New Year’s Eve: in full swing at my house

The story so far:

Monty is excited about spending his first New Year’s Eve as an adult cat.  Having ingested an impressive amount of catnip, he jumps in his favorite chair for a nap.

What’s this? A lampshade? Hmmmm…what to do, what to do…

Whaddya mean it’s supposed to go on my head??? 

Happy New Year, everybody!


Christmas Relics: Ceramic Elves, Tinsel Trees and Such

My mom hung these mischief makers a small white tabletop Christmas tree in the ’60s. They were very stylish to my young mind. The tree is long gone, but the elves live on.

Santa and Mrs. Claus salt and pepper shakers, 1960s. These two were always on our Christmas table.

The Sugar Plum Fairy was one of the first tree ornaments I remember . At least she was one of the only ones I was allowed to handle, the others being fragile glass. The other one I could play with was a carved wooden St. Bernard. The dog was chewed in half by Daisy as a puppy.  I should have been more careful.

The ever-classy tinsel tree. This one is about 10″ high.

This hot mess of wires and bulbs is from the 1930s, or possibly the 1920s. The lights worked when I was a kid, but the cords have been taped so many times I’m afraid to plug them in now. I was always fascinated by the egg-shaped Old King Cole bulb, and the birdcage bulb, on the right. Too bad I can’t use them!

Jolly Old St. Nicholas

My little St. Nicholas figure is one of the first Christmas decorations to come out each year.

You could call St. Nicholas a prototype Santa Claus.  In some northern European cultures, children would get presents from St. Nick on December 6.  He left the gifts in a shoe or sock left at the foot of their bed, or perhaps hung from a doorknob.  In America, cities with German traditions, such as Cincinnati, start the Christmas season off with this guy.

Christmas lights brighten up a dark time of year, as the hours of sunlight diminish. Here in Minnesota our skies are often clouded in December, adding to the gloom.  I like looking out my windows at dusk and seeing the neighbors’ lights coming on.  I really like Decembers where we actually have snow on the ground. (Dear Mother Nature, so ditch the drought already, okay?)

In what is probably a total lack of good sense given the level of animal mischief in this house, I am going to buy my Christmas tree today.  I’ll get a wreath and maybe some pine tops for the patio planters.  The lights are already on the house.  Now we just need some snow.

Happy Thanksgiving

We are thankful to have a great indoor home with plenty of good food and lots to do.

–Celayne’s Cats

Thankful kittens gobble up a hearty meal, 2010


I am thankful for all the good treats I get and for the opportunity to be The One and Only Dog on the premises, although I don’t mind a little feline companionship now and again.

— Celayne’s Luna

Luna and Cricket

And I am thankful for my friends; my family, both animal and human; and for the chance to write my thoughts on this blog and have them read by you.  I hope your Thanksgiving Day was fantastic.


Happy Halloween

I always feel nostalgic around Halloween.  When I was a kid, it was my favorite holiday, better than Christmas.  There was nothing like choosing a flimsy costume with a dangerous plastic mask at Woolworth’s, and waiting with excited expectation for the night I would wear the costume, for that night allowed to run freely through the neighborhood begging for candy.  And getting good stuff, too.  This was long before the ridiculous concept of “fun size” had flickered in some candy company ad exec’s brain.  Real candy bars: Three Musketeers.  Hershey’s.  Snickers.  Milky Way.  Sure, there was the random  health nut (or child-hater) who would hand out small boxes of raisins, but for the most part Halloween night was a sugar junkie’s nirvana.

In fairness to my parents’ nutritional standards, we didn’t get much candy except for those great candy holidays – Easter, Valentine’s Day and, of course, Halloween – so when we did get it, it was a real treat.  It must have been on a Halloween night that I learned the principle, “if a little is good, a lot is better”.  I remember eating until I felt sick.  I don’t remember that the candy lasted me more than a few days.

The first time I used this little jack o’ lantern candy holder, I had just turned a year old.

My first Halloween decoration, which makes it damn near an antique

Ensuing years of Halloweens saw me graduate to ghost- and pumpkin-festooned felt bags, crayola-decorated paper bags and finally, the teenaged trick-or-treater’s dream, a pillowcase.   Ever increasing piles of candy tossed into ever larger bags. I suppose if I hadn’t quit trick-or-treating when I was thirteen, I would now be driving around with a panel truck collecting my share of the Halloween candy.

A couple of years ago in the fall, I couldn’t get this elementary school song out of my head. We only sang it during October; it was sung to an appropriately creepy, dirge-like tune.  For weeks I hummed, “Tonight is the night when dead leaves fly, like witches on switches across the sky, something something something something moony sheen, It’s Halloween”.

One reason I really love the internet, besides its clear utility for wasting vast expanses of time, is that you can look up just about anything and find an answer.  It turns out that my Halloween song snippet was part of an actual poem, written by Harry Behn (1898 – 1973) who was a screenwriter in the 1920s and 30s, and a children’s author.

I’ll leave you today with Mr. Behn’s complete poem.  Some early school lessons really do stay with you.  Happy Halloween!

Tonight is the night
When dead leaves fly
Like witches on switches
Across the sky,
When elf and sprite
Flit through the night
On a moony sheen.

Tonight is the night
When leaves make a sound
Like a gnome in his home
Under the ground,
When spooks and trolls
Creep out of holes
Mossy and green.

Tonight is the night
When pumpkins stare
Through sheaves and leaves
When ghoul and ghost and goblin host
Dance round their queen
It’s Hallowe’en!