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Seeing the Lights

Unlike last year, there are no outdoor lights festooning our home. As such, we've made two forays this week to see how our local government is spending tax dollars. Neither time have we been disappointed. Photos to follow after I mention that I finally made it to the mall, and not really for Christmas gifts. Instead, I visited Williams Sonoma for, of all things, kitchen sponges. You know, the pop up kind? Years ago I purchased said sponges with a nifty holder that dries the sponge out between uses. My remaining sponge was looking mighty grubby forcing me into action. While there I had fun looking at the decorated windows, no more so than this amazing one from Anthropologie.
What swans have to do with Christmas, I can't answer, but they sure make for a striking display! Apparently, these ladies thought so as well. In another post I'll show off some of the others I saw, but really Gail, isn't this post supposed to be devoted to lights?

Just up the street from us is
all lit up for the holidays. This is a driving tour requiring you to keep only your parking lights on, and in a bonus, they have a radio station set up playing Christmas music. Although I'd seen the sign for a few years now, this was our first visit. The cost? Really? Yes, $3.00, which seems like a small price to pay, especially if you have children who will delight in all the little figures.
A word of caution--surprisingly, it is very dark in the park, making the driving part a wee bit precarious. They could use more lights on the lamp poles as a guide! Taking photos of lights is always a challenge, and with the long exposure necessary, sometimes they turn out like this:
Just so you know that not all my photographs come out great--you generally only see the good ones.

Early the next morning I noticed steam coming off Lake Gem Mary because the temperature was chilly, at least by our standards. In fact, most folks around here call 43 degrees downright cold! Plus, the sunrise was lovely. Throwing on some sweat pants and a jacket, and unwisely slipping my feet into sandals, which by the time I returned to the comfort of our home, were red with the cold! Perhaps you are wondering why I wore sandals, and the plain truth is, that I was rushing to catch the light, which, at that time of the morning, can change dramatically in minutes.
Plus, I saw a pelican flying around the lake, a highly unusual occurence. You just never know what you will see when you leave the house, do you?
Where this bird came from I'll never know. Looks cool though.

B has been working hard, and I thought it might be nice to scoot down to Lake Eola to see the lights so he might take a break. Sunday I saw them, but of course, it was daylight. Then too, it is not often enough that we enjoy Lake Eola because we are always working there. Putting on coats, we parked along Central Avenue, walking around the lake arm in arm. The fountain is lit for Christmas, as are many of the trees.
Oops, before we got there I had B let me out that I might get a shot of downtown from across Lake Lucerne. If you are curious, the red and green striped building is the new Aloft Hotel.
Very clever indeed.

I don't know where you stand on LED bulbs, but I know where I do. Not a fan of them for Christmas lights--they just seem so cold. Apparently they are fans of them at City Hall because everything is LED.
The plaque honoring Orlando Reeves, said to be the man our city is named for. Meandering around the lake they had also wrapped the trunks of some of the palm trees.
It was all very festive. On both sides of the lake there are frames of lights that you walk under. Because Bruce was so pleased with the comments on the photo he took of me at home, he insisted on taking another one.
Eventually we came upon the place where they rent the swan boats. Surprisingly, there were some folks out on the lake in the cold.
Continuing on, we approached the giant Christmas tree which appears to be fake. You think? They used to use real ones, so I'm not sure when they went to fake, but I suppose it was inevitable.
By now we were close to our car but, we still had one more thing to see.
So, they are dubbing this "Eola Wonderland"--maybe we were meant to circle the lake in this direction?  A photo like the one is where you need a technically skilled photographer because of all the light sources--the pole lights were super bright--no getting away from them. Skilled I am not--enthusiastic, a resounding YES!

Heading home down familiar streets, we saw the Christmas star hanging over Orange Avenue. If history is your thing you might find this article interesting; I know I did.
Then again, I grew up here, so naturally I like to be reminded of my childhood. The older I get, the more that holds true. I'm only sorry I got Morgan & Morgan in the photo--he advertises on television ad nauseam with the slogan, "I'm not just an attorney, I'm your attorney!" Fat chance!

One more note on Cypress Grove Park--the display ends on the 18th if you are interested.

Christmas countdown--less than two weeks away!!

Cards--check.
Decorating--check.
Shopping--still a work in progress.
Wrapping--the same.

Are you ready for Christmas?


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