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July 2008
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September 2008

You light up my life

This is a "Calumet Standard Head S2" strobe light. I have another, of the "linear" variety, and a power supply (that weighs a ton) to go with 'em. DH has had these for years -- he used to use them with a medium-format camera to shoot 4x5 transparencies of artwork (his own and others'), and also to shoot slides. These were the formats most needed for reproducing the work in various ways and/or for jurying into shows. Things have changed. Most (though not all) everything is done digitally now.

Anyway, I'm intrigued by these lights and all the possibilites. I love "natural light," but there's a time and place for "studio light," also. That would be winter 'round here. In fact, it is now dark when I get up for work in the morning.

I have research and local inquiries yet to make, but thought I'd throw this on the blog because, as we all know, the blog works in mysterious ways. What I need to know is how to make these work with my digital outfit and what I need. I'm as green as they come in the area of flash photography, but I figure some sort of wired or wireless transmitter.

More pictures of the equipment on my Flickr page.

* * * * * *
I've been doing well on the blog break. Some highlights:

--Recycling a TON of cardboard boxes and reclaiming a half-ton of bubble wrap and air pillows from The Annex (also known as Ali's old bedroom or my studio/office).

--Coming this >< close to being skunked. I think I startled one in the back yard the other night when I let a cat out -- I don't know what a skunk's range is, but holy crap, I think I was in it. The smell was so strong and so bad that it felt like it was on me. It almost made me sick a few times and I could sleep. It was like the odor would intensify and wash over me in waves. My car, in a closed garage and with car windows closed, smelled like skunk the next morning and, in fact, even still in the evening.

--My next door neighbor is having sewer problems and I think I smell that, too. Or is it mine? Or a skunk? Or did the dog do? OR PHANTOM SMELLS??? I have many options to choose from, anyway. No laughing matter. There's a reason why building a brand frickin' new house on a street that hasn't seen new construction in 100+ years might not be such a good idea. Now they're going to dig again to see what's the problem next door, and then again to fix whatever the problem is -- and every time they do that I'm at risk. If it's not broken already because, I swear, I do smell something -- and I did even before I knew about the problems next door. We're down to one kid at home and we have efficient water appliances -- it could be a while before we really knew. Meanwhile, I keep checking the basement...

--I think I fell for this once before, but was very excited when I parked next to a vehicle at the grocery store that proclaimed on the window: fleece4sale (dot) com. I couldn't wait to get on the computer at home to check it out... too bad I don't have any use at all for polar fleece (even prior to the onset of hot flashes, I found that stuff to be too hot).

--The house down the street -- and untouched jewel and my next favorite on the block -- has sold and a young couple was there all day on Saturday clearing overgrown bushes and whatnot. They got a bargain, but the house needs a lot of work. The light fixtures and various hardware items are the stuff of dreams.

--I continued to work exclusively on Juno Regina. Along with the cooler evenings/nights/mornings, the knitting mojo seems to have returned, though, and I'm ready to finish a few items that had been tossed aside and sink my needles into something substantial.

--Registered Maddy for her senior year. The first day of her last year of high school is a week from today!

What I did on summer vacation in New York City

Over a year ago, Katie told me about a show scheduled for this year at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) that she'd read about and was very interested in seeing.  Several months ago, she told me that she'd been mistaken -- that the show wasn't actually opening until next year.  Then, just a few short weeks ago, she told me that she was mistaken about being mistaken and that the original dates were correct, after all; in fact, the show had just opened!  Home Delivery: Fabricating the Modern Dwelling -- or (to us) The Prefab Show -- runs through October 20th.

Time was tight and opportunities limited, but I decided to check some of the options and, before you knew it, I'd steamrolled over any arguments to the contrary on my way to the ticket counter where I bought passage for three -- Katie, Maddy and me (DH & Ali being occupied otherwise with different things) -- to The Big Apple.

Seriously.  A month ago, a trip to New York wasn't on any of my maps.  For a variety of the usual reasons, I was pretty much resigned to a not-far-from-home most-of-the-family vacation and even foregoing Rhinebeck this year.


Katie, Maddy and I flew from Green Bay to NYC (kinda like Brett Favre -- though not in a private jet -- and he flew from Mississippi, but it works figuratively, and yes, the word "stalking" did come to mind) on Saturday the 9th.  We made our way to and through Penn Station and the girls spent their first few minutes in NYC catching their breath and taking it all in from the steps of the post office.  It wasn't long before Cara met my girls and I met hers!  Meli is definitely used to a little more elbow room in the car -- she wasn't too sure about her new backseat companions!


The girls and I spent the evening walking around and taking in the city.  We met Cara, Georgie & Meli for pizza (yum!) and then went to Rice to Riches for dessert.  Only in New York, eh?  It was like Baskin-Robbins 31 Flavors, except for rice pudding.  With toppings, too.  And completely delicious.  I may have licked my bowl.  For sure I licked the lid.

I purchased our tickets for MoMA in advance -- highly recommended, by the way; we've done that both times now and it saved a ton of time in line.  Time was limited on Sunday, so we got there as early as we could and made our way right up to the exhibit floor and then outside for the "field trip" portion of the program.  (That's what I was reminded of, anyway.)  Katie has all the photos from that day and I'll have to get a few from her -- those little structures were AWESOME!  There were particular pieces/artists that the girls had on their lists to see, which we did, and the rest was gravy... or saved for another day.

We met up with Cara & Meli, and also (by happy circumstance) Terry and her family for lunch.  Again with the camera... at least T had hers!  And then we made our way out to Long Island to visit Ann!

Monday was lay-low day -- knitting, watching the Olympics.  The girls did some exploring on their own and then took in a movie (Brideshead Revisited) when the house filled up with knitters!  There were birthday celebrations and ice cream cake and lots of laughs.  It was great to see Kathleen, Peggy, and Ricki again, and to finally meet Claire.  Kathleen had the magic touch with Meli -- she managed a few more minutes of relaxed and happy babe-in-arms time than anyone else!

On Tuesday, the girls and I drove out to the Montauk Lighthouse -- we took the scenic route and arrived at closing time, which was fine, really.  We had a blast going through all the little towns, looking at as many of the amazing houses that we could -- delighting just as much in the few "originals" we were able to see.  I have a new best friend named Garmin and will never go on another trip into the unknown without one.  Tuesday night was more knitting to the Olympics, and on Wednesday we flew home.  I was back to work on Thursday and Friday, then catching up at home over the weekend.  And with all the knitting -- on the plane, in the car, watching the Olympics -- Juno Regina is probably about 3' long now, unblocked.

I had so much fun -- and the girls did, too.  It was great to get away and just hang out.  "Thank you" to you and you and you!  I do hope I'm able to demonstrate my skills as a hostess in return someday.  Heh.

And with that...

I'll be taking a little blog break, at least 'til after Labor Day.  Everything's fine -- there's just too much of it at the moment.  See you in a couple of weeks.

I've been cheated

...been mistreated.  I feel jilted, wilted, sad, and mad.  Heartbroken.  Betrayed.  I'm not pointing fingers -- I don't have enough to go around.  It just stinks all over.

If I had a cheesehead, it would be swathed in black.  As it is, I'm crying into my Brett Favre jersey.  I am ill.

I have been a Green Bay Packers fan for... ever (even in the '80s).  I've been a football fan for-almost-ever.  Sometime in the last 16 years, I became a Brett Favre fan.  He should have been nothing but a Green Bay Packer for... ever.  He should never have retired.

It's all gone sour.

I don't think I can bear to watch.  Any of it.

On the bright side, this could free up a lot of Sunday afternoons and Monday nights, and the occasional Thursday and sometimes Saturday.  I may have to get my football fix watching the Badgers more diligently.  Or find a different sport altogether.

Or knit.

It's lace!

Old_shale_ii Old_shale_i

"Old Shale Baby Blanket," Anna Bell's pattern (found here).  I still need to weave in ends, wash and block.  This was knit using reclaimed/recycled yarn; there's plenty left for... a baby sweater, some hats... I'm undecided.


"Juno Regina," Miriam Felton's pattern (found here).  I finally got it -- I'm successfully knitting lace -- and I love it!!  I am now in the decidedly less lacy portion of the project, but still...  I'm using a hank of Morehouse Farm's Merino Lace that I purchased at Rhinebeck in 2006.  I'm so happy to finally be using it because I adore the colors.  I've modified the pattern to make it narrower (more scarf-like) and suspect that it will be 'round my neck more often than not this coming fall and winter.

More sky

Birds Fly

It does look a little like a Van Gogh sky, doesn't it?  I stopped twice Sunday night on my way home from Madison to take pictures.  I was disappointed that the nice day had turned cloudy just in time for the drive -- I was wanting better light, a real sunset -- but it took a dramatic turn that was actually pretty cool.

Makin Hay

It's the time of year -- one of my favorites -- when hay bales start to dot the landscape.  The countryside is so rich right now -- an earthy, mostly geometric patchwork of color and pattern in golds, browns, greens, sometimes rolling and other times flat, cut by meandering roads, rivers and streams.  I can't wait to see it from above; any nervousness I have about flying is always squelched by my anticipation of the view.  To me, there's nothing worse than flying on a cloudy day (though my neck doesn't get nearly as stiff from looking out the window).

I finished the Old Shale baby blanket just as we arrived in Madison on Sunday. DH will spend a couple of days at my sister's hanging doors and doing carpentry work.  My BIL will be an able assistant to DH, as needed, and an apprentice was born.  At his request, I clipped a tape measure to the waistband of Mack's shorts, after which he exclaimed, "I'm part of the TEAM!"  The team was preparing for a trip to the lumber yard as I left -- and it was a long good-bye, waving and saying "Bye-bye" a thousand times just to hear Addison say it back a couple of times.

I hauled back a load of big & bulky stuff from Katie's apartment -- she will be completely moved out on Thursday.  What a year!  The situation with the roommate a few months ago has remained somewhat strained and difficult -- mostly featuring avoidance, but improved in some respects.  Later this month, Kate will be moving in with my sister and her family (behind one of the doors that DH will hang this weekend) until graduation in December.

{Random thought:  I think she'll be moving up here, then, for a while -- possibly even HERE here (like HOME here) for a short time, depending on how things work out.  Or maybe she'll take another track and move to England or Ireland.  You know?  She's 23 and untethered (presently) and these are just two of her many options right now.  I have a lot of fun with her and sure love having her around and close, but I'd love to see her go and do stuff now, when it's easier and while she has the chance, too.}

Front Door Corn

Rachel is one of the regular knitters in the group that knits out on Tuesdays and this is the view (another of the Saturday night sunset) straight out her front door.  Rachel and her husband just bought a house in the country near Waupaca and she invited us all out on Saturday.  (See the rows of corn right across the road?  Doesn't get much better than that.)

DH dropped me for a hair appointment on Saturday morning, after which I shopped the Appleton farmer's market for a few minutes, then walked over to Ann's.  We drove out to Waupaca together with her little man -- a wonderful traveller, by the way.  We met up with everyone at the Waupaca Community Arts Co-op and then we made our way to The Troll's Cove.  I left both places with one ball of yarn and plenty more inspiration.

We shared a wonderful meal at Rachel's -- burgers and brats on the grill, veggie pizza, chips and dip, and some wonderful salads -- and spent a nice, relaxed evening socializing and knitting.  Thanks so much.

Tomorrow:  Photos of the baby blanket and of Juno Regina -- I think I've got it!



Saturday Sunset from Rachel's from porch, near Waupaca.

Continuing a very busy weekend, I'm on my way to Madison today in a borrowed van to haul the big stuff from Katie's apartment.  She will be completely moved out by Friday (already!)!

I just had a very nice post disappear and I just don't have the time to reconstruct.  It's never the same, anyway.

I'll try again tomorrow -- with more about Waupaca, Rachel's new old house, outbuildings, yarn shops, knitting friends, good food, socializing, and probably Madison.  I haven't blogged yet about Mamma Mia or Thursday Night Thunder, either.  I'm behind.

Before I run, though, I must send thanks to my sister Sharon and to Terry -- they both called me this morning, having remembered my mentioning Steve Winwood last month, to tell me that he was featured in a segment on CBS Sunday Morning today!  (I love the internet.)  Sharon told me that she remembered borrowing Mr. Fantasy from the library's record collection, too.

Oh, and a quick knitting update:  I worked on the Old Shale baby blanket yesterday and it's nearly finished -- maybe one more ball of yarn will do the trick.  Also, the Juno Regina scarf is coming along... I'm calling it Try #3B.