Have you ever had one of those days where nothing is going your way and everything you try just gives you more headaches? I had one of those days. Solution? Go out to see a beautiful light show at the Illumination show at Morton Arboretum. I know it sounds crazy, but as soon as I started walking the snowy trails I forgot all about my troubles and I was just mesmerized by the lights dancing in the trees. It was not just pretty x-mas lights wrapped around the trees and shrubs, but the lights were moving, changing colors and projected across the pond and the sky. There were several stations where you could interact with the lights. I hovered my hand over one station and depended on how many fingers I showed, the pattern of lights projected across the pond changed. I sang Jingle Bells to the black walnut trees and the lights responded to my voice. The most popular with the children were the hug a tree. The color of lights changed depended on how hard you hugged one of the four trees. I was kept warm by several warming stations throughout the trail with roaring log fires. My original plan was to take a quick photograph and get into the club house to see the lights from indoors but I ended up staying out for over 3 hours in the frigid 12 F cold. I had this suspicion that I was the last person to leave the place... lonely car in the parking lot was the clue.... me, the moon and the lights.
Table Mountain at Sunset from Signal Hill in Cape Town, South Africa
Several years ago I was fortunate to visit this beautiful country of South Africa where Nelson Mandela called home. With the passing of Nelson Mandela it brought back wonderful memories of my time spent in the town of Cape Town, South Africa.
My impression of the country was just breathtakingly beautiful, people warm, kind and helpful. Everywhere I went I was welcomed and shown the best that they could offer. I meet many people. A young, black security guard at the boat dock who I asked to recommend a good place to eat. To my shame, he told me that he never goes out to eat because he needs to help his family. A white shop owner who had lost his management level job because of the company wanting to promote less qualified black employees. A white African student who wished that other people around the world would realize that South Africa is not as hot as other believes and it is a civilized place to live. A Ghanaian who was in South Africa to get a better education and wanting to open his own travel agency. The honorary Mayor of Bo-Kaap sitting on a lawn chair in blue Adidas sweats who was trying to greet all of the tourists. A white gay man at the St. Georges Cathedral (This is the seat of the Anglican Church in SA, and former cathedral for Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Noble Prize and Templeton Foundation winner) who had painted his finger nails purple, helped me with the service which was conducted in English, Afrikaan, and Zulu. Three school aged girls who kept following me at the Kalk Bay and wanted me to take their photographs. An outdoor flower market owner who gave me a single flower of Protea which kept blooming throughout my stay in Cape Town. So many great memories, so many wonderful people.
I was in Chicago and stopped by the Christkindlemarket at the Daley Plaza. I have been going to this traditional German American holiday market for the last several years. Just walking around the market makes me feel like, Yes Christmas is just around the corner. One of my favorite shop (I have many and will post a few later) is this paper star store. I love the bright colors of each star and each one has the different designs that makes it so special.