Thursday, April 30, 2020

America's Cup Boats

A few years ago I was in San Francisco for some work project or another, I forget what, work all runs together.  It was the summer the America's Cup was being contested in San Francisco.  As I always try to do, I arranged the travel, to have a free afternoon.  I went down along the bay, and there with the bird, and the bridge is a glimpse of two of the boats.  Probably a once in a lifetime spectacle for me.  Glad I made the time.  Life is short, enjoy it along the way.  

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

The Way We Were Wednesday

My one and only first cousin, in about 1974, hard to believe he is over 40, and a very big guy.  This was in the living room of the old farm house, when my grandparents lived there.  The black and white console TV was there as long as I could remember.  The bookcase was built over a closed off door, that went out to the front porch when my grandparents bought the farm.  They enclosed part of the front porch installing a bathroom.  After my grandfather died, my grandmother bought a nice house in Florida, she remarked that at age 70, it was the fourth home she had bought, and the first one that had an indoor bathroom (two of them) when she bought it.  My how times have changed.  

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

In the Shadow of the Shard

I didn't feel like spending $30 a person, to go to the top of the Shard in London, the restaurant and bar were not open for lunch yet, so we wandered around the neighborhood. When one door closes, another one opens, you never know what is around the corner.  Around the block was a block, lined with shipping containers containing small businesses. Including the one above.  

Great name, what do they sell? 

Monday, April 27, 2020

My Music Monday Alan Jackson, Jimmy Buffett - It's Five O' Clock Somewhere

When I am working in the office, it takes me about an hour to get home most evenings.  By the time I get home, it is time to fix dinner.  With my current telecommute, when I am done at 5:00 I am home.  Cocktail hour, a half hour to relax and unwind from my day of work.   I have never gone out to lunch and not made it back to work in the afternoon, but there were a couple of times over the past 40 years when I felt like doing so.  

Have you?  Should I someday? 

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Sunday Five - Slightly Twisted

Once again, five questions, 

  1. Would you go across the street to investigate this shop?
  2. Is the name to riskee for your community? 
  3. What unusual shop comes to mind for you? 
  4. If you owned this shop what would you sell? 
  5. What does this shop sell? 
My answers:

  1. Would you go across the street to investigate this shop? I certainly did. 
  2. Is the name to riskee for your community? Probably, there are a lot of bright and easily offended people in my neighborhood. 
  3. What unusual shop comes to mind for you? Spiral Circle in Orlando.
  4. If you owned this shop what would you sell? Clothing. 
  5. What does this shop sell? There is a hint in an earlier blog post. (It is a Bicycle Shop.)
Please share your answers in the comments.  

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Before, During and After

Years of planning, and the better part of two weeks of mess and work, and I have what I wanted.  The cheap-ugly fiberglass tub-shower is gone, replaced by a walk in shower, with custom tile work, and glass doors.  The nice, but not terribly functional cabinets have been replaced with custom cabinets that work.  Yes, I kept the ugly mirrored door medicine cabinets, because I like the storage they provide. It is what I wanted, not done for the greatest resale value, or to make anyone else happy.  I will rehang the photos sometime soon.  

The moron in chief is testing my resolve to maintain this as a virus free zone, but I remain steadfast.  When you need a break from the insanity and stupidity, come for a visit.  I promise to keep this an emotional safe zone.  

Remember the adventures of the past, dream of the adventures of the future.  

Friday, April 24, 2020

No Rubbish

On an airline flight one day (I have a hundred stories that start like this) I sat next to a brand manager for Beam Suntory, a company that makes some very fine Bourbon and they also make rubbish - Jim Beam.  If the only bourbon you have ever tried is Jim Beam, I don't blame you if you dislike bourbon.  It is harsh, and lacks the complexity of flavors and mellowness of good stuff.  She asked what I thought could be done to improve bourbon sales, and I said, get bars and duty free shops to feature and sell the good stuff, as Spo would put it, no rubbish.   When I travel, I am often in pursuit of the good stuff.  In Ireland I discovered good Irish Whiskey and when I returned home found it in my local store.  I did bring home a couple of souvenir bottles.  I almost always check bags, and I always have bottle bags in my bags.  I need to order a new supply, I used the last of them on the last adventure. 

Do you bring home bottles of the good stuff when you travel?  

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Study in Space and Light

As I recall I took this in the Dallas Museum of Art.  This is one of the galleries, I believe the two guys in suits are docents or guards, but their placement, the light coming in, the column in the space, the orb, just struck me as being more meaningful that the art on the walls.  Maybe it is just me, but I liked this space.  

What space near you do I need to see? 

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

The Way We Were Wednesdays - The Sound of Flying

I was on a video conference call recently, with everyone working from home we are doing a lot of that these days, someone on the call had the windows open and lived near an airport, and I heard an old familiar sound, a sound that brought back memories of my youth.  Piston engine - propeller driven aircraft.  I miss that sound. I live about 90-seconds (by air) south of Ronald Reagan Washington National airport (DCA,) in one of the countries most strictly enforced "no-fly-zones." Air traffic is limited and strictly controlled near here in the DC area.  Pilots have pass special background checks and receive prior permission to land at DCA, the bottom line is nearly no small private planes land there.  I miss the sound.  Hearing it brought back fond memories, when ever my father heard that sound, he would pause, look up and see what kind of airplane it was.  A habit I picked up.  

What sound makes you pause and look up? 

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Left Down the Funky Narrow Street

In Dublin, we went out of our way, to visit the Teeling Distillery.  We skipped the tour, our timing was off, and the one size fits all price didn't fit as it included a tasting, and one of us doesn't drink (much healthier thank you.) We wandered around their history display, and visited the gift shop (nice.) Then we were ready to walk back to the streetcar that would take us back to the hotel, I looked at the map, and decided that if we took a left it would be several blocks shorter.  The left ended up being down a narrow funky street.  The street was clean and urban, lined with neat doorways, and street art.  Fun and funky, but not all funked up, that was the bike shop around the corner. 

Would you take the shortcut down the funky narrow street?  

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Sunday Five - Would you?

Would you,

  1. Drive it? 
  2. Ride in it?
  3. Own it? 
  4. Build it? 
  5. Sooner walk? 
My answers:

  1. Drive it? Yes
  2. Ride in it? Yes - well depending on who the driver was, and the weather 
  3. Own it? Yes, but I'd have a fight with the condo over another parking sticker
  4. Build it? No, not in my skill set 
  5. Sooner walk? No
Please share your answers in the comments. 

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Amazing Engineering

This medieval church has an amazing roof structure, amazing because it has no nails, or screws.  The description was hammer beam construction. One of the largest of the type in the world. Note the iron cross bolts holding the sides in, my guess is those were a later addition to slow the spread of the walls.  If it weren't for my fear of the math, I'd have made a good engineer.  

Nice space?  

Friday, April 17, 2020

The Train from Holyhead to Conway

In our quest to meet John Gray, we took the local train from the ferry port in Holyhead to Conway in Wales.  The station in Conway is very local, only a handful of trains stop there, the train stops at every station along the way. A delightful slow ride through the lowland sheep filled meadows of Wales.  It was uncrowded and comfortable.  Even Travel came out to enjoy the view. 

The side trip to England was only three nights, we had packed big roller bags for two weeks of travel.  Traveling by ferry and then by train, we didn't want to deal with big roller bags, so I packed a small canvass sort of an oversized gym bag.  The two of us packed what we needed in it for the three nights in it, on the way to the ferry in Dublin, we stopped at the hotel we would be staying when we returned and checked our big bags, so all we had was one small easy to handle bag and our day-bags (Jay had a small backpack, I had my ever trusty Timbuk2 messenger bag.)  It made the train trips much easier.  

Have you ever traveled by train with full size roller bags? 
Day Four update, the electrical and drywall work are finished, tile floor in the wet room is being set.  

Thursday, April 16, 2020

The Remodel

Over ten years ago, when I first moved into the condo, I posted that I needed to remodel two bathrooms and the kitchen.  Jay's bathroom was done a few months ago, the replacement of my bathroom started this week.  Here are a few before pictures and progress from day one. The counter was low, I am slightly above average height for a man, and there is a section of my spine that no longer bends.  So new taller cabinets are being installed (ahh!) My least favorite fixture in the original bath was the fiberglass tub-shower.  It was ugly and flexed under my feet.  It is being replaced with a walk in shower, built on a Kohler enameled cast iron shower base.  I had debated for a decade doing a traditional shower, we are on the third floor, if the shower leaked, I'd have a couple of floors below me to leak into.  When we went to look at fixtures and tile and I saw the cast iron shower pan, it was love at first sight.  Unless someone drops a sledge hammer on it, it will outlast us all and NEVER leak.  On the first day, the demo was completed and the shower base installed.  Great progress.  

Day two, the new plumbing was installed in the wall, the new backer and waterproof membrane installed.

Day Three, I am in Love. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

The Way We Were Wednesday - Apples

There were three apple trees on the farm, a very old tree in the front yard of the 100 year old farm house, it was so tall, that you had to wait for the apples to fall, you couldn't reach them from the ground, one in my grandfather's dog run, the apples on that tree were late to ripen, often green - hard and sour, and on behind the honey-processing plant.  The honey-house apples were the best, nice size, ripened well, the tree was short and full, easy to get to.  In my teenage years I picked dozens of bushels of apples from that tree.  My grandmother taught me how to make and can applesauce, and how to make a good apple pie (I have since learned the secret to making a GREAT apple pie.  

When was the last time you went apple picking? 

Tuesday, April 14, 2020


I swear I could do a blog of nothing but close up photos of flowers.  I get into a garden and start taking pictures like this and the next thing I know there are 40 or 50 images.  I love the colors, the graceful shapes.  I lost interest in gardening long ago, but I love the work of others.  

We keep fresh flowers in the house nearly all of the time. 

When was the last time you had fresh flowers at home? 

Monday, April 13, 2020

Music Monday - Stuffy Classical Music

Classical music, strings and such tends to be traditional and stuffy.  But the instruments are capable of so much more. I can listen to these guys for hours.  Seriously, find them on your tube and click the button to start the next video automatically.  

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Sunday Five - Driving Questions

When planning the trip to Ireland, nearly everyone that I talked to that had been there, said, "you need to rent a car."  Then I stumbled across the Mount Juliet Estate Hotel and it was far enough off the beaten path that driving was the only practical way to get there. The challenge being that the Irish drive on the opposite side of the road from the Americans.  

I bought a micro-USB card for Ms Garmin, and gave J permission to give me explicit driving directions, especially reminding me what lane to turn into.  Leaving Galway was easy, mostly one way streets.  Occasionally J shouted at me,  saving us from embarrassment or disaster.  I returned the car without a scratch on it.  Always buy all of the insurance the rental car company offers when renting a car in a foreign country. 

So this week questions about driving.  

  1. Have you driven on the opposite side of the road? 
  2. Do you pay attention to the gas mileage on your car? 
  3. Have you driven over 100 miles per hour (161 kh/h)?
  4. Has Ms Garmin (GPS, or Sat Nav) ever given you wrong directions? 
  5. What is your fantasy dream car? 
My answers:

  1. Have you driven on the opposite side of the road? Twice, the first time was in London in 1990. 
  2. Do you pay attention to the gas mileage on your car? Not really, I watch the range, but really don't pay attention to fuel consumption. 
  3. Have you driven over 100 miles per hour (161 kh/h)? Yes, legally. 
  4. Has Ms Garmin (GPS, or Sat Nav) ever given you wrong directions? Let me put it this way, I had to turn around next to a sheep barn. 
  5. What is your fantasy dream car? A classic Rolls Royce. 
Please share your answers in the comments. 

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Blown Away at Clonmacnoise

Clonmacnoise is south of Athlone in Ireland.  It is the site of a monastery dating back to about 544, a very, very long time.  We had difficulty finding it, Ms. Garmin drove us right past it, the signs are only visible if you are coming the opposite direction from the way we were driving. The narrow, hilly, winding roads, were starting to get to me, I nearly gave up.  I am glad we didn't.  The rain stopped, the clouds cleared, the wind was blowing about 40 miles per hour. I had a hard time standing in the open against the wind.  The ruins are amazing, I was blown away in more ways than one.  By the time we left, it had started to rain again, if you don't like the weather in Ireland, wait 30 minutes, it will change.  


Friday, April 10, 2020

Forbidden Photos

One issue with Jay and I in a hotel room, is having just one bathroom.  Both of us trying to get showered, dressed and ready to go at the same time, results in me, getting bored while he gets ready.  If I shower first, I will often go take a nice 45-60 minute walk so he can have unrushed time to fuss himself up.  This is what we did in London.  Along the side of the Hilton Tower Bridge is this wonderful pedestrian street, that leads to an overlook by London City Hall, with a wonderful view of the bridge.  This cute young couple was have wedding photos taken on that walkway, or at least trying to.  Just after I snapped this picture, a security guard came out and shouted for them to stop and leave the "private property."  He screamed that they were on private property taking "commercial photos" without permission, and ran them off to the pedestrian walkways along the river.  I do hope they got a couple of great shots before being run off.  

Would you let them take photos there? 

Thursday, April 09, 2020

Gothic Revival Church at Dublin Castle

We took the tour of Dublin Castle.  The guided tour is the only way to get in to see the inside, the group was small, only 6 or 7 of us, and the tour guide was good.  She is the resident medievalist. The Castle started out as a fortress, a couple of the towers of the original castle remain, and later housed the residence of the heads of state.  At one point an Anglican church was built, in grand gothic revival style, on a petite scale.  A rather impressive building. After about 10 minutes of talking about the space, it's history, and what it has been used for over the past 200-300 years the tour guide said, "but I have to admit there is something very fake here, can anyone guess what it is?" Beyond her hair color, I didn't have a clue until she said, "knock on one of the columns, go ahead give it a rap." The structure is made of wood.  Why? There was stream running across the space, that was effectively buried in a tunnel under the building site.  A traditional stone structure would have been to heavy, and it was feared would collapse into the stream.  So the structure was done in wood, carved, plastered, and painted to look like stone.   

Do you like guided tours?  

Wednesday, April 08, 2020

The Way We Were Wednesday - Ferries

I don't recall my father every taking his car on a ferry when I was traveling with him, but the picture above is my mother and what is most likely my oldest brother on a ferry.  I remember my father talking about the sandpiper-gold car with the two tone paint, very early 1950's, I think it was the first new car my father ever owned.  

On our recent adventure we crossed from Ireland to Wales by ferry.  When I booked it, I wondered about the weather, a couple of weeks before we traveled there was video online of ferries trying to enter the port of Dublin in 60 knot winds and high seas.  We had wonderful weather on the outbound crossing, and good weather on the return, a little windy but still a very comfortable crossing. 

Any idea what the car above is?