Monday, March 26, 2007

Short-lived is not bad: _monochrome no aware_

It was beautiful yesterday morning, an Ansel Adams wonderland, punctuated with an occasional cardinal or purple finch (the evening grosbeaks were not monochrome, but they didn't have enough punch on the birdfeeder). An inch of very fine snow, very carefully sprinkled over every possible bud and twig.

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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Mono no aware

Today is cloudy but there is color back in the world.

Mostly I have been knitting ducks.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Lemon Meringue Concord

Sunday my friend Pat came up from Boston and she and Doug and I went to see the Peking Acrobats, who were amazing. Pat wondered how they felt after they hit thirty, whether they had any cartilage left at all. They are very good. There were moments when the audience was biting its collective maternal tongue, trying not to tell the gymnast NOT to DO THAT. Particularly the part involving leaning on chairs on two legs. They also juggle. It was well worth the effort to get there (which other than a $4 per ticket (which were $26) service charge for using the Internet, was not excessive). And we had delicious Chinese food at Chen Yang Li beforehand.

Concord had freezing rain, which we in the highlands did not. It left an weird glaze over the snow, making an effect like meringue rather than the usual powered sugar. Click here for the album, but here's representative shot:

Which goes to show it is good to have a small cheap camera with you always. I am quite impressed how well it handled the contrasts.

Meanwhile I am knitting another duckie, because it is so much fun.

Saturday, March 17, 2007


Like truthiness. On Wednesday, it was 76 degrees F, and that felt really weird. The air caressed instead of rushing. It verged on too hot. Thursday, it was cooler, and despite the foot of snow that has gone in to the air and gutters lately, it was _dry_.

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My mittlet had a bad hair day.

On Friday I wanted to take a picture of the deck -- there was no snow on it. But the temperature was 28 degrees F. Which is much colder than 76F.

Then last night it snowed about a foot.

Yesterday I had a pleasant moment at work, opening my box of Diak spindles, ordered for the spinning class I teach at the Smith science fiction convention. Jessica down the hall has been discussing wanting to learn to spin, so I invited her down to see some really Good Stuff. And Jeanne came in and we had a few minutes' spinning symposium. The spindles were beautiful, and so was the packing material.

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Easter Basket(duck by Kat, )

When I left at three there was an inch of snow on the ground. I went to the bank and a couple other errands and then to the Elegant Ewe. There were two inches on the ground. I was trying to meet Jessica at four-thirty to help her choose roving, but she was not around. I helped Dee by giving her a whole bunch of amigurumi websites. Jessica turned up a little after five because she had been caught in traffic (four inches on the ground). We enabled one another and Dee found me duckie yarn (Reynolds Frisky). When I left there were five inches of snow.

It took me about twice as long as usual to get home; I didn't see any accidents, and I wasn't in any, and none of us were going more than 35 miles an hour. Very sensible.

When I got home there were at least 6 inches of snow.

Around eight pm. there came a knocking at the store and Sarah stumbled in, covered with snow (well, to the ankles); she had left the snowless Canterbury around one, got caught in traffic just south of Manchester, got diverted, bogged down, etc., till her cell phone ran out and she decided we lived closer than she or her gandfather or her mother did. Her car was at the bottom of the hill, pulled well off; she had walked about half a mile, some of it almost 45 degrees up and finishing with the deceptively gradual driveway. It was fine to have our own castaway. Doug made sure she had blankets and adequate cats. By this time there were at least eight inches of snow.

This morning there were some 13 inches of snow and a layer of fairly soft sleet on top. We all got up and lounged around, until Doug went to dig out the cars and the hot tub (man's burden on earth is to shovel snow, apparently), and Sarah did the same to the living room!! YES! The Tidying Fairy came! I helped by knitting the duck. We took frequent knitting breaks (and Doug took a nap, after only shovelling for an hour or so), and after Paul came and plowed us out we drove down to Sarah's car and dug it out in short order.

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I added feet to the duck and I am ready to go to bed.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Tomorrow, pictures, I think

"Pimp My Hitch-Hiker," continued: I sit here spinning (on the Joy, which so far has resisted my temptations to gold leaf the daylights out of IT, too...) with fluff sticking to my varnish smears.
I have learned so much: the silver and gold of silver and gold (and copper) pens is not the same color as the metallic perfection of leaf. It won't be evident when the wheel is spinning, but no one will be encouraged to look closely at the flames when it's stationary.
And the leaf sealer varnish warns me it contains xylene, which means it is eating my kidneys while I am enjoying the industrial fug. Xylene is the solvent in gold, silver (and black and copper)pens. So when you dab leaf sealer over the flames, they smear. So you go back to the water-soluble varnish (which may tarnish the leaf), it beads up on the leaf.

The wheel as a whole looks like it had a rough trip out of the sack of Lhasa. I could pour more petrochemicals over it and scrape down. Or I could try leafing over the flames with my new idea: if you cut the flames out with your good scissors and maybe try applying the thick size gently into the stencil...then I would not need to touch up the flames with pens and I could just seal the whole thing.

Or I could ask David Paul how much a new part would cost and start with a fresh disk when I ask him to post a picture of the parts, exploded, to make it easier to put your Hitch-Hiker back together without the embarrassment of ending up with a handful of extra parts (Doug exercised his engineer mojo on it and we are okay now.

On the whole, I think I will be okay with it looking like it got kicked around a bit before Pier One marked it down. I don't know if I am growing up, or just had reasonably low expectations, or am finally on enough fluoxetine, but it's nice not to have wanted to throw either the wheel or myself out the window.

And I have a cheap tray and a cheap wooden box from Michael's to put more leaf on. The whole process has awakened me to how very little work it is to sand something after the varnish, if it is small and not a floor (I have been where the Harlot is, and the woman deserves a week at a spa), and if I could think of anyone who needed small furnishings that look like Revenge of the Raj I would be ready to go. I hope I can keep my hands off the Joys in the house. They are fine without gilding.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Blogger sighted

I was preparing to work out some of the kinks in my lifestyle (one occurred when Asterix realized he was hungry at 3:30 Sunday morning; giving me umm, some great contemplative time when reasonable people were allowed to sleep; thus, I was considering a 10:30 nap) when Sarah called and suggested lunch in Concord and a visit to the Elegant Ewe. I washed a week's worth of Asterix's cat food cans (he only eats kibble when I am not around. He looks great, and the other cats only get a taste of nutritionally dubious canned food, and yes, I am whipped) and moved a little furniture. Then I went into Concord, where Marci was teaching wheel spinning to some hapless newbies (hapless only because they can't realize the life of roving and degradation into which they are willingly lowering themselves) including Teresa ! Who blames me for forcing her to pick up a spindle at Rhinebeck and pushing into the life of roving and d... I thought she must surely have already been as degraded as the rest of us. I am happy to say that she was spinning beautiful fineweight in her first essay onto a wheel. The class was picking up after its lunchbreak and I complimented them on their excellent progress and lack of angst. No wheels appeared to have been thrown through the window. They said I ought to have been there before lunch.

Sarah and I supported the economy by buying a skein apiece of Mountain Goat and had Indian food, and I bought a leaf-sizing pen (sizing being the adhesive) so I can do finer work on my flames. HlessSara comments (you can see for yourself) that she progressed from a few frames to 'everything not nailed down' and I am happy to hear my passage into a life of leaf and degradation is proceeding normally. I only bought a small tea tray from the wood blanks at Michael's.

Doug came back from Hawaii and gave me an _excellent_ shirt. Someday it will be warm enough not to need a turtleneck underneath.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

stuff and things

Doug went to Hawaii for work on Tuesday morning, leaving me in charge. God help us. But all the cats and chickens are still alive.I also put the final coat of varnish over the stain on my HitchHiker. I have been converted to the use of steel wool. It really makes a good difference if the varnish is fully hardened.

On Wednesday, there was a power failure in Greater Concord. First the lights and computers went at work, and then the phones. I left to go to the archaeology lab, where I was supposed to Photoshop. There were no lights there, either. I left and drove around Concord to see if any of the gas stations were open, which they were not. Nor could I shop. So I went home, where there was enough electricity to get fuel for my car, and read a bunch of Ursula K. LeGuin.
I put the first shots of metallic leafing on the wheel. It is messy, wasteful, frustrating, and way cool. I made a stencil out of quilting template plastic (an expensive purchase; the sheet of plastic wasn't bad, but quilting store was a dangerous place and the sashiko book rather ran up the bill). An Exacto knife is better than a razor blade for cutting curves (I got one yesterday, in case I do something like this again) and Mona Lisa Sizing is too runny to use with a stencil. Get the sizing pen.
Sensible people might have chosen paint or waxes, but it is a lot of fun playing with the leaf, even if by the time I finish decorating it I will have paid nearly as much in materials for Making Fabulous as I did for the wheel itself. (Can I include the sashiko kit, as a sort of collateral damage?). I must say the wheel was a more atractive idea to embellish than the nice flat wooden things in Michael's, but I might want to do a box or something because the gold leaf is so much fun.

It snowed more than somewhat on Friday. They said we would get 7", and I got about 10. It was prettier than any pictures of mine, but here's a record shot or two:

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Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

This was Saturday morning, after a very light dusting had fallen and clung to the trees, after Paul the contractor had plowed the drive. A tractor/frontloader is not the tool of choice, he tells me.

Yesterday I visited my parents in Boston and the Dick Blick store near Kenmore Square. they do not carry the same leaf supplies as Michael's, but it's a sufficiently evil place even without carrying wool. My parents gave me lunch at Legal Seafood (I highly recommend the garlic shrimp with rice, off the celiac menu) and polenta at home. They are still trying to pare down their possessions after moving from a good-sized house to a one and a half-bedroom apartment I guess 18 months ago now. I have been wondering in my own house if I should have an estate sale while I am still alive, since I have too much stuff. Not that that stops me getting more.

Today I need to clean the kitty litter boxes before Doug comes back, and shovel the steps to Doug's entry. And maybe wash a dish or so, people get so fussy when they have been living in a hotel and I am running out of space to wash brushes.