Posts Tagged With: hats

CHRISTMAS FUN

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Christmas every year looks almost the same at my house. Endless cards and games between gnoshing.  Theo, Cedric (hidden) Kristanne and Doug play 13, the national card game of Viet Nam while…

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…while Mason and Virginia play cribbage at the other end of the table. People change places, step in and out of games and in general have a good time.

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We chose a Mexican theme for this Christmas. Christmas Eve dinner was home-made chicken enchiladas, Spanish rice and pinto beans with a romaine salad. As the family members grow, it’s tough to fit everyone in with one picture.

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After dinner we took a walk into the night to look back at the lights and found our selves in awe of the starry, starry night. Stars so close we could see the constellations and Milky Way as though touchable. Virginia started a carol and we stood in the street and sang and gave thanks that light pollution has not blocked ancestral skies on our tiny portion of the planet.

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Grandson, Stewart, home from Japan for Christmas, brought this sample of Japanese foods. He taught us how easy Japanese is to learn because the characters are so consistent. If a character means house, or rock or walk, it will always mean that no matter how many characters in a sentence.  His brother, Mason, easily picked up some Japanese words. Leave it to the young.

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Christmas day was more of the same. My brother, Bill, left, joined us for the afternoon. We are playing elevator with Stewart, Virginia, Mason, Owen, Ken and myself. At the opposite end of the table, Theo, Doug, Kristanne and Laurie play RummiKub.

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We played around with hats and I thought of some artists paintings as I looked at what the camera did to Mason’s arm. One giant appendage and one shrunken.

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I rarely wear this hat, but I love it.

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It has seven watches glued on it, plus other fascinating pins, buttons, beads and junk.

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I bought a Playboy jacket at a second hand store just for the buttons. (I’m a collector.)  We had great fun with it. I liked this picture of Owen, though a bit blurry and in a distracting background.

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It’s tough to get Owen to stand still for a picture, but I love this smile.

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And Dad, too. I liked this one though the light wasn’t quite right.

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But he liked a different one. I think he was trying not to laugh.

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Stewart said, no way. The hat was too small and he couldn’t get the jacket on his second arm.

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None of these pictures are in the correct order. I didn’t remember to take a picture of our Christmas Day dinner, which was chili rellenos with an apple and cabbage pomegranate coleslaw, and home made-by Doug and Virginia- Chicken, Pork and chili cheese tamales. Goodt stuff.

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Before we finished Christmas dinner, the desert table was almost bare.

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We had our anonymous book trade, only three to open. And, all too soon, it was bedtime for me,  the picture taker. My ears picked up hushed conversation sliding under my bedroom door as I succumbed to sleep.

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The next morning, everyone was up bright and early. Ken and Laurie’s family drove back to Reno in time to put Stewart, Mason and Kristanne on an Airplane for Las Vegas. Home for Mace and Stan; Stewart will reconnect with his girlfriend before returning to Japan.

My cup runneth over.

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THE GULF COAST CITIES

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Galveston’s  wharf  reminds  me of San Francisco’s wharf. We went to see the Elissa, an old masted sail boat with a crew that sails her regularly. They are beautiful, no doubt about it. When we got there, you can pay to board her and walk around. DSC01720 (Copy)

If you’ve never done it, it’s worth the price, $6 and $8 dollars, senior/ student and adult prices. We visited one  in New Bedford, MA. and watched the crew prepare for sail and make a staged water rescue in  2010.  I  visited a tall ship in Boston Harbor and another in San Francisco, so we passed and just took pictures. The seafood restaurants smelled tempting. We watched a guy unload gunny sacks filled with  oysters. It was way to early for us to eat.

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Then I saw something I knew would make my youngest son drool. Beautiful Doug Fir, from old growth trees. 6 X 12’s about 35 to 40 feet long. DSC01733 (Copy)

This pile and a couple more like it are $250,000 dollars worth, we were told. I have to cry for the old growth forest, while I admire a beautiful piece of lumber.  I wish I could bring the smell home to my carpenter son.

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We walked around town again today. I took pictures of things you don’t often see. Like this cigar store wooden Indian.

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This is a solar parking meter. We laughed, but it is very effective.

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The entrance to this store has a painted-on rug. What a hoot!

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The businesses  are getting all gussied up for Mardi Gras.

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A  27 inch tall. Wow!

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Decadent, velvet and old wood. The city placed a huge banner across one of the major streets. Everybody is talking about Mardi Gras.

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This is Jonnie Cooks who made a charming ceramic for her Uncle Fred. For Mardi Gras she makes fantastic costume heads out of cardboard of her own invention. (I only got to see a picture.) Her method is original and well crafted. She may be selling them at Mardi Gras this year. It is the biggest event of the year. A half-million people come to Galveston for Mardi Gras.

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When visiting the seaside, the general wisdom is to eat seafood. Some woman coming out of The Gumbo Bar shoved a couple of coupons in my hands and mumbled something about the best gumbo she ever tasted and I was intrigued. Jim had chicken and sausage and I had Shrimp, oyster and crab gumbo. It was a huge bowl. Plus I got my first decent beer since arriving in Texas, an Abita Turbo Dog.  The woman was right. Mine had huge shrimp. There was a shrimp in every bite, down to the last spoonful in the bowl. Gumbo heaven!!

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From the day previous, a Rene Wiley painting. Rene’s husband, Ben, told me she paints about 50 hours a week and she has a huge following and sells about 300 paintings a year. This one is from her Galveston Alley series.

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Hibiscus blooming  in January?  I think of all the gulf cities we’ve visited, Galveston has the most to offer as a vacation spot, or a place to live, at least in winter. It may be hot and muggy in summer.

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I thoroughly enjoyed my visit here. I think Galveston is the star of the coast cities. They’ve wrested the best from their stormy spot on the coast and have it pretty well protected, a great arts community, friendly people, vibrant economy, great food, tourism and a decent beer.

 

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WESTERN CULTURE

Jim spent another day, well, six hours working on the new device, getting it to talk to our router. Oboy!  When electronics get mad at you they stay mad for hours.

Sandee and I spent time on her computer with me showing her how to organize pictures. She had some other pesty problems with it her new laptop,  and Jim, my resident expert, fixed them for her. When he helps me with MY computer he always sings a little song and does a dance. “Its so nice to have an engineer around the house…”   So, I told him he had to dance for Sandee.

Sandee had therapy early in the day and her meds were delivered to her door mid morning.  She had polio as a child and has difficulties related to  post polio syndrome that comes back to haunt you when you are older.  She must have infusions. A nurse comes to the house and administers them to fight the affects of myasthenia gravis.  Life ain’t easy, but it’s a gift.

I mentioned how multi-talented she is. I  took a photo of this neat little ceramic device she made for her desk, to hide the mass of black cords that now, no longer show against a white wall.

Another ceramic piece she did is the back of this indian’s head.

When she moved to Arizona, she really got into Western art and I’d roughly estimate she has 1,000 artifacts and art pieces visible in her house and yard.

A leather wrapped Indian spear frames numerous pieces with a western hat collection above it.

We will move on to a Moose Club south of Tuscon. In fact, it was 34 degrees and snowing in Tuscon last night. I guess Jim won’t be dancing and singing if we run into it on the road this morning.

We are moving just around the bend to visit some fascinating places.

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MARIGNY AND THE FRENCH MARKET

From Mary’s desk:

My partner Jim wanted to visit the French Market.  We walked through the old area of Marigny and found everything French, signs, a Frenchmen Hotel, a Paris fountain, a statue of Joan Of Arc, and Frenchmen Street,  which made Jim very happy.

The street scenes here are San Francisco,  Haight-Ashbury,  University Ave.,  Berkeley, 1960’s.  Street musicians, laid back, friendly people, artists, dogs to pet.  Shops with opium pipes and cigarette rollers;  a strong gay and lesbian population. Homey, ragtag eating places, tacos on the street, everybody has to make a living, man!  (I found a  another endangered species- a working telephone booth.)

The music never stops. Everywhere, people are having a good time. Everyone knows everyone’s business and they like it that way. One shop keeper told us that Marigny was just chosen the best neighborhood in the United States. He didn’t have much in the way of detail, who judged it, or what criterion.

This  graffitied building even had its windows painted over, but it was open for some kind of business. I opened the door and peeked and got a glimpse of a billiard table.

This clinched the Haight with this well used telephone pole.

The Spotted Cat piano player was hammering out tunes. The joint was small and cozy. At night, I’m guessing it is a very friendly place. I want to come back here.

A woman told me she lives next door to this “found junk” artist. Her comment, “You should see his yard!” I laughed because I would have loved to see his yard.

When we reached the French Market, music was in full swing. This costumed fellow jumped off the stage and played with the crowd. Oh, the costume, to die for.

As you might guess, characters abound here. And this gent decided you don’t have to wear your mask on your face.

Boiled peanuts were a new food to me. Though salty, they were quite good. We enjoyed Creole chicken with dirty rice and peas; and alligator sausage stew from a market booth.  Both choices were delicious, plentiful and cheap. We saw people waiting in line 20 deep to get into buy a muffaletto sandwich.

If you don’t have jazz musician friends, you can still have a jazz funeral.  A mime told me and I quote: “You only have to do three things. Die. In order to die you have to live. In order to live you have to take a good shit once in awhile.”   Street wisdom!

We wondered back to “The Quarter” , stopped for real brews at Crescent City Brewhouse and watched the kid shuck oysters. He told us he sometimes does this for 13 hours straight. He makes it look pretty easy, but you have to have the right tools because it isn’t easy.

Around Jackson square the proselytizers were in full sway. The gentleman above challenged passersby to a chess match for $5 a game. Fortune tellers, tarot dealers, face painters, portrait painters, street musicians, artists and tourists crowded the square.

We visited a jillion souvenir shops trying to find a frog hat for Jim. Alligators? Plenty.  But no frogs.

I took a lot of pictures. You can check them out with this link.

http://picasaweb.google.com/1579penn/FrenchMktNO2010#

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