Monday, February 28, 2011

This is the inside of the Thompson Center - looking up. On January 24th, I shot a photo looking out.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

58:365 Metalwork

I never even left the house today . . . this is the base of a glass obelisk that lives on my mantle.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

57:365 It's an Orchid

Today I went to the Hausermann Orchids' open house. I can't believe I didn't write down the name of this orchid. If anyone knows what it is, please tell me! It's not the one I came home with.

I knew that orchids are popular. I had no idea just how popular. Orchids by Hausermann is gigantic. I'm not kidding. I got there, and there were guys directing traffic in the parking lot.

African violets used to be America's favorite blooming houseplant. I'm reasonably sure that orchids have taken over that spot.

Hausermann also had African violets - tables of them! They were all Optimara's, which I love, but none of them were marked with their number or name - unfortunately, that makes it impossible for me to show them, and I rarely give shelf space to stuff I can't show. Optimara has a great website and they say you can ID their violets online - but that is not always reliable. Oh well - they were lovely to see - and we all know that I don't need any more violets ;-D

There were a really lot of orchids in this place. Acres of them. Here are some not in bloom (obviously).

And here are a few that are.

I came home with the bark I need to repot the three orchids that I have, and I also bought one little phalaenopsis. It's called Phalaenopsis schillieriana. I think it might be a species rather than a hybrid. All I know is that it's pink :-) I liked its photo and I think it will look nice with the other ones I have, both of which have green in their blossoms. I did see a blue one in the first room that had a beautiful scent - sort of like pansies. I wish I would have gotten one of it, too.

A very nice man named Joel helped me with some info - he was doing a repotting demonstration. I had taken photos of my three orchids with me to ask some questions. Joel was most helpful, and I feel like I can repot these babies now . . . cross your fingers.

I was gifted with something called a Hawaiian Bamboo Orchid - a friend of mine brought it back from a recent trip to Hawaii. According to Joel, I am going to have to wait a very long time for it to bloom. Apparently this plant grows to about 5' in height before it even thinks about blooming . . . that ought to be interesting :-D

So - I have two phalaenopsis orchids now, and one oncidium along with the Hawaiian one. Will see how it goes. I do love growing things :-)

Here is the photo that was my second choice for today's 365 shot. I choose the white orchids because they are so unique - but these are awfully beautiful, too, aren't they?

Hausermann's is a place I would definitely visit again . . .

Friday, February 25, 2011

56:365 Once More, With Feeling

It snowed again last night. This is my backyard.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

55:365 The Time Clock

Chicago's most famous clocks are on the corners of the store formerly known as Marshall Field's. But I think its most beautiful clock is the one on the old Jeweler's Building at the corner of Wabash and Wacker. It's circa 1926.

Here's a full view . . . it's really something, isn't it?

And here's a closeup of Father Time.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

54:365 Glass Canyon

I'm beginning to lose my sense of humor about this weather. . . even though the reflective buildings add more light to the cityscape, I feel like February is never going to end. Thank goodness it's the shortest month of the year. March has got to be sunnier. I love the shape of this building :-) It looks super imposed, but it's not. It's really that shape and reflects not only the buildings across the street, but also upon itself.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

53:365 Imbolc

I've heard it described as "winter pregnant with spring." I wish it would hurry up . . .

Monday, February 21, 2011

52:365 Under the Elevated

It almost doesn't look real to me in this shot . . . as though it was a model with a fake background. But it's real - and it's noisy. The "el" or "L" as it's called here, is short for elevated. It's like a subway, but most of it is above ground - hence, elevated. :-) The central business district of Chicago is called the Loop because the L makes a loop around it. This is at the corner of Randolph and Wabash.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

51:365 Crossroads in the Stars

This is some detail from a small carpet I acquired in Morocco last year. It's a cold, wet, dreary day here in Chicagoland, and this carpet makes me think of a hot summer night spent in the Sahara . . . more stars than I have ever seen. Ever.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

50:365 Walking on Water

Today was one of those perfect days . . .

I love to visit my friend, Toni, up at her shop - The Fold. I have a new loom, and today I headed up to Marengo to get some weaving tools that I needed to be able to get started with it.

My friend, Kris came with me, which of course made the 2-hour drive much more fun :-)

The weather was good, both Kris and I were in great moods, and although we see each other fairly regularly on the train, we never run out of things to talk about - so we chattered all the way out to Marengo.

And just as I turned on the road to the shop - I saw these geese and pulled over and took the shot. :-)

When we got to the shop, no one else was there (!) If you are not from here, you wouldn't know this, but The Fold being empty on a Saturday morning just doesn't happen. It was a complete and total gift - Toni was able to help me without interruption get the right tools that I need for my new loom, and then, we got the chance to sit and catch up and knit together for an hour or more, which is something we both love to do - and it's just unheard of on a Saturday!

Kris busied herself with a photo shoot of one of her most recent finished objects and got some wonderful photos. The geese above were the only subjects I shot today - and I was thankful that I felt one of the pictures was acceptable for my 365 shot.

I got a couple of skeins of Socks that Rock (it calls to me lately . . . rather loudly, I'm afraid ;-D) and one of what seems to be heavy fingering or maybe even sport weight Opal. Can't seem to pass up a skein or two every time I go . . . And for the loom - I got a warping board, a shuttle and some bobbins and a bobbin winder, a Wolf Trap (a shelf for holding stuff on the Baby Wolf), a couple of hooks that are necessary tools and some leash sticks - I have no idea what for for any of them yet, but my friend, Amy gave me a list of tools that she said I would need - and she should know :-)

On our way home, we stopped at Woodfield for lunch at a wonderful Indian restaurant, The Gaylord. Their buffet is always worth the trip, although I am sorry I ate so much Naan bread with Mango chutney (it's a huge treat for me). I am rather full now :-D

Just a great, great day. :-)

Friday, February 18, 2011

49:365 Garrett Popcorn

One of the foods that Chicago is famous for (since 1949) is Garrett Popcorn. It's been on Oprah's Favorite Things list more than once. Every day, I walk by the Garrett's on Randolph Street. It's next to the Oriental Theatre. It doesn't seem to matter what time I walk by, it always smells like popcorn - usually caramel corn. They pipe the smell out on to the street. I know they do.

This isn't a particularly interesting photograph, unless you've actually tasted Garrett Popcorn, and then it's kind of amazing, seeing it whirling around in those giant kettles and knowing how good it tastes. Looks like plain and cheese to me. Yum! Someone's day starts early - there is his Starbucks and his jacket. He got the popcorn started for the first batch of the day.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

48:365 Impressionist in Metal

Throughout the lobby of my building, there are gold panels. This particular one with the thistle made me think of Scotland. And that vaugely human shape on the right . . . is me :-D

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

47:365 Carved in Stone

Many of the older buildings in the city have stunningly beautiful lobbies. This is carved marble on the end of a balustrade in the lobby of a building I was in at lunchtime today. There is no doubt that it was all hand carved generations ago . . .

46:365 the Moon's a Harsh Mistress . . .

. . . and the sky is made of stone. A favorite Jimmy Webb song :-) I suppose I'll have a photo of the moon every month - I never tire of it somehow. This one's not quite full - on my way home from work.

In case you've never heard the song I reference here it is.

Monday, February 14, 2011

45:365 Underground Chicago

Sometimes, when I am pokey in the morning, I catch the second train. And when I do that, I have to walk on Lower Wacker Drive to get to work on time. It's a sort of a road under the road all along the river - lots of delivery trucks, buses and cars, homeless people, lots of dirt and the occasional pigeon.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

44:365 Little Altars Everywhere

In the same room with The Shelf of Joy, I have a bulletin board. It's on the wall above my desk and I see it every day. I have all manner of important stuff on its ledge and tacked up. Much of it affirming, and all of it beautiful to me.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

43:365 The New Baby

This is a Schacht Baby Wolf loom. It's folded up in this photo. It came to live with me today and I couldn't be happier to begin exploring a new facet of my fascination with fiber (of the woolly sheep kind :-) ).

Here's the whole story . . .

About a year ago, my friend Amy got a loom. This loom. And at the time, I said she would probably upgrade to an 8-harness loom, and then I would get the Baby Wolf.

Fast forward to yesterday morning . . .

I got a message from Miss Amy telling me that she was upgrading to an 8-harness loom (a big one!) and asking did I still want the Baby Wolf. Yes, please! I knew she would eventually upgrade, but I didn't think it would be this soon. I was really happy!!! I went over this morning and picked it up. I have no idea how to use it yet, but I didn't know how to spin before I sat down at a wheel. I think I'm going to have a pretty fun summer :-)

Thank you Amy :-)

Friday, February 11, 2011

42:365 Birds of a Feather

Another grey day. Saw these birds on my way back from lunch. Don't you think their feet would be cold on that metal?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

41:365 A Rose by any Other Name

Yellow petals tipped in pink. The firm gave them to us today. Mine is even a little fragrant . . . a gentle reminder that spring is, indeed, on its way. Happy Valentine's Day (a little early) :-)

Catching it Up . . .

It's been all photos all the time, Chez A, lately. Well, photos - and snow. I truly love all four seasons, but I have to admit that I'm starting to lose my sense of humor about this . . . there are about two feet of snow still on the ground here, and nothing has melted because the temps dropped into the deep freeze right after the blizzard.

Today, we have a Wind Chill Advisory for temps reaching 30 below zero. I'm not excited to walk to and from the train in this. But it will be over soon enough - they are predicting temps above freezing on Saturday. That's only two days away! It's made for little in the way of photos for my 365 project. I'm lucky to have gotten the ones that I have this past week.

One of the most wonderful things about living in Chicagoland, however, is that first warm spring day. When that day arrives, you forget it was ever cold. Hurry up, dammit! :-D

Been working on a mystery knit-a-long for Tabitha's Heart. I have no idea what it is - but it's large :-D Knitting with cotton - not the easiest on the hands. It's a simple lace pattern that I managed to screw up by attempting to knit it and watch The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest at the same time - or should I say "read?" I was reading the subtitles and messing up yarn overs all over the place :-D Am I the only one who finds actor Michael Nyqvist strangely attractive for a kinda short guy?

Anyway - my inability to concentrate on subtitles and yarn overs at the same time entailed frogging back to the first clue. Oh well. I've started again - and since I mostly knit while watching telly, I'm watching only things in English that I don't have to pay much attention to.

Perhaps the other reason my sense of humor is a little dented right now, is that I was supposed to be in Egypt. Now. I was supposed to have left last Friday . . . It's very exciting to me to be watching what I believe to be history in the making happening in Egypt, but the selfish part of me wishes they would have waited about 3 weeks. My friends and I have rescheduled, but it remains to be seen if things will calm down enough to travel there any time soon. In my heart, I think not, but I'm crossing my fingers all the same.

Still - I have other trips on the horizon, so there is always something to look forward to! I'm finishing up my handout for my class at the Missouri Fiber Retreat. My class filled and actually has a waiting list - which is pretty amazing to me - I was worried that no one would sign up at all :-D My handout is going to be gorgeous, because I hired my friend, Knifty Red to help me with it. Besides being an awesome knitter, she is a graphic designer and art director at an agency here in the city. And she rocks. Hard. I'm nearly done with the text, and she already took all the photos - she's helping me get it into professional shape. She's the person who designed our YOSS icon (it's over there on the right) and banner, and she's done some work, too, for The Proverbial Knitter's website, among others. I highly recommend her if you need anything artistic - her freelance rates are very reasonable.

So, I'm getting ready to go to Missouri - and I'm really looking forward to it. I love when I can go there for this retreat. I have many friends there, now - that's me, over on the right, with the gang - and since they mostly live in Southwestern Missouri, this is pretty much the only time I get to see them each year. And I will also get to see my fellow YOSS moderators, Tammy and blogless Christa!! We have been having such a great time with Year of Stash Socks (YOSS) - both on Ravelry and on our blog. People come and go, but we have close to 700 members in the Ravelry group now - which just bowls us over :-D

Been getting more workout time in, and am back up to 30 minutes on the treadmill, and 15 to 20 minutes on the elliptical at the club. Not every day, but regularly again, and I can't tell you how much better I feel. It's been a rough time - I still have heel pain every day to some extent, though. In fact, a couple of days ago I was thinking that I can't really remember a day without pain for the past nearly two years. It's not very much fun to be in relatively constant low-grade pain, but at least it's getting better, albeit slowly. Amazing what we compensate for and learn to live with, isn't it? :-)

I think that's the update from The Third Coast. Stay warm :-)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

40:365 The Evening Star

The Moon, Venus, a contrail, the naked trees, houses in the neighborhood, and snow . . . my walk home from the train.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

39:365 Winter Loss

Someone dropped it . . . someone picked it up and placed it where they hoped someone might see it . . . maybe they will.

Monday, February 7, 2011

38:365 The Shelf of Joy

Everyone has one of these, don't they? Little things that make you happy, that remind you of something or someone . . . I know you've seen this shelf before - but today, I photo'd it for 365 - because it's freezing cold here and it snowed AGAIN . . . I just couldn't go outside.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

37:365 Squirrel in the Snow

I truly dislike these rodents . . . they do their best to get the birdseed out of the feeder. This one is lying in wait, plotting to see if he can outsmart the Yankee Flipper bird feeder I invested in last year. So far, the Yankee Flipper is winning - which makes it well worth the money I spent on it :-) And yes, it snowed here AGAIN today . . . Thankfully not too much.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

36:365 It's All Fresh

The village where I live has a fresh market, and I was there today. I love all the colors of the produce. This was the only photo I took today - it's still so very cold here . . .

Friday, February 4, 2011

35:365 Angels Among Us

On my desk . . . an angel from a friend and bits and pieces of things that are important to me - a poppy from Veteran's Day - a bit of found yarn from the Isle of Iona - a tiny companion angel from the baby shower of a friend - and note from some flowers. I color corrected this in Photoshop.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

34:365 Snow Removal - Phase II

First the snow plows come through and create giant mountains of snow. Then the Bobcats and dump trucks come to get the giant mountains off the streets - it's so cold now that nothing is going to melt away. I think they dump the snow in the River - there's nowhere else for it to go in the City.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

33:365 The Mighty Oak

We had more than a foot and a half of snow here in Chicagoland from yesterday to today. I had just started to snowblow the driveway, when this errant oak leaf plopped down, literally, at my feet. I pay attention to signs like that :-)

Blue Skies . . .

Well, I got out there around noon. This is a view from inside my garage, looking back at the giant drift by my front door. You'll note that the sky is not blue (that's not the sky, it's my neighbors to the south - they painted it swimming-pool-blue. I don't know why . . . )

And this is the snow overhang - that's where the giant drift came from. You'll note the sky is not blue.

This is my snowblower and the first row I was able to clear. No, that's not the sky - it's the swimming-pool-blue house again.

And this, is my neighbor's snowblower (and my awesome neighbor!) That's still not the sky, and it's not my awesome neighbor's house - he and his family live to the north of me).

Doesn't even look like much, does it? It was a huge job - took an hour and half, and I could not have completed it without my awesome neighbor - his snowblower is industrial strength. I could not have cleared the porch drift, and I could not have cleared my street access because the plows have been by repeatedly, flinging more snow at the end of the driveway every time they pass. Check out that blue sky . . .

Snow overhang knocked down, porch cleared, driveway cleared and seriously salted - and hey, whattayaknow - the bluest of skies :-)

Oh - wait - you want to know about the snow goose, don't you?

Here he is - on his way to being liberated from the snow - a little battle scarred from his run-in with the industrial strength snowblower (nothing that can't be handled with some white-out or some paint ;-)), but really, none the worse for wear.

I let him keep some of the snow - a little reminder of the Blizzard of 2011.


It's STILL Snowing . . .

As you can see, the drift is now above the porch railing . . . and it's still snowing. This is the last wave of lake effect snow. I'm waiting for it to be done and then I'm going to see if the snow blower can handle it . . .

I've decided I must do this before 3 or so - once the cloud cover breaks open, the temps here are going to plummet - they are saying wind chills of -30 this evening. I don't want to be trying to fool around with the snowblower in that.

One more view from the front porch. These shots were taken at 9:30 a.m.

Snow Day!

When last we left my little porch goose - it was about 10:30 last night. That's on the left - on the right is the drift this morning around 6:45 a.m.

It's still snowing . . .

Here's the view out my front door - yesterday, and this morning.

And the view out the back this morning - through the screen door - I couldn't open it - the snow is piled up.

We're expecting 4" to 8" more throughout the day. I don't know if I should try to snow blow this morning or not. It's still windy, although not like it was, and by tonight the temps are going to drop precipitously. I guess I'll head out in a little while and see what I can do.

You can click on any of these photos to biggify.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Storm Update

And here are shots from 7:30 p.m., 9:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. I'm not so sure any longer that these are an accurate representation. The snow is blowing off my roof and drifting on to my little porch, the goose and the yews. Again, click to biggify.

You can see the drifting in this shot.

We just had some thundersnow. That was interesting. It's rare - I have never experienced it before. I wonder if this is a continuation of all those weird weather things I experienced in 2010. Add thundersnow in a blizzard to my list :-)

I am so tired I'm going to have to go to sleep - I can't even imagine what it's going to look like when I wake up tomorrow. Here's the last view of the evening.