Ho ho ho!
I'm up before dawn and caught the Star of the East just as dawn started rising over Lake Michigan. Sorry for the blurred image, I'm not very good with this camera even after years and years but I think it's pretty cool. I also took a quick photo of my Christmas tree lit up in my front window about 6:45 a.m. I did not have a clear idea until this morning what it looks like from the outside!
This is looking off my side stoop that opens to my driveway, toward the southeast. The glow of dawn can be seen roughly at the roofline of the garage and the Star of the East can be seen near the top of the tree's branches just to the center right of the photo. [Note added later: I thought it could be Venus, but I checked a sky map for the month of December and it is probably Jupiter - or a comet that is right now at about 30 degrees angle in the south/southeast sky. Holy Hathor!]
Thar she glows... It looks massive, but it's an artificial 6.5 footer and not super-wide.
It was a beautiful, perfectly still morning, and not cold at all, probably in the mid-40's. This entire month has been unusually mild, perhaps due to the El Nino. We have had a lot of rain - thank goodness it wasn't snow, we would be buried under 20 feet of it!
Merry Christmas to everyone who celebrates; Happy Yule and Happy Winter Solstice to those who celebrate those traditions. I totally missed Solstice this year, but it came and went and now the days are starting to get longer again, hooray! The tree will be up until the end of January, when it will be noticeably lighter earlier in the morning and in the evening. The lighted decorations all around the house and candles at night help keep the darkness at bay. I am a creature of the light.
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