Category Archives: Christmas Lights

Echoes Of Christmas

With our lights down as of last weekend, I’m simultaneously both a bit jealous of the couple of houses down the block which still have theirs up, and grateful for them since it gives me something brilliant and bright to look at.

Later, I noticed that, even from the back yard, there were still reflections of our Christmas tree visible in the back yard, via the china cabinet.

It’s there if you look for it.


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The Dark – 2023

As 16:00 comes and goes with no monstrously huge surge in the regional demand for electricity, the SoCal Emergency Energy Management Agency realizes that today was the day I took down the Christmas lights and they can re-mothball that backup nuclear power plant that they’ve needed ten hours a day since Thanksgiving.

The dark has returned to West Hills, as it always does sometime in January. (Okay, there were years when it was February [or March…] when the lights came down, but they always got turned off by late January.) Normally it might have been next weekend, or even the weekend after, but the weather forecast for next weekend is abysmal and the 21st isn’t looking much better. Today was actually nice (if still more than a bit muddy) so the smart money said to take my shot.

As always, the good news is that the lights that took four days to put up only take four hours to take down. And the tree is still up inside, so there’s still some holiday cheer for another few days.

The fact that my beloved Chiefs stomped on the hated Raiders and tied up the #1 seed in the AFC playoffs and the bye next week is just gravy.


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Filed under Christmas Lights, KC Chiefs, Photography

New Year’s Eve 2022

Good bye, 2022. I can’t say that I’ll miss you much.

You were better than 2020 or 2021, what with Biden and House investigations and vaccines vs Trump and January 6th and COVID, but let’s be honest, the bar wasn’t set that high.

Personally, we did finally get to take a handful of trips, but you left a lot of room for improvement for 2023 to tackle.

It’s pouring in Los Angeles tonight, there’s street flooding in San Francisco, and pretty much the whole state is getting one of those 10-14 day “atmospheric river” deluges – the ones we’ve been praying for since the drought was getting pretty desperate, so 2023 is starting out okay from that viewpoint.

We’ll see what 2023 brings. I’m trying not to be hopeful, but the permanent optimism (Pollyanna syndrome) that was beaten into my DNA by the nuns at Christ the King Elementary still is lurking out there, hoping for good things for my beloved Chiefs, Kings, and Angels. There’s the eternal hope that THIS will be the year I get back into the left seat at the pointy end of a plane. There are already a couple of trips planned (barring the emergence of yet another COVID strain and the deaths of hundreds of thousands) and if I could spend some quality time with friends, well, that would be spectacular.

So, with the 2022 Christmas cards all sent (*) out last week, I’ll get on with with accounting and tax returns and financial statements for 2022 but let’s start living in 2023. As a good friend on Twitter was saying tonight, “We must love one another or die.” I like Plan A so much better. It sounds much more fun.

Let’s do that. Happy New Year, y’all.

(*) – If you’ve gotten cards in the past but have moved and don’t get a card this year, let me know what your new address is… If you haven’t gotten cards in the past but want to, I’ve still got a handful left, so send me your address. (


Filed under Christmas Lights, Video, Weather

Perched Junco

I’ve seen a Junco sitting out on the Christmas decorations once or twice, but it’s skittish. I finally got a picture from the living room through a break in the drapes.

It was cold and wet, but I’m sure that sitting on the fake, illuminated candy cane filled it’s little heart with joy.

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Filed under Birds, Christmas Lights, Photography

Christmas Lights 2022 – The Tree

We’ve seen the outside lights – of course, there’s also a tree inside.

There might be another theme to our fall and winter decorating… Sorry, subltety isn’t one of my strong points.

As always, our tree decoration “theme” is “NO STINKIN’ THEMES!” Colored lights, white lights, bubble lights. Sporty’s annual aircraft ornaments going back almost 20 years, ornaments from when the kids were small, annual ornaments from when we’ve traveled after the kids have grown up and left. The star that has the motorized airplane towing a banner. You name it, we’ll throw it up there someplace.

It’s us.

I hope all of you have a wonderful and enjoyable Christmas tomorrow!

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Christmas Lights 2022 – Monsters?

What kind of a monster goes out and cuts the wires on folks’ Christmas lights?

For each of the last two years we’ve had at least one set of lights with wires that have been cut through. (FWIW, I don’t remember it ever happening even once in over 25 years at the old house.)

I had written it off to an accident if maybe the gardeners hit it with a weed wacker by mistake or something like that. That’s tougher this year, since with the drought and the yard turning brown, the gardeners hadn’t been here when this wire got cut.

And then the next day…

Those are nice, clean cuts, through two wires, and with them tied off like that you can see where the angle of the cut on one wire matches up with the angle on the next. This wasn’t an accident, this was someone with a pair of wire cutters.

I think…


These lights are right in front of the door, and there’s a security camera there 24/7/365. We have those videos for something like 90 days, so I can and did go back and review them.

Nada. Zip. Zilch. No one at all seen either nights in the area around these lights.

There are some bushes there, so in theory if someone knew where the cameras were they could crawl along the lawn like they were going under the barb wire with machine gun fire just over their heads and reach out to cut those wires. But, c’mon, isn’t that a little bit far fetched?

So who or what cut the wires?

The only other thing out there, which the cameras might or might not catch, are birds and bunnies. No way that a junco or even a crow could cut those wires. The bunnies eat the grass there – could they bite through the wires by accident? But wouldn’t that deliver a significant jolt to them if the electricity is on?

So it’s a mystery. Saturday I spent some time on the ground, splicing wires, restoring connections, getting the candy cane lights back on line.

I also pulled out my trusty motion-activated, high-def trail cam and buried it in those bushes to watch these lights from just a couple feet away. We’ll see.

Because really! What sort of freakin’ monster cuts the wires on Christmas lights??!!

Any bets?


Filed under Christmas Lights, Photography

Christmas Lights 2022 – The Final Draft

Yesterday I took the opportunity to put up a few more lights at home and to repair a few issues that had come up with the lights that got put up after Thanksgiving.

I would like to think that we’ve been a good influence on the neighbors. In past years there’s only been one or two who put up a string or two of lights. This year we’ve got six of the nine houses up here at the top of the hill who have lights up, most of them with several.

Down at the bottom of the hill there are lots of lights, but the 15-20 houses on the middle of the hill… I’m not sure what’s up with them, but it’s a dark, dark place.

So to finish up, I put a couple more strings of lights here and stretched them all the way to the bushes at the sidewalk.

At the far end of the house I got a couple of new strings into the big hibiscus bush. I would love to get another couple of strings of lights in there to really, REALLY cover it, but as Dirty Harry said, a man’s got to know his limitations.

I put up another string of icicle lights for the south end of the house, along the gutters. In the past three years I’ve only had them from the garage to the front door. Now they go all the way across the front of the house.

Finally, I added another string of lights into the plants in front of the living room. You can also now see a bit of the Christmas tree inside through a crack in the curtains.

Christmas is a week away. This year’s display is still only maybe 60% or so of what we used to have at the Pomelo house, but that house was over twice as big and had a lot of trees and plants in the front yard to drape lights off of. However, compared to the previous three years here, this is about 15% more than last year, so that’s not too bad.

Now, back to the work week.

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Final Play Of 2022

At the Ahmanson for our “extra” play of the season, “Ain’t Too Proud.” The season is six plays, each in town for 5-6 weeks, but there are a couple others that sneak in for just a couple of weeks.

As the panographic photo shows (as always, click on it to see it full-sized), the Music Center is resplendent for the holidays. The Mark Taper Forum’s on the left (with the Ahmanson behind it) and the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion is on the right (with the Disney Concert Hall behind it).

A big Christmas tree and City Hall off in the distance are in the middle. We also have the fountains and lights working in the middle, but with the temperature at 54° and dropping, no one’s dancing in the fountain. Go figure!

I hope everyone is enjoying their weekend and not stressing too much over the holiday prepar… HOLY CRAP, WE HAVEN’T SENT OUT THE CHRISTMAS CARDS YET!!! 🤯

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Christmas Lights 2022 – Professional Work

Six Flags Fiesta Texas did a great job of lighting up the park for the holidays.

I made sure to pay attention to how they did it, and noted some of the clever hooks and fasterners they used.

They’ve got a LOT of lights up, which I obviously approve of!

It seemed like every tree was wrapped in very bright, colorful LEDs, every building roof line outlined in bigger lights.

A wonderful job!

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After A Few Days Off

The problem with taking a four-day weekend, especially at an incredibly busy time of year, is that you’ve got to come back to work.

Mind you, I truly enjoy my job, what I do, and in particular, who I work with. (That’s not even bullshit!) But I also get to live in the real world, where there is stress and a limited number of hours in the day and my body isn’t 100% sure what day of the week it is or what time zone I’m in.

So enjoy this picture from the Christmas tree lighting at Six Flags Fiesta Texas. With a few fireworks.

I need some sleep.

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