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.

SYWaerosolworldgobfire

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?

20190504_155618d
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?

20200214_174417
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?

20190712_213120
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?
20200329_145034
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?

20190723_201856
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?
20190723_194234
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?

20190723_204202
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
20200502_121416d

 

 

CFFC: Summer Scenes

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

DSC00861
Swimming & sunbathing on a river beach on a hot day in the Netherlands

 

20190901_112343
Black-eyed Susans at Mt. Prospect Town Hall

 

20190911_163846
Swan family and ducks at The Moorings of Arlington Heights

20190723_194253
Evening at a Wynona Judd concert in August

20190731_135113
Summer garden

20190603_121832
Planting supplies

20180718_182530
Fountain at Ravinia’s summer concerts

20180829_133007
Flowering plant in downtown Highland Park, IL

20180826_194049
Pool party on a Des Plaines August evening

 

20170608_142844
Friends at the Chicago Botanic Gardens

I could include many more, because summer is my favorite season!
Image result for i love summer

 

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,
20190803_163537
young Parisians enjoying a warm afternoon in the sculpture gardens behind the Louvre,
20190614_144407
after work at the Overlord Museum at Omaha Beach in Normandy, France,
20190620_143215
cooling off on a sizzling Sunday by the canals of Amsterdam,
20190623_113002j.jpg
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)
20181224_133716d
Now let’s take a break from the heat and enjoy a classic from 1966!

 

CFFC: Gardens

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge has the theme of nature; this week the topic is gardens.

Partial view of my garden in late July – there may be a butterfly in there somewhere…20190724_165850
In my neighborhood, kind of hidden, is this lovely pond and landscaped garden.
20190731_135113
In front of the main building at Chicago Botanic Gardens, which is not far from…
20190531_094356…Ravinia,  a famous and lovely summer outdoor concert venue north of Chicago.
20190712_192625-EFFECTS
Herb garden on Viking Gefjon (European river cruise ship) – the chefs do use the herbs grown here in preparing the delicious meals on board!
20190625_175538
In Cologne, Germany – the sculpture has a story about it, but I can’t remember it…something about elves maybe?
20190627_162321
Behind the luxurious 17th century Bishop’s residence in Bamberg, Germany, is this rose garden.
20190701_152021
Here is the garden of someone who enjoys flowers but has no green space. Surround oneself with flower pots while enjoying a warm day on the patio. There’s plenty of room for neighbors and friends! (Melk, Austria)
20190705_113241
Finally, the sumptuous and vast gardens of Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria (this is only a small fraction of those gardens).
20190707_112259

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Patterns

There are patterns wherever we go. Some are man-made, while others are in nature. Still others are a combination: humans manipulating natural phenomena to create patterns. Anne-Christine of Lens-Artists’ Photo Challenge this week has chosen the theme of patterns.

This fountain at Ravinia (outdoor summer music venue north of Chicago) was created by harnessing the properties of water and gravity to make a moving pattern of columns of water which appear and disappear in a sort of wavelike pattern – it’s mesmerizing to watch!
20180718_182549
Sometimes a fountain doesn’t have to be spectacular to create an interesting effect. The bubbling water in this fountain at Chicago Botanic Gardens disturbs the surface of the pond just enough to create concentric circles.
20170623_170033.jpg
Speaking of ponds, this pond is crowded with lily pads that are very similar in shape and form a sort of pattern (also at Chicago Botanic Gardens).
SONY DSC
Nature’s creations often form beautiful patterns, such as these leaves…
SONY DSC
cornflowers…
SONY DSC
a yucca plant with its fan of spiky leaves…
20170623_163054.jpg
and these cacti with their tiny flowers that look like rubies dotting their prickly surfaces.
20170623_162806.jpg
Animals, too, have natural patterns which are often used as camouflage. Butterflies have a symmetrical pattern formed by their wings. There are two seemingly identical butterflies on this leaf.
SONY DSC
Giraffes, cheetahs and leopards have patterns on their fur for camouflage. This leopard, though, was in plain sight as she walked by our safari vehicle in Tanzania. Soon she would disappear into the brush of the Serengeti.
SONY DSC
Man-made patterns are everywhere humans live. Lincoln, Nebraska has some very talented street artists! An alley in downtown Lincoln had been beautified by the imagination of several different artists.
20180529_131855
20180529_131741d
20180529_131719
When we build buildings, patterns are created consciously or subconsciously in the architecture. Look up at Denver’s state capitol dome to see patterns such as the ribs of the dome at the very top and the circles of round stained glass panels of famous Coloradoans.SONY DSC
At Union Station in downtown Denver, these identical windows make patterns too, as do the light fixtures! How many patterns can you find in this photo?
SONY DSCWhether natural or man-made, patterns are everywhere and pleasing to the eye. Using patterns, our brains make sense of the world.

FOTD: Black-eyed Susans

I’m joining Cee on her yellow kick today! I spotted these bright flowers at Ravinia Festival last week. Ravinia is a summer series of concerts of music of all types. There are concerts most every day of the week! You can pay $10 and sit on the lawn. People bring picnics and wine and it’s always crowded!20180718_191335
The black-eyed Susans were in this colorful flower garden.20180718_191326

The program that night was the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in an all-Beethoven program, including the 7th symphony. Here is a recording of the 2nd movement, my favorite, although I think this particular version is a little too fast.