Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Chihuly Part II

Twitter and Social Media rocks, in my opinion.  I started tweeting in September of 2008 and the first local tweeter I met was Paul Anater.  Paul is the king of connections and it has been a joy to watch his life evolve as he embraced social media.  Paul is a designer and has met many other designer tweeps both locally and throughout the world through some pretty cool trips.  It was one such trip that brought a group of local tweeters together.  Luckily they decided to get together again and that is how this tweet up was born.   My name was suggested (thank you thank you thank you) and I was game.   During the on-line discussion JoAnn Locktov (see Part I) asked if we would be interested in touring The Chihuly.  Everyone jumped at the chance!  

I was excited because my industry had been buzzing with the fact the space was designed by local architect Albert Alfonso and by all accounts it was stunning.  There was also a door I was very interested in seeing but that is Part III.

We were met at the Morean Arts Center by the Director of Marketing and Communications Wayne David Atherholt.  All I could think of is how the heck was I lucky enough to get to do this!  The tour was phenomenal.  Wood, metal, light and glass brought together to create dazzle.  Again pictures are going to say so much more than I could possibly.  A cool effect was that each room had a glimpse into the next, a tease if you will.

After the tour we walked down Beach Drive to Ceviche Tapas Bar and Restaurant where we enjoyed many delicious dishes, laughed and got to know each other a bit better.  I really had a wonderful time and want to say thanks to  Eric Miller, Carmen Christensen, Tom Wiebe, Michelle Wiebe, Jeremy Parcels, and Paul Anater .  Please check out what they had to say about the evening.  A very big thank you to Wayne for taking the time to conduct such a wonderful and informative tour.
I highly recommend touring The Chihuly and if you can take a stroll and have some gelato afterwards, all the better!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Chihuly First in a Series of Three

Downtown St. Petersburg
Here in the Tampa Bay area we are in what’s known as the dog days of summer; where you are drenched in sweat just going from your house to your car.  For me I am all about the a/c this time of year and I know just the place to recommend.

If you are anywhere near downtown St. Petersburg (and I suggest you should be) stop in and visit The Chihuly Collection housed in the Morean Arts Center.   

I was able to take the tour thanks to a wonderful Tweeter JoAnn Locktov.  How that all came to be will be in Part II.  All I will say is how can you not love social media!

Anyway visiting the Chihuly Collection is a wonderful way to spend a few hours out of the heat and it is a treat for your senses as well.  If you haven’t heard of Dale Chihuly he creates the most amazing pieces of glass.  I had not previously seen his work and it was breathtaking.  Here is a sneak peak.

Now if you have kids you are currently saying there is no way this will work for my family.  Ah but it would because once a month a few blocks from the Arts Center there is a center where you and your family can make glass yourself! 

This just touches the fringe of beauty at the Chihuly Museum.  I will be writing more about how the Museum was created by one of the premier architects located in Tampa, Florida, Mr. Alberto Alfonso.  His use of materials, lighting and space to house the collection is amazing.  Of course there is THE door too.  Oh the door will be a post of its very own because 16 years in the door industry I have never seen anything like it.

Stayed tuned and if you have experienced the Chihuly please share in the comment section.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

My Oasis (written on August 20th at 2:30pm)

I am currently sitting in a house of some dear friends.  I am here because when they go away I am sometimes lucky enough to watch their cat.  I love my dogs but sometimes a cat to curl up on your lap is nice too.  Unfortunately this cat doesn’t do that but he is great fun and sometimes allows me to pet him.

I take pet watching very seriously as I know how much of a relief it is when I know my dogs are taken care of while I am away from home.  Each pet owner has their own level of comfort and I try to make sure I do whatever is necessary for my friends to feel at ease. 

This couch beckons
There is a more selfish reason I like to watch their cat though.  Their house is my oasis.  Yes it’s true.  When I am here I don’t see any chores that may need to be done.  The house is spotless and typically a lovely spot of food is left for me.  Always yummy but made more so because of the thoughtfulness behind it.  The living room is a cool relaxing place where I can get away from the heat of the day.  Their sunroom (my favorite) is where I typically set up camp with laptop or book, settle into the easy chair and watch the squirrels and birds on the large oak trees outside. 

My favorite spot
There is a peace here created by two loving people that must touch all who enter.  I can’t explain it but I feel it.  It makes my shoulders ease up, my breathing slow and frees my mind.  So I stay a few hours, talk to the cat, and write or draw or nap even. 

I know my friends think I am the one doing them the favor but really it is the other way around.  This is my moment of peace and I am grateful.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Let’s Blog Off – 2031

Every two weeks Bloggers unite for a day to write about a communal topic.  This week LetsBlogOff asks the question where do you see yourself in 20 years? 
In 20 years I will be just shy of 70 which is very shocking to me.  I am on the shorter side of this chapter now.

The age of women of my yoga group range from 38 to 60 and most of us are kid free. We talk about this subject a lot.  Several of us are dealing with aging parents and some parents are handling aging and the next chapter pragmatically and others not at all.  Death is inevitable how you face it is not.

Historic Shed
I have had an idea for several years now of many tiny cottages built in a U.  The open end of the U would have a large outdoor screened in kitchen with gardens filled with vegetables, herbs and flowers.  The gardens would be in containers about 35” off the ground and on wheels to help ease back issues.  The cottages would be very simple 1 bedroom/1 bath with a kitchenette to offer privacy and personal space.  The outdoor kitchen would be the heart of the complex.  I think everyone would have to own an equal share almost like a co-op. 

When this idea started floating around in my head I didn’t give a lot of thought about location except it would need to be near health care.  Tampa isn’t necessarily the quaint town that I imaged yet Seminole Heights could be.  When I bought my current home 9 years ago the idea wasn’t in the forefront of my decision.  I live on a ½ acre about 10 minutes from downtown and also near hospital and medical facilities. It is also ½ block from a bus line.  The neighborhood is currently zoned for single family homes but a new type of zoning has been discussed with the city called formed based zoning.  If it passes my block would be zoned mixed so I think I could actually build the cottages. 

For me life is being surrounded by friends, family, having laughter and joy, and also having a purpose be it volunteering or with a job.  It is just the simple things.

Please check out the other participants life in 20 years.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Nebraska Avenue

Centro Asturiano completed in 1914

11.2 miles of interesting is how I describe Nebraska Avenue.   I only drive a small portion, 2.3 miles of it, five days a week but I never know what I may see during that stop and go drive. 

Nebraska Avenue was named for the state of Nebraska in the 1870’s from an influx of Nebraskan’s who migrated to Florida perhaps for the game and fishing which was plentiful at the time.  They planted orange groves along the dirt road and settled in.

Downtowns are often times filled with people who are in challenging life situations, Tampa is no exception.  Nebraska Avenue runs from downtown at Twigg St. all the way up to Lutz.  The section I drive is between Palm Avenue in Ybor and Hillsborough Avenue in Seminole Heights.

Churches both small and large, dot the blocks; along with motels that have seen their better days.  For me, the character of Nebraska comes from the people that live there.  Young people that ride their bikes or walk across the street playing chicken with the cars.  The elderly, looking so frail, that shuffle to their neighborhood convenience store.  The Mr. Lady, dressed in very short shorts, a tee shirt and had white face cream on his face, who literally flounced out into the middle of the road stopping rush hour traffic with one hand on his hip and another straight out, when he noticed an elderly woman trying to find a break in traffic to cross the street.  It is the spirit of the hearts I see sleeping on the benches in the park.  Some broken, others free.  People dressed in their church clothes on a weekday trying to do their best day in and day out. 

I see what once were grand buildings now in disarray but still providing a roof over someone’s head.  Other buildings being given a rebirth as entrepreneurs move in hoping the cheap rent gives them a chance to make a difference in the neighborhood.

2.3 miles of sadness and hope five days a week.  This is why I choose not to drive the highway.

Friday, August 12, 2011

The solenoid is bad…

A few weeks back I attended an all day seminar for Electronic Exit Device Training sponsored by Ingersoll Rand.  I have been remiss in keeping up with my industry education so I was grateful to get the invitation from my local representative.

a-fabco offers one stop shopping for their customers and since radiation shielding is typically in healthcare facilities I sell a lot of hardware to hospitals and cancer centers.  Security is very important and electronic hardware is everywhere.  In fact I have three current hospital floor remodels projects and all three had electronics specified.

I walked into the class and 90% of the attendees were healthcare or education maintenance employees, which was great.  I liked seeing that facilities are educating the employees that take care of their buildings.  We sat four to a table so I picked a table with men that looked like they knew what they were doing – because I didn’t.  I started getting nervous when I saw a voltage tester sitting on the table along with a Von Duprin EL Rim Device.  Oh and extension cords.  In my head I kept thinking do I really want to play with electricity?

Our instructor was Shawn Mahoney who is the National Training Manager for Ingersoll Rand.  Having been with the company for 26 years Shawn is a guru at troubleshooting EL devices.  First up was a 15 min. video reviewing IR’s electronic products.  Shawn then discussed the new regs for fire door inspections and though the 2009 IBC code has not taken effect in FL as yet, be prepared! 

Eventually we got to the hands on part of the class.  A standard 99 Rim Panic Device was provided along with an EL Conversion kit.  Our instructions were to turn the standard device into an EL99. My installer just had to do this on one of my hospital jobs so I was very interested to see how difficult it was.  Turns out not so hard, keeping in mind my rim exit device was not mounted on a doorJ  I am a huge proponent of taking pictures with my Blackberry as I am dismantling anything to make sure I put it back together again correctly. IR also has instructional videos on YouTube which I thought was a great idea.  We had a power supply ready and following Shawn’s instructions hooked up the EL device.  It worked!  I didn’t blow it or anyone up!!  After a few other configurations Shawn got to – what for me was the most helpful part of the class - troubleshooting.

The first point Shawn made is that 99% of the time when an EL device is not working properly everyone thinks the solenoid is bad, turns out that is rarely the case.  He gave us tips on what to look for and try if the device is not working properly. 

1.    Check the wire selection size.  If the wire size is incorrect it can allow the voltage to drop out. 
2.    Confirm the power supply is correct for the opening.
3.    On Vertical Rod devices check the rod adjustment length.  Disconnect the rods and try the EL
device.  If the device engages and holds the rods have been incorrectly installed.
4.    If the latch bolt is twitching look at the potted modular (the black box where the wires run out of the solenoid).
5.     Check the wire nuts in the wire transfer connector.

It was a good class and I appreciate that Ingersoll Rand conducts classes lik
e these all across the U.S.

Funny enough I received a call earlier this week from my installer who was at one of those hospital projects.  He was working with the Automatic Door Operator installers trying to get my EL9927 to work with their hardware.  My installer said and I quote: “the top latch retracts but then pops right back out again – must be a bad solenoid, how fast can we get a new one?”   My response was "I would like you to try a few things first" and dug my list out.  Solution #3 was the answer!  The vertical rod had not been installed according to the instructions.  My installer corrected it and the device is working just fine.