Wednesday, October 31, 2012

31 October 2012, Day 148, Pt. 2

Leon Russell at the Mayne Stage

Oh Leon, neither one of us is the skinny little package of crazy that we were the first time i heard your music, but baby you can still tease some magic out of that keyboard and make me dance like a wild woman!

31 October 2012, Day 148, Pt. 1

Halloween 2012

Where's Waldo? Getting an education.

Halloween evening at the 2nd floor lounge at the Mayne Stage

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

30 October 2012, Day 147, Pt. 2

What a lovely surprise to discover a second Buddha from the Ten Thousand Ripples project, resting in the migratory bird nesting area beside Farwell Pier. The weather today is chaotic, angry, but the center holds and things do not fall apart.

30 October 2012, Day 147, Pt. 1

Sandy is one big, powerful storm, flexing her muscles 700 miles inland, and making the third coast feel more like a real coast with angry, churning waves crashing against the pier. 

But even among the howling winds and crashing surf, there are moments of grace to be found as an elderly woman throws crumbs to the seagulls.

Monday, October 29, 2012

29 October 2012, Day 146

I think we have a slight case of hurricane envy. It was a pretty dramatic day on the beach--with powerful winds and whitecaps--but i'm not convinced that it required a news van.Tomorrow will be a different story, with predictions of gale-force winds and waves up to twenty feet high. I'll see how close i can get tomorrow and try to get more pictures (though probably leaving the tiny dog at home for her own safety). The most interesting thing for me was seeing that we appear to be exactly at the edge of Hurricane Sandy's reach. Here, looking east, the sky is cloudy. But just a few minutes later, the sun dropped past the edge of the clouds and lit up the western sky in one of the most spectacular sunsets i've ever witnessed. That slim strip of pale sky in the last two pictures is, i believe, Sandy's edge.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

28 October 2012, Day 145

I'm going to cheat just a little bit today. I'm so scrupulous about sticking to the rules of taking and posting a picture every day, that this morning i took a few pictures of the Buddha head on Morse Avenue just west of Glenwood, even though i took several yesterday and probably could have snuck them in here with no one the wiser but me. But that's not how Ms. Demeanor rolls! 

Unfortunately, the dog was even friskier than usual after an exciting visit to the Glenwood Sunday Market, and was tugging at her leash too insistently for me to get any very good pictures. So i decided to compromise, giving you the best of this morning's few pictures along with a better one from yesterday that shows the sculpture in the context of its surroundings. The Buddha is one of 100 placed throughout the city as part of the Ten Thousand Ripples project (click on the link and watch the video for more information about the project as well as some great shots of my beloved Rogers Park). I'm going to try to track down more of them and if i do, rest assured, you will see them here. Wishing a happy, peaceful Sunday to you all.

Close up of the Buddha head, taken Sunday morning, 28 October 2012.
Buddha head on Morse Avenue, taken Saturday afternoon, 27 October 2012.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

27 October 2012, Day 144

I used to go to the Division Street farmers market every Saturday morning before the Glenwood Sunday Market opened and before the CTA embarked on their seemingly endless series of "improvements," which make getting anywhere on the weekend a total nightmare. Happily, I rallied myself and made it to the last market of the year this morning. It isn't as crowded by this point in the season, and there are probably only half the merchants you'd find there at mid-summer, but is's still a good market. 

I managed to get a ginormous jar of honey, so i should be able to maintain my usual sweetness over the long winter months. And because the pace is a little slower, i had a nice chat with the beekeeper. I also got a ridiculously simple but delicious recipe for radishes sautéed in butter and sea salt from the very friendly young guy who sold me the radishes. It was, he told me, how his grand-mère used to prepare them. 

The Green City Market in Lincoln Park is bigger than this one, but there's something so charming about closing two blocks of a downtown street to traffic so that people can engage in vegetable-commerce on a Saturday morning--especially this particular, boozy stretch of Division, which is pretty much of a meat market on Saturday night. 

Here is a three-part chronicle of the morning's adventures, featuring a special guest appearance by the world's coolest-looking vegetable: Brussels sprouts. And by the way, if you are ever feeling terribly sad and alone in the world, try taking public transportation with a two-foot long stalk of Brussels sprouts. They are the ultimate icebreaker: four different people stopped me to ask me what they were.

Part 1: Division St. Farmers Market

Part 2: Commuting with Brussels Sprouts 

Part 3: Domesticated Animals and Brussels Sprouts

Friday, October 26, 2012

Thursday, October 25, 2012

25 October 2012, Day 142

This wall, which stretches beside the Red Line tracks between Pratt and Farwell, is admittedly not beautiful. In fact, i was delighted to hear that a mural would be painted on it next year. I was less delighted to learn that instead of getting a mural, the wall will be replaced by a three-story substation. So goodbye, ugly wall with a lot of character! Goodbye, scraggly trees that i've watched go through their annual cycle for lo these many years! Goodbye, view of the trains, afternoon sun, and unobstructed breezes!

The project will take over a year to complete, and in response to my question, i received this unwelcome news from my alderman: "The CTA tells me there will be loud 24-hour construction for major component installation only, i.e. sheet piling, excavations, etc." So i guess there's one more goodbye to be said: Goodbye, sleep!

Don't get me wrong: i'm not opposed to progress or to repairing our crumbling infrastructure. This cobbled-together truss work is at the other end of the block and is a good illustration of how desperately repairs are needed along the Red Line. It makes me just a wee bit queasy to think about the fact that i roll across this precarious mess every morning. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

23 October 2012, Day 140

"Three Worlds" M.C. Escher

While walking the dog this morning, i found myself thinking of M.C. Escher's images of leaves, especially the one pictured above, and decided to take a few pictures of fallen leaves on the rainy sidewalks. In the past few weeks, i've taken a lot of pictures of trees in all their autumnal glory, and thought that maybe it was about time for a memento mori, capturing those leaves after they've let go and taken one last ride on the wind.

Monday, October 22, 2012

22 October 2012, Day 139

My love for good bread borders on perversity, so i was delighted to get sidetracked on my way to Sinbad's for a falafel this evening, opting instead for a little something from Le Boulangerie, a brand spanking new French bakery on Belmont east of the L. I had a sandwich made on their divinely crunchy bread and plan to go back for some of their beautiful pastries at some point in the very near future. Vive le pain!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

21 October 2012, Day 138


Hello, humans. My name is Isabelle, and i have shared living space with Ms. Demeanor for over a decade. She has been working very hard on this blog every single day since June, but today she is out-of-gas and has a big pile of papers to finish grading by tomorrow. She asked me if i would pose for one quick picture, since she finds me very attractive. Of course i agreed as it gave me an excuse to bask in the sunshine and fresh air on this unusually beautiful, late October day, and i am admittedly a damned fine-looking ... oh, look! There goes a train!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

20 October 2012, Day 137, Pt. 3

And so this beautiful day ends with a wild splash of technicolor.

20 October 2012, Day 137, Pt. 2

Early Saturday morning at Farwell pier. 
This is one of those scenes that could almost make me forget that Lake Michigan is not an ocean.

20 October 2012, Day 137, Pt. 1

Photo shoot outside the Rogers Park branch of the Chicago Public Library.

Friday, October 19, 2012

19 October 2012, Day 136

Random Acts of Oddness
Finding something interesting for the photo du jour has become a bit of a challenge in the past few weeks. My days have been following a fairly predictable pattern that doesn't offer much that is new or different. And, as much as i love my dog, my cat, and autumn leaves, well ... you know ... eventually you want something new to look at.

I was not at my best today: sleep-deprived to the point that i could barely convince myself to breathe, overwhelmed by how much work i still had to do and how far behind i was on everything. At home, an empty refrigerator and full laundry hamper were waiting for me. Needless to say, i was not feeling very inspired. I took a few half-hearted pictures of leaves and things, and resigned myself to this not being a banner day in the life of Ms. Demeanor. 

Then suddenly, magically, there it was: a balloon animal in the path of a cherry-picker. What??? It made no sense, but it made my day.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

18 October 2012, Day 135

Variation on a Familiar Scene

It's cold, gray, and drizzly. I'm exhausted and still have tons of work to do today. There will be no grand excursions to new photographic grounds today, but a different perspective on this familiar locale is always worth a look.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

16 October 2012, Day 133

The Uptown Pigeons

Uptown is one of the rougher patches on Chicago's north side, but also one of the most interesting. It's kind of the Norma Desmond of Chicago: filled with beautiful relics of a glamorous past, some now abandoned and deteriorating, others hanging on and continuing to survive in a state of tattered elegance; at the same time, it's just a wee bit homicidal. You could spend hours admiring the architecture of the Aragon Ballroom and the long-empty Uptown Theater, or listening to some fine jazz in the dim interior of the legendary Green Mill. On the other hand, one bright and sunny afternoon while i was waiting for a bus on the busy corner of Broadway and Wilson, a fistfight broke out on the other side of the street. People were literally rolling around on the sidewalk punching each other for about 10 minutes--or maybe longer; they were still going at it when my bus arrived. The fight didn't draw too much attention since it involved nothing more lethal than fists; sadly, more deadly forms of combat are not that unusual along here. 
But i like it; i like the tension between grit and gentrification, the dim stores that seem to have emerged from a 1940s' time-capsule, the pigeons. I don't know how long this huge flock of pigeons has been hanging out in Uptown, flying in giant loop-de-loops between Lawrence and Wilson Ave. I've been vaguely aware of them for a while, but it wasn't until late last month that i noticed just how many of them there are, swirling, dipping, diving, outlining the rooftop of the former Uptown (now Bridgeview) Bank, or just hanging out at the Wilson station, waiting for someone on the L to take their picture.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

14 October 2012, Day 131

I have a bad case of campus envy. I went to a lecture at Northwestern this afternoon, and i hate to sound superficial, but it was really a pleasure just to walk through that gorgeous campus on a fall day. Fieldstone, ivy, fall foliage -- lovely! My own university certainly has it's own unique and intriguing je ne sais quoi, but it was nice to spend a little time in this other, more rarefied atmosphere. Oh, and the lecture was excellent as well.