Saturday, October 30, 2010

Of a Morning

Alexia and I made Halloween cookies the next morning. I used to make these Jello cookies for my kids and now I'm making them with my granddaughter. She loves to cook and so cookies have become part of our visit. I bought a couple of flavors of Jello and Alexia chose strawberry.
Alexia wants to do every step and is careful and patient. My great-grandmother, grandmother and mother were all professional cooks. I didn't learn until my mother-in-law taught me - she was a Navy captain's wife and entertained. Always fixing dinner after a long day at work never left me loving to cook and DD Chris hates it. Here comes Alexia. Is she channeling our line of women? I need to teach her how to make white sauce.

We took the kids home after breakfast and then went on a date - we ate lunch at the Nugget buffet and then walked over to the Century and saw RED. I'm not a fan of movies with guns, but if you thought True Lies was funny, you'd like this one. We enjoyed it.

Sammie is attached to this toy. My morning routine is always the same. I wake up, have coffee while I spin and then I walk the dogs. They cannot get it through their heads that the walk comes after spinning and coffee. Sammie who lived in a semi-feral state for years has a hard time with clues so we've found, mouth-sensitive dog that she is, she can be calmed by this rope.

The dogs mill around me anxiously and then settle down, except for Sammie. She has an anxiety disorder and convulsively licks - so she goes from one side of my wheel to the other, licking the air. I'm sad for her but boy is it obnoxious.
What you see here is doggie Prozac. She and I both like it.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Rosepath Sampler

I was in town again yesterday so didn't get to start on my sampler until today. I'm choosing colors for weft based on bobbins that have something on them, and of course, it's 8/2 cotton since that's just about all I have in my stash.
I love the way warp colors fool you when they intersect with the warp. The blue in my 1st sample hardly changed at all, but the gold in the 2nd sample turned rich orange crossing the purple.
The 1st blue had a lot of green but the third is sky blue. I can see that I'm going to need to include some of the warp for each one in my sample book so I can see the source colors. This 4th weft is a buttery yellow that gets an edge with the warp color.
I spent more time weaving today than I had intended and I'm sure my muscles are going to hate me tomorrow. Sometimes I'd get lost and I realize that I'm not ready to weave with my iPod. The white was the 5th pattern, and where 4 was easy and fun to do, I can't tell you how many times I had to undo and redo this one.

I think it's interesting how the green is soft and akin to a pea green, but with the influence of the warp, it's an olive green. It's actually the 7th pattern - I skipped the 6th. I was getting tired. I've written many notes so I know where to pick up.
Again, I find that I've twisted the bouts in warping back to front, the left one and second from right. Since it's a solid warp, it's not going to be a problem, while with stripes, it would be yet another disaster. I think that I'll just plan to warp front to back when I use stripes. I need a weaving genie because I cannot figure out how these bouts get twists.
We're babysitting tonight, and boy has the face of babysitting changed for us. This is the infant we used to watch, now in middle school - note the cell phone. - and he's playing a favorite game online. I tell him smile, and he *makes* a smile. He's actually quite cute - the girls think so.
Alexia on the other hand is enter-
tained by watching a musical show called Camp Rock. She danced and sang to it, and finally told me she wanted to go to bed. Goldie is set up in the guest room so I was worried about little hands, but one set is already asleep. We're making cookies in the morning. Can my life get any better?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Art Club, Friendship Club

I just finished tying on my warp when it was time to leave, actually past time to leave. I had called my new neighbor across the road to say I'd pick her up in ten minutes, when I found a threading error that I was sure I could repair in minutes. Poor Lynn had to stand at the bottom of her driveway for too long - we weren't late to Art Club but I felt bad that I left her in the cold, no pun intended.
This is Sherry's studio and she has graciously offered it to us as meeting space. We had an organizational meeting last month so this was our first actual meeting. Sandy (center) sponsored a collage ice-breaker, based on a class that she had taken. She offered all the supplies as well. We were a little tentative with each other at first, but it ended up being a wonderful afternoon. There are few opportunities to meet people out in our valley, plus the community is changing rapidly with home foreclosures, bank auctions and new residents. Lynn and her husband bought the house across the road through an online bank auction and moved here from Akron, Ohio last month.

Ian takes the dogs for a ride in the truck each morning and told me this morning that he stopped to look at a house north of us with auction signs posted. A guy pulled up in a quad and chatted with him for a bit about the sale, wondering why if the house was sold on the court steps on Wednesday, why the auction signs are still up. In passing, he added that he's losing his house and three of his neighbors are too. Lynn asked us a couple weeks ago why everyone out here seems to have a fifth wheel parked by their house. I've wondered that and how they can afford such lavish barns and quads for every family member. It's the second mortgage that paid for the toys!

Lynn and Ken bought their house at auction for $97,000. The last owners bought it for $130,000 and then added a family room and six-car garage. She told me as we drove by the recent auction house that the winning bid was $35,000. It's a mess but I'm not sure the bank accepted the bid. I'm so tired of the phone messages from Sharron Angle's group, telling me that it's Harry Reid's fault that everyone is losing their home in Nevada. Well excuse me. Wasn't it your party in the White House when these bogus loans were issued? But I digress.

Susie asked me to take this picture and email it to her as she wants a point of reference. The blue was formed with plastic wrap and the multiple shapes and colors were done by tearing rice paper in small shapes and also tearing up strings of gauze, wetting them to the paper, which is 140 lb paper, if that means anything to you, and then daubing on paint. The picture I don't have have is of this completed as a lovely stream, falling over rocks with bushes on the banks.
This was my second experience with water color. I have only done pen and ink in the past so used the exercise to practice painting negative space. My paper and string was just too pretty to throw away after it dried and lifted from the paper. It's in the foreground and also where most of my color went - I used purple, gold and green of course. I'll cut the watercolor paper into gift bookmarks. So much to learn! It was a perfect day to be indoors.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Weaving Season has Commenced

I had Ian help me move Goldie out of the dormer and into the guest room this morning. After two days of rain, I'm having that cozy-up-by-the-fire feeling. It's time to get weaving! I talked to my friend Linda, who moved to Washington earlier this year, shortly before we went on vacation. Their short-sell house had been approved for their purchase and she had gotten her Artisat out of storage and was weaving samples from Marguerite Davidson's book.
Using the same book, I've chosen Berta Frey's Rosepath Sampler using the #2 treadling. I should get 16 samples, so the warp is 10" wide and I'll weave 5" of each sample, changing colors. After Valerie's comment yesterday, I realized that I still don't have a handle on how colors work together in weaving - it's much different than in knitting. I plan to cut the samples in half so I can wet finish one half. I'm really excited.

I really like Benita's idea to take a picture a week from the same location to document the changes in the season where you live, so I went outside and took these four - more sampling! I liked the first one because it was comprehensive but it would be a bear to get to in deep snow. I just realized that. The third location would also be bad in snow and I think the aspens alone don't snow (Freudian slip?) enough. It's between two and four, both different ends of the same space and close to the front door. Anyone care to help me out here? Benita is going to tell me how to assemble the images in a video at the end of the year.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Ah yes, the trip knitting

I didn't get the trip knitting done that I usually do. I had decided ahead of time that I'd use a ten-stitch repeat called Fishtail that I found in a lace book. It seemed reasonable for a 60-stitch sock. I cast on and had the sock underway in time for our return flight. The trip takes all day so I was prepared with books and knitting. Somewhere midcontinent, I realized I was just about to the point of my toe. I measured on my leg and couldn't believe my eyes. The sock was torqued off to the left. I pulled out the needles and smoothed it on my leg. The sock is definitely twisting to the left. I hadn't been paying any attention at all, just knitting at different points in the travel. I thought about pulling it back to the heel and continuing the pattern as a twist as though it was intentional, but I think the bumps in the pattern would be uncomfortable to walk on.
I don't know if this image helps you see any better - the stockinette is partway on the sole and partway on the instep. I didn't give this pattern a second thought when I chose it. I guess I should do that in the future. And I have no idea why I'm obsessing on these socks when I have two sweaters in progress from handspun. I guess I don't like to be flummoxed. Isn't that a great word?? I frogged it.
I've knit four pairs of socks from Noro sock yarn and I know this because I'm making these socks from four remainder balls. I thought since the colors are so crazy that I could just knit them up and they'd kinda go together. They're not cooperating. I've decided to finish the project and then overdye them with something that will unify the colors. I was thinking blue in the beginning but now I'm leaning more toward a raspberry. I guess I'll have a better idea when I actually have two socks.

I'm a little stunned at the attention Nevada has gained in the National limelight with the Senate race between Harry Reid and Sharron Angle. The latest New Yorker even had an article. One wonders how objective a candidate can be when suddenly her whole party pours funds into her campaign, as well as the Koch brothers and Karl Rove. With the report of neck-and-neck results in the polls, I've come to the conclusion that the general population in his state doesn't read. One of the campaign voice mails that I had to delete when we got home was from a man urging us to take back control of our state from big money in Washington. He urged us to vote for Sharron Angle and in the course of the message said Na-vaugh-duh at least eight times, something no Nevadan would ever do. It clearly identified him as an outsider, and yet the polls, well, the polls frankly depress me. I don't understand why Nevadans would concede Harry Reid's position of power in the Senate for a community college art teacher cum politician, whose state legislative record is abysmal. If only Nevadans would read.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Home Again!

I thought I'd show you our view of the Hudson River from the apartment window. We both caught colds and woke up feeling so puny Tuesday morning, that we weren't sure we'd feel up to the Yankee game that evening so stayed in all day. I love the Trump Place towers shadows.
The barge and tug are parked for a while, perhaps waiting for their load to arrive upriver. Meanwhile, a tug has gone by and now this tanker. The luxury liner berths are just south of here, a historic note from a bygone era.
This is what we see from the bedroom window which faces north. As I said, we stayed in all day, reading and sleeping. There's a Barnes and Nobles not far from the apartment and this year I ended up buying five books, read three and am midway on the fourth.
I zoomed in for this view of the same area. I am pleased with the detail my new little camera has captured. More water towers!! I'm always surprised at how high up people live.

Ian was taking a nap when the New York Fire Depart=
ment came along with practice exercises. Of course I took many pictures. I took pictures of them lowering a small boat that they used to race around in circles and then return to be pulled back aboard. But this was my favorite part of the exercise.

And then, as if on demand, a cruise ship came up the river and docked in one of the traditional luxury liner berths. You have no idea how slow a vessel moves at this stage. I was confused for quite a while until I realized that it was actually docking. I couldn't see a tug and it seems that all vessels come with one.
This sunset over New Jersey was from Monday night. I know I'm biased toward thinking the West has a lock on beautiful sunsets, but one was a contender.

This is the section of the Hudson where Sully put down his crippled aircraft and the many small boats that populate the river came immediately to safely evacuate the passengers and crew - remarkable story!

We have returned home, bringing our colds with us. The five-hour flight from Baltimore to Salt Lake City doped up on cold meds was a character builder. I was just as thrilled to come home last night as the dogs and kitty were to see us. There's no place like home! I get to sleep off my cold in my own bed. I'll post my trip knitting later - total disappointment.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Water Towers

If there is just one thing that says New York to me, it's water towers. Ian and I took the train up to the Bronx last night to see the Yankees play the Rangers. We were overwhelmed by the excitement of a stadium game and spent way too much on souvenirs for our grandkids. I could show you the pictures I took, but they wouldn't necessarily say New York. After all, the Mets are also a New York team.
We took the train down to the Fulton stop, which is where I snapped these three water towers. We were on our way to see the Fulton Fish Market and the seaport museum. I had questions the staff couldn't answer so to our delight, we were turned over to the charming museum historian, Jack Putnam - a wonderful experience.

On the other hand and in another place, we toured a historic sailing ship in Boston, also a city with a seaport past.
Mr. Putman offered to provide me with a couple of websites and mentioned that he was also a painter cum photographer, which is about when I mentioned my "thang" for water towers - I have a portfolio of photoshopped water towers. We both laughed at the modern architects who try to camouflage theirs. I caught both in this photo. That blue crown on the left is "hiding" one. Water towers are required above five stories to provide pressurized water in the event of a fire.
I was so pleased when Mr. Putnam came back to us as we walked through the Alfred Stieglitz New York exhibit. Not only did he have the web sites for me, he'd written them inside of a greeting card of his own painting - so very cool!! I thought the water towers and church spires in this image weren't pretty, but pretty funny.
And I could go on and on and on and on. I discovered two trips ago that people who live here just don't seem to see them anymore, or at least don't feel inclined to put them in paintings or photography. Perhaps they're so ubiquitous, they no longer notice. They say New York to me.

I will stop now and show you some of my new obsession - manhole covers! I'm trying to find some literature on them - help if you know where I should be looking.

Not all manhole covers are equal. I have more pictures, but you get the idea here. I came across an interesting article here on their current state of manufacture.

BTW, I picked up a book at Barnes and Noble on their remainder shelf called American Eve. It's the story of Evelyn Nesbit and Stanford White. I could not put the book down and am leaving it here in the apartment because it's also a story of New York City. He was the White in the architectural firm of McKim, Mead and White, architects for many of New Yorks historic buildings. Two thumbs up.

I'll be sad when we fly out tomorrow morning. As always, there's more to see than we have managed to see. This city is the kernel that our country grew from, not a very pretty story, but a fascinating one. And as always when we leave, I hope it's not for the last time.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Going to West Point

Ian and I took the subway to Grand Central Station today to catch a train up to Cold Spring. We had originally planned to see Poughkeepsie and Vassar where niece Allison graduated. She suggested Cold Spring instead, said it's more interesting.
There are over 100 tracks for the diesel powered transit trains and our train is on track 32. Allison messaged us to be sure to sit on the left side of the train, which is the Hudson River side.

Just north of Manhattan the Hudson River looks like this and in fact, I remarked to Ian that the Tappen Ze bridge reminded me of the bridge from Astoria, Oregon to Washington on the Columbia, a wide slow river. This was not what I expected. Just north of here we passed Sing Sing prison, which is between the river and the tracks. Ian says that's where the expression "sent up the river" comes from.

I come from Big Sky Country, wide open spaces - big, wide open spaces. I was stunned when another north-bound train pulled up alongside of us and stayed for a miles-long stretch of our view. I was stunned that it was at most 18" from our train. Our friends Pete and Rena who live in Connecticut were meeting us in Cold Spring.
Pete wanted to show us West Point, and since he and Ian are both vets, I thought - yawn, okay. Not yawn! Rena had to pull me out of the historic museum to catch our bus tour, and I was just getting to the good part about the French and Indian War and it's role in the European Seven Years War.

I was unable to get any of the dramatic photos that I saw on postcards, but this is the mess hall where cadets are reputed to eat in unison within 20 minutes. Pete and Rena treated us to the guided bus tour - the ONLY way to see and hear West Point.

Our guide, a USAA graduate and wife of an active duty soldier-academic professor on campus, was our guide. I appreciated her insight. I thought West Point only trained Army officers for war. I had no idea that their requirements were so stringent and so scientific. The Army Corps of Engineers - doh.

This is the cadets chapel. The flags represent flags flown over combat, which is why the stars change on the American flags.
I was moved to tears on several occasions, but looking toward the back of the cadet chapel you can see the lighted candle on the right. It occupies a pew seat and represents the MIA soldier. That spoke to me, still does.
The bus tour did give us this - Trophy Point. The Hudson River is exquisite and this was probably the best inspiration point for us. I know it gets even better from here but we're not going to see it - this time.

Erin, our guide has explained many points, and again, this is the cadet chapel. She said that the chapel used to be mandatory and then in the 1970's that requirement was dropped, however, attendance has not. Yeah, I bit my lip then too.
Erin explained the symbolism that surrounds the cadet's parade field - there are many statues who memorialize specific ideals. What I can remember is that the left white house belongs to the commandant and the right one to the supervisor. I learned that West Point is actually a geographic name. The campus is a west point that juts out into the Hudson River and was strategic during the Revolutionary War, since they could defend by water from both sides. Some things really are simple.