CFFC: Winter Textures

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week is Textures. These photos were all taken in the past three months – winter months.

Textures on screens in winter

Textures on water and ice

Textures of tree bark

Three different textures in a still life on my mantel

Texture of my favorite sweater

Loving S Words

Catch-up time for Paula’s February Month of Love challenge!

And what do you know?? All my loves for this post start with the letter S, which is the subject of /Lens-Artists Photo Challenge!

Feb. 23: I love…sunsets (and sunrises, although I’m hardly ever awake for those! 🙂 ).

Somewhere at sea
The wires are unfortunately visible, but I like this sunset against Chicago’s skyscrapers.
I took this on a walk a few days ago – it’s not quite sunset, but the sun is low in the sky, casting shadows from the tree.
Sunset from an airplane
Sunset in Tanzania

Feb. 24: I love…spring! I already included summer as one of my loves, but the spring is special too, because it is the season of hope and anticipation. The cycle of life begins, emerging from winter snow and cold, producing new life in flora and fauna. Last spring, I took photos of my daffodils on the side of my house in March, from shoots to blooms.

Fruit trees bloom.
And my garden was newly planted.

Feb. 25: I love…singing. I never had good manual dexterity to play an instrument but I’ve always loved to sing. When I was a young adult and needed a spiritual outlet, I turned to singing by joining a community choir. After moving to Des Plaines, I joined the choir at First Congregational Church and still participate in that! It’s rather hard during the pandemic to do group singing, but we use Zoom and a music software called Upbeat to practice and then record the pieces we sing. So I’d like to end with a song about singing (with a virtual choir that may also use Upbeat software!):

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.!

Countdown 2 Xmas

I’m struggling to keep up with Tourmaline’s Countdown to Christmas! I got as far as Day 3, so today I’ll have to get four more days done!

Day 4: Movie
There are lots of holiday movies but only two of them have ever been an annual tradition. When I was a kid, every year we’d watch Menotti’s operetta Amahl and the Night Visitors. My siblings and I knew it so well that even today we can quote (singing, of course!) from it.

Several years ago, I acquired the DVD of Love Actually, which is sort of a holiday movie. I really enjoy this movie and we watch it almost every year. There were a few things that made it special:
1. Colin Firth
2. Colin Firth attempting to speak Portuguese
3. the soundtrack
4. Sam, the 12-year-old character
5. the scene where the prime minister (played by Hugh Grant) “tells off” the American president
6. the fact that my mother loved it until she thought about it and decided it was “soft porn.”
7. Colin Firth proposing to the love of his life in Portuguese at a restaurant in Portugal

Day 5: Music

I love carols and Christmas songs, but my favorites are the classical pieces associated with Christmas: Handel’s Messiah, Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker and others. That said, I love a few Christmas songs that I can’t get enough of.

Oddly, although I don’t believe that it is a fact that Jesus was actually the product of a virgin Mary and God, nor that Jesus literally walked on water, etc., my favorite three Christmas songs that give me goosebumps are:
Mary Did You Know


The Cherry Tree Carol

The Prayer (not specifically for Christmas, but it’s on Celine Dion’s Christmas album)

Day 6: Plants
A poinsettia, what else?? The poinsettia is native to Mexico where some of its leaves turn red (or white) around Christmas time. This happens because of the shorter days of December. I was told that if I wanted my poinsettia to rebloom, I should put it in a dark place, to coax the leaves to turn red again. Instead, I killed the poinsettia because I forgot about it and it was totally neglected! Here’s a photo I took in January of a poinsettia with red & white leaves (obviously it didn’t live in my house!)

Day 7: Fireplace
My son and I never lived in a place with a fireplace when he was young enough to believe in Santa Claus! I would hang his stocking on a nail! By the time we moved into our house with a fireplace, he was 10 and no longer believed in Santa. So then I just hung decorative stockings over the fireplace! Alas, I have not a single photo!


The Changing Seasons: September 2020 – Beauty and Weirdness

Marilyn Armstrong of Serendipity Seeking Intelligent Life on Earth has taken over a monthly challenge called The Changing Seasons.

The Changing Seasons is a monthly challenge where bloggers around the world share what’s been happening in their month. To join in, you can either:
 1. post 5-20 photos in a gallery that you feel represent your month. Don’t use photos from your archive. Only new shots. 
or
2.  post a photo, recipe, painting, drawing, video, whatever that you feel says something about your month. Don’t use archive stuff. Only new material!

In either case, tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so others can find them. One thing that won’t change though. Include a ping-back to Marilyn’s post, and she will update it with links to everyone else’s.

Marilyn says, “For those of us who have participating in this challenge for years … since the first years when Baron Guzman ran the challenge, I think we have our own style on how to make this work. I could never use a single picture. I’m too indecisive. Especially given the rapidly changing climate we are experiencing, I think this is an important challenge.” Ditto for me about indecisiveness! So here’s my September photo gallery: Visits to kitschy or pretty places in our area (because we can’t travel), flowers, and season changes were the things that characterized September 2020.

Recycling styrofoam at Dart Co. in Aurora; sculpture called “Solitude”; Mr. Eggwards (Humpty Dumpty doppelganger); sunflowers at Cantigny estate in Wheaton; Tribune magnate McCormick’s house at Cantigny; outdoor BBQ stove at my niece’s house in Evanston; 4 silos surrounding Inverness Town Hall; Black Lives Matter billboard (a little bit of sanity in an area full of Trump signs on lawns); all that’s left of a factory in Grayslake, now in the middle of a park; kitschy Egyptian copies of statues & pyramid in Wadsworth, officially known as “Gold Pyramid House” (the pyramid isn’t gold right now because they had a fire); hibiscus flower after rain; rare red flower called “cardinal flower” (it disappeared within a day or two); zinnias in my garden; mini petunias in my garden; tree branches on the campus of our community; katydid (I feel an affinity – we share a name!); sunset in a nearby suburb; another sunset in a nearby suburb; West Lake (pond on the campus here) with its many ducks – most of them young adults (a few months ago most of them were ducklings).


CFFC: Dead or Wilting Flowers and Leaves

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week is photos of dead or wilting flowers and/or leaves.

We needed to get some raking done!
Wilted orchid
Hydrangeas that were once blooming in white turn green and brown as they die in the fall, without losing their shape!
Flowers gone to seed
These flowers have seen better days!
Sunflower sans petals
This leaf isn’t dead or wilting, but it soon will die because it has been ravaged by Japanese beetles (they are particularly ferocious this year), creating this “lattice” pattern.