Antique Pianos

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Keyboard of a square Steinway in the Menger Hotel, San Antonio

My love of pianos and piano music always pulls me to take a second look at any piano, but especially at the antique ones.  I especially love the square pianos, probably from childhood visits with a neighbor, Miss Robbie, of my paternal grandparents who had one in her antique filled living room. These are a few that I’ve encountered recently, enjoy!

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Square piano in the Menger Hotel, San Antonio Texas
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Detail of foot petals, Menger Hotel Steinway
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Square piano of German origin, Guenther House, San Antonio, Texas The detailed carving is exquisite! 
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Square piano in upstairs hallway, Villa Finale, San Antonio, Texas.  My inquiring mind asked how this got upstairs as the stairway was small and winding.  The answer: hoisted up over the second floor porch railing and rolled through the door into the hallway.  If it ever goes out it will have to be via the same method!
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Grand piano in the parlor of the Edward Steves Homestead, San Antonio Texas.  (Note this may not be an original period specific piece, still it is very lovely)

The Vintage Find

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My love of vintage things has expanded from just looking at pictures and any display I happen upon to actually wanting vintage things to have in my possession to use and enjoy.

These little clip earrings immediately reminded me of my Mother’s costume jewelry that I so loved as a child.  Theses were marked $2 as is – after I got home and looked carefully I realized that one is missing a rhinestone in the middle. But no loss as my pierced ears do not appreciate the pain inflicted by clip earrings.  Instead these will be used for sweater clips and hat decorations.  I have toyed with the idea of perhaps having the rhinestone replaced and the pair converted into post earrings, but for now they are clipped to this shutter for display.  And, yes the collection is growing!

Sustainable Energy: Then & Now

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A mid-December trip took me on roads I had never traveled before, much to my delight. I had traveled through Lubbock before, but never had the opportunity to spend any significant time there.  My nephew’s graduation from Texas Tech University gave me that opportunity as well as new sights to see along a new route. Exploring really is my first love.

My oldest grandson was making the trip with me and while he was totally absorbed in his phone; I was engrossed in watching the changing landscape. The drive had progressed well for several hours as we traveled through little towns, making a turn here or there.  Two courthouses called me to remember them on the way home (I did) and I found a world of sheep and wool processing I didn’t know existed. The country grew more and more rugged as the morning went by; the temperature dropped, too.

Then over the top of an approaching hill appeared three windmills, new large modern sleek bladed windmills. Suddenly I had the grandson’s full attention.  We quickly found a place to pull over and were snapping pictures like typical tourists.  Looking back we laughed at ourselves, but at that time we were in awe.  Windmills right before our eyes.  Little did we know that we would see many, many more as we passed farm after farm. Some blades turning, others still, some in groups, and all facing many directions. I was still in awe and we stopped again to make more pictures.

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The weekend passed, my nephew graduated, we celebrated and packed up his apartment. On Sunday morning we began the trip home, retracing our path from the trip north.  Only this time I realized we had been climbing on the previous trip; we rounded a curve and there below was the most amazing view of the Texas Panhandle Plains.  It was a cold, hazy morning, but even in the limited visibility it was beautiful.

As we descended into the valley my thoughts turned, as they often do, to those who had first come to this area.  The Native Americans, the explorers, and the first settlers who carved out homesteads and ranches in this harsh land.  I imagined those cold mornings in a wood house (or less) with no running water and possibly no real fireplace to generate any warmth.  Walking out into the cold to feed livestock and perform chores.  The challenge of scraping an existence from a rugged, barren landscape.  The threat of natural disaster as well as attack from hostile Indians was always there. Many moved on, many did not survive, yet somehow others learned to adapt and co-exist with the land. It was difficult, and yet they persisted and they overcame.  They survived.

Soon we passed a small ravine where a traditional windmill was working, blades spinning and, presumably, pumping water into the nearby tank. Many of these familiar icons have disappeared over the years as electric pumps took their place and the windmill was left to deteriorate.  This one was fairly new and in good order. The hardy, adaptable settlers realized the value of the wind that never ceased; they dug wells, hooked up the windmill and had water for themselves and their livestock. The wind was a sustainable resource that brought improvement to their lives.

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Windmill at the Hill County Safety Stop along I-35 South

On the surrounding hills the modern, technology driven windmills were also working, capturing that same wind and funneling its energy from the sky into electricity for millions of homes (including my own).  The wind farms are a little more complicated than pumping water into a tank, but they have provided a much needed method to generate electricity using a sustainable energy. Yes, they changed the landscape and the environmentalists think they are damaging, but they really aren’t intrusive and when you realize the service they provide the offset isn’t catastrophic.

I marveled at the idea of the old and the new working side by side, both using a resource that was readily available and would never run out or pollute the earth.

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Decorative windmill on display Becker Vineyards, Fredericksburg Texas

 

The Broken Wing

 

 

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For many years the little white angel spent most of the year in a box with other Christmas decorations that would be briefly displayed and then put away.  She had been a trinket-type Christmas gift from either a friend or co-worker, but had such a sweet serene face that she had been kept. In due time a collection of angels assembled themselves on top of the bookshelf and she joined them there. Quietly, they watched over the living room.

But the peacefulness of the little group was disturbed when a construction worker very unwisely maneuvered a long baseboard through the wide doorway and hooked the little angel sending her flying into the floor below.  Crash! My irritation level was already high with the workers and now this. I turned around expecting to see only scattered pieces of the ceramic angel, but instead saw her face down in the floor intact with only a shattered wing. Surprised, I mumbled to the horrified worker that it was nothing expensive.

I picked her up and turned her over. Her wing was gone, but the serene look was unchanged. Immediately I saw the analogy and gently placed her back on the top of the bookcase.  She had been hurled to the floor without any warning, crashing face down.  Damaged, but not destroyed. Changed in an instant, never to be the same. But, still loved and still treasured she was not to be cast off.  I swept up the broken pieces and threw them away, thankful for the gentle hand of the loving Father that’s there to pick us up when we find ourselves face down in the floor. Part of us may be broken, but with His care we will be restored to our place in His plan.

 

The Quiet Center

 

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Come and find the quiet center

    in the crowded life we lead,

Find the room for hope to enter,

Find the frame where we are freed:

Clear the chaos and the clutter,

Clear our eyes that we can see

    all the things that really matter,

Be at peace, and simply be.

–Shirley Erena Murray

Each of us has a quiet center, deep within our being where we meet our true self. In that silent place we find solace and peace and see what really matters.

 

Amaryllis Profusion

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All I have done is water these amaryllis bulbs and cover the plants during the worst of our winter weather.  In turn I have been rewarded with an explosion of blooms – 12 stalks with 4 blooms each to be exact.  I will not complain about cold weather from now on as I truly think it is the cause of this showy display!

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