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November 5, 2014 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Sit. Stare. Wing it.

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.

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There’s no velvet rope. Not judgmental. Must be their colorful nature.©

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.

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What concrete apron of parking lot? You never notice it once you step over the curb. Must be a mystic curtain there. ©

But outside is the place to be.

An oasis.

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.

vintage plane, Extra 300L,  flying over the island and Clear Lake / Image by Billy Smith/Hou.Chron.com

Vintage plane. Flying over the little island in Clear Lake. Our house is about where the word “lake” is. (Image: Billy Smith:Hou.Chron.com)

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.

Vintage pilot. AL WIlson and Curtiss JN-4./ San Diego Air and Space Museum archives /USPD:pub.date/Commons.wikimedia.org

Dashing young pilot. San Diego Air and Space Museum /USPD:pub.date/Commons.wikimedia.org

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.

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Squint really hard and you can see three vintage planes there. Don’t laugh the leash was around my ankles. Molly saw squirrels. Closer prey is always more attention worthy, she advises.©

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.

(Tech titans who want to launch you into space)

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.

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Dancing umbrellas on a patio – in an Olde English Tudor-style village in Texas – plopped down next to NASA. Anything really is possible, Toto.©

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38 Comments

  1. foodbloggerfun / Nov 5 2014 1:45 pm

    Beautiful! I could sit there for hours relaxing, thinking and writing – enjoying the views and the people.

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 6 2014 12:09 am

      Somehow it is an enchanted spot. OK, nightime there’s music and sometimes the belly dancer. But during the day, it’s easy to become one with the umbrellas. Time takes a snooze there. Thanks for relaxing along

      Like

      • foodbloggerfun / Nov 6 2014 2:22 pm

        I would absolutely ❤ it!

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        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 6 2014 3:50 pm

          You’d fit right in! (Hmmm, may have to spill some of the other special hidden spots around here. Thanks for the munching comments)

          Liked by 1 person

  2. katecrimmins / Nov 5 2014 2:54 pm

    You had me at gyros! Love the umbrellas!

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 6 2014 12:18 am

      It is the place if anyone is feeling frazzled. It’s all pleasantly slow paced…you see people decompressing – putting away cell phone/texts and actually smiling and talking. It’s got to be the umbrellas…some sort of quiet hypnosis. Thanks for the Opa!

      Like

  3. pegoleg / Nov 5 2014 2:57 pm

    Philosopher Mouse of the Patio!

    Liked by 2 people

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 6 2014 12:48 am

      Hey- that works! Good thing that patio is on the opposite side of the lake or I’d be camped out there. Thanks for pulling up a chair at the comment table

      Like

  4. Ally Bean / Nov 5 2014 3:29 pm

    This looks like a fun, cheerful place to visit in Ye Olde Texas. Next to NASA, you say? Even better. Willy Shakes would approve.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 6 2014 12:54 am

      You could throw a rock and hit NASA…but don’t Homeland would probably call it a WMD. For some reason Olde English village style was a popular at that time. This center backs up to a major medical center/hospital complex. But so far it’s surviving…people would probably chain themselves around the umbrellas if wrecking crews showed up. You’d like it – meet you there sometime? Thanks for twirling over a comment

      Like

  5. easyweimaraner / Nov 5 2014 4:13 pm

    I would like to sit with you there and I would love to watch the old flying machines :o)

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 6 2014 12:59 am

      Easy, it’s a perfect place whether you need peace and quiet and a bit of calm – or a cheerful lively spot to laugh with friends – somehow both can exist there at once…some sort of enchanted umbrellas? You’d like watching the planes from the vintage plane museum and jets with the NASA flyboys getting their hours in – both located at a small former military airport near by. Molly however would be diving into the bushes for the little birds and lizards the shelter there…plenty for them to snack on! Thanks for barking along – hope your dad is doing well! (will be over soon to check in)

      Like

  6. Carrie Rubin / Nov 5 2014 4:22 pm

    I was recently in Seattle and saw lots of umbrellas. Unfortunately, they weren’t there to block out the sun… But despite the rain, the city was wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 6 2014 1:06 am

      Frank said you’d been in Seattle. A bit of rain, but it’s Seattle! One of my uncles had a “summer cabin” that looked down on the town. It was a great place to visit…it’s on my short list to go back and revisit soon. But right now enjoying the remaining mild weather and touring patios before the chill sets in and we opt for the places with fireplaces.(and a water view through windows). There’s a lovely seat under an umbrella here if you ever get down to conferences this way. Thanks for picking to visit this colorful scene

      Liked by 1 person

      • Carrie Rubin / Nov 6 2014 1:40 am

        Seattle is a very cool city. I was there for a memorial service, but I still got to enjoy the city a bit.

        Like

        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 6 2014 1:47 am

          Seattle has it’s own personality. Nice you had a bit of time to savor it even with the reason for the visit
          (It would probably be a lot cooler for me now without parents in tow. Near water and mountain and a rain forest. Pretty unique…..and expensive to live there I hear…but there’s a nice sailboat in brokerage that is live aboard size…that would be serious downsizing! )

          Liked by 1 person

  7. bulldog / Nov 5 2014 4:32 pm

    a Do-it-yourself Dog Wash place,…… What????

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    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 6 2014 1:12 am

      Sounds weird, right? Do-it-yourself dog wash places have suddenly popped up. I guess designed for those who live in apartments and don’t want to use their sink/shower/tub or don’t have access to outdoors and a hose…or have totally uncooperative dogs. These places have big tubs of shower type areas with ways to tie leashes to keep dogs still and commercial hair dryers…and the will sell you shampoo and stuff. (wonder if they provide raincoats for owners?) Maybe a market for those someplace, but we’ll see if they last. Thanks for hiking in to chat

      Like

  8. Paul / Nov 5 2014 8:48 pm

    I’m liking the lizard. there somethig peaceful about lizards. Cool post Phil.

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    • dogear6 / Nov 5 2014 9:49 pm

      The lizards are always fun to watch!

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      • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 6 2014 1:18 am

        They are such acrobats. Who needs ferns when there’s colorful umbrellas? Everyone should have such an oasis near them. Thanks for plopping down to chat!

        Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 6 2014 1:16 am

      You would like this place. Seriously. Time is sort of suspended there. Never a rush for anything. It is pretty remarkable to see the lizard guys traverse the area by way of umbrellas and plant branches. Quirky is worth visiting. Thanks for joining the party

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  9. PiedType / Nov 6 2014 5:48 am

    I love those umbrellas. It would be so easy to spend HOURS there.

    Virgin critics better keep their pointing fingers away from those test pilots. We’d still be earthbound if not for “the right stuff” possessed by test pilots.

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 6 2014 3:45 pm

      A spot worth going to. Food arrival is usually slow, but you never notice and it doesn’t matter. And they never rush people to leave.
      There was a 92 yr. former test pilot on news today – he survive a similar drop through hostile atmosphere. As he says, we must continue.So many don’t realize the consumer products as well as medical/building materials advances that would not exist without all those space exploration efforts….necessity pushes progress. (Wanna go in on a spaceport hotdog stand if I can talk them into it? giggles) Paw waves and thanks for rocketing over

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  10. marthaschaefer / Nov 6 2014 1:00 pm

    Perhaps it is the miss-mash of cultures, space and time that makes this so special. Oh to be a lizard on that umbrella (or Molly at your feet). Enjoy the warmth!

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 6 2014 3:47 pm

      A worm hole or time warp for sure. So far Molly hasn’t gone – she’s be thrilled with all the people to chat with and creatures to nose around….maybe this winter when the place isn’t so busy with those looking for a piece of peace. Thanks for basking along

      Like

  11. jannatwrites / Nov 6 2014 4:41 pm

    I think the contrast of the place to its surroundings give it charm. From the photos, it does look like the umbrellas and tropical foliage do provide an escape :)from the concrete jungle on the other side of the curb. In our town, we have a Swiss alpine village styled shopping center… the funniest thing to me is the Mexican food place situated within it… Swiss Mexican food… makes me smile anyway

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 6 2014 4:47 pm

      Had to laugh about the Mexican food. Nothing like a sharp contrast to highlight both. (I have real trouble getting family member inside anything that has any resemblance to Swiss Alpine village. WIll instantly reject any vacation hotel on architecture alone – not sure what the deal is – Heidi phobia or what?…)
      Thanks for sending a comment to twirl along

      Like

  12. EllaDee / Nov 6 2014 7:23 pm

    I love rainbow umbrellas of any kind… so I’d make a beeline for a spot underneath these. Love the eclectic juxtaposition… and D.I:Y. dog wash – what a great idea. I think back to the dog hair coated bathroom, scratched bathtub pre mobile dog wash days.
    As Buzz Lightyear says “To infinity… and beyond!”

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 7 2014 3:25 pm

      Consider yourself invited. You would love this mix-matched relaxed place. A whole separate little world and existence. Whimsical and welcoming.
      The dog wash is a great idea. Molly happily hops in the shower with me, but the handheld hose is about a foot too short and it’s hard to rinse her tummy – as she is about ready to get out about then. Of course it takes a mound of towels or mop up the place afterwards.
      Thanks for signing up a flighty comment!

      Like

      • EllaDee / Nov 7 2014 7:51 pm

        After I commented, I thought now nice it would be if we could teleport etc, and it came up in Celia’s comments this morning… we connect virtually but real distance still separates us. I’m under the big rainbow umbrellas sipping coffee in my thoughts 🙂

        Like

        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 7 2014 10:45 pm

          I was at Ci’s early – will have to go back and read the rest of the conversations. We do need some sort of instant transport – we all want to sit down in the same place and share laughs. I’ll tell the lizards and small birds to leave you be under the umbrellas.

          Like

  13. reneejohnsonwrites / Nov 6 2014 8:27 pm

    What a cool vibe — and that’s just from reading your descriptions. Love the whole Oz-ish space meets Mediterranean meets beachy umbrellas. Nice!

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    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 7 2014 3:26 pm

      The juxtaposition of it all must the the magic spell. (and the hummus) Thanks for swooping in to chat

      Like

  14. Robin / Nov 6 2014 8:35 pm

    It looks like such a beautiful place to sit and ponder. I love the colorful umbrellas. 🙂

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 7 2014 3:27 pm

      It’s probably good that place isn’t within walking distance, or I’d be an ever present fixture. Just the place to write something like Harry Potter. Glad you decided to stop by and twirl along

      Like

  15. jmmcdowell / Nov 13 2014 9:46 pm

    A trip to space would be amazing. Yes, it’s still dangerous—just like the early days of airplanes were. But we can’t move forward without taking risks. I doubt many of Virgin Galactic’s waiting passengers have asked for a refund.

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 14 2014 3:48 pm

      At one time, large sailing trips across the ocean were uncertain. The serious explorers still hold their tickets, but the ones that only bought a seat for the publicity (and to “network”), they probably bailed. No great loss there. What a great ride it will be sooner or later! Thanks for booking a comment here

      Like

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