Sunday, December 31, 2017

Ringing in the New Year: How did you celebrate? How do you celebrate now?

Another New Year's Eve, bringing memories, hopes, cheers, and even a few fears as we move into 2018: 

We lived in the city of Chicago when I was very small, in the neighborhood known as Pilsen.  My grandmother lived just a block away, and one of my aunts and uncles lived just two blocks away.  I remember New Year's Eve celebrations at my Grandma's house.  We rang cowbells!  As we were little kids, we tried to stay up until the New Year rang in and that was quite a treat.  That was it!  But we knew it was a special night from the time we were little.

Mae West celebrating New Year 1936 with tinsel. (John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images)

Other memorable New Year's Eves?

Happy New Year 2018!

Update:  As of 9:30 a.m. Chicago time, Happy 2018 New Year to Samoa, the Christmas Islands, New Zealand, Australia, Tokyo, Seoul, and North Korea.        
Just a few hours before 2018 is here!

The first places to welcome 2018 will be...

The first places to welcome 2018 will be Samoa and Christmas Island and the small country of Kiribati (the former Gilbert Islands). The New Year is coming to those small countries in the middle of the Pacific in (as of 12:33 a.m. Chicago time) in 3 hours and 26 minutes, which is 20 hours before we will welcome 2018 in Chicago, in the Central Time Zone.  So when we awake on New Year's Eve, part of the world will already be experiencing 2018!

You can watch the world turn to 2018 at this link:

Time left before the New Year around the globe!

Actually, the whole Time and Date website is full of interesting tidbits.  I'm surprised I never came across it before.

Follow me on Facebook: Jo's Favorite Things at Facebook

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Late Autumn: A Glorious Autumn Finale by Photographer Robert Blair

Autumn is a very special time for photographers.  I found this photo somewhere on my wanderings a few years back and I saved it.  An image search led me to the incredible photography of Robert Blair.  His gallery contains dozens of beautiful photographs, most of them with nature themes, most of them very seasonal.

But the glorious photo below is the first that drew me to Robert Blair; a photo he took in mid-November 2013 and called "Autumn Finale 2.0"  Perfect for this time of the year:  Snow on the ground, but still some leaves on the trees.

From Rob Blair at Robert Blair Photography:

Found HERE

Sunday, November 5, 2017

November Comes and November Goes...

"November comes and November goes with the last red berries and the first white snows."

................................................................................................   Ode To November...

"November comes and November goes with the last red berries and the first white snows."---I love this poem..November is such a transitional month.

I found this photo at the Facebook page "If the World Had a Front Porch" a couple of years ago and saved it. But the original photo accredited this poem about November to a woman named Clyde Watson... It seems the real author was poet Elizabeth Coatsworth, born in 1893, who lived most of her life in New England and died in 1986.

And please visit "If the World Had a Front Porch"!  A beautiful collection of photos!  

Friday, September 22, 2017

Autumn Begins Friday afternoon, September 22nd!

Happy Autumn!
Friday, September 22, 2017

Art mosaic glass by Singapore artist Anjali Venkat
For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, Autumn greets us (or we greet Autumn) tomorrow, September 22, 2017, at 3:02 p.m. Central Daylight Time.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

More Mother's Day Humor!

Dedicated to all of the Slightly Insane Mothers out there.  Happy Mother's Day!
(More Mother's Day humor and thoughts HERE.)

I haven't checked the source of this quote, but I know it to be true from personal experience:

From Purple Clover
From the New Yorker

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Life Without Zeus.. Garbage and raccoons and expressways and quiet.

Our huskie dog Zeus left us about a month ago, on March 16, 2017.

It was cold and snowy on the day he died; we had one of those late winter snows which gifted us with several inches of heavy wet snow.  Zeus was a husky, and I was glad that he got to walk in that last snow. 

Now spring has sprung.  We've had at least one day when the thermometer hit 80 dgrees here in Chi-town, several 70 degree days, and several strong April rains (more than showers) that are bringing May showers.

Life is different without Zeus.  Though we have a fenced-in yard, I walked Zeus every night, and, often every afternoon, including the day before he left us.  He walked more and more slowly, particularly over the past year, but our walks were still the highlight of his day-- and of my day.

So at 1:30 in the morning I walked out into the cold of the night to look at the sky.  I stood outside and thought about the many walks that Zeus and I took late, sometimes as late as 1 in the morning, particularly if I was working and came home late.  Zeus would be waiting for that walk, even if it was after midnight.

I stood quietly; there was not a car driving down our block nor could I hear a car down Foster Avenue, a somewhat busy street at the far end of the block.  But I could hear cars and El trains near Chicago's Kennedy Expressway.  We don't live that close to the Kennedy as it runs about 2 miles south of us, but when it is very quiet outside, we can clearly hear cars zooming down the Kennedy.  The Blue Line El train to O'Hare Airport runs down the center of the Kennedy, and on quiet nights, like last night, I can hear the El trains heading to and coming from O'Hare.

Then there are the raccoons.  For years our dogs kept the raccoons away from the old partially hollow tree in the corner of our yard.  The dogs did have a few altercations with the raccoons over the years, and the dogs won!  I got into the habit of making sure there were no raccoons in the tree before I'd let the dogs out.  Now, of course, the tree .. and our yard.. is being reclaimed by raccoons.

I have a habit of throwing smelly bags of garbage out the side door to get them out of the house.  For the 12 years we have lived in this house, that wasn't a problem.  When I'd take the dogs (then just The Dog after Daisy left us) out later in the evening, I'd just pick up the smelly garbage bag by the side of the house and throw it in the city garbage cans in the alley.

Well, I tossed a smelly garbage bag out the side door a few days ago.  Yep, you know where this is going.  With no dog to walk, no dog to let in and out, with Easter busy-ness, I completely forgot about that bag of garbage.  I went out there today and it was clear that the raccoons had discovered the smelly garbage and had a field day; they'd ripped that garbage bag open and there was ripe garbage all over the yard.  And tonight, as I stood in front of the house musing about Zeus and the sounds of quiet,  I saw a big fat raccoon happily crossing the street from our neighbor's yard to the park and the river across the street.

I'm sure that our yard now has a big fat X on it in the eyes of the neighborhood raccoons.

So life goes on.  We still tear up from time to time as we are reminded about something about the two dogs that lived with us for 18 years and left us, the last one just a month ago.  I loved having two happy, active dogs to take care of, and I loved having one very old dog who needed help in so many ways in those last years as well.

The yard, the alley, the walk by the river, are all different without our dogs, particularly without Zeus who left us a month ago.  

But life goes on.  Time to pick up the garbage in the yard.. .and to remember that there are no longer any dog walks to remind me to take that garbage out to the alley.

Goodnight, Zeus, wherever you are.  We miss you and we always will.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Boozy Bunny Jello Shots

Another way to booze up your chocolate Easter bunnies:

Photo and recipe from OhBiteIt

I first saw this photo somewhere, can't remember where, but I had to track down the original.. which apparently was published two years ago at a site called "O Bite It".. very clever for a food blog, I must admit!

Just a quick description before I send you off to OhBiteIt for the specifics..

The vodka (or perhaps another alcoholic beverage) replaces the water in the Jello recipe.  So simple!  In this recipe you carefully cut off and save those bunny ears and later "glue" them back on with whipped cream.

Boozed Up Bunny Jello Shots from Oh Bite It  HERE!

Easter desserts: A Simple Easter Nest Cake

An Easter nest cake from Delish:

Easter Nest Egg Cake from Delish

This cake is simple, but really looks extravagent! You can use any bundt cake, store bought, or one you make yourself from your favorite recipe...... Just use a lot of frosting and a big assortment of various Easter eggs and Easter egg candies to fill up the nest.

Details HERE. 

Easter: Time to Enjoy Boozed-Up Bunnies

It's Easter weekend, and time to enjoy chocolate Easter Bunnies... adult style!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Easter Humor- Page 2

Easter (corny) humor collection-- Page 2 (Page 1 is HERE in case you missed it.)

Love those Peeps!

Easter humor.. Page 1 (Updated for Easter 2018)

Presenting my collection of Easter and Easter egg humor!

There's always that one guy that stands out in a lineup.

So silly!  From Healthy Body Buzz: Household hacks with Easter peeps!

How can you not love Maxine?  

Here's two... if you thought that eggs aren't catty...

Different eggs, same thoughts..
More HERE at Page 2 of Easter humor!Check out Easter recipes and ideas at our new blog:  Cheese, Chocolate, and Other Delights! 

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Thirty Days of Flowers - Day 1: Orchids!

Thirty Days of Flowers

I started Thirty Days of Flowers on my Facebook page when it was miserable and cold here in Chicago in late February and March.  It was rainy then snowy then just plain dreary.  So Thirty Days of Flowers will make a splash each day during the month of April 2017.  For April showers do bring May flowers, and by the end of the month we'll have flowers, trees, and bushes blooming everywhere.
Day 1:  Celebrating the annual Orchid Show at the Chicago Botanic Garden which was held in March.


Flowers, whether poking up through the ground, on display in a conservatory, in a store-bought bouquet on your display shelf, or on your dining table; flowers, as paintings or photos framed in your hallway, can help to ease the misery and pain of cold, of depression, of just plain bad tidings, and bad happenings!  And for those of us in cold climates, we can anticipate the joy and bright colors of Spring.

So I started my "Thirty Days of Flowers" project, using photos from family and friends, photos I have collected over the years, paintings of flowers, from both well known artists of the past and from current artists.

Day 1:  Chicago Botanic Gardens Orchid Show

Day 1 was an acknowledgement to the Chicago-area Chicago Botanic Gardens which was holding their annual Orchid Show.  Though the Orchid Show is over, the beautiful photos are still here for us to admire until the next Orchid Show!

Day 2:  Nancy Medina 

And on to Day 2 of Thirty Days of Flowers:  We'll highlight a gifted artist who paints beautiful bouquets of flowers and also holds classes named Nancy Medina.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Daylight Savings Time for 2017 Starts Tonight, Sunday morning March 12!

Update for 2018 HERE!

Finally!  The long dark winter is soon to be over.  Well, winter may not be over, but the early dark evenings will be over.
Daylight Savings Time in 2017 starts Sunday, March 12th! We will have one less hour of sleep tonight, but one more hour of sunlight tomorrow, Sunday evening. Enjoy!

From Jo's Favorite Things...  One more hour of daylight.

Turn your clocks FORWARD Saturday night, March 11th, before you go to bed.  Spring ahead!!
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