I was up just before dawn and first thing I did was plug in the tree. In the darkness it lights up the entire front and dining rooms! Then I got the food ready to feed my tribe of fat squirrels and birds and opened up the patio door. In the sky to the east/southeast was a large bright shining star (I learned later it is probably Jupiter or possibly a comet that is passing by Earth right now). It was so beautiful I ran for my camera.
I didn't get any good photos - this one is the best and that is not saying much:
You can see dawn on the horizon and the bright star is up near the top of the tree branches just to center right.
And then I ran around to the front of the house to snap a quick picture of my Christmas tree from the outside, the sun was coming up quickly by this point and the skies were clear and calm (and positively balmy for Wisconsin this time of year):
No snow, grass is still green and unfrozen and in sunny spots even still growing! The weather is supposed to be much the same tomorrow so I may pull out the mower and do a final clean-up of the front yard, which is crazy considering it will be December 26th and I can still do yard work. Oh goody, the sun is starting to peek out again (it clouded over about an hour after sunrise, so I was so happy to be up to see the sun first thing this morning).
Here's a picture of five of my very fat (and large) squirrels eating on my back patio. The tribe is probably a couple of dozen, The squirrel who is closest to the patio steps is partially blind and old -- he can't crack open the hazelnuts anymore without difficulty so he gets unshelled peanuts. Okay, so I spoil my wild "pets." I was lucky to be able to get a shot of this many together at one time:
2016 is just around the corner. What will it bring? I've been retired 11 months now and am getting my energy and some of my ambition back. We'll see...