In other words Fall falls and Winter officially causes our temps to plummet. (Not that it hasn’t been cold around here the last couple of weeks.)Tomorrow

And in case you’re wondering, the above sunset occurred at Fort Riley, Kansas.  Please note that  I spent two winters there many years ago. The solstice is also when a lot of people celebrate ancient pagan traditions like burning the yule log, hanging mistletoe over the doorways and decorating the Tannenbaums. The early Christians incorporated these traditions into the celebration of Christmas and they are still around today.

And as you sit around this week listening to all those familiar Christmas songs, remember that the top ten most popular Christmas songs were written by composers or lyricists who were Jewish.

10. “The Christmas Waltz,”  (Sammy Cahn and Julie Styne)

9. “Silver Bells,” (Jay Livingston and Ray Evans)

8. “Winter Wonderland,” (Felix Bernard)

7. “Santa Baby,”(Joan Ellen Javits and Philip Springer)

6. “Sleigh Ride,” (Mitchell Parrish)

5. “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” (Buck Ram and Walter Kent)

4. “I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm,” (Irving Berlin).

3. “Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow,”(Sammy Cahn and Julie Styne)

2. “The Christmas Song – Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire” (Mel Tormé and Bob Wells)

1. “White Christmas,” (Irving Berlin)  And did you know that Bing Crosby’s recording of this song is the best-selling single record ever.

And yes, Virginia, Rudolph, The Red-nosed Reindeer (Johnny Marks) is also on this list along with The Little Drummer Boy, Sleigh Ride, Jingle Bell Rock, Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree, There’s No Place Like Home For The Holidays, Do They Know It’s Christmas and Have A Holly Jolly Christmas.

So, we owe a lot of our Christmas traditions to a lot of people who weren’t even Christians. That’s why I  share my Christmas love and joy with everyone I know during the holidays! Though I don’t have many pagans on my list of close friends these days.

So Merry Christmas to all, and to all a Happy New Year!

Personal side-note: There is one song on this list that still makes me teary-eyed whenever I hear it today … it is I’ll Be Home For Christmas. And that’s because my Grandmother had five of her six sons serving overseas in the military during WWII, and she would break down crying whenever she heard the song on the radio. 



Renee's Toy Box


So, how could I start my Saturday trip back to the Art Museum without noting the special date on the front of the MetroBus.DSC00888


This is a date sequence that will not happen again until January 2, 2103 — 01/02/03 … a day I think I’m going to miss.

DSC00889 Anyway,  I arrived at the holiday decorated building shortly after it opened on Saturday morning because I was going to see the six-hour Live In HD broadcast of the Metropolitan Opera’s classic production of Wagner’s Meistersinger von Nüremberg in three acts with two 45-minute intermissions.


As you can see from the photo is was a classic full-scale production that totally filled the Met’s stage. And it was glorious! It’s easy to watch a six-hour production when you’re sitting in the comfortable seats of the Art Museum’s Farrell Auditorium with stereo surround sound and high-definition video projection. And there’s lots of leg room between the rows of seats!DSC00902


And I got through all three acts without dozing off!  It was a total experience of a lifetime! And as I walked out of the museum (at five o’clock) I was even able to get a photo of the Museum in its after dark illumination.


It really is a beautiful classic building.  And so is the statue of Saint Louis himself.DSC00906

Despite what you might have heard on the national news recently, Saint Louis is a beautiful and friendly place to not only live, but also to visit.

And everyone is welcome here!





Yes, I spent two … count them TWO … days at the Saint Louis Art Museum this week. On Friday, I went to look at the art. Specifically, a new exhibit of the work of Missouri artist and sculptor Nick Cave.  He is the sculptor of a series of whimsical wearable sculptures called soundsuits.  And you really have to see them.  They’re unique.DSC00863

Speak Louder




In addition two eight-foot round works are also in the exhibit that I found totally mesmerizing.DSC00862

There is also a video of a performance featuring the soundsuits that you can watch. If you’re visiting the city between now and March 8 you MUST see this in person.

While I was in the contemporary galleries, I also checked out a few other works.DSC00859


And this one I really didn’t understand.



Then I had to jump back to 2500 B.C.  for this tiny figure found in Mesopotamia.DSC00867

Where else can you travel through the art work of almost 5,000 years in a single afternoon? And on a Friday afternoon, you can see everything including special exhibitions for free.

And you’ll also find a giant electrical plug on the front lawn in front of the museum.DSC00857


This week, share with us your photos of twinkling light. You will need to find a light source and a reflective surface in order to capture a twinkle, but those are the only limitations. Your photo could be the sparkle of an ornament, as in the photo I’ve shared. Perhaps it is a crisp catch light in the eyes of a loved one, or the millions of twinkles in the waves of a body of water as a sunrise’s first rays appear. Maybe you’d like to try your hand at nighttime photography, and capture the sparkle of stars. Where there is light, there will be a twinkle. (For more information, go here!)TwinkleAnd some trees twinkle all on their own!


After two weeks without a glimpse of the sun from underneath gloomy dark clouds …Sun'sOut

The sun showed up with bright blue skies at the stroke of noon!

(Photo taken at the MetroLink Station waiting for the train to take me Christmas shopping!  I also got a haircut.)


Hurry, Christmas


As winter fast approaches, Moms Nature has been sending us nothing but gloom and more GLOOM! We haven’t had any sunsets for days and our afternoons have been looking like twilight. Add that to the fact that I have never been overly thrilled about Christmas (or any other form of Shopping) and compound it with the fact local groups and now even groups from out-of-state and even country have been going around town   and exercising their constitutional right to protest peacefully by marching through the local shopping centers and stores disrupting business and often forcing the stores and centers to completely shut down. I am a long time advocate of civil rights, but I do not condone civil disruption. So recently I have been limiting my shopping  to a weekly trip to restock the pantry and fridge. So I have forgone Christmas shopping and gift giving for this year.

Instead, I have decided to return to those glorious days of yesteryear (aka, my grandmother’s time) and drag out my personal recipe book to make items of hand baked goodness for people on my gift list. Since Target or Macy’s would not be able to exchange any of these gifts, I have mailed out this postcard so the intended recipients can customize their gifts.Card

Hopefully, I won’t live to regret my holiday decision. Also, don’t expect to see any posts from me the week prior to Christmas.  Also, I am not responsible for any excess calories you consume during the holidays.


I have always been fond of pop-up books and this year I used a gift card I received for my birthday to treat myself to …DSC00775

This is the third volume in the Encyclopedia Mythologica and I would like to share one page with you.DSC00792

Each page spread feature one large pop-up and two smaller pop-ups in each corner …




And in the other cornerDSC00790

And … DSC00787

Guess, you’ll have to get the book to see the rest of the pop-up pages!


In today’s challenge, show us what “gone, but not forgotten” means to you. It could be a photo of a faithful canine friend who’s chasing squirrels in a better place, a spot in your city, town, or village that reminds you of a relationship now over, a talisman that reminds you of something that you can never get back, a photo of you in your smashing 70s silver lamé jumpsuit, or the crumbs that remain from the delicious cheesecake you baked.   (For more information go HERE!)


Today, I looked out the window to see the doom and gloom another late fall rainy day. So what do I miss most?  What else but the bright colors of summer! And a single blossom can really tell a big story!


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