It’s Baaack!

This morning I awoke and peeked out he window at the 2013 Monet Vision. It looked the best it did all year-long. Bathed in white it looked better than the white theme I tried to make this year. For the past twenty years I have commented on the pussy winters we have had, but this year promises to become the winter I know and hate, . . er I mean love. When you live in Illinois you have to love winter or you are not worthy of living here.

This week we experienced the joy of breathing below zero temps and decided that Arizona looks pretty good. Then it snowed three times counting today. The first was a shoveler. That’s a powdery snow fall that is less than two inches deep and it is not worthy of wasting gas in the snow blower, so shovel I did.  The next day, it snowed again. Another powdery one inch not worthy of a blow job. In fact, because I had a doctor appointment early, it didn’t even get a shovel job. This morning when I opened the garage door there was nine inches of powdery snow in front of me: Hear that all you guys who moved to Arizona, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Florida? This was definitely worth a blow job. Except, my blower was not ready. I had it serviced, I had fresh gas, but I removed the blower-chute when I stuffed the machine into the trunk to take it for service. The winters have been so pussy, that I kept gambling on not needing to get it completely functional. It took fifteen minutes to install the chute and three pulls to get it going strong

Lucky for me the Frankfort snowplow had not yet come by to fill the driveway with a block worth of snow moving at forty miles per hour. My trusty Honda, inherited from my son who moved to snow-less Houston, moved right through the powdery stuff. The temp measured 31.4 degrees F at my front porch.

I had about 90% of the driveway completed when I noticed the snow was no longer flying out the chute. Instead, it packed into the chute and didn’t clean very well at all. The temperature was now above 32 degrees and the snow was, as we used to say as kids, “good packing.” That meant it is perfect for making snowballs and snow men.

It took about an hour to finish the drive and the walk in front of my house and the walks in front of the neighbors on each side of me. A few years ago, this would have taken me less than forty minutes and I would have had a great workout. This time, it took much longer and it tired me out completely. That is Nature’s way of telling me that the old bod’ ain’t what it was a few years ago. I guess it is the result of too many glasses of Cabernet and endless hours in front of the computer doing absolutely nothing.

After clearing the front, I tackled the patio to gain access to the bird feeders. There wasn’t a single dove, cardinal, or sparrow in sight. Must be the snow, I thought, until I heard the screeching call of a hawk. He sat in a tree observing the action around the feeders. I reveled at the sound of his call as he obstinately stayed perched and screeching high above me. I was shoveling a path around the post feeder and the hanging feeder at the window when I spotted Grandma Peggy peering out keeping the hawk under surveillance. Now that’s neat, a predator observing his prey while being observed by a constable protecting the prey. The look on Peggy’s face was enough to scare any hawk from the area.

I took some pictures with my phone and declared the 2013 Monet Vision had finally achieved a state of  beauty worthy of talking about. Remember, Churchill said, “never, never, never, never give up.” I’m glad I didn’t because the garden finally looks good.

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2013 Monet Vision in December looking at the waterlessfall

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The Hawk keeps surveilance

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Snow Angel

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2013 Monet Vision in December looking at the bird tower

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Grandma Peggy keeps her eye on the hawk

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Front Drive

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Walkways

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My flag Flies Everyday

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2013 Monet Vision September reference

Register Your Dead Uncle To Vote

Senators Boxer and Clinton unveil the Count Ev...

Senators Boxer and Clinton unveil the Count Every Vote Act dead link . (2005-02-18) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Who needs dead voters when live ones are just as easy to get?

Needed Downtime

Barb's Orchid CollectionThis BLOGGER took some needed downtime. Peggy and I went south and east until we hit some serious water, then followed the coast further southward. We were seeking warmer weather, and some colorful spring flowers. We got it all.  Along the way, we stopped to visit friends from another life.  I have a list of friends I want to visit before I die, and I got to see four of them.

We also got to see a section of the country that we’ve never seen before, i.e. the North and South Carolina coast. Peggy lived in Columbia, South Carolina during the nineteen fifties. She was with her husband Ron, while he was in the army.  Our sight seeing began in the small hamlet of Sneads Ferry, North Carolina, on the Atlantic ocean. Sneads Ferry is a fishing town located on the southern border of Camp Lejeune, a U.S. Marine training base.

The couple  we visited built their dream home on Everett Creek  which winds into Stone Bay, then  into the Intercoastal Waterway, and finally the Atlantic Ocean. Barbara, the Lady of the House, is a Master Gardener. She took her training in North Carolina, and was a encyclopedia of horticultural knowledge about local plants. She has been building her new garden for five years. It continues to expand. Inside the house she sports a collection of orchids. Many are in bloom, and are gorgeous.  Gary, the Master of the House, designed and built the home. He is an engineer and it shows in the construction details of the building, and layout. He also added a greenhouse for Barb, and a walkway from the house to the creek . 

White Orchid

 Time flew by rapidly, and the visit lasted longer than we had anticipated. Gary and Barb drove us around Sneads Ferry, and Topsail Island. The town is a blink of the eye, while the island, and beach stretches for miles. The weather was cool and drizzly, so there were not too many hardy souls on the beach; it was empty. We quickly gathered a few shells to bring home, then moved on. We lunched on softshell crab at the Sears Landing Grill in Surf City, and talked about times we spent together.

Gary and Barb recommended we see Charleston, so onward down the coast we drove to Charleston, South Carolina.  The city founded in 1670 is one of the oldest in the United States. We checked into the Mills House Hotel in the heart of the historic district. Built in 1853, it stands as one of the oldest hotels in North America. It was totally remodeled, and updated in 1970. Without doubt, this is a five star hotel.

Peggy and I arranged to take a carriage ride around town in the morning. We passed homes and churches built in the seventeen hundreds. All have been meticulously restored. The entire historic district is on the National Registry, and will remain so in perpetuity. Even though the district is historical and old, it is houses many private citizens, and commercial enterprises. We ate lunch in an old building, once a cotton warehouse, and now a modern sports bar.

Rainbow Row-Charleston, SCCharleston in BloomCharleston HomeCity of ChurchesAfter lunch, we sauntered to the harbor and took a cruise around the bay for a waterfront perspective. One of the porters on the ship lives in a house boat at the dock . He is retired, and fortifying his income working on the cruise boat. He commuted by taking a thirty second walk from his tiny float home across the dock to the sightseeing boat. Peggy and I got sun burn while basking on the deck. She was white knuckling the chair the whole time, not being one for taking boat rides.

Very Large Old HouseBridge to CharlestonMills House LobbyAntebellum HomeWe arrived at the Staybridge Suites in Savannah, Georgia on Bay Street early. Our room was not ready yet so to kill time, we booked a trolley tour of the historical district. What a city! I always wanted to see Savannah, but somehow this part of the country eluded me. Savannah was founded in 1733, by General James Oglethorpe. He was also the architect of the city layout.  The historic district is a beautiful grid of streets  divided into districts by squares or parks. Twenty four distinct little squares define open spaces between congested avenues of row houses and mansions. Twenty two of the squares still exist. Two have fallen prey to civic center development. In between the streets with the squares are larger more elegant boulevrds. The median dividers on the boulevards are filled with pink, white, rose, and red azaleas. Shading the streets are giant oaks, three hundred years old, and dripping with dainty  Spanish Moss. 

Wisteria Laden Home in Savannah, GAPeggy and I roamed the streets from square to square taking house tours, and visiting museums.  Among the more notable homes we visited was the Juliette Gordon Low birthplace. Juliette  founded the Girl Scouts of America In 1912. The house has been preserved, and is in excellent condition. It contains many pieces of the original furnishings. In the Telfair Museum of Art we saw two wxhibitions by black artists. One of them by a man named Robert Colescott has a series of contemporary paintings on display. It is my opinion that this man was on some serious shit while he painted. The second artist, Elizabeth King, displayed a ceramic mannekin head the size of an apple and with infinite realistic detail .  She photographed the head from various angles against a black background; the photos are magnificent. She is a true artist, while Colescott seemed to paint only while high, or maybe he just can’t see too well.

Red Azaleas on River Street, Savannah, GATypical Savannah SquarePre-Civil War Funeral Parlor Pink AzaleasWhite AzaleaReally White Azaleas

Home of Juliette Gordon Low, Founder of Girl Scouts

 

 

 

 

 

 

White CameliaRelaxing in a Square, Notice the ShoesThe Savannah river front along River Street is a string of shops, and restaurants, converted from old cotton warehouses. A Green and Yellow Trolley runs along a track laid in the center of the cobblestone street, reminiscent of streetcars I rode in Chicago during the forties. A container ship passed by as we shopped. Savannah is the second largest container port in the US.  Here is a piece of useless info, the largest export out of the port is chicken; shipped to China.

More to follow.

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