I'm saying Merry Christmas today as I won't be working online tomorrow, I'll be too busy feasting and visiting with the family and I expect most of you will be, too.
I took what I think is a somewhat better pic of this year's Christmas tree:
I really do need to take those drapes down and press them!
Shades of Christmas past, here's a photo of Mr. Don at Mom's house during Christmas, 2008. Mom's little poodle, Penny, glued herself to Don's side during the entire visit:
And here is this year's version of the Christmas tree at Kegel's, a venerable family-owned German restaurant/bar on Milwaukee's south side (they have the best filet mignon in town):
A long-time friend, Ann, and I, go to Kegel's every season to admire the Christmas tree. The owner does a brand new themed tree every single year and they are always spectacular! This year's tree is absolutely gorgeous in person -- it just glows! It is silver and gold, as you can see -- I should have taken some close-ups, the floral sprays are so beautiful. We go to Kegel's and exchange our gifts (sometimes saving opening them for later), and have a good meal.
Then we go see the neighborhood decked out along "Candy Cane Lane." The neighbors in the area decorate their houses and Santa, along with local and sometimes national celebrities, station themselves at the main intersection in the subdivision and collect donations to fight childhood cancer. Since 1984 the neighbors have collected $1.6 million dollars, and it all goes to the MACC (Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer) Fund. This year's displays were wonderful, and I think more houses participated this year, too (the relatively warmer weather this year and lack of snow certainly helped).
I didn't take any pictures -- Ann drives and I am not good enough to take photos from the moving car (even though we are going slow). Below is a photo of one of the houses from this year's Wisconsin Hunger Task Force website (you can donate a canned good or cash at a special collection area):
Christmas is a time for family, sharing, community, and traditions. We need Christmas! I wish, like the reformed Mr. Scrooge, that people would keep it in their hearts 365 days a year. Peace, love and harmony to you all.
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