Sunday, July 27, 2014

Where Those Morning Glories...

...twine around the door, whispering pretty stories, I long to hear once more...

Or so crooned Dean Martin in "Carolina In The Morning".


So today, instead of my usual start-of-day task of opening up the backyard for another pleasant summer frolic, I had to batten down the hatches for a promised thunderstorm...and while so engaged, I noticed our first morning glory had popped on the grape arbor...but instead of the usual vibrant blue, we have a pale white morning glory.  Interesting...

This has been a tough weekend...Friday into Saturday morning was especially unpleasant...definitely under the weather, but by mid-morning Saturday things started to improve a little.

Friday night we did watch "The Grand Budapest Hotel":
...a marvelous, quirky film starring Ralph Fiennes as an eccentric concierge of a fabulous, sprawling, Taj Mahalesque hotel in the 1930's.  The chemistry between him and his faithful protege Lobby Boy (Tony Revolori) is delightful, and the all star cast is faro shuffled through the film to keep the pace crisp and the interest high.

It would have been even better had more of the movie taken place in the fantastic hotel itself and focused on the relationships between Ralph Fiennes' character (Gustave H.) and his guests...that's a treasure trove of relational wealth left unmined by the movie, unfortunately.  A prequel that explored that would be most welcome in my humble opinion.

I was so distracted Friday I didn't really get a sense of this film, but watched it again Saturday evening when I was feeling better and truly enjoyed it.  It won't change your life, but will provide an hour and 40 minutes of intelligent, engaging entertainment...I recommend it.

Saturday morning we did a little shopping, then came back and I had to get a workout done while Karen worked outside.  I got on the bike for half an hour then used my Total Gym for a lifting type workout.

After that I joined Karen outside and spent a couple of hours sanding our back deck to be painted.  The painters were here on Friday and they scraped it, but Karen wasn't satisfied with the job they did...thus, the purchase of a sander and two hours on my knees, prepping the deck for painting tomorrow.  It does beg the question "why are we paying them if we're doing the work?" but oh well...she's right about it needing to be sanded, it is better, and it will look spectacular tomorrow when they're done.

We thought about getting in the pool, but it just never happened...it was windy, and wasn't really all that warm, so we just relaxed instead - well, I did...Karen as usual had to be up and doing stuff...watering the flowers, sweeping the patio / driveway, etc.  Her motor is always running...but she gets a lot done:

A view from Serenity Cove up toward the house along the fence line...

A closer look at the flowers and fountain along the fence...








And a view from the pool, into Serenity Cove near sunset...


Those flowers don't weed, water, and warden themselves...










That night we enjoyed a fire in the chiminea and a drink by the pool.


On the collecting front, recently picked up a 1930's Ronson Elliptic touch tip lighter:



I love the unique shape and copper color of this lighter...a true art deco objet d'art.  It was of course repaired by Bob Adams of www.RonsonRepair.com  Also picking up a 1928 Ronson Banjo lighter from Bob in a couple of weeks...


The rest of today will involve some poolside relaxation...

...and then some work stuff as once again I will transition from weekend to work before the weekend is over.  I sometimes miss the days when I left work at the end of the day and actually left work at the end of the day...but that was a very, very, very long time ago.

Later, mcm fans...

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Bowling For Nachos...

...at least, that's what I had between games 1 and 2 on Friday.  Hadn't bowled in over a year and re-beginner's luck allowed me to roll a 180 to start...only 2 open frames and those were just barely...skinned a 10 pin leave for one open, and chopped a 5-9 for another...would have been in the 200's if not for that display of back to back incompetence.

We were at the Lakeview Lanes in Douglas, MI...

(269) 857-1107


...a delightful, 8 lane bar and grill, and they'll serve you right at your table where you're bowling...

...so it was a Corona and nachos for me, an Oval Beach Blonde Ale and chicken salad for Karen...then it was game two.  No score given on that disaster as whatever muscle memory I may have retained from a year ago apparently was washed away by the Corona.  That's my story, and I'm sticking to it for this blog entry.

So that was Friday's day off...a pleasant visit to Saugatuck and Douglas, a stop at the Lakeview Lanes, then back to our backyard for some fun in the sun:


That night we had a fire in the chiminea and enjoyed a drink and good conversation by the pool:

Saturday I was up early to have my cup of coffee and relax in Serenity Cove:

Here's a panoramic shot of Serenity Cove:
...obviously a panoramic view messes with the perspective, but gives you an idea of what the 180 degree view would be if stretched out in a straight line.

Of course we enjoyed our time in the pool, and later in the evening we stopped by Gordman's and bought a display shelf I used to organize my (mostly) Ronson lighter collection:

Looks much better organized than thrown across the top of the art deco cabinet like they were before.

Special thanks to Bob Adams of www.ronsonrepair.com for fixing a 1920's Clark Lift Arm Lighter...he usually only deals with Ronson but he made an exception in this case and it works perfectly now.  Thank you, Bob!

Saturday night we watched one of my favorite movies of all time:
That movie hit me very hard back in 1991 / 92 when I first saw it...mainly b/c I was a few years past my aviation training - I planned to be a missionary pilot and got my commercial pilot's license with an instrument rating back in 1986 but then never made it to the mission field - and b/c it was a romance and my life was completely devoid of that critical element at that time.  It was another twelve years before I finally dealt with that issue, but in the meantime The Rocketeer grabbed me by the throat.  Great movie and I love it every time I watch it.

Today has been pretty low key...beautiful, sunny weather but work looms once again and so I can't fully enjoy it as I deal with my automatic transition from time off to work mode as I do every Sunday.

Oh well; I'm thankful to be employed and able to live indoors and eat.

Tonight we enjoyed a fire in the chiminea:

...but I was interrupted with a problem at work...while I was on the phone with one of our third shift supervisors, Karen heard a noise near the fence and went to investigate...when she did she spotted Mr. Raccoon trying to scale the fence and gain entrance in our little backyard paradise.  Her appearance convinced him to retreat to the safety of the nearest tree:
Yes, we do live in the city, but sometimes it's hard to tell.

Later, mcm fans...

Sunday, July 13, 2014

What's Wrong...

...with this picture?

If you said "Everyone knows a cat wouldn't switch from Corona to Miller in mid-bender," award yourself 10 points.

Looks like Kitty got into the sauce again, but the rest of us remained sober as judges this weekend.  Does that saying still mean anything in today's world?

Friday night was very nice...beautiful full moon, so had a fire in the chiminea and enjoyed some time outside...but Saturday dawned cloudy and then rainy, and stayed that way for most of the day.  You know you're going to get a few weekends like that during the Michigan summer, but it's still frustrating.  Throw in some system issues from work and Saturday felt like a loss.

One of my grandsons had a birthday, but my beloved ex- was attending, so Karen and I dropped off presents early.  Unfortunately it appeared we were interrupting party prep, so it didn't go all that well.  Oh well; the continuing joy of broken families...we did our duty and skulked out.

Got home and got after a good workout...here's a picture of me doing my thing:

What?  You don't believe I'm Chuck Norris?  Fine...but I do use the Total Gym and an exercise bike and I really do like it. Used to push the weights around, but gave those to one of my sons and switched to the Total Gym a couple of  years ago.  I'm not building strength like I used to, but am definitely keeping toned and in shape.

Saturday night we wanted to watch a good movie, but that was an epic fail.  Put in "Never Been Kissed" and after 45 minutes realized it should have remained "Never Been Watched"...gave up on it and turned on the 11 o'clock news instead.

Today was a nicer day, and we did get outside to experience it.
Cone flowers are in full bloom...
...as are the hostas by the fence...very beautiful...

 ...and splashing in the pool is always refreshing...

Later, mcm fans...

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Resurrected Phono Console...

...ain't it beautiful?  Here's another short video of Bobby Darin's most famous song:
The amplifier on this will blow you out of the room if you crank it...pretty cool.

The console was free...all I had to do was go pick it up...got it fixed by Bob Chase out in Lowell...he charged me $122 to bring it back to life.

On the patriotism front, here's a pic of Old Glory illuminated at night in our front yard:
Ok, so it's just a solar spot light, but it's still illuminated...Oh say can you see...?

Later, mcm fans...

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Happy Independence Day...

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness."

And with those words a new nation was formed, predicated upon a belief in God Almighty and devoted to the concept of freedom for all men.  That they were completely committed to this radical concept is evident by how this great document was concluded:

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

So they did...most of them did in fact forfeit their lives and their fortune, though fate has correctly preserved their sacred Honor.

We celebrated this most radical concept and sharp departure from the norm of history - which has traditionally been one of tyranny, poverty, and harsh oppression - with fireworks, food, and family fun.

But I wonder how many people truly stopped to give thanks for the precious gift of blood bought freedom...
As Dwight D. Eisenhower opined, "History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid."  May we be strong and brave in the constant fight for our freedoms!


We enjoyed a beautiful time of backyard rest and relaxation -

- and then at night we sat out and watched fireworks going off all around us...

...no need to travel, fight the traffic and crowds...the show was everywhere in our neighborhood.  A good day.

In the "ain't this fun" department, the Qwerkywriter Kickstarter project was fully funded and then some on July 3rd:

This modern keyboard based on a manual typewriter look and sound will go into production, and within a year I should be getting 4 of them for my contribution to this project.  How cool is that?

Today, July 5th, is my dad's birthday...

...he would be 93 years old had he lived, but he passed on at age 69.  I've often wondered what it was like the day he was born in New York City back in 1921...there's a story there somewhere.

Later, mcm fans...

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

July 2nd...

...but feels like late fall...temps only in the low to mid 60's today, cloudy and windy.  At least it still looks like summer in the backyard as the above pic shows.  Love the daisies, lilies, fountain, and heron.

So I checked with Bob Adams of www.ronsonrepair.com and he was able to identify and find the ultra cool Great Gatsby lighter for me.  As mentioned in my previous post, it's called the Classic Jumbo lift arm lighter, and it was made in the 1920's in England.  Here's my very own Gatsby lighter:


I've asked Bob if he might be able to change the finish from black lacquer to the brown walnut he used on my Ronson Senior Bartender...I think that would class it up, but it's spectacular either way.  I figured it looks appropriate next to my 1927 desk phone...the 1930's BeeGee plane is a bit anachronistic, but vintage nonetheless.

Also found a pocket size Clark lift arm lighter from the 1920s on ebay:


Very cool, art deco lighter...the Duesenberg's not bad, either.

So I'm on vacation for a couple of days, then we'll party like it's the 4th of July, which, when you think about it, it actually will be.

To celebrate, my #5 son, Benjamin, is coming up from Ohio for the weekend...just going to hang out and chill in the backyard...no big plans other than relax, watch some movies, enjoy good food, cigars, and sparkling conversation.

We hope.

Later, mcm fans...