The Mighty Truckee’s Finer Ladies

Spring is really the best time to visit Reno Nevada.  The snow is just beginning to melt, meaning that the Truckee River is wild and dangerous and beautiful.

Above is the RiverWalk, a popular place on a sunny day.  As you can see off in the distance, there’s still plenty of snow to melt on the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

These two kayakers wisely chose to paddle to shore instead of attempting to run the set of engineered rapids downstream used for professional kayaking competitions.

Along the river some of Reno’s older and more interesting houses have managed to survive the ravages of the Mighty Truckee.


The building above was once an elementary school and now serves as a art center.

The Lear Theatre may not look like much but it has an interesting history.  It was designed by Paul Revere Williams who famously lamented that most of buildings he designed he could not enter. You see, he was the first African American to be honored by the Architectural Institute.

Before it was a theatre it was a church attended by the Moya Lear, the wife of William Powell Lear of Lear Jet fame. Besides being the wife of a brilliant man, she was also the daughter of vaudevillians and apparently thought the need for theatrics more important than the need for church and bought it. Unfortunately this building is not in the best part of town and they’ve had to surround it with a chain link fence to prevent vandalism.


Across the river and high on a hill sit decaying mansions once owned by the town’s prominent citizens. A few have been extensively remodeled but today people with money prefer to live far from Reno’s squalid old town with it’s pawn shops, casinos and bail bondsmen on every corner.

Above, for Norm Frampton’s ThursdayDoors extravaganza, is the one door I was able to get a clear shot of.

This rather gloomy building always brings bittersweet memories.  It is Saint Thomas Aquinas Cathedral where for years my best friend’s mother attended Mass every single morning and then wandered the streets ministering to the drunks sleeping it off in alleyways.  She spoke for God whose language she alone knew.

Here’s a better shot from Bing Images. It’s not Notre Dame, that’s for sure but then it’s not in Paris.  It’s two blocks from the El Dorado Casino and the heart of Sin City North (Reno’s nickname).

101 Ways to Tell the World to Kiss Your Ass: #ThursdayDoors

While visiting relatives we ran into this contraption parked on a main thoroughfare in the San Diego suburb of Carlsbad and at first thought it was some kind of a food truck.  We couldn’t read the sign on the back from across the street and were standing, squinting, and wondering aloud what the sign might say when a middle aged man walking his dog in front of us turned and said.

“You are about to pass the author of 101 Ways to Tell the World to Kiss your Ass.”

At first I thought he was a resident of that area who was miffed that a vehicle other than an Audi or  Porsche was parked in his well-manicured, HOA maintained, gated community.  He seemed the type: clean-cut and dressed as a southern Californian does for most of the year, in shorts.

But I was wrong.  It was David H. Scott, the author himself.  Here he is  standing next to his 1929 1.5 ton Chevy. Here’s a better shot of the front:

If you want to follow his adventures (he’s currently planning a kayaking trek across Mongolia) his website is at: http://www.1indsob.com.  Who knows, maybe at some point you’ll run into him and say:  I know you.  And it’s all because of Norm Frampton’s weekly #ThursdayDoors challenge.

On our way back to our far less unique, red Prius, we passed these monstrous and prolific daisies who practically screamed “Happy Spring!”

They towered over us!

I regret that we are traveling and I may not be able to check out everyone’s contributions to the party.  But I’m thinking of you.

 

Grateful for breathable air

In large cities you are immediately reminded that there are doors you will never enter unless you are wealthy or service the wealthy in some way or another. 

The above house (on Manhattan’s East Side) was for sale but guess what? No open house was scheduled. Rats. No peek into the Lifestyles of Rich and Famous for me. Here in honor of Norm Frampton’s ThursdayDoor event is another door I’ll never enter.

Below is a picture of a peculiar and apparently abandoned structure in another borough of NYC. Any guesses as to what it is?

 

Here’s a clue: It’s in the same park as the fountain below. 

Flushing Meadows, in the borough of Queens, is a world away from the east side of Manhattan. On the day we visited it was packed with families. On every field, soccer, baseball, cricket, and volleyball players either practiced or competed against each other as family members and friends watched.  Even in mid October, kayakers paddled around the small lakes taking selfies. They were mostly people from third world countries who will probably never be able to buy that house on the east side of Manhattan but they have their families and their community.  Today is Thanksgiving here in the United States. In California we are all thankful for the rain.  Our view has gone from smokey grey:


To cloudy grey. But the air has moved out of “hazardous” purple to a moderate orange.  It will be awhile before we are in the green of healthy air but we will never take fresh and healthy air for granted. Nor will I complain about the high cost of roof repairs.  At least I have a roof.

 

And of course I am thankful for you. Whether you come by once or every time I post, I am thankful for you.

 

 

#ThursdayDoors: Halifax NS

For one of the oldest cities in Canada, Halifax NS has a remarkably young and energetic vibe. 

People don’t seem rushed or anxious to be first in line. If you step off a curb, cars stop and wait patiently for you to cross the street.  Of course, we lucked onto beautiful weather.

Like Montreal, it is a city for walking with a mixture of old architecture and new.

The old Town Clock was getting a facelift.

And tourists flocked to watch the hourly changing of the guard at the fortress (Citadel) on top of the hill.

It’s not quite as formal as its namesake ceremony at Buckingham Palace, as you can see.  Of course, the fellow above is not a soldier, he’s a docent.

The Citadel was never attacked although they were prepared. Below is the entrance to a zigzag of foxholes.Aside from wandering around the streets, we did visit the Immigration Museum where I found out my ancestors came to Canada before there was such a thing as immigration.

They just appeared on early census records listing their birthplaces as Ireland.  And here I always thought they were Scottish.  Right now I’m miffed at them for ever leaving Canada.

Check out other doors over at Norm’s Place! 

Montreal, c’est si bon!

When I was a vain young woman, light years ago, a man once said to me “you’re not the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen but there’s something about you.” I was, of course, hurt because I was too stupid to recognize a true compliment.

I feel that way about Montreal. There are cities with more impressive skylines, grandiose monuments, luxuriant gardens, and iconic bridges but there’s just something about Montreal.

Take its namesake, Mt. Royal. It’s not really a mountain; it’s a hill. But what a peaceful way to spend an afternoon, climbing to the top on a gently winding path.

Of course, when I was eighteen and hungry for adventure, I’d bounded to the top on a series of steep stairs and listened to the musician, song-writer whose beautiful face now smiles down upon the campus of McGill University.

After leaving Mt. Royal, we walked down to the river through Vieux Montreal. There, in honor of that great Quebecer and photographer extraordinaire, Norm Frampton, I found a door.

And here is the plaque outside the door.

Across from the bank is Notre Dame Basilica:

We didn’t go inside because there was a line and we had a cruise to catch. But I did manage to catch a shot of the side door.

Besides being known as the city of a hundred bells, Montreal is also famous for its assortment of “quirky” buildings.

Most were built for Expos, World Fairs and Olympics. I should have been paying more attention to the tour guide but I was drinking this lovely Canadian ale and getting a sunburn.  Seriously, a sunburn in early October in Montreal? This apartment complex, called Habitat 67, was designed by a young architect as a part of his master’s thesis. Joel thought it was a little too quirky for his tastes but that’s Montreal.  Perhaps not the most beautiful city but an original.

#ThursdayDoors: Bezerkley

Looking out toward the Golden Gate Bridge which was unfortunately shrouded in fog and smoke.

Not only does the Lawrence Hall of Science have one of the most spectacular views of the San Francisco Bay Area but every exhibit is meant to be manhandled by children, casually monitored and guided in their experiments by high school students earning extra credit in biology, mathematics or chemistry.

The hall is actually a part of the University of California Berkeley.  It was named in honor of the “Atom Smasher,” Ernest Lawrence, also the inventor of the cyclotron and the founder of the Lawrence Berkeley Labs.  Over the years I’ve met and worked with many physicists who got their start at the “Lab.”  I couldn’t understand them 99% of the time but they were never boring.

The back door leads to a chance to get wet and dirty as you learn about water management.  Downstairs are classrooms where kids learn about lizards and volcanos and all that cool stuff in a more formal setting.

For bigger kids, Berkeley offers a different sort of entertainment:

 

The Ashkenaz, which has been around since 1973, is run by a non-profit organization whose goal is to showcase music and dance from around the world. The idea is not to listen or watch but to participate and they’re very serious.  If you come, you dance.Berkeley is known for its eccentric population and if you wander around up near the campus you’ll see just about anything.  When I worked there, the most famous eccentric was the Naked Guy, a 6’5” former athlete who insisted on attending class in nothing but shoes.  Clothes, he claimed were oppressive and for a time, no one said a word.  It was, after all, Berkeley.

Then there was the Hate Man, a former journalist and Peace Corps worker who espoused the doctrine of hate and “oppositionality.” To start a conversation with him, you had to say “Fuck you.”

When he died, it made the national news and the denizens of People’s Park, a homeless encampment smack dab in the middle of Berkeley, made a memorial for him, which he would have hated.

Check out other doors from around the world at Norm’s place.  

#ThursdayDoors: Siberia

My friend, who just returned from a trip to Russia, China and Tibet, said these doors and windows reminded her of me.  How sweet!  Thank you Mary Alice!  

She was in Irkutsk which is the capital of Siberia. According to Wikipedia, many journalists, writers and artists were exiled to this city in the 19th century because they irritated the factions currently in charge.

I won’t even attempt to fathom the history of Russia.  Whites, Reds, Bolsheviks, Communists – it’s like trying to sort out the history of British Royalty.  So many rebellions and power struggles.  Ugh.

The dissidents were sent to Siberia because it’s remote and the weather can be brutal but they certainly do have a lot of style.

According to Mary Alice, these are wooden windows. She did a great job on this shot, don’t you think?  Nice reflection.

I googled Irkutsk and was amazed by how many famous people were born in Siberia, Arguably the most famous was Rudolph Nureyev, born here in 1936.

This is an interesting little cabin.  From some reason, it made me think of Lincoln Logs.

 

Check out other doors from around the world at Norm’s Place.