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Showing posts from March, 2014


In what may send my Northern readers running in madness, these pictures are of snowy Mercer County.  You will never quite understand my mellow joy in seeing it, walking in it, and falling in it.  My trip was intended to embrace the white stuff and in that regard I was successful.   

This picture is from Mark and Holly's side porch area looking over at Doug's and the corn field.  My truck resides up North to provide wheels when I visit and/or move back, which is probably dumb.  It is now 18 years old and just turned 100,000 miles.  Bet I can get another. 

Isn't that pretty?  Whites grays and hazy.  I can assure you there is none of that in Florida. 

Mark and Holly have a wonderful home with a great view from their screened-in porch which is visible to the right in this picture.  

I accompanied the Wombie on his daily rounds to check the water in Seaton and Joy.  These were taken on the outskirts of Seaton. 

Spots on the camera lens?

I wonder if animals get tired of being cold and…

Flashback Friday

2014 is the 10th anniversary of my Summer of Dreams.  This was the summer I had off due to Early retirement from the Mary Davis Home and a series of trips I took that first summer on my bike.   For the next few months Flashback Friday will focus on both of those events.  
And a gentle warning to my readers: "Time flies."

This was the motel I stopped on Day One of my trip to South Dakota on August 26, 2004.  This was in Winner after a good 12 hour ride.  What makes this especially interesting is that around this time I noticed the rear tire and saw that the tire was about bald.  Remember when taking a cross-country trip:  check the tires.     Grab the phone book and see that there is a Kawasaki shop in Winner, but after a call you find out they don't service motorcycles.  Expand your search.  Discover closest Kawi shop in Rapid City.  It is around 260 miles away.  Can I make it?  Panic starts to ferment in my head.
Either way, I am glad to be resting and start looking around …

Seaton At Night

I enjoy the experimentation of taking night pictures.  I have had some moderate success with the St. Pete skyline and over at the Gulfport Pier.  So why not Seaton?  

I woke up early and climbed into a cold truck to drive the 10 miles South to capture a sleeping village, with very little change since I was a wee one running around as a kid there.  About a couple miles out i decided to try a "skyline" picture.  What I didn't count on was the crippling cold.   My tripod, which is essential for night shots, has a series of latches along the legs that you loosen and then snap shut to lock the legs in place.  As luck would have it, one of those latches snapped off due to the cold, thus rendering the tripod virtually useless.  Because of this the picture above, and below, sadly, are blurred.  Because I had to hold the camera rather than stabilize it with the tripod, the results are failed.    

Only slightly better than the first one, this picture is blurred.  The structure to th…

Icicle Cold

Second day trip around the Mercer County area.   
Of course, nothing here will astound anyone in the North.  This is what you guys have been seeing for the past five months, but for a winter-starved visitor from Florida, it was like catnip.  To those who have lived it this winter, my apologies for dredging up more white stuff, but for anyone in the South climes who have never seen it, like Norah, its a sight to behold.

I fear this is all for today, constitutions being the way they are for the sagging souls in Illinois.  The icicles were spied in Aledo between a couple buildings not far from the old Legends saloon.  As a side note, the snow was rather deep and as I was navigating the area to take these pictures, I fell down when I stepped on something slanted.  I'm sure it was funny to the 2 witnesses in the car, those who remained inside to keep warm.  But I got my shots.  

The other pictures were at the pump house on the east side of Seaton.  I have no idea what critter made the tra…

Tuesday Tidbits

1.  Did you know that there are no snakes in New Zealand?  I knew I liked that place.

2.  My March Madness bracket is much like past years.  Decimated.  I don't follow basketball, pro or college, and it shows, but I still like to see how my guesswork does.

3.  Speaking of games of chance, my Illinois Millionaire Raffle ticket bombed out as well.  I'm feeling really lucky about Halloween, however. 

4.  Welcome to the South, Sutors.

5.  Not to get all X-Filey on you, but I saw this from a parking lot in St. Pete on Friday.  Any guesses as to what it is or how it was made?

It was a perfect circle with no entry or exit trails.  Tim suggested a sky writer.  I immediately thought of an alien ship using its cloaking devise.  OK, I guess I got all X-Filey on you.*
* I've never seen a single episode of X-Files.    

First Week

Back Home.  Are there any better words?  Well, yes, probably many, but given my set of circumstances this week, this is the best for me at the moment.  Landed back in Illinois in Mid-February, to see snow, weather, friends and family.

This is my first glimpse of snow in years.  At a rest stop somewhere in Illinois I took this picture.  Looks like this was a spot for dogs to do their thing.  But it sure looked good to me.

Having arrived in G-Burg, I went over to Pat's for the first couple nights.  I took this the first day back as I was touring the countryside out by Wataga to just soak it in.  Walked out into the field to get write this for anyone back in Florida paying attention.

After a couple days at Pat's I headed over to Mark and Holly's and joined them on their weekly trip to Beer Bellies.  That's Jason Claussen on the left, the Wombie in the middle, and, of course, yours truly.  Directly between me and Mark clear in the back playing the machine was Holly.  I am a b…

Flashback Friday

The memories get a little foggy when the sources of information are no longer around and you rely on things you think you know.  That is a tortured way of saying I don't recall the story of this picture.  I do remember some of Marj's relatives from Adair.  Adair is south of Bushnell and east of Macomb.  They had this neat farm and this old old car.  Phil is just a year and a half years old and the twins are no more than maybe 6 months old.  
As for the car, I have no idea what it is; it is more horseless carriage than car.  It appears to be licensed so I think it was probably in running condition perhaps for parades.  I have no idea who the people were or what happened to the car but it wasn't a place we went to often.  Perhaps the Wombie will have more info. 

This is a similar pose taken in Quincy at Marj's parents house.  We are older than the picture above, with Phil in the middle and the twins being held captive by the folks.  In the background is a nice Ford or Merc…

Trip Up

I hitched a ride with JC who was down from G-Burg visiting her daughters in January.  JC is a former co-worker at Blick and has an old car so we ahem known each over a while.  She appreciated the company and help driving so we took off around 10:30 from St. Petersburg for a 2 day trip up to the wintry cold Illinois.  At my age I don't get real excited over things anymore, but this was a lot of fun and I generally kept it from people up there.  An added bonus was JC's willingness to navigate the big cities.    

This is Joey.  Joey is a 13 year old Chihuahua JC adopted when its previous owner dropped it off at the vet's requesting they put it down since they no longer could care for it.  It was my lap partner for the first few hours through Atlanta.  I don't like little skittish yappers, but as little skittish yappers it was a little skittish yapper.

Like most little yappers, this one seems to have anxiety issues when not with their owners.  Needy, constantly shaking, and …

Gulfport Car Show

On a somewhat cool and rainy Saturday recently in Gulfport, local old car owners gathered for a show.  I caught it late in the day as the awards were being announced, but even on a nasty day there were a few interesting cars to gave upon.  Most were in very nice condition, others not so much.

The first one of note was this 1965 Imperial.  I happen to like Imperials and have owned one in the past and would like another someday, but no this one.  Firstly, it was repainted an ungodly and even for their standards an un-Chrysler pink that was most certainly not one offer in 1965, particularly for the high-cost Imperials.

This is a nice 1965 Plymouth Barracuda.  It looks to be almost stock (my favorite type of old car) except for the mag wheel treatment.

This is a great looking '63 Mercury Comet convertible. 

El Camino's never thrilled me so I skipped right by that car/truck and focused on a nice looking 1960 AMC Custom.  

A Ford Galaxie and Packard with matching yellow paint, and both c…

Tuesday Tidbits

1.  Last Sunday (March 9th) Richard Barton from Burgess spent the day at Shawshank.  His wife, Andrea, had given him a plane ticket to see some friends in Bradenton for his birthday for the weekend.  Always fun to be around Richard who has never known a pregnant pause.  We started with cigars and beer in the garage and ended in the porch, still drinking, and talking about everything.  An IHOP breakfast in the early morning, and off to the airport at 6:00 am.  Thanks Andrea for putting Shawshank on the itinerary, and thanks Richard for making the day so much fun.   

2.   Tax time is no fun, but TurboTax makes it a little easier.

3.  I applied to be an usher at the Tampa Bay Ray's baseball games.  Alas, I was not selected.  Guess I'll have to pay to watch the games like everyone else.  From now on, I'm going to be a high school graduate (and maybe not even that), and no more, on my applications. 

4.  Summer is returning to Florida.  Now we have hot days and cool nights.  Soon i…

Danny Boy


Before Anthony Kearns starts his rendition of Danny Boy he has a short preamble about Ireland being a "rich and rare land, a fresh and fair land, and a dear and rare land, this land of mine." Ah, what is more natural than Danny Boy and Ireland?  It is like vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup - and perfect harmony of taste and sound.   

Today is St. Patricks Day, another one of those must-drink days that starts with anticipation, and likely ending hugging what we used to refer to back in the MDH days, as the "pink pagoda."  That was the color of the staff bathroom stool and sink.  

All across the world, in pubs big and small, amid clanking glassware filled with ale,  the Irish, the perceived Irish, and those wanting to be will probably at some point hear the national song of love and loss.  

There are few specific memories of St. Pats Day for me.  About all that comes to mind is to get my Illinois Millionionaire Raffle they sell up to today with about 4 new milliona…

Flashback Friday

This is a picture of one of the Blythe twins laying a kiss on neighbor Barb Seaton.  I wish I could tell you which one, but either I have long forgotten or I simply didn't feel the electricity of the moment. Staged?  Probably.  But both seem to be willing participants.  Regardless, PDA ain't something' this twin does.

That big old house in the back is the old McPheeter's place.   A couple of families lived there while we were growing up, but it was always a bit creepy (as were the families), and eventually was torn down to make room for Ila Mae Keilman's new house.  In fact that whole lot was about empty except for the McKelvie's, Rader's, and then our new house we built.  Now, besides the one I just mentioned, there are the Hall's, Buster Board's place,  and the Rowland home.  The trees you see in the back ground are all gone and the whole block is developed.   

I'm certain Marj told us not to go over to that big spooky house, even when there wer…