Monday, February 19, 2018

Black and White And Vinoy All Over












































One of my favorite spots - Vinoy Park in St. Pete.  Lazy Monday morning.  I think I'll just let the pics speak for themselves. 

Friday, February 16, 2018

Flashback Friday



Cathy Spinks strikes again!  You thought it was all over with her homemade Valentines Day cards, but, here is another.  Presumably in a different year, probably around 1980, Cathy made another one for me.  I think she liked me.  

If I remember correctly Cathy had married a fellow who was some relation to the Spinks of St. Louis, most noticably Leon and Michael who were boxers back in the day.  

As I mentioned on Wednesday Cathy returned to Mary Davis a couple years before we all took early retirement.  We chatted out in the parking lot as she was leaving.  She was happy with her new marriage, loved where she was, Washington or Oregon, I think, and just as funny and personable as ever.  Everyone should have someone in the workplace like her.  They say people remember how you treat them.  She treated me well.   

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Woo Hoo!

Timing is everything.  I happen to have timed this trip perfectly.  Or rather, I should say the Wombie's timed their cruise perfectly.  Those of you who live up North will not find this post particularly enjoyable.  All others may or may not be entertained.  As for me, this trip to Seaton a few days ago may be the highlight of the time spent here, good friends notwithstanding.

The mission: photograph various scenes while snowing and dark.  Mission accomplished. 

Sadly, the forecast calls for much warmer temps today and tomorrow.   All this will be gone soon.  February is the gateway for Spring.  Damn it, though, my timing was perfect for this.






Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Happy Valentines Day


When I first became employed at the Mary Davis Home, the secretary was a lady named Cathy Spinks.   Not only was she a great worker but she was also loads of fun.  This would have been  the early 80's more or less when she made this Valentine's Day card for me.  By the way we had been introduced to Backgammon and we'd all find time throughout the shifts to play it.    






She later left G-Burg and her husband and went out west.  If I had to guess it would be the Portland area.  I saw her years later when she made a return visit to town and she stopped in at the Mary.  This was a few years before our retirement so it was fun to see her again after all those years.  She had remarried and was happy.  I hope she has had a good life.  Cathy was kind, open, funny as Hell and made a nervous new employee feel welcomed.

People come in and out of our lives. I wish she had stayed in mine.  Happy Valentines Day, Cathy, wherever you are.


Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Tuesday Tidbits


Under "History Is Fun",  this is the Turks and Caicos flag from the 1860's until the 1990's.  Turks and Caicos are southeast of the Bahamas in the Caribbean.  The main industry of the islands is salt, as depicted on the mounds of salt waiting to be placed on board ship.  Oh, wait.  Is that an igloo?   Some 19th century English bureaucrat, who has no idea where the islands were, thought one of the mounds was an igloo so he drew a door on one of the salt mounds.  It stayed that way until a royal visit by the queen in 1966.

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Adventures In Babysitting 




It started so harmlessly.   It always starts that way.  I knew Norah wanted to do my nails after school as is the custom whenever I go to Northlandia.  I had the bottle of Moonlight Blue on the table.  Miss Alfred wanted to check it out so I decided to do her nails.  After the application, superbly done I might add on such small targets, she was excited and modeled for me.  So far, so good.
 



But, like so many heartaches through history, Alfred got hold of a the bottle and squirreled away behind the large plant in the porch, the same place she, ahem, conducts her constitutionals.  Thus, another unplanned cleanup project.



Alfred now prefers Cool Whip to ice cream.  Another example of "Youth is wasted on the young."

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Okay, we are mid stay in Northlandia.   Maddie and I are getting along nicely, the Wombies are hopefully warding away seasickness, and my dance card is full.  I wanted to let you know a couple things about upcoming posts.  I am not going through my card of pics.  I do not plan on posting any of them until I get back to Kitschland so I can crop and stuff.  Can't do it on this old laptop.  I've taken some good ones so check back for them when I get back up to speed.  

I also need you to prepare for spotty posts between now and when I get back on the 21st.   

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Picture from my window seat on Allegiant Flight 870 last Wednesday.  That is a sunny view of seaside Clearwater.





Snowy view from seat number 5 A as we are about to land in Moline.  I'm so giddy I almost wet myself.


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Super Bowl Thoughts:

1.  Great game. Period.
2.  Tom Brady may be one of the top 3 best QB's ever.  
3.   Informally I asked everyone in the room what the greatest Rock song ever is:  it was unanimous - Stairway To Heaven.
4.  Commercials, in my opinion, weren't as good as in past years.
5.  Kept my promise of 6 years running - no halftime show for me.
6.  Latin numerals are not my bag.  While classy looking - seem beyond me at this point.
7.  While my homemade brat burgers sucked, the store bought brats were great.
8.  Next year I predict a Bears-Jets Super Bowl.  Hey Trump is in the WH and and getting better polling numbers.  The World is off its axis.  

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Why is it in every submarine story involving depth charges, the crew always looks up?  Like they can gain more insight from pipes and rivets over their head than straight in front of them.

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  Went yesterday to Gladstone, Oquawka, New Boston, and Keithsburg, camera in hand, looking for bald eagles.  Never saw one.

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I'mnot exactly sure I can figure it out.  One of the times I was up here Miss Norah had to have a cat.  OK, so she got one.  One of those freak times when I wasn't there to give my sage advice that a stuffed cat would be a more prudent choice.  I hate real cats.  I,naturally, chastised all the adults when I returned home.  

Yesterday I learned that Miss Alfred had to have a cat.  And so she got one.  In addition to this fiasco, I also heard that son Brendan had adopted his SECOND one as well.

It is true that my offspring aren't in jail, nor are they hooked on oxycontin.  Both hold jobs are supporting their respective families well and support God and Country as well.  They are over the age of consent and are not at the State Bank of Dad on a regular basis so some leeway is required.  But damn if I can figure out how my lessons of cathood in their childhoods were so carelessly ignored.  Might as well drive a stake in my heart.  My God, 5 cats in the family!

When I mentioned this to wicked children, between my tears, and a lament so sorrowful as to make the angels weep, I was told that at least they are Met's fans.  And they are also making sure that there is another generation of Met's fans as well.  

I guess that's something.      


Monday, February 12, 2018

Sign Of the Times


Progress is fun when you are young but sad when you creep into older age.  Personal rituals and memories of places become more ingrained - more important.  Neighbor Tim sent me pictures a week or so ago of his visit to the Sandburg mall in G-Burg.  It is closed now and presumably going to go into some sort of outdoor shopping area.    

It's hard to even imagine these hallways being crowded at one time but they were.  For twenty years it was the place to shop.  When it was built the downtown was decimated.  Now the downtown and the Other place across town have grown and the death of the Mall has been well known secret for many years.      






My old car club, the Western Illinois Antique Auto Club, used to meet out here down the hall with the restrooms.  My brothers and Dad made a tradition of Christmas shopping here and then having pizza at Pizza Hut.  It was where I would bring little Michael out to play on the tractors when John Deer had an area.  It was where Marj would send me in to places and I'd get whatever she needed. 

  


It was where Brendan and I struck up a bargain with grades and I ended up with an ear pierced.  It was where I'd take the kids o see the miniature train running around that great Plexiglas display.  We'd almost always end up at the McDonalds.







Things change. Habits are broken and new ones created.  Things spring to life, then die.  An autopsy will probably report rents were too high - dictated from metropolitan places where account managers couldn't even find Galesburg on the map.  That autopsy may also reveal that SM was indistinguishable from other malls and that a day trip to Peoria or the Quad Cities sounded like more fun.  Maybe people simply change and grow fatigued with the sameness of it all.  But for a long time, this structure, this edifice was more than bland walls and blander music.  It was friends, and family and gifts and kids and maybe a little fun.  How do you say thanks to a giant empty parking lot?  

Friday, February 9, 2018

Flashback Friday



Today, perhaps not quite in the deep throes of Winter, but still a fur piece from Spring, I give you a cook-out from the 90's.  For a few years we organized a neighborhood cookout.  They weren't always themed but once we did a Hawaiian night.   




Nancy and Mike



Andrew, Tarasa and John



Mike and Pat



Dave and Lisa


Whoa are these people with John and Tarasa?




It was John and his brother, and his family, from Chicago.



Ronda and Tom

I might have mentioned this before, but I even went to Rheinschmidt's Carpet and got a 15 foot cardboard carpet roll.  I then fashioned a palm tree out of it and put it out in the backyard.  And that sarong-thingy I'm wearing.  I still have it and in a city where anything goes - I may just wrap it on one of these days.