CFFC: Vertical Challenge

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week has the theme columns and vertical lines.

Column at a kitschy Egyptian-themed site, Wadsworth, IL
This single pillar in a Grayslake, IL park is the only remnant of a factory that had previously been on that site.
Memorial to fallen soldiers, Inverness, IL
Columns at the manor at Cantigny, the estate of Robert McCormick, Wheaton, IL
Base of a stairway railing, Cantigny
Satellite communications tower, Rolling Meadows, IL
Decorative bamboo stalks, annual orchid show at Chicago Botanic Gardens
Orchid show, Chicago Botanic Gardens
Vertical blinds at a friend’s house in Des Plaines, IL
Columns at Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem, Israel
Cloister columns at the Abbey, Mont St-Michel, France
Snail clusters on a pillar, Mont St-Michel, France
Abbey, Mont St-Michel, France
Cathedral of Cologne, Germany
Organ pipes, Bamberg Cathedral, Germany
Sculpture fountain at Museum of Glass, Tacoma, WA
Forecourt columns, Philae, Egypt
Gated doorway, Philae, Egypt

The Final Days

It is Christmas Day and I am finishing up Tourmaline’s Countdown to Christmas!

Day 23: Gathering
We have been warned by Dr. Fauci and the CEO’s of our senior community, to STAY HOME and not go to gatherings! But we are sort of obligated to go to a gathering of seven people on Christmas Day. Our daughter and son-in-law are cooking and our son-in-law’s brother and niece have come from Florida for the holidays. (Probably not a wise thing to do this year, but there was nothing we could do about it!) Also our son will be there; otherwise he’d be alone for Christmas which would worsen his depression. So we are going to sneak out and employ mitigation methods while there – masking wearing, social distancing, etc. We had a COVID test last week and it came out negative. I may go and have another one done after this Christmas Day gathering!

At The Family Reunion Who We Introducing Jokes - FamilyScopes

Day 24: Presents
Some people have the tradition of opening presents on Christmas Eve. My family’s tradition was to open just one gift on Christmas Eve, so I tried to choose wisely. In my favorite Christmas movie, Love Actually, there is a scene in which a family is gathered around on Christmas Eve to select one gift to open. We see the mother (who has already accidentally seen her husband buy a gold necklace at a department store) reaching for a small square box under the tree that she believes to be the necklace. Although she had just recently had a conversation with her husband about how much she loved Joni Mitchell, she tries hard to hide her disappointment when the gift turns out to be a Joni Mitchell double CD. Her husband, unaware of her knowledge of the necklace he bought for his secretary, smiles and says, “for your emotional education.” Holding back tears, she excuses herself and goes upstairs to her bedroom to cry.

emma thompson love actually scene
Here the mother, played by Emma Thompson, is smiling as she looks at the rest of her family on Christmas Eve.

Emma Thompson reveals real heartbreak behind her iconic Love Actually scene
Here she is wiping her tears in her bedroom.

Day 25: CHRISTMAS DAY! Food
Traditional Christmas dinner food is a lot like Thanksgiving food. At this moment, I can hear Dale rattling around in the kitchen as he prepares his green bean casserole. We are sneaking out to go to our daughter’s house for Christmas dinner, because she and her husband are cooking and there will only be seven of us there. The main dishes they are serving are beef Wellington and ham. Meanwhile, my mouth waters just looking at the wonderful cookies my niece baked for us! This is her gift to us every year and I always look forward to it! There are standard holiday shaped sugar cookies, wreaths made with corn flakes and marshmallows (dyed green), and my favorite: chocolate brownies with peppermint frosting, which I have already talked about in a previous post for this challenge. Don’t they look scrumptious?!

31 best Christmas jokes for kids: the funniest festive children's one-liners

And now the Countdown to Christmas is done!
Thank you, Tourmaline, it was a lot of fun!
I’d like to end with some holiday cheer:

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Countdown 2 Xmas: Mail Toys Snow Night

I’m back at Tourmaline’s Countdown to Christmas. Let’s see, where was I?

Day 19: Mail
I almost always send holiday cards through the mail. Usually they are late, but this year I’ve mailed them all before Christmas! I order my cards from Shutterfly and couldn’t imagine what to send in this coronavirus year! The one I chose was amusing & appropriate, I thought – it just said “Well, That was CRAZY! Happy 2021 (finally)”. It included four photos, one a selfie of me and Dale in masks, one of Hazel, our cat, and two scenic. (I am unable to copy and paste it here and I used up all the cards!) I had Shutterfly print our return address on the back of the envelope, so sending them was easy! I only had to add my half-page letter, address, stamp, seal, and mail!

Day 20: Toys

Day 21: Snow
We haven’t had any (yet)! But here are some photos from last winter.

Day 22: Night
Last night, for the first time in 800 years, Saturn and Jupiter were to line up in the night sky, and we would see them as one brightish light near the horizon. We were going to go to a park after dark to look at this phenomenon, but alas! It was cloudy!

What I like about night at Christmas time is all the holiday lights that brighten up the darkness when the days are short and the sun sets before 4:30 p.m.!

SYW: Holiday Cookies, Drinks, and Magic

SantaSYW

Melanie has a new set of holiday-related questions for her weekly Share Your World.

  • What is your favorite type of cookie (they’re called biscuits in Europe I believe)?
    If you mean Christmas cookies, it would be a tie between the sugar cookies in different shapes with frosting and a brownie with peppermint candy frosting (not technically a cookie, but my niece makes these every year as part of her gift of cookies).

    Outside of holiday season, it’s homemade chocolate chip cookies fresh out of the oven!
    I don’t bake cookies in general, so we buy Tates – their chocolate chip cookie is thin and crispy.
We buy boxes of Tates like this at Costco. At other places, they come in smaller bags, but there are more varieties.
  • If you could choose one age and remain that forever, what would it be and why?
    65 – young enough to still have the energy and drive to travel and explore new things, and also be eligible for retirement and Medicare.
  • Do you have a traditional drink during the holiday season?
    Not this year, because we are not gathering as usual with our family, but normally it is Jolly Jolt. Jolly Jolt is basically warm apple cider with cinnamon cloves. My sister prepares it in a large coffee pot and everyone helps themselves! This year, I suspect it will be Cooper’s Hawk’s Winter Red wine, which we have a bottle of in our garage – also best heated.
    NV Cooper's Hawk Winter Red, USA, Illinois - CellarTracker
  • Are you able to still believe in holiday magic as you did when you were a child?
    No, not really. Warmth, maybe, magic, no. When I was a kid, holidays like Christmas were always extremely exciting. We kids got to do the fun stuff, like picking out and decorating the tree, helping put up the creche, and singing Christmas carols. As an adult, there’s the work side of it – things don’t magically happen! I do very little decorating, except to put up my collection of creches and hang a Santa Claus on the door. Usually I have a Christmas tree but haven’t had one for the last three years. I do more decorating if we’re having guests.

    The most magical and exciting moments during my childhood were early Christmas mornings. My dad put up a portable screen so we couldn’t see into the living room until my parents got up. So we kids would climb partway up the stairway to peek over the screen to find our stockings and all the presents my parents had added during the night. This is what I think about when I’m asked about holiday magic!

    Now I look forward to simple gatherings of families and friends, noshing, drinking Jolly Jolt and playing games. It gives me warm feeling, but not the magic of childhood.

Gratitude section: I’m grateful to be alive and reasonably healthy! And I’m grateful that 2020 is almost over!

Thursday Doors: Holiday Doors

Dan at No Facilities is now hosting Thursday Doors. Yesterday and today, Dale and I walked the halls of the apartment building here, working on a scavenger hunt of Christmas decorations that residents have put up. There’s also a door decorating contest!

Here are some of the doors we saw yesterday.

The most amazing thing is that very few of these are the same decorations these residents put up last year! Such creativity! Perhaps it’s because of the door decorating contest. But I think the contest will be won by this woman, a former teacher who lives on the 3rd floor:

Countdown to Christmas: Lights, Love, Colors, Candy, Candles, Creature, Desserts

Due to pressing tasks related to the holidays that have taken up much of my time, I really got behind in Tourmaline’s Countdown to Christmas!

Days 12 & 14: Lights and Colors
Holiday decorations in many colors

Our former house in Des Plaines is decked out for Christmas far better than we ever even attempted to do! I’m proud of our daughter & son-in-law (who live there now) for putting so much effort in it! Notice the moving colored lights projected onto the second floor dormer!
Christmas tree elegantly decorated in blue & gold, in the lobby of our senior community’s main building. I like the way the lights on the tree reflect onto the dark blue of the sky outside!
Close-up of one of those decorations

Day 13: Love
Who doesn’t love Christmas? Here’s a bouquet of mostly roses (symbol of love) in our house earlier this week.

Day 15: Candy
Today we walked the halls of the apartment building in our community, for several purposes: exercise (too cold to walk outside!), taking photos, and working on a scavenger hunt. Residents not only decorate their doors, but also the ledges outside their apartments. Sometimes there is candy set out for anyone to partake of!

FRANGO MINTS!! How could I resist this traditional Chicago treat?

Day 16: Candles
Candles make me think of Hanukkah, which we celebrate every year because my husband in Jewish. Since I have no photos of the menorah we use every year at Hanukkah (which ended last night), here is another of those ledge decorations outside someone’s apartment.

Day 17: Creature
Creature?? What does this have to do with Christmas? Oh yeah – elves!

Day 18: Dessert!
Dessert for me means some concoction involving ice cream. But right now, it’s Christmas cookies! Having a box of them in the house makes it hard to resist them! So each night, I have one or two cookies with a cup of tea and a piece of fruit. Christmas isn’t Christmas without cookies!

Back in the days when we could have parties and take cookies from a common plate, a friend of mine gave a holiday party in her apartment, including this delicious variety of cookies!

A Few Random Doors

Welcome, Dan at No Facilities who has taken over the Thursday door challenge!

I haven’t had the chance to photograph many doors lately, but every once in a while, my husband and I go for a drive just to get away from Covid-19 tedium. Here are a few doors from those wanderings.

Lincoln Park, Chicago
On Michigan Avenue – all sorts of Chicago themed souvenirs are sold here!
Not a door, but I thought this guitar made of plant material was cool! (Also on Michigan Ave.)
Town hall, Batavia (?), Illinois. There are two painted bulldogs keeping watch in front!
Colorful shop in western suburbs (Geneva or Batavia)
Three for one!

Craft Jingle Jolly Tree!

I’m back again, ready for days 8-11 of Tourmaline’s Countdown to Christmas!

Day 8: Craft – I don’t do crafts, but as a teacher’s aide, I helped many first graders make gingerbread houses!

Day 9: Jingle If I don’t have something of my own to share, I go to YouTube. Enjoy the music!

Jingle Bells

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Day 10: Jolly Ray Conniff Singers

Day 10: Jolly – Ray Conniff Singers

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Day 11: Tree
I haven’t had a Christmas tree the last two years, but I intend to go out and get a small one so I can use some of the ornaments I’ve collected over the years that have sentimental value. Meanwhile, here’s our Christmas tree at our old house. This (fake) tree was about 7 feet tall!

This is frustrating and never happened to me before! When I published this post, WordPress jammed the videos & photos together and completely took out my narrative! I tried to fix it by going back and designating each narrative as a paragraph block, followed by a video/picture block, but it didn’t work! So I had to make my Tree narrative a caption for the last photo and add lines in between each (which don’t even show up) to separate them.