Sunday, May 08, 2022

"So, what's the big deal here?"

It's the last of a piece of chocolote I had with a birthday lunch with my friend Joan Perry in West Ashley at the Euro Foods Bakery & Cafe. The lunch itself reminded me of a meal in Vienna where I had pork Schnitzel that over-filled the plate! This meal came with roaseted potatoes and a nice salad..a balanced meal. A terrific birthday lunch treat by a good friend. So why not a photo of the meal? Or a close up of the 500 calories hunk of several chocolates? Well, this particular knife and fork duo is a story in itself

Sunday, March 06, 2022

Wow..I really have neglected my blog!

Can't remember when I have had such a long gap in the blog I have been writing for 14 years! Well, I could blame COVID! In fact, I DID have to isolate back in August when I tested positive right at the time I was closing on my house in Hanahan and also closing on my new home in The Elms of Charleston. My son and older daghter came through at my time of crisis and flew here to assist! Chris to oversee the packing and Amy to monitor the unloading at the new one-story house. BUT, now it has been six months since all that drama happened. Still going through 80+ years of MY photos and tons more of them kept by my folks in numerous albums. Lordie..so many memories!
Several are especially worth mentioning and being placed in my blog from my early days AFTER the Marine Corps and the beginning of being a student at USD and ALSO starting at the Union and Tribune photo lab in downtown San Diego. Affordable but dangerous transportation!

Sunday, January 16, 2022

The House cat...

 My local paper, The Post and Courier, has a Sunday feature called MY PHOTO where a submitted picture is selected that best illustrates the weekly stated theme or title.

I was telling a buddy about a replica dollhouse I had built back in the 1970s when I was the Missouri Director of Tourism and had moved my family from Kansas City to the Capital.

No, it is was not a move to St. Louis on the other side of the Show-Me state. It was to Jefferson City, smack dab in the middle of the state, close to the geographical center of the United States.

After being selected, I had gone ahead to Jeff City to look at houses, really liked one and my wife flew in and loved it. Whew!

I wanted a place where I would be comfortable having the Governor stop by. Actually, I later found that the Mayor lived on the same street! Quick snow removal would be assured for my block!

As we settled in, I was really liking the look of our new 2-story home and decided to build a replica dollhouse for my younger daughter. 

Hey, I had never done this before but I just was copying something... and it only had three sides! Piece of cake.

And it really was not that hard. I made the second floor a pull-out so my daughter could play with the entire model. I even produced a HOW TO brochure showing the easy-to-follow steps I had taken and offered it for sale. 

(Only got two buyers even though my research showed dollhouses were a popular item. Hmm, making one apparently was not that popular!)

Naturally, I took many photos as I progressed building my duplicate miniature home. One day I saw that our black cat had curled up for a nap in the dollhouse living room - and oozing into most of the downstairs!

The theme for the next week's MY PHOTO newspaper Sunday "contest"  was "OUT OF PLACE."Well, I was flashing back to my house cat photo and I made sure I submitted it right away.

The editor may not be as taken as I was about matching the theme...but I feel optimistic. 

However, if I do score a third win, this would identify me in my new home.

My first two wins were while I was living in Hanahan. This way my new neighbors will see I am proud to now live in our neat gated community in North Charleston.



Sunday, November 07, 2021

USMC 246 years and counting


The 246th birthday of the United States Marine Corps was celebrated last night, a bit earlier than November 10, the original date of the 1775 first gathering.

The  Hotel Indigo in Mt. Pleasant was a well-prepared site and the room and service was outstanding.

The party started with a traditional bagpipe-led entry, followed by the reading of greetings from the first and the current Commandant. 

I quickly got into "newsman mode" and got up to roam around with my Android phone/camera to capture the mood and traditions.

I edged my way through the crowd to get a photo of  Major General James E. Livingston, Medal Of Honor recipient, doing the honors.

The General was the official cake-cutter, using an officer's sword.

(The newly-mixed Navy Rum Grog materials can be seen in the foreground, already mixed and to be  distributed later.)

Traditionally the first slice of cake goes to the oldest Marine in the room.

I found out later I missed being the oldest by only 2 years!

I had enlisted and served 1957-1960 so  Lt. Colonel Mac Radcliffe was handed his slice and started the cake-eating evening ceremony.

The ritual was completed by Sgt. James Brantly, proudly wearing his Scottish heritage outfit,

I had chatted with him during the cocktail hour and later I saw he had high-fived the bag-piper earlier in the evening.

Only two kilts in the crowd that proudly displayed medals and ribbons on a suit coat or arrayed on a uniform with six "hash marks", each indicating 4 years of service in the Corps."

Brantly was called forward and the General handed the young man the second slice, keeping a long-honored tradition among Marine Corps birthday celebrations.

I knew I was not going to be picked for that either and found the young Marine was born in 1986 so he easily beat me for the prized cake treat.
After the light-hearted fun of slicing and eating some traditional birthday cake, the mood in the room became somber.

A Sgt E-5 blouse and cap was silently brought and reverently placed at the MIA table that was set in the front center of the room.

A prayer was said and respectful silence followed as the salute was made to those Marines who had lost their lives.

This was followed by the Chef and staff who paraded in for a well-deserved round of applause after the salads and plates of sizzling steaks or mounds of salmon were delivered.

Then the decanters of the Grog were brought to each table and some serious consideration was given to the generous mix of several types of rum, club soda, lime, grapefruit juice - and maple syrup.

I was told it was a Navy tradition and the lime was to fight rickets. Seriously.

Polished off my steak and took just a wee sip of the grog.  I knew I had a 19-mile drive home. Probably in the heavy rain.

Looked on my phone weather radar map and there appeared to be an opening - a clearing - so I pushed back my chair, gave a hurried goodbye to my tablemates. kept dry getting to my car..I was halfway home when I realized I had not gotten a slice of the 246-year old cake. Damn!

Well, there's next year and maybe then I WILL be the oldest Marine and receive the traditional first slice!



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Saturday, October 16, 2021

Big Changes!!

 Big happenings here...sold my 2-story house where I lived for 20 years. 

My Dad had bought an 800 sf elevated house in 1962 and - being a carpenter and cabinet-maker - he added an 1100 sf shop downstairs and, over the years, kept expanding and adding, and now it was 2000 sf upstairs and the same size downstairs!

Despite him working down there for more than 30+ years, we could NOT include the downstairs footage because it was "not under air."


When I told my daughter I was looking into the cost of adding an elevator, she said "No, Dad, you need to sell that old house, buy a much newer one-story home, maybe in a gated 50s-60s community with a LOT of amenities.

I had added a neat screen porch on the deck at the back of the house and had enjoyed a year of bug-free outdoor relaxing time out there. I would miss it!

So, I started the process. My Realtors Leah and Jared Ortega Associates of Main Street Properties said we needed to find a buyer who LOVES all that space downstairs! And, who also will buy it AS-IS...no inspectors!

My Dad was a good carpenter but was a lousy plumber and a terrible electrician!

 I had to have a licensed electrician re-wire ALL of downstairs..he pointed out it never had been grounded, so all electrical plugs were two-prong!

The Realtor found that ideal buyer! BUT... he wanted to close in 30 days and I had no house to move to!

She calmed me down and we drove to see a house in a retirement-type community 7 miles away. It was perfect with about the same space as my last upstairs but now - no stairs!

She negotiated well and I paid exactly what I had received for "the house that Dad built!" But this was a 1999 house, well-built and planned by a construction company for a large tract of individual homes.

An aerial photo shows that each street ends in a cul de sac so no random drivers with booming speakers, no rumbling trucks, no dangerous speeders...these all were fellow residents!

BUT...three days before both closings, my electrician called to say he had COVID and I should get checked!

 I went to an Urgent Care place, found I was POSITIVE and I checked into a Marriott hotel room near the Ortega's realty office in Nexton, near Summerville.!

My son Chris in San Diego flew out for 5 days to assist me. He had a family plan with Marriott so got us a great rate on the two rooms we used.

Chris would bring food and beverages to my door, knock and step back and I would wave and thank him. No hugging! 

He was at my old house, supervising the packing and truck loading. A few weeks before I had contracted with a Junk Company to come and clear out stuff that had not been touched in the 20 years I lived there. It's called DOWNSIZING..extreme!

When he had to go back to work, he flew out and my daughter came in from Oakland to be there when the movers truck arrived, was unloaded and she suggested where things should go.

Amy, a police detective in California, is a take-charge person and replaced ALL of my aging AV and electronics and signed me up with AT&T so when I came home after 11 days, the house looked great and I had new wi-fi for my computer and phone!

She flew back home because she retires in November after 21 years as a cop and goes back to be a talented stand-up comedienne. She also does voice-overs for tv ads from home and encouraged me in my roles as an Extra in several HBO series filming here in Charleston.

I was seen often in three seasons of Stephen King's trilogy MR. MERCEDES and two seasons (so far) of The Righteous Gemstones, also on HBO. Watch and look for my neat snowy white beard.

Being older, I had had both vaccines so my 11 days of COVID was mild, no hospital, just achy all over and sleeping 12-14 hours in a room untouched by housekeeping for almost two weeks! 

They charged to cleanse the room after I finally checked out.


Very comfortable in my new home in The Elms Of Charleston. 

Great Clubhouse with a gym (sold all my exercise equipment!) and lawn mowing and trimming are done by HOA employees so I sold my riding mower and all my garden tools!

Found some authors I like in the Elms library, shot a game of pool in the well-appointed rec room, the outdoor pool loses any day now.

I admire the tennis courts but gave up that game years ago.

They say there is a fine Bochi Ball court so I WILL give that a shot 

Oh, the new home has no screen porch..but there IS a lovely Sunroom that the cat and I enjoy!







Monday, August 30, 2021

When Positive is a NEGATIVE sign...

 On August 16, 2021, I was tested at Roper St. Francis Urgent Care on University Blvd and it showed I was positive with Covid.

I was in the midst of selling my home of 20 years, vacating the premises. packing and moving into a new home in The Elms Retirement Community. 

Worst timing ever - and really unexpected - as I had received both Pfizer Vaccines: first one Feb 8 and the second on March 5, 2021.

My son flew in from San Diego and we rented separate rooms at the Marriott in Nexus close to where my Realtor Leah and Jared Ortega had their offices. 

After 5 days, my son returned to California and my daughter arrived from Oakland, kept me isolated, working with the realtors while having me tested several times. 

(THOSE results are still pending? What is the value of a test where - days later - you still had never heard the results!)

Finally, 3 days later, we both were tested with immediate results and were told we both now were NEGATIVE. The movers had completed everything at the new house so we drove our separate cars and finally, I entered the new, now completely furnished house!

I was amazed where things had been unpacked and were expertly placed! Everything looked perfect!

The cat realized this new place did not have the neat screen porch she had liked so well..but it had a beautiful SUN ROOM!

And, I realized, now I also was hungry.

Tuesday, August 03, 2021

Very Tired OG*

 



I am totally exhausted. 
THIS is not what old men should be doing..because it stresses that I AM indeed a stressed old man!

 My new gated Elms Community has a pool, a gym, outings, programs, and HOA will tend to my lawn and the outside of the house, so, I have sold ALL of my exercise equipment, garden tools (even a nice wheelbarrow), and am getting rid of all the home repair stuff accumulated over the years.

My folks were the keepers of photo albums..dating back to the 1920s and earlier..so I asked my younger brother if he wanted any?

He said he knew none of these thousands of unidentified people so I agreed to go through ALL of them, discarding and burning huge piles of black and white photos of men and women wearing "sexy"(not) beach costumes or standing in groups, mugging for the camera.

Every so often there WOULD be writing on the back of a poorly exposed photo, taken 70 or 80 years ago, but the best-written one was "No need to say who THIS is!" And, didn't.

I did not realize how photos and slick, coated magazines would burn so fast and furious! My burn barrel was sizzling hot

I looked at every page in the stacks of many albums and sorted out any of me and my brother, any of our kids growing up, and made individual stacks to share...Sad to say the quality of the photography was...bad. Faded, blurred, poorly posed, zero interest to a stranger! Nice bonfire fuel.

Hopefully, the trash men WILL empty a heavy can filled with empty photo albums and other relics from the past. My son is flying in from San Diego to help me for four days with any "heavy lifting" and moving furniture around after the movers depart.

*Old Guys

Saturday, July 03, 2021

BRACING MYSELF!

 So, recently I had a reason to wear dress suit pants for several days in a row and thought "How can I make myself more comfortable?"


Like many others, I have what is unofficially called COVID-12/15 which refers to the weight one gained while doing many, many months of personal home lockdown, and ...I had put on at least 12 pounds.

I was required to wear "sorta tight around the waist" dressy pants for many days in a row for some Extra/BG actor work I was doing for a tv series filming here. The full suit was not required so the coat - that also shrunk in the closet - was not a factor. Thank goodness.

I tried using a new, larger belt but, as the day wore on during filming standing On Set, my pants would droop below my "slightly" expanded belly and I was having to reposition them back up so the cuffs did not drag. Not a constant battle but a recurring adjustment that was a distraction and a concern to me as we worked before the cameras. Doubt anybody else even noticed but I tried to think of a correction.

"Oh yeah, I recalled!" I had worn suspenders 15 years ago when I worked at the Post and Courier. 

But, rummaging around for those problem-solving alternatives, I could not find them. Bummer. 

Hmm, off to a store to find them and buy me some. Not surprisingly the young Wal-Mart staffers were confused about what I was seeking, and eventually, a supervisor used a walkie-talkie to find they did not carry them.

Needing more likely options, I headed to Tanger Outlets with its 50 or so stores. The young staff at Old Navy had no idea what I wanted so I stopped for a coupon booklet at the office and asked the young lady there where I might find suspenders? 

She was baffled until I explained my need to keep my pants up without wearing a belt, and she wisely suggested I try the Brooks Brothers outlet store. 

It was not right next door but I found it, entered and an older salesman met me and asked how he could help me? He smiled when I said I need some suspenders,   "Suspenders or braces?"

Oh, I recalled hearing them called that before, probably in a British movie, but asked "what's the difference?"

He said "braces attach to buttons sewn inside the waistband of your trousers.  Suspenders have strong metal clips to fasten where needed." Of course, that made sense. 

"But, he continued, unfortunately, we have neither."

Stymied, I headed home, went online to My Amazon.com and I chose the Braces because my suit pants HAD the necessary waistband buttons. They arrived the next day.

End of the sagging problem ON SET!

Monday, June 07, 2021

A Cut Above The Rest..




 My yard does not care that I no longer use a ladder! It just keeps doing what it does and I am tempted to power up my electric hedge trimmer and whack away.

Wiser heads prevailed and a good buddy came by to use his super-powerful Weed Wacker all around the house. Unsightly weeds GONE!

And, the next day, he climbed the ladder that wisely is forbidden to me - as an old-timer - and lopped off all the growth that a full year had added to my shrubs, azaleas, and other flowering bushes.

Round azalea bushes were cut down in size and now are square again!

The street-side hedge is manageable finally and many bags of clippings will be raked up, bagged, and hauled away by the city!

Bagging I can do..no ladder involved. Thanks to my buddy Chris!

He worked for hours and knew how to safely use high-powered equipment.

His Weed-Wacker is gas-powered (no extension cords!) and cuts through everything in its path. 

Well, part of one plant got caught in his backswing but..so what? It'll grow back!

You know how this works, click on the photos to see a larger image. Thanks for stopping by...wanna do some raking?



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Friday, May 28, 2021

Speaking of baseball......


As Covid wanes, we are about to be able to "Take Me Out To The Ball Game" again here in Charleston at The Joe and I recall a delightful Mother's Day photo I took a few years ago of my Mom (on the right) and the mother of Charlie, the Riverdogs mascot's Mom (on the left.) They made a delightful pair of Moms.  

At another ballgame at Riley Park, I was with my younger daughter Heather here for a brief visit and the announcer asked for volunteers to come to a site by the dugout if they wanted to be part of the zany happenings between innings.  

My Heather jumped up and said she wanted to do some zany stuff! She headed down to sign up and, looking back at me, she gave a thumbs-up signal that she had been chosen!

I had no idea what she would be doing but I did race up to the souvenir stand and bought an inexpensive disposable camera.   Me, the family photographer, had come to the park without my camera or even my Smartphone! Yikes. 

We got seated together again and she was very excited but did not know what she was going to be asked to do?? Then she got nervous, being in front of several thousand people!  I laughed and said NOBODY here knows you...go for it!  

She got a signal from the folks in the dugout and nervously joined them,  ducking out of sight.   I now had a "camera" so I stepped down to peek into the place where the Visitor's team hung out. 

Most were out on the field so she and another young lady were in the process of donning costumes!image.png  My red-haired daughter now was one of two "rotund" SUMO wrestlers!"  

When they went out on the field for the brief between-innings match, the crowd roared and I saw that the ballpark staffers had added big black plastic wigs that hid their faces..but I was pretty sure my daughter Heather was wearing the bright yellow sash!

 (I saw a cartoon a while back of a guy tossing his disposable camera into a trash bin saying "Not really sure how this gets the film developed.")   

This is part of the fun I have had doing a Blog for 14 years, being able to re-live a time that I fondly remembered.

Sure glad I thought about a cheap disposable camera in time to capture this SUMO sequence!

It's more time-consuming now to create a posting but worth the effort!