Wednesday, July 31, 2019

The Way We Were Wednesday - Same place 60 years apart

My mother took the slide at the top, in the 1950s, undoubtedly with my father giving directions and grimacing that she wasn't doing it right (sorry the scan is reversed.) The bottom image I took at the same place in early June of this year - some 60 years later.  The original tunnel is now the maintenance tunnel between the two new tunnels on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.  As we were approaching the tunnel, I remembered scanning Dad's slide and thought I should take an updated picture. 

Do you ever let an old photo, inspire you take a new photo. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

I'm Not From Around Here

Ah, young people, using a phone app to summon a stranger to give them a ride is normal (Uber) but hailing a taxi is not.  I don't use taxis often, but feel fairly comfortable flagging one down when I want one.  Taxis somehow became a topic of conversation at a dinner party recently.  One of the college students, said, well what do you do if someone else grabs the taxi you thought was yours?  Easy, ask the driver to call for a second car, or simply flag down the next taxi.  

All of this triggered a flashback for me, of one time when I was the person jumping the taxi line.  It has been a long day.  I had left Amsterdam early in the morning, taking the train to the airport, flying from Amsterdam to Paris, to connect to a flight to Rennes, on my way to Mt St Michelle.  In Paris they loaded us on buses, drove around the terminal a couple of times, then dumped us back at the terminal, announcing that the flight had been cancelled. An hour of standing in line, and Air France offered me a seat on the TGV - high speed train to Rennes.  I would arrive several hours behind schedule, but I would be there that night.  The challenge was that I would be at the train station, and my rental car reservation was at the airport.  I contacted the rental car company and couldn't make a change, no cars available at the train station and the airport rental car office closed about 30 minutes after the train was scheduled to arrive.  Close, but doable.  

Then I saw the mass of people waiting for a taxi, and the slow dribble of taxis arriving.  Someone hesitated, I pushed past them, tossed my bag in the taxi, plopped in the seat, while they stood there looking confused, I told the driver I needed to be at the airport in a hurry, he floored it.  I arrived with just a couple of minutes to spare, the lady at the rental car counter was as helpful as could be and even said, I kept you a nice car, lots of room and easy to drive. 

I arrived at Mt St Michelle just before mid-night, the picture above was the view from the bathroom window in my hotel room, moments before the lights on the abbey were turned off for the night.  

I am sorry to have been rude to my fellow travelers that night in Rennes, please forgive me.  I will remember this and forgive a fellow traveler in the future.  


Monday, July 29, 2019

Am I the Only One

Am I the only one who finds some of the wording strange? 

1: How am I going to know what rooms have been issued a D permit?
2: If this is a status offense, why say "may be guilty?" 
3: Is there a form of incarceration that is not actual? 

Sunday, July 28, 2019

The Sunday Five - Explain this One To Me?

I wonder:
1: What made her fall? 
2: Is she drunk, dead, or just tired? 
3: Are her legs cold? 
4: How long will she lay there before someone helps her?
5: Who do you report this to? 

My answers:
1: What made her fall? I think she fell off her shoes. 
2: Is she drunk, dead, or just tired? While she was here, a nap sounded like a good idea. 
3: Are her legs cold? Not under those lights. 
4: How long will she lay there before someone helps her? Until someone really cares. 
5: Who do you report this to? It would be a very strange 911 call.  

Your answers (and be silly and creative please) in the comments. 

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Hmm? I don't think so

I am looking at materials for a bathroom remodel.  Jay keeps suggesting a tile with this optical illusion of depth, and I keep looking at something a bit calmer.  Something a bit more like this: 
Should I go all dark grey, or the multi-shade blend? 

Friday, July 26, 2019

Along for the Ride

Did I pick the route, or am I just along for the ride?  Life is about choices, about deciding what I want to do. Not making a choice, generally is a choice to let others decide where I am going, what I am doing.  If I chose to do nothing, that should be a conscious choice, there are times when doing nothing is the most important thing to do.  In our overshedules, overplanned lives we need down time, even if we have to plan for it and schedule it.  

At times I find it best to pick the train, or plane, settle into the seat, watch the world go by, leaving others in charge of the details.  At times I just want to go along for the ride.  

Are you in charge, or along for the ride today? 

Thursday, July 25, 2019

South Bend, Indiana

The hotel we stayed at in South Bend in June was right downtown, across the street from the River.  There was some kind of a summer festival going on that weekend, the river was illuminated, there were fireworks.  Pretty town, nice people.  

There is something fascinating about water flowing over a dam.  The rush of the water, the rapids, the sense of speed and power.  There was a ship captain in my family tree, I have always been drawn to water and boats.  

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Morning Views

Relaxing in western Washington State. Planned aimless wandering.  Lots of moments that take your breath away. 

The Way We Were Wednesday - United Nations

Before I was born, my parents took my oldest brother to New York city.  There are a handful of color slides from that trip that have survived.  While they were there, they took a tour of the United Nations building, here is a somewhat dark, handheld image of the General Assembly Room, from the 1950s.  A moment frozen in time.  

Tuesday, July 23, 2019


The glory of 1960's American design, was the tail fin.  Representative of the jet age, and space exploration, an expression of enthusiasm and style.  If only the engineering and construction of that era matched the design, it would be the golden era of American design.  

Monday, July 22, 2019

Monday Moaning

Five Things I like: 

  1. Seeing new things, and old things in new ways.
  2. Reading, books bring the world to me, help me learn and understand. 
  3. Bright people, people who can see both sides of an issue, people who can think outside of the box.
  4. Photographs, I like taking photos, I like seeing them, they offer a glimpse into the world captured in time. 
  5. The adventure, seeing new places, meeting new people, enjoying new sensations.  
That do you like? 

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Sunday Five Fast Food Culture

I can remember when, you ordered at the counter at McDonalds and took it back to your car to eat, before McDonalds had indoor dining rooms.  Hence this weeks Sunday Five, fast food. 

1: When was the last time you ate at McDonalds? 
2: If McDonalds was the only choice, what would you order? 
3: Have eaten at McDonalds in another country, and if so, how was it different from home? 
4: Do you think that the McDonalds concept has passed its time? 
5: Who makes the best fast food? 

My answers: 
1: When was the last time you ate at McDonalds? Early June, on a road trip. 
2: If McDonalds was the only choice, what would you order? Quarter Pounder with Cheese, fries and a coke zero. 
3: Have eaten at McDonalds in another country, and if so, how was it different from home?  In England during the mad-cow episode I had a McPink - made with pork, in Normandy in France - they served beer and wine.  
4: Do you think that the McDonalds concept has passed its time? I think it has, and I am not convinced that their efforts to evolve are going to work in the long term. 
5: Who makes the best fast food? Hmm, I think Wendy's makes the best burger, but their service system is slow and management has been political in ways that make me want to avoid them. 

Please share your answers in the comments.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Houston, Tranquility Base here, The Eagle Has Landed

I was not quite 11 years old when Armstrong and Collins landed on the moon, July 20, 1969 - 50 years ago today.  I grew up with manned space flight in the background.  I remember the moment of the landing - my mother called me in from playing in the front yard to watch to the descent to the moon. And later, very late that night, "One small step for a Man, one giant leap for mankind." I was allowed to stay up and watch it on TV, far past my bedtime. My parents had bought their first color TV that summer, ordered just what they wanted, and it hadn't come in.  A couple of days before the moon landing the Philco Dealer, delivered a loaner, as I recall a 24 inch console in a huge piece of furniture.  We had color TV to watch the gray and white of the moon.  His kindness, earned Al, I don't remember his last name, my parents appliance business as long as they lived in Michigan.  

Do you remember where you were when the Eagle landed? 

Friday, July 19, 2019

Rare Political Commentary

A former co-worker posted a comment on Facebook asking how I could have such a negative view of the current President.  I didn't respond to her.  There are others who from time to time question my comments or postings about "he who must not be named."  

I find it hard to believe that self described conservatives can support a man who is an admitted serial adulterer. A man who cheated on his wife while she was pregnant.  A man who tells lies.  A man who makes degrading comments about women based on their looks. A draft dodger. A braggart, whose insecurity drives him to boast that his is always the biggest and the best.  A man who lacks moral fiber. His senseless tweets.  

Those are the reasons I detest the man.   

The weather in DC was terrible on July 4th,  I told Jay that if "he who shall not be named" was struck by lightning, I'd convert to Catholicism.  Oh well, even God does not want to deal with American politics.  

Remember there is an election coming up, and not a minute to soon.  

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Random Wisdom - From the most unlikely place

Reading can seriously damage ignorance! 

Summer Drinking Tip: When someone declines an alcoholic beverage, don't ask why, offer an alternative and move on. 

There is always something to be thankful for. 
(Other than that, how was the theater Mrs. Lincoln?) 

I don't have an attitude problem, I have a problem smiling at bullshit. 

Scars are a testament to life. Scars are a testament that I can love deeply and live deeply and be cut, or even gouged, and that I can heal and continue to live and continue to love.

It's quite possible, things will turn out far better than you imagine. 

Where did I find this, scattered and hidden among the hate, and garbage, and marketing, on Facebook. Random wisdom hiding in plain sight.   

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

The Way We Were Wednesday - My Kodachrome

The kid in the red hat, to match his red hair, is my oldest brother.  I don't know who the child in the blue is, likely one of Great-Uncle John's sons.  This is a scan of a Kodachrome slide, taken in the early 1950s.  Kodachrome was an amazing technology, the color dyes were added in the processing, not in embedded in the film.  The result was amazingly stable color.  The later Ektachrome had the color dyes in the film - a system that has proven to not have the same archival life.  Kodak is bringing back Ektachrome, the last Kodachrome processing machine was shut down a few years ago, without that key machine the process will not work. We will never get our Kodachrome back.  Only time will tell if we will be able to open our digital images in 60 years, or how well they will age.  

The darkening around the edges of the image was caused by the lens on the camera.  In bright light, the image edges distorted resulting the dark shadow around the edges.  Shortly after this was taken my father bought a much better Argus C3, and passed this camera onto his sister Edith (it is probably still in the house in Florida.)

Anyone humming a tune?  

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Custom Wheel Wells

Customizers often expand the wheel openings on cars and trucks to accommodate oversized wheels and tires.  This pick-up truck in Ohio, is a prime example of expanded wheel openings, except this one is a product of rust acting on poor design and construction.  

Monday, July 15, 2019

Remains of the Past

I love seeing the remains of old signs, painted on brick walls of buildings.  The kind that were painted 100-years ago, that have faded over the years, so only a ghost of the past remains.  The modern printed on plastic signs, will be done the moment the lease is up, no ghost to be see 100 years from now.  A loss for future generations.  

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Sunday Five - A Day at the Beach

Growing up my family only went to the beach a handful of times. Part of that was living in Michigan, though we were only 40 miles from the beaches of Lake Huron (Unsalted and Shark Free.)  It is the peak of summer, so the Sunday Five is about a day at the beach. 

1: Do you prefer a sunny day or overcast day at the beach? 
2: Sandy shore or rocky coast? 
3: Being alone, or having a nice crowd? 
4: Do you go to the beach and then sit in the shade? 
5: Do you enjoy long walks, or sitting and watching the waves and the people? 

My answers: 
1: Do you prefer a sunny day or overcast day at the beach? This has changed for me over the years, overcase and warm. 
2: Sandy shore or rocky coast? Rocky coasts intrigue me. 
3: Being alone, or having a nice crowd? Leave me alone! 
4: Do you go to the beach and then sit in the shade? No, in the sun if there is sun. 
5: Do you enjoy long walks, or sitting and watching the waves and the people?  Long walks. 

Your answers in the comments please. 

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Off the Beaten Path Style

We have an upcoming trip, you'll hear about it when we are back.  We are going off the beaten path, taking the back roads, staying in small towns and out of the way places.  It is planned, aimless wandering.  We will see, hear, smell, feel and taste things we have never experienced before.  I have rented an SUV, that will go pretty much anyplace we want to go, the hotels are all booked in perfect succession, carefully planned so that the longest day of travel is only about 125 miles, with lots of time for diversions, side trips, and unexpected stops to take in the awe and wonder of the countryside.  

A friend of mine takes organized tours, with someone else planning out every stop, from hotels, to meals, to shopping, to scenic vistas in advance.  That style works well for her.  I can't imagine not being able to see something and thinking, oh let's stop and see what that is, and having someone else drive on by because it was not on the official itinerary.    

What is your travel style?  

Friday, July 12, 2019

Iconic Shape

The TranAmerica tower in San Francisco, The Hancock Building in Chicago, The Empire State Building, The Pickle in London, iconic buildings that people recognize based on their shape.  Not every city has one, and I see them as different than monuments, like the Eiffel Tower, or the Washington Monument.  

Should every city have an Iconic building? 

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Mid-Year Update

It is July already, time flies.  Time for an update. 

Much less travel this year, only 7 trips in the first six months. 28 hotel nights. I have trip coming up soon with a couple of weeks of hotel nights- part work, larger part pleasure, and a two city trip the end of August that will be 5 nights.  I will close the year with about 40 hotel nights.  

I have read 32 books, I am easily on pace for one a week for the year.  

We are getting started on some major updates to the condo, we have hired a contractor to replace Jay's bathroom, to henceforth be known as the Potty Palace. For what it is costing it better be a Palace when we are finished.  As much as paid for the last new car I bought.  When his is done, my bathroom needs updating, then the real challenge the kitchen needs replacing.  That may cost as much as my first house did.  When I look at appliances I end up projecting near $10,000 just on those.  No wonder my father put off the kitchen replacement - my mother died waiting.  

My brother-in-law is having a rough year.  He is having a kidney removed - overall he is not having fun.  

I have started an unofficial retirement countdown,  49 months and a few days left to go.

How is your year going?   

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

The Way We Were Wednesday - Great Aunt Edith

My paternal grandmothers, aunt on her father's side, my great aunt Edith. She had come to the USA from England sometime before World War II.  At first she lived with my grandparents in the Detroit area.  She landed a job as a housekeeper for the Firestone family.  She was live in staff, and traveled with them from home to home as part of their personal staff.  The summer my aunt Edith was born she was at a lake house near Chicago, my father was sent to spend a month with her, playing with the children and grandchildren in the Firestone family.  During World War II, cousin Sally was sent from London to the states for safety, Sally lived with my grandparents, she was sort of my father second sister.  

Sometime after the war, Edith and Sally moved to Miami with Uncle Bob, whom I never met.  Bob died of alcoholism after a few short years, but Edith and Sally stayed in Miami.  They were big characters, neither ever married. They were big hearted and kind.  Edith told me in England she worked in a woolen mill and she was always the last one in the door as the bell rang at the start of the work day, and the first one out the door at the end of the day, her philosophy was walk to work, and run away from it.  

In later life, in ill health the two of them moved to Michigan City, Indiana to live with another cousin.  We kind of lost track, I know they both died there. I understand Edith was cremated and her ashes scattered on the Atlantic, she said that way in time, parts of her would drift home to England on the tides, slowly, very slowly. 

Neat car, an early 60's Mercury, with the "Breezeway" window in the back, it rolled down into the trunk. 

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Stay Cool

It has been a long hot summer here in the mid-Atlantic region, and it is only early July.  I deal with the heat, kind of like I deal with the cold, I stay inside with the climate control on.   How hot has it been, when I drive the convertible with the top down, I run the air conditioning.  

Getting wet is always an idea on a hot day.  When I was about 8 my father put an above ground pool in the backyard on the farm, a few years later we had a two acre pond dug in a swampy corner of the big wooded area - and the pool went onto a new home.  I have never owned a pool, when we were house shopping in Lexington, the REALTOR pulled up in front of one, I was thrilled, Jay vetoed the idea without getting out of the car.  The Condo has pools, I should go float around more often.  

I don't recall fountains like the one above when I was a child.  My mother would have been horrified that my clothes would get wet, and I would then sit on the seats in the car.  Mothers have changed, cars, like hot summers, are temporary things to be enjoyed.  

How's the weather around you? 

Monday, July 08, 2019

Fashion Mistakes

While Mitchell frequently shows us the colorful mixtures of patterns in Spain, here in DC the fashion blunders are often more subtle.  Summer students show up with a closet full of $500 suits bought specifically to make them look the part in DC, but forget the socks.  Sockless would work better, than the low cut ankle socks.  Summer students from cooler climates are often seen melting in summer in the swamp.  Apparently law students are still being advised to buy wingtips, or captoes, or 1.5 inch black heels.  Shoes that are uncomfortable to walk in, in a city with a lot of walking. 

Oh how rude of me, of all people, to point out the fashion mistake.  Should I try to be better? 

Sunday, July 07, 2019

Sunday Five - In a Pickle

My grandmother stopped making dill pickles before I was around, my mother never did.  My mother was afraid of anything fermented, or yeasted.  The bubbles and changing smells made her afraid that something was wrong and she was going to make someone sick. Last summer I read a book on fermented foods, pickling and such, and decided to try my hand at it.  Hence this weeks Sunday five - In a Pickle.

1: Have you ever made a simple dill pickle? 
2: Do you like sauerkraut? 
3: Did you grow up around people who canned food? 
4: What is your favorite pickle? 
5: What is your favorite fruit jelly or jam? 

My answers: 
1: Have you ever made a simple dill pickle? See above- it is surprisingly simple and they are so good. 
2: Do you like sauerkraut? I like it cold, made a batch last fall. 
3: Did you grow up around people who canned food? One of my grandmother's did, I helped her a lot. 
4: What is your favorite pickle? All of them, sour dills, bread-and-butter, sweet jerkins. 
5: What is your favorite fruit jelly or jam? Red Raspberry. 

Your answers in the comments, please. 

Saturday, July 06, 2019

Amazed At Where I Have Come

Let's face it, I was born a country bumpkin, with solid working class roots.  My grandmother had a collection of records of classical music, no one in my family quite understood what the two of us heard in it.  It enthralled me, as a child I dreamed of someday hearing live classical music - of conducting.  There was a problem with conducting and that is printed music is a bunch of random dots on graph paper in my weird brain.  Oh well.  

When given the chance I escaped the farm. Enjoying classical music on public radio, but not seizing the opportunity to watch it live, until this year.  

In January we went to the Kennedy Center, the son of a friend of ours had a Opera premiere at the Kennedy Center.  A few weeks later we went back to hear the National Symphony Orchestra, then a Russian Folk Group, and then the NSO again.  We have tickets for a harpsichord program in a few months. So here I am, stage right, 2nd balcony all the way to the front, literally over the end of the stage.  It was amazing. A very, very long way from the farm.  

Someone asked me recently about live concerts, thinking popular music.  There is only one of those in my history, Kiss in the Jacksonville Coliseum in 1976, if it going to be once in a lifetime make it worthwhile.  And more recently an all Mozart program by the NSO. 

What was the last live music show you saw? 

Friday, July 05, 2019

Glad I Grew Up Around Airplanes

I had lunch with as college student the other day.  He lives in the mid-west and is spending the semester interning in DC.  He took the train from Chicago to DC, almost 20 hours - you can drive it in 10.  He got to talking and said last summer he took the train to Phoenix, 25 nonstop hours in coach.  I asked if he had traveled much, and the answer was not really.  He has family in Florida and had driven back and forth to Florida several times.  I asked about flying and he turned pale.  He is terrified of heights, and flying.  At 21 years of age, he has never flown.  He may never.

I know a couple of my regular readers don't fly, and I understand, but being comfortable flying opens so many opportunities.  Being able to quickly go from place to place, has made it possible to see so much of the country and a little bit of the rest of the world.  In large part I am comfortable flying, because I grew up around it.  In little planes.  

I missed my chance to fly supersonic.  In a last ditch effort to find something in common with my first spouse, we went to Europe, twice, in one year.  We talked about going a third time, British Airways was offering short Concord flights, out of London, over the Atlantic, over the speed of sound, have a glass of champagne and back on the ground at Heathrow- the flight was only like 30 minutes for something silly like 200 GPB. Another man came into the picture (spouse had an affair) and we broke up before that trip could happen.  And now it likely never will.  

I will take a hot-air-balloon trip one day.  I tried in Florida in March but the weather was crappy and the flight cancelled - twice.  

What are glad you started to do early in life? 


Thursday, July 04, 2019


The Way We Were Thursday this week: Independence Day!

Treason Day, as my great-grandmother once referred to it, was never the same after my father's sister Edith married Dick.  Uncle Dick had a house on a nice lake about 30 miles north of Detroit. And the house on the lake became the venue for summer holidays, like the 4th of July.  He bought a house on a lake, because he had a boat.  He had a boat because his mother's next-door neighbor had a boat she didn't know what to do with, so he bought it.  His mother's neighbor had a boat she didn't know what to do with, because she won it on the "Price is Right" in the very early 1960's. So really our Independence Day holidays were celebrated on a lake, because Dick's mother's neighbor won a boat on a television game show.  Dick's entire life was a long series of complicated cause and effect stories.  He was a colorful character and a master storyteller, and could spin a tale like few I have ever met.  

My mother was an only child, my father only had the one sibling.  But I lucked out in the Aunt and Uncle department.  Edith and Dick were fun and interesting.  They enjoyed life.  If you had a couple of hours he could tell you about the time they drove a motorhome from Florida to the Arctic Circle and back with seven adults, and aged cat and a 90 pound dog (the cat died fat and happy on the way home.) The two of them made in quality, what we lacked in quantity.  

Oh, that is me, in the front row, the expression on my sister's face is priceless.  

Happy Independence Day! 

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

EV One

This is one of only a handful of EV1s in existence.  The EV1 was the first modern rechargeable electric car by a major American manufacturer. Electric cars had been sold in the early days of the automobile, but the unlimited range of internal combustion rapidly took over the market.  General Motors built these, they "sold" them by lease only in California.  When the leases were up, they demanded that they be returned, and sent almost all of them to the shredder.  GM said it was an experiment, a large scale test concept.  A handful remained in private hands, hidden by the lessees who paid a penalty for failure to return the car, rather than surrender them back to GM. Some owners literally locked them away in garages to hide them tow trucks that GM paid to retrieve them at the end of the lease period. It is unclear is this one was selected for a museum by GM, or one of the ones that people refused to surrender - a hidden asset.   

When will we all own an electric car? 

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Fairport Harbor Light

A few days ago I posted about climbing a lighthouse, and Spo asked about the lens, here it is. 
The back half is open.  Reminds me of the basic optics experiments in middle school.  

I have long been fascinated by shipping, I'd love to live someplace with a view of an active harbor.  There is a website where you can see global ship traffic. I sometimes spend an hour seeing what is happening around the world of the seas.  Everyman needs a hobby.  At one time I read all of the FAA incident and accident reports.  

What weird website do you visit? 

Monday, July 01, 2019


Bikes are a bit of an obsession of mine, I am down to only three of them, though I don't ride much anymore.  I remember having a hard time learning to balance, rolling too slowly down the gentle slope of the gravel driveway on the farm, pushing the bike back up the hill.  My father didn't believe in training wheels, besides he said, "they are hard to put on and next week you'll want me to take them off." I learned on a tiny, 20 inch Schwinn.  The following summer my birthday gift was a full size Schwinn Typhoon bike, big fat tires, coaster brakes, I still own it (I would part with it, if someone wants to buy it.) I have a Trek 1200 aluminum racing bike, a keepsake from my Triathlon period. It is terrifyingly fast, and oh so fun.  And a modern hybrid street bike.  I'd like a electrically assisted bike. 

The wood wheeled bike above was built by two brothers in Ohio in the early 1900's.  Reportedly they were pretty good bike builders, though their real passion was tinkering and daydreaming.  The little experiment they built in the back room did eventually take off, literally - Orville and Wilbur Wright were their names.  

An interesting piece of trivia, the Wrights never owned the building the cycle shop was in. Henry Ford bought it from their landlord, had it disassembled, moved and reassembled in Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan. 

Do you own a bike?