Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Summers End- 1958

( Summers End Dinner- 1958)
Well Readers, its the time of year again where we say goodbye to the summer season at the Casablanca. Friends break out all the best Pyrex and food for one last summer jaunt before school begins! The Texas weather was fickle, and none of us were quite sure what it was going to do. One minuet the sky was blue...
The just like last weekend, and without any warning the sky turned totally black!
(Kelcie: "This does NOT look good...")
It was a mad scramble to get the paper lanterns down and the tablecloth and dishes in the house. We all held our breath in anticipation of what mother nature was going to do. Luckily she favored us and after about 20 minuets the sky cleared back up, and we set the backyard up for dinner once more!
 (Wes & Dillon surveying the table scape.)
This Event has all the things I love about the Casablanca, good friends, good food, paper lanterns,( It isn't a garden party without paper lanterns.) and lots and lots of Pyrex!
 (Viola, Kelcie, Wes, Jordan, & Patricia with Pyrex on parade!)
(Kelcie's Homemade cookies!)
(Emily made her Grandmothers famous Spinach dip
and put it the Butter Print Chip &Dip!)
(Viola serves Mac & Cheese out of Jordan's 404.)
(Friends Jarrod, Jordan, Wes, Viola, Philip & Terrace.)
As you can see lots of tasty food in just about all the Pyrex we could fill.
(Drinking out of ZootSuitMama's swanky swigs!)
(Patricia, Emily, Jarrod, Dillon & John, cheekily chatting away!)
(Joe, Philip, Terrace & Chloe enjoying the sweets of summer!)
 After dinner we played a few rounds of the locally popular game "What if" made famous by our own Melissa. A pleasant ending to a mostly wonderful summer season at the Casablanca.


Friday, August 24, 2012

Swamped... A "Funny & Fair-Weather" Post.

Dear Readers- I hate, Hate, HATE  home improvement... Ever see that Tom Hanks movie "The Money Pit"? Well I at least have the pit...
Maybe I am exaggerating a tiny bit, but thus far construction on the dinning room has been no picnic! For almost three weeks and a rainless Texas summer the post holes have been dug for the support beams, so it just goes to figure that as soon as you get ready to go into action the county receives 2.5 inches of rain.
(That hole is/was 18 inches deep...)
Mind you I'm VERY glad for the rain, I just wish we'd gotten the beams cemented in first. Last Friday I spent the evening hours bailing out the holes so the can dry and be ready to cement. It didn't take to long, and friend Zack helped bail out water too.
(There are three post holes along that section of wall... UGH!)
None the less we got the holes dried out and went about our weekend. Saturday all was well the sun was shining, birds were chirping, Walt Disney was rolling over in his grave and I? I was sitting at the kitchen table reading... isn't that always how it goes? When they talk to victims they were almost religiously "sittin' at their kitchen table" (or on the john) when the sky suddenly turned black!
( Aw,  #@*$...)
Things were very still for a few seconds- then the clouds started to POUR and you guessed it...
(*Sigh* So I had to bail the holes our AGAIN!)

Also, I have just given up on the "grounds" of the Casablanca looking presentable until after construction is complete. To try and divert water away from the foundation a shallow trench was dug along the back yard.
Digging this while it was raining did NOT make me a happy camper. When I say it was dug "along" the back yard, I mean practically in the middle of the friggen yard. It screws up all of my landscaping and looks awful.
It runs the whole length of the back yard and around the other side of the house, in an attempt to divert the water away from the foundation.
I was hoping that this would solve the problem. Picture my anger when we made a visit to the lake on Tuesday, after another shower and I find...
I am going to wait until we have no rain in the forecast before I bail them out one more final time. And I hope right after that we can FINALLY get the concrete poured! I am ready to get this project underway and DONE! haha

I've also decided that I'll provably end up re-landscaping next spring to better accommodate all the new changes. Heck I might even sell some lawn furniture off! No Michael, not the silver pieces. Any who until that happy day when things return to normal just picture this...
(Ah yes, that's more like it!)


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

It Only Made Cents!

"Hey Mick, we came across five of these, and none of them 
are red anymore. Here are the best two.
"Have fun" pouring concrete!"
A huge thanks goes out to the Walds! They got the whole family searching for those mythical 1943 pennies I have been looking for. Thank you so much for helping me!
(Two 1943 steel pennies, back and front.)

With any luck we'll pour concrete in the next weekend or so and finally get this project underway! We've been waiting on free time, and good weather so keep your fingers crossed readers.

Thanks again to the Wald Family, I hope I can repay the favor someday!


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Miss "C" Brianna Spreads the Good Word Of The Casablanca!

(Friend/Miss Casablanca 1958 Brianna!)
You all know Brianna don't you?  Well true to her duties she has been sharing the good ways of the Casablanca all around! A few weeks ago she took a "masters acting class" with a local and international celebrity named Rich Affannato who is not only from Wichita Falls but has made it big on the Great White Way (Broadway). 

-Mr Affannato's Broadway and National Tour credits include Les Miserables (as Cosette), The Producers (as Karmen Giah), and Civil War. Off-Broadway he was in Forbidden Broadway-20th Anniversary Edition, Slut, Illyria, and many more. He co-produced "Peter and the Starcatcher," the origin story of Peter Pan. The play was nominated for nine Tony Awards, and won five of them, Best Actor in a featured role, Best Sound design, Best Costume design, Best Scenic design, and Best Lighting design.

As I mentioned before Brianna was fortunate enough to take part in an acting workshop with Mr. Affannato.
 (Rich Affannato & Brianna!)
She also managed a little something for the Casablanca from him too!
 "To the Casablanca!
Thanks for the Good Times.
Here's Looking At You Kid!"
-Rich Affannado

HOW ABOUT THAT?!!!  Not only did he sign it but graciously played along and added a fun little message. Thank you so much Brianna, I am going to have to get a frame and hang this up somewhere!

Holy cow I'm still in shock!


Monday, August 13, 2012

Laid Back, Waiting, & Weekend Finds.

Laid Back- This weekend was super laid back at the Casablanca- we had no house guests and it was marvelous! Found a really neat enamel light, I'm going to have to do a little repair to it but it will go on the front of the new addition. A small enamel gas heater that I had out in backyard... it had become home to a GIANT wasp nest so I had to take care of that and decided to bring it home. last but not least in this picture a stand up weight scale from work.  Friday evening was quiet Patricia and I took in a viewing of "Annie Get Your Gun" and "21 Jump Street" on the Drive-in,  then we sat in the lounge and read until we fell asleep.
Waiting- Some of you follow me on Facebook and saw a picture I posted from Lowes. Wednesday my dad and I went and purchased the first bits and pieces of what will be the dining room, here's 16 bags of concrete and the nine support beams neatly stacked at the "construction site".
Everything is in place, and we're in a holding pattern until our architect can get time off to get the project started! It's all terribly exciting.
(*Deep Sigh*) I have just resigned myself to the fact that I'm provably not going to have grass, (or a yard for that matter) until Spring of 2013. I miss having a lawn I've gone from 'Somewhere that's Green'
This winter and spring I'm going to work hard at having a lawn, especially in the back yard.

Weekend Finds- Now to the good stuff! Patricia and I along with friends Dillon, Jennifer and Ben traveled down to Bowie for the monthly flea market/trade days. Everyone ended up coming home with something.
My first find of the day was a booth selling door hardware. I snatched these two back plates up $6.00 for the pair, they will go on the new french doors and I think the curvy-ness of them will compliment the rooms sputnik light fixture nicely.
I found this back plate in another box at the same booth, no mate but I had to have it it is the exact same style as the ones on the doors of "Norma Desmond's" house in Sunset BLVD. Of course I cannot find a reference photo but its one of those little things one one notices...except set dressers and movies buffs.
Picked up this large Franciscan salad bowl for $5.00 I really like the "fall" theme on it. I also picked up three more plastic Tupperware tumblers bringing the total to 15! Patricia and I both scored on our next find, i spotted it and she went and got the price check on it.
We got 15 dinner plates and four tea cups that match our "every day" dishes at the Casablanca. Patricia got all 19 pieces for... wait for it.... wait... $3.00!!! We were both in shock when we found out it was $3.00 for ALL of it and not per plate! This means we now have "everyday dishes" for 30 people! Haha I bet we use them all too!

Hope everyone is having an okay Monday!


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Penny For Your Thoughts?

Well Readers, leave it to me to make a mess and start a manhunt!
As you all know, we are working on the Casablanca's Dining room, well its coming along and we are nearly ready to pour the concrete and set the support beams.  Friend Michael who helped dig the post holes suggested that "when we pour the concrete we should put a penny in it to commemorate the year.  I think this is a BRILLIANT idea, so I went to the bank and got two brand new shiny 2012 pennies (so I can lay one face up in the concrete and one face down.)
Then I, not being able to leave well enough alone thought "I should get two 1943 pennies to put in the concrete too!" as the main house was built in 1943. I also think its kind of neat to see how the back of a penny has changed in the last 69 years.
So I thought to myself "How hard can it possibly be to find a 1943 penny?"  Well as my LUCK would have it 1943 is the only year during World War Two that pennies were not minted in copper...
Public Law 815, temporarily suspended use of copper pennies to ration the metal for use in war time materials. As a result 1943 pennies were struck in steel and copper or zinc plated, which not only made them look like normal pennies but also made them magnetic.

A steel 1943 penny is worth anywhere from 15 Cents to 50 Cents. and Luck be danged I've yet to find one! I've been thought countless jars and all I come up with is 1942's and 1944's!

So this blog post is not only a history lesson but a cry for help! If any of you out there get a minuet would you please, please, PLEASE go through your pennies and see if you cant come up with a 1943 one?!  Haha I know my timing is limited as we have to have it when we pour the concrete but maybe just maybe there's one out there!

Please and thank you!


P.S. a quick way to check your penny pile is to spread them out flat and run a magnet over it. Since the pennies are made of steel they will be magnetic!

Monday, August 6, 2012

What's In A Name?

"It was one of those crazy houses that actors built int he crazy 20's"
-Bill Holden Sunset Blvd.

 (Pickfair- The Home of Mary Pickford & Douglas Fairbanks, photo circa 1935)
Well Readers apparently a legacy...
I have always had a fascination with houses that were given names, I guess simply because a name rather than just an address lends some elegance to a places existence. Due to this fascination I later named my home "The Casablanca" (after a line about "being misinformed" in the 1943 movie Casablanca.) In the movie "Singing in the Rain"(1953) Debbie Reynolds sums up 1920's Hollywood living best with the line she delivers to Gene Kelly "I know all about you MOVIE actors. WILD parties, swimming pools, dancing girls!" The estate Pickford was one of the first mansions built in Beverly Hills way back in 1919. They bought the tiny house and turned it into a four story 48 room mansion that was in its heyday the stuff of fairytale.  In the 20's Pickford and her husband Fairbanks were Hollywood Royalty and Pickfair was their Camelot.
From what i've read and heard tell about, Mary Pickford could throw one hell of a party! (not so much wild as they were lavish.) Her fame and hospitality made it easy, and she would throw in surprises (for example eating off china that Napoleon had given to Josephine.) Anyone who was anyone waited on pins and needles for an invitation- frequent guests included Charlie Chaplin, (who also lived next door), the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Greta Garbo, George Bernard Shaw, Albert Einstein, Elinor Glyn, Helen Keller, H.G. Wells, Amelia Earhart, Zelda & F. Scott Fitzgerald,Joan Crawford, Noel Coward, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt, Pearl S. Buck, Charles Lindbergh,Thomas Edison, Lillian Gish, Gloria Swanson, the Duke and Duchess of Alba, AND the King and Queen of Siam. Causing the house to become almost, if not more famous than the White House on 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. The interior of the home had the best of everything the world had to offer...until 1936. Fairbanks had a scandalous affair (aren't they all?!) Pickford divorced him, kept the house in the settlement and became a recluse until her death in 1979. After that the estate switched hands, was divided and then to the shock of historic Hollywood- was mostly torn down and replaced by another gawdy structure.

*  *  *
(The Garden of Allah- The Home of actress Alla Nazimova.)
This complex also originally started as one modest house that was transformed into a mansion. During the 20's especially during Prohibition it was one of the most glamorous and WILD party hot spots on Sunset Blvd. 
Nazimova started with her home, and friends stayed so often and for such periods of time she ran it out as a hotel and artistic village of sorts. I noticed while doing research on these places that residents of Los Angels did a lot of flocking from place to place!
(With curb appeal like that who wouldn't flock there?!)
Once again this was the life of the party right up until the mid 50's, by then it was rundown and nothing near what it had once been and in 1959 it was torn down to make way for a mall. Way. to. go. Progress. NOT.

*  *  *
(La Cuesta Encantada, "The Enchanted Hill"- 
The home of millionaire William Randolph Hearst.)
This one started our as the plan for a modest bungalow getaway and ended up spiraling into the history books! Construction started in 1919 and wasn't completed until 1947. This estate is a whirlwind of Spanish Revival/ Mexican Colonial/ Spanish Renaissance and Baroque... What can I say? Hearst was fickle?!  He infamously drove his architects crazy as he would take a trip to Europe only to return with new plans that almost always involved a major overhaul or the import of some old ruins, like the ones in the backyard...
(Neptune's Pool)
Redesigned THREE TIMES before completion it certainly is striking. The ancient temple ruin was purchased and transported from Europe and reassembled poolside. Cards stating "your presence is requested." to Hearst Castle were highly coveted during its heyday in the 1920s and '30s. The Hollywood Royalty and political elite often visited, either by flying into the estate's airfield or taking a private Hearst-owned train car from Los Angeles. Charlie Chaplin, Cary Grant, the Marx Brothers, Charles Lindbergh, Joan Crawford, Clark Gable, James Stewart, Bob Hope, Calvin Coolidge, Franklin Roosevelt, Dolores Del Rio, and Winston Churchill were among Hearst's A-list guests. While guests were expected to attend the formal dinners each evening, this immaculate playground was theirs for leisure during the day. When Hearst died in 1951 the estate remained in the family until it was donated as a park to the city of Los Angles in 1957 with the stipulation that the Hearst family could use it when they please and still do to this day.

*  *  *
Are we starting to see a pattern here?  What do these fabulous and legendary places have in common? I suppose the first thought that comes to mind is $MONEY$, but not for me. I mean money helps, but what makes these places the stuff of legend are the memories that were made while at them. I see places that started with modest beginnings, that gradually became bigger, were frequented by family good friends, and were the backdrops to some fabulous parties... Hmm lets see here-

 (The Casablanca- The home of Mick Jordan.)
[  ] Money.
[ X ] Started with modest beginnings.
[ X ] Gradually became bigger.
[ X ] Frequented by family and good friends.
[ X ] Backdrop to fabulous parties.
[ X ] Wonderful memories made on premises .

Five out of six  isn't to shabby!  Granted its not terribly grand or lavish, but can you really sit there and tell me that all of this isn't fabulous on some scale?! Maybe with some hard work and a little time I'll accomplish that first one, and then I too will have a Legacy.