Arrangements…

…in the key of Winter.

Here are the originals, straight from the camera, as taken last Friday at the entrance of The Breakers on Sheridan Road, where my doctor’s office is located.

The lighting is sodium vapor, which does nothing for the colors–so I knew this would be a fun project!

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After taking a good, long look at them, I began by flipping a few, then processing in Photoshop (TM) and giving them a final touch of the Diffuse filter, using pure white as the Background color.

Hope you like the results!

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What better way could there be to spend a ‘freezy-beezy’ afternoon?

Last evening…

…I cooked a very untraditional Christmas Eve meal.

Lamb shoulder chop, rubbed with mint, dried minced garlic, and Mrs. Dash's Lemon Pepper seasoning, accompanied by brown and wild rice, cooked with onion, Crimi mushrooms, dried minced garlic, Campari tomatoes, dried oregano, a good bit of Mrs. Dash's Lemon Pepper seasoning and Greek olive oil. Really super tasty and very nutritious!

Lamb shoulder chop, rubbed with mint, dried minced garlic, and Mrs. Dash’s Lemon Pepper seasoning, accompanied by brown and wild rice, cooked with onion, Crimini mushrooms, dried minced garlic, Campari tomatoes, dried oregano, a good bit of Mrs. Dash’s Lemon Pepper seasoning and Greek olive oil.
Really super tasty and very nutritious!

While I was watching the very untraditional Christmas film, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (wasn’t Audrey gorgeous?), a knock at the door was not from Santa, but my young neighbor, who presented me with this:

A very untraditional "Christmas Sweater" cookie!

A very untraditional “Christmas Sweater” cookie!

She and her Mom had been doing a lot in their kitchen (which adjoins my own), but I didn’t expect such a creative gift!

They are both very artistically-inclined…and I thank them for this wondrous little cookie, which is indeed delicious!

After reading until past midnight, I awoke at 8-ish, made a pot of fresh ground Italian Roast/Dutch Chocolate flavored coffee and took a look out my window.

Just a very light snow had fallen overnight, enough to brighten the ground...with ice still on the windows, because we're 'havin' a heat wave' of mid-20s degree F. weather today!

Just a very light snow had fallen overnight, enough to brighten the ground…with ice still on the windows, though we’re ‘havin’ a heat wave’ of mid-20 degrees F. weather today!

For those of you who’ve been running as late as I have, here’s one last E-card I just made.

Merry Christmas Potpourri

(I hope you can catch the aroma of pine and cinnamon in the potpourri?)

HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ALL…MAY IT BE MERRY AND BRIGHT!!!

As the last few minutes of Autumn wind down…

…these Hostas have also decided to succumb to Winter, which officially arrives at 11:11 AM (CST), just twenty-five minutes from now!

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Winter's Hosta-5 WM

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Winter's Hosta-4 WM

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Happy Winter Solstice!

(Already, I can’t wait for Spring!)

It’s been BRRR!

Condensation on my windows has been a real problem this year, and because it’s been such a very cold Autumn-into-Winter season here in Chicago, most days the windows have been iced up, perhaps because I was very thorough when caulking…but then, there are no drafts at all!

Yet, the iciness is truly fascinating.

I hope you’ll agree?

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09DEC2013 Window Ice-4

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Mmm, mmm, YUM!

On Washington Street just west of Michigan Avenue, Toni’s La Patisserie windows are filled with Christmasy edibles!

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Okay, you can all stop drooling!

(I think I gained five pounds just taking these shots!)

More FREE E-cards!

After working on these for several hours, I figured it would be a good thing to post the entire batch!

Just click on any image, save it to your Pictures folder, then e-mail it …and (hopefully?) it will brighten someone’s Christmas season!

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If you so desire, you can also use these to print your own cards–and the copyright is suspended, temporarily, so no worries there!

My gift to you and yours!

Getting out of the cold at Macy’s

Last Saturday, my trek to downtown Chicago included a quick stop at Macy’s (formerly Marshall Fields) on State Street to view the Great Tree in The Walnut Room restaurant.

These huge, holiday trumpets were first used some eight years ago, and Macy's continues with this tradition. I wasn't able to get any decent shots of the animated window displays, and as I was chilled to the bone, I hurried inside.

These huge, holiday trumpets were first used by Marshall Fields some eight years ago, and Macy’s continues with this tradition.
I wasn’t able to get any decent shots of the animated window displays, and as I was chilled to the bone, I hurried inside.

The decorations were pretty much the same as last year's, but quite impressive nonetheless!

The decorations were pretty much the same as last year’s, but quite impressive nonetheless!

I made my way up to the 8th floor, to look down on the Great Tree, taking a few close-ups of the sumptuous ornamentation--the huge, bright stars...

I made my way up to the 8th floor, to look down on the Great Tree, taking a few close-ups of the sumptuous ornamentation–the huge, bright stars…

...and the gold, silver and copper splashes festooning this almost 40 foot tree!

…and the gold, silver and copper splashes festooning this almost 40 foot tree!

Making my way through the crowds, I ventured down an escalator to the 7th floor, to get a 'full' tree shot. The Walnut Room was packed with diners, long waiting lines and oh-so-many people! It's a real plum to be able to dine under the Great Tree, and I and others are so very pleased that Macy's has kept this tradition since the takeover of Marshall Fields.

Making my way through the crowds, I ventured down an escalator to the 7th floor, to get a ‘full’ tree shot.
The Walnut Room was packed with diners, long waiting lines and oh-so-many people!
It’s a real plum to be able to dine under the Great Tree, and I and others are so very pleased that Macy’s has kept this tradition since the takeover of Marshall Fields.

I had finally warmed up, and just had to get away from the crowds but…

...I saw these, and saw the sign "SALE--all silver jewelry 50% off" and succumbed immediately! After the discounts had been taken, I paid $11.81 plus tax for this $35.00 pair of beauties!

…I saw these, and saw the sign “SALE–all silver jewelry 50% off” and succumbed immediately!
After the discounts had been taken, I paid $11.81 plus tax for this $35.00 pair of beauties!

Ooooh!  Merry Christmas to ME!

A light snow began yesterday…(from Tuesday!)

[[I have NO IDEA why this post didn’t show up…I published it the evening of the 9th of December!]]

...then continued through the night.

…then continued through the night.

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Today, having to make a pharmacy run yet again, I figured I’d walk a bit and get some good shots.

As soon as I turned the corner of the building, I knew that would be futile–the temp was 19 F. and falling, with a steady west wind which also happened to be gusting to 24 mph!

I grabbed this shot, then quickly shoved the camera back into my pocket!

I grabbed this shot, then quickly shoved the camera back into my pocket!

This snow wasn't going much of anywhere as it was stuck on this awning...

This snow wasn’t going much of anywhere as it was stuck on this awning…

...and even in the framework of the bus shelter!

…and even in the framework of the bus shelter!

It was kind of pretty, especially as it decorated the pine garlands and mesh wrapped around light poles...

It was kind of pretty, especially as it decorated the pine garlands and mesh wrapped around light poles…

...and this bush in the parkway at the Loyola Station of the Red Line "L".

…and this bush in the parkway at the Loyola Station of the Red Line “L”.

By the time I arrived home, I was frozen!

Though bundled and layered (I’d even been wearing ‘leg warmers’, which I haven’t done since the late 80s!), the wind had increased and shelter was difficult.

By 4:00 PM, the temp had dropped to 15 F. (that’s -9 C.) with a wind chill making it feel like -1 F. (-18 C.)–BITTER!

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I did get off one last shot at Loyola, which I turned into an E-card for any of you who wish to use.

Just click on the image, save it to your Pictures folder, then send it to whomever--it's a FREE gift to my followers!

Just click on the image, save it to your Pictures folder, then send it to whomever–it’s a FREE gift to my followers!

Last week and yesterday

LAST WEEK

For several days last week, my spare time was spent getting the Christmas decorations together.

This is just one of the results:

The red and green wreath from last year was ttoally revamped, using gold-leafed pears, small gol and deep green balls, and gold-tipped large pine cones. The old red and green lights were replaced with warm white LED lights, which use about 4.5 watts per 50-light string...I'm very happy I purchased them!

The red and green wreath from last year was totally revamped, using gold-leafed pears, small gold and deep green balls, and gold-tipped large pine cones.
The old red and green lights were replaced with warm white LED lights, which use about 4.5 watts per 50-light string…I’m very happy I purchased them!

Some close-ups:

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YESTERDAY

It had been quite foggy for several days, but yesterday’s was the thickest.

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Thrilled with being able to take the time to go out and photograph a few things, I walked over to Sherwin Beach to see the effect of fog at the shore.

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Just to the south is the veranda of 1205 W. Sherwin Avenue, a beautiful spot to look at the lake which had virtually disappeared.

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Finally, I headed back home, but not before photographing my own window.

The lights were wrapped around the wreath intentionally...and it's great that it can be seen quite well, even at mid-afternoon, so that all can share the beauty of the Christmas season!

The lights were wrapped around the wreath intentionally…and it’s great that it can be seen quite well, even at mid-afternoon, so that all can share the beauty of the Christmas season!

November’s leaves…

…were blown quickly to the ground after last week’s many windy days, yet their colors and patterns looked more like the finest Oriental rugs.

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Even after being trod upon by many, many feet, they still retained their beauty, don’t you think?

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