December 4, 2016: Hola everyone! Winter has arrived in Milwaukee and there are snow flurries today. Despite several hard freezes remarkably my "spikes" in two of my patio planters have absolutely refused to die. The rosemary and thyme plants I nursed inside the house through last winter spent the summer in their pot outside next to the side stoop off the driveway, where they get plenty of sunshine all day long. I transplanted them into a cozy sheltered spot right next to the stoop in October and they are still green and growing, too! With the delay in getting the drywall patching done in the relatively minor "reconstruction" work I had done in my kitchen, I am way behind my time in getting the house decorated. But yesterday I got my wreath decked out with extra lights and dressed the front door of the house, and my battery-operated traditional candles were put up on the window sills all around the house Friday evening. It becomes a ritual to go around at dusk and turn the tops to the right to turn the candles "on" and at bedtime to go around and turn the tops to the left to turn the candles "off." Today I put some "glittery" throw pillow covers purchased new last month from H&M on three of my sofa pillows to glam things up a bit in the living room and add some sparkle. Later on, after I sufficiently fuel myself up with wine and snacks and probably to distract myself while I listen to the Packers game on the radio, I will huff and puff and pull my artificial tree up from storage in the basement. I will decorate it simply this year. Every year I say that, and every year I end up throwing just about everything except the kitchen sink on the tree. I am very proud of myself this year, though. I did not buy a single new ornament or Christmas doo-dad for the house (throw pillow covers don't count!!!) Happy Holidays to all, with hope and fervent prayers for 2017. I've a feeling we're all going to need a lot of help from Goddess in the coming year. Jan

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

How Do I Get A Clear Photo of the Outside of the House at Night?

Hola darlings!

Tonight my friend, Ann, and I, stopped for a few drinks at a local institution -- Kegel's Bar and Restaurant on the old south side of Milwaukee.  It is still family-owned and has been in continuous business for three generations now -- survived the Great Depression.  Ann and I have a number of Christmas customs we share this time of year, among which is stopping at Kegel's for a few drinks and then heading to Candy Cane Lane to enjoy the neighborhood all lit up and decorated for the holidays. 

The idea started years ago and has since blossomed into a great fundraiser yearly for the MACC Fund (Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer), which raises money for childhood cancer research.  Candy Cane Lane has been raising money since 1984.  The MAAC Fund was established in 1976. 

The most wonderful thing about Candy Cane Lane is that it is an actual residential area, not a park, not a vacant city lot.  It is people helping other people.  Each year, thousands of cars pour into the neighborhood of Candy Cane Lane to enjoy the free show.  Can you imagine such an invasion in your on neighborhood?  Donations are encouraged but of course the neighborhood is not barricaded!  One does not pay to enter or exit and if you don't feel like making a contribution, you can be a Scrooge and avoid 95th and Manitoba where Santa Claus and his helpers are stationed with their buckets to take contributions and the Elves hand out Christmas candy to those who drive by. 

I didn't take any photographs -- didn't even have my camera with me.  I am pretty sure if you want to check it out further if you do a Google search for Candy Cane Lane Milwaukee and then click on Images, you will find lots of great photographs.

Heck, I can't even get a decent photograph of Maison Newton at night and I'm standing still, not in a moving vehicle!  I tried on December 16th and again tonight, and every single photo came out blurry and disappointing.  Maybe it's because my hands are shaking, or maybe it's because of the camera settings.  I don't know.  I'm no photographer, that's for sure.  I just think Maison Newton is so pretty with its Christmas finery peeking through the windows, even though I do not decorate the outside of my house.  The wreath on the front door is lit up, the porch light is on; the Christmas tree is centered in the large round-top window with three candles resting on the cross-bar of the window above the tree; and I have had up for years (never take them down, they are up there 365 days a year, 24/7 and I occasionally light them up on gloomy days no matter what the season) a long string of white lights that outline the round top window, mostly on the inside.  This year I made an effort to twist some of the lights around toward the windows and taped them so they stay (well, at least for now they are staying).

Here are three of my pitiful efforts:




The photo above as taken on December 16th when it was snowing outside.  Thus the white specs all over the picture, LOL!  This is about the clearest shot I've been able to manage!  I deleted all the rest, they were much more blurred!

The photos below were taken tonight, and I'm not happy with them, but they are the best of multiple photos I took until the winds, which were starting to whip up about 7:30 p.m., finally drove me inside:






It was much clearer out tonight than on the 16th when it was snowing; so I thought I might be able to get a clearer shot of Maison Newton.  Makes sense, right?  Well, I actually like the snow-blotched photo of Maison Newton taken on 12/16 better than either of the two efforts tonight that I put up here.  Sigh.  Oh well.  I'll keep trying.  Maybe just after sundown, while there is some light left in the sky? 

As you can see, we are definitely going to enjoy a White Christmas :)

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