Thursday, December 17, 2015

Christmas This and That

I really like our prelit artificial Christmas tree.  It's shaped as much like a real tree as I have ever seen ... perfect size and shape ... no muss or fuss with putting on lights every year.  Simple and beautiful ... except for when stuff like this happens ...



For some unknown reason, the top string of lights stopped working.  All the connections appeared to be correct and tight, no missing bulbs, no explanation.  

Solution?  Remove this defective string of lights (which took FOREVER!) and replace them with new ones.  

Problem solved ...



... sort of.  There are still a few places here and there where portions of other strings of the original lights aren't lit.  



My plan is to buy a LOT more new lights, taking advantage of sales after Christmas, and to completely remove and replace all the old lights on the tree.  Not a job that I am looking forward to, I assure you.

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When I was at Monticello for the wreath-making workshop, I spent a few minutes in their gift shop.  Saw this on the counter by the cash register.



That Ben Franklin sure was a wise one!  Just another reminder that it's better to do things today, instead of putting them off till tomorrow.  (Speaking of which, I HAVE to finish my Christmas cards this afternoon.)


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Last year, I couldn't resist buying a potted Amaryllis.  I do the same thing almost every year.  In theory, one can keep an Amaryllis over the spring and summer and have it flower again in the fall/winter.  I have never succeeded with this ... until now!



Last year's Amaryllis spent the spring and summer on our deck with some other potted plants.  When the weather got cold in October, I brought it inside to my basement workshop grow room, not expecting it to do anything.  To my surprise, the a bud began to appear last week and another one sprouted a few days ago.  In a few weeks, we should have flowers!


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This meme has been making the rounds on Facebook and via email.



I normally only glance at stuff like this, but this one struck me in the heart.  

1.  I have been practicing this one for a long while now.  Most of what tries to pass as news is actually commentary and opinion for the purpose of influencing viewers, not informing them.  Don't even get me started on Presidential debates (which I have completely ignored).  I listen to news only for as long as necessary to be informed, then I turn it off.

2.  Be positive, in attitude and in your vocabulary.  Give compliments whenever you can, to friends, family and strangers. 

3.  Make sure that your most precious people feel that way.  Call someone just to say that you love them.

4.  Decluttering and downsizing frees space in your home and your mind and gives us room to breathe.  I will talk about this more another time.

5.  My break has been to try to think of things differently, react to situations in ways other than I am used to, and to chart a new path whenever I can.  At 56 years old, it's easy to fall back on old habits and skate through life.  

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Now it's your turn ... what sort of This and That have you been up to?

16 comments:

  1. We really like our prelit tree and so far haven't had any problems with it. Our house isn't big so having a tree that fits perfectly in one corner is very nice. We enjoy stress-free holidays so having a tree in a box in the garage works for us.

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    1. Having the Christmas tree on hand every year is a very underrated thing. I'm a bit nervous about the flammability of real greens indoors, so my fake plastic tree suits me perfectly.

      Merry Christmas, Denise!

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  2. Lovely tree Connie! I've been avoiding the news for several years now and find I don't miss hearing about all the negatives going on in the world. I'm also trying to look for things to appreciate and ways to change my perspective on things that I don't feel happy about. I am a much happier person for it!! Merry Christmas to you and yours!

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    1. I used to keep a close eye on current events, but that was before the invention of 24/7 news coverage and having fill every second of the broadcast day with blah, blah, blah. Now, I hit the highlights, make sure I’m up on local stuff, and I’m good to go.

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  3. I love your tree. Replacing lights sounds like a good idea, but I know from experience it is a pain in the you-know-what. :-)

    Great reminders for the stress filled holidays and negative news. I don't watch TV, catch any news blips on yahoo on my computer, ignore most of it.

    Love, hugs and prayers for you and yours. May your Christmas be sweetly filled with love, peace and joy ~ FlowerLady

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    1. Just removing the string of lights from that top section of the tree took forever! I'm trying to convince myself that replacing the rest of them after Christmas is an investment in my future. It was very frustrating testing and fiddling with the dark sections of the tree. With new lights, I shouldn't have to do any of that next year.

      Most of my news comes from a headline-type local radio station and a bit of local TV news in the early evening. Other than that, it's word of mouth and the occasional story online. That makes me informed enough as far as I'm concerned.

      Merry Christmas, Rainey!

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  4. Connie, several years ago I purchased a little battery operated device that you scan over the lights with. It shows you which light is the problem and you only have to replace the one bulb (usually). They sell for under $10.
    Merry Christmas,
    Don

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    1. I had wondered if those things really worked. I may give that a go before I dive in and replace the lights completely.

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  5. I have a large pot full of amaryllis that my neighbor at my rental vacation house has given to me over the years! He is the funniest man, he owned a chain of pharmacies in NJ and is a WWII vet. He has a gardener who does the lifting and they bark and bicker at each other all day, every day. Mine are not on a holiday schedule, but a spring bloom instead. It's quite easy. The pot goes out in the spring and back in the garage when the leaves freeze and die back.
    It's been an odd Christmas season here as the weather is downright bizarre. I'm kind of only putting in about 50% this year. I am focusing more on seeing friends and spending time with family than my usual long list of cooking and decorating. But there's a lot I have to do between now and Thursday night!
    Merry Christmas!

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    1. I'll be interested to see if my Amaryllis stays on the Holiday schedule after this bloom cycle. After last year's flowers were gone, I treated it exactly like my Christmas Cactus, which appears to be a good thing to do. Now that I know that it's not 100% certain that I will kill it, I hope I can soon start to anticipate this one turning into a big pot of bulbs like yours!

      Christmas here is fairly low key this year. Family is gathering at my brother's house, and we are having a pot luck brunch ... better schedule for the little ones in the family. In the evening, we are having dinner with four friends (who are like family). Even when family Christmas is here, I don't stress about it too much. Preparation is key (as you know), and unexpected things happen. It's most important that we gather, and eat, and laugh, and just be together.

      Merry Christmas to you, too!

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  6. Your tree looks lovely - I appreciate the non-needle non-mess of our prelit too. Merry Christmas!

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    1. I have seen the needle mess from a real tree at other people's houses. Believe it or not, my husband and I haven't had a real Christmas tree ever. Our first Christmas, we were given an artificial tree by one of his coworkers, which we passed along to another newlywed couple when we finished with it. Each time we move, we seem to have to buy a new tree because the old one is too big/too small/too wide ... you get the idea.

      Merry Christmas, Karen!

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  7. I love your tree too!
    I was going to put up a table top one but now...maybe not.
    Maybe next year.
    But then again Ben Franklin would encourage me to do it now I suppose!
    ;)
    (I like the tips! I need to think about those some more!)

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  8. The tree looks amazing in spite of a few lights. No tree here, it's in the attic, where it's been for a number of years.

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  9. That's just a GREAT looking tree... and I like your curtain fabric! Very nice.

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  10. Such a pretty tree! We only put up a tabletop tree so lighting it is much faster :) And how cool that your amaryllis is re-blooming. I need a lesson on that. Waiting for my velvety red ones to open. Merry Christmas, Connie! Cheers, L

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