It is the small simple things of life that bring us peace.



Sunday, August 13, 2017

Petunia, Betty & the mini-dachshund

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In July of 1989 the McKinney Avenue Transit Authority achieved its goal of returning streetcar service to the city of Dallas, Texas when the streetcars began rolling down the tracks in the Uptown district.  All the cars are authentic streetcars and run 365 days a year with no fee to riders.  They can be chartered for private events too.

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Petunia

Petunia was part of an order of 25 cars from the J.G. Brill Company and was introducted into service in 1920 by the Dallas Railway Company.  While she featured many safety improvements her ride was bumpy and uncomfortable to riders.  She remained in service until 1947 and then was stripped of wheels, motor, and electrical wiring and converted into a residence.  Today, thankfully, she has been re-fitted with shock absorbers.




I rode Petunia in 2015 and was delighted with her details as well as the Uptown neighborhood.  At the end of the line the driver takes a break while the trolley is turned around via a large rotating wheel.  Petunia has doors and operating contrals at either end of the car. At that time the M-Line (as it is nicknamed) was pet friendly although I had a struggle getting the dog on and off as the steps were steep!
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Betty

Betty was built in 1926 by American Car Company for the Dallas Railway and Terminal Company and was still in service in 1956 when Dallas ended their trolley routes. She was then converted into a children's playhouse. Upon her return to Dallas she was renovated and equipped with air-conditioning.




I rode her in July 2017 and was delighted with her interior and once again enjoyed the ride.  The afternoon was cool as rain showers were approaching and the windows on the trolley were open. As I stepped on I asked if dogs were permitted as there was no mention on their web site about still being dog friendly.  The operator said no, but told me to come on board that it was okay since he had a mini dachshund at home! I hopped on and Bree enjoyed her ride, even sniffing the air through an open window.

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What is a trolley and how does it operate? The McKinney Avenue Transit Authority web site offers this explanation:

A trolley car (or streetcar) is similar to a railroad passenger car. Like a train, a streetcar runs on a set of rails. Streetcar tracks are usually in or alongside city streets. An electric streetcar is sometimes referred to as a “trolley”, because it has a special pole that extends from the roof of the car to an electrified overhead wire, similar to a telephone or utility cable. The trolley pole collects power from this overhead cable and sends it to the motors located underneath the streetcar. The operator “drives” the streetcar with a controller.

The first street cars were introduced in 1828 and were pulled by horses or mules. The first electric powered streetcars began operating in 1888 in Richmond, Virginia and quickly caught on in other cities. Just to note that San Francisco's famous streetcars are actually cable cars that are pulled along by a special cable located under the street in a slot between the rails; they have been operating continuously for over 100 years.

Dallas discontinued their streetcar service in 1956 after pressure from various groups. The 4 remaining streetcar lines were closed and Dallas opted for modern bus service.

Funding for the M-Line operational costs is provided through an agreement with the Dallas Area Rapid Transit as well as donations from other sources including public donations. To see a schedule click on the link above.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Welcome Summer 2017



Happy First Day of Summer! Where I live the temperatures have already soared into the upper 90's and there is lots of sunshine and those big fluffy Texas only clouds.  All eyes are on the Gulf of Mexico from now until early October, and, yes there's development out there already. Time for watermelon, iced tea and summer evenings swatting mosquitos.  The long days of summer stretch before us - get out and do something fun!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

A Little Elephant

[IMG_1642_edited-1.jpg February 2017, temporary location

This cast stone elephant is charming, isn't it?  It is one of two that are part of the Hertzberg Circus Collection.  For many years it and its companion stood in front of the former San Antonio Public Library at 210 W. Market Street.  Everytime I walked by the building it never failed to make me smile!

The little elephants have a long story that, thankfully, has a happy ending for them. Harry Hertzberg was a local attorney and avid circusana collector who left his extensive collection to the City of San Antonio when he passed away in 1940.  The collection was then housed in the former San Antonio Public Library building and the first elephant was installed at the front; the city continued to add to the collection doubling its original size.



Five elephants were cast by local artist Julian Sandoval.  A fellow circus collector commissioned one for Mr. Hertzberg as a gift; it was displayed on Mr. Hertzberg's lawn until his death. The second elephant was donated to the collection when its owner passed away in 1989.  It was installed opposite the original elephant in front of the old library.

By 2001 the circus collection contained 40,000 items and the cost of maintaining the museum was prohibitive. Per the terms of Mr. Hertzberg's will the collection then passed to the Witte Museum. One elephant was installed in front of the museum and named "Cinnamon Candy". Countless children (including my oldest grandchild) posed for pictures with this little elephant.
IMG_2465_edited-1.jpg Cinnamon Candy in her new location, 2017

A re-painting of the elephant was sponsored by the Bolner family, owners of Bolner's Fiesta Spices in 2006; conservation work has also been done to preserve the elephant. When the Witte underwent a major renovation the elephant was moved to the side of the museum, close to the temporary entrance.  When the renovations were finished the little stone elephant was moved to its new location in front of the B. Naylor Morton Research Center. I'm not sure where the other elephant is - time for a trip to the museum!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

It's amaryllis time!

This year's amaryllis crop is booming and more stalks keep appearing! It's so uplifting to pull into the driveway and see the line of bright red flowers greeting me along with the 2 pots of red geraniums!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Blog Revival

After much debating I've decided to revive this blog again.  It was my first blog and as I read back over those early posts, I know I've come a long way with creating my self - at least my writing self!

Almost 2 years ago I switched over to using a Wordpress format with the same blog name and posted simutaneously for a while.  I just couldn't abandon this blog.  Even with not writing anything I still get more views  here than on Wordpress and more than anything I want people to read and enjoy what I share. And I still feel this way, so I'm going to start posting here.

I may use some of the same content found on Wordpress, but may vary the content.  Please read along with me!

And, just a reminder that I have 2 other blogs.  Click on the pictures in the side bar to reach Tales of Wagging Tales and Doorway Into the Past.

Where are these stairs? Mission Concepcion, click here to read more

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Determination


I wasn’t too surprised when I saw this little viola growing through the crack in the cement.  Violas are very hardy and are prolific re-seeders.  I’ve often had them “come up volunteer”, as my grandmother would say, in a spot close to where they were planted the year before.  They don’t require a lot of water or any special care; they just grow and flower until the season is over. Even though the plant itself is strong it still had to grow and establish itself in virtually no soil while relying on rainfall to nourish it.  It wasn’t stepped on and crushed or plucked hastily out of the tiny crack. In spite of its circumstances it survived and thrived!

Even so, when I saw it the word “determination” immediately came to mind.  After some consideration I decided the correct description should be “perseverance”. The viola determined that it would grow there and so it did, it persevered.   Job went through some real trials and lost everything except his life; yet, God showed him mercy and favor after his time of perseverance.   The New Testament relates of Paul’s struggles and the hardships he endured for the sake of the Gospel; yet, he also persevered and gave thanks in all circumstances.

In the last week I’ve thought about this little plant whenever I felt weakness or inability to complete a task.  It has survived and thrived in spite of all obstacles and it never complained once.  It just kept growing and blooming. Good advice from a little viola!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Capitol Glass

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Rotunda dome in the House of Representatives


I've always loved stained glass whether it is in a church or a public building.  Just like with quilts it is the colors and shapes that pull my eyes to it.  I don't know which came first - my love of quilts or my love of stained glass.  I see quilts in stained glass and I see stained glass in quilts!
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Panels on the lower circumference of the rotunda dome in the Senate Chamber


On my recent trip I visited the (New) Mississippi State Capitol twice.  The first time I did the self-guided tour and afterwards realized that I needed the guided tour to see everything, so I returned again at a time when I could catch the tour.  I'm so glad I did because this building and its stained glass is something to behold!
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This is the ceiling of one of the hallways.  I knew I would fall on my face if I tried to walk while looking up, so I just stopped!



 
These three panels at the top of the Capitol's main staircase recently were removed and underwent an extensive renovation.  I vaguely remember seeing them on a previous visit to the Capitol in December 2002 and they were rather dull.  They still caught my eye and I commented on them to my Dad and he agreed that they were quite impressive.  There were a lot of people in the Capitol that day so I couldn't get too close.
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These three panels were designed by Louise Millet of Chicago and are located on the first landing of the grand staircase. They represent three iconic figures of the state: the American Indian, Mississippi, and the pioneer.  They were hard to photograph because of their location, but I did get this detail of the pioneer - isn't he still handsome after all these  years?

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Southern Traction Company

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 The Southern Traction Company provided interurban transportation between Corsicana and Dallas from 1912 to 1941. Its sister company, the Texas Traction Company, provided service between Dallas, Denton, and Waco; in 1917 they would merge to form the Texas Electric Railway. The interurban trains would stop to pick up passengers when flagged down and offered affordable and more frequent service than the steam rail lines.
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Car number 305 was one of 22 passenger cars that ran on this line. Travelers were offered a choice of a smoking or non-smoking section, one toilet, and a water fountain.  After 1932 there was no conductor and cars were configured for pay-as-you-go commuters. Just to note that there were 2 seats on either side of the narrow aisle where travelers were squeezed together much like passengers on an airplane today!
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The Visitor Center didn't open until later in the morning on the day I was visiting, but I looked through the windows and they had a nice display of memorabilia and informational resources.  I'll stop in on my next visit. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Mimosa Time

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Albizia julibrissin Mimosa, Silk Tree origin: first imported from China 1745

It's that time of year again - mimosa time! No, not the orange juice kind, the tree kind!

The blooms aren't as profuse as they usually are, but the fragrance is super strong! This poor tree is so crowded by the gigantic oak tree in my back yard, but it keeps faithfully blooming every year. I can't bear the thought of cutting it down and not having these lovely blooms every spring that remind me of my grandparents' trees.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Wednesday 05.10.2016

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Signs from the past in the Gruene General Store, Gruene Texas (Gruene is pronounced like the color green).

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Wednesday 05.04.2016

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Indian blanket (sometimes referred to as Indian pinwheel) Gaillardia pulchella (Asteraceae) growing in profusion along Texas highways right now!