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Winter January 2016



For this week’s challenge, share an image that depicts transition. Let life itself be your muse. For more information go here.

In this part of the country transitions can be rather drastic … taking place in just a matter of days.

Two weeks ago everything was sunny, colorful and totally FALL.


And then we had a week of cold, winds and never-ending rain. And the same view transitioned to this …


And in case you’re wondering, I still have an entire yard filled with leaves.




Meteorologically, yesterday was the last day of winter, but you sure wouldn’t know it from the 7+ inches of snow littering up the streets, walks and lawns.Morning Snow

Mlle. Renee made a few tracks in the snow, but only close to the house were the accumulation was lighter.

Renee Trails


When she ventured into the deeper snow she seemed lost in the wilderness.

March 1 - Snow Dog

Oh, well, I guess she’s getting tired of the winter weather, too!


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. 


It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Winter!


The sun was shining brightly … the sky was a deep cereulian blue … and the trees were noticeably bare … even though the solstice is officially still three weeks in the future, all of the indicators say it is already here!

Rob’s Random Ramblings And Observations – 11/29/2014




There’s a saying in West Walnut Manor … if you don’t like the weather today, just come back tomorrow! And that’s the way the weekend started on Saturday morning. The sun was out, and it was a picture of FALL all over the place.

GoldenrodThe GOLDENROD was in full bloom!


And the leaves were still falling …IntoTheWoods2

Or totally fallen!

As the morning dwindled, so did the sun. And by afternoon the sky filled with dooming, gloomy clouds. As the afternoon gave way to evening, little balls of sleet began to fall covering the ground with a blanket of white. By Sunday morning it had all melted.

By noon today Winter arrived, and it started snowing! WinterWoods

First covering the branches and never-say-die leaves that remained on them …WinterWoods2

And then moving on to cover the ground and the leaves I didn’t get raked up because it was too cold to go outside.

Right now in mid-afternoon we only have a little over an inch of snow on the ground. But it is expected to continue falling through the evening and night.

So, what’s left to do …SnoDazeStickyBuns

… Other than baking SNO-DAZE STICKY-BUNS! A wonderful combination of butter, brown sugar, chopped pecans, cinnamon and white chocolate chips — just the treats needed to go with a cup of hot cocoa.



Actually, the overnight low was 2 above zero, but the wind chill dropped that to somewhere between -10 and -15! Not that I went outside to test it. I did get up at 4:00 to let Mlle Renee out to water the lawn. That’s what happens when Renee doesn’t want to get out of a warm bed (mine) before turning in for the night. Anyway, she woke me up at four to open the door and let her out. I let her out, and before I could say “This floor is freezing! Why didn’t I put my slippers on?” she was coming through the sun porch door. (Why do they call it a sun porch in the middle of the night in the middle of winter?) Anyway, Renee beat me getting back to the bedroom, and was waiting at the door for me to turn all the lights off and get back to my bed. I think Renee must be a vampire dog, because she won’t go into my bedroom until I tell her she can come in. Then she comes in and waits for me to get in bed and pull up the covers before she jumps in and snuggle down. She’s a very welcome visitor on chilly nights. She doesn’t like to sleep under the covers with me, but prefers to sleep on a fluffy terry cloth beach towel I spread over my comforter. Also she snuggles next to my legs which she uses as a pillow for her head. She is probably the best sleeping partner with whom I’ve ever shared a bed. She doesn’t snore or toss and turn during the night.

To be honest, I’m not adjusting to the polar vortex winter we’ve been having. Tuesday I had to dress up like an Nordic explorer to trek to an appointment with my dermatologist. I wouldn’t think of cancelling because it took me three months to schedule it. Who thinks about frigid weather in November. But then yesterday, the temps moved into the upper 30s only to plunge overnight again. Tomorrow, the temp is going back into the 30s! And guess what? MORE SNOW!

And you wonder why I’m suffering and singing the winter blahs.

DSC08944Though I think compensating for the weather by cooking comfort food is going to add a few extra pounds.  Tonight, I made Parmisian Crusted Shell Pasta with ham.

WINTER RULES! My World And Welcome To It!

DSC08911 FRIDAY the 17th of JANUARY, and it was a day totally lacking in any hint of warmth. Unbelievably, I woke up at five and I felt as if I was sleeping in an igloo! So I called my faithful companion and coaxed her into my bedroom and onto my bed. She snuggled against my legs and feet and soon they thawed out. It took her about 30-second to fall asleep and start snoring. Naturally, I soon followed her.

We slept in until the alarm went off at nine. I got up and checked the remote external thermometer to discover that it was 13F out. Wish I had known that before I got out of bed. I had set the alarm because I was scheduled for a lunch meeting with a bunch of guys who went to high school with me. You would have thought that a bunch of well-educated older gentlemen would have had enough sense to choose a day that was a bit warmer for their lunch gathering. So I cleaned up, got dressed, and braved the chilling winter winds.  Mlle. Renee went back to bed, and she had never even gone to high school.

This is what winter looks like!

This is what a Saint Louis winter morning looks like! Snow flurries, too!

The lunch was scheduled at the original Pasta House restaurant in University City and we spent two and a half hours mostly talking with eating in between.  Then when we broke up, I stopped at a bakery and picked up some winter comfort food to take home.FreshBakedBreadThere’s really nothing better to eat on cold winter days than hearty, fresh-bake multi-grain bread with strawberry jam and a mug of hot cocoa. Also while waiting for my Metro bus to take me home I took this picture of an endlessly long and graffiti emblazened freight train.DSC08902

And when I got home, the temp had almost reached 20 F and the snow was still falling.

So when I got warmed up, I had time to work on today’s origami project.DSC08912

And that was my totally chilling winter’s day.


MY DAILY CALENDAR FOR SUNDAY, DAY 356 OF 2013: And the remaining days of 2013 are quickly dwindling down to a precious few. Today I spent the day creating and wrapping the gift boxes I’ll be handing out on Wednesday. I’m not one for store-bought gifts. Instead I try to assemble a gift box that reflects the personality of the giver and recipient.  (Not that I’m cheap or anything.)  That’s why it took me all afternoon printing off things from the computer and wrapping up the boxes. Besides, it was quite cold outside today, and I only went out to feed the birds and take the trash dumpster down to the curb for pickup tomorrow. I also had a complete turkey dinner with all the trimmings. In other words, I cleaned-up all of the leftovers in the freezer.


FIRST LOOK TIP: The only place for the is under the 1.

And do I hear the prancing of reindeer?SparkleDeer


MY DAILY CALENDAR FOR SATURDAY, DAY 355 OF 2013:  The bad news is … today is officially the first day of winter and the shortest day of the year. The good news is the days get longer from here. To make today a totally miserable day, it was cold and it rained all day!  That also mean there were slick roads in a few areas around town. I stayed in and baked cookies.



It wasn’t easy, but I only allowed myself to taste test one of them. Believe me, they are better than good! And easy to make, too. Here’s the recipe …

Oreo Cheesecake Cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) softened unsalted butter
6 oz. carton of cream cheese at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup mini dark chocolate chips
2 cups crumbled Oreo cookies
(Preheat oven to 375 and line a cookie sheet with parchment.) 
In the bowl blend the butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer until combined.
Add sugar and vanilla, mix well.
Add flour one cup at a time and mix on low just until combined.  Stir in chocolate chips with a rubber spatula.
Pour Oreo crumbs into a shallow bowl.  Scoop dough in 1.5-inch balls and roll in cookie crumbs until they are throughly covered.  Space cookies about one to two inches apart on the cookie sheet. Place the cookie sheet on the center rack of the oven and bake about 15 minutes. Remove and cool on the cookie sheet for about five minutes then move the cookies  to a wire rack and cool completely.


Just wanted to show you the messages I get on weekends.

6efcd7ddccf21234c TODAY’S MENSA PUZZLE:DSC08656

And in case you forgot, there’s only three more shopping days to Christmas.