Thursday, December 31, 2015

A Whisper of Winter White

On my way home from a Wednesday morning tuning.  This is leftover snow/ice (would that be snice?) from the mess of snow and freezing rain on Tuesday.  Rte 128N, somewhere around Manchester, MA. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Christmas is Fast Approaching

Even though the weather has not been very Christmas-like for the Northeast.  I am NOT complaining about the warmerthannormaltemperatures.  I'm sure we will pay for them come mid February or so...

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Old Dolls

Britula Puppe dolls
Here are some old dolls that I have had stashed away for a few years.  The ones pictured above are only 3 - 4 inches tall.  I looked online for info about them based on the tags they are wearing:  Britula Puppe  Made by Baltic Refugees   Below is what I found, copied from a site called Worthopedia (you have to join to actually find the value of things...ah, no)

Baltic Sea Refugees
Between 1944 to 1948/49 over 15 Million Refugees - Expellees
were forcibly removed from the lands south of the Baltic Sea -of
Eastern German- Prussian Lands. Millions of people from Ukraine,
Poland ,Russia , Tchecheslowakia were brought into these German
To this day the Governments -The Allied Control Council - which
administered these Lands under Military Occupation between 1945
to 1948 and 50 years after are silent and do not acknowledge
the 2 1/2 Million Germanic people that died during this resettlement.
They were mostly women and children .
This is almost never mentioned by the Official Governments involved
except by a very rare individual as " peaceful resettlement" .
Hitler had in 1932 by Military take-over ousted the Prussian Govern-
ment under Otto Braun . The Allied Control Council did the rest.
The lands are still occupied - not returned to the original population
Complicity of the Western Allies with the Communists 50 years ago
made recurring "Resettlements in the Balkans" possible in the 1990's.

I have some other dolls, too.  The pictures below show them.
Little Women naked!  Porcelain heads, arms, and legs.
All stamped China with composite heads, arms and legs
His bench is stamped Made in China.  He seems to be made of leather.
This poor guy has no markings.
Someday (soon, I hope) I will be selling these.  None of them are in very good condition but I would think they are worth a few dollars.  Must find out.

Saturday, November 07, 2015

For Veteran's Day...

and for memories, and to honor those Cape Ann WWII veterans that are still alive, Jason Grow produced a wonderful photography exhibit. 
The official opening was today at Gloucester City Hall.  We know several of the veterans photographed for the show. 
In the auditorium with a small band playing 40's music on stage, food table in the back, and the exhibit along both sides of the seating.
Our friend, Arnold Knauth, was one of them.  Arnold turned 98 just a couple weeks ago and is still very active, out walking most days...still drives. too.
Arnold  Knauth, age 98
When he arrived at the exhibit, we ushered him over to the photo taken of him.  "That's me?"  59 veterans were photographed for this special 70th anniversary of the end of the war Veteran's Day.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Reflections on Work

Some shots taken while at work.  What's up?
A lid shot
And yet another
Now do you know what's up and...
...what's down?

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Finally Did It

For several years now I have known that the Pines Speedway in Groveland, MA holds a reunion event.  Each year I have decided to go and each year have totally forgotten to do it.

This year was different.

I was determined to see what was going on.

When I grew up in Groveland we would go to the races quite a few times each season.  I loved it.  The noise, the dirt, cheering for Big O, being frightened that my Dad, sooner or later, would join the Spectator Race (he never did, but I feared it would happen).  Sitting on the wooden bleachers built in to the sandy dirt hillside, round and round the 1/4 mile track, the Starter Flagman positioning himself mid track while the cars approached around the curve and in the last few seconds jumping, waving the green flag and dashing to the edge of the track, even the occasional car running off the track and down the embankment to the river to be hauled out dripping wet by the wrecker.
Replica of Ollie Silva's Big O

Those summer Saturday nights that we didn't go to the races we could still hear them.  Lulled to sleep by engines and announcer just audible in the distance.
A new finish line...but not THE original

I wish there were still races at the Pines Speedway.
Someone needed a rest...or was dreaming about winning the next race
  You'd see me there again.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Some Recentness...

...for those who don't do Facebook.

Last night was Illumination Night in Rockport.  For those of us who venture amongst the mobs in town, it is an opportunity to go wild with photo taking.  Thank goodness for digital, can't imagine the expense this household would rack up if we were still using 35mm (I do prefer it though).  Anyway, some severe editing and I'm posting a few shots here.
lanterns hanging in Barletta Park (and throughout town)
A view from our spot above Back Beach

Sometimes the most fun about fireworks is trying to photograph them!

Lots of action

There were dozens of boats anchored in Sandy Bay to watch the show.

Some more subtle than others
Red at night...sailor's delight.

Friday, July 24, 2015


We drove by this place about a month or so ago as part of our detoured route through Merrimac, MA.  They've had the road torn up for weeks.  I didn't know about the road work and got caught up in the detour through unknown neighborhoods while just trying a different route homeward.  But, despite the inconvenience, when things like that happen you make intriguing discoveries.  This house is one of them.
And while there was too much traffic to stop for a photo op, we vowed to return to it on our next trip.  Amazingly, while in the area on Wednesday, I took the correct turns through the neighborhood and found the place without difficulty.

We think it has possibilities. (We also think someone is currently living in it...noting the recently delivered, non-yellowed newspaper on the steps.)

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

All the Reasons...

that I haven't written here for too long...might consolidate into this:

I'm busy...and not just with work, and therefore...I'm tired.

Work has been good.  I decided that I would try to take a month off from tuning and work only in the shop.  Mostly that's working out okay.  I don't remember the summer from last year.  I was too busy working.  After this past winter, I'm determined to notice some of the summer.  A bit of free time?

Well, not really.  It has given me time to catch up with work around the house.  Painting doors and walls.  I have also done some prestaining of outside trim work.  I hired some work done on the exterior like replacing the rotting trim and a new roof.  Last winter was hard on everything!  Anyway, since I don't deal with heights very well, not to mention not owning a ladder that would reach even if I could force myself to climb it, I had the contractor deliver the wood a few days early and I stained it all with feet firmly on the ground.  The first bill for the work arrived yesterday.  There's a dent in the savings account.  I'm still waiting for the bill from the roofer (contracted separately) which will cause a gaping abyss in my account. 

Other than those things I'm still busy shuttling A to work.  Then there's keeping up with Mom's bills and chores.  Mom's short term memory is very...short.  Knowing that she can't help it should help me deal with it...but it still is extremely frustrating.  That won't get any easier.

And on top of all the family and house and working stuff, there's the historic society.  They assured me that if I would be vice president for a term (three years) that I would not have to take over as president.  Uh huh.  The best I will offer is to be an interim for a year.  They need to find someone else...maybe someone who is retired?

That's REtired...not just too tired.

I'll try to be here more often.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Good Karma Shortage

I think the good karma for the week got used up when the girls went to the mall yesterday.  Yep, that's right.  Daughter found the jeans she wanted...bought two pair and some jean shorts.  Mom got some new tops and a pretty jacket.  I even found a tee shirt that I liked so much that I bought two...two different colors.  All in all it was a very pleasant afternoon.

Then we got home.

My order of piano supplies had arrived and I hauled the box downstairs to the workshop for unpacking.  I ordered the wrong sized parts for a job I'm working on.  Drat.  But no worries, with a bit of added labor I can assemble my own.  Also another box of keys arrived.  I was expecting it but was hoping for a couple days to catch up on other housework.  No such luck?

Oh, mustn't forget to mention the morning phone call.  Before we had headed to the mall.  This was a phone call from another piano parts supplier.  They were checking, thankfully, about an order I had placed with them online.  They were making sure that I truly meant 10 sets rather than 10 parts.  Nononono! Umm, please don't send sets (= to about $2000.00), please send 10 parts, as in $5.00 per part.

So then we went out for the afternoon (the shopping trip) and had so much fun.

When I got home there was an email from the same supplier letting me know that the key tops, of which I had ordered 5 sets (yes, sets) were on back order until July-ish.  OH NO!  That won't do.  I have clients that sometimes like those budget minded replacements rather than the higher priced, albeit nicer, stuff.

So, last night I sat down with the computer to check out ordering from the place that I turned to last time this happened about 3 years ago.  Figured out my account info so that I could 'Login' to find out that there would be a 4 - 6 week delay for any orders to be shipped.  Evidently a couple employees are out finishing up their chemo treatments.

Now what?

Try Alternate Two Supplier.  Again another 'Login' hassle, but they had the parts and I got set to fill out my order.  Then it came to the shipping info and the only choices the site gave were UPS 1-day, 2-day, or 3-day.  Okay, I'm not paying to have 3-day shipping from California to Massachusetts.  That would cost about half the value of the items shipped!

I quit.  After over an hour I had gotten nothing accomplished.

I decided to try calling Alternate Two in the morning.  Or...more like after noon because of the time difference.

A bit of reading and off to bed.  Woke up this morning with one thing on my mind.
I had ruined tonight's dinner.  Double drat.  I had left a roast out to thaw yesterday meaning to put it in the fridge late in the day, or in the evening.  So umpteen hours later, it was very thawed on the counter.  Dumped that in the garbage.

Headed to the workshop, with my morning coffee, to unpack those keys that had arrived yesterday.  It is a key top and a bushing job.  For those of you unfamiliar with the work...for keytops I need only the naturals (white keys), for bushings I need the naturals and the sharps (black keys).  52 naturals and 36 sharps.  Problem...of course!  The tech shipped all 52 naturals but only 1 sharp.  I've sent him an email...I haven't heard can he not notice 35 sharps sitting there all by themselves...lonesome without their other keys...

Amid phone calls and shipping a set of keys, a stop at the bank and a trip to the supermarket (I bought another roast), I finally called the supplier in California and will be getting my 10 sets of el-cheapo keytops.  And they will be sent UPS Ground.  Fingers crossed.

While I was at the supermarket I bought myself flowers.  They are my good karma bouquet.  Hope they work.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

A Day Early

The show had been set up at the RAA and I took Mom down to take a look.  I'll be going to the opening reception today, even though it will be in the midst of a NASCAR race.  I don't think I've seen one race in total yet this year.
The opening reception will be from 2 - 4 today, March 29.

But back to art...
My painting has a good spot!

The decision was made to title the painting "Night Lights the Motif".  I'm not wild about the title, but after listing a couple dozen options it won.  And after seeing the prices on some of the other art work being shown, I'm really not thrilled with my price decision of $750.00.  Too low, waaaayyyyyy too low.  Either that or a lot of folks have far too great thoughts of themselves.

Has the economy really bounced back that much?

I'll satisfy myself with the thought that I'm priced to sell.
Fun seeing the exhibit with Mom and discussing the good stuff and not so good stuff.

Yep, there it is and there I am.
Oh, the biggest revelation...evidently pencil, pastels, ink, etc. are considered graphic arts and therefore are a separate exhibit category.  Next year you can bet that I'll be entering a painting AND a graphic.  I love working in pastels.

Choosing a piece and seeing it up there at the RAA, seeing all the other art displayed, always inspires me to create more.  I've got some ideas formulating.  Now I've just got to find the time to get started and work them out.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Yearly Exhibit Option

The Contributing Members Show at the Rockport Art Association begins in one week.  Wednesday is the drop-off day for artwork.  ,I have one oil painting and one photograph that I plan on showing.  This year, between work and shoveling, I've only one oil painting.  Actually I have two oil paintings and one goauche that I would like to show...but that isn't allowed.  I have to pick just one.
So my selection for this year is:
#1 (maybe?)
Now the added problems of what to title it and how to price it.  I've had several titles chosen for this particular painting - The Moon's Motive, Moonlight Motive, My Motive.  On and on.  What one must understand with all these titles is that real Rockportoricans call the Motif the Motive.  I may just keep it short at "#1" (for its full name of Motif #1...or Motive #1).

Pricing is another dilemma when I must consider that the frame, alone, cost about $100, the painting is large-ish at 18 X 24, the entry fee is $5, yearly membership in order to exhibit in the one show is $40 (or maybe it was $35, I can't remember) and the BIGGIE, the RAA charges a 40% commission on sales.

It'll all get decided by Wednesday and per my norm, I will not be satisfied with any of it!

Tuesday, March 03, 2015


Well, my update to the last post did very weird stuff and overlapped itself with the previous post.

Don't bother looking...I've deleted the update and all is back to normal.

Friday, February 27, 2015

And When I'm Not Shoveling...

The key shop is busy! The two sets pictured got finished today. There's another set in that cardboard box. That set is now in the works. Then there is the set that arrived today after this photo was taken. More arriving this weekend? And...another set on Monday! Love it!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Bite of Snow

All that's left to be seen of the porch railing.

Well, that was a very strange storm.  After all the hype, it was sort of a fizzle.  We did get about 15 inches, and the winds picked up today.  It's gusting so violently tonight that the snow is swirling hard enough to sound like animals scratching to get in the house.  We've also experienced a strange phenomenon.  We have so much condensation forming at the end of the duct work for the bathroom vent that it is leaking in to my kitchen ceiling.  That's a first!  I think all shall be fine once the temperature moderates a bit and/or the wind calms.
Snow carried by the wind.
Today's pictures were taken at sunset from my mom's den window.  Mother Nature being weird.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Back When

Our new normal?  Under all that is a wishing fountain and part of a store.
It was a bit make that a lot easier...on the nerves to not know when a major event was about to happen.  Sure, nowadays it is safer to be prepared.  But this next storm thing is spooky.  We've got CNN and at least three other networks in town because "we are supposed to be one of the worst hit areas".  I don't want the notoriety, thank you.  I don't want to go to bed wondering what things will look like tomorrow morning.  I know all will eventually be fine and get back to normal, but in the meanwhile we have a No Drive/No Park order from 5 a.m. tomorrow morning until 5 p.m. Monday night.  This is mostly so that they can plow and do the massive clean up without having to work around nosy people.  A $250 fine, I hear, if you decide that you are too special to have to abide by the rules.

Maybe I could just go to bed tonight and sleep until, oh, Monday noontime?

A major thank you to our DPW, the National Guard, and everyone else who will HAVE to be out in it.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Friday the 13th Is a Great Day

Why?  Because it wasn't snowing.

At all.

Do you think that one of these days I'll not have any new snow photos to post here?  Some of you have seen these on that other site.  If you have seen them, you are excused from looking at them again.  If you haven't, and can stand yet more snow pics, carry on below.
Italian Ice?  No thanks, cold enough.
I don't think that he had the following images in mind.
Darn cold.
They keep piling the snow just above the beach.
The loader on top of the pile keeps moving the snow to the beach. Over and over, day after day.
Me on the back garden (haha) walk, after the third major dig out in 2 weeks.

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Why Me?

Has it been about two weeks since THE Blizzard of 2015?  I think so.  As if getting 31 inches of snow within 36 hours isn't punishment enough, we had a surprise just to get us in the correct ihatelife mindset.  You see, the morning before the BIG blizzard, at approximately 6:15, the smoke alarms went off at our house.  Up I jumped, made sure R was awake, headed toward A's room but met her in the hallway.  Down the stairs with those two following, checking for actual smoke or fire as I went.  Opened Mom's door and she was out of bed.  A quick check of her end of the house, then headed down cellar.  All was fine.  I shut off the breaker that powers the electric aspect of the alarms.  Of course they keep on screeching.  We determined that it was the detector in Mom's den causing the problem.  The most difficult detector to get to. It's about 14 feet up on a cathedral ceiling.  Why not.  Hauled myself down to the cellar, once again, to retrieve the BIG ladder.  Up through the bulkhead into the dark and cold and on to the deck.  Mom stood in her den, inside where it was nice and warm (albeit very noisy) and stared at me as I motioned for her to unlock and open the door.  She stared some more...and more.  Just before I was going to slam the very heavy ladder to the deck, she decided that I might be wanting her to open the door.  Finally!

Set the ladder up after moving the sofa so that it would fit.  R suffers the least (maybe) from vertigo than the rest of us...or at least he inherited the 'climb the big ladder' since he's the only man in the house.  After unhooking the detector and removing the battery........silence.

After 7 a.m. I left a phone message for our electrician.  He came later in the morning, replaced the battery with a new one, tested the unit and went up the ladder to hook it all up again.  He chatted for a few minutes while I went to the cellar to flip the breaker back on.  Silence....YAY!  He packed up and headed out.  I don't think he could of made it far past the end of our street when...

The alarm went off again.  R went back up the ladder (he has no idea how much I appreciate that he will do it) and took the detector down, removed battery, then silence.  I called the electrician on his cell phone and told him what happened.  We agreed that we could leave the rest of the system activated and after THE blizzard he would come back to troubleshoot.

THE blizzard was followed by the SECOND snow storm.  I decided to wait for better weather to tackle the smoke detector problem. 

Now we are expecting a MAJOR snow event.  At 6 a.m. this morning we were rudely awakened by the smoke detectors going off - again.  So the now usual routine was followed with me checking on everyone and checking all areas of the house and cellar before flipping the breaker.  R discovered that the alarm in our bedroom was the culprit and he took it down and took the battery out...silence.

At about 8 a.m. we headed for the local hardware store to by enough new batteries for all the detectors.  $30 worth.  We got home and after breakfast and a few other things, installed new batteries in all detectors...silence.  Great!  That was at 11 a.m.

1 p.m. all the alarms went off.  I was out shoveling, widening the drive in anticipation of needing more room for more snow to come.  I could hear the screeching outside.  By the time I got to the door (and was greeted by Mom), R had pulled down the bedroom alarm and deactivated...silence.

I left a message for our electrician that after the weekend and after this next MAJOR snow event, we needed him at the house.  Sounds like the 10 year life detectors that he had installed 1.5 years ago may have spent more than 8 years on a shelf at the suppliers - or something.

Meanwhile, just in case another decides to screech, I have bought 3 battery only detectors, one for each level of the house.  If another combo electric and battery one fails, we'll disconnect them all and go the battery only route until the electrician can get here.

Really.  Isn't over 45 inches of snow with up to another 20 inches anticipated enough to deal with?  Why do the smoke detectors have to compete for attention?

Monday, February 02, 2015

More for the Anti Facebook Crowd

Photos of storm number two.
Yesterday they brought the big snow blower to widen the road.
This morning looked like Tuesday morning, just less room for snow.
By mid day they had brought in the big equipment to get a bit ahead of things...helped for about 15 minutes then you couldn't tell it had been around.
Guess I'll be digging out the oil fill, bulkhead, and deck again.
Tonight we got our own snow pile.  That's supposed to be Dodd's Lane on the other side of it.
Even the articulated loader has a difficult time trying to pile it higher and higher.