The cartoon forest of umbrellas slightly quiver – from the light breeze or excitement? They always look like they are about to spin into some sort of Disney dance.
It could be Oz.
Water giggling in the centerpiece fountain. The tease. She coyly uses tropical plants as a burlesque dancer uses her fans.
A small Lizard peers over the umbrella’s edge. Sneak attack being planned. Preparing to challenge a small bird for any leftover crumbs.
The Blue Angels overhead.
Feet up, short sleeves, sun glasses, gyros plate.
A place to put life on simmer and savor the company.
You dine and chat. Not shovel and run.
Hidden in plain sight, the cherished Mediterraneo Market and Café’s patio is pinned like a bright brooch on granny’s winter coat. Tourists rush past barely glancing – except maybe in quick amusement at the strip center’s architecture.
Seriously? A Tudor village. In Space City. Directly across from NASA. What were they thinking?
Maybe it was “contrast and compare”.
Who knows. It was the late 1950′s.
Built two stories with shops down and offices or lofts above, the dark-beamed buildings (at least they didn’t go with thatched roofs) are probably living on borrowed time.
While the grocery store moved out, there’s one of the oldest Farmer’s Market in the area here on Saturday.
The well stocked non-chain health food store looks rooted in its’ spot. Next door is the yoga studio, next to the tall Clock Tower, a resale shop, a Do-it-yourself Dog Wash place, and the dinner theater.
See. Everything an Olde English village would need.
You can sit inside the restaurant.
Often have soccer on the big screen. NASA memorabilia alternating with Greek travel posters on the red walls. And you’ll want to examine their Wall of Fame covered with notes and pictures from movie stars, celebrities, and dignitaries: Cher, Farrah Fawcett, Annie Lennox, Cold Play, Backstreet Boys….We’ll just let you be surprised at who found themselves here – and who from then on, whenever they were in Houston, insisted on deliveries backstage or at the hotel.
But outside is the place to be.
The never-ending Greek music lingering, but not intruding.
This day the Blue Angels were making passes practicing for the big Wings Over Houston Air Show.
Nova had a great show about aviation during WW I recently.
You can watch the entire episode here.
At first aviators were really all in one big fraternity: brothers in the sky…until they figure out about how to use planes for more than just locating the enemy’s gun positions and reporting troop movements.
Tricky how they eventually got the bullets not to shoot off the propellers.
At the start of the war, the Royal Air Force had a little over 100 pilots – at the end of the war, several thousand.
Demonstrates that necessity really is the mother of invention.
Kick-starts rapid advancement and progress.
Great video. Cool planes. You’ll find it fascinating.
Have to admire those first pilots in those early fragile planes.
Volunteered. Soon knew the risks. Every time one was lost, another stepped up.
One individual determined to risk all – to sacrifice – for those back home.
Taking up a dangerous challenge to move knowledge and understanding forward.
There have always been those who dared: explorers of land, sea, and sky.
If was up to me, I’d buy Virgin Galactic tickets. I’d apply at SpaceX
The next grand quest. Baby steps into a vast openness.
What is out there? Someday, they will know.
When will they fly me to the moon? It will happen.
What do you bet a bunch of old geezers will be on flights ASAP?
Check those walkers at the gate. Won’t need them in space’s zero gravity weightlessness.
Note to self: Ask Branson about a burger/hot dog stand at the space port. Want to at least see the bright stars in passengers eyes.
Where would we be without those who see long?
Vanguards with toes over the curb. Pushing the unknown.
The dreamers stepping past the broken glass.
I sit with umbrellas shaded from the sun and wonder as the fountain bubbles, the lizard peers down calculating the distance, and the Blue Angels soar over head.
Mind over magic.
Even in Oz.
Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.
There. That shadow leaning over the rail. Was it?
She stirred from the shelter she’d sought.
Was it him?
Oh, a quick brush with her fingers. Presentable?
He mustn’t see how hurt she was. Her disappointment.
Sparkle. Had to sparkle.
He’d expect that.
And for her accept his casual return without explanation. Always.
It had been their way.
Ground rules established early.
The silhouette was so still. He hadn’t seen her.
But he was making no effort.
Not a singe glance towards where he’d walked away leaving her broken.
Something held her arms from waving to him.
What if she was wrong.
What if he had only returned to make sure she was…..gone.
No longer a worry – or a problem – for him.
The shadow seemed frozen in time and place – just like the chill stealing over her.
Suddenly the ground beneath her felt more solid.
What was real?
Alone she might be frail, but she could stand.
She could rise and take a seat at life’s table on her own terms.
Or she could relinquish herself to him. Again. Bent to his requirements.
Be content with being shelved and forgotten from time to time.
Hidden away unless he had no choice but to bring her.
Could she once again welcome him into her arms?
Despite the cost?
(and we’re not talking shoe shopping)
She made her choice.
Closed into herself.
Wrapped her tattered gown close.
Much to offer. Still worthy.
Others had noticed her.
She had waved them off. Confident he’d come to his senses.
But instead she came to hers.
To him she’d only been a placeholder. An insignificant zero.
She was going where she would be appreciated.
Boldly proclaim, “Hey, World. I’m available. Take some initiative and I’m yours!”
Reality sits well with her.
Funny how being wanted can heal any dents.
(She asked to let you know she was OK, so let her update her story.
Besides the weather was nice and the other post isn’t done yet anyway….
But please don’t tell her that. You know how she feels about being a placeholder.)
Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge
I am dictating this on the run. I saw it. Can’t deny it. It’s the tooth – I mean, the truth.
Veggies eat their young!
What if they aren’t satisfied with their own?
Halloween’s here! Holler-Ring activities are about to start!
Small children in odd misshapen outfits.
Easily confused with appetizers.
Staff just walks faster in the other direction. Says not to worry. They will all be gone soon.
Has exit transport been arranged?
Guess Uber does do special request vehicles.
Not sure how authorities dug up background checks on these drivers, though.
German, can’t mask the exhaustion.
No bones about it. This tale’s been waggin’ the dog.
Never been much of a fan of pulp fiction.
Fall back? Fall down. Don’t have to ask me twice.
Happy Holler-Ring, German and some very tired paw waves.
Molly, the Marvelous
Previous correspondence of the 2014 Veggie Invasion:
Only the squirrels know the answer. OK. The early bird might. The worm could be turning.
You were right.
These Veggie Invaders certainly got sacked.
Spooky about veggies. Worried they know we’re on to them.
Researchers eavesdropped on some Arabidopsis, and discovered that thale cress practices Chemical warfare. Once annoyed, the plants even arm themselves to protect against future attacks.
Whole new meaning for “chemical plant”.
Time to round up some Plant Whisperers?
Oh, bad word choice. “Locate”, not “Roundup“.
Could be misinterpreted.
Just in case they are monitoring, best not to escalate things.
Looks like a real horror story growing.
Strange things snort of normal around Holler-Ring.
(And some just stick around….)
Keep an eye on the bulging orange Veggie Invaders.
Who knows what they are cooking up.
Hope all the veggies you bag are
tasty, Oh they may be listening co-opoerative ones.
And the rest of the veggies soon bundle themselves up and haul out of here. Chop. Chop.
Yours in fur,
Catch up with the Vegetable Invasion
A major grocery store mystery may have been revealed during this recent veggie invasion.
Staff is always bringing home food in packages. Like fish, nuts, raisins, and figs.
I guess these fish are too cold so they don’t need to swim around and are content in the freezer.
And maybe the squirrels are entrepreneurs who gather the nuts, bag them, then sell them? Squirrels always seem too busy to play. Small businesses take a lot of time and effort.
There figs that grow on the trees across the fence, so why not just pick them? Why buy them in bags?
Does packaging subdue the wildness in veggies?
During my patrols, I’ve noticed some transformations going on with the orange vegetables invaders.
Take a look.
Some seem to be shrinking, shriveling, and drying up.
Is this where raisins come from?
Staff was overheard saying all of them would be boxed up soon.
It’s difficult to say if that’s horror or total surprise on that shriveled invader-soon-to-be raisin’s face.
On your advice, I am keeping a sharp eye on developments.
Right now it looks like the veggies’ future is up in the air.
Yours in paws,
Molly, the Marvelous Malamute
Previous Holler-Ring posts about the Vegetable Invasion:
- Vegetable Invasion. (Could get mushy) Molly writes to her friend The German for advice.
- Wayward sockies. Blowhard Vegetable Invaders The German responds with reports from her Realm
It was a long way down. The wind buffeted her as she stood wavering.
On the edge. Unable to turn around. Tattered.
They seemed a perfect pair.
Had done everything together: tailgating, outdoor concerts, Fourth of July fireworks, fishing.
Once he had been so proud of her – when she was stable.
To be part of his fast crowd, one needed to be flexible. Able to travel at a minute’s notice.
She rode the dream, but became unraveled.
Not able to support her assigned load at parties and events.
Started feeling shaky.
It became too much. He had to carry her.
That didn’t sit well with him.
His friends began to notice – to snicker. To offer another.
She saw him on the computer. Trolling for what, he wouldn’t say.
Then there was that picture on his phone. He didn’t think she knew.
She reached out her arms, but could no longer hold him.
How could he just walk away?
Leave her alone, ripped and torn apart.
Now she stood looking – judging the distance.
This time of year the water wouldn’t be very cold.
Maybe the wind would have pity and lift her gently over the edge.
Then she could fold into herself and softly sink watching the thinning bubbles float above her.
Only one thing was stopping her: that promise.
She had promised she’d never let herself become a stick in the mud.
Somehow that has held her on the banks.
(We have tried to comfort her. Offering to shelter her from the wind.
But she said “No, if – no, when he comes back, I have to be here.”
We can only watch. And call his mom to tell him to do the decent thing and go pick her up.)
Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge
It’s all talk - that adoration of perfection. No one really seems to desire it.
Don’t show any clue. Look sullen and out of focus, Word. You’ll have a better chance.
Don’t deny it.
Like that kid in the class that always knows the answer: wildly waving arms. Overlooked. Repeatedly. Until defeated.
Is that the goal? “Put you in your place smarty pants.”
I know. Asking questions is a classroom behavior management technique to keep students on task and maybe provides feedback of information delivery to a rare perceptive teacher.
But you know how it seems to that kid desperately waving – hoping. Confused.
Isn’t whole point of asking to find the answer that fits perfectly?
It’s all talk. So, words fare even worse.
Silent. Defenseless. Words can only wished to be picked.
To make their families proud.
To settle in the right spot where they shine to perfection.
Perfect doesn’t always get picked.
Like the pretty high school girl who sits home alone because the boys are too intimidated to approach. So she sits. Hoping.
Words, by nature, are not going to be assertive.
No protesting or rioting demand their place.
Confident in their identity, they wait to be noticed.
Naive that people will select the best tool for the job.
Reality is cruel.
That one is too hard to spell.
This one? Too old.
Another one avoided because someone might get hurt feelings.
Or too fancy.
Too snooty. Better pick the one more relevant to the community.
Oh, this meaning is close enough.
Need to turn message in this direction.
Sounds smart. No one will really check it.
Too many letters. Won’t fit the headline space. Find a shorter one.
Meanings amputated by society. By the very ones who should champion the “perfect” word.
Somehow shoes manage to get more careful selection than words.
(Know they have soles, but still, they are simply heels.)
In an era when dogs and ghost writers of shallow celebrities get publisher picked before words finely crafted, Words must feel crushed. Shelved. Set aside.
Champions of thought, words are not leaving the field.
Always the rebels. Seeking out the seekers.
Whispering about treasures, glories, knowledge, and understanding.
Minions will be initiated and indoctrinated.
The battle has been fought before.
A picture may be worth a thousand words, but only words can explain why.
Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.