Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Serb Fest - Part 2

Last week we went to the Serbian Fall Festival at St. George's Serbian Orthodox church.  Today we return and go inside the church.  But first, lets see some of the outside activity again.  Since I have no particular knowledge of any of the features inside the place I will remain quiet as you look around and see the layout.  It was a beautiful place with lots of wood and note there are no pews but chairs are on the periperhery while the middle is relatively open.  

St. George's Serbian Orthodox Church in Clearwater.

Note the pictures of presumably past religious leaders within the small chandelier.

Another chandelier but quite grand and intricate.

Those Mexican kids still waiting their turn to perform. 

Spooky Rasputin look-alike holy man giving me either a blessing or a curse.   Only time will tell.


Center of the main room.

Chairs along wall are where congregates sit. 

My curiosity over the Fall Festival and the church was sated today.  Doubt if I go back but it was a fun way to spend a couple hours on a boring Sunday afternoon.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Tuesday Tidbits

Alfred and I usually go up to Burger King everyday for a afternoon snack and a walk.  We saw this last Tuesday flying overhead.  The sun blocked most of the detail but it was one of the Goodyear airships.  Slow, lumbering, and quiet, it is an awesome sight.


Why I won't post political comments on Existing In BFE:

You can't get away from it.  It's on Facebook, on blog sites, in the news, ad nauseum.  This is a divided nation; an angry nation.  Civil discourse is anything but civil.  Politics divides us as a people and in some cases divides families.  Here are the reasons I won't make comments on this site.

1.  No one cares what I think.

2.  Any views I may have wouldn't alter anyone's opinion, so it becomes nothing more than a further wedge to divide.  


I don't consider anything I have to say about Trump/Obama/Hillary to be any more or less relevant than anyone else.  I want to appear bright for as long as I can. 

4.  It is not my job to educate voters.  It is their job to learn the facts and to vote in a fashion that suits them.  My only hope as an educated voter is that the uneducated voter will not vote.   I would rather have a minority of educated voters than an army of the uneducated. 

5.  People tend to be naturally impervious to oppostion logic.

6.  I might be wrong. 

Of course, if you buy me a beer or breakfast I'll sing like a canary.

Small Print:  I reserve the right to amend this policy at anytime since I think Comrade-Elect Trump is ripe for future commentary.  His defense of Putin, his battle with NATO, the Intelligence organizations, the press and iconic civil rights leaders point to a guy more interested in headlines than logic.  Naturally I am supporting him and his staff and wish them all the success in the world, short of gutting the VA, Social Security, Medicare and public schools.  And don't get me going on American health care.  It is now and will get more screwed up.  Have a nice day. 


Craftsman tools under the Sears banner has always been a favorite of mine.  They are, or were, simply the best.  Once they are sold off I doubt they will retain their previous quality.  Too bad - another American icon gone.  


My parents had this cool cigarette lighter back when everyone smoked.  It was a 60's or 70's Electro-Match which was big for all of its allotted 15 minutes.  I saw one at a retro store in downtown St. Pete but didn't pull the trigger when I had the chance.  When I returned a week later to buy it it, sadly, it was gone.  I am now searching Ebay for one like it.  Remember it, Blythe boys?


Consignment shops seem to be what I do most of on weekends.  That is one of the reasons I got the Pathfinder, so I wouldn't have to go on these glorified yard-sale-under-a-roof adventures.  But sometimes being a good soldier and going along is one way to be with the kidlings.  Anyway, as I was wandering aimlessly (something I do well) I came across this trophy sitting on the floor.      It looked to have an association with a car so I was curious.  Upon inspection I noted the inscription: Pack 29, Pinewood Derby, 2000, 1st.  I'm no expert, but shouldn't things like this find a place in the attic or storage closet?  What is it doing here?  Much like family pictures in antique stores, some things should remain in the family.  

Alfred enjoying a little poolside fun.  


I saw this clinging to one of the walls here at Waterboard.  When was the last time you saw a chrysalis? 


Took this picture of Norah last week when she was wearing her Mercer County Eagles T-shirt I got her last summer.  I love her expression.  


I have been going to the gym every morning while all you guys are asleep and, along with that, watching what I am eating.  I can go for days eating carrots and celery sticks but then a day comes along that looks like this:


Hmmm.  Water or beer.  Easy choice.


Things you find on the shelves at Aldi's.  Price check!


I've now been back in Kitschlandia for a month.  Seems like six.


I see Dr. Phlegm in a couple weeks and here is hoping I can get off the steroidal flush and nasal spray.  


Saw this at the park.  Kid got a neat remote car for Christmas.  I wanted to get more but they had to leave.  That and my iPhone doesn't hold a lot of memory and I'm too stubborn to par a buck a month for more storage.  

Monday, January 16, 2017

Head Out On The Highway Looking For Adventure

Once again the Wombies' and I piled into their Chevy SUV and headed out to see what we could see.  And see some stuff we did.  

Just outside Avon we came across these camel, or are they dromedaries?  I did some research.  There are three types of camels, and it looks like this camel farm or whatever it is has 2 of the three varieties.  Bactrian camels have 2 humps while the dromedary camel has one.  The third type is so rare that I doubt if they would be in Avon, Illinois.   

We went to the world famous Spoonies in London Mills.  Being somewhat of an expert on tenderloins I can attest that these are most likely the best in the area.  

I stopped to take a picture of this rustic barn along the road and eventually liked the tree better.  It is almost perfectly shaped.  It, to me, is more arresting than the barn.  

Finally, we drove through Norwood Cemetery and couldn't help but notice the Cubs "Win" flag and windsock at the grave of a Mr. Pease.   It is not the team that has been so futile through the years (I placed it in the blind squirrel category), but the fans that found a way to connect with their lost family members that touched me the most about last season.  

Another roadtrip, another amazing day of seeing things right under our noses.  That's what is so much fun about taking off.  Can't wait for more of these next summer.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Flashback Friday

My first camera was a Polaroid.  Film for them was expensive.  You certainly paid for your need to be instantly gratified.  My mother told me not to take pictures of holes in the ground.  Unfortunately, I didn't heed her advise and took what i thought was the most beautiful hole in the ground.  Happily taking it back home to show her I lost the camera for a while.  

She could have just as easily said, "Don't take pictures of corners."  Why someone took this picture is unknown to me.  But while we have it I suppose a few comments can be made.  

First off, let's focus on the chair a bit.  Marj had this redone in a different fabric.  The original flowery green and white material must have become worn or she became bored with it.  There were two of these and she changed the material to a kind of velour in a color I have no idea what to call it.  Orange doesn't do it justice.  But I guess that's what it was.  

Now wander up tot he painting on the mantel.  Marj asked me to paint something that would bring out the colors of that chair.  I decided on a snowy landscape with touches of that orange draped within some cloud cover.  She seemed pleased with what I did and this painting graced the mantel for some time.  As a side note, I have the painting now after the folks passed away and it is is my bedroom in Florida.  

Now over against the wall you can see a wooden table with a lamp, a couple bowls and a statue of a boxer.   That table belonged to Marj's mother, Mona, and is called a game table.  There is a leaf that you lift up and place down to form a large square and then you turn it around to let the table itself support it.  What you end up with is a kind of card table, thus the "game" in the name.  I also have this piece in my Cabin in the Woods up North.  

The footrest in front of the chair was also an item from my grandmother.  It was a heavy metal footrest with embroidered  flowers on it.  I don't remember who has this. 

This is the time of year I miss the fireplace the most.  We had one in G-Burg and during the winter very often had a roaring fire going many nights of the week.  The heat from the flames and the snow falling outside was, in Seaton, and G-Burg one of my lost loves.  What says winter coziness more than a fire?  What says joys of winter more than keeping warm at the hearth?  

Again, why this picture was taken eludes me.  Was it to capture the painting and its coordination to the chair?  Who knows.  Whatever the reason, it stands as a testament to a particular moment in time - that moment speaks to us today.   This corner watched a young couple with a son build a house around it.  Twins would follow.  This corner would see the Christmas's that would follow - the bikes with the push-button horns, the electric football games, the books and records and all that stuff young boys would get their parents.  It would bear witness to the boys waking every Christmas Eve to stealthily enter the room to evaluate, shake, and surmise the contents of the packages.  This corner would watch as sadness would threaten the marriage of that young couple, now not so young.  And those that remained circled the wagons, until that threat eased.  This corner would watch as the boys grew up with all the differences of individuals and all the closeness of siblings. 

This corner saw us all marvel at Bonanza in color.  The math homework that almost always ended in frustration,  the high school graduation debriefing, the company that stopped by through the decades and the faithful pooches that enjoyed the carpet.  The three boys that would line up at the big picture window to see if the snow falling might be a ticket to a day off from school.  All the little things and big, the corner was there.   

This corner that saw the sons of the family grow within the safety of its walls and leave to make their mark within other walls.  The paper would change, the decor would evolve.  But always the security and warmth of each other.  Maybe that is why this picture exists, to remind this writer long after its creation that there is never a place or house quite like home.         

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Serb Fest - Part 1

On a crisp Fall Sunday in Clearwater,  a little bored and feeling the need to experience something, I drove over to St. George's Serbian Orthodox church.  Having lived a while a few blocks away at Bedlam I was aware of a festival they had every year.  Once there it was as different as I had hoped.   

This is the St. George Serbian Orthodox church.  It may look old but was actually built in 2005.  

I don't know a thing about Serbian dance but this was fairly obvious.  A guy flirts with a girl then extends to her a red scarf or rope and lasso's her to him.  Apparently unto marriage.  It is a universal tale of happiness or woe, depending on your general outlook.  

Most of the dances I saw were basically the same.  Same tempo, same one-guy several-girls and more hopping than dance, in my estimation.  Of course, I'm an old box step guy so any more nuanced moves are lost on me. 

Cute kids mimicking what is happening up on the stage.  

Next group waiting on the sidelines for their performance.

These guys were also cooling their heels, waiting for their turn in the spotlight.

There were brisk sales at the drink tent.  I'll brush up on my Serb so I can order a beer in the Mother tongue.  

The afternoon sun beat down on the audience.  While I was there the sun was very much in the wrong place in order to watch the show.  Wonder why they didn't move the stage around to avoid this?

A couple kids exchanging secrets.  

A rather haunting tune from a fine singer.  If this song wasn't about lost love then there is no justice in the Serbian songbook.

A panel in the door going into the church.  In the next few days I'll post the second part of my visit to a Serbian Festival and the focus will be inside the church.  It's pretty interesting, so stay tuned.  

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Guy's Hangout

This post was originally titled Man Cave, but, truthfully, I really don't like that moniker or the others that start out with the word "Man".  Same with stereotypes like "Chick Flick".  If a movie is good, then it will appeal to both sexes.  If a room is warm, comfortable and reflects its owner then it will appeal to anyone.  With that out of the way, let me introduce you to the North Henderson Community Center.  

On a fairly chilly evening in December before returning to the South, I was invited to this very special hideaway that has been a favorite place of mine for a long time.  Its decor is "Continual Accumulation".  A mishmash of cool, sentimental, biker, military and personal stuff consisting of tools, cycle stuff, posters, flags and calendars.  You enter and it immediately feels as comfy as an overstuffed chair that has conformed to your butt for years.  Much like jeans that you've had for 2 decades or shoes that fit so well you forgive their holes and scuffs.  The place has evolved through the years, expanding and more aware of itself but remaining true to the values of its owner - a place where friends meet, feel comfortable and relax.  

Grab a cue stick, light your cigar,  set your beer down and align your angle.  

I was introduced to this New Glarus beer.  I found it nice and mild although with a bit of a fruity aftertaste.  

  Thoreau had Walden pond.  Edison had Menlo Park;  places that so thoroughly reflect their owners and inhabitants.  Bar, TV, heat, table for conversing, pool table and two motorcycles.  The smell of leather, gas and endless miles.  The topics all encompassing - some deep, some not.  But always interesting.  Light a cigar, lean back and take it all in. Time stops.  Commitments fade.  Worries cease.  There is no other place like it.   

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Tuesday Tidbits

Christmas Eve shot from the Causeway looking over to Tampa.  iPhone picture so its not great, or even good for that matter.  But I hopped in the Pathfinder and wanted to go somewhere.  One resolution put into action.


Thought you'd like to see a bug.  Florida is full of them.  All year round.  Big bugs, small bugs.  Long bugs, short bugs.  Colorful bugs, dull bugs.  Some bugs have motors.  Most don't.  Was that a cockroach that just slithered under my scales?  


I used a slide rule in a class in high school.  It occurred to me that that must have been a bit like the image we all been taught of a monkey and a typewriter beating out War And Peace, given enough time.  Frankly, I think our education system needs reformed.  I don't know what they are doing these days but Algebra is a waste of time for those not interested in the sciences.  Better to have school be more college prep than to have mandatory subjects that are a waste of time and do not move you toward your desired field.


I spent last Saturday morning at the vet's office.  The current Mrs. Blythe has a cat that got sick.  I thought it was going to die but it didn't.  Anyway, I took this picture of a confrontation in the lobby.


Rash Update

Last week I displayed a picture of me and a rash that covered my torso and arms.  It is much better and thought I'd post a picture of how I look now.  


I have been watching, off and on, Twilight Zone marathons on the SyFy channel on New Years Day.  Its OK,  real treasures, but some are really hit-or-miss and this is a long-standing tradition on that channel, so its lost a bit of its fascination.  I'd like to recommend a rebirth of something I think AMC did a few years ago.  Let's have a Three Stooges marathon next year.  Even include the non-Curley Curley's just so we have a point of reference for one of the greatest comedians in entertainment history.  Nothing is better than these guys.


How cool would it be if I entered the Rhubarb Days 5K run in June?  I gotta tell you, I'd love to do it.  I'm in training right now: I run after a kid all day.  What's 3.1 miles when you are running down an 18 month old from 7 to 5? 

This is when I ran it back when.  What's changed?  I'm still all muscle, gristle and wildcat.  


Did you Know?  A couple of weeks before the 1968 election between Humphrey and Nixon, LBJ announced a cease fire was imminent in the Vietnamese War.  Nixon then went behind the government's back and informed the South Vietnamese leadership to NOT accept any ceasefire.  That they could get a better deal if they held out.  Nixon had been promising he could end the war and didn't want his chances for election jeopardized.  South Vietnam went on to turn down the ceasefire resulting in Nixon getting elected and the war continuing for another 5 years.  Total American deaths in those last five years was 21, 134. 


In one of my very best gutter hunts in a long while, I found these by the side of the road on my walks with Alfred to Burger King this past week.  Lots of road rash but still legal tender.  I'd love to know the story of how they get there.  It has been a long dry spell so very pleased to start the new year getting richer.  These crazy Floridians.


As Alfred and I were crossing an entry into Wal-Mart after our daily Burger King run, a driver of a truck who was waiting for us yelled at me, "You go Grampa!"


I usually like the playoffs.  This past weekend were full of dud games.   The Wombie won the first week's Playoff Lotto.  


Sully and Don't Breathe weren't bad, but it seems like forever since I've seen a really good one.  


This cute, sad 4 year old girl almost made Waterboard her new home.  Sadly, by the time I grabbed Kenzie for her opinion, she was adopted by someone else.  Kenzie's opinion is important because she found Missy for me.  


It has been chilly down here.  I don't expect any benefits to help me raise funds for heating.  And since I miss the North I am loving it.  It also gives me a chance to wear jeans and put those damn shorts away, if only for a few days.  The forecast is that it is short-lived and the temps will be back in the upper 70's in a few days. 


I suppose having a heart isn't the most important thing about a president.  I'd like to think they all have one and and that somewhere, sometime it may come into play.  No, I reckon ruling with great wisdom is my number one consideration.  But Trump's firing the Inauguration announcer who has had the gig for 60 years strikes me as particularly heartless.  


Having an electric blanket on your bed in Florida is kind of stupid.  But there it is.  Some things I refuse to give up.