The trees again…

Yesterday while engaged in my afternoon gazing out the windows, I noticed a large clump of leaves in a very bare tree. Curious as to what it might be I put the zoom lens on the camera to get a closer look…

That is most probably some critter’s nest – possibly squirrels? But that is one heck of a very tall tree, do squirrels really nest that high? Here’s a long shot of that tree…

So who’s that living the high life?

Trees, Light and Chocolate

Other than the four unfortunate years I lived in Filthadelphia, I always lived with trees outside my windows. Even when I lived in the middle of Manhattan, my view was trees. I never thought much about them, the trees, I mean, until I had to live without them. You think I am depressed now, you should have known me during those 4 years in Philly.

I live in a condo/apartment building. It is on 10 acres with an outdoor parking lot, tennis courts, a swimming pool and TREES. Everywhere you look – trees, and beautifully landscaped lawns and flowers – some in huge concrete containers, some directly in the ground.

As with most apartment buildings, unless you live in a corner unit you have windows on only one side of your apartment. My living/dining room is 22 feet wide and 17.5 feet of that is window. Same goes for both bedrooms, the smaller bedroom is my “office”. Also, my apartment faces NW so we get the afternoon sun and the amazing afternoon light.

Around 4pm I am usually at my desk, doing whatever one does at one’s desk, and I am always distracted by light – through the trees. I sit and just gaze and let my mind wander. And I take pictures. Lots and lots of pictures – like yesterday for instance.

These two photos are straight-out-of-the-camera – no editing. I love how the light makes the leaves even more red than they are, it just blows my mind – the light through the trees. It was really windy when I took these and that added another element to these photos…

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As for chocolate – I hate to cook. There was a time in my life when I enjoyed it but not recently. I have always loved to bake but three years ago my husband was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and sugar became verboten in our house – no more baking! Just another situation I have no control over that is sucking the life out of me.

But I have been jonesing for cocoa spice cake – it’s easy to make and oh so good! It’s been 3 years since I had any – but today, today I had to have some and I just so happened to have applesauce in the house (tho I have no idea why I have applesauce). So – off to my least favorite room in the apartment and in short order the place was smelling of chocolate and cinnamon and nutmeg…I scarfed a small piece right away and as soon as I hit “publish” I will be off to have a nice cuppa and a BIG piece of cake.

Because I’m such a nice person I will share the recipe –

Enjoy!

And I’m done!

In the past 5 days I have:

Purchased online:  2 balls of yarn, some crochet hooks, some cold/flu OTC medicine, a humidifier, cat food and kitty litter and the monthly Amazon gift card I send to my stepdaughter to cover diapers and other baby needs for her 3 month old and 2 year old.

~ I also finished designing my Christmas cards and ordered them.

~ Sent “Christmas presents” to my adult step-children – ie: checks.

~ Sent checks to the 4 animal welfare organizations I support.

And now I am done with shopping for the month of December, and other than sending out the Christmas cards, I am also done with Christmas.  There will be no other “gifts”, no decorating, no nothing else.

December is now done and dusted!

All the kool kids are doing it

It seems, this being December 1st and the faux holiday, Christmas, has begun in earnest, people are posting holiday songs. Now the only good thing about the Christmas holiday is the music, be it “religious’ or not religious.

Back in the days (yes, the olden days) before mp3s and itunes and youtube, my husband and I would make Christmas cd’s as gifts. Each year we had a theme – from country to classics. He burned the cd’s from his own extensive music collection, I did the artwork for the covers. They were quite popular gifts and requests for more copies came in each year.  We stopped after 5 years but subsequently new acquaintances would receive the entire 5 volume set as a gift.  They were a lot of work to put together and there were many obscure gems which some people loved and others hated –

There was a version of “Silent Night” that my husband and I absolutely loved, we considered it the definitive version of that song, but as it turned out, we were the only ones.  People reacted almost violently to our favorite version of “Silent Night”.

So to start the musical season off on an interesting note, I offer you my favorite version of “Silent Night” for you to hate, or enjoy, as your musical tastes dictate.

I think ‘holidays’ are all a bunch of bushwah

Coming up next week in the USA is the questionable holiday called “Thanksgiving” – wherein we ostensibly celebrate the generosity of native Americans towards the interloping Northern Europeans .  Better that the native Americans had let the interlopers starve.

At any rate United States-ians celebrate by eating turkey, a rather tasteless bit of poultry, along with mashed potatoes, the texture of which makes me gag, brown gravy, which isn’t so bad if you make it with a lot of wine, worcestershire sauce and black pepper. There is also, for some, sweet potatoes which are quite good actually and somehow mashed sweet potatoes are quite enjoyable to me. I’m not sure what all else Anglos eat on Thanksgiving – oh yes, cranberry sauce. I love cranberries!

I’m Italian-American. We always ate our native foods on “holidays”. For Thanksgiving, oh yes there was a turkey but it never really made it out of the kitchen – no one really liked it, it was just made in deference to the American tradition. One year it was completely forgotten in the fridge and was still cooking hours after dinner was done and the guests had gone home.

My husband is Boston Irish so things like mashed potatoes and brown gravy are like mothers milk to him. I think mashed white potatoes are quite gross and they make me gag. Mashed sweet potatoes  are quite nice, without marshmallows, thank you very much, tho I do prefer my sweet potatoes baked.

Over the years we have been married I have cooked the traditional American Thanksgiving meal, very reluctantly, and eaten very little of it. Or we were invited to be guests and I ate very little of it. For the past 12 years we have lived in social isolation so there have been no invitations and I have made this meal for just the two of us. I have hated it – the making of and the eating of.

This year I literally broke down in tears, whining about how I hate the eating, and cooking of, these foods. “Do you really have to have this?” I whined to my husband.  He graciously, but I know, reluctantly, conceded that, no, these foods were not necessary, after all it was just another Thursday.

So – YAY! Next Thursday, dinner will be rib eye steak and baked Yukon Gold potatoes. Which quite honestly is a standard Thursday night dinner.

Whew – finally dodged that bullet.

The Cats

I was having a problem with my camera – photos were coming out fuzzy, turns out I had been futzing around with some buttons and dials and the focus was re-set to something totally wonky.

Now that I have that fixed, I present to you The Cats…captured in bed, as usual because that’s where they spend their time. I don’t actually make the bed every day until late in the afternoon so as not to disturb them…

Mis Frankie Lulu Belle, the love of my life (who hates cameras)

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and then there is the large orange cat, BB – he’s nice boy but he hassles Miss Frankie and lives to eat *sigh*

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