Monday, July 26, 2010

Out the Side

The morning ritual has become coffee and toast at Mom's end of the house AND feeding the Bubbas, our bluejay family, peanuts. More recently the Bubbas have been joined by a distant relative, a blackbird. Squirt no longer visits as we have spent some weeks trying to discourage him. He got far too demanding. In his place, however, is Chip our garden chipmunk. Chip has been taking every opportunity he's found to sneak through the fence and 'steal' peanuts from the Bubbas.

This morning we had a new visitor. Another squirrel, definitely NOT Squirt, as this little guy wasn't at all interested in the handful of peanuts that I had just thrown out on the deck.This straggly one looked like he had gotten into some bad berries.He staggered along a bit and then stretched out for a nap.5 minutes later, a scratching episode, nearly tumbling off the fence, then settled down for more napping.Moved along the top of the fence, scratched, more napping.Came right up to the corner and peered at me through the ficus tree, (can you find him back there?) turned around and scratched, then more napping. This went on for the better part of a half hour before mom had decided enough is enough and scared him off. The rest of our morning crew needed time to get more peanuts.

Today was a gorgeous day. Breezy, warm not hot, and sunny. A perfect day NOT to do work. And I didn't. Well, no work, but I can't do nothing without someone to do nothing with, so...I did something. I baked cookies. Peanut butter ones. And just this moment it has occurred to me how weird that is considering this post.

The stained glass window at the top is located in a door at St. Mary's Episcopal Church, Rockport.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Yesterday's Outing

We decided that it had been too long since paying a visit to Hammond Castle in Gloucester. John Hays Hammond was a wealthy inventor with over 400 patents to his name. Most of the patents involved instruments relevant to wartime maneuvers, but some were of a different line of instruments. Of particular interest to JHH was the massive pipe organ that was installed in the Great Hall of his home, Hammond Castle. He spent ten years working on the 8200 pipe Skinner organ. Unfortunately, after many decades of superior operation, being performed on by the tops in the world, and subsequent to JHH's death still being a sought after venue for well attended concerts, the organ no longer works. While we visited the Great Hall had been turned into a trade show, of sorts, for area psychics. I would rather have seen the Hall, thank you. The psychic fair tackied-up an already dismal presentation of the museum home. (you can see the organ console in the far right corner of the Hall.) A shame that discount store gargoyles and furniture-in-a-box are intermixed with the true heirlooms that were JHH's. Even the gift shop could not offer up anything Hammond. Not a decent postcard (there were a few not so interesting views), nor even a book or pamphlet on JHH. Just a couple mugs interspersed with Egyptian dog statues (huh?) and fairy wands and plastic crowns, a couple plastic kiddie swords, and not much more. We did tour the entire place, inside and out, and I took a variety of pictures.This one seemed appropriate for the psychic fair day with 'A' resting her head against JHH as he tempts two of his cats with a morsel.JHH's inventions included this development for the television industry.Even though much of the museum has seen far better days, there are still many unique treasures to be found and much to be learned about an extraordinary man, his home, and his life.Just look past the trash and there is a fortune in treasures.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

There's an Elephant on the Veranda!

We have felt the need to take the time for some little trips. Stuff that has been around, just waiting for us to take a teeny bit of effort. The next several posts will give you a glimpse what we have been up to over the last week or so.

Last week I took my mom (and 'A') on a nostalgia trip to Hampton Beach, NH. We went later in the day, missing the swarms of sun worshipers, and left soon enough to avoid the party-ers at night. We walked the length of the strip, swerving in and out of tacky gift shops and stopping to watch game players at the arcades.Here at the shooting gallery, the piano played a honky-tonk tune under the skillful hands of the 'gentlemen' automatons.

We strolled along the beach, letting the tide wash against our feet and legs. The water was too cold! Straight out North Atlantic! Back at the car we sat and used a towel to brush the sand from our toes. As I waited for 'A' and my mom to finish, I looked up the strip.There's an elephant on the veranda!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Nearly Perfect Day, Part III

Please scroll down and read Parts I and II, if you haven't read them.

The scarecrow sent us further into the park on our journey. Next on our list of okay-we'll-try-it was the Psycho Dome. No pictures of that because the ride was enclosed in a pretty ugly geodesic dome structure. The Canobie Lake Park web site touts it as the ultimate in a Scrambler ride. I've ridden the Scrambler many times. Most carnivals have them. We approached the doorway where there was a sign posted. Caution, this ride uses strobe lights. Any persons with heart conditions or epilepsy should not ride the Psycho Dome. Okay, this is getting interesting. Not so sure that I know what I'm getting into here. Did it really say Scrambler on the web site? Well, not so great on the strobes, folks. It was dimly lit inside the dome and it lost all strobe effect. But I do have to say, the Scrambler, inside a structure, is one thrill of a speed ride! Being flung toward a wall does something that exaggerates velocity perception. I loved it! Except that slightly disturbing clunk of a worn bearing every time our 'car' abruptly changed direction.

We wandered the park for a bit, down by the old dance hall and roller skating rinks. The huge swimming pool has been replaced by a small water park. Way too crowded to be fun for an adult. 'A' and mom posed in front of a rather large statue of Michael Jackson. The two theater performances for the season would be impersonators of Michael Jackson and Elvis. Pass on that.

We found a giant rocket!I made 'A' and mom pose as astronauts!

Then we rode the giant ferris wheel. It's a new four-seater and just doesn't do the over-the-top stomach flipping like the old ones. Drat. We passed the Dodgem. No takers. We finished as we began (at my insistence), with a carousel ride.

We love Canobie Lake Park! I could go and just ride the carousel. I could go and just watch all the rides and the people.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Nearly Perfect Day, Part II

Scroll down to Part I (previous post) if you have not already read it.

We decided to watch this ride. Another that I chose to avoid.The name says it all. Zero Gravity No, won't be doing that, ever. It's fun to watch, though.

We took a leisurely ride on the Sky Ride. From up there we could see the Caterpillar.'A' and I planned to go on that. It's not a fast as The Himalaya that used to be at Salisbury Beach, nor does it play music like The Himalaya did - Wipe Out! It is amazing that when the green canvas cover closes over the 'caterpillar' the temperature drops at least 5 degrees.

After the Caterpillar, 'A' wanted to try the Skateboard. It didn't look too bad watching it from a park bench so I said I'd give it a try.Ahemmmm. I could do it again. If I had to. Slightly more disorienting than I like to be made to feel.

As we headed for a leisurely 20 minute pontoon boat tour of Canobie Lake, we passed the original, old, flying swings.Really cool looking. A definite maybe that we eventually decided against. But maybe next time.

Passed by this guy on our way to get a cold drink and head for more rides.

The next post will end our visit to the amusement park. See you then.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Nearly Perfect Day, Part I

Thursday was a nearly perfect day. It was one of the few times, when attempting to do things together, that no one in this household was grumpy, cranky, or sulking at some point during the day. I'm never any of those things, of course. Okay...sometimes I can get cranky. I admit it.

The three of us spent the majority of the day at Canobie Lake Park, in Salem NH. And just to rub in what a fantastic place it is - I took pictures. Y'all are going to have to endure several posts, I expect, that include Canobie Lake pictures.

So off we go..........the first ride ALWAYS is the 1903 carousel equipped with the 1922 Wurlitzer organ. We all rode. roundandroundandroundandroundHere's mom just ahead of me.And here's the Wurlitzer.Straight from the horse's...rump.

Our second stop was at the Yankee Cannonball.We did not ride this wooden roller coaster.Been on it three times, never to do a fourth. Nope, not me. I don't mind speed. I don't like being dropped from extreme heights!

Canobie Lake Park has some cool food joints like the hot dog stand (mom and 'A' sitting and posing). and the popcorn hut.

In my next post you get to see more of the rides that we did and didn't. And later, still, the bizarre ending of our day.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

All Systems Go!

Today the rocket was rolled to the launch pad!I'm so pleased when careful measuring pays off. Not only did it fit effortlessly up the bulkhead, it had 4 inches to spare in the Rav4. I drove and my mom kept a check on softening any jars when manhole covers were unavoidable. "I'm truly sorry officer. I didn't intend on causing a head-on collision. But you see, I have this rocket on board and I didn't want it to bang around!"

Wouldn't have wanted that to happen, would I?

Mom and I transported the rocket into the sanctuary and parked it out of the way of setting up ladders. All the help (A, S, C, M, J, E, M, and even G and D) did a fantastic job in seeing that the rocket made it from the cellar 'space center' to flying.Houston, we have lift-off!Of course I just had to sprawl on my back underneath the Cosmicventure as it flew overhead.

Several hours have passed. The rocket is soaring, I hope. Will I be able to sleep tonight wondering if those hooks that the wire is strung between are holding? Not a chance. I better go check it out.The rocket is speeding through the universe!

It's been a blast!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

It Comes, It Goes

Mostly it goes. (photo is Tucker (now deceased) holding down his favorite paper product)

Money. What a tease. Just when it seems that after the bills there might be enough left over for, say, buying a book or a burger or, well, anything under twenty bucks that might provide a few moments of enjoyment, it is swiftly taken away.

All because of a teeny warning light that reads CHECK ENGINE. I'm beginning to hate those two words (unless, of course, 'check' means more money to me - as in "in the mail"). They were first noticed as I was driving 'A' home from work on Friday night. Just fantastic, a long holiday weekend. I was nice to the truck, driving it as little as possible until I could get it to my mechanic on Tuesday. Nothing seemed to be dangerously wrong. No big puddles (or little drips), engine sounded just the same, no billowing smoke, just the two words lit up brilliantly on the dashboard reminding me that something was indeed amiss.

I dropped the truck off at my mechanic on Tuesday morning. They hooked it up to their computer, reset the CHECK ENGINE light, declared it safe to drive for the moment, and sent me on my way with, "If the warning light comes back on, bring it right in, we'll hook the computer up again and see if the code is confirmed (or something equivalent).

Well, just as my mind sort of put those lurking two words aside, they came back. Drat. Off to the mechanic. I left the truck with them and got a ride home from my mom. The mechanic called. Bad news. The catalytic converter. Worse news. California emissions system. Toughest standards in the US meant the darn truck has a double converter. Mega bucks considering the limited funds I possess. Thankfully, I have a super intelligent friend who immediately got to thinking about solutions for me. He gave me two different words and I latched on to them.


I am forever indebted (and very happily so).

I called my mechanic who said, "Yeah, maybe, it's certainly worth a call to the dealership." I called the dealership where the manager said, "No, you're not covered. You didn't buy extended coverage." I checked online where I found indications of federally mandated emissions coverages. I called the toll free number the dealership manager had given me and it was a number to be accessed by dealers only. I got mad and called the dealer back for a usable number. Got one and called and Stacey at the company said, "Of course you are covered! But...the work has to be done at the dealership."

So, to finish up here...I've got my truck and I've been driving it. I've got a Monday noontime appointment at the dealership. I'll just bet that they'll find a way to make it something that is not covered by the emissions warranty. But I guarantee that it won't amount to as much money as I first thought it could be. There are always those fine print kind of items with vague descriptions. I can be kind of insistent and difficult when those types try to push me around that way.

I'll be glad when it's done with.

(A private message: Okay, so I didn't make it through the weekend without thinking about it)

Thursday, July 08, 2010

February 5, 1922 - July 8, 2007

I miss you so much, Dad.Dad and me.Dad on the boat he built.Dad on 'his' ship.

I've gone back through some posts by clicking on the 'label' dad (at the end of this entry) I found this from the last Father's Day I had with my Dad. I've decided to edit this post which had previously ended with the photo and caption above to include this:

Here's what it says on the card for my dad. I think this is the best card I have ever purchased.

Dad -
The loving gifts you've given me as a father have shaped my life and made me the person I am...

Your strong sense of values, of fairness, of right and wrong are all part of me...

My outlook on life...
my sense of humor...
my interests and talents...
I can see you in them all.

It makes me happy and proud to know that the qualities in you I love and admire so much are a part of me.

You are always with me, Dad...

in my thoughts, in my heart, in the very fabric of my life...

you are always with me.

Happy Father's Day - Anonymous

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Walking Again

Being as I think you all deserve better than the last post. I'm covering it up with another rather than deleting it. Well, you'd never know how lousy it was if I deleted it, would you?

Today was a two walk day. We're cramming because next week is forecast to be in the 90's - all week. Humidity plans on being up there, too. I put a small air conditioner in our living area, but the fun I had doing it is another story.

We were getting bored with the usual paths and ventured more out toward the headlands this morning. We don't often walk that way and there were some pretty surprises along the way. This evening we walked in town and along the beaches.The pile is all set for tomorrow night's bonfire. I guess too many years of outhouse-on-the-top have depleted the town's supply of real outhouses. The newbie made to look old doesn't quite have the same atmosphere. It was almost dark by the time we decided to head back home. I enjoy walking as night approaches.Everything looks so different.

Tomorrow's walk will be in the annual Fireman's Fourth of July Parade.

White Rectangles

Artist's are sometimes confronted with a hesitancy to put brush to canvas. Where to start? How will this color I'm choosing work with all the colors to come? Are the proportions correct? Am I to be true to what I see, or should I entertain a more emotional approach to my subject? A blank canvas, and that first decision may determine the entire course of the work. There is a clever trick around the blank canvas if you are working in oils or acrylics. Just paint a film of color on the whole thing. Top to bottom, side to side. Maybe all a warm color, which does nifty things when you add blue overlays later. Just put something on there. The rest seems so much easier once you've made a start.
Writing can present similar challenges. That blank piece of paper and so many words to organize. I have discovered that I own no white, lined paper. (That's why there is a picture of an enormous piece of white, lined, notebook paper that I made for a bulletin board at 'A's elementary school, way back when...) Yet, whenever I start to write an article, I start on paper. It's yellow, lined paper! Maybe having the color on there helps! I imagine nowadays that professional writers write mainly on a computer. No professional here! Unprofessionally, I compile pages and pages of handwritten notes that become pages and pages of a handwritten article. Nothing gets to my computer until I'm close to the final draft. Then I'll sit at the keyboard and type it all in. I print it out to read and reread, making minor changes and correcting typos with a real pen. I then go back and transfer my corrections to the computer copy. A very time consuming and roundabout way to write, I suppose, but I have no deadlines. And I like paper. A simple fact. I want to shuffle it around, make notes in margins, and big circles with arrows to move words around.
My most daunting white rectangle, at present, is my whiteboard in the workshop. May and June were mighty nice. No huge overloads, but a full schedule. I just erased all that and started my July - August board. Looks pretty slim right now. July is historically my busiest shop work month. I hope after this holiday weekend, things pick up. Mighty empty view right now.