CFFC: Homes in the Spirit of the Season

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week is Places People Live.

Since it is Halloween, I am staying in the spirit of the season (no pun intended!) by showing you some houses decorated for fall or Halloween. Most were taken in Des Plaines, within walking distance of my house – which does NOT have any decorations (we are too lazy!).


I’m waiting for you!



“If I only had a brain… ” (Wizard of Oz)



Halloween lights! This is right across the street from my house.



Enter at your own risk!



The eyes have it!



“Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.”  (Opening scene of Shakespeare’s Macbeth)



A very good friend of mine used to live here.



This one is in Evanston.




Open House Chicago 2018-Part 3

Our third Far North Chicago destination during Open House on Oct. 13 was the International Society for Krishna Consciousness or ISKCON.

This building, located on Lunt Ave. in Chicago, was formerly a Masonic temple. It was purchased by the Hare Krishna society for use as a community center and place of worship.
ISKCON is a monotheistic sect within Vedic tradition, beginning with Lord Krishna and continued with a succession of spiritual leaders. The sect was founded by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in July 1966 in New York and is open to people of all faiths and creeds.


Founder His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada 


SONY DSCISKCON’s web site explains its teaching as follows:
ISKCON’s teachings are non-sectarian, following the principle of sanatana dharma or eternal religion—based on the teachings of Vedic scriptures, including the Bhagavad-gita and Srimad Bhagavatam—which denote the eternal activity of all living beings is loving devotional service (bhakti-yoga) to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.


Different manifestations of God: male, female or a union of the two

Worship services take place once a week and involve dancing and singing, followed by a communal meal.
20181013_135620d20181013_140427ISKCON consists of more than 400 temples, 40 rural communities and about 100 vegetarian restaurants worldwide.

SONY DSCThey conduct seminars, workshops and children’s events, as well as classes in meditation techniques and yoga.


roof detail

For more information on ISKCON, click on these links:  – A very comprehensive site, where I got most of the information above.

Wikipedia: Hare Krishna (mantra)

Wikipedia: International Society for Krishna Consciousness

Hare Krishna Movement


Some Denver Doors: Tennyson St., the State Capitol and the 16th St. Mall

June 1, 2018

For Norm’s Thursday Doors this week, I return to Denver, on the day we spent visiting the downtown area.

When we arrived in Denver in late afternoon two days before, we went first to our Airbnb to get settled. Our host’s name was Marlene and she was an artist. She recommended several places to eat in the area. That first night, we went to Tennyson St., a hip, artsy street full of restaurants, art galleries, murals, and shops, to have dinner at an Italian restaurant, Parisi. The food was good, but a little expensive.
Down the street across from Parisi was a eatery called Burrito Giant. The door is not particularly interesting, but it is surrounded by this amazing mural!
The next morning, we went to a restaurant for breakfast that Marlene had recommended, also on Tennyson St., called The Cozy Cottage. The food was so good that we ended up going there every morning we were in Denver! The menu had a variety of interesting menu items, so we wanted to try something different each day. Also the coffee was great! This the patio where we found a table each morning, since the weather was warm.
Dale went inside to use the restroom and took this photo of the restroom doors, marked either and or! Apparently they were unisex restrooms. I’m not sure which one he chose!
Next door to the Cozy Cottage was this children’s bookstore.
20180531_103634 (2)
Other sights along the same stretch of Tennyson St.:

The following day, June 1, we spent exploring part of downtown Denver, specifically the 16th St. Mall (which is a mile long pedestrian street) and the state capitol, which I have already blogged about in my State Capitols series. We parked at the Colorado Convention Center,…


Some artist had created these designs on the sidewalk in front of the Convention Center.



The Convention Center is most famous for the large blue bear sculpture, positioned to stand on his back legs to look  in the window.

…then walked to the capitol.


One of the entrances to the capitol, blocked off and a sign saying “Emergency Exit Only.”


Door detail


Elevator doors


Entrance to the governor’s office

We passed the McNichols Civic Center Building on our way to the 16th St. Mall. The cornerstone of this building was laid in 1909. It was recently renovated and reopened in 2016. (Source)
The art deco style University Building, on the pedestrian mall, was built in 1911 as the A. C. Foster Building. It was renamed the University Building in 1929 and its façade was remodeled at that time. (Source)
SONY DSCOne of Denver’s most iconic buildings is the Daniels and Fisher Tower at 16th and Arapahoe Streets. It began construction in 1910 and was opened to the public upon completion in 1912 as a department store. Modeled after the Campanile in Venice, it was the tallest building west of the Mississippi at the time, opened in time for the city’s 50th anniversary. (Source)
The 16th St. Mall had a lot of unusual things to see, among them several upright pianos of similar type, each painted a different color. Apparently anyone can just sit down and play one of them.

SONY DSCWe saw other musicians, too.

There were many other interesting things to see.

In a plaza in front of Union Station were fountains of water which spurted out of the ground for people (mainly children!) to run through.
I was interested in seeing Union Station, at the far end of the mall, a beautiful train station which is Denver’s main transportation hub. Marlene had painted a picture of it which was in our Airbnb apartment.
20180530_175854A station was first built on the site in 1881, but it burned down in 1894. The current building was constructed in two stages, with the large central portion being completed in 1914.  The station underwent renovation in 2012 and was reopened in 2014 as a combination of a hotel, several restaurants, retailers and a train hall. (Wikipedia)SONY DSC
We were at Union Station on a Friday, but on Saturdays from May to October, a farmers’ market sets up on the plaza in front from 9 am to 2 pm. Union Station is also the site of Denver’s latest bee-keeping project: there are 4 hives on the roof! Honey and honeycombs produced by these hives are used in the station’s restaurants. SONY DSC


You can play a type of shuffleboard at Union Station!

Lots of people sit around waiting – there is a variety of seating, including some comfy chairs.
Entrance to one of the restaurants. I bought ice cream at the Milkbox Ice Creamery!SONY DSC
Union Station’s Bus Concourse earned a Gold LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification for “green building” in 2014, because of its use of recycled materials, increased ventilation, natural light and a green cleaning policy. It was only the ninth transit building in the country to earn LEED designation. (Source)






BIG Can Be Beautiful!

Lens-Artists’ photo challenge this week is: BIG Can Be Beautiful Too!

Denali – Tallest mountain in the Western Hemisphere (Denali National Park, Alaska, 2016)
American Eagle Roller Coaster made out of Legos, using 14,500 Lego bricks with 9,300 feet of track (Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, 2017)
Big statue being carved out of rock (Crazy Horse National Monument, South Dakota, 2017)
Big musical instrument (My 6-year old grand nephew playing cello) – photo taken by his dad, David Williams
Ben plays cello
Big crowd – Women’s March (Jan. 21, 2017, Chicago – over 200,000 marchers, but the crowds in Washington D.C. and New York were even bigger!)
Big Ferris wheel (Navy Pier, Chicago, 2017)
Big painting by Georgia O’Keeffe (Chicago Art Institute, 2018)
A face only a mother could love? (African buffalo, Tanzania, 2018)
Big horns on a small gazelle (Tanzania, 2018)

Festival of Leaves

Dawn loves autumn and is hosting a photography challenge this season called Festival of Leaves.  Northern Illinois has finally arrived at its peak color. Here are a few photos of Des Plaines’ festival of leaves. I took these yesterday on a walk after 5:00 pm (official sunset yesterday was 5:56 pm).


I liked the juxtaposition of the bright red truck with the bright yellow top of a tree on the next block.


Open House Chicago 2018-Part 2

This post continues our brief tour of Open House Chicago 2018. The second building we toured was right across the street from the Gunder House.
20181013_130955It is the Conway House, now the property of Sacred Heart Schools as the Driehaus Center20181013_131527
The home was designed by the architect William Carbys Zimmerman in the Tudor-Revival style, and built by Richard Francis Conway for $40,000.  Conway’s paving company also built Lake Shore Drive. The architect also designed several of the Chicago Park District’s field houses.
Richard Conway, the house’s owner, was a widower with 11 children (good Catholics!). He also had a houseman and two servants. In early 1922, the house was sold by the Conway estate for $78,500, a considerable sum in those days.
The restored building is a survivor from the days when Sheridan Road was a millionaire’s row. This is the front entrance of this building which is rarely open to the public.
In the 1950s it became the North End Women’s Club. In 1959, Sacred Heart Schools purchased the house and Hardey Preparatory classes were held there until 1972.
This landmark home now hosts events on the main floor and has offices for Admissions, Communications and Development on the second and third floors. It has a third-floor ballroom, Ionic columns, mahogany woodwork and even lion gargoyles guarding the drainage outlets on the porch.
The first floor is lavishly decorated with period furniture.
The staircase was carpeted with floral patterns.
Interior paneling
The interior design, windows and fixtures in this curved room were beautiful.
An alcove with beautiful stained glass windows

Miniature chairs – there were two of these. I took a photo of my husband standing next to one of them to get perspective on their size.

Embossed wallpaper detail
Upper floor window seen from the outside of the building
Since 1972, the house has been home to the Religious of the Sacred Heart, Parents of the Heart activities and an early childhood intervention program for families in the neighborhood.