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Monday, October 27, 2014

The Curtain's Coming Down!

It's happening...the magical spell of a Fall Night is upon us.  The crickets are quieting, the cicadas are asleep and the moon takes on mystery as it rises orange and freezes to cold white! Listen...the sounds of baring trees are scratching the sky and the night birds and animals are on the prowl. 
Summer's audience is leaving the theater. The sounds of late night conversations give way to nature's quiet nightly meditation.  There's a growing silence, a peaceful silence that only the encroaching dark can offer.  And each night more and more dark and less and less sound transforms the night this time of year. 
The curtain on the summer excitement is lowering and a peaceful and quiet calm is beckoning the stars to shine a little brighter.  There's a chill in the air like a premonition of things to come...quiet, cold times.  The time of year to take stock, to slow down, to rest and refurbish that which was overused in the summer's sun.  A natural rhythm of sorts.  The hostas show their browning leaves and the stark bare stems of the coneflower offer only their barren seed pods.  Daylilies, which reigned supreme in July are nowhere to be found.  Brilliant colors of day hide the birds busy with gathering and storing...they know! There's a rain of acorns from above as squirrels create an inventory frenzy trying to gain a surplus to withstand the coming winter. 
As I stand outside in the dark, becoming part of the waning rhythm of the seasons, I listen and look to the sky, to the moon to the invisible breezes that usher in a new life form called Autumn.  Such a gift to quiet us and stop our speeding thoughts and actions and make us think to slow and be present in one moment only.  I stand there in the night with my pal, the dog, as she is busy discovering the new scents that falling leaves and baring branches bring.  I hear a rustle in the leaves as a nocturnal something roots for food or shelter and then ...quiet.  Quiet that is all encompassing...embracing!
And then...out of the deep, dark calls... Who who Whoooo.   And again...Who who whooo.  Yes the thing we knew as children in storybooks is there in the night welcoming the darkness of fall. The beautiful, solitary owl.  I hear him from the south end of the trees out back.  I know there is no chance of catching a glimpse but the company of such a beautiful, mystical bird is all I need to make my ears perk, my heart soar and my spirit look forward to the coming months of late fall. 
So with this I give you my one and only OWL SWEATER! Yes, a silly and trivial way to depict such a majestic bird but still the image conjures a feeling of nighttime and mystery.  That very setting that calls me each evening to go out and listen, look and experience the amazing changes that take place this time of year.  How the night transforms into the greatest show on earth!

Monday, December 31, 2012

Auld Lang Syne

Today I present to you two New Years Eve sweaters! Yes I actually found (years ago) not one but two ornamental sweaters celebrating the New Year.   One is complete with champaign glasses, fireworks and sparkly colors emphasizing the manufactured "spectacularness" of New Years Eve.  That one night when one is expected to "trip the lights fantastic".  The other, actually celebrates New York City on New Years Eve and interestingly enough, has a picture of the World Trade Center woven into it.  Well, as a Jersey Girl, of course the "official New Years Eve Capital of the World" IS NYC!

But I don't get New Year's Eve.  Its one of those "holidays" that just doesn't seem to fit in with my natural inclination based on the rhythms of the seasons.  It seems so much more "natural" to have a "new year" begin in September when the crescendo of the summer ebbs and we have that sense of "returning" to the peace of Autumn in preparation for our "long winter's nap". 

Or, lets step off the precipice into a new year in March when things are at their awakening ...when the earth comes alive with the damp smell of growth and rejuvenation.  But January??
The Christmas Season seems right to me.  The astronomical start of winter comes upon us overlaid with multiple layers of celebratory traditions ranging from the Christian Church, the Jewish holidays to the celebration of sun cycles, which harken back to a time when Northern hemisphere people experienced the cold darkness and had no "Weather Channel" to make assurances that the sun would return.  So we revel in our evergreens, our flames and candles, our decorative lights that color the darkness each night.  And a big part of this is in the anticipation. 

Ahh, the prep work that goes into the holiday season!  The holiday music starts before Thanksgiving and we're carpet bombed with tinsel and tannenbaum from Halloween on.  The baking brewhaha begins well before the cookies are needed for Santa and the whirlwind of indoor decorations lay strewn throughout the house "on deck" just waiting to be displayed. Parties are planned, shoppers are strategizing their next move, a momentum is reached and maintained and there's a sense of excitement that fuels these activities with joy. 

Then suddenly...its Christmas Eve.  A joyous collection of individual traditions unique to each family.  Reconnections are made.  Memories are rediscovered.  Stories are retold and the night feels like it should last forever...or at least more than 8 hours. 
And then...Christmas Day! If there are young children in the house then its another story of magic and mayhem as wrapping paper carpets the floor, eyes widen and toys populate the house.  If its a "more mature household" a relaxation takes place with the peace of the season, some hearfelt gifts and a special french toast breakfast.

Church, friends, family, movies, meals and amusement fill the day until around evening time.  Its then that the realization of "the end" comes tickling at our consciousness. After all that...its OVER!
Its over for another whole year and there's no going back or postponing the inevitable. 
But this is where New Years Eve comes in.  And this is what I think the  purpose of New Years soften the blow. 

Can you imagine the holidays without a New Years Eve?  Imagine if Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, and all the related "top of the year" celebrations came to a screeching halt with no easy let down.  Imagine if we  all took on the life of Bob Cratchet and "made merry" for one day then went back to the grind.  This is the real reason I believe there is a New Years Eve celebration in January.  We become so full of joy and excitement for a month that we need a soft landing and thankfully we have a time to slowly let down our landing gear with New Years Eve. 

So even though, for me, it doesn't feel like it's part of the natural rhythms in the turning wheel called "a year", I guess it has its purpose.  And that is to let us down gently... ease us back into our lives.  It serves up a different kind of anticipation, still with celebration, but also with  insight and self assessment,  hopefully making ourselves better, to be the kind of people we always hoped we'd be and  to re-enter our daily grind with a sense of enthusiasm rather than let down. 
So drink that booze and drop that ball ... its back to work on Wednesday! Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

'Tis the Season!!!

Well here we go again... my seasonal sensations have been in hibernation for about a year now since last I  posted with an autumnal charmer.  An interstate move and all that accompanies such an endeavor forced me to fold and store each of the beauties from the Valentine hearts to the Thanksgiving Big Chief sweater that pays tribute to the Wampanoags for the yearly feast.  Every last one was lovingly folded, tissued and stored to the chorus which arose in the background singing....Donate, Donate, Donate! Did my husband really think after saving these individual expressions of seasonal delight for 25 years, I would actually let them go just because of a 200 mile move? What the what?    Today we are in a new house which has no attic but a wonderful large, dry basement in which I had clothes poles hung before the kitchen was unpacked.  I  always had the intention of  bringing my seasonal treasures, one by one, to the digital light of day but there was always another box to unpack or a fixture to install and boy, does time fly when you make a daily trip to the Home Depot!
    Now we can say we're finally settled and there are eleven days till Christmas. The house is in order, the decorations are placed and my seasonal stockpile is calling me in desperation to be let out and add to the bacchanalia of holiday delights! 
    And believe it or not, I have been hearing the random rumblings of a resurgence in the popularity of these sweaters. Yes, even the TODAY Show jumped on the bandwagon in a blur of colored reindeer, blinking red noses and jolly Santas all woven into the ramie cotton/acrylic palette of color.  Stores were visited in New York City that had racks and designated areas (quarantined?) loaded with the the party bound paraphernalia.  Yes, that's right Ugly Christmas Sweater parties are popping up all over the place and they are the "new" cool!  Who'd a thunk it! I knew I hung on for a reason.
So, today, without further ado, I give you a Christmas delight, the first one to see the digital light of day since our move. How could I choose which to start with? This one is a compilation of all the visual landmarks I see in my routine travels this time of year.  The cozy house and the welcoming front door are the icons seen all around these days as families prepare to celebrate the season, to reacquaint with old friends and relatives and to count the blessings that provide that very front door to be bedecked with greens.
Stockings and bright appliqued windows with Christmas trees conjure up the warmth and security that radiate from the glowing windows on the houses I see these nights as I walk the dog in the darkness . There are appliqued presents and poinsettias just like the real ones strewn around the house brightening corners that are surrendering to winter's darkness as the longest night of the year is just about upon us. We need our light and our lightness just as our ancestors did and just as candles and colors and candy canes contribute to the seasonal bliss, so too lets add the grand garishness of the Christmas Sweater to warm us, to cheer us and to remind us not to take ourselves so seriously!
    So I apologetically invite you to gaze upon my seasonal delight and hopefully get a smile, maybe shake your head in pathetic disbelief but at least we made a connection and I think that is the whole point of the Christmas season...connecting!

The Sweater Queen


Monday, October 25, 2010

The One That Started It All!

You know the old Girl Scout song..."Make new friends but keep the is silver and the other's gold"?  Well that's how I feel about these crazy sweaters.  Today's Haloween cutie is the one that started it "golden" friend!  And even though it could be dubbed an "ugly theme sweater" in today's terms, it is so much more! 
Back in the day when this one was purchased, the girlfriends (gold ones) with whom I used to work, and I all collected sweaters for different holidays and we shared in the silly, entertaining and fun fashion finds that offered a little competition, a litlle adventure and a lot of good fun for whatever holiday was around the corner. 
Back then our kids were young, really young!   Like kindergarten and first grade young.  The sweaters went along way with that crowd.  Those youngens didn't make fun or call them ugly, oh no, in fact anyone's Mom who wore a pumpkin sweater in October was considered extremely cool...the cool Mom!  And that's probably what started the cllection for all of us. 
I can remember wearing today's sweater to the West End School 1st grade Halloween Party where I was in charge of the beverages for my first born's class.  I recall it was an Indian Summer Halloween around 72 degrees and of course I had a headache (what else is new?) Well there I was in the classroom with a gallon jug of apple cider in my right hand and my 1 year old daughter on my left hip (I'm still lop-sided!).  And we poured that cider and handed out cupcakes and that sweater was a hit, made me feel Halloweeny and actual helped me forget the headache. 
So that's why today's sweater and a couple of others are just like old, gold friends. Woven into their colored yarns and appliques are the memories of the times we spent with our children pouring cider, sewing costumes, walking and walking and walking in rain or shine for the sake of "Trick or Treat" and that was a time we were the cool ones!  Cool Moms in Halloween sweaters.

The Sweater Queen

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Fruits of the Season

Scarecrows, pumpkins, gourds, cornstalks...all the embellishments put out to evoke a feeling of "the harvest".  I drive home from work and the beauty of the season is abundant as soon as I leave the highway and pass through neighborhood streets ablaze with mums, Indian corn, pumpkins and husks.  Its ironic and makes me chuckle when I see a million dollar house "manicured" with fruits of the harvest at every tree and mail post trying to make itself look like a farm.  No other time of the season would we see vegetables strewn all over the lawn or grass and hay gone a wry and leaning against every tree and stump.  The hay bails crack me up when they're placed on a cobblestone walkway where its obvious that even the mums are "installed" by a landscaper! LOL  What the heck...why do we all try to look like farmers this time of year??
Well, for one thing, the idea of a harvest on a farm is comforting in a way.  It harkens back to simpler times, to a quiet and routine way of life, as oppossed to the chaos we deal with day in and day out.  Its authentic, as the rhythm of life on a farm or life in the country is dictated by Mother Nature and her seasons.  "It is what it is"...its dark when its dark and light when the sun comes up.  The winter beckons and life and spirit hunker down for a "long winter's night". So, I think the fall and the coming quiet time of year, is a force that is inescapable to people no matter how busy, how modern, how convenient, how accelerated their lives have become.  Its the spiritual version of "nap time" and we could all use a nap! 
So enjoy the colors, the produce, the shortened days and the cooler, longer nights and pretend you live on a farm!
The Sweater Queen

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Finally...Jacket Weather!!!

The temps are finally heading down to my favorite territory.  As far as I'm concerned, you can KEEP your June, July and August! You can even scratch out the first two thirds of September... October and its crispy nights and breezy days are what I'm talkin' about! 
And finally its time to don a jacket.
Thanks to the old Quacker Factory, today we are sportin' a quilted corduroy (spelled right?  How many people write the word "corduroy" in a lifetime?) jacket with pumkin appliques.  Yes, its a Fall jacket on steroids; just the kind I love! Love em' or hate 'em, jackets like this are fun to wear and I'm SO glad I didn't discard them. 
I would love to see the "closet sweater wearers" out there so if you have one of your own, send me a picture...with or without the wearer inside.  I would love to post it on this site.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Come Little Leaves....

Come, Little Leaves

by George Cooper

"Come, little leaves," said the wind one day.
"Come over the meadows with me and play;
Put on your dresses of red and gold,
For summer is gone and the days grow cold!"

This is only the first stanza of a very old American children's poem, but every year like clockwork, my grandfather would recite it to me on that first day that really embodied the feeling of Autumn.  Yesterday, October 14, was that day...not a clear bright blue sky, but a grey, windy ominous one the kind I always think makes the fall leaves look spectaular.
Maybe that's why I think a leaf in any shape is a beautiful graphic symbol.
One of my favorite "Leaf Sweaters" in navy blue worn one Thanksgiving a long time ago!