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.