate seeds. Or a steaming hot bowl of pho with hard boiled egg, thin slices beef and mint leaves. I know. The kids would go “Eeu!” and grandma would roll her eyes and keel over. Mention Christmas and your taste buds come scrambling into your mouth, all jostling for position to be first in line for tradition.

Did you know that smell is the strongest sense we have? We can lose our eyesight, our taste buds can go south, touch is no longer accurate, and sound, well, don’t get me started. Smell, on the other hand, can take you back to your childhood when you came running into your mother’s kitchen to snatch a slice of freshly baked bread slathered with rich butter. Or it can remind you of your first glass of pink champagne when you breathed in the bubbles and they raced up your nose and made you sneeze like crazy, or when you got a whiff of a gardenia bush on a hot summer night letting off it’s sweet, sultry fragrance.

I’d like to start some new traditions that include not only exotic culinary delights, but aromas that would provide us with a new library of memories that would lead us into the future. Like smoked, crushed chiles, Spanish saffron, spicy chocolate, and star anise.

Calvin says, “Yep, smell is my obsession. I’m intoxicated by fox droppings.” beagle

 

Lights! Action!

Thanksgiving is done.

Now it’s onto Christmas.

I hate the shopping, but love the trees and lights.

I would much rather spend Christmas Eve walking my neighborhood looking at the light displays. You know, the overstuffed Santa, the flashing Rudolph, the twinkling rooftop sleigh.  Christmas4

I especially love it when an entire neighborhood pulls out all the stops and goes mad with their decor, each neighbor outdoing the next. We knew the holiday had begun when Ernie, our neighbor at the end of the street, came out in his overalls and climbed a ladder. Within a few hours his house was a show stopper. Every leaf, shrub, climbing vine, and even his porch was ablaze with twinkling lights. At that was just the beginning. Then he pulled out his assorted reindeer, different size stars, and multicolored lights for the roof and the trees for the front of the house. By the time he finished, and it took him all day with the help of many of us, we stood back waiting as he dashed inside the garage and flipped a switch. In an instant his home was transformed into a winter marvel. We applauded.

One year, inspired by Ernie, my children decorated the hedges with a zillion flashing lights. The driveway looked like an airport landing strip at night.

My neighbors across the street, new to this country, want to make sure they’re embracing the holiday correctly. Icicle lights hang all around the roof, a Christmas tree blinks through their living room window, the front door wreath plays Frosty the Snowman, and poinsettias line the driveway. Oh and their yellow lab wears a red collar with jingle bells.

New to the Christian season this year were several hundred Ferguson protesters that attempted to prevent the tree lighting in downtown San Francisco last Friday night. Fortunately for the tourists and locals in town for Black Friday shopping, the police held them back and the ceremony went off without a hitch. But let me tell you it was tense for a while. The box stores were holding their collective breath hoping beyond hope that nothing would interrupt the shoppers’ hypnotic frenzy for the best deals.

It was raining this morning when I came in on the train. My water streaked window distorted the red, yellow and green from the traffic lights creating a Pollock-like painting in holiday colors.

My first gift of the season.

Calvin says, “Aren’t you waxing poetic today. The only streak I saw was a white-tailed rabbit disappearing down a mud hole.” beagle

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m a Material Girl

It’s countdown to Christmas. Yes, I’m using the word Christmas.

The stores are twinkling with lights.

The bell ringers are waving. Ringing is against the law now.

That was one of the sounds of Christmas that just departed. photo(161)

The beggars are begging, the singers are singing, and the fiddlers are fiddling.

I wonder what they’ll outlaw next.

But the shoppers aren’t shopping. They’re just looking. And buying online.

That’s what I did this year.

It made it so much simpler. But boring.

I go into overdrive when pushing into a mob of women to get to the cosmetic counter.  Or ripping a pair of shoes out of another woman’s hands and buying them. The word glee comes to mind.

Let’s not forget the parking lot assaults for a parking space. That’s all out war.

And the juggling of bags, boxes and purses draped from your arms and shoulders that make you look like a shopping cart without wheels.

It’s the sights and sounds of Christmas.

It’s the festive delights of materialism.

Don’t go shopping without it.

Calvin says, “Christmas shopping. Just the thought makes me want to snarl my teeth and bite a Santa leg.” beagle