Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Happy Chanukah!

Yesterday was the first night of Chanukah, quite appropriate for my family's annual visit to Chicago's Christkindlmarket downtown, thanks to Chabad Lubavitch's giant Menorah. At the Christkindlmarket we stock up on horribly expensive but cheaper-than-a-flight-to-Germany goodies like Hanuta (hazelnut-paste stuffed wafers), Mon Cheri (cherry-liquor and cherry-filled pralines), Lebkuchen (German gingerbread, but that's not really the right term), Schokok├╝sse (how to explain? marshmallow-fluff set atop a thin wafer and coated thinly with dark chocolate), and Marzipanbrot (small loaves of marzipan coated in chocolate).

My annual must have: Gl├╝hwein (mulled wine). That stuff actually warms your fingers on a cold night like yesterday. And please notice the specks of snowflakes on my gloves. Romantic, eh? That, and a bag of warm, sugar-and-cinnamon-roasted almonds makes for a nice winter evening out.

Friday, December 12, 2014

12/12/14 - Time Capsule

I am keeping with my tradition of creating a time capsule of the 12th of December, begun as a project on 12/12/12. One day, way in the future, it might be fun to look back on what one particular day at this stage in my life was like, and how, perhaps, the daily routine changed or didn't.

So here goes: Every day begins with a cup of coffee and Morning Pages.

I'm at the post office, bright and early, right when it opens, but still, only one counter is open and four people arrived before me. Not bad, though, for pre-Christmas traffic!

Walking back from the post office, there is a slight dusting of grainy snow on the ground.


Late lunch in the car, driving to pick up my son from school to get a retake of his senior yearbook photo done.

At the photo studio I spot a photography magazine that looks interesting.

Home, finally, after lots more driving. Time to light Shabbat candles and retire from the world for a day.

Monday, December 8, 2014

You Can Always Count on the Waves

I consider living along the Chicago lakefront one of the great blessings of my life. The other day I went for one of my favorite walks, along Rogers Park Beach on the way northern tip of the city. I have a special love for the lakeshore in winter. The combination of ice, sand and snow always strikes me as incongruous. Beach is a summer thing. But actually, it's not. It's there all the time.

As I reached the end of Pratt Avenue where the street dead ends into the park and beach, I could hear the waves. You can always count on the sound of the waves, can't you? Sometimes they roar, other times they tinkle so softly that you only hear them close to the water's edge.

On this day, they were pounding the shore. The pier was glazed in ice so that I didn't dare venture farther out to the lighthouse, not because of the ice but because of the icy shower that was threatening at all times.

The wind was blowing hard and even though the sun was shining, just taking these photos with my Smartphone, my hand was frozen stiff in no time. The air was around 20F that day.

I always find the sound of the waves immensely soothing, even if it's cold and the water leaves everything in its wake glazed in ice; even if I have to watch my step between the slippery sand and the cold waves reaching for my boots.


Enjoy the roar of these icy waves without the cold in this little video. 

Winter beach greetings!