ThursdayDoors: Prayers for the Hopeless

Last week I did my patriotic duty and showed up for jury duty. Unfortunately I showed up on the wrong day. Heck, I wasn’t even there in the right month.

I blame my blunder on having to reschedule twice and, in the process, getting confused. Yeah, right.

Anyway,  not wanting to waste a morning (and because I had no desire to get back on the freeway during rush hour) I decided to wander around the small but historic town of Martinez California.

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Martinez is the county seat, thus most of the courthouses are located here. The sheriff’s deputies don’t let you take pictures of the security entrances for some reason so I took the above shot from across the street.  The men standing in front are offering free prayers for those entering the courthouse. The town is filled with signs also offering hope to the hopeless or the guilty but only if you’re willing to pay

Martinez is also full of antique stores. I’m not sure what the two have in common.  Perhaps you know.

I stopped at funky cafe down near the railroad station

where, while waiting for an egg sandwich, I picked up a black journal lying on a driftwood table.  It was filled with drawings and scribbles from patrons also waiting for egg sandwiches:

One person loved her thighs.

Another waxed philosophical.  He or she is far wiser than me.  But perhaps “My Life is a Mess 101” is a college class.

This one had a slightly more positive message.  Perhaps a bit of weed helped.

Some drew pictures describing how they felt with no words.  I’m not sure but the guy in the upper left of this scribble seems to be holding both a joint and a penis.  If I were to guess, I’d say a disgruntled teenage girl drew this picture.

Every page of the book was filled which meant I was not invited to participate. As I flipped through the pages, a young man, not more than fifteen, with torn and dirty jeans and carrying a heavy backpack entered and asked politely to use the bathroom.  The staff, themselves all young, tattooed and multiply pierced, agreed then stood beyond the counter whispering. The boy was in the bathroom for about ten minutes, then exited and asked to buy a chocolate croissant.

“Did you run away?”  the staff asked almost in unison to which he answered, “No I’m homeless.”

As I left the cafe, one of the older staff members (the manager?) was sitting at a booth with the homeless youth. The scene lightened my mind as I walked back to my car past the prayers for the hopeless brigade and the bail bondsmen’s offices. I knew that magically a blank page had appeared in the black journal for someone lost.

Please visit Norm Frampton’s #ThursdayDoors event for more pictures of doors and their stories.

 

#ThursdayDoors: The Rent is Due

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This door is around the corner from Trump International Hotel in Washington DC.  Its message is ominous, don’t you think?

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From Bing images

In case you haven’t heard, Trump bought Washington DC’s Main Post office and converted it into a hotel.

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From Bing Images

Built in 1899 the Old Post Office is a 12 minute walk to the Capital. Before Trump decided to run for president, his plan was to make this building into the jewel in his crown.  Every head of state would want to stay in a Trump hotel, don’t you know? Lather in golden bubbles while munching on Trump chocolates and drinking Trump wine.  However early reviews are not glowing:

From the outside, it responds to a growing need, serves an audience, and looks quite grand. But on the inside, it is a complete disaster, mostly empty inside, riddled with nonsense. From Vanity Fair

Of course when he brought the property he was told if he went into office there would be a conflict of interest but I don’t think he thought he would get into office.  Now I’m sure he thinks the rules don’t apply to him.  After all, look at all he’s gotten away with so far.

Here’s a door of a different sort which I pray is never made into a Trump resort or golf course but in this crazy world, who knows?

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This is one of the many archways at the outdoor stadium in Arlington Cemetery where Memorial Day tributes to our veterans take place.  I didn’t take too many pictures at Arlington. I always find it such an overwhelming experience that snapping pictures seems wrong.

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From Bing Images

Anyway that’s the end of my contributions to Norm Frampton’s addictive #ThursdayDoors event for awhile.  I need to figure out the publishing business I’ve  been ignoring for the last nine months! The rent is due for me; it’s back to work I go.

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..

#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: Bucolic

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I love the happy faces of well-kept barns, don’t you? I couldn’t get close enough to take a picture of the actual doors without going through the cow pen which would have been trespassing (as well as very messy).

I bet you think I took this picture out in farm country, right? Actually we were on the campus of the University of Maryland, about 20 minutes from downtown Washington DC. This is “The Farm” where agricultural students learn all about animal husbandry.

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The students not only tend the cows, sheep, pigs, chickens and horses but they’re also famous for their hand-churned ice-cream.  I’ve never encountered a working farm in the middle of a university campus but I definitely like the idea.  I can’t think of anything more stress-reducing before finals than having a conversation with a pig.  Can you?

Check out Norm’s #ThursdayDoors challenge.  It’s always interesting to see doors from around the world.

#ThursdayDoors: A Stark Contrast

Last month we took a trip back to Washington, DC and Charleston, SC – two places technically in the southeast but, aside from grits and soft-shelled (blue) crabs, they’ve little in common. One is a sprawling metropolis and the other a snapshot of the genteel south circa 1780. Needless to say, I have enough doors to be able to participate in Norm Frampton’s #ThursdayDoor event for a long time.

I’m going to start with these doors from the FDR Memorial to remind my American friends of the stakes at risk in our upcoming Elections.

Door representing the hopelessness of many people during the Great Depression

Door representing the hopelessness of many people during the Great Depression

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Door to the Soup Kitchen, the only way to survive for many people.

The Republicans and Libertarians have made consistent threats against  programs like the ones President Franklin Delano Roosevelt put into place; programs that saved this country from the Great Depression and provided a safety net for millions of Americans, particularly the weakest and most vulnerable of us.

The FDR memorial sits across the Potomac from downtown DC and is just down the road from Arlington Cemetery (which is always on my must visit list.)  The memorial is a maze-like series of granite walls representing each of FDR’s four terms in office. Into the walls are carved quotes from his most famous speeches.fdr15

The one above says:  “We must scrupulously guard the civil rights of all citizens, whatever their background.  We must remember that any oppression, any injustice, any hatred is a wedge designed to attack our civilization.”

FDR and Fala, the only presidential dog to have his own monument.

FDR and Fala, the only presidential dog to have his own monument.

It’s shocking to contrast what a man in a wheelchair and in dubious health created in both words and deeds in twelve years while for eight years our Republican-held congress has accomplished nothing but repeatedly attack Obama care, fund baseless investigations against the Clintons, and encourage through word and deed citizens to turn against each other with hatred, intolerance and incivility. img_2246

I think every American needs to keep in mind why social safety nets were put into place and why any politician seeking to destroy them should be defeated on November 8th. By next Thursday we’ll know.  Are we going to go backwards or forwards – what’s your guess?

Apologies for the darkness of the pictures – we were there in the evening.

#ThursdayDoors: Community

Blog-wise, I’m slowing down folks.  I have plenty of excuses but the big one is, I’m getting ready to self-publish and it’s not that easy. No time to trespass for pictures of doors. However, there was no need to go out of my way for this shot:IMG_2031

They aren’t the most spectacular doors in the world but this building is special to me.  For five years I spent every Tuesday morning in the art studio at the back learning to sculpt (click here to see the results).

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According to this map of Old Orinda, the building (numbered 17) was constructed in 1925 and served as a high school before earthquake preparedness became such a concern.  Now it’s a place for young and old to learn, exercise and create.

IMG_2036Behind the center is the outdoor theater so I had to take a peak.

Looks like they’re getting ready for the next show:  Love, Sex and the IRS.  Gotta see that one!

Check out other doors over at Norm Frampton’s blog.

Also – check out this video posted by Doug over at Elusive Trope.  I call it Door to the World.  Thanks Doug.