images images-3 images-2 Ha! End of winter is some kind of dream. Winter has never ended in the beginning of P1080613P1080598February, at least not in my lifetime. Unless, of course, you hang out in Florida. It doesn’t snow in southern Florida. Ever . . . it rains occasionally but it never snows. In southern Florida raindrops are warm. You know how you like to catch a snowflake on your tongue? Try a warm raindrop.

The astronomical winter (Northern Hemisphere) ends Wednesday, March 19. Still, it could snow, sometimes in April. But not in southern Florida. At this point, you probably think winter will never end, and we’ll all be cold and freezing for the rest of our lives. It isn’t hopeless, just watch the trees bud and the crocuses poke out of the ground in the not too far off future. We. Can. Dream.

END winter NOW! Your thoughts?



Everywhere you go in Phoenix, you will find no snow on the ground. For snow you have to go to the mountains. Choices, it’s good to have choices. Do you snow ski?

But oh, the sand. It is the desert after all. Sand underfoot, sand in your shoes, sand in your car. And when there are sandstorms it gets in your mouth, your eyes, your hair, everywhere. I love the tepid temperatures of sandy Phoenix, and the thorny plants, the florals, the cactus. It is beautifulP1080010P1080015.

There is a wonderful zoo and the botanical gardens to visit where Chihuly art glass abounds. It would be good to spend those few months of the snowy East in Phoenix.P1080052

Look for more next week.

Have you been to the desert? Have you been to Phoenix?



Blue Lagoon in Fall Oil by Ingis Claus

Blue Lagoon in Fall.
Oil by Gail Ingis Claus

Once a reservoir, the blue Lagoon offers many moods,  many views, much beauty. This lake is the kind you swim across, peddle through, fish for fun. There’s an association that was formed in 1952 when a local developer purchased Samp Mortar Lake from the Bridgeport Hydraulic Company. I walk around the lake everyday while I spot the ducks, the geese and the birds flit over the deep, dark, blue vast space. It’s the kind of lake that has a glass like appearance, sometimes black glass, sometimes blue, reflecting the trees, reflecting the docks, reflecting the boats of color at the edges. (more…)



Gail's Christmas angel on her angel tree

Twinkling lights hung on fragrant boughs, laced with golden antiquities; garlands strung from the mantle, framing a glowing fire of crackling pinecones, the family Bible prominently displayed on a table, opened to the greatest story ever told. Walking from room to room, the heavenly scents of fir, pine, hemlock, sweet spices of cinnamon, cranberry, and apple fill the air. Windows are frosted and the walls faintly shudder with the howl of the snow-laden winds outside. Guests filter in and leave their calling cards at the foyer desk, each one a brightly decorated token of the season.

Fireplace in the dining room at the Biltmore

Names are crisply spelled out in fine script, surrounded by pictures and designs in bright, cheery colors. The mail basket is overflowing with cards lavishly printed with the lithographs of Currier & Ives and Louis Prang.  A scrapbook in the parlor, another in the children’s playroom, announce with appropriately selected pages, that Christmas is here in all its spectrum and splendor.

Currier & Ives winter scene

When we celebrate Christmas with family and friends, we have the Victorians to thank for many of its joyful festivities and delightful customs. They revived old traditions, such as caroling, and invented new ones such as sending Christmas cards.

The Victorians also promoted church-going, gift-giving, and charity to the poor as essential parts of the holiday. They transformed the folk figures of Father Christmas and Santa Claus into symbols of holiday generosity, and they greatly popularized Germany’s traditional Christmas tree or Christbaum.

A Christmas Carol

Most of all, the Victorians made Christmas a family celebration, with its primary focus on the Christ Child and children. A Victorian Christmas entailed the exchange of gifts between parents and children; attendance together at Church services; a multi-course family dinner; and visits with friends, relatives, and other families.

Lockwood Mathews Mansion Museum Victorian Christmas


Christmas was certainly celebrated in this Victorian Mansion. Lockwood Mathews Mansion Museum welcomes guests to enjoy the decor of a true Victorian Christmas. For hours and information please go to: www.lockwoodmathewsmansion.com. Those of us involved with the mansion are working towards complete restoration. Will you get involved?

Pine tree aromas pine cones all around

From our house to yours-Greetings of the Season







Christmas evening on the grounds at The Biltmore - I could not pass this image up, it is too beautiful.



The Christmas Tree

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