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!

It hasn’t been the greatest week

Monday’s outing to the pharmacy (again!) chilled me so thoroughly, it took all evening to warm up, resulting in not feeling very well for the following several days…and the leg cramps were really cutting into valuable ‘sleep time’.

Friday’s visit to the doctor (to check how an outbreak of eczema was responding to treatment) revealed that there is no blood clot (YAY!), but some problem in the lumbar vertebra #5…so I will be scheduling an MRI for (hopefully?) some day this week.

The muscle cramps are excruciatingly painful, as that muscle running along the exterior of the legs contracts quickly and feels as hard as stone, and until I have the MRI, I won’t know if there will be therapy, more pain-killing drugs, or even an operation on my spine.

I haven’t exactly had much holiday spirit, or energy, or interest in posting…until this evening.

Today, I awoke early, and looked out the studio window into the darkness…and saw it was snowing!

I took a few shots after it became daylight.

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Just before noon, I went out to return a few DVDs to the library, and found more gorgeous snow!

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As I waited at the bus terminal, it began coming down a bit heavier, and a little bit of Christmas spirit returned.

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It has been snowing most of the day, and is supposed to continue as ‘light’ snow tonight, so perhaps tomorrow, if my back and legs cooperate, I’ll get out and walk over to the lake?

I found this sweet display…

…in the window of a local convenience store, and thought it might make a great start to the season’s FREE E-cards for any of you to use.

Just click on an image, copy/save it to your Pictures folder…then send it to a friend!

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I shall be making more for the next two weeks or so, as time allows.

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!

I’m happy to see…

…that WordPress has brought back its “snow” this season…and it’s falling just about at the rate it did here in Chicago a bit over a week ago!

See for yourselves.

From my studio window

From my studio window

 

From my living room window

From my living room window

But…it did make for some interesting patterns in the now-empty lot next door!

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I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to shoot from my north window, as I’ve been doing the past six winters, but the maintenance man came and removed the screen (a temporary one that really didn’t fit!), and I have a clear view to the north until Spring–or whenever it will warm up here in Chicago!

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I finally had a somewhat ‘slow’ day!!!

After a short run to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription, I actually walked a few blocks out of the way and did some shooting–a rare thing of late!

I hope to have a few of those 121  images up either tonight or tomorrow, so thanks to all for your patience!

Putting it (back) Together

It seems I’ve been running to and fro, hither and yon, to get this place totally back to ‘better than it was’!

No sooner than I feel I can rest, a prescription runs out, or the laundry piles itself so high, that I have to get out of my ‘paint clothes’, gussy up, and hop a bus or train in one direction or the other.

It’s hard work…and very tiring!

I did manage to get a few images processed, however, after walking over to the small park to deposit my ever-overflowing bag of recyclables (though Chicago has a city ordinance that all buildings of this size must provide recycling containers for the tenants, my building does not).

The Lake…Diffused

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And…I’m off again, to return “Chicago” and “Titanic” (which I hadn’t ever seen!) DVDs to the library, drop my winter coat (haven’t worn it in several years!) at the cleaners, and stop at the hardware store for some spray paint (a little project for a Plexiglas (TM) small shelf I want to put up), and probably, because it’s close, a quick stop at my favorite little Morse Market to pick up a few things like Krinos Greek Yogurt, a jar of pesto for tonight’s pizza and some fruit…which always seems to run out too quickly these days!

I hope to return later, with some images from last month’s tour of the Emil Bach House, but unlike our politicians, I’m not promising anything!

Thankfully…

…the hectic pace has begun to slow–and just in time for the holidays (Haha!)!

Between nighttime leg cramps and a number of ocular migraines, a good night’s sleep has been a tough goal, and even though I woke today at 2:00 AM, I felt rested for a change…perhaps the culprit was the three-hour ‘short’ nap I had yesterday afternoon?

But…the closets are freshly painted and totally reorganized, almost all the photos are framed and ready to hang, the hardwood floors have been washed down with Murphy’s Oil Soap and treated with OrangeGlo and I had a wonderful morning baking Ginger Snaps, then shopped this afternoon, and just finished a very satisfying, healthy dinner (steamed salmon, potato slices baked with onion and a drizzle of olive oil, and fresh broccoli).

I can finally show you more Autumn brilliance!

These were taken last weekend and sadly, due to extremely windy conditioned over the past three or four days, most of these trees are nearly bare and grossly faded–but, they’re still beautiful to me!

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???????????????????????????????This last image is my favorite, which I’ll take to the printer and have it done quite large!

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Though I may not post every single day, be assured that I am continuing to shoot and process–it’s just that everything has taken so much longer to accomplish that I felt exhausted continually.

I checked out the DVD “Chicago” from the library today, and will be watching it (again!) tonight.

Back in 1978, a dear friend took me to see it here in Chicago with the original Broadway cast (Jerry Ohrbach,Gwen Verdon and Chita Rivera) at the old Blackstone Theatre, and I fell in love with the storyline and the music.

Hope you all will have as enjoyable evening as I will!