As usual, fall lasted about 3.8 days in Illinois. Winter-like temperatures are here, and I spent much of the day slipping into seasonal depression, but revived myself with a walk outside. Yes, it is possible to still enjoy the outdoors in winter, as long as you’re dressed for it.

The cold also means that I turn my attention to indoor activities in my craft room. I usually don’t accomplish a lot in there, but it always makes me feel better mentally. I love creating and making “stuff”, and I have the same outlook on art as Bob Ross: There’s only happy accidents.

Whenever I am working on a project, usually stained-glass, I can’t help but think about Decatur’s early industrialists and inventors. I have a Faries lamp in my craft room that was manufactured in Decatur in the 30s or 40s. Every time I look at it, I’m reminded of how our ancestors were doers.

They didn’t sit around complaining and missing the good ole days. Well, maybe they did. I don’t know, but they couldn’t have spent much time moaning, considering they built this city.

One thing that drives me nuts is the amount of people on social media that do nothing but complain about Decatur. They act like no other city in the world has crime or social problems. “Only in Decatur.” How many times have I read that? One bad thing happens at the hands of some lone criminal, and they paint the entire city as nothing but Loserville, or as half the country would spell it, Looserville. Ooo- that drives me nuts.

My biggest pet peeve is people calling others “loosers”. Admittedly, I can’t spell worth a darn, and my sentence structure causes seizures in English teachers, but for crying out loud, learn the difference between “lose” and “loose”. Ugh!

Anyway, back to creating and doing. I admire people who are forward-thinking. I’m not talking about politically necessarily, but people who have visions and can carry them out, in spite of the naysayers.

Lincoln Square Theater Renovations

Today, I watched a video on Facebook from the Friends of the Lincoln Square Theater, detailing the progress of the renovations being carried out, mostly by volunteers and local businesses. The lobby has been restored, old seats removed, a lot of painting has been done, repairing of plaster, fixing leaky roofs, and making the building comfortable with good heating and air conditioning has been completed. There’s also been important structural repairs to the 100+ year-old building.

The video below takes you on a tour of the renovations. You can also join the group on Facebook to follow along with the progress, and get details about how you can help.

I’m impressed with their ideas that might actually work to finally make the building financially sustainable. At first, I wasn’t so sure about removing all the seats in the lower level, but now I get the vision. The theater will be available for rent for special events, and seating can be set up for performances. It sure would be a cool place for a wedding reception or a prom!

The upper balcony has retained its seating, and will be turned into a VIP section with its own concession stand and restrooms. That’s a terrific idea. The view is amazing from the balcony, and the acoustics of the theater are top-notch.

My daughter had her ballet recitals there in the early 2000s, and even though the theater was a mess with peeling paint, musty smells, and mice crawling in and out of the old steam radiators, the sound quality of the building was obvious. You knew you were someplace special. With just a boom box and two stereo speakers, the sound was better than I’ve heard anywhere else. They knew how to build theaters for live performances back then. No microphones were needed.

A new logo has been designed for the theater as well. This one will include the likeness of Abraham Lincoln. Why didn’t anybody ever think of that before? After all, the theater was named after him, and he did deliver his first political speech just steps away from the theater. Seems to me, it would be a good tourist draw to include his image.

But I think to be sustainable, it has to appeal to local people, and the new vision has a good chance of being successful.

Bike Path Expansion

I stopped by Cresthaven Park today, too, and checked out the progress on the bike path expansion that will extend to Forsyth. So far, only a bridge has been partially constructed. It’s good to see that work has begun, though. The new section won’t yet link to the existing bike path in Decatur, but when it does, cyclists will be able to bike from Rock Springs Conservation Area to Forsyth and vice-versa.

As someone who has scouted out other local bike paths, ours is the best already in a 100-mile radius for its scenic views and well-maintained path.

Well, I’m going to get back to doing something in my little studio, but it was great to see progress in the city today, in spite of the gloomy weather.