Getting out of the cold at Macy’s

Last Saturday, my trek to downtown Chicago included a quick stop at Macy’s (formerly Marshall Fields) on State Street to view the Great Tree in The Walnut Room restaurant.

These huge, holiday trumpets were first used some eight years ago, and Macy's continues with this tradition. I wasn't able to get any decent shots of the animated window displays, and as I was chilled to the bone, I hurried inside.

These huge, holiday trumpets were first used by Marshall Fields some eight years ago, and Macy’s continues with this tradition.
I wasn’t able to get any decent shots of the animated window displays, and as I was chilled to the bone, I hurried inside.

The decorations were pretty much the same as last year's, but quite impressive nonetheless!

The decorations were pretty much the same as last year’s, but quite impressive nonetheless!

I made my way up to the 8th floor, to look down on the Great Tree, taking a few close-ups of the sumptuous ornamentation--the huge, bright stars...

I made my way up to the 8th floor, to look down on the Great Tree, taking a few close-ups of the sumptuous ornamentation–the huge, bright stars…

...and the gold, silver and copper splashes festooning this almost 40 foot tree!

…and the gold, silver and copper splashes festooning this almost 40 foot tree!

Making my way through the crowds, I ventured down an escalator to the 7th floor, to get a 'full' tree shot. The Walnut Room was packed with diners, long waiting lines and oh-so-many people! It's a real plum to be able to dine under the Great Tree, and I and others are so very pleased that Macy's has kept this tradition since the takeover of Marshall Fields.

Making my way through the crowds, I ventured down an escalator to the 7th floor, to get a ‘full’ tree shot.
The Walnut Room was packed with diners, long waiting lines and oh-so-many people!
It’s a real plum to be able to dine under the Great Tree, and I and others are so very pleased that Macy’s has kept this tradition since the takeover of Marshall Fields.

I had finally warmed up, and just had to get away from the crowds but…

...I saw these, and saw the sign "SALE--all silver jewelry 50% off" and succumbed immediately! After the discounts had been taken, I paid $11.81 plus tax for this $35.00 pair of beauties!

…I saw these, and saw the sign “SALE–all silver jewelry 50% off” and succumbed immediately!
After the discounts had been taken, I paid $11.81 plus tax for this $35.00 pair of beauties!

Ooooh!  Merry Christmas to ME!

I found this sweet display…

…in the window of a local convenience store, and thought it might make a great start to the season’s FREE E-cards for any of you to use.

Just click on an image, copy/save it to your Pictures folder…then send it to a friend!

Ecard-1

*

???????????????????????????????

I shall be making more for the next two weeks or so, as time allows.

Last week and yesterday

LAST WEEK

For several days last week, my spare time was spent getting the Christmas decorations together.

This is just one of the results:

The red and green wreath from last year was ttoally revamped, using gold-leafed pears, small gol and deep green balls, and gold-tipped large pine cones. The old red and green lights were replaced with warm white LED lights, which use about 4.5 watts per 50-light string...I'm very happy I purchased them!

The red and green wreath from last year was totally revamped, using gold-leafed pears, small gold and deep green balls, and gold-tipped large pine cones.
The old red and green lights were replaced with warm white LED lights, which use about 4.5 watts per 50-light string…I’m very happy I purchased them!

Some close-ups:

Gold-Green Wreath-2

*

Gold-Green Wreath-3

*

???????????????????????????????

YESTERDAY

It had been quite foggy for several days, but yesterday’s was the thickest.

04DEC2013 Fog-1

Thrilled with being able to take the time to go out and photograph a few things, I walked over to Sherwin Beach to see the effect of fog at the shore.

04DEC2013 Fog-2

Just to the south is the veranda of 1205 W. Sherwin Avenue, a beautiful spot to look at the lake which had virtually disappeared.

???????????????????????????????

Finally, I headed back home, but not before photographing my own window.

The lights were wrapped around the wreath intentionally...and it's great that it can be seen quite well, even at mid-afternoon, so that all can share the beauty of the Christmas season!

The lights were wrapped around the wreath intentionally…and it’s great that it can be seen quite well, even at mid-afternoon, so that all can share the beauty of the Christmas season!

I’m happy to see…

…that WordPress has brought back its “snow” this season…and it’s falling just about at the rate it did here in Chicago a bit over a week ago!

See for yourselves.

From my studio window

From my studio window

 

From my living room window

From my living room window

But…it did make for some interesting patterns in the now-empty lot next door!

25NOV Snow-3

*

25NOV Snow-4

*

25NOV Snow-5

I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to shoot from my north window, as I’ve been doing the past six winters, but the maintenance man came and removed the screen (a temporary one that really didn’t fit!), and I have a clear view to the north until Spring–or whenever it will warm up here in Chicago!

* * *

I finally had a somewhat ‘slow’ day!!!

After a short run to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription, I actually walked a few blocks out of the way and did some shooting–a rare thing of late!

I hope to have a few of those 121  images up either tonight or tomorrow, so thanks to all for your patience!

This past Saturday…

…I took a break from all the work and walked up the street to the ArchitectureChicago Open House, a city-wide event.

Of course, my sole architectural interests were a mere block and a half walk away!

The Emil Bach House Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, 1915

The Emil Bach House
Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, 1915

As much as I wanted to see inside, I passed by because there was no waiting line next door at the Cat’s Cradle Bed and Breakfast, another renovation financed a few years back by Col. J.N. Pritzker of Tawani Enterprises, Inc.

The Bach House sure looked great from the outside, though the renovation is not yet 100% complete!

The Bach House sure looked great from the outside, though the renovation is not yet 100% complete!

As I walked up the steps to Cat's Cradle, I looked back and took a shot of the looong line at the Bach House. It was a beautiful Autumn morning, and the plantings at both properties were spectacular! But, I quickly turned, and entered a structure I've been very, very curious about.

As I walked up the steps to Cat’s Cradle, I looked back and took a shot of the loooong line at the Bach House.
It was a beautiful Autumn morning, and the plantings at both properties were spectacular!
But, I quickly turned, and entered a structure I’ve been very, very curious about.

Love this door which I believe is the original from 1919, and knew I'd also love the interior!

LOVE this door which I believe is the original from 1919, and knew I’d also love the interior!

I almost felt as if I had somehow ‘gone back in time’, to a much gentler, more civilized era.

The Architect was a Mr. Newman, who drew much inspiration from FLW, as evidenced by the amount of fine woodworking, original wood flooring...

The architect was a Mr. Newman, who drew much inspiration from Frank Lloyd Wright, as evidenced by the amount of fine woodworking, original wood flooring…

...and decorative touches such as this lovely lamp atop the newel post.

…and decorative touches such as this lovely lamp atop the newel post.

Cat’s Cradle contains five bedrooms, each with the flavor of that bygone time, yet each is technologically up-to-date.

I’ll title them in the sequence I viewed them.

Bedroom #1

Bedroom #1

*

Bedroom #2

Bedroom #2

*

Bedroom #3

Bedroom #3

*

Bedroom #4

Bedroom #4

*

Bedroom #5

Bedroom #5

* * *

Because I’ve been so busy in the apartment, painting not only walls but also furniture, and doing some fall cleaning in between, I haven’t gotten around to processing any other images from this wonderful tour.

There’s just one ceiling area to give a third coat, and then only the studio remains…I’ll take my time and do that piecemeal, as it is small and requires a lot of shuffling things back and forth—and I’m pretty ‘pooped’ right now!

I did, however, have a fine chat with one of the Innkeepers, Wayde Cartwright, which was both informative and most enjoyable!

If you plan to visit Chicago on business or vacation, give Wayde or his fellow Innkeeper, Bruce Boyd, a call at 1.773.764.9851, or you can visit www.catscradlechicago.com.

The rates are extremely reasonable, especially when you consider the surroundings and all the amenities provided!

(Yes, that was pretty blatant advertising from me, but if I were visiting, I’d surely love staying here!)

It’s been a long, hard week…

…because I am still painting walls, thanks to the building management who provided the cheapest, chalkiest paint…which does not contain enough Titanium Dioxide to cover very well!

Both the bath and kitchen will require a second coat, while most of the other walls have taken FOUR coats, in addition to the original stain-blocker coat, and the ceiling in the bed area needs a second coat for sure, and hopefully not a third…I really expect to be finished, cleaned up and redecorated by Hallowe’en!

It hasn’t been as easy as it was in the ‘olden days’, when I could climb for hours or paint a room’s ceiling in fifteen minutes (including the cutting in!)…nor can I even climb every day, for that matter.

It’s been long, but (hint-hint to the building management!) could have been accomplished in one, maybe two, coats had the paint been of a better quality, but alas, they are known to be ‘penny-wise and pound-foolish’!

In between the painting, I managed to take hundreds of images of the demolition of the Shambhala Meditation Center next door…which, of course, I haven’t been able to do anything with just yet.

However, I can show you yesterday’s pix, taken at the end of a very long workday for the meticulous, hard-working crew involved.

I’ll call this “The Sham-Gone” series!

The day had been spent sifting and sorting, as huge dump trucks came and went with load after load of broken-up concrete and very sandy subsoil (this area actually used to be Lake Michigan before it was filled in many decades ago--hence, the sand...

The day had been spent sifting and sorting, as huge dump trucks came and went with load after load of broken-up concrete, various metals and extremely sandy subsoil (this area actually used to be Lake Michigan before it was filled in many decades ago–hence, the sand…

...and more sand...

…and more sand…

...and, even more sand!).

…and, even more sand!).

The crew is finished for now, so I guess the next crew will be taking down the trees.

The crew is finished for now, so I guess the next crew will be taking down the trees.

Though that may seem sad to some of you, it’s actually a good thing, as the owners of Shambhala were not very wise stewards, especially in maintaining the trees.

Lots of broken limbs and dead/dying stock littered this property…and a number of trees were allowed to sprout naturally, but were never regularly pruned to allow them space to grow well.

In addition, most of the trees had very shallow roots due to the sandy subsoil, so that as they aged, the potential for crashing down became greater with each passing year.

* * *

I had spoken several times with the crew (mainly the shovel operator and his two assistants), telling them I thought they had done an excellent job.

Though they were all a little embarrassed at being praised, one assistant piped up,

“Well, at least somebody appreciates what we do!”