SYW/HP: On Haunted Houses, Crowded Concerts, Bell Bottoms, Cockroaches and More…

I’m ready for another Share Your World Meets Harry Potter! The Harry Potter questions this week are inspired by The Goblet of Fire, but you don’t have to be a Harry Potter fan to answer them. These questions come from another blogger, Roger Shipp, who is collaborating with Melanie and her Share Your World, which are the second set of questions.

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Roger’s Magical, Mystical Questions:

  • Many local regions, especially rural areas where I live, have haunted houses. Have you ever spent the night in a house that was supposedly haunted? Anything ‘strange” happen?
    No, the closest I came was when my son was a little boy and we would take walks together. The route we usually took passed a 2- or 3-story, dark gray house on a large lot. It always seemed dark and that no one lived there. My son had already made up a monster, who plagued his dreams. So I told him that the monster was actually nice and wanted to make friends. Even so, he was spooky and so was that house. That house became the monster’s house!
  • The Quidditch Cup (riding broomsticks while chasing a small ball) was a huge sporting event in the land of Hogwarts. What is the largest sporting event (or concert, etc.) that you have ever attended?
    Not being a sports fan, I doubt the crowds were as big at the Packers games I attended as the concerts I went to.

    The biggest might have been when a friend and I went to see the Beatles in concert – we were in the 104th row of an old stadium in Chicago. From our vantage point, the Beatles were about an inch tall and we couldn’t hear anything they played because most of the girls (including my friend, but she tried to restrain herself for my benefit) were screaming. I think I heard later that the Beatles sometimes just pretended to sing because the screaming was so loud no one could hear them – so why waste their voices?

    The other times there have been huge crowds when I was attending were at Ravinia. Ravinia is an outdoor concert venue with a bandshell and stage in front located in the north suburbs of Chicago. They have a schedule of performers starting in June and ending in September, which they mail out to people. (Needless to say, there wasn’t a schedule this year.) People pay much less to sit on the lawn and it has become popular to bring snacks, wine, tables and chairs (Ravinia also rents these out) and share with one’s friends during the concert. The largest concert I ever attended there was last year, when Ringo Starr and his band were at Ravinia. We tried to go early but the crowd was already so huge that it was hard to find a patch of lawn for our folding chairs. If you wanted to get up for something, you could not help but step in other people’s set-ups. I ran across several friends there while I was walking around – they weren’t together nor did they know each other, and I didn’t know they were at Ravinia that night. I wanted to see Ringo and his band but anytime I lingered near the bandshell, guards shooed me away. At least no one screamed!
This is a fraction of the crowd we could see from our spot on the lawn.

This was the set up of the people next to us.
  • When you go for a swim, do you prefer an ocean, the seaside lakes, or a pool?
    I enjoy the ocean because it is warm, but prefer a bay where the water is calmer. Since I rarely go to a beach, except when on vacation, the rare times that I swim is in a pool. I don’t like it much because afterward my hair smells like chlorine.
  • Ron Weasley received a horrid robe to wear as formal wear to the Christmas dance at Hogwarts. Tell about the most ‘ghastly’ fashion statement that you have ever made.
    It was probably in the late 60s, when everyone (including me) wore inside-out sweatshirts, long strings of beads and huge bell bottoms. But I have to say, I still like bell bottoms better than straight-legged pants!

    Muggle Questions (from Melanie):

What is the last song you sang along to?
I’m not sure – there’s always music in my head, and sometimes it isn’t what I’d like to have repeating ad nauseum, but I think the last one I sang along with the recording was Old Man River a couple of days ago.
What was your scariest nightmare about?
I can’t remember it anymore, but I screamed out loud and it woke both me and Dale up.
What food do you crave most often?
ice cream, cookies, chocolate in general
What’s your grossest bug story?
The grossest and most horrible bug I’ve ever seen is a giant cockroach. Any cockroach, really. They usually appear where I least expect them and they run incredibly fast.

When I lived in northeastern Brazil with my first husband, we had all our personal effects shipped to us, and they arrived in these huge boxes, so we had large cartons sitting around the house for quite awhile. One day I was sitting on the couch in our living room and I heard a scratching noise. I went to look for the source and found a giant cockroach climbing up one of the boxes! These cockroaches lived in the grass in the surrounding area, which is why I never, ever, laid anything on the grass there. We also had a cesspit, and had to get it cleaned out occasionally – of course, that pit was crawling with them. It makes me shiver to think of even now. I thought of downloading a picture from Google and posting it here, but I can’t bear to even look at a picture of those horrible things!!

CFFC: Do You Hear What I Hear?

Sound is all around us, both delightful and bothersome. For Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge, Cee continues with her series on the senses. This week it is sense of hearing. I hope you will imagine hearing what I heard when I took these photos.

Music – the most wonderful sounds of all…

Can you hear the pure harmonies sung by these young performers?

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The singing was sweet and the performers, all high school girls, were very talented.

The photo above was taken at a concert of a barbershop chorus here called The Arlingtones. They often invite high school vocal ensembles to perform a few songs. The Arlingtones also have several quartets made up of different members of the group. My brother-in-law is in one of these groups (he’s the short bald guy). Every year on February 14, he and his quartet do singing valentines. They go to businesses, homes, and senior communities – like the one that we live in! (My sister and brother-in-law live here too!) This year, they were hired to sing for a couple on a special wedding anniversary.

Can you hear the blend of men’s voices singing a love song?

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The quartet sings Let Me Call You Sweetheart. As a special touch, they always give the ladies a rose.

I have seen – and heard, of course! – the Chicago Symphony Orchestra performing live at Ravinia last summer…

Do you still hear the music playing in your head during intermission?

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I took this during CSO’s break – at that moment, the instruments were silent, but soon would be tuned and played once again to the crowd’s delight!

…and after the quarantine started, on closed-circuit TV in our home.

Can you hear the vigorous bowing of the cellos during Beethoven’s 9th Symphony?
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There are always big crowds at Ravinia (they’ve cancelled their entire season this year 😦 ), and before gatherings of more than a few people were banned, on warm summer evenings, many performers did concerts outside – often free of charge, like this one, last July. The performer was Wynona Judd, and she did a wonderful concert of upbeat songs in a park in Elk Grove Village.

Can you hear the twang of country music sung by a woman with a big voice?

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We weren’t up close but could hear perfectly well from where we were sitting with our friends. Long gone are the days when I wanted to be as close to the speakers as possible!

Besides the music, when the Wynona and her band weren’t playing, there were the sounds of the crowd.

Can you hear the cacophony of voices?
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A few times during the concert, airplanes flew overhead from nearby O’Hare Airport, drowning out the music and the crowd chatter for a few moments.

Can you hear the plane’s loud whine?

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An airplane taking off from O’Hare traces the trail of pink clouds overhead, which were made by an earlier jet!

Besides music, crowds and airplanes, there are the sounds of nature. When I walk outside, I don’t put on headphones and listen to music; I prefer to experience the outdoors with all my senses! Mostly what I hear these days are birds.

Can you hear the trill of the redwing blackbird and the pecking of the woodpecker?SONY DSC
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CFFC: Summer Scenes

Cee continues her season theme in Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge and this week is summer scenes.

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Swimming & sunbathing on a river beach on a hot day in the Netherlands

 

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Black-eyed Susans at Mt. Prospect Town Hall

 

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Swan family and ducks at The Moorings of Arlington Heights

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Evening at a Wynona Judd concert in August

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Summer garden

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Planting supplies

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Fountain at Ravinia’s summer concerts

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Flowering plant in downtown Highland Park, IL

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Pool party on a Des Plaines August evening

 

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Friends at the Chicago Botanic Gardens

I could include many more, because summer is my favorite season!
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Thursday Doors: Two Chicago Churches

I am entering this post into Norm’s Thursday Doors, as part of my tour of Chicago’s places of worship. Today I feature two Roman Catholic churches, St. Edward Church and St. Gregory the Great Church, both on the north side.

We visited St. Edward Roman Catholic Church during Open House Chicago, having put it on my “must see” list because it contains a painted replica of the Bayeux Tapestry. We had seen the original in Bayeux, France only a few months before.20191019_11582320191019_115850
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St. Edward’s take on the story of the tapestry focuses on Edward who had been king of England and his benevolence as king. He was very pious and supposedly saw visions and cured people by his touch, which later earned him the status of a saint in the Roman Catholic Church. Edward was childless and William of Normandy was his cousin.

In Normandy, France, we didn’t hear much about Edward. There the emphasis was on William, Duke of Normandy (also known as “the Conqueror”), who invaded England in 1066 and took the English throne from Harold, who had succeeded Edward as king.  Harold did not have long to rule: he became king in January of 1066, following Edward’s death, and William’s invasion, known as the Battle of Hastings, happened later that same year.
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The replica was painted in oils on the ceiling of the narthex of St. Edward Church by Mae Connor-Anderson and is about 75 feet long. It is not complete, containing only 24 scenes and the Latin inscriptions were removed. The 24 scenes tell of St. Edward’s role in the events that led to the Battle of Hastings in 1066.
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The merger of the Saxon and Norman cultures created a new culture from which the English language evolved. Government was a mix of Norman and Saxon traditions.
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St. Edward Parish was founded in 1899 and its current church building was dedicated in 1940.

This is one of the doors from the narthex leading into the sanctuary. There are several of these which all have the same design.
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Confessional and confessional door

The stained glass windows throughout the sanctuary depict many important events in Christianity and the life of Jesus Christ. The pair pictured below depicts the birth of Jesus and his presentation in the temple with Simeon.

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St. Gregory the Great Roman Catholic Church has been serving the north side of Chicago since 1904, when immigrants from Luxembourg petitioned for a new parish. Its congregation today comprises many immigrant and ethnic groups.
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Although it was one of the sites open to the public during Open House Chicago, my visit there was with a friend for a concert by International Chamber Artists, who perform there often. The music director at the church arranges these and other concerts and is a fine musician himself.

St. Gregory is absolutely gorgeous inside. It was built in the 1920s in Norman Gothic style. It has a lavishly decorated ceiling and an intricate white reredos* behind the altar. The pulpit, shrines and stations of the cross were all hand-carved in Germany. The windows are made of English and jewel glass.
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The door at the front of the church…
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was not actually where we entered. Because we were ushers for the concert, we had to arrive an hour early to help with the preparation for the concert. Here is the door we entered.
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You will notice that this and other doors in the church have small windows with diamond shapes in them.
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The main sanctuary with its colorful and intricate decoration.
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The main altar, with its white reredos in front of the back wall.20191103_144204
Shrine to the Virgin Mary, common in Catholic churches (St. Edward has one also, pictured above).
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Inside the front entrance door
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Confessional and its door

An inner door – I noticed that the diamond shapes all had pictures, symbols or Greek writing inside them.
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I began to look at these more closely and saw a variety of pictures, each one unique.
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On the church’s web site is their mission statement and that, guided by the Holy Spirit, they are committed to:
*Celebrating and sharing God’s goodness by providing beautiful experiences of prayer and worship
*Providing opportunities for people to grow in their faith, hope, and love
*Extending the healing of Christ into the lives of all people so that they may come to know and share in the love Christ has for our world
*Offering opportunities for fellowship, hospitality, and service
*Evangelizing (spreading) the Good News of Jesus Christ through experiences of the fine arts

Of the two churches, I found St. Gregory to be the more beautiful and it has more interesting doors, but I enjoyed looking at the paintings of the tapestry panels at St. Edward, which were explained in a booklet the docents were giving out.

*What is a reredos? Promounced “RARE-eh-dahs,”according to Miriam Webster online, it is an ornamental wood or stone screen or partition wall behind the altar of a church. The term’s first known use was in the 14th century.

Sources:
St. Edward Church – publications obtained at the church
St. Gregory the Great Church – the church’s web site and Open House Chicago web site.

Summer in the City: Takin’ a Break

Lens-Artists’ photo challenge for this week is Taking a Break.  When the weather is hot (or even when it’s not), it’s always nice to take a break, such as…

before a Beach Boys & Ringo Starr concert at Ravinia,
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young Parisians enjoying a warm afternoon in the sculpture gardens behind the Louvre,
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after work at the Overlord Museum at Omaha Beach in Normandy, France,
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cooling off on a sizzling Sunday by the canals of Amsterdam,
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or how about being on an Amsterdam canal in a boat?

Here’s someone who knows how to let it all hang out – aaahhh!! (midday in Cairo, Egypt)
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Now let’s take a break from the heat and enjoy a classic from 1966!

 

APAW: “A Crowd of People Stood and Stared”*

Nancy Merrill’s “A Photo a Week” (APAW) topic for this week is Crowd.

 

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A crowd of people on board m/s Veendam watch the gates of a lock open at the Panama Canal.

 

 

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A crowd of people in the ballroom at Chicago’s Symphony Center watch Mexican dancers during the intermission of Chicago Sinfonietta’s Day of the Dead concert.

 

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Chicago Sinfonietta concert intermission activity: make marigolds out of tissue paper for a Mexican-style Day of the Dead altar. My friend Marcia (far left blonde hair) shows a crowd of people how to do this.

 

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A crowd of family members at a post-Thanksgiving gathering in Madison, WI at a cousin’s house. (A bit of a cheat here: My brother-in-law took the picture using my cellphone camera!)

 

 

 

*From A Day In the Life by the Beatles

Thursday’s Special: Pick a Word in November

Once a month for Thursday’s Special, Paula has a list of five words to choose from, or you can, like me, do them all!

dormant – my garden in winter372

salubrious – At E+O Restaurant (Randhurst Village, Mt. Prospect, Illinois), they make a salad that is not only unique, it is delicious! The ingredients are: brussels sprouts, kale, minced shrimp, red onions, red cabbage, carrots, chilis, and sweet chili vinaigrette dressing. It is one of the most popular items on their menu and very salubrious!20170215_115738

influential – The French painter Paul Gauguin was influenced by several different sources, especially the years he lived in Polynesia. Another French artist,Paul Cézanne, was influential to Gauguin in this painting entitled Woman in Front of a Still Life by Cézanne.20170908_121538 (2)

earmarked – This little Beanie Baby donkey was earmarked for customers who supported the Democrats in the 2012 presidential election. His name is “Lefty.”20171105_172938_001

fun-loving – My brother-in-law sings in a barbershop chorus called The Arlingtones. They are a very fun-loving group! In June, they put on a very funny show tracing humankind from present to past.

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In this number, my brother-in-law is the mermaid at the front of the boat!

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Here my fun-loving brother-in-law is the guy wearing a red tunic and a wig!