Wednesday, April 29, 2009

April Knitting

This spring has been incredibly busy, but I try to make time to continue to knit (and even sew) some.

My Film Fest project is almost completed - I had some issues seaming the top to the bottom using a 3 needle bind off - I've had to rip it out TWICE. Once for bad counting and again for a misplaced center stitch marker...

This is it before I realized my centers were off... it looks good.
I'd like to get some grosgrain ribbon in the same color for the straps.
AND I just purchased a blue and white seersucker straight skirt that's perfect to wear with it.

Here is the Honeycomb sweater on opening night of the Film Fest - I accidentally unvented puffed sleeves by trying to knit the sleeves from the armscye using short rows. But the puff seems to work for cool spring days - I think I will redo for fall wear.

Boy, I forgot how totally geeked I get when I return to work the Film Fest each year... (nerd)

I started a mindless project (that looks amazingly cool) with some yarn destashed from my good friend Laura.
I love the way the grays undulate in the spiral and how I barely have to think about it at all when I'm catching up on Mad Men or Masterpiece Theater online.

Believe it or not, there's more - a scarf for a friend, a pair of knee socks and I started a skirt from the antique quilt top scraps I have.

I seem to have a wicked case of start-itis, so I think a de-Work-In-Progress- off is in my future...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Removing weathered wood... and frustration.

Yesterday was the culmination of some not-so-fun things at work.
I won't bore you with the details, but frustration is the key word.

I chose to skip the Great Lakes show and instead head to the Physicist's to work on the boat.

Most of the hardware has a piece of wood between the metal and the fiberglass that acts as a large washer - much of it had become too weathered or completely disintegrated.

So I thought, "What better way to work off the frustrations of the office than by going at rusted metal." Rusted, by the way, because someone sold my father hardware that was not, as claimed, stainless steel.

I put on the trusty pink headlamp, grabbed the toolbox and settled into the bulkhead to start... wait... ew... what is...?

We had cleaned it - but we didn't look UP.

All along the "ceiling" of the stowing area up front were wasp's and mud dauber's nests...


So I got out some gloves, some scraping implements and spent an hour making those disappear.

We got out most of the hardware with little resistance, but at the back, the motor mount proved challenging.

The last bolt was attached under the seat and my father had installed a porthole to get to it... but it was still difficult - I almost broke my hand holding the bolt still with a wrench while the Physicist used a ratchet socket wrench to loosen it. The wood looked weathered, but it was cherry and quite good once you got past the exterior.

By the time 9pm rolled around, the office frustration had melted away - no racing, anxious thoughts about what I had to do at work - he made me a cup of Ovaltine (he recently learned of my love of Horlick's, but didn't have any so Ovaltine was the next best thing... malty and sweet and good.)

I went home tired and sated with a good dose of accomplishment, a good way to end a frustrating day.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


We got the Javelin on Sunday, delivered on its trailer (which was put on a trailer - how meta).
We cleaned it up with broom, power-washer, eco-friendly soap and gallons of elbow grease, making it look much better and showing that for 10 years in the elements, it has held up quite well.

At various times in the past 10 years that I've waited to work in this boat, I've asked around about this model and whether there are folks in the area who are familiar with it. I never got much of a response and, at one point, it was suggested I sell it and buy a model that people use at local yacht clubs.

Just this past year, a few coincidences came together to make this project seem positively Providencial...

  • The doctor at the clinic next door is a member of the same board I belong to, and we work on the same community garden. At a board meeting he asked if I would be continuing in the garden this summer and I answered that I would, but that I planned to restore a sailboat with much of my free time.
  • Not only does the doctor sail, but he sails the same model - and has since offered to copy the owner's manual (something I do not have).
  • The best blog online outlining a sailboat restoration is one about a Javelin. An older model, but still essentially the same.
  • I have long tried to find a friend who would be willing to let me use their garage for this project - and I found one - a friend who has not only offered his garage, but his tools and his efforts - making this exponentially easier.
  • The blog - which is not necessarily local - lists the address of a Javelin "guru," and he happens to live 3.5 miles from where I am working on the boat.
I search online to find those people from across the nation and across the world who may have information and it turns out the one person who can help the most lives within biking distance of the one person who provided the place necessary to complete a project that's been on hold for over 10 years.

It simply strikes me as... almost too perfect.

But I'm at a place in my life where "too perfect" is a perfectly acceptable way to be.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Some pictures from Maine

Some pictures from the trip to Arcadia...

My camera was being cranky (and is about to get returned), so most of the images are in the Physicist's camera(s).

Click images to enlarge.

Self-portrait in blue...

The steps led up from the coast to the roadway, which they closed for spring.

The campsite...

Lentil soup for dinner...

We found alot of life in the tide pools along the coast...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

And travel I did - Part II

Sat'y 4/11
I woke up to light rain hitting the tent and snuggled back into the sleeping bag to the sounds of breaking waves and the distant clang of an off-shore buoy.

It stopped raining by 9 and we had a lovely breakfast of oatmeal, bananas and tea, using what was left of the milk.

We de-camped, packed the car and headed for a trail on the south side of the island - stopping once more in Bar Harbor to return the milk bottle, pick up truffles for friends and popped into the Patagonia store to see if there was anything one couldn't live without (there wasn't).

The hike was nice, but the geography was similar to that of Kelley's Island here in Ohio: pines, moss, juniper and water eroded rocks - it was a bit disappointing to find that Arcadia is not contiguous - interspersed with residential areas that made it seem quite un-National Park-like. It was decided that we would travel down the coast, stopping when the urge struck, and ending up in Portland for the night.

In a small town, we piggybacked onto WiFi coming from coffee shop and used Priceline (who knew?) to secure a low-cost reservation at the Portland Wyndham (the posh girl in me squealed internally) and headed south, determined to stop in Freeport to see the L.L. Bean campus that his colleague spoke so highly of.

The campus...
Open 24/365.
There are no locks on the retail store.
And a 20' tall Bean boot out front.

I left with a camping mug for $0.95 and a pink headlamp from the outlet.

The day left me decidedly punchy, so we made our way to the hotel, cleaned up and decided to set up the camp stove in the bathroom with the exhaust fan on. We dined on Trader Joe's Jaipur Vegetables from a pouch, naan and tea.
Again, excellent.

Easter Sunday 4/12
The Physicist had shared that he was impressed with Vermont and it was decided that we would stop there en route to Ohio.

While at the hotel, I got on the laptop and found that the Appalachian Trail intersected with the small town in Southern Vermont I knew well and was, coincidentally, on the way back.

Unfortunately, I woke up stubborn.

I was unimpressed with the lighthouse I had seen and knew there were a number around Portland - I chose Two Lights State Park for what seemed to be its close proximity. It was suggested that we have breakfast in the room - oatmeal made with the camp stove. But I was worried that we would set off the smoke detector (don't ask, I got over it the night before - only after frantically fanning first the sprinkler heads, then the smoke detector. But for some reason it made me anxious to attempt it again.)

I wanted eggs, but the Wyndham seemed too pricey and with it being Easter Sunday, I was worried we wouldn't find somewhere to sit down without fighting crowds.

We ended up at a Tim Horton's - which quickly turned into a bad vaudeville routine that ended with a bag of fast food, cold coffee and a half filled thermos of water.
I marched to the car with the food and immediately had a bit of a falling out with the GPS.

After a few false starts, we were headed for Two lights, feeling ever more anxious as I saw no signage for the park or evidence that we were anywhere near a coast.

I got us there, parked near the sad little lighthouse, grabbed my bag of food and picked my way across the trash-strewn beach to a rock where I sat, watched the water, looked at the disappointing lighthouse and tearfully ate my Everything bagel with tepid, rubbery egg, out-of-season tomato and limp lettuce that I asked they exclude from my sandwich. As I walked back to the car, I handed over the keys - sulking that I had put us an hour behind for bad food, bad views and general bad behavior.

We got into Manchester, Vermont around 3pm. It was cold and the occasional flurry drifted past. We drove north to Dorset, where I had spent the two summers flanking my senior year of college.

I saw that the house I had lived in was for sale, that the market I loved had changed hands and that the theater was expanded. It was nice to be back, but ten years does much (and very little) to a small town. I stopped to see the marble quarries, said goodbye to Dorset and drove back to the Green Mountain Ranger station outside of town.

We found the parking lot for the Appalachian Trail/Long Trail (I was again speaking to Gypsy) and decided to pack in, as there was a shelter about 2.5 miles south. It was cold, but I put on 2 layers of long underwear, 3 pairs of socks, and had a tent and cold-rated sleeping bag. We agreed to turn around if the shelter looked too exposed, but hoped to camp there - or at least have dinner.

The trail was lovely - the blazes easy to see (mostly). There was packed, icy snow in places and at least one stream was difficult to cross due to the melting mountain snows. It had been 6 years since I have hiked with a pack and I forgot how much I enjoy it. I warmed easily and loved winding my way uphill.

About 1.5 miles in, it was close to sunset and getting colder. We had come to the summit of one mountain, but there was at least another to climb. We decided that prudence was necessary and chose to turn around for safety's sake. Making the trip back to the car in the dark would be difficult, especially given the ice and snow.

But we found a nice bridge 1/2 mile from the road over a rushing stream - so we stopped and cooked dinner (rather, the Physicist cooked and I messed about adjusting my 30 layers of clothing and texting a friend that I was on the AT.)

Dinner was rice and lentils, bread, Vermont cheddar and tea - eaten on the bridge, legs swinging over the water and rocks while watching the sun set pink and orange between hazy mountains in the distance. We talked about how difficult the hike had been from Georgia and wondered aloud what state we were in.

We got back to the car at 9pm and decided I would drive while he slept in the back (my car seats fold down to about the length of a sleeping bag) and then would switch out when I tired.

I took to the back around 11:30pm and woke up to a cloudy dawn on 90 West just outside of the intersection with 271 - it was 6 am and we had safely returned home from the unplanned adventure in the Northeast.

Grand totals (for those keeping score)

2006 miles
6 states
1 National Park
16 stops to replenish hot water for tea
6 stops for gasoline
34.09 Average MPG (37.7 High: 30.17 Low)
1 night couchsurfing in NY
1 night bad motel in NH
1 night camping in ME
1 night good hotel in ME
1 night in the car

Springtime Wanderlust successfully remedied.
(except that now I keep looking to see what portions of the AT are closest to Cleveland...)

Monday, April 13, 2009

And travel I did - Part I

This trip was wonderful, but fairly unplanned.
We chose a direction - Northeast.
We chose a destination state - Maine.
We chose things we wanted to see:
  • Adirondacks
  • Vermont
  • New Hampshire
  • Arcadia National Park in Maine
We chose a method of transportation - car.
We chose methods of shelter:
  • Couch Surfing
  • Camping
  • Hotels/B&Bs if necessary
We chose a time frame - leave Wed'y evening and return Monday.

Everything else in betwixt and between was left to chance and whim.
Maybe not the most prudent way to travel, but certainly adventuresome!

A quick list to remember the trip.

Wed'y 4/8
We left NEOhio with destination of Syracuse via Couch Surfing.
Arrived at 10-ish, chatted with our host Frank about Iceland, urban gardening and recycling and stayed in a warm, quiet apartment downtown.
We brought a gift of Great Lakes beer - which was opened and enjoyed immediately.

Thurs'y 4/9
Left Syracuse 10-ish to drive through the Adirondacks by way of Utica.
Lovely driving, mid 40s, blue skies and lack of leaves left all the charming cabins vulnerable to our gaze.
The urge to rent a canoe was great, but alas, we were too out of season.

Headed for Lake Placid and arrived at 2:30.
The main street wasn't bustling, but it wasn't deserted, either. As we wandered past a gallery, the Physicist was drawn to an image of computers in the window - inside, there was a collection of Catherine Ulitsky's photographs of starlings connected by geometric lines to form natural polygons.
We searched for SoulShine bakery to have lunch, but decided to find something more substantial - we ended up at The Brown Dog where we sat overlooking Lake Placid and watching the wind ripple the water's surface. This was followed by truffles from The Candy Man - the bag ripped at the corner as proof that a mouse could be blamed for carrying away my share of the sweets - if indeed that tragedy occurred.
We ended the visit at The Bookstore Plus which was right next door to With Pipe and Book, a bookstore that carried rare books and lithographs and a tobacconist to boot. The Physicist was goading me to leave with a full set of Harper's Index starting in 18_ _. I almost accepted the challenge. Instead I went to the Starbucks across the street for hot water to fill the thermos and fuel the next leg of the journey.

We left NY and made our way through VT and NH with the aid of Gypsy (the disembodied British-accented GPS with whom I maintain a complex relationship.)

Vermont was as beautiful as I remember it, and I was glad to be further North and crossing Lake Champlain. We drove through Montpelier, passing through quaint towns and eventually saw a pink moon rise over the mountains.

We stopped again for hot water and purchased a baguette covered in seeds and herbs and a block of cheese which was eaten - gingerly - on the road, cut with sewing scissors because the knife was well-packed.

As with the crossing of NM into AZ, there is a subtle yet distinct, nose-crinkling change when you cross from VT into NH.

It was at that point that we decided to stay for the evening in a hotel, having long since decided to get to Maine as soon as possible.

We stayed in a less than perfect motel that was advertised as having free WiFi (nope) and non-smoking rooms (except that the staff takes smoke breaks right outside the door and the room was not what I would describe as nicotine-free). It was off a busy road (loud) and at 7:30 in the morning, we were awoken by the proprietress - cigarette in hand - and asked to move the car as they were having some contractors doing something in the parking lot involving leaf-blowers and large yellow equipment that beeped when it backed up.

I got back from moving the car and was told by the Physicist that the handle of the hot water in the bath had come off in his hand, and that the orange juice was terrible.
I agreed and we put it and NH behind us as quickly as possible.

I did learn an important statement if I find myself faced with questionable lodging again, "I will keep that in mind, I am going to check the other motel. If I return, what time will you be here 'til?"

Fri'y 4/10
Left NH and got into ME by 11 am.

On the way, we needed hot water and ended up at Grand View Country Store, which carries yarns, including yarn that was sheared from their sheep and sent to be spun in Harmony, ME.

Drove back roads to Bar Harbor and arrived at 2-ish.
Found our way to winter campgrounds in the park and set up camp.
It is not a contiguous Nat'l Park and much of the area is closed for the season, but the available grounds had running water and heated bathrooms not far from our site.

We enjoyed a late lunch/early dinner at the site of soup, crusty bread, VT cheddar and tea and walked down to the coast (<.5 mi away) and decided to drive to a trail that would be a good evening hike. The view was spectacular, the skies clear and the temps comfortable. I am in love with coastal anything... After sunset, we drive into Bar Harbor to replenish hot water for tea and replace the water we got (it was full of sediment). We ended up at Alternative, a natural food store. We got some local milk (Smith's of Desert Island), a not-so-good spinach pie and wandered through town, stopping for fudge at Ben and Bill's Chocolate Emporium, window shopping at Song of the Sea and taking a few minutes to enjoy the views out to sea.

We headed back to camp, made hot chocolate from the milk, candy bar and sugar cubes - the Physicist quickly spilled his, so we shared what was left and went to sleep under the pines.

More to come...

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Something to aspire to

I just learned that my 92-year old third cousin (my grandfather's 1st cousin) just returned from a trip to Israel.

Now that's something.

Monday, April 6, 2009


Due to time and money constraints, I haven't traveled in about 4 years.
I have done day trips, spent a week on Kelley's Island, but no real travel in a while.
In 2005, I spent time in England, Florida, Arizona and California.

Then *poof* - homebody.

On Wed'y the Physicist and I leave for the Adirondacks, then a drive through VT and NH that will lead us to Maine and Arcadia National Park.

A bit early in the season, yes, but the extra day afforded by Good Friday was too much to pass up, making the three day weekend into an easy 5 day vacation.

We were going to take a train, but decided that driving would give us more flexibility.

I'm a bit disappointed to be skipping train travel, but I'm sure there will be other opportunities.

What I can't wait for is 5 days of hiking, canoeing and seeing a state I've never visited before.

To Maine!

Thursday, April 2, 2009


From the Wikipedia Entry:
Deaccessioning, the process of disposing, selling or trading objects from a museum collection, is not undertaken lightly in most museums. There are ethical issues to consider since many donors of objects typically expect the museum to care for them in perpetuity. Deaccessioning of an object in a collection may be appropriate if a museum has more than one example of that object and if the object is being transferred to another museum. It may also be appropriate if an object is badly deteriorated or threatening other objects.

Over the years I've collected a lot of Things.
Things that had meaning.
Things I gave meaning.
Things whose meaning changed.

Over the years, especially since the fire and my father's illness, Things have shifted to the extreme ends of the meaning continuum. They either mean everything (Things my father made) or nothing (Things that staged the environment in which I wanted to live.)

So I have been slowly, but regularly, deaccessioning Things.

Today I parted with a clock I purchased at an art auction. I always wanted a piece by this artist; he lives down the street and has a wonderful eye, subtle wit and national reputation.

But I have a small apartment and the neon is overwhelming when its on - and it should be on.

So I donated it to another art auction, and found out a friend wanted it, so I delivered it to him today, and he's writing the check out to the nonprofit I donated to.

So deaccessioning for the good of others - AND this piece has now raised money for two local nonprofits.

This Thing has a new life now.
And that makes me very happy.