OTHER COOL THINGS is the blog page where I go off topic. In other words, this is a page where I ramble about a wide variety of subjects which have nothing to do with the Cross House restoration or Emporia.

OTHER COOL THINGS is where I might suggest a great new restaurant. Or a movie I enjoyed, or book. Or a favored blog.

OTHER COOL THINGS may — fasten your seat belt — open discussions about dangerous subjects such politics or religion.

OTHER COOL THINGS will, in short, be a page where I ramble about anything which captures my special attention. Like, perhaps, a nice moment I had with my favorite cat Gilda.

I love comments, so please do not hesitate to toss your two cents in, even if you disagree with me.

My blog posts are below. Enjoy!

 

Gilda. My favorite ever cat.

Gilda. My favorite ever cat.

Currently displaying blog entries in Chronological Order. Switch to Most Recent.

Currently displaying blog entries in Most Recent Order. Switch to Chronological Order.

When Size Matters

A blog which I tremendously enjoy is Big Old Houses, which is owned by John. John is a world-class nut. And I mean that in a good way. John has had a life-long passion for really big old houses. So big that they make the Cross House look like a child’s toy house. BIG is what…

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A Man. A Castle. A Miracle.

There are a lot of insane people out there restoring great old houses. God love each and every one. But perhaps the restoration which stuns me the most is one undertaken by Dr. David Johnston. You see, Johnston decided to restore a castle. Yes, a castle. A castle which was abandoned fifty years ago and…

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The Cat Who Gave a Gift.

I am writing a book titled Many Meows, about my life with a lot of felines over the decades. What follows is an excerpt. CAVEAT: It is a bittersweet story.   The intruder came to my attention while I was washing the dishes.  One early morning while scrubbing some blackened pot I heard a faint…

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A Cool Thing in Portland

I would love to know why I find the following so very cool but have no explanation. Simply, the following makes me excited. So, if you ever plan to visit Portland, OR, I would suggest that you check out this. Way way way cool.      

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The Astounding Restoration of an Astounding House

Waaaaaay back when I was a young pup, in my early twenties, I first discovered the Armour-Stiner House, in Irvington, New York. The house is a famous octagon-shaped structure, and was built in 1860. By the 1970s the house was a wreck, and the huge domed roof was literally crushing the house, and would have…

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The Cheeriest Laundry Room That Ever Was

For most of us, having a room JUST for laundry would be a luxury. And, if we had such a room, it would be efficient, simple, and utilitarian. Right? I mean, isn’t this what laundry rooms are supposed to look like? But some people think outside the box. Gotta love such people.  

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The Thrill Of A Great National Debate

I was not around during the tumultuous national debate about ending slavery. I was not around during the tumultuous national debate about giving women the right to vote. I was not around during the tumultuous national debate when Harry Truman (give ’em hell, Harry!) ended segregation in the military. I was around during the tumultuous national…

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A Scarily Long Post About Road Trips, Cloud Gates, & Other Adventures

Waaaaaaay back in the 1980s (it is really scary that the 1980s now seem like a historical time period. Sigh) I used to travel a lot. I thought nothing about leaving New York City (where I lived at the time) and jumping on a plane to…somewhere. Vienna? Check! Paris? Check! San Francisco? Check! London? Check!…

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This makes me SO happy!

For many years I lived in New York City and, as a lover of architecture, walking around the city was a constant thrill. So much to see and admire! I moved to New York in the fall of 1978, when I was just a twenty-one-year-old pup. The city was a wreck, a dump, and looked…

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A Most Extraordinary Restoration

  Wow. In Brooklyn, New York, is the former Williamsburgh Savings Bank, built in 1875. For decades this majestic pile was grimy and overlooked. In 2014 it reopened, as an events space, after a extraordinary restoration. The building now sparkles inside and out and it has been burnished to perfection. There is a gallery of…

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A Splendid House in a Limbo State

In the late 1980s and 1990s I lived in Newport, Rhode Island. Providence is the state capital, and a wonderful city. Of course, its urban fabric was damaged after WWII, like when two highways were rammed through the city. Sigh. Providence is an old city, and during the Colonial-era one of its elite neighborhoods was…

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The Miraculous Resurrection of Barlaston Hall

In the late 1980s I became aware of Barlaston Hall, Staffordshire, England, and attributed to Sir Robert Taylor. A group called SAVE was fighting desperately to stop the house from being demolished. This was not an easy fight as most people thought the house was more ruin than habitable structure. Considering the condition of the…

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When I win the Lottery…

When I win the lottery I will buy the Emporia houses on on my Wish List. Then, I will go national. Then, international. All the national houses are from my favorite blog, Old House Dreams. And all the houses are a tough sell and, thus, in danger.   NATIONAL            …

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The Potential Ruination of a Great House

  Nice house, right? Fabulous house, right? Amazing house, right? Yet this historic structure may soon be “updated” by a young couple who want to flip houses for a profit. The couple has no restoration experience and no restoration sensibility. Nor do they apparently even have experience rehabbing old houses. My heart just feels sick….

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The Best-Ever Dressing Room?

  This just takes my breath away. Click the image to enlarge. Just make sure you have a tissue handy, as you will drool. The room is in a townhouse in Brooklyn, NY. And the whole house is TO DIE FOR. The house is currently for sale. And it can be yours for… …$14 million….

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A Miracle in Harlem

Harlem, New York, was build up during the 19th-century, and its population was almost exclusively white. In the early 20th-century, Harlem became mixed races, then almost exclusively black. Harlem drastically declined in the late 20th-century, and became synonymous with decay and violence. As the resurrection in New York continues to reach extraordinary new heights, Harlem,…

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Stories to Tell: 5724 West Race Avenue, Chicago

I buy vintage magazines about architecture and decoration. It is fascinating having a window into the past. While today we look at, say, a 1924 issue of House & Garden and think: I love all these antique appliances/curtains/furnishings, in 1924 all this stuff was new! I try and imagine: It it 1924 I am sitting…

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THE most amazing house restoration. WOW!

Kelly, who is the originator (and Goddess) of my favorite blog, Old House Dreams, alerted me to another blog. “I think you will enjoy it,” she wrote. The simple name of the blog, The Danville Experience, in no way prepares one for the astounding, extraordinary, awe-inspiring, breathtaking work undertaken by a young couple. The blog,…

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The Evolution of America

    History fascinates me. It always has. In studying the history of America, one dynamic is obvious: America has been struggling since its creation to manifest the intentions of its founding fathers. In the Constitution, it is famously written: “…all men are created equal.” These are fine, noble words. Yet, in reality these words…

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The Rewards of Persistence

Matt is a young man (thirty-two) who has spent years meticulously restoring a wonderful house which had been brutalized for decades. I found his blog about a year ago (not surprisingly, I love reading old house blogs!), and had to read every post from the beginning. With each post, my admiration for Matt grew. It…

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You might have missed…

My blog was invaded by pixies for several weeks, and people were not receiving new posts. The pixies have now been banished (but not harmed!), and all is well now. I hope! You might have missed: Favorite Houses: 512 Exchange GRAND PLANS…revised. Victoria! MY HERO!

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A Fabulous House…Disintegrating

     

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PLEASE save this house!

                 

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Bad Boys & Girls

In my current house the backyard is surrounded by an eight-foot-high metal fence. This means that my kitties cannot climb it, so they have a safe haven INSIDE the fence. On occasion though, an unauthorized visitor enters the Cat Zone. Or unauthorized in the plural…        

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The Power of Memories. The Kelvinator!

    My grandfather was quite the character. He was not a good husband. He was not a good father to his one child, my dad. He was not a good employee or businessman. He was however a really fabulous grandfather. Indeed, he was the perfect grandfather. He delighted in his four grandchildren, and to him we…

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Somebody Else Having Fun With Ancient Wallpaper

I have had a lot of fun, no, THRILLS, uncovering layers of history at the Cross House via old wallpaper discoveries. Today, I was reading another blog, and smiled in recognition and delight at somebody else having the same kind of thrill. Enjoy!    

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An 1886 House. So, why not a 2015 House?

I collect vintage magazines regarding architecture and interior design. I like seeing how houses looked way back when, and not just decor but kitchens and baths and boilers and dumbwaiters and hardware and the whole bit. A particular favorite is Scientific American, Architects & Builders Edition. Each edition, at least the early editions, are only nominally…

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Separating Political Myths from Reality

WARNING LABEL While this blog is 99% about cool old houses, I also have a section titled Other Cool Things where I reserve the right to discuss other topics. Even scary topics. It is said that one should never discuss politics and religion in polite company. I find this helpful advice, and cannot count the times I…

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Awestruck by Young

JC is a very young man. I am old enough to be his father. The very thought freaks me out. FREAKS ME OUT. JC is renovating/restoring a house in Canada. The house is quite simple, so simple that, when JC purchased it, it was difficult to appreciate WHY he would have purchased it. But love…

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Separating More Myths From Reality

Today I was looking at the Facebook page of somebody I sorta know. I will call him Tom. Tom posted this image:     Under the image Tom wrote: During the Industrial revolution in the Victorian and early Edwardian era Every city was spewing Coal and Wood smoke into the sky. We burned wood or…

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Can This House Be Saved? The Sternberg Mansion.

A few weeks ago I received an email. Did I know about the Sternberg Mansion in Wichita, Kansas? Why…no. So I clicked on the Realtor.com listing, and my heart was instantly seized. Before me was a FABULOUS house built in 1886. But, before me was also a house in alarming condition. Thus, the seized heart. I…

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A Brief but Important Reality Check

Reading the news of late one would think that America is in imminent danger from Muslims and Syrian refugees. DANGER! BE AFRAID! Ahhh…no. You see, politicians love to scare us. And while the world IS a dangerous place, I am wholly unconcerned about Muslims and refugees attacking America. Why? Because, since 9/11: There were 45 deaths…

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Caledonia Road Church, Glasgow, Scotland.

Once upon a time, in a faraway land called Scotland, in a sprawling, gritty city known as Glasgow, there lived an eccentric and brilliant architect named Alexander Thomson. Today, most people, even those with an interest in architecture, think: Who? When one thinks of Glasgow, Charles Rennie Mackintosh comes to mind, a world-famous architect who…

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This Old House?

WAY back in 1979, I watched the very first episode of This Old House. And was mesmerized. I ate up each subsequent episode. When a book came out about that first season, I snapped did up, and devoured it. I was twenty-two. As the years have passed, as the decades passed, I became aware that…

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Detroit Reborn

I was born in Detroit, a 1957 model. While my family lived in suburban Detroit, my father’s parents lived in outer Detroit, and my grandfather often took his four grandchildren downtown on the weekends. I wrote about my vivid memories of these adventures, and this was published a few years ago. My family left Michigan for Florida…

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Separating More Myths From Reality

Wow. What a year it is going to be, politically. In November, there is a presidential election, and in my lifetime I cannot recall such, well, surrealism. The Republicans started out with sixteen candidates. This keeps getting whittled down. And I continue to gasp at what comes out of the mouths of some of these…

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Can This House Be Saved? Four N. Main Street, Coudersport, PA

    I am a sucker for an architectural damsel in distress. And this house pushes my every button. It just intoxicates me. Had I not purchased the Cross House I might well have gone after this faded beauty. The house was featured on the fabulous Old House Dreams, where you can learn a lot…

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Touring Fairlawn Mansion

         

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Throwing History into a Dumpster

There are a spate of TV shows showing viewers how they can renovate and “update” an old home. Oh the horror. The horror. The result of this televised saturation is that a great many people think nothing about painting gorgeous wood interior trim white, knocking out walls to create “open plans”, discarding original lighting for…

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Bathroom Envy

         

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A Gilda Change

In my office are two very large identical desks. I have a thing about pairs. One is for my Apple computer. I love love love my Apple. I also normally keep this desk quite clean. It is intended as my oasis of calm & order. The other is where I restore my lights. This table…

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My Packing Helper!

       

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Gilda

I have written several posts about Gilda, my gold cat. My old gold cat. My favorite ever cat. She arrived in my life, totally unexpectedly, one day in early 1999. My dear friend Christina (who lived across the street) and I were talking in my driveway when a tiny kitten, perhaps just five-weeks-old, scurried up…

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Hidden Glamour

  As the heavens raged, I received a text from a friend. A house was being demolished tomorrow. He knew I had always admired it. My heart felt crushed. Another text: the house is open. Wanna see inside? It was pitch black outside, save the dramatic streaks of lighting. Rain dashed against my windows. The…

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Astonishing Moments with Emerald

Twice daily I feed about a dozen stray cats which hang around my immediate neighborhood. Some were left by neighbors who moved away, some ARE neighbor’s cats but aren’t being taken care of, some wandered into the neighborhood, and some were dumped in the neighborhood. Sigh. One such cat I named Emerald because he had…

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An Emerald Update

Seven days ago I did a post about an old stray cat which kinda sorta adopted me. He went blind at some point, and it was evident that he was now in a rapid decline. My days and patterns adjusted to Emerald’s ever-changing new realities, and of late he became extra picky about the food…

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Cat Naps

Recently, my beloved treasured adored cherished fabulous Gilda departed after sixteen years together. Even more recently, the extraordinary Emerald departed. And the inside of my house became…silent. And felt dead. For my whole life I lived with animals, and suddenly at fifty-nine my house was devoid of furry creatures. However….just outside…I have a lot of…

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Damn. Damn, damn, damn. DAMN!

For my whole life I have watched incredible buildings be demolished. And I am now old enough to frequently hear, decades after some magnificent treasure was smashed to the ground: “Gee? Why did we knock it down? Looking back, it was actually an incredible building. We should have saved it.” Yes, should have. The wonderful…

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My Love/Hate Relationship with ATOMIC RANCH

I was SO excited when I first saw Atomic Ranch magazine on a newsstand in 2004. A whole magazine about Mid-Century Modern houses? Ross happy! Instantly, I subscribed and now have every issue. But…but…this is the only magazine subscription I have where I don’t look through it the day it arrives or the day after….

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Inspiring Visits & Vanishing Hours

I can’t watch or read any news right now for I get instantly depressed. Moreover, with being knocked out by a flu, I am also finding it hard to concentrate. A double whammy. So, it was with immense pleasure that I happened upon the website to The Landmarks Trust, a UK-based organization which does something…

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My Hillbilly Attack. A Short Story.

Recently, I mentioned that I had lost 26 pounds. This thrills me. But my pants kept falling down. My belt had no more of those little holes, and about a month ago I began constantly pulling my pants up as I walked around. This was annoying, yes, but the solution was a trip to Walmart…

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Respecting the Historical Narrative. PART II

In a previous post I wrote about my efforts to protect the historical narrative of the 1894 Cross House. If X feature is missing, like a bathroom sink/vanity, I will do research to learn what sink/vanities looked like in 1894, and will then go on the hunt for such an item. All the lighting was…

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Fact Check #1

NOTE: This post is under the heading of OTHER COOL THINGS on my blog. This is where I reserve the right to post about things other than restoration, like about kitties or a movie I liked or, eek, about politics!   During the 2016 election campaign I paid a lot, and I mean a lot, of…

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Attacked! By Furry Beasts!

I was working to finish the restoration of a 1960s crystal chandelier for a repeat client. It needed to be in a box tomorrow morning for FedEx. While working, Stevie cat sauntered across my desk and bonked against my chest. This, as he recently taught me, was the signal that he wanted my lap. Being…

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A Furry Intruder!

Yesterday I wrote about the extraordinary arrival of Spot in my office. The poor dear is skittish to an extreme and spends her time in the house mostly hidden. But yesterday she appeared on my desk, and then stepped into my all-too-happy arms. Tonight I was working at my desk when I heard an almost…

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Wanna Freak Out?

    I just go bonkers over such intact rooms, and at the same time fear that the new owner will tear out all this beauty to “update” the house. Let’s all pray for this Spanish/Deco treasure.    

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Wanna Freak Out?

Travis sent me an email with attached images. He also wrote: “I thought you might enjoy seeing someone screwed up a 1931 kitchen.” Oh. That didn’t sound good. So I, with trepidation, looked at the images. But…WHAT was Travis talking about?                            …

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It’s Really Difficult…

   

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Spot. ATTACKS!

I end most of my days reading a bit in bed before turning off the lights. For seventeen years this ritual was hugely blessed by my cat Gilda. As soon I settled in, with book in hand, she would snuggle alongside the left side of my chest, and drape her paws and head across my…

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Wanna See Something Unexpected?

Yesterday, Ashley brought something to my attention. She warned me that I might faint. The warning proved timely.                                                               The house appears in mint condition…

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Wanna Meet JC?

JC blogs about his 1923 Foursquare. He also blogs about fixing clocks. And upholstering fixture. And making fine cabinetry. And other cool old houses. And renovating houses for friends. He is young, too. Disturbingly so for someone with so many talents and so much friggin’ experience. After I read his every post I felt like…

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A Furry Blur

For a long time, I thought I saw him before I knew I saw him. Just before going to bed each night I would look out through the front window – the nightly ritual. How many species of creatures might be nibbling up the last remnants of food left earlier on the porch for the…

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Wanna Freak Out?

        Kelly has a lot more images. Be prepared to weep. And rage.    

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A Palm Springs SHOCK!

Are you sitting down? Do you have sunglasses on? Are you drunk? All three are required to view the following. Scroll down…                                     Kelly just posted on her blog, Old House Dreams, the MOST over-the-top, meticulously preserved, eye-popping,…

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An Unexpected Visitor

Last night I stepped into my bathroom to take a pee. As I finished this vital task, I stepped away. Then a bit of movement caught my eye. The room was dark, only lighted from the adjacent room. I stared at the wall. What was that? High up on the wall is the toilet tissue…

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Destroying Something Rare & Special

                                      The new owners who did this stated that they loved the house. “We didn’t want to mess with it.” Huh???????? They messed with every inch. They willfully took every distinctive original feature and threw it away or…

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A Colorful Curiosity

       

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A Global Apology

  Today I feel shattered. The last time I felt shattered was on 11/8/16. The time before that? 9/11/01. What happened today? Donald Trump announced the US withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord. This is a big deal. This is a huge fucking deal.     So, as of today America sides with but a…

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Furry Babies!

The other day I was sitting at my desk. It was late in the day but still daytime. Then something caught my eye out the window. Oh. Oh! OH! Scampering past was a mother raccoon and SIX babies! SIX! It is unusual seeing them during daylight hours but with SIX babies to nurse I assumed…

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Spot and Fine and…

Last night Spot and Fine were on my desk. I suddenly realized how they framed my computer…        

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A Furry Visitor

            As he/she ate, I was able to pet the newcomer who growled and grumbled nonstop at the surrounding crowd. So, New Cat did not seem afraid of me but sure did not intend on mingling with the other beasts. After dinner, New Cat lounged well away from everybody…and then…

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Cruelly Tossing History Into The Dumpster

I have done numerous posts about FABULOUS houses being brutalized by new owners. Original kitchens, for example, which I would kill for have been torn out and replaced with Home Depot crap. Varnished trim has been painted white. Gorgeous mantels have been replaced with plain slabs of marble. You know what I mean. Yet, this…

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And So It Begins…

Last year I joined the Strong City Preservation Alliance. Strong City is a small town (very small, population 455) in Kansas. I have lived here since 1996. The Alliance has been focused on restoring the devastated 1900 Auditorium, and I suggested, of course, a blog. The blog went live today with its first post.  …

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Can This House Be Saved? 1313 Fairmount, Wichita, Kansas.

                   

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New Kitty Goes To Work With Daddy!

While feeding the stray “front porch” kitties one morning, I saw a pair of eyes looking at me between the deck boards. The eyes were under the deck. As I continued sprinkling dry food on the deck, a small gray paw reached through the boards and clawed at some food, which disappeared between the crack….

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A NEW THEATER POST!

I posted cool news on the 1900 Theater blog! Enjoy!    

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See-through Brilliance

My friend Eric, and his partner, Jim, have an old barn-like structure on their property. The siding on the structure was ancient, full of holes, and with missing pieces. But Eric loved the look of the structure, its patina, and its only-time-can-create aesthetic. So, how to make the structure weather-tight while preserving all this? Scroll…

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Gray has taken to…

   

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NEW THEATER POSTS!

I posted two new 1900 Theater posts! Here! Here! Enjoy!    

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S L E E P Y Gray

       

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A NEW THEATER POST!

Here!      

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A NEW THEATER POST!

Here!      

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S L E E P Y Gray

     

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A Yawning…

   

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Huntress!

     

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Missing Kitties

  Yesterday, Gray went to the vet. Time to get spayed. I will pick her up tomorrow. And my house feels utterly devoid of life without her. How can a creature which I did not know even existed two months ago so infiltrate a human heart?    

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A Year Ago Today…

This is a political post. If you hate politics, do not scroll down. If you do scroll down….caveat emptor.                                            

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Gray has a…

   

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Oh. Dear. God.

This is a political post. If you hate politics, do not scroll down. If you do scroll down….caveat emptor.                                                 Trump tweeted this yesterday. This is real. Why would he do something…

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Economic Facts

This is a political post. If you hate politics, do not scroll down. If you do scroll down….caveat emptor.                                             When I talk with Trump supporters one thing I hear a lot is: “Hey!…

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Why I Can’t Get Anything Done

   

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There Are None So Blind…

This is a political post. If you hate politics, do not scroll down. If you do scroll down….caveat emptor.                                     One of the constant refrains I hear from Trump supporters is: “He’s bringing jobs back to America!” I…

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Delicious Holiday Gifts!

Want to buy some unique holiday gifts? Bo is offering a variety of delicious items created from vintage wallpaper, and through his company, Bolling & Company. Like, for example:       And Bo has more! Visit here, and happy holidays!    

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A Furry Discovery

Yesterday, I stepped into my bedroom…and was amazed by what I found. Scroll way down…                                           This was the first time I have ever seen old-ish Spot (left) and old-ish Fine (center) sharing space with…

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Gray, and her Prey

   

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Gray Watching…

   

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A NEW THEATER POST!

Here!      

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Self Delusion vs. Reality

This is a political post. If you hate politics, do not scroll down. If you do scroll down….caveat emptor.                                     Donald Trump: My administration has been one of the most successful in American history!!!!!!!! The Majority Public: Nope.  …

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A NEW THEATER POST!

Here.

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THE Most Incredible Ever MCM Time Capsule!

   

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A NEW THEATER POST!

  Here.    

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A MUFFLED BEAUTY: 16 Clinton Ave, Fort Plain, NY

On the fabulous Old House Dreams, commentator Holly linked to a house in upstate New York. The house is a muffled beauty. An exceptional beauty. Yet 99.9% of buyers will not see the beauty. They will only see the work required to restore the house. Or the work to — shudder — update the house. With…

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You Are Gonna LOVE This!

  Today, Mary wrote me about a video on the house! And you will REALLY want to view the video! Thanks, Mary!!!!!!!!  

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Making America…A Shithole

This is a political post. If you hate politics, do not scroll down. If you do scroll down….caveat emptor.                                               But now, he is being ripped from his family and deported back to…

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The Liar-in-Chief

This is a political post. If you hate politics, do not scroll down. If you do scroll down….caveat emptor.                                                     In my experience, Trump supporters are also hostile to the…

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Lying Bastards

This is a political post. If you hate politics, do not scroll down. If you do scroll down….caveat emptor.                                         Even though the GOP controls all three branches of governments, our government has been shut down…

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Are We Winning? Yet????????

This is a political post. If you hate politics, do not scroll down. If you do scroll down….caveat emptor.                                   FYI: “Travel to the U.S. has been on the decline ever since…Trump took office, and new data shows the…

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The Liar-In-Chief

This is a political post. If you hate politics, do not scroll down. If you do scroll down….caveat emptor.                                                 You might think this is just silly. It is not. Trump lies…

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A Gray Adventure

On September 2, 2017, I discovered a kitten under my front porch. I could see the kitten through the deck boards, and I gently called out. “Kitty! Kitty! Here kitty!” Slowly, cautiously, the kitten came out from under the porch and jumped onto the deck. “Hello!” The kitten was very small. Maybe three months old?…

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The Value of Details

      It was so sad realizing how beautiful the house had once been, but would likely never be again. Sigh. But…but…a company which buys old houses, fixes them, and resells them purchased the house. This is normally bad news for an old house as these so-called flippers usually destroy any soul an old…

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Favorite Books

I love books and own a lot of them. Indeed, one of the reasons I purchased the Cross House was because it had a library. For my whole life, the idea of an entire room dedicated just for books seemed an impossible dream. Two of my favorite books are, unsurprisingly, about restoration. These two books…

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My Talking Cat

   

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Why I Can’t Get Anything Done!

EVERY time I leave my desk chair, when I return I am confronted with… (scroll down)                                              

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Destroying America

This is a political post. If you hate politics, do not scroll down. If you do scroll down….caveat emptor.                                     After four decades of hard work, our lakes and rivers are vastly cleaner. Today though, the GOP is…

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A Guilty Gray

  Gray. You can just hear her thinking: What? What? I haven’t been anywhere I wasn’t supposed to be. Really! And why don’t I quite believe her?  

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Pondering Kitties

  Gray is thinking: Can I turn this into a water slide? Fine is thinking: Can I wrap up the new cat and ship her to…    

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A Gray Adventure. A Ross Nightmare.

I have just aged ten years during the past two hours. My nightmare began when I got home at 5:30, and went to feed my yard kitties. These are my outdoor beasts, safe behind an eight-foot-high unclimbable fence. During the day, I let Gray out into the yard. As mentioned previously, I found her last…

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A GRAY TRIPTYCH

  Gray likes to sit, like a furry gargoyle, on the back of my desk chair. Tonight, I thought: can I snap a picture of her behind me?          

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A Light Moment

   

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The Young May Save Us

   

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Comparisons

This is a political post. If you don’t like politics, don’t scroll down.                                       Trump spent eight years claiming that the economy under Obama was terrible. This, like almost everything Trump says, is a lie. Trump has…

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A Petite Visitor

This morning, I showered, and then reached for the towel to dry myself. Then I placed the towel back on its hook. It was then that I saw a spider at the edge of the tub. I like spiders. So, I wished it no harm and turned away. A moment later I moved to the…

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My New Baby!

So, I came home around 5PM and went out to feed the yard kitties. They were all acting strange. This is NOT a good sign. I looked around and saw several cats around Flash, who was standing still. With something in his mouth. Something furry. Shit. I calmly walked towards Flash. Then I yelled: FLASH!…

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A 1900 Theater Update!

Here.      

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A Deluxe Home for Gray!

I am so excited! Yesterday, the absurdly expensive super-deluxe custom-made KittyMansion™ from catsaregods.com arrived! And I am thrilled that Gray loves it! I feel SO much better about spending $4,865! Wanna see? Scroll way down…                                        …

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Shakespeare. In Kansas.

After I fed the goldfish, Gray pondered: To dive in? Or not to dive? THAT is the question.      

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A Not Quite Restoration

For two decades, whenever I visited the city, I would always drive by to see The House. I loved the house. It was brick, 1880s, and with an extraordinary turret rich with leaded-glass curved windows. Also of note was its condition. Which was terrible. The porch was decaying, paint peeled on every surface, and the…

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A Gray with Three Options

  Three options: Gray is dead. Gray has had a really hard day. Gray figured out how to unlock the liquor cabinet.  

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Gray. Hunter Extraordinaire.

   

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A New Theater Post!

  Here.      

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An Accidental Encounter with Harvey Ellis

Last Saturday I made a road trip! I hooked up with my friend Carl, and we drove to St. Joseph, MO, to visit my friend Blair, and tour the city. St. Joseph has long intrigued me, mostly due to the comments on Old House Dreams when a house from the city is posted. It seems…

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The Carl Chronicles

    I first saw the house two years ago and it is a knock-out inside, as would be predicted. But the kitchen? I shrieked upon first stepping into the circa-1980 horror. “Carl! How have you lived with this for four years? I would have torn this out during the first month!” Carl sighed. “Yea,…

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A Visitor!

   

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Fantasy Living

For decades, I have found that a very useful mind tool is fantasy. So, if I become aware that I have spent too much time thinking about something troubling, I will catch myself in mid-troubling thought and force myself to think of something…diverting. It helps to have a default diversion. For several years I have…

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A Gray Question

  So….I am not entirely clear what is happening here. Is Gray: 1) Grooming Spot? 2) Preparing to eat Spot?          

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Evil is as Evil Does

This is a political post. If you don’t like politics, don’t scroll down.                                             If you are an American citizen, or a person who values decency, you should be stunned and appalled and ANGRY…

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An Unexpected Poodle

                                          Patricia thought the look was kinda sorta somewhat…becoming. I assured her that she was wrong. And I am pretty sure that Dieter agrees with me.  

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Does Gray Need…

   

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New Kitty!

Seven days ago I received a frantic note from Julie, who visited the Cross House last year. She was visiting her elderly parents at the family farm when something unexpected arrived: A cat, which Julie suspected was dumped in the area. As Julie wrote: She showed up 2 days ago way up high in the tree…

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Detroit Reborn: The James Scott Mansion

Previously, I did a post about the extraordinary resurrection of Detroit, where I was born. During the last five years, numerous long-abandoned skyscrapers have been restored, and across the city countless houses have been brought back from the dead. The story of one structure, in particular, has astounded me: The James Scott Mansion.    …

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More Windows. The Parlor!

     

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Today, New Kitty…

   

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Showdown!

   

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Musical Cat

 

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An Uncomfortable Calm

Today, there was no small furry creature racing and careening around the house. Today, there was no small furry creature nibbling on my fingers and purring as I petted her. Today, there was no small furry creature attacking crumpled Post-It notes, dive-bombing dust bunnies, and climbing up my jeans. Today, the house was eerily silent….

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A Resting Kitty

     

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A Day Which Will Live In Infamy

This is a political post. If you don’t care about America, don’t scroll down…                                           Recently, Trump trashed our allies. Recently, Trump trashed the European Union. Recently, Trump trashed NATO. But today? Today, Trump praised…

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Stealth Kitty

    FOREGROUND: Gray. BACKGROUND: New Kitty. OUTCOME: Gray? You be in danger, girl!  

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Sistine Kitties

     

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Bounty Kat

  This is Sid. He was originally a neighbor’s cat. Then she moved…and left him. Another neighbor took him in. He’s incredibly sweet. Then she moved…and left him. Sigh. So, I have been feeding him. During the winter, I made a special box for him to snuggle in. Three nights ago, while I was less-than-sober,…

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Furry Questions

   

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Pretzel Kitty

     

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Cat Fight!

        This all looks fierce. It wasn’t. The two enjoyed it. I could tell right away that Gray was down with being assaulted because her tail never fluffed up, as it would if she was freaked. And at one point she bolted to the safety of the night table…only to casually walk…

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Kitty Kaption Kontest

  New Kitty: Don’t look at me; you’re the one that keeps feeding it! As challenging as the category for this round of charades was (national flags: South Korea) Gray and New Kitty had victory in sight… and then someone’s paw strayed into the DMZ. New Kitty: She’s sniffing my paw! That means I get…

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Remembering Tom Payne

Memory is a peculiar thing. Old memories can arrive unbidden after decades, and yet still seem fresh and alive. Today, I was sanding a basement window at the Cross House when Tom Payne reentered my mind. I have not thought about Tom in many years. But, I have never forgotten him. In 1973, I was…

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A Gray Misadventure

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A Calculating Cat

   

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While Cats are Famously Inscrutable…

     

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Be. Afraid.

   

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Attack Cat!

   

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An Unexpected Encounter

     

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Lies About Your Health Care

Warning: This is a political post. You may not be interested in politics, but your life may depend on the following words.   Around the country, Republicans are on the campaign trail. And a lot of them are, bizarrely for Republicans, defending Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Even Trump is stating, vigorously, that he supports…

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Wanna Meet Sid?

Sid belonged to my neighbor. Then she moved. And left him. Then another neighbor took him in. Then she moved. And left him. It took a while, but I managed to coax him over to my house, where he has lived outside for the almost four years. He is one of “front porch kitties”, about…

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A New 1900 Theater Post!

  Here.    

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Greedy Kitty

   

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Lies About Your Health Care PART II

Warning: This is a political post. You may not be interested in politics, but your life may depend on the following words.   Five days ago I wrote this: “Around the country, Republicans are on the campaign trail. And a lot of them are, bizarrely for Republicans, defending Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Even Trump…

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The Loss of Valuable Things

In the fall of 1978, I moved from Florida to New York City. I was twenty-one, and had $200 to my name. How insane was that? My first apartment was on East 12th Street, a one bedroom. It was $650 a month, which is today laughable but which was scary $$$$ at the time as…

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A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

This is a political post. If you hate politics and current events, don’t scroll down.                                                      

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Do You Want to be on the Right Side of History?

WARNING: This is a political post.     The above image is famous. It depicts a moment in time when nine African-American students, escorted by the National Guard, were enrolled in Little Rock Central High School in 1957. The nine students were surrounded by an angry mob of white people who did not want to share…

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Lucky Ross

Today, I pulled into the Chrysler dealer. The key fob for my 2010 mini-van was just not working. A week previous, I had a new battery installed. This was after having a new battery installed just a month previous. It was obvious that my key fob was experiencing its death throes. The woman at the…

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A Tiny Rescue

Yesterday morning, I opened my side door. And received a shock. Then the next two hours of my life took an unexpected, and all-consuming turn.   On the porch was a sorta stray cat I call Tiny. She is small, and with long fur. I say sorta stray because she, I think, actually belongs to…

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New Kitty thinks…

   

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Why I Have Learned…

   

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CAN THIS HOUSE BE SAVED? 402 E Jefferson St, Mount Pulaski, IL

The incomparable Kelly, of Old House Dreams, regularly features houses for less than the price of a new car. Such houses are, obviously, not in mint condition. Or normally in an ideal neighborhood. But almost all such houses are, to me, well worth it as they could be beauties once again. Magnificent and remarkable and…

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A Crystal Cat

   

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Before. After.

There is a FABULOUS 1880s house in Wichita. It had been restored in the 1980s. And then declined. And declined. And declined. This is not, sadly, an uncommon story with old houses. By 2018, the house looked terrible, and was listed for sale, cheap. So cheap that my friend, Carl, worried that it would be…

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Another Detroit Resurrection: The Metropolitan Building

I was born in Detroit. This was an article I wrote in 2003, and published in The Town Paper:   The Detroit that I knew, in the mid-1960s, still looks the same in my mind, as I have not seen it since 1970. Downtown was an hour drive from the suburban development where I lived:…

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What IS This? REVEALED!

  Brad mentioned that they had the original drawings. This information made me salivate, and I looked at Brad with pleading eyes and said: “Please, sir, can I see the drawings? Please? Please?” And then two hours vanished in a flash as Susan and Brad and I, like kids let loose in a candy store,…

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Look What Santa Brought Me!

       

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Painting a Historic House

The 1886 Haas-Lilienthal House is a historic house museum in San Fransisco. It is quite the stunner and for many years looked like this:     Wanna see? Scroll way down. In 2018, a multi-million dollar restoration was completed. The original colors were ascertained and the results are both startling and unexpected.      …

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Roman Kitties!

From Wikipedia: The Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary is a cat shelter in Rome, Italy, that makes use of the ancient ruins of Largo di Torre Argentina by providing a home within them for around 150 cats. After the excavation of the temple ruins in 1929, feral cats moved into the area, sheltered by roman pillars and…

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Road Trip!

        In short, the road trip involved a select gathering of insane-people-who-own crazy-big-old-houses. I was in heaven. Squee!!!!!!!! The reason for the trip was for me to help Doug with the process of installing period-correct lighting in his 1902 house. Doug, and his wife Diana, purchased the house in 1983, when it was…

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Sleeeeeeeeeeepy Kitty

     

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Why I Can’t Get Anything Done…

   

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Snoozy Kitty

      You can tell that New Kitty has a really tough life.    

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All Aboard!

On Friday, I was in Topeka, and went to the museum of the Kansas Historical Society. It was fabulous and fascinating. I wandered from exhibit to exhibit, and saw, for the first time in my life, actual Indian teepees. Wow. Then I turned a corner…and gasped. Gasped! Wanna see? Scroll way down.      …

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CAN THIS HOUSE BE SAVED? 135 12th St NW, Canton, OH

              There are a lot more images here. The house haunts me. It is incredibly gorgeous inside and the exterior, restored, would no doubt be an eye-popper. Yet it sits. Unsold. With but a price of $25K. The location of the house, and its condition, would terrify 99.9% of…

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New Kitty…

   

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Santa. Delayed.

   

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Stupid People Should Not Be Allowed to Own Fabulous Old Houses

                                     

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Gutting Your Old House. JUST SAY NO!

        As the decades passed, cities and communities across the land recognized and worked to protect their historic heritage, and what Detroit did in 1961 became unthinkable. Then…and then…HGTV came along. And the idea of historic preservation was rolled back to a 1950s mentality. Out with the old! In with the new!…

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Gray…

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Sid. Who is shy.

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Sooooooo NOT a cat in the hat

     

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Is There a Doctor In The House?

  Doug replied: “That is the original plaster ceiling medallion from the dining room. It was really damaged so I removed it 35-years-ago. It’s been up here ever since.” Wow. Is there anybody out there that can repair it? It’s broken in half, and has several small broken off bits. One small area is missing….

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I Can’t Quite Tell…

     

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Is that…

       

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Book Covers!!!!!!!!

In 2001, and 2004, I had two books published. I’m really proud of this. I so enjoyed researching and writing books that I continued to write away, and over the next few years wrote several more books, and had ideas for several more. Nine new books total. In 2006, my lighting business began and, all…

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A Man Named Pete

This is a political post. If you don’t like politics, don’t scroll down…                                         When you have some time, you may enjoy watching this video (below). It’s from Sunday, when Pete Buttigieg officially launched his 2020 presidential…

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Sleepy…

   

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An ALIEN!!!!!!!!

SCENE: My kitchen window. PLOT: Alien on one side of glass. New Kitty on other side, and with malicious intent.  

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New Kitty…

     

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CAN THIS HOUSE BE SAVED: Fairview Manor, Claverack, New York

The fabulous Kelly of Old House Dreams posted a remarkable property. And it is soooooooooo a Ross kinda property. The 1869 main house is absurdly huge, and in terrifying condition. You see, just my kinda place.                   The property includes numerous structures in addition to the big…

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CAN THIS HOUSE BE SAVED: Fairview Manor, Claverack, New York PART II

Yesterday, I did a post about a fabulous house in New York which needs a savior. Today, Mischa contacted me. He grew up in the house from 1968 to 1987. And—drum roll, please—he had pictures!!!!!!!! These first two images are from yesterday:       The house had a fire after Mischa’s family sold the property…

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The Brilliance of Carl

    I told Carl that he could in no way just pull up the tiles and replace them with something else. Because Carl is pragmatic (rather than insane, like me) I suggested simply infilling with plaster and painting it a brick color or something. “That way, the new owner will at least have the…

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Why I Can Never Get Any Work Done

     

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Can This House Be Saved: 601 Spring St, Quincy, Illinois

The fabulous Kelly, of Old House Dreams, posted a fabulous house built in 1887. Today, the house is surrounded by industrial properties, and a scattering of other fine old houses, many in poor condition. It is obvious however that a century ago the neighborhood was elegant and prosperous. Sigh.            …

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Thoughts About The Top Five

WARNING! This is a political post.   Rachel Bitecofer, the person who accurately predicted the 2018 Blue wave well before anybody else, has released her 2020 projections. She states that, no matter the Democratic candidate, the party will at the very least get 278 electoral votes. She states that the 2018 Blue wave was NOT created by policy but rather mostly by anti-Trump fervor. She believes…

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Something is terribly, terribly…

  Damn! Damn! Damn! Damn! I need to rush Gray cat to the vet. She’s sitting next to a box rather than in it. Obviously, something is terribly, terribly wrong!    

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Help me! Help me!

   

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Ahhhh. The Pleasure Of Being Used…

     

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Gray…

     

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A Short Kitty Tale

Today, this story popped into my head after four decades:   I took my beloved cat Little Boy to the vet. He was there for two days. When I picked him up, the vet brought him out at the far end of the long table. I was at the other end. The vet opened the…

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Gray…

     

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An Unusual Kitty Pillow

       

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WHAT AM I THANKFUL FOR?

WHAT AM I THANKFUL FOR? When I was born in 1957, nobody recycled. I’m thankful this has changed. When I was born in 1957, rivers used to routinely catch fire due to being so polluted. I’m thankful this never happens anymore due to the EPA. When I was born in 1957, American cities suffered from…

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Fabulous, Gentle Sid.

Last October, Sid moved in with me. I did a post about this. He originally belonged to a neighbor but when she moved…she left Sid. Days passed before I realized this, and I was horrified to discover that Sid had not eaten since she left. I ran across the street to give him food and…

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Deceiving Sweetness

      Sound and fury….signifying nothing. They love it. And it’s almost always sweetpea New Kitty who attacks Gray. You can even see Gray’s submissive position. This is generous of her as she’s older, bigger, and was here first. Years ago I had a small dog and a very large dog (standard poodle). The…

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Another Detroit Resurrection: Alfred Street

I was born in Detroit, the 1957 model year. For decades the city was synonymous with decay. During the last five years though there has been an astonishing turnaround, which I have posted about several times. One house, in particular, became THE poster child for abandonment:           Alfred Street is in…

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Detroit: The James V. Campbell House

This is Part I of a series. Part II is here. Part III is here. Part IV is here. Part V is here.   Brush Park is a residential neighborhood just north of downtown Detroit. In the latter 19th-century, Brush Park was chock-o-block with grand mansions. The advent of the automobile however meant that people…

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Detroit: 105 Alfred Street

This is Part II of a series. Part I is here. Part III is here. Part IV is here. Part V is here.                   From my previous post: The city of Detroit, which owned these three houses and the surrounding land, offered all for redevelopment, stipulating that…

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Detroit: 113 Alfred Street

This is Part III of a series. Part I is here. Part II is here. Part IV is here. Part V is here.             From my previous posts: The city of Detroit, which owned these three houses and the surrounding land, offered all for redevelopment, stipulating that the historic houses…

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Detroit: The Henry Glover House

This is Part IV in a series. Part I is here. Part II. Part III. Part V.     From my previous posts: The city of Detroit, which owned these three houses and the surrounding land, offered all for redevelopment, stipulating that the historic houses had to be retained. And this, this, was the mistake….

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Detroit: Ransom Gillis House

This is Part V in a series. Part I is here. Part II. Part III. Part IV.               In my previous four posts in this Detroit series, I detail how three historic homes in Brush Park were reborn on the cheap (by a massively well-funded developer), while one home…

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Paw Porn!

     

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A Birthday Announcement (with very bad language).

I’m 63 today. Fuck. HOW did that happen? I used to love getting older. When I was 10 my best friend’s mother said: “You must be so excited to be 10!” I thought for a moment and replied with something which surprised me: “Well, I’d rather be 40.” She gasped, and furiously told me how…

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DETROIT: A Tale Of Four Corners

I was born in Detroit, a 1957 model. For much of my now 63-years I watched a once great city fall into decay and become synonymous with urban ruin. Entire neighborhoods were obliterated and numerous skyscrapers in the downtown core were empty. About a decade ago though something inexplicable happened. Detroit started, at long last,…

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An Unexplainable Story

One day, I woke, wide awake, at 5AM. This never happens as I am a good sleeper and normally wake around 8AM. But, an idea was in my mind. An idea for a book: 50/50 Fifty stories From Fifty States Incredibly, and from seeming nowhere, the whole book was fully formed in my mind. I…

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Laundry Day

   

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New Kitty…

             

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Gray is NOT having it

       

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During Troubled Times…

   

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Ahhhh, to be a cat.

   

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Furry Concern

   

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I think New Kitty is drunk…

         

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VICTORY! VICTORY! VICTORY!

I saw it. I could not believe my eyes. Was it real? Could it be real? How could it be real? I walked over to it, my whole body trembling with excitement. Then…I reached out…and touched it. OMG! It was real! It did exist! And it was soon mine. All mine!!!!!!!! Wanna see my miraculous…

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Something Unexpected At The Grocery Store Today

I was standing before the cashier at the grocery store. There was a piece of plastic recently installed between us. And not for the first time I thought: 1) This plastic does not offer protection for these cashiers. 2) These cashiers are likely being paid minimum wage. 3) These cashiers are in danger WAY more…

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The Three Faces Of…New Kitty.

       

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A Tale of Two Doggies

       

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Oh, the Horror.

       

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Pray For Me!

    This afternoon, they learned that humans can transmit Covid-19 to cats. Tonight…they plot against me.    

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A Wondrous French Gift

Like so many millions of people across the globe, I have watched with alarm as my income has plummeted. March 2020 was half the sales of March 2019, and April 2020 is looking to be 75% less than April 2019. Fuck. I have published several posts mentioning this. In addition, I comment on a political…

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A Carl Before After

I’ve written previously about my friend Carl, in Wichita. Recently, he sold the HUGE house he had, and the new owner has been tearing out everything Carl did, and tearing out original features. Sigh. Two years ago, Carl sold another house, one he had flipped. He purchased it for $18K and sold it for $175K….

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VOGUE CAT

       

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DANGER, WILL ROBINSON! DANGER!

  Proximity alert! Proximity alert!     Gray and New Kitty. Masterfully not quite touching.    

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An Inspiring Talent

Jonathan Antoine was 17 when he entered Britain’s Got Talent. He was…an improbable contestant. And a nervous wreck. Then he began to sing. Wow. He’s continued to do well. He’s now 25 and it’s been wonderful seeing him gain self-assurance. He’s got a new song out, which is also improbable But…wow:      

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Gray…

   

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When Your Cat Is Attacking You…

     

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Well, duh!

     

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One Of These…

     

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Never The Twain Shall Meet

       

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Hello, Gorgeous!

         

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America Needs You

This is a political post. If you are interested, please scroll down.                                               I’m afraid for my country. And I’m not alone. Trump promised to Make America Great Again. Yet, since his election,…

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The Return of Gorgeous

   

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CAN THIS HOUSE BE SAVED: 2539 Ballina Road, Cazenovia, NY

In 2013, I toured a huge 1894 house in desperate condition. The house was for sale and I was interested. After three hours of inspection with the owner, Bob, we were standing in the dining room. He suddenly asked me: “Ross? Is there something wrong with you mentally?” I gasped. “What?” “Is there something wrong…

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Sleeeeeeepy Kitty

     

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New Kitty. Too many…

     

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Squee!

A mama cat with her four kittens on my deck! Oh…wait…          

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