ThursdayDoors: Blasting Off into 2017

Today’s door isn’t very pretty.discover

Well, if you’d been launched into orbit 39 times in the space of 27 years, you’d be looking a little funky too. America’s oldest space shuttle, Discovery, is currently in retirement at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center outside of Washington DC.  Udvar-Hazy is the Smithstonian’s air and space museum.  Besides Discovery, there are hundreds of planes and jets – both military and civilian – however, if you decide to visit do so on a full stomach.  The only place to get something to eat or drink is an overcrowded McDonalds.

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Puny mortals beneath the thrusters

 

Our guide was a retired Air Force pilot who peppered his dialogue with non-stop stories of famous generals and senators he’d flown hither and yon. I imagine his wife was quite happy to get him out of the house so she didn’t have to keep listening to them!

As we blast off into this crazy year, let’s hope like Discovery we return to an intact world safely.

Happy New Year everyone. Hop on over to Norm Frampton’s swinging pad to see other doors from around the world..

Good-bye Christmas 2016

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Today I am still recovering from a combination of too much sugar and ears that never popped after the plane I was on made a nose drive to escape nasty weather.  It was such a rough flight that stewardesses remained in their seats the whole way. We didn’t even get peanuts!img_2446

The winds pushed ashore monsoon rains, making my dream of Christmas Eve at the Cantina seem more like a nightmare.  Instead we stayed close to home and made Christmas cookies and gingerbread houses.

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Not bad for two five year olds and a three year old!

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Love means going through a security checkpoint with a special present handmade by five year old Audrey for Pretty Kitty.

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He seemed pleased, however he didn’t know exactly what it was.  A scratching post, silly kitty!

Flying home I sat on the western side of the plane and watched the sun set over marshes at the southern tip of the San Francisco Bay.

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I hope you all had a magical Christmas!  Onward we march towards 2017. God help us all. Perhaps homemade cookies and milk will save us.  Well, it couldn’t hurt.

Ghosts of Christmas Past

I don’t have many pictures of Christmas mornings when my kids were small because let’s face it – who wants to have their picture taken after you’ve stayed up until 5 am putting together a bicycle using instructions written by someone of dubious technical skills and then been woken at 6:30 AM by children anxious to see what Santa brought?  img_2429

 

The above picture was taken the year my Aunt Gloria knitted us all brightly colored beanies.  Didn’t help – I still look like a bloodless vampire.

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This picture was taken after I’d opened a  box of fortune cookies from my “Secret Santa.”  Look at how excited and happy I was. Thanks Cousin Penny; exactly what I wanted!  Of course that was the year my sister and I drank a bottle (or two) of wine while making our contribution to dinner: scalloped potatoes. Dinner time came, everything was ready to go but whoops! We’d forgotten to turn on the oven. My step mother was not amused.

Eventually your kids become teens and it becomes impossible to wake them before noon, even on Christmas morn. When you finally get them out of bed, they look like this all day long.

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At least Boo was attempting a smile.

At one time I was so good at the Christmas thing that my children got into fights at school with non-believers. Now Christmas Eve my daughter and I have been spotted enjoying Happy Hour at the local vegan, gluten-free beach shack as the sun sinks into the Pacific.  Shhhh, don’t tell Santa.img_2422

Can you see my daughter Boo in the above picture? I’d gotten her up early and started taking pictures before her shower and beauty regimen so she refused to have her picture taken. What do you think Cam was excited about getting?

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Happy Christmas from Boo, Cam, and their buddy Bobart (a nickname). 

I’ll be away for Christmas – here are a few posts from past Christmases in case you miss me:

And my favorite Christmas song.

War won’t be over; fear won’t be a thing of the past but all is not lost.  Down at Henri’s Beach Shack wine will be five dollars a glass until 7 PM.  There might even be a jazz band.

#ThursdayDoors: Carolopolis

On our final day in Charleston I decided to take a leisurely walk around the neighborhood where our hotel was located – the French Quarter – before packing up and calling an Uber for the airport. The homes in this area aren’t nearly as grand as those south of Broad street (the SOBs), probably because it’s home to the Old Slave Mart, the City Market (est. in 1790) and many restaurants and museums.

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When I first saw the plaque next to the above door I thought the name of the house was “Carolopolis” but I was wrong.  Every year one of these plaques is presented to a structure originally built in Charleston’s colonial days that has been properly preserved.  Carolopolis is a combination of Carolus, greek for “Charles” and polis meaning “city.”

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Also common are plaques which describe the historic significance of the structure.

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This salmon colored house is typical of homes in the French Quarter.  As you can see, the balconies are off to the side and draped to insure privacy. And of course, the garden is surrounded by a cast iron picket fence. (These fences made it difficult to trespass to get better pictures of the doors!)

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You see a lot of old gas lamps in the historic districts of Charleston. They’re quite romantic which is one of the reasons you also see a lot of advertisements for wedding venues.

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I’m not exaggerating when I say there are hundreds of historic structures in Charleston.  One of the reasons has to do with that dastardly War of Northern Aggression. Ironically, the city in which the Civil War began missed undergoing the fate of other southern cities, many of which were burnt to the ground by Union soldiers.

That’s the last of my pics from Charleston, a city which, if you want to visit, you’d better go soon.  It’s on a list of the 14 American cities that could soon be underwater as tides continue to rise.

Check out other doors from around the world at Norm Frampton’s addictive door event.

ThursdayDoors: The City of Facades

In Charleston South Carolina it takes a lot of money to be an SOB. You also have to be willing to live in a house that’s over 200 years old but which you cannot change the exterior of in any way other than to repair or repaint. And don’t expect to get around your neighborhood easily. You have to share the road with an endless stream of horse drawn carriages filled with people snapping photos of you in your bathrobe.

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Note the lady in pink on the balcony trying to escape my camera.

 

The SOB, which in Charleston stands for South of Broad (street), is an enclave of historic buildings on narrow sometimes cobblestone streets. Although there are strong restrictions concerning remodeling, they were built in a variety of architectural styles ranging from Queen Anne to Art Deco. Every effort is made to save these beauties, however sometimes they burn down or simply can’t be repaired.  Any new building must resemble one built two hundred years ago.  As you can imagine, that would be quite a challenge.

You can either take a guided walking tour through the SOB or a horse-drawn carriage. It was 85 degrees and humid so you can probably guess which one we chose.

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A Queen Anne given as a wedding present to the daughter of a Confederate millionaire.

I have to apologize for the quality of the photos.  We were at the whims of Jack, a horse who didn’t like to stop even when we were at a stop sign.

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Jack

But he is a handsome dude, don’t you think?   You would expect with as many horse drawn carriages as they have in the SOB the streets would be knee deep in you-know-what  but they’re not which led me to believe Charleston has an army of horse poop picker uppers who, like the street sweepers in Disneyland, work in stealth. The streets were always miraculously horse poop free though no shovelers were in sight.

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One of the few houses undergoing some sort of renovation

Characteristic of homes in this area are balconies that could host tennis tournaments.  Many face the street but along the waterfront, they face that vile reminder of Northern Aggression, Fort Sumter, which I talked about last Thursday.

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An example of pineapple gates

Another thing you see in the SOB is intricate iron work on gates, fences, and windows.  Their purpose was not entirely decorative.  They were installed as protection against slave revolts but of course they have to be lovely and not coarse and vulgar.  Racism in the south is laced with the nuance of genteelity.

During the Civil War, genteel Southerners surrendered anything made of iron to the Confederate Army to be melted into munitions so they could keep the right to own human beings. Those bullets and cannon balls shredded many an arm, a leg and heart but over the years they’ve been replaced.

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Washington/Heyward House

 

 

This is one of the oldest houses in Charleston, built in 1772 in the Georgian style by one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Heyward. Today this house is a museum primarily because George Washington once stayed here. There are a number of houses and plantations in the area built by Founding Fathers who themselves owned slaves and believed women shouldn’t vote. I don’t know what to tell you all but it’s sinking into the sea so if you want to visit the City of Facades you’d better visit soon because every morning the streets are flooded with seawater which the non climate change believers  have somehow accepted as normal.

No one can live in a house over two hundred years old without changing the exterior which it appears we in the USA might have to do.

Please skip on over to Norm Frampton’s #ThursdayDoors event to see other doors from around the world.