Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Monday, July 18, 2011
Let me explain.
On Friday (while I was in class), V, D, & Chuck:
1) Drove to the High Peaks region of the Adirondacks (about 2 hours each way),
2) climbed Mount Jo,
3) watched the acrobatic skiers practice at the Olympic Training Center at Lake Placid,
4) swam in Mirror Lake,
5) ate at a HoJo's,
6) drove back to Potsdam.
7) actually came into Betsy and David's house and spoke to them...
8) and then went back to our apartment and to sleep...
On Saturday I realized we'd arrived, however, when I was sitting in a pool in the middle of Lampson's Falls with Chuck, Vika and Diana.
1) gotten lost looking for Lampson's Falls (no panicking girls!)
2) walked the half mile trail to the falls, 3) waded, then swum, in the pool just below the falls.
4) Then I climbed out onto the rocks of the falls, and the others followed me. There was a lovely little crevice in the rock, with a refreshing pool, and the falls rushing down just 20 feet away... We all were sitting there and we were chatting and enjoying the beautiful day.
We watched Cedar Waxwings hawking for insects at the lip of the falls, found a few flukes on Vika and Chuck, admired the complexity and beauty of the roots of two big trees that had been blown down, signed into and out of the trail log...
It has taken three years to influence their perspective enough that they could enjoy all these activities!
Family Day THIRD ANNIVERSARY 21 July 2011!
The kids will still be at camp, so we'll celebrate when we all get home.
Thursday, May 5, 2011
Sunday, October 31, 2010
|Part of Vika's family of pumpkins... There are at least three more upstairs!|
|Vika and Diana, 2010, Flash Photo|
My husband has left me. He had to go to California on business.
On the afternoon of All Hallow's Eve.
Not good. Really not good when you have our children, who love holidays, hate change, hate it when one of us is not at home, and usually cannot manage the stress of exciting events, like Trick-or-Treating.
He left me a clean house.
To understand how clean it is now, please look first at photos I took last week for a project I'm pursuing.
|Laundry room: BEFORE|
The kitchen: all the horizontal surfaces are clear!
The laundry: all the laundry is done, and most is folded and put away.
The library: he had been culling the stuff in the bookshelves, and has thrown away about 90% of the paper and instructional materials in the worst set of shelves.
The living room: he went out yesterday and got me a floor lamp that I wanted, not really his style, and also two matching table lamps. And he didn't fuss about it at all.
Diana's room: he did an extensive pre-sort of clothing that we have had in storage for the kids. Sorting by size and suitability.
These are all riches that exceed in value any diamond, any fur, any luxurious vacation (except maybe going to Antarctica...) I can imagine!
This is love, and I recognize it and thank him!
Monday, December 7, 2009
About two weeks ago, a friend asked me for advice about buying a sewing machine. She started out by looking at the web site of the soon-to-be-local-for-her John Lewis store in Cambridge, UK. Lots of pretty machines, even available in various pastels, and the prices on the low end look very attractive.
- Chain stitch machines, often sold as toy machines for children or as speedy menders…
- Straight stitch machines
- Machines that include straight stitch, zigzag and built-in buttonhole stitches
- Machines that include straight stitch, zigzag, built-in buttonhole stitches and decorative stitches
- Blind hem machines
- Overlock machines (sergers, etc.)
- Embroidery machines
- Adjustable stitch length
- Adjustable tension on the thread that goes through the needle
- Ability to reverse direction
- Top loading bobbin
- Ability to add an even feed foot / walking foot (if not buying a Pfaff with IDT)
Chuck took the kids swimming and then to dinner with Grandma. Grandma got to tool around Penfield Wegmans in her electric wheelchair, giving information on the food she would like us to buy for her!
Some people water gardens. I'm not too good at that. However, now that I have a little rest inside me, I am watering my watercolors. It's one of those paint maintenance things that I do from time to time. It isn't necessary, but it gives me something peaceful and easy to do. I open each palette and put a couple of drops of water on each mound of dried paint. Some colors -- Perinone Orange, for example -- become parched and crack open like parched land sometimes does. Great gullies and rifts. Others like Amazonite Genuine become dry all through and absorb the water like a sponge.
In any event, paints that have been watered recently are much easier to use in painting. They re-wet better, and this means that they form better textures quickly. The way I do it, the paints reconstitute to nearly the same texture as when they came from the tubes... just a little drier, so that they solidify again when I'm done painting. When I'm done painting, the big challenge is to keep the palette upright until the paints no longer run.
Sometimes I take a pile of toothpicks and stir the paints in their pans until the consistency is really smooth and I can level the paint in the pan. I won't do that tonight. If Perinone Orange, Winsor Lemon and Winsor Red look as unhappy tomorrow morning as they do now, I probably will stir them then.
In addition to soothing me, watering my paints is a good first step when I want to refill the pans. My tiny (7 color) palette sees a lot of use and I actually use up the half-pans fairly quickly. My other palettes last a fairly long time between refills, like 6 months or a year or more. And I never, ever have to water the St. Petersburg / Yarka paints. The соус (sauce) that St. Petersburg uses seems never to dry out.
I see that I wouldn't 'need' to do this watering of the paints if I painted with one palette and painted every day...
I don't remember when I switched myself to this very limited palette (Hansa Yellow Medium, Quinacridone Red, French Ultramarine Blue, Winsor Lemon, Winsor Red, Winsor Blue and Sap Green). I'm sure it was sometime this summer, maybe in June. It has been a great learning experience, since it has been about six months since I used any convenience colors other than Sap Green. I still have a lot of learning to go...
Reading and looking at other people's work has made me realize that I have shortchanged the earth colors. In their raw states, they don't appeal to me. But I just saw a mixture of Cerulean and Burnt Umber that produced a most beautiful gray. I need to learn the earth colors and what they can do.
For the last two days, or more, I have been playing with dip pens, including a bamboo pen that I bought and a bamboo skewer from the kitchen drawer, and now I am beginning to play with some natural sponges. Not doing anything useful. Just doodle and splat. Checking out textures, the effects of wetness / dryness... Oh, yes, and I did try barbering a fan brush to get a more interesting texture with it, but so far haven't improved it much. :-)
A couple of weeks ago, Karen came home from Asia bearing the cutest thing: Pentel's Aquash field painting set. Eight watercolors in crayon form, plus a waterbrush and a palette. I am still learning to use the crayons so that I get watercolor textures and not crayon textures. The same problem applied when I tried Carol's Derwent Intense pencils a few weeks ago. In both cases, the colors are great: rich, subtle, blendable. In both cases, I left crayon-like marks on the paper that my Arches squirrel brush could not eliminate.
Clearly I could use something with more scrubbing power and probably move a lot of that pigment off the paper and into solution! But I am training myself to work with these squirrel brushes because they require a much different attitude on my part. In the first phase, I had to give up a lot of control... Even now, 6 months later, I still have trouble getting the water-in-brush amount correct. Too much and everything runs. Too little and the brush has no life, no spring.
So, in case anyone reading this has the idea that I spend hours every day painting, rest assured: it is not so. But I do spend some time nearly every day soothing my soul with some form of playing with paint! I have the 5" x 8" samples to prove it.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
I never made it to Wegmans, so our cupboards are bare. BARE! I hope Liz will come by in an hour or so and stay with the kids while I make a much-needed trip to the big W.
And my stop at the bank was 7 minutes too late... to find out where the missing $$$ (the cost of one car) are... Did we lose a check? Did the USPS lose some of our mail? What can we do about it? Завтра...