I’d be lying…

…like a politician if I told you how much fun the past few days have been, but so much has been accomplished, my feeling of satisfaction trumps the aches and pains!

I mentioned previously that I would try to finish everything but the studio and then begin redecorating.

Yep, I did it!

Even the windows and blinds have been washed, some badly needed weather-stripping put in place, and a few paintings have been hung.

See for yourself!

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Apt-2

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All my mismatched, second-hand furniture now looks great, although it took three coats of paint to get it right!

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If you think that was hard work, the tree specialists arrived Thursday morning, and put it four solid days work clearing the land next door, which began like this…

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and ended like this, taken early this morning:

Tree Cutters-15

Here are the in-between images, arranged sequentially:

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Tree Cutters-3

Tree Cutters-4

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This is the 'high man', whom I complimented the other day as he returned from lunch. He is an expert and works quietly because he directs his men with hand signals, which I found pretty amazing!

This is the ‘high man’, whom I complimented the other day as he returned from lunch.
He is an expert and works quietly because he directs his men with hand signals, which I found pretty amazing!

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Tree Cutters-9

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Tree Cutters-11

Tree Cutters-12

Tree Cutters-13

This industrious crew should be applauded for their work, executed in what I consider a very short amount of time!

They kept me busy at every short break I took, and I’ll say I was truly awed, watching all these un-cared-for trees come down, seeing all the dead limbs, and listening to the sound of the chipper as I continued my little (?) paint adventure!

Word is that construction of the parking structure will begin before the end of the year…you can bet I’ll be at my window (and, on the ground!) covering the progress!

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

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Bedroom #2

Bedroom #2

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Bedroom #3

Bedroom #3

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Bedroom #4

Bedroom #4

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Bedroom #5

Bedroom #5

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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.

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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!”

Ornamental Cabbage…

…is quite beauteous in autumnal floral displays, don’t you think?

Orn Cabbage-WM

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It seems to become an even more attractive plant when it is combined with another delightful Autumn tradition: the simple, yet always gorgeous, Chrysanthemum!

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Orn Cabbage and Mums-2-WM

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Orn Cabbage and Mums-1-WM

NOTE:  The above images were processed in Photoshop (TM) utilizing the Watercolor filter overlaid with the Diffuse Glow filter (using pure white as the glow color).

Autumn along Morse Avenue

We’re only two and a half weeks into Autumn, so there’s not much color here in the northernmost neighborhood of Chicago, but there certainly is beauty, as proven during a short walk to the grocer’s on Tuesday.

A burst of gold was the only major color change...as the weeks move on, there'll certainly be more!

A burst of gold was the only major color change…as the weeks move on, there’ll certainly be more!

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Smallish white Roses...

Smallish white Roses

...continue to blossom in the parkways...

…continue to blossom in the parkways…

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...interspersed with the pinks.

…interspersed with the pinks.

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..and bounteous Oak leaves displayed their undersides in a breezy south wind.

..and bounteous Oak leaves displayed their undersides in a breezy south wind.

The weather has been perfect this week, with warm, sunny days followed by crisper nights.

Oh, how I wish this could go on forever!

Demolition Day #2

Shambhala-1

The demolition crew returned Saturday around noon to continue the tear-down of what was known as the Shambhala Meditation Center.

Here are some images of what they accomplished in four short hours:

Sham-1

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Sham-4

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No idea why this Chicago Police Sergeant stopped in...perhaps he needed directions?

No idea why this Chicago Police Sergeant stopped in…perhaps he needed directions?

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The shovel man switched to using this huge claw in order to pull down brick walls.

The shovel man switched to using this huge claw in order to pull down brick walls…

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Sham-26…and the constant stream of water kept down the dust.

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The claw also worked well in dismantling the roof...

The claw also worked well in dismantling the roof…

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Sham-43…and the many interior walls.

The structure was once considered a ‘Sheridan Road mansion’, but had been so carved up into various little rooms inside, some of which had those wonderful ‘drop ceilings’–sorry, I couldn’t resist a bit of sarcasm;  I’m one of those people who wish ‘drop ceilings’ had never been invented–they are soooo ugly!

I went down to ground level on my lazy Sunday afternoon and took many more shots…here are a few:

Sham-Day 2-1

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Sham-Day 2-3

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Sham-Day 2-4

Not bad, for a Saturday afternoon’s work and, surprisingly, there wasn’t nearly as much noise as I had thought.

This demo crew approached this project with precision and also seem to be quite safety-conscious, as one man serves as a type of ‘director’, giving a lot of hand signals to the shovel operator…and he also has a piercing whistle to let the shovel operator know when to stop.

It’s quite apparent they’ve worked together many times in the past.

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I’ve taken many, many more images…and Monday’s group has not even been re-sized, so I’ll try to get them up as soon as I can.

I seem to be the only photographer cataloging this demolition, as I’ve seen only two others who only took a few shots, then walked away.

In my mind, cataloging is extremely important historically…we must be able to ‘know what things were like along the way’ in order to make a better life for future generations.

Ultimately, I’ll process all the images and turn them into a video slide show and, perhaps, present it to Tawani Enterprises, Inc. to commend them for all the good things they are doing for the Rogers Park neighborhood.

Early Autumn Color

These over six feet high Canna plants reside in two huge pots along an entry walk to an apartment building on Eastlake Terrace here in Rogers Park.

Unlike many Cannas, these produce no evidence of flowers, but each mature leaf is approximately two and a half feet in length, and very impressive.

I found that utilizing the Canvas Texture filter in Photoshop (TM) also enhanced the sumptuous colors–see for yourselves!

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It has begun!

I’ve been working pretty hard this week, getting walls and ceilings primed with stain blocker and applying the finish coat of paint…but the REAL work has begun next door, with the first bit of demolition of the Shambhala Meditation Center!!!

A crew began constructing the surrounding fence on the property shortly after noon.

A crew began constructing the surrounding fence on the property shortly after noon.

 

Just before 2:30, the shovel fired up and clawed down a metal cable tube...

Just before 2:30, the shovel fired up and clawed down a metal cable tube…

 

...then began the tear-down in earnest on a rear addition of the building.

…then began the tear-down in earnest on a rear addition of the building.

 

Bricks went flying, the pile of rubble growing by the minute!

Bricks went flying, the pile of rubble growing by the minute!

 

I rushed down to street level, taking a shot from the parking lot...

I rushed down to street level, taking a shot from the parking lot…

 

...then walked around to the rear of the building, where the shovel was already shut down before 3:30 PM!

…then walked around to the rear of the building, where the shovel was already shut down before 3:30 PM!

One man, one shovel…managed to take down the addition in less than an hour (image taken at 3:22 PM)!

That’s what I call efficiency!

After speaking with one of the fence constructors, who has worked for Tawani Enterprises (chaired by Col. J. N. Pritzker), I have no knowledge if work will continue over the weekend or hold off until Monday…but I’ll be here, photographing as much as I possibly can.

The best thing, at this point?  That ugly halogen vapor light, which illuminated my apartment every evening for the past 4+ years, is OFFpermanently!!!

WHEW!

It’s been yet another horrendous week!

Out of the past eight days, two were spent at a hospital, one for a CT chest scan with iodine injection, the other for a mammogram. Both tests turned out well (thankfully!).

Last Friday was another doctor’s appointment to determine if the ‘add-on’ medication is aiding in lowering blood pressure–and it IS! More good news for me!

The other two days were spent cleaning, sorting, doing laundry, and moving furniture in order to spend Saturday and Sunday priming and painting two smallish hall areas and a much larger area where I sleep. I am about half-way finished painting the apartment–a great feeling, indeed!

BUT…on Saturday morning, I first wanted to post…and my monitor ‘growled’ at me and began clicking on and off!

I continued throughout Sunday to get some response, instead receiving only a black screen, and more on/off clicking.

Frustrated, I turned everything off, shoved the computer desk over a few feet, laid down drop cloths to protect the floor, taped along the baseboards and proceeded to paint woodwork (which I truly enjoy–it’s actually very relaxing for me to concentrate on painting well).

With no working monitor on Monday, I tried contacting my computer guy, who was out all day on a job in the suburbs…I finally spoke with him late this morning, and made an appointment with him for 8:00 PM tonight to come and see what the problem could be.

Monitors can fail, and mine is coming up on five years old, so we also discussed the possibility of acquiring a new one (UGH! More money, I thought, and I just gave him the final payment for the new motherboard/CPU today!).

He had a nice surprise for me though–a new 2GB memory RADEON graphics card, which would replace the Standard VGA graphics adapter!

He arrived shortly after 8:00 PM, and was truly puzzled at the monitor’s lack of response, so he finally popped open the unit, placed the card in the PCI Express slot, then turned on both monitor and computer and began the install…which was successful!

He then tweaked the resolution, and I now have a ’round’ analog clock on my desktop, not an elongated oval…and I do NOT need a new monitor!

YAY!

He also discounted the cost of the card, so even with our exorbitant Chicago sales tax (9.25%!), It only came to a bit over $60.00!

YAY–again!

So…I am finally ‘back in business’ with a properly-working computer and monitor for less than $300.00, and can present this wonderful image I captured last Wednesday while walking in Evanston from the hospital to the train!

The Autumn afternoon sunlight was perfect, and the subject?

Well, have a look:

A 1930-ish little boy and his dog...probably the most charming garden statue I've ever run across!

A 1930-ish barefooted little boy and his dog…probably the most charming garden statue I’ve ever run across!

I’d like to thank you–all of my followers– for your patience of late!

It’s been a difficult several months and, yes, a few bedbugs came through the open electrical outlets while I was painting this weekend, so the exterminator is returning on Friday, this time to do what I asked (demanded, logically!) the last time he was here:

“Bring a stud-finder, locate a stud, then proceed 8 inches from that stud, drill a hole in the wall and heavily powder that section of wall.  Proceed with this process every 16 inches along the entire wall, please–not just haphazardly?”

He argued with me about this last time, and was very ‘cavalier’ re: “If you see one or two bedbugs, it’s no big deal.”

Well, I had THREE yesterday…one was crawling up my newly-painted wall at 10:20 last night…so I gave the building manager a bit of ‘that place down under’ this afternoon–and I don’t mean Australia!!!

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I should be able to finish painting this coming weekend (it IS a bit tough on this old gal, going up and down the ladder so much, but I totally enjoy painting well, which I had done professionally for a number of decades in the theatre and both businesses and private residences), so bear with me if I don’t post for a day or two, or get to view and comment on those blogs I follow–I’ll catch up, little by little, bit by bit!

And…I have many, many new images to present which need to first be processed–all in good time!

For right now , ‘true happiness’ is a healthy body…AND a working computer!!!

At the Emil Bach House parkway…

Leaves on the trees are yellowing...

…leaves on the trees are yellowing…

...the daisies lose color and petals in stages...

…the Daisies lose color and petals in stages…

...and the Hostas fade gracefully.

…and the Hostas fade gracefully.

As for the renovation of the 1915 Frank Lloyd Wright-designed house, the new layer of stucco is being applied, and I’m certain there is work going on inside as well.

Bach House Stucco-1

A closer look:

Bach House Stucco-2