Monday, November 29, 2010

The Baglady (another self-portrait)

When I haven't been working, or walking, or taking photographs, or shuttling 'A' to work, or being sick...yes, I had a terrible head cold all last week...I've been raking leaves.  We have huge oak trees lining our street.  Enormous.  And they create an enormous mess of leaves later in the season than any other.

Although I have declared the job FINISHED for this season, I know that there will be many more to rake up come Spring.  You see, several neighbors don't bother to rake and all it takes is a bit of wind and........

This season's bag count...and they are 39 gallon bags packed 98.  Pictured are just a small portion of the total that I raked and bagged yesterday and today, 29 I think.  'A' and my mom will load the bags into mom's car and take them to the dump to empty in the lawn debris pile.

The Baglady
I'm sure glad that it's done for another year!  All pain killers, massages, and tickets to tropical vacation spots will be joyfully and gratefully accepted.  Nice comments welcome as well, but do make note of the preceding list of acceptable congratulatory items.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Within and Without

Not too much to say about this photo.  A very good friend and I have been pushing digital images around a bit. This photo of the loo has been converted from color to black and white.  It works much better with no color.

Three of Me at the Loo
It is also another self-portrait as I appear three times.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Every So Often

Our most recent 'fun' adventure happened last Sunday on our way home from the turkey farm.  We had made a slight (read very long) detour so that 'A' could stop at a Border's book store.  After that stop we became nutritionally ignorant...on purpose...and stopped at a favorite ice cream stand for dinner.  Everyone just has to eat ice cream for a meal once in a while, don't they?  We stopped at Cherry Farm Creamery for our treat.  By the time we finished there the sun was just beginning to do it's disappearing act in the western sky.  As we headed east the moon was visible.  A giant orb behind the leafless trees.  HUGE!  And full.  And a 'blue moon'. 

There are two definitions of a blue moon.  The first is when a full moon occurs twice in one month...the second full moon of the month is referred to as a blue moon.  The second definition is when there is a fourth full moon within a single season.  I think we fell under the second definition this time.

"Once in a blue moon."  Now you know.

While the moon was still low in the sky I wanted to take a picture.  But from where?  We were on a secondary road that parallels the highway.  There was no place available to pull over, no pretty scenery to add to the shot.  What to do?  Soon the moon would be too high in the night sky, it would be too dark.

I pulled in to a corporate office park area thinking I might be able to find at least one tree to frame my moon shot.  The first turn was into the parking lot of some high tech firm.  It was a gated drive, but no worries, the gate was raised and the guard shack unmanned.  To the consternation of the other two captive within the car, I pulled right in and drove to the eastern end of the parking lot.  There was a section of the lot with a few dozen cars parked.  Second shift, maybe?  From my spot on the far edge of the parking area I took the photo posted here.  Actually, I took three.  This is the best.

I turned the car around and headed back to the main drive.  Turned to head out the exit and found that the gate on that side was down.  Oops.  The others got nervous.  "What are you going to do?"

I pulled up near the gate, hoping that there was a sensor that would get that arm lifting to let me out.  No such luck.

The others got more vocal.  "I told you we shouldn't have come in here!"  "I bet they have cameras watching us!"  "The police will be here, I bet."

"Cool!  Then they can confiscate my camera, check out the digital images to find ducks, rainbows, a horse or two, and a couple roosters!"  "Oh, and I mustn't forget...the blue moon."  I backed out of the exit drive and drove the wrong way out the entrance.  Very quickly.  That gate was still open.

Just a little bit of fun even though no police showed up.  What's the worst thing that could have happened?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Meet Vinnie and Lou

Last Sunday we traveled north to visit some jailed birds.  Raymond's Turkey Farm is located in Methuen, MA, about an hour and a quarter from Rockport.  When I was growing up, we always bought our Thanksgiving turkey there.  In later years they opened a Christmas tree farm and that's where we chose ours for many years.  Anyway, this year my mom wanted to buy a turkey pie.  Not for Thanksgiving...we're having ham...but an individual serving pie for just any day.

As if an over an hour drive wasn't enough, little did we know that Haverhill was having it's holiday parade.  It's evidently a big one and trying to get around it added an extra 15 - 20 minutes to our drive.

It's been years since we've been to Raymond's, but nothing has changed other than the large flocks of turkeys are now out of sight way behind the store.  In sight though were this year's birds that had been granted a stay of execution.

We had to walk right by Vinnie and Lou to get into the store where my mom discovered that the individual, all white meat turkey pies were sold out.


 Then we had to get back home past the parade!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Short Changed...Again

Tomorrow is the Rockport PTO Holiday Fair and I will be a vendor.  It can take some doing to reserve a table at this fair.  It's fairly large and well-attended and some folks have been vendor-ing at it over a number of years.  The first year I had to settle for half a table just to get a 'foot in the door'.  Last year I got my reserve money in early and received an entire table...though not in the best of locations.

This year I was an early reserver once again.  I'm not much in the spirit of the season, but I've managed to boost myself into getting prepared..

Today was busy with work and meetings.  It was dark by the time I got to loading all my 'gear' into the Rav4 and hauling it all, and mom and 'A' and myself, up to the high school gymnasium to set up.  The email that I had received, and the confirmation card that arrived in the mail, said that my payment of $50 and my donation to the raffle of one handmade item ($10 in my case) reserved an 8 foot table.  Everyone's confirmations said the same thing.

There's a problem though.  The table that I am assigned is only 6 feet.  There are 12-6 foot tables.  There are at least 34-8 footers, probably more.  You better believe that I'll be mentioning this to the 'woman in charge', the woman who took my money, tomorrow (she kinda of disappeared tonight before I had a chance to air my grievance). 

I figure it this way.  $50 for an 8 foot table equals $6.25 per foot.  My 6 foot table should have only cost me $37.50. (Same for the others stuck with those 6-footers)  I am renting sales space and I should not have to pay a higher rate for that space than other vendors.

Did my ill-fortune end there?  Oh, of course not.  After I got back home and had some dinner I needed to go down to my workshop to glue on a set of keytops.  This client had reserved the last set of standard off-white keytops available.  The supplier no longer stocks them and this was the last set that I had.  I can still offer off-white, but in a more expensive set.  I got everything lined up ready to go and discovered that there was no A-A.  Now to some of you this doesn't mean anything.  Let me explain.  A-A is the first note at the left end of the keyboard.  It is a different shape than any other key and thus within the set of new keytops it is important to have that A-A  (as well as a C-C for the right end).  Still don't understand?  Well, I'll just say that an important part of the set was missing and I can't get any more.  Yep, short changed again. 

I did make it work.  I happened to have some spare off-white keytops accumulated from breaking up a set when a keytop got damaged and I needed a replacement.  However, there was no A-A (of course not).  I used a C-C (trust me it will be okay).  I'll have to trim it to look like A-A and then I'll remove the 'C-C' designation at the back end of the keytop.

My evening has made a cranky me.  Tomorrow better be a good one.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Of Holiday Music

Every year I am tempted to put in an order for a 'special' Christmas CD.  This year I finally did it. 'A' was looking for a specific CD, too.  Hers seems to be one of those hard to find items.  So we trekked to Gloucester Music in search of our odd requests.

When we arrived, I was thrilled to discover that the store has a resident cat.

His name is Pumpkin, but he prefers PK as it is more dignified.  A trait he has honed to perfection.  Of course I didn't have my camera with me and that meant a trip home and back to take some pictures of PK.  By the time we got back to the store, he had stopped prowling the bins of CDs and had settled into his countertop cardboard box for a nap.  You can probably notice that he was not overjoyed about being awakened for a photo session.  When I was done, I thanked him with some under-chin scratching and was rewarded with a chirp-like purr.

Today the owner of the store called to say that my CD had arrived.  What is it you wonder?  The Ventures' Christmas Album.  Think Hooked on Classics meets 50's Rock and Roll and then throw in all your childhood favorite Christmas songs.  You know, Rudolph and Frosty and Jingle Bells and more...

I used to have the LP.  I don't remember what year, but I think I was about 12 or 13 years old.  Played that thing every Christmas season until I no longer owned a record player (or later a turntable).  It's still as quirky and fun as it was back then.  Gotta get in the spirit!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Envelope Art...Again

For Veteran's Day...

With love from my Uncle Hughie who was killed on a B-17E training flight near Gowen Field, Idaho on April 3, 1942.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010


I've been having a hard time coming up with a post.  Oh, there have been lots of things going on.  Mostly they have been things that annoy several stop-sign running idiots, or work.  There's been a cram-load of work.  Work stories bug people when they don't really care about what work someone I'll spare you.

So staying on the positive side of things, as I would really rather do, I must comment that it has been delightful to walk about town without having to sidestep around tourists.  It's a love hate thing with the tourists.  Yep, gotta love 'em as they mean nice weather.  If it's sunny and warm and, most importantly, NOT winter, they are here in droves.  This time of year they thin out and that means cold, nasty weather has arrived with colder, nastier weather on the way for the next few months.  To me that is not a good thing.  I like warm and sunny.  Oh, we'll get our sunny days to be sure.  They just won't be toasty warm.

So that means what?  Can't seem to have the good without the annoyance.  At least that's my take on it.  There may be some of you out there that don't mind having to bundle up and brave the wind and ice, rain or snow.  I do.  I want no more than jeans and a t-shirt, thank you.  And I hate socks, too.

'A' and I walked today.  It was windy and chilly.  A cloudy day with the remnants of an off-shore storm.  I was surprised to see a tourist bus parked in town.  I bet they're sorry they dished out the bucks to stop at a dreary town where the majority of the tourist trap shops are closed during the week!

Anyway, we walked out 'the Neck' and out Tuna Wharf.  I looked across to T-Wharf and saw a tourist type taking a photo of...
you guessed it, Motif #1.  Supposedly the most photographed and painted building in the United States.  I waved from my vantage point just beyond "that red barn" as some not-so-informed tourists have been heard calling it.  Maybe she'll not notice me and email me around to all her relatives!  Guaranteed not too many of the tourist folk snap the view that I did today.  (see above)

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

For the Love of Maps

Wednesday mornings I volunteer in the research library of the Sandy Bay Historical Society.  Today I needed to find an old map book.  Someone doing research had photographed an old map from the book and had forgotten to write down the source.  You know, book name, publisher, that kind of thing.  The old map books - atlases - are in the storage room.

It didn't take long to find the requested atlas.  Actually only one was even a possibility.

I got sidetracked, though.  I love maps.  I leafed through a few and then came upon a treasure.  Not only were there maps in George Walker's Atlas from 1879.  There were lithographs depicting prominent buildings in the various communities mapped in the book.  The lithographs were fascinating, exquisite. 

And I was thrilled to come across the page with this one:

Moulton's Castle, Newburyport.  Yep, THE Moulton's Castle.  I think the same lithograph that is reproduced in minuscule in the Maudeslay State Park brochure.

I got my jacket and my car keys and headed home for my camera.

I know.  It's just one of those things that fascinates me and probably very few other people.  Since this is my blog, I get to put it here!

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

On Walks

We've been walking a lot.  Not only in Rockport, but also in Mattapoisett near my cousin's house.  We took some time off...or should I say I took some time off - mom being retired and 'A' on vacation.  On Friday morning we went to the Bourne National Cemetery to visit my dad's grave.  A surprise awaited.  Wind turbines at the cemetery!  Well, no one to complain about noise or view or anything!

As we normally do when travelling to the cemetery, we stayed with my cousin in Mattapoisett for the night.  'A' and I went walking there and saw a beautiful double rainbow over Mattapoisett harbor.  It made the complete arc beginning behind a hill to the northwest and ending in the water to the southeast.

As we walked down the 'Neck' there were more surprises.  This time a painted horse.

And a pretty sunset behind the scrub pines.