Thursday, December 30, 2010

Summer Days

Summer Days

Thinking longingly of summer. Photo taken in Spain this summer.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Little Night Photography

That Kodak Moment

Christmas lights and neon. What could be more fun?

Nativity in the Snow

Laundry at Night

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The More Things Change

December, 2010

Raber House--Front View

I can't believe I haven't posted about this house before. Here is a small retrospective of the past four years of photographic ventures to this wonderful old site.
This house is known as the Raber House and is one of a few homes that managed to survive the great Chicago Fire of 1871. Although a designated Chicago landmark, it is in a lonely state of disrepair. It was originally part of a six acre estate built in 1870 for John Raber. No one seems to know what to do with the sad old house but the City of Chicago has discussed turning the area into a park. Sounds great, but I'll believe it when I see it. At least they are removing a dump of old automobile tires from behind the place. I guess that is progress.

September, 2009

Raber House--front, 2009

December, 2008

Raber House Back

January, 2008

Raber House

April, 2007

Raber House

February, 2007

Raber House

Friday, December 17, 2010

Nutcracker Redux

Nutcracker Finale

This is my fourth year performing in a local Nutcracker ballet. For those who haven't heard the story, I am most adamantly not a dancer. I regard my part in the show as more of an extra but it is a lot of fun. I never took a single dance class as a kid. Although I can hold my own in many sports, if not compete, I totally have two left feet. Plus I was not a girly girl and preferred climbing trees and catching frogs to wearing a tutu. I'd say I never wanted to dance as a child but I remember listening to the Nutcracker and Swan Lake on my little record player (I think one of the records was actually pink!) and dancing around my bedroom. So maybe it was fated that one day I'd get a chance to dance it.
Of course, given that I'm on stage you don't get to see a whole lot of pictures of me dancing. One small drawback to being the photographer in the family. We get a video every year but I haven't figured out how to (illegally) upload it onto the net so there you have it.

Death of the Mouse King

My younger son performs in the show every year which is how I got into it but I have reservations about posting his life story publicly since, after all, it is his life and not mine. But I thought I'd share one or two pictures of how the show looks.
In my humble opinion, yours truly was merely above average but the show was amazing!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Stained Glass

Stained Glass Window---Detail

Seen in Alcazar, Segovia, Spain. I think it is just lovely.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Let It Snow

It's not like we have a choice.

Let It Snow

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Pride Cleaners

Pride Cleaners

A favorite Chicago sign.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Happy Hannukah

Fourth Night

To everyone, even if you don't celebrate it. We all need a little light.

The Menorah is Lit

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Playing with Snow

Playing with Snow

Not snowballs or snowmen but snow photos. Using different lenses and manual settings changes the image in dramatic ways.

First Snow

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

How was your Thanksgiving?

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We had a lovely evening with a few friends and family. Not much fuss, just comfort. After dinner we chatted and watched Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in honor of our plan to see the latest Harry Potter movie the next day (which we did). We all "grew up" on Harry Potter, the adults as parents reading aloud to our kids, and the kids by listening, then reading themselves. All of us except my sadly ignorant brother-in-law who can't figure out what the fuss is about. I guess he has no "inner child".
I haven't been here much of late. I'm in rehearsals for my yearly Nutcracker performance which is in two weeks. We are also doing some back income taxes--this is an ordeal when you own your own business, and applying for high school for my younger son. I feel buried in paper!
Last month we survived my younger son's Bar Mitzvah which was wonderful but again left me feeling tapped out. I'm hoping things will quiet down by winter break. Then again--do they ever?
Hope you holiday was wonderful (if you celebrate) and your winter holidays are better still.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Passage of time

The Weapon of Love


Southside mural 4

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Autumn over Lake Michigan

Autumnal Lake Michigan

Feeling nostalgia for summer....

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Fishy, or Enjoy Dessert


This post is inspired by a fellow Chicago blogger who has issued a mail art call for cards related to fish. This will be my second submission. The last one was in 2007. I'm impressed that her blog, A Fishy Requisite, is still up and running. Then again, I'm impressed that my blog is still up and running. Unfortunately the image is very low resolution. It is a collage based on part of a fish wrapper and an fortune that reads: "You deserve special treatment this month. Enjoy dessert." Thanks, I will.

I've added a few fishy photos of my own to follow the theme.

My best fish shot

I've heard of tree hugging, but fish hugging?

I'm home alone with my younger son who has been down with a mean version of the flu since Tuesday. I'm thinking/hoping he is beginning to improve but he still spiked a nasty fever last night. Since I'm not getting out much I'm overdosing in electronics. Too much computer and TV can't be that good for me but I've read all I can handle too. Whine, whine.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Chicago River Tour or Fun with Copyright Law

NBC Tower

Like many people local to an area, I have neglected to do some of the must see activities a tourist would experience. However, a few weeks ago I had family visiting from out of town and we all took a Chicago River Tour. I had heard it is a great way to view Chicago architecture and it most definitely is.
Obviously I snapped any number of photos but I had to resort to the internet to look up the names of some of the buildings.

Not the Sears Tower

One such pair of buildings is the Marina City Towers. These interesting condo buildings have appeared in a number of films and television programs including the Bob Newhart Show, Dark Knight and the Blues Brothers. When first I saw these buildings they seemed outlandish to me but they have since grown on me. I am always amused by the lower level parking garages. Where else can you park and get million dollar river views? I think I'd be obsessing over whether I set the parking brake adequately.

Two Ears of Corn

Careful what you do with your photos of this building, however. It is under copyright. In theory if, say, I wanted to turn my photo into a postcard to send to my friends, I might need to apply to the condo board for permission. Now, I am no expert on copyright but I have read just enough to be wary of violating these copyright laws. I have received a few requests for copies of my pictures from commercial interests and have always refused for fear of getting into vicarious trouble. Now, if the subject of the photo were a tree, there would be no problem unless the tree's owner got back to me. But since I take lots of architecture and city pictures and since all those buildings are owned by someone, I just have to say no.
A few years ago I took a picture of a totem pole in Seattle, Washington and some homeless people started to object to being in the shot. My thought about them is about the same as how I feel about the architecture question. Don't put yourself or your building in a highly touristy, scenic or public location if you don't want pictures taken of it or if you want to absolutely control the use of said pictures. Hypothetically speaking, if I plant my body in front of the Louvre for a month, do I control rights to all photos taken with me in it? In the article I read, sometimes film makers have to edit out certain buildings from skyline shots due to copyright issues. Imagine altering a film of Seattle with the Space Needle omitted or New York City sans the Empire State Building? It just wouldn't be the same.
Read here for more about the Marina City debate.
All right back to the photos.

Wrigley Reflected

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Waiting for Obama

Obama Speaks

Yesterday I did something political and this is somewhat out of character for me. Yes, I occasionally talk politics, yes I generally vote, but show up at a rally? Not likely. Nonetheless, how could I refuse when the latest rally was just down the block from me? So my husband and I walked a few blocks south, waited in line, submitted to security and stood at what felt like a rock concert with lousy acoustics. Being old, neither of us recognized the lead band but we otherwise felt right at home among the professors, students families and usual south side faces.

Little Green Men

The rally was orderly, with kids playing ball, a few eccentrics in costume, a socialist or two, University of Chicago students reading textbooks while they waited, and so on. I wished I had brought a book but we were encouraged to leave any bags at home. Laptops were forbidden but not cameras. I had three in my pockets (so as not to have a camera bag) not counting my Blackberry. I also could have used gloves and a warmer coat once the sun went down and the wind came up. Actually the politicians weren't too windy. Daley was there to a chorus of boos (we Chicagoans are quite pissed off when he sold our parking meters to the highest bidder) as were the Governor and our alderman.

The crowd

The choreography could have been better. There was too much down time and not enough Obama. By the time he showed up, I was overdue for child transportation and we actually walked out on the main event. This didn't mean I missed being stuck in motorcade traffic.
Was I overwhelmed with democratic fervor? Not really but I felt part of the process as I do every time I vote no matter how lackadaisically. And I can say forever more that I stood on the same field as Obama.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Seeing Ghosts

Seeing Ghosts

I took a few night shots in Salamanca, Spain and wanted to play with long exposures and "ghost" people. I didn't have a tripod on me so I just placed the camera on the ground or my backpack and did the best I could to frame the shot. In a way I kind of like the funky angle. I could have tried to photoshop it straight but decided to leave it as is.

Monday, October 11, 2010


Go 101010

101010 Banner and Lawry's

Flickr posted a call for photos on 10/10/10. Here in Chicago we had a couple of Sunday events. The first was the unseasonably warm weather, the second was the Chicago Marathon and the third was my once in a lifetime shopping trip to buy my son a suit for his Bar Mitzvah. So we braved the crowds and headed down to the Magnificent Mile (Chicago's pricey shopping zone). Here are some crowd shots of the triumphant (lame/tired?) runners, tourists and shoppers parading down Michigan avenue.

A Nap after the Race

On the Mag Mile after the Race

Saturday, October 09, 2010

The Spanish People have a Path that Leads to a Star

Sculpture by Alberto Sanchez Perez

This is the English translation of the name of a sculpture by artist Alberto Sanchez Perez made for the 1937 Spanish Pavilion at the World Exhibition in Paris. The Spanish pavilion was dwarfed by the grandiose Soviet and Nazi pavilions nearby which is likely a credit to Spain. Inside the pavilion was Picasso's Guernica which we saw in the Museo Reina Sofia. That is truly an amazing work of art though not one I'd like mounted in my living room over the mantel (not that it would fit).
The original of the sculpture shown here and located outside the museum was destroyed but the replica is still quite striking.

Spanish Sculpture

El pueblo espaƱol tiene un camino que conduce a una estrella

Friday, October 08, 2010

Early 20th Century Lithuania, Photo Postcard

Veisiejai, Lithuania

I found this old postcard at an antique store among a jumble of old photos and postcards, most truly junk. It looks like some sort of market day to me. The back is unwritten except for the name of the photographer.

I looked up the town of Veisiejai and found photos of the St. George church seen in the background of the card. It doesn't seem to have changed much. The image is thanks to Wikipedia commons, photographer Wojsyl.

(For Postcard Friday)

Have a Good Day


I turned this into a postcard. Have a good Friday, weekend, TGIF and all that!
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Thursday, October 07, 2010

Still in Spain, Mentally, That Is

Big Moo

I feel too busy to put together a coherent narrative post so I'm just going to put up a couple of my pictures from my trip to Spain. It has already been two months! Seems like forever and I'm already craving a vacation. But nothing's new about that.


Seen on a wall in Salamanca, Spain. I don't know what this represents but it has a Facebook page. I own a few pieces of vintage Melmac inherited from my in-laws. Ugly but nearly unbreakable!

Friday, October 01, 2010


Getting back to my trip to Madrid, here is a little food or perhaps I should say, eye candy?
I don't even eat pork but this shop window tempted me.


Why don't Chicago shop windows look this good?


Maybe I should have eaten at this place, but I didn't.
Sorry about the annoying reflection but this menu is making me hungry.


I wish I knew what a matrimonio was. This menu is all the more painful in that I got lazy this evening and dinner was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I was at a conference all day and ate their food for breakfast and lunch so a good old pb&j sounded great until I started looking at these pictures!