Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Day After

We were doing quite well through the storm. The brunt of the storm in Massachusetts would be felt along the coast. We are about 50 miles from the coast as the crow flies. We had little rain and strong wind gusts. Only a dead oak tree bought the farm. We didn't have the money to have it taken down so Sandy did us a favor. It fell on our property and caused no damage to our neighbors.

I was thinking this storm wasn't so bad until the electricity went out at 12:30 AM. So many others lost their power earlier in the day. Himself had bought a special battery to power the CPAP machine he uses for his sleep apnea. Usually, he's up all night if the power is out. He got so used to the machine he can't sleep without it. Classes were cancelled at his school. No class, no labs for The Eldest to set up or clean up after.

We still had no power when we woke up, and happily, no water in the basement.  Himself hooked up the generator to get the sump pump going, brought the microwave downstairs and plugged that in so I could have a hot cup of tea.

Verizon 3G was frustratingly slow (I think the 300 baud modems I worked on 30 years ago ran faster. Can you hear me now, Verizon?) so on a whim, Himself hooked up the modem to the generator. I sipped my tea with the chemical creamer and booted up the laptop in true pioneer fashion. Then the electricity came on.

We're watching the news and seeing the devastation the storm wreaked on places like New Jersey and New York. I hope friends and colleagues in these areas are safe and their damage minimal, but for the grace of God go I.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

The hatches are battened down. We are waiting for the storm to hit. The Governor has declared a state of emergency asking schools, colleges, and businesses to close.

WPI closed, though The Youngest doesn't have classes on Mondays or Thursdays this term. (The more you pay, the less they go.) Her IQP group which was planning to meet at 2pm, will Skype the meeting provided everyone has electricity and Internet service.

Mass Bay closed so Himself and The Eldest won't have to go in. Since  a state of emergency is in effect, the cube farm where The Eldest works  will also be closed.

I convinced my elderly neighbor, Prissy, to go stay with her daughter. Actually, I frightened her out of her house. I told her if we lose electricity, it won't be for an hour or two, but will be for days. Her daughter has a generator. She called her daughter and her daughter came to pick her up.  I'm sorry Prissy, but it was necessary.

Though I feel twinges of guilt that my parents are in a nursing home, at times like this I am relieved. They are safe and extremely well cared for. I don't have to worry that Dad would suddenly decide to walk to the store for a gallon of milk or roaming the countryside in the dead of night during the storm. All the weebles are where they belong.

We have gas for the generator, and water to flush the toilet. (The joys of owning a well and having a septic system) Himself rigged up a rain bucket to capture more water for sanitation. The pumps are ready, and the shop vacs are standing by. We have essentials like water for tea, coffee, and chemical cream. Better living through chemistry. We'll be able to plug the small microwave into the generator. I managed to use up all the perishable food this week. If we are without electricity for days, we won't have to regret the loss of food in the refrigerator or freezer.  Cookies and a giant bag of Halloween candy (we usually don't get any trick or treaters) will round out bread, crackers, peanut butter, canned fruit and soup. We are safe.

No matter your weather, I hope you and yours are safe, too.

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Friday Five

Gone are the days of carving triangle eyes and nose with a toothy grin on a pumpkin and calling it good. These aren't your grandma's jack o'lanterns.

The Tenth Doctor and his TARDIS. Lace up your red Converse high tops and run to Pink Ray Gun's site to get the template. http://www.pinkraygun.com/2008/09/23/free-pumpkin-carving-template-doctor-who-and-tardis/ 

From an Apple a Day comes this beautiful carousel. http://vi.sualize.us/an_apple_a_day_pumpkin_carrousel_halloween_jack-o-lantern_picture_gY1P.html

A good old-fashioned scare from The Creature. Found at Yummies 4 Tummies http://yummies4tummies.com/2008/10/05/pumpkin-carvings/

Lots of amazing jack o'lanterns found on a Greedy or  Needy discussion board. My favorite was the dragon.

No surprise I'd pick a cowboy. Stay with 'im, Heath! Found at Wyoming Road Trip. http://www.wyomingroadtrip.com/Photography/photographs-wyoming-jack-o-lantern.aspx

After you've carved your jack o'lantern, do your roast the pumpkin seeds?

Thursday, October 25, 2012


the storm, Sandy, liberates the last of the leaves and color.

What's outside your window?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Counting Blessings

I almost forgot about this little journal. Time to get back to it.

It took almost a year and a half after college graduation, but The Eldest finally landed her first dream job, and will actually put her biology degree to work.

She started yesterday as a lab tech at a community college. She'll be responsible for cleaning glassware, setting up labs, preparing reagents, and cleaning the lab. She gets to wear a lab coat, and her new boss is ordering the lab techs surgical scrubs as the techs had complained that spills ruined clothing.

She's excited to finally have put a halt to the Catch-22 of needing 2 to 5 years lab experience for entry level jobs. The downside to the job is the hours are part-time, but hopefully it won't be long before a full time opportunity presents itself.

Next up, car shopping so she doesn't have to share my wheels.

Have a Happy Mole Day. That is celebrating Avogadro's Number 6.023x1023  and not the rodent.

Monday, October 22, 2012

What Flavor Ice Cream Are You?

Got this happy, little, time waster from Georgiana. Thanks, Georgiana!

You Are Strawberry Ice Cream
A bit shy and sensitive, you are sweet to the core.
You often find yourself on the outside looking in.
Insightful and pensive, you really understand how the world works.

You are most compatible with chocolate chip ice cream.
Work is Hard. Time for Blogthings!

Sweet to the core is off by a long shot. Understanding how the world works? I knew it! I'm a Time Lord.

What flavor ice cream are you?

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Friday Five

Scary, gross foods I will not eat:

1. Sweetbreads. Disguising the fact that this piece of offal is a gland, isn't helping.

2. Rocky Mountain Oysters. I wonder who thought "Oooh, let's fry up some lamb testicles. Bet they would be right tasty!" 'Spect I'll pass.

3. Tripe. When I was 6 yrs old, my uncle invited relatives and friends for a tripe party. The idea was to clean the tripe and then it would be cooked and eaten. The smell was gawdawful. I sat under the kitchen table and cried.

4. Tongue. Not my idea for a sandwich. I even have a hard time talking to the kid at the science fair who did the project on sense of taste.

5. Blue Cheese. Again, who thought, "Aw, this cheese went moldy. Let's eat it anyway, bet it's good"

Are there any foods you'd like to add to the list?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Work in Progress

Outline inked with black F.W. Acrylic ink.

Next Step: Deciding on style and size of lettering on the banner.

What are you doing today?

Monday, October 15, 2012

I Forgot

to add one more thing that I don't like to last Friday's Five list. I don't like candy corn. It tastes like melted birthday candle wax on cake frosting.

Are you a fan of candy corn?

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Friday Five

Five things I don't like about Halloween.

1. Other than The Monster Mash by the Beach Boys and possibly Giant Purple People Eater by Sheb Wooley there are no Halloween Carols. Are there other Halloween songs?  On the other hand, radio stations would probably belt out the Halloween tunes starting on Labor Day so I'd be sick of hearing them by the time Halloween rolled around.

2,Why does Christmas have to cut Halloween short? Target already has Christmas cards and lights opposite the Halloween costumes.

3. Easter is starting to hone in on the action, too. Cadbury has a Screme egg for Halloween! Instead of the white and yellow fondant center used for Easter, the Screme egg center is white and green fondant. Hershey is the U.S. distributor for Cadbury U.K. C'mon, Hershey! Are you afraid your Halloween candy sales will be down?

4. I saw a package of brightly colored Easter eggs with Halloween stickers. Package verbiage suggested having a monster egg hunt. Who brings the eggs? The Easter Bunny dressed in a costume? The Halloween Hare? Is the Hare rabid? Who lays the eggs? The Halloween Hen? Is she the chicken who runs around with her head cut off? Is she rabid? My head hurts. I think I need an aspirin.

5. I saw a purple Halloween Jack O'Lantern  bucket. Suppose that goes hand in hand with sparkly vampires.

Is there anything you don't like about Halloween?

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Last year during the month of November, I participated in NaNoJouMo, National Nonstop Journal Month. The idea borrowed from NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, is to journal each day during the month.  I'm planning on doing that again.

 Instead of using a commercial journal, I made a journal following instructions from Teesha Moore's 16 page journal made from one sheet of paper. I used two sheets of Arches Text Wove to form two signatures to form the book. Text Wove folds easily takes ink and paint well. I'll bind the book afterwards as I think it will be easier to work in before it's bound. Also, I think I'll use a different binding technique than the one that Teesha Moore uses.

There are no rules to participating, other than to work in the journal each day. If you want to play and don't know where to start, Dawn DeVries Sokol will be posting prompts each day to spark your creativity. You don't need to make your own journal. You don't need a fancy journal. You can use a composition notebook, scrap paper, loose leaf paper, old phone books, or new ones. Use a pencil, pen or makers, or paint up a storm. Up to you. Snag Dawn's badge for your blog to help spread the word.

Will you be participating in NaNoJouMo or NaNoWriMo?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Red Letter Day

Saturday, Himself received a sweet letter from one of his karate students. The little fellow is five years old and is a white belt (rank beginner).

We've translated the letter from H's creative
spelling though karate is spelled correctly :

Hi karate teacher. I am so glad that you are my karate teacher. You are that are best. I love the rules because (I love H's spelling "pcus") they are kindness. I can't believe how much karate you taught me. Well I hope you like knots (names) on the picture under the knots. I enjoy the day. Luv H
H drew and labeled the colored belts he will receive as he travels the (Villari) martial arts path.  Villari's doesn't have a red belt, but maybe the system should.

White, yellow, orange, purple, blue, blue with stripe, green, green with stripe, 3 levels of brown, and 10 levels of black.

Very soon, H will be testing for his yellow belt. H, I hope you never lose your enthusiasm for learning.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Think Before You Pink

I'm all for a cause. Bring awareness. Celebrate survivors. Honor those who passed. By all means wear the gloves, the cleats, wrist bands, and tea towels. Outline your team crest in pink, and you go from having a fierce, intimidating, wild stallion to a My Little Pony.

Think before you pink.

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Friday Five

The best holiday season is upon us. Send everyone out of the house so you are alone, curl up in your favorite chair, and cuddle with your favorite pumpkin. Five of my favorite books to send a chill up your spine and make your blood run cold.

1. Dracula by Bram Stoker. Sparkly vampires can't hold a candle to the Count.  Prefer graphic novels? Check out artist, Andy Fish's Dracula The Dead Travel Fast. Andy's also working on a new retelling of the classic. Even if you're not into graphic novels, go look at Andy's amazing work in progress

2. The Shining by Stephen King. This is my favorite King novel. Kept me up at night for two weeks. Don't bother with the schlocky  Stanley Kubrick film version. The real star of the book is the little boy, Danny.

3. IT by Stephen King. If you're afraid of it, it's in the book. Clowns, spiders, drains, bullies...

4. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving. A tale of murder at the hands of the supernatural. Or was it?

5. Beowulf the  epic of the Geat hero's triumph over the monster, Grendel, and later, Beowulf's fate. Don't want to read the poem in Anglo-Saxon? Seamus Heaney has given the tale a brilliant translation.

What's your favorite book that sends your heart pounding in your ears?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Work in Progress

To begin, decisions of size and paper have to be made. I decided to use Arches 90 lb. hot press, watercolor paper. It takes both paint and ink well, and I have lots on hand.

For size, I waffled between 11 in. x 14 in. (27.94 cm x 35.56 cm.) and 8 in. x 10 in. (20.32 cm x 25.40 cm.) There isn't a lot of large wall space in the dollhouse. I decided on 8 x 10. Yes, I will be doing Himself's family coat of arms, too.

While there are rules that govern heraldry, there is some latitude in design. While this is not an official coat of arms, I'd like to make it look a little bit authentic. Time is spent flipping through books or on line looking at coats of arms to get some ideas. Shape of the shield, helmet (with a few minor rules involved), mantle, and scroll for the motto or family name are a matter of preference.

I also searched the Internet to find out what a roe buck looked like.

Design is sketched onto the paper. Next step, inking the outline.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Oakasaurus Rex

Found this beauty on the driveway. The paper it is resting on measures 9 in. x 12 in. (22.86 cm. x 30.48 cm) Just look at the size of it! (The leaf, not the paper.) I think I will set it free to blow into the Leaf Lady's yard. She loves leaves.

Have you ever seen an oak leaf that big?

Monday, October 1, 2012

Work in Progress

Year's ago, my dad sent away for a family coat of arms suitable for framing. Dad liked to believe the family descended from the Caesars of Rome. In reality, his people came from a long line of tradesmen: barbers, cobblers, stone cutters, tailors. Didn't matter. Dad proudly displayed his coat of arms in his office.

While cleaning out the homestead, I had asked The Nephew if there was anything he wanted. He asked if he could have the coat of arms. He said he liked it, and thought it was pretty cool.

I decided to paint the coat of arms suitable for framing on my own wall. Over the weekend, I brushed up on the terms used in heraldry. The blazon, written description of the coat of arms, reads:

Azure a fess between in chief three mullets and in base a roe buck all or.

The shield is blue with a wide gold band in the center.

At the top of the shield (chief) are three gold mullets. A mullet is a five pointed star and is said to represent the rowel on a knight's spur.

In the base of the shield, a gold roe buck.

Today, I'll take creative license with the shape of the shield, the style of helmet, the drape of the mantle (covering that goes over the helmet), and the crest (the figure on top of the helmet)

What are you working on?