Thursday, December 31, 2009

happy new year

ready to put the glory of 2009 to rest, and welcome 2010 with open everything

Monday, December 28, 2009

kisses from nacho

...and his bunny fur gullet

Sunday, December 27, 2009

1 gator vs. 10 turtles

went to wakulla springs in the florida panhandle last week. it's where the tarzan movies with johnny weissmuller were filmed in the 1930s, and is the longest and deepest known submerged freshwater cave system in the world, with about 300 million gallons of water flowing every day.

we took a jungle cruise on a pontoon boat and saw some beautiful birds, manatees, snakes, spiders, cypress trees, and spanish moss.

this gator had his choice of 10 turtles to snack on, but they seemed to be peacefully coexisting in a log top face-off.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

happy holidays

since monday the days are getting longer and longer, i hope everybody's spirits are light and holidays are bright. even though the world is crazy we have so much to be thankful for.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


i think it's dashing

There's a fantastic article in yesterday's Palm Beach Daily News about my Grandpa Wallace. (photo by Joyce McTammany, Warwick, RI, 1984)

Architectural delineator Wallace McTammany has made a career out of being very deliberate


Special to the Daily News
Monday, December 14, 2009

Daily News Photo by Jeffrey Langlois
Wallace McTammany shows some of his architectural renderings. 'I was always interested in drawing. I had a lifetime of it.'

Perhaps the most prominent landmark on the West Palm Beach skyline is the Northbridge Centre on Olive Avenue. The building, which rises tall, sleek and black into the warm, azure sky, is better known by its local nickname: "The Darth Vader Building."

Here's an interesting factoid about it: The first person ever to see it — to admire its jutting, quirky coolness towering over the South Florida coast — was Wallace McTammany. It came out of his head.

He worked slowly and methodically to create a picture of it from an architect's plans. When he was finished, McTammany looked at the building and said: "This is it. This is what it will look like."

And he was right. The Northbridge Centre is one of the 3,512 projects he has brought to life as an architectural delineator over his career, which has spanned seven decades.

"I don't think anybody has made as many perspective drawings as I did," he says. Of the Northbridge Centre he adds: "It's a landmark. For a modern building, I think it's dashing."

McTammany and his wife, Margaret, have lived in the Patrician condominium in Palm Beach since shortly after it was built in 1969. Until this year, they spent summers at a home in the North Carolina mountains.

McTammany's home office is decked out top to bottom with memorabilia from his long and colorful career, highlighted by some of his most striking renderings. He has a framed 1960 letter on the wall from the governor of Rhode Island, congratulating him on his rendering of the Providence post office, which was made into a commemorative stamp.

On another wall there are photographs of his 1951 Jaguar, a classic car he drove to parties in Newport when he lived nearby. That was a sprawling home he designed on 10 acres — the structure was based on a 1698 house in Massachusetts.

"I tell you," he says, nodding in the direction of the framed Jaguar photographs. "That was really a flashy car."

He's put together a booklet featuring some of his favorite renderings. An accompanying list of project sites goes on and on, from St. Augustine to Immokalee to Key West. In the United States, from Maine to Kentucky to Colorado. Worldwide, from Acapulco to Paris to the United Arab Emirates.

Architect Eugene Lawrence, founder of the Lawrence Group, has been working with McTammany since the mid-1960s. He says the business now uses a lot more computer-generated images, but they still can't match the detail and quality offered by McTammany's brand of hand work.

"To this day, some of the better delineations are done by hand," Lawrence says. "They have to give people a 3-D look at what something is going to look like, whether it's for a homeowner or a potential investor. That's why it's so important for them to be accurate.

"Wallace has always been very deliberate. When you got a Wallace McTammany delineation, you knew what your building was going to look like."

Drawing and painting

McTammany has been doing renderings in Palm Beach for more than half a century, from private homes to hotels to fire stations. He began in 1944 when the Allies were still fighting their way through France. He was in the Army stationed in West Palm Beach with an office on Clematis Street.

His personal story, though, begins in 1921 when he was born in Providence, one of a family of five boys. His father was an architect but left the family when McTammany was 4. His mother managed to keep things together while nurturing her children's varied talents.

"I was always interested in drawing," McTammany says. "I had a lifetime of it. At our home in Providence we had a blackboard in the kitchen. Half the blackboard was my mother's notes — what to buy at the store. The other half was my drawings, in chalk."

McTammany always preferred to work in charcoal and pencil. "It's softer, I think." But one day his mother brought him a set of oil paints, and he recalls: "I wouldn't go to bed. I stayed up all night doing all sorts of things, just fooling around. I painted a guy in a Mexican sombrero, someone else skiing."

His favorite oil painting hangs on the wall of his dining room — a picture he made of Margaret. "He did it when I was 60," Margaret says. "But when he did it, he made me look younger."

War and paradise

McTammany wanted to be a pilot in the war, but couldn't because of an eye problem. So, he decided to be an airplane mechanic. He arrived at Morrison Field, the military forerunner of Palm Beach International Airport, in 1942.

"I immediately got out of my heavy clothing and into a light khaki uniform. Then they said, 'We're going to send you overseas,'" he says. But overseas turned out to be Nassau, and he spent a year living in the classic British Colonial Hotel.

McTammany got married — to his first wife — and lived in an apartment on Worth Avenue toward the end of the war. He eventually designed and built a home in the south end of West Palm Beach.

As the war ended, South Florida remained and undeveloped paradise, its potential untapped. "I used to take my children out to Military Trail so they could listen to the frogs at night. The only other way for them to keep cool was for them to lie on the terrazzo floor."

Love of the classics

Through it all, McTammany has always worked at home. He says he'd still be working now if it weren't for the economy — projects have been canceled or put on hold.

One such project is a hotel in North Carolina, for which he recently finished a strikingly detailed charcoal and pencil rendering. Color would have come next, had the project not been shelved.

Of course, the truth is that McTammany never really liked working in watercolor anyway. Clients began demanding it, so he complied. But even the color work is completed with astonishing detail. He has spent his life, he says, working under a magnifying glass.

"I love the classics," McTammany says, paging through his booklet. "I love the refinement and scale, the artistic stuff. Like this house in Beaver Creek, Colorado," he adds, pointing to a mountainside mansion on the front cover. It's a single-family residence with 10 bedrooms.

"I thought it was just so neat," he says. "If you look very closely, in the doorway you can see a tiny 6-foot man."

Wallace McTammany

Occupation: Architectural delineator.

Favorite quote: 'See what you're looking at.' — A principle developed by McTammany.

Most admired person: New York architect Seth Harrison Gurnee, who was involved in the design of the Tennessee Valley Authority.

Favorite movie: 'Summer Lease,' a 1989 UK film about an English family who rents a villa in Tuscany for the summer.
Photo courtesy of Wallace McTammany
Wallace McTammany with his 1951 Jaguar Mark V drophead coupe.

Monday, December 14, 2009

old age is not a disease!

the vet hasn't called with holden's blood test results yet, but at the appointment she said he looks like he's in great health and there doesn't seem to be any medical physical reason for him to poop on the floor after 10 years of never pooping on the floor. she said, and i quote, "holden, i'm looking for something to blame it on other than that you're being a bad boy, but...."

diagnosis: BAD BOY.

i've changed some things around, and now he's sleeping upstairs with everybody else, and he hasn't pooped in the house for almost a week. so really the diagnosis probably should have been: BAD OWNER.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

up under the power line tower

if you stand under an eiffel tower-like power line and look up, this is what you see.

holden & nacho are going to a new vet today for yearly checkup & vaccines. holden has been having some trouble pooping in the house during the night, something he has never done in all his eleven and a half years, and i hope it's just that he is a brat who doesn't like moving, and not anything wrong with his hips, or nerves, or blood, or bowels. i had to get the old vet to fax their records to the new vet, and i'm sure holden's records are thicker than 'war & peace.'

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

fuck you and your blog

journal at malaprop's bookstore in asheville.

Monday, December 07, 2009

best show on tv

it involves two dogs, they sit on their bed, looking cute.

Friday, December 04, 2009

odd wreath placement

aren't the two on the sides enough? do you have to cover up the words? they did this last year too. thinking about putting on deer costumes in the middle of the night and taking the middle wreath down. also might raid a neighbor's kale garden in the deer costumes.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

his & her barbery

need a haircut? i know a place...very inviting...bars on the windows...used to be a gas station...right by the power to a junk car lot...with a beautiful mural...

dumbass dog

nacho left this evidence on the bedroom carpet. working backwards, i deduced he ate all the cherry tomatoes out of the container, tried a nibble of ginger, decided he didn't like it. tried a bite of jalapeno, decided he didn't like it.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

this will make you happy

michael franti - say hey - it's so fun it's like a kids song

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

deer carcass

there's a squirrel stuck in the chimney. or a raccoon. i heard banging yesterday and closed the glass doors on the fireplace. this morning i could hear it scratching its little claws against the metal trying to get out. i'm going to do nothing about it because i'm paralyzed by fear. i need clark griswald to come over and catch it in the coat, smack it with a hammer.

the aerogarden is doing great, italian basil is in the lead, the only one sprouting already.

the tar heels are looking okay this season, but nothing sparkly and spectacular like last year. last year i loved danny green, ty lawson, and wayne ellington. this year, i like marcus ginyard and ed davis. the freshmen have not dazzled me, and zeller looks like he should play for duke. and poor roy williams and his shoulder, looked like he was in a lot of pain as he won his 600th game the other night.

it's december first already, going to be 60 and sunny today here in charlotte, can't really complain about that.

Friday, November 27, 2009


all the leaves are down now, it will look like this until march, it's still pretty pretty.

i set up the aerogarden today so in about a month there will be a handful of herbs growing in the kitchen. parsley, 2 kinds of basil, dill. they're incubating under their bright lights with water trickling through right now and it's fun to have a science experiment going on.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

happy thanksgiving

i am thankful for family and friends and furry family and friends, and food, and naps, and nuts!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


the first four squares take up the same amount of space as the next eight

Sunday, November 22, 2009

if you stand in front of me with your hands down your pants

i'm going to take a picture

doc watson & richard watson

i have seen the david
seen the mona lisa too
and i have heard doc watson play columbus stockade blues

Friday, November 20, 2009

first, eli chases the ball

then i ask holden & nacho if they want to get the stick

holden and his goofy lip do

he chomps and turns

as he shakes water at the shore, nacho steals the stick

not so fast whitey


nacho loses interest

yeah he's not interested

holden grass nose - the end.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

gold el camino

this is why i enjoy craigslist missed connections - there are some real fairytales waiting to happen:

Dirty Girl - m4w - 32 (corner of Lexington and 240)
Date: 2009-11-16, 8:05AM EST

I saw you this morning on my way to the Dripolator. You were picking at a scab beside your pink-nosed pitbull, and you smiled just the teeniest bit when I said hello.

This is a long shot, but if you're reading this at Pack Library and want to have a shower and a hot meal, I'd love to put you up for a night. And your dog too, as long as he's house-trained. The weather's about to get very cold and wet, and your boyfriend (?) seems like a real dick.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

sunset across

it just keeps on changing

Sunday, November 15, 2009

wood duck bird house

three raccoons climbed this oak tree and murdered whatever wood ducks were living in this wood duck bird house in the back yard at daybreak this morning.

the dogs were inside and didn't notice. when they were let out soon thereafter, however, they ran right over to that oak tree and started sniffing around.

Friday, November 13, 2009

well that was quick

it took all of two weeks for my brother & his lovely bride to conceive my first niece or nephew. pretty freakin awesome, due next spring, they're all doing great, i hope it looks just like me!

in the meantime, thanks to an evil panda, i must recommend ciao bella gelato - especially key lime and graham cracker flavor - and you don't have to be incubating a human to enjoy it.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

golden retriever so happy to see her dad

total tear jerker. a day late for veteran's day, but i had to post it.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

porter the puppy

my friend got an 8 week old german shorthaired pointer named porter. he's friendly and not afraid of the big dogs and very calm and snuggly for a dog that age, and his floppy ears are ridiculous.

bossing nacho around

Monday, November 09, 2009

Eli might have peed a little on Nacho

tres amigos, originally uploaded by skippy haha.

went to asheville this weekend, and here's the dog report card from the pet sitter nana shanna -

"My friends were so happy to see me! I got the best greeting ever! After we said our hellos, I put Holden on a leash & outside we went, flashlight & all. They piddled (I think Eli might have peed a little on Nacho, who got just a little too close...I wiped him off w/ wet paper towel just in case) & Nacho & Holden doodied. Eli was too busy getting me to play ball. So I gave Eli dinner while the boys got some loves. Gave fresh water & did one more potty-try outside. Eli finally went & they all sniffed around. I tucked them in with lots of loves and rubs before I left. Oh & we played a little "I'm gonna get you!" - So fun!"

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

dcuble ccupons

harris teeter rules.

when drinking beer, from time to time i especially enjoy highland brewing's oatmeal porter because it's smooth and dark and sweet and made in asheville. the local harris teeter here in charlotte doesn't carry it, though they do carry highland's gaelic ale which is also delicious.

yesterday i went to the customer service desk looking for a request card to fill out & the girl said to write my name, #, and what i want on this piece of paper and she'd put it in 'her' box. i just got a voicemail from harris teeter that my beer's ready to pick up at the service desk.

pretty good.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009


these canada geese glided by this morning, under the surface their feet were furious, their honks were sloppy and guttural and flat

Monday, November 02, 2009

heron on the shore in a rainstorm

look! it's an animal besides a squished turtle or snake or spider!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

through wine glass out window

indian summer here, not feeling the greatest, not calling it flu, may good health find you and slap you silly

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


halloween, originally uploaded by skippy haha.

halloween is easily my least favorite holiday of the year. i don't like the colors orange and black. i don't like spiders. i don't like being scared. i don't like deception and fakery. i don't like girls dressing up like sluts. i don't like high fructose corn syrup. i don't like cats. i don't like circus peanuts. i don't like when the leaves die and fall off the trees. i don't like razor blades in fun size snickers bars. i would like a friendly ghost in my life though.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

across the way

across the way, originally uploaded by skippy haha.

nature preserve turning yellow and gold. right now it's being pounded with rain, but a couple days ago was glorious.

Friday, October 23, 2009

sunrise steam

sunrise steam, originally uploaded by skippy haha.

sometimes i feel like the luckiest dog on the lake

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

morning glory squished turtle

the stomach panel looked like a morning glory to me, so i turned the section purple with photoshop

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

squished turtle

squished turtle, originally uploaded by skippy haha.

look at the claws on that thing

corn maze

corn maze, originally uploaded by skippy haha.

it's fall. it's freezing in the morning, and the leaves are en fuego, and it's dark by dinner, and it's the time of the season for corn mazes and hot chocolate and cider and wood fires and snuggies of every kind.

today my parents have been married for 37 years. as they say in mexico, that's a chitload.