Macy’s Washington Street displays…

…bespeak the gift of entertaining, with mostly traditional themes.

Have a look!

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Macy's Vitrines-7

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Macy's Vitrines-9

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But…these beautiful vitrines were not created by Macy’s display staff!

Macy's Vitrines-1

It’s really nice to know that the students seem very interested in carrying on Christmas traditions…and my congratulations to all of them…it’s a marvelous display!

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Merry Christmas to all, and don’t forget to leave cookies for Santa, and some treats for the reindeer, too!

Mmm, mmm, YUM!

On Washington Street just west of Michigan Avenue, Toni’s La Patisserie windows are filled with Christmasy edibles!

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La Patisserie-3

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La Patisserie-4

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La Patisserie-6

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Okay, you can all stop drooling!

(I think I gained five pounds just taking these shots!)

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!

On a Sunday evening…

…in 1871, on this date, October 8th, disaster flared in Chicago.

The Great Chicago Fire, as rendered by John Chapin (published in Harper's Weekly)

The Great Chicago Fire, as rendered by John Chapin (published in Harper’s Weekly)

From Wikipedia:

The Great Chicago Fire was a conflagration that burned from Sunday, October 8, to early Tuesday, October 10, 1871, killing hundreds and destroying about 3.3 square miles (9 km2) in Chicago, Illinois.  Though the fire was one of the largest U.S. disasters of the 19th century, the rebuilding that began helped develop Chicago as one of the most populous and economically important American cities.

An 1868 map of Chicago, displaying the area destroyed by the deadly, devastating fire.

An 1868 map of Chicago, displaying the area destroyed by the deadly, devastating fire.

The fire started at about 21:00 on Sunday, October 8, in or around a small barn that bordered the alley behind 137 DeKoven Street.  The traditional account of the origin of the fire is that it was started by a cow kicking over a lantern in the barn owned by Patrick and Catherine O’Leary.  In 1893, Michael Ahern, the Chicago Republican reporter who wrote the O’Leary account, admitted he had made it up as colorful copy.  The barn was the first building to be consumed by the fire, but the official report could not determine the exact cause.

There has been speculation as to whether the cause of the fire was related to other fires that began the same day.

The fire’s spread was aided by the city’s use of wood as the predominant building material, a drought prior to the fire, and strong winds from the southwest that carried flying embers toward the heart of the city.  More than ⅔ of the structures in Chicago at the time of the fire were made entirely of wood.  Most houses and buildings were topped with highly flammable tar or shingle roofs. Most Chicago architects modeled wooden building exteriors after another material using ornate, decorative carvings.  All the city’s sidewalks and roads were also made completely out of wood.   The city did not react quickly enough, and at first, residents were not concerned about it, not realizing the high risk of conditions.  The firefighters were tired from having fought a fire the day before.  The firefighters fought the flames through the entire day and became exhausted. As the fire jumped to a nearby neighborhood, it began to destroy mansions, houses and apartments, most made of wood and dried out from the drought. After two days of the fire burning out of control, rain helped douse the remaining fire. City officials estimated that more than 300 people died in the fire and more than 100,000 were left homeless. More than four square miles were destroyed by the fire.

The corner of State and Madison streets showing the utter destruction.

The corner of State and Madison Streets, showing the utter destruction.

The fire also led to questions about the developments in the United States. Due to Chicago’s rapid expansion at this time, the fire led to Americans reflecting on industrialization.  The Religious point of view said that Americans should return to a more old-fashioned way of life, and that the fire was caused by people ignoring morality.  Many Americans on the other hand believed that a lesson that should be learned from the fire was that cities needed to improve their building techniques.  Frederick Law Olsmsted attributed this to Chicago’s style of building:

“Chicago had a weakness for “big things,” and liked to think that it was outbuilding New York.  It did a great deal of commercial advertising in its house-tops. The faults of construction as well as of art in its great showy buildings must have been numerous.  Their walls were thin, and were overweighted with gross and coarse misornamentation.”

A Chicago Tribune editorial published after the Great Fire, stated the obvious...and Chicagoans took that message to heart, as rebuilding began almost immediately.

A Chicago Tribune editorial published after the Great Fire, stated the obvious…and Chicagoans took that message to heart, as rebuilding began almost immediately.

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Chicago is not my hometown, but I feel it is important to know some history about wherever I live.

Please click here if you want to read more about the Great Chicago Fire.

Yesterday…

…while walking up Van Buren Street to the Harold Washington Library, I noticed this odd reflection in the back window of an SUV:

I love the distortion of the building on the northwest corner of Van Buren Street and Michigan Avenue...it wasn't really falling over!

I love the distortion of the building on the northwest corner of Van Buren Street and Michigan Avenue…it wasn’t really falling over!

Just a few steps later, I saw this plaque:

I've walked by this building so many times, yet never took a shot.

I’ve walked by this building so many times, yet never took a shot.

Here’s a look up at The Buckingham facade, with the CNA Insurance building reflected in its windows:

I always like 'wavy glass'!

I always like ‘wavy glass’!

The CNA Center, at the northeast corner of Van Buren and Wabash Streets, is 600 feet tall with 44 stories…I got a little dizzy looking up to take some shots!

Some years back, a woman was killed when one of the panes of glass quite high up dislodged from its frame and fell directly on her...all windows were repaired while the building was surrounded with scaffolding for a lengthy amount of time.

Some years back, a woman was killed when one of the panes of glass quite high up dislodged from its frame and fell directly on her…all windows were repaired while the building was surrounded with scaffolding for a lengthy amount of time.

After I finished at the library, I walked up to Madison and Dearborn Streets to pay my phone bill.

Just across Van Buren stands the Chase Bank Tower, but I haven’t processed those shots yet because…

...to the south of Chase is the Exelon Plaza, with this fabulous fountain surrounded by all the downtown-types having luncheon.

…to the south of Chase Bank Tower is the Exelon Plaza, with this fabulous fountain surrounded by all the downtown-types having luncheon.

Here’s a closer-up shot in color:

It was a glorious day to dine al fresco, but I didn't, as I had quite another reason for being there!

It was a glorious day to dine al fresco, but I didn’t, as I had quite another reason for being there!

(to be continued)

Just like this bee…

…going ’round and ’round, I have been systematically pushing forward to success in getting rid of the dreaded, nasty bedbugs!

Bee on Sunflower-Diffuse Glow White BKGD

Each morning, I’ve made the rounds checking walls and ceilings, dismantling sheets, blanket and pillow cases, then shaking them out over the tub–NOTHING!–not one ugly bedbug since the exterminator visited for the third time last Thursday.

My hard, strenuous work patching and caulking has really paid off–but the exhausted feeling is still there, unfortunately.

He punched quite a number of holes in the walls, and pumped in some powder; I then immediately patched the holes, hoping and praying those nasty beasties are stuck in the walls and will soon die–well, they CAN live for one to three years without ‘nourishment’, but I’m hoping and praying just the same!

So…my life is somewhat back to normal–whatever THAT is, and I can finally afford to take some time to post and go through all YOUR posts (though there were so many, it’ll take quite a while, so I began with the newest).

RE: the computer:

Now that I’ve had to reinstall Adobe CS4 and have all the current updates, I’m planning to spend some time learning new ‘ins-and-outs’ in Illustrator (TM) in hopes of enhancing the images I present.  Though I’ve had it for over four years, I’ve never really ‘worked’ in it, so I do look forward to that new challenge, perhaps doing more ‘composite’ images and such.

I still have a monitor resolution situation to conquer, but it looks as if we have a warm, sunny day ahead–so I will probably go downtown to the Harold Washington Library, then walk around and shoot for a bit, as I’ve gotten pretty bored with my neighborhood and haven’t been downtown in several months!

Thanks to all for your kindness and patience while my life has been in such upheaval the past month–you probably might not understand just how much your comments mean to me, but they are what keeps me going at it!