Monday, March 29, 2010

Peeps Not Just For Eating...

Welcome back to another edition of A Year in the Life of a Christmas Tree and our new Easter Tree. What a lesson in patience this one has been! For one is the only tree to date where I had to keep replacing my decorations. Apparently, once a certain item becomes labeled "decoration", my hungry men decide it's the one thing they NEED to eat. I had boxes of Easter peeps, jelly beans and gumdrops carefully hidden, or so I thought, in the pantry. With the scent of bloodhounds they uncovered my treasures and went to work snacking. The worst part is, I had the peeps opened for weeks so they would harden as I thought they would be easier to use that way. I can not tell you how many boxes of them I have thrown out over the years as although they are an Easter basket staple, they've never been a huge hit with the kids. Like I said...reassign their lot in life and they become delicious delicacies. I guess I can't be too upset, because my "brilliant" idea of stringing all of the above was less than brilliant and more sticky than I had anticipated. I scrapped most of it, but still wished to use the peeps in some way other than what they were intended for.

I was up until the wee small hours of the morning stringing eggs, making tissue paper flowers...questioning my sanity. Will hope to get the room back in shape at some point today to be able to post additional photos soon. As for the peeps, they gave a good fight and did not go in vain. They actually are quite cute hanging on the tree. Now the real trick will be keeping the dogs or my guys away from them.

Now if you'll excuse me...I have a date with a vacuum.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Erin Go...BYE!

Ahhh...once again the feeling of a heavy heart as it's time to say goodbye to another month In the Year of a Life of A Christmas Tree. I know by now I shouldn't be so surprised, and yet I am. I have felt a heavy heart with each deconstruction project.

It has surprised me how much I have become attached to every one of the creations. All of them to date have been something entirely different than what I first envisioned...and perhaps it is because of that, I find myself so tickled and amused by the finished product. Every day when I catch a glimpse of them they continue to delight me. Some times it's the way the light is hitting them or maybe it's a way a certain decoration seems to stand out more than the others.

Tonight as I realized I had no choice but to get to work taking apart the St. Paddy's day tree I was completely awe struck by the way it appeared in the glow of the setting sun. The only word to describe it....magical. As if it also knew it was the last hurrah and just like a star that shines brightest before it falls from the sky it excited me like the rare site of a shooting star.

From my vantage point from my office desk where I type this, I once again look over at a bare tree and can hardly believe that just moments earlier it was a festive site of St. Patrick's Day pageantry. How sad and lifeless the bare branches. But like a painter with a brand new canvas there is a tinge of excitement to get started with that first brush stroke. An anticipation for the artwork to unfold...another reason to let go and create.

To beautiful beginnings all over again........

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Sprung is Spring!

Pollen count up...snow flakes down? Hard to believe that we once again experienced snow here in Atlanta this past week. Granted, the flakes were so tiny that at first we did confuse them with pollen, but was snow! I must admit this has helped me to keep inspired in my task to maintain my Christmas tree year round.

Perhaps it has been the wacky weather pattern that has played with my internal calendar and inability to accept how quickly the time is passing. I truly feel as though I just finished the St. Patrick's Day tree and just realized that I have got to get to work on the Easter tree this weekend or I will once again be behind.

Looking forward to our Eggstravaganza event here on our town green this weekend. Proud to say I know the Easter Bunny personally and will in fact, be fastening the Velcro on his costume and adjusting his whiskers as I deliver him to his adoring fans who will be assembled for the egg hunt. Weather looks as though it should cooperate for a sunshiny day of egg gathering. We have in excess of 12,000 eggs so the hunting should be good. It truly is one of my favorite activities that we celebrate here every year. Just love the site of all those pastel eggs and the excited children dressed in their Sunday best. Equally glad that I am not the mother who then has to deal with all those grass stains on said attire after the fact. : )

I'll just gather up my Easter Bunny whom I'm sure will be more than ready to get home and put his tired paws up. Pictures to follow soon. In the mean time however, one last look at our St. Paddy's Day tree. We have all enjoyed it!

Until next time....

Sunday, March 14, 2010

It Always Start With An Inspiration...

As noted in a recent post, I was finding every excuse imaginable to drag my feet on re-decorating the Christmas tree. I had reached a point where I was growing tired of it and questioning whether or not I could make the year. In blogging about my feelings, I suddenly was inspired by thoughts of my Nana and her Irish heritage. I didn't know how the tree would look, nor did I really care because I suddenly realized that it didn't matter. I had given myself a task and dwelling on the "how" was keeping me in the now. How often does that occur in life?

After making a run to the local craft stores and also a visit to my own crawl space, I soon had a large supply of items handy to begin the decorating process. The first thing I did before even removing the Valentine's items from the tree was to hang a shamrock from the chandelier to inspire the mood. OK...pardon me...the FIRST thing I did was pour a nice cold glass of chardonnay and THEN I affixed the shamrock.

Posting to face book my plans for the evening...I once again found myself in an enjoyable conversation with supportive friends. One such friend even introduced me to his beautiful wife Beth and with in a few comments back and forth she shared her thoughts that both my Nana and her Grammie were looking down from heaven and sharing a laugh together. Wow! What a beautiful thought. Now that is inspiring!

What could you create today if you didn't think you would fail? What would you create right now if you weren't distracted over not knowing HOW to do it? What inspirations are brewing within you? Peel back the layers and be ready to gaze upon your treasure. It all starts with one step...HANG YOUR SHAMROCK!!!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

When Irish Eyes are Smiling...for my Nana

"When Irish eyes are smiling, Sure, 'tis like the morn in Spring.
In the lilt of Irish laughter
You can hear the angels sing."

I heard angels sing numerous times in the company of my wonderful Nana. I was her first grand daughter and believe me...she didn't hide her feelings of enthusiasm of having a granddaughter. I was her third grand child and she affectionately greeted me as "The Queen". Upon my entrance either she or my Grandfather would burst in to " Here she is...Miss America." I think they did it just to watch me blush. Nana was my Dad's mom and we usually went to visit every weekend. I loved visiting her as her home was in the city and it was so different an experience from where we lived. I also got to see my cousins who lived downstairs from my Grandparents. During the summer months my grand parents stayed at their cottage on Long Island Sound on the coast of Connecticut. We spent many a weekend playing along the shore fishing and crabbing.

My Nana was taken from us way too soon. She died of cancer when I was 12 years old. Too young to fully know what was going on...I went nightly with my dad to her hospital room and could remember how frail she appeared. I also remember when they brought her home to die amongst her family in the life long home where she raised her family with love and devotion. Right before taking her final breath, she called for my grandfather. " Edward, you need to run to the deli." He tried to argue with her that there was plenty of food in the house, but she insisted that he listen and he take down her grocery list. She knew soon there would be a house full of people and she wanted to make certain there was plenty of boiled ham, salami and cheese. The woman knew how to throw a party and this gathering would be no different!

I remember her funeral as though it was yesterday because it was also the very first funeral I ever attended. It was also one of the only times I saw my father cry. You would think that I would have horrible memories, but I don't. Not a one. I was a witness to one of the most beautiful celebrations of the life of a remarkable woman. It was a privilege to be a witness to it all. I was in awe.

Tonight I went about the decorating of the "St. Patrick's Day Tree" in her honor and was amazed by the memories that came flooding in.
Her laughter...
Her brightly colored dresses...the woman NEVER wore a pair of pants in her life. I don't think she ever owned a pair.
She never learned to drive a car...
She made one of the best meatballs I have ever eaten in my life.
Her charm bracelet...a silver toned testament to her life displayed proudly on her wrist announcing every birth date of her children, 9 grandchildren, holiday celebrations, communions, and places visited.
Christmas...she LOVED Christmas. Every year she hung 9 stockings for each of her grandchildren and you almost always knew what to expect...a large size doodle pad, crayons, hair ribbons and perfume. It wasn't that it was fancy and honestly it paled in comparison to the many other gifts we received especially from my other grandparents...but it was my FAVORITE part of the holiday and to this day still is. It was the little things...Just like my was the million "little things" that mattered.

She really would come out of her bedroom during a party with a lampshade on her head and a glass of burgundy wine in her hand and SING....loudly...joyously...she was the life of the party!
I wished I would have had the opportunity to know her better. To speak with her as the adult I am now. I would love to know what her life was like...what her dreams were...had she accomplished all she had hoped or did she hide some secret desires or hidden talents?

My grandfather could bring a tear to her eyes when he sang to her...but even through the tears...there was no denying the smile of those Irish eyes....

"When Irish hearts are happy,
All the world seems bright and gay.
And when Irish eyes are smiling,
Sure, they steal your heart away."

Miss you Nana...hope you like the tree. : )

It Will Take The Luck of the Irish at this Rate

Oh my! Okay so I'll be honest. I've been avoiding both the tree in the corner and my blog. I don't know where the time has gone so quickly and honestly, I'm waning a bit on the tree. I said this would be a HUGE undertaking for me and all bets were off as to whether or not I could make it a year and now I worry if I'll even be able to make it a quarter.

I looked at the calendar today and realized the huge task in front of me if I wanted to get the tree done up for St. Paddy's Day. I actually even ventured out today to see if I could find any unique decorations that would get the creative juices flowing. I keep thinking if I would just go up in the crawl space I am certain to have enough Green Flair to pull it off. You see, I was married on St. Patrick's day and so numerous celebrations have taken place with lots of decorations so if I could just get myself motivated, perhaps I would find that I already own all I would need. ( wedding story to follow )

I am giving myself through tomorrow...and if I haven't found what I would like...then it will be straight to the Easter/Spring decorations. I do however hope I can rally to the occasion. I know my Nana would be proud if I could. All of my grandparents were of Italian descent except for the one stand Nana~ Rosalie Bernie. Oh how I adored that woman! She was taken from me far too early, but I can still recall the smell of her perfume, her LOVE of burgundy wine and a fabulous laugh that could fill up a room. OH and did that woman enjoy a good St. Patrick's Day celebration!

OKAY've convinced me...we've spent too much time apart and it would be my joy, my honor and privilege to spend some time in thought of you. Where are my keys? Looks like I am getting ready to hit the stores again. It may not be will probably be pushing the limits of tacky...but I know a woman who would put a lamp shade on her head and belt out a tune with such wild abandonment that even if she and I are the only two that get it...that's more than enough.

Go n-eírí an bóthar leat. xoxo

Monday, March 1, 2010

Where Did the Time Go???

As I sit looking out the window this morning I am delighting in the return of all the Robins. Here it is the first day of March and it's obvious that Spring is about to wake from its slumber. Well, today anyway...tomorrow there is snow in the forecast for Atlanta. For now however, it is a beautiful sunny morning and I am anticipating all the beauty that will soon mark one of my favorite seasons.

I spent most of my life in Florida where we had 3 seasons. Hot, Hotter and Hottest. I kept my seasons in a box in the attic. I anxiously circled the dates on the calendar and marked the change of seasons with some faux representation since Mother Nature rarely provided the color changes I was longing for. I would beg my husband for the opportunity to move up North and his response was always, what part of Jacksonville would you like to move to. I wasn't able to convince him, but thankfully his job was and we happily settled in to the suburbs just north of the city of Atlanta where we now get to experience all the seasons without the harshness of some areas. It's the perfect amount of each.

It's time to say goodbye to February and to winter. It's also time to say goodbye to the Valentine's Tree. I say goodbye with a heavy heart as I have enjoyed it very much. But just like the seasons, each change brings something new to admire. Mother Nature goes to great lengths to provide the changing palette and I for one hope that I never become too busy, too cynical, too removed to take the opportunity to delight in each of them and whisper a heartfelt thank you.