For some reason…

…I find great hope as the sun rises.

Sunday morning

Sunday morning

This morning, just one week before Christmas!

This morning, just one week before Christmas!

Wishing all my followers the happiest Christmas ever, and an extremely prosperous New Year!

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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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09DEC2013 Window Ice-1 WM

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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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La Patisserie-3

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La Patisserie-4

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La Patisserie-6

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Okay, you can all stop drooling!

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

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.

08DEC2013 Snow-2

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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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14DEC Snow-5

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.