Evanston: A Walk on the Lakefront & a Recital at Northwestern University

Yesterday, my friends and I went to Northwestern’s new Bienen School of Music to attend a recital. It had been a hot day and I had stayed inside most of the day, so the outing was welcome. We arrived early, had a light and delicious dinner at a vegetarian restaurant in Evanston called Blind Faith Café,

blind faith cafe

Image downloaded from Google

then went to Northwestern. From there, two of us took a walk along the lakefront in front of the university campus. There was a wonderful cooling breeze off Lake Michigan and the walk was so refreshing.  There are lots of winding paths through green and leafy areas for walking or biking along this stretch of the lake. (Some of the photos are not very clear because I was using my Samsung Galaxy 7 cellphone camera, which doesn’t do zoom photography well.)

Chicago skyline in the distance on the shore of Lake Michigan

20180526_191901We saw lots of fish in this inlet off the lake. I wondered if they were carp, which is an invasive species that has become a threat to Lake Michigan’s ecosystem. I showed my photos to Dale; he didn’t think they were carp. 20180526_191954Lots of students were out celebrating the weather and the end of the semester. Some were lying around in hammocks strung between trees,

while others donned their bathing suits and took a dip in the cold water or sunbathed. One group was roasting marshmallows for s’mores.  20180526_191237Earlier apparently someone had been flying a kite because the kite was stuck up in a tree!


20180526_184230We passed the shiny new Kellogg Business School and I also took some close up shots of alliums.20180526_190130

20180526_190046Along the lakefront, there are a lot of large rocks and Northwestern students over the years have painted many of them – some have specific messages, such as marriage proposals, while others are just colorful cartoons.


The new Bienen School of Music is affectionately or sarcastically called “The Cruise Ship” and it’s easy to see why!  20180526_184337Inside, the main lobby area is sparse with no furniture and minimalist artwork, such as this sculpture by Spanish artist Joan Miró.

The acoustics in the recital venue, Galvin Hall, however, are amazing. And so was the master’s recital we attended by Nathan Canfield, a young man who has been the accompanist at our church this year.  This recital was in fulfillment of his Master’s Degree in Piano Performance.

He played an entire program, over one hour, completely for memory. Although he modestly said he wasn’t totally pleased with his performance, the audience was highly appreciative and applauded long and hard for him!

The first piece he played was J.S. Bach’s Capriccio on the Departure of a Beloved Brother,  a short, moving piece. I’ve included a recording of it from YouTube here.

This will be my last post for nearly three weeks. We are going on a road trip to California, returning on Route 66, and I have decided not to take my laptop. So I’ll have a lot to blog about when I return!

CB&WPC: Muted Flowers

The topic of Cee’s Black & White photo challenge this week is flowers. It works best with strong contrasting two-toned flowers, such as these tulips.20180508_161709 (2).jpg

20180506_112837 (2).jpgThe tulips below are actually only one color, but the shadows add contrast to the photo.20180508_171204 (2).jpgPerhaps we are so focused on color in photos that we often fail to look at details in nature, such as a flower’s contours, such as the lines in these purple hyacinths …
20180424_152349_001 (2).jpgor in these viburnum suspensum, a flowering bush.  Black and white, or muted color, photography encourages us to look more closely.20180516_145401 viburnum suspensum (2).jpg

CFFC: 100 Years Old and Counting…

I am combining two photo challenges here:  Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge with the theme of books or paper and Nancy Merrill’s A Photo A Week Challenge with the theme of over 100 years old.

For several years, I have been working on a writing project, which is a book about my ancestors.  Fortunately for me, the son of my great-great grandfather compiled writings by his father and grandfather, which makes research a whole lot easier! I was also helped by my second cousin, Jeff Charles, who gave me a lot of other material he had collected as well as a comprehensive family tree. I met him and his sister Carolyn for the first time in 2012, when we went to Ohio to visit places where my ancestors had lived and worked.

Log cabin June 2012

My husband and I visited this log cabin – the original home that my 3-greats grandfather built in the 1820s to house his family and also serve as a school – in 2012. Thomas E. Thomas spent his younger years in this house. Unfortunately, there was a fire two years later and the log cabin burned to the ground!


My great-great grandfather, Thomas Ebenezer Thomas, was a Presbyterian minister and an abolitionist who became fairly well known in southern Ohio where he lived and worked. His son, Albert published a book of his father’s letters in 1913.
20180521_110744_001These letters are correspondence between him and his children, colleagues, relatives and friends. The book also contains photographs of family members, which I have been inserting into the narrative of my book.


Top, my great-great grandfather, Thomas E. Thomas; bottom left, my great-great grandmother, his wife, Lydia Fisher Thomas; bottom right, one of their daughters (who never married) Leila Ada Thomas.




Top Right: My great-grandfather, John Hampden Thomas. He had three daughters, who are pictured here. Top Left is his oldest daughter, Elizabeth (known as “Aunt Bet”); Bottom Right: his second daughter, Mary May (“Aunt Pol” or Polly); Bottom Left is my grandmother, the youngest, Isabel Rogers Thomas, who became known in my family as “Gogo.”

Gogo (my oldest sister’s attempt at saying “Granny” – the nickname stuck!) married Allen Perry Lovejoy Jr. and had three sons. Allen P. Lovejoy Sr. had a house built in Janesville, Wisconsin, located in the historic center of town. All the houses of that area are now being restored and/or preserved. Gogo’s husband died young, tragically, of the Spanish flu, which was an epidemic in 1918. My father never knew his father and Gogo was the only grandparent who was alive when I was old enough to remember.

In addition to the book I’m writing, I also have a blog about these ancestors, called We Are Such Stuff IV (4th volume of ancestral history – my mother wrote the other three and called the series “We Are Such Stuff.”) The blog also includes transcripts of some of my father’s letters to my mother when he was stationed in Europe during World War II.









WPC: Twisted

When I saw that the theme of WP’s Weekly Photo Challenge this week was twisted, I immediately thought of two things: trees and cactus.

Winter is a good time to photograph twisted branches.
IMAG0157Springtime in the parkWillow tree, West Park, DPSometimes even trees need a hug!
I liked the knot in this tree!There’s a bird hiding in this tangle of branches!KODAK Digital Still CameraAt Saguaro National Park near Tucson, Arizona, the mighty saguaro starts growing arms when it is about 60 years of age and these arms twist every which way as they grow!
Saguaros live up to 200 years of age, sometimes older. They provide shelter and sustenance for many species of animals.20151217_172406Anther twisty cactus is common throughout southern Arizona, but I don’t remember its name.20151215_110242Photos taken in Des Plaines, a state park in Indiana, Sonora Desert Museum (Tucson) and Saguaro National Park West (Tucson). 

Finally, a video by the band Twisted Sister, We’re Not Gonna Take It.


FOTD: Columbines

It’s now the season for columbines! Mine aren’t up yet but I’ve seen them in several other neighborhood gardens. 20180516_143202 columbineZoom out:20180516_143155 columbine

Here’s something I didn’t know: The Colorado State Song is called Where the Columbines Grow. This is a children’s choir singing it (and the video shows beautiful Colorado scenery):