Saturday, February 28, 2015


I was sad yesterday to hear that Leonard Nimoy passed away. Though he did many other things, he has been and always shall be Spock. As you continue your journey, Mr. Nimoy, live long and prosper.

"He's not really dead, as long as we remember him.", Dr. "Bones" McCoy, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

Friday, February 27, 2015

The Friday Five Good Things

Five good things that happened this week.

1. The big storm last Sunday didn't produce the ice the weather dudes were predicting for my area. No problems with the roof. Yay!

2.  Tickled blue that I found

3. Enjoyed an Outlander marathon with The Yong One, and we're all caught up on Season 1. Season 2 starts in April. Not sure how quickly Couchtuner uploads programs. No worries, Red is moving back home in April, and she has Starz on her cable.

4. One of The Eldest's college friends became engaged. The Eldest was asked to be the Maid of Honor. Or is it Best Woman?

5.  Himself leaves for work somewhere between 5 - 5:30 AM. I'm awake enough to say good-bye, but usually wallow in bed for another hour. I must have fallen back asleep because I dreamt I had a blue, baby elephant for a pet. The elephant liked to snuggle, and he purred just like a cat. I shudder to think what this dream meant. Maybe a baby elephant is just a baby elephant.

How was your week?

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Throwback Thursday

When I was a kid, this was how I googled

If I needed to find information on a subject quickly, I consulted the encyclopedia.

If I needed to find more in depth information, I looked in here, the card catalog

If I needed help to search my topic, I aked the librarian

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Happy Time Waster

Gallery For > Snoopy Happy Dance Animated Gif
Image from
Life without Cable has been pretty good. The cheap, digital signal antenna I bought, picks up 2 PBS stations, Local ABC affiliate, MeTV, Local NBC affiliate, Local CBS affiliate, THIS, Movies,local FOX affiliate, and two local Spanish channels. That's 8 more stations than when I was a kid! Sometimes the signals break up, but for the most part things work fine. Other network programs we watch, but can't pull in with the antenna, we watch online.

So, I was sitting at the computer and for the heck of it, I did a search for the Doctor Who  2014 Christmas special, AND I not only found it but got more than I bargained for. Not only were Doctor Who episodes with the new Doctor (12) online (Netflix doesn't have 12's episodes yet), but the entire STARZ season 1 of Outlander!  FREE to watch!!

So if you want a happy time waster, and want to catch up on your favorite shows or watch past episodes, or start a new series check out Couch Tuner

Monday, February 23, 2015

Set The Flamingos Free

Saw this a couple of years ago from my friend  in Minnesota. Funny then. Still funny and applicable here.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Postcard Reminder

We got a postcard reminder in the mail. On Saturday, 28. March 2015 there will be several full and partial road closures in town because of the MIT Beanpot Cycling Race.

There still is a good 4 feet of snow on the ground. Unless temperatures warm up, which they don't seem to be doing anytime soon, there will still be a good 4 feet of snow on the ground. Roads are barely wide enough for two cars to safely pass let alone cars and bicyclists. Instead of this:
Maybe race organizers should think about running a Beanpot Iditarod.

Friday, February 20, 2015

The Friday Five Good Things

Five good things that happened this week

1. After a year of being unemployed, The Eldest finally got a job in a lab. It's through a temp agency and only for 3 months, but it's better than nothing. Fingers crossed it works into a permanent position.

2. Some day finally arrived. Since it's my slow season, I began cleaning and organizing the studio/basement in between shoveling and raking snow off the roof. I cleaned a pile of stuff and put it away that was living on the writing desk chair.

3. Ma and Dad stopped by in a dream. In the dream, we were going shopping to their favorite Mahket. Ma said she didn't want to go. Dream me knew this was a dream because shopping was one of Ma's favorite sports. She would never skip this outing at least not without a lot of fussing and whining. So Dad and I were left to go on our own. Dad dressed up as he usually did. Suit and tie. Favorite fedora (he never went anywhere without a hat), and a top coat. It was like the top coat detective Columbo wore though not as ratty. Funny, I don't remember Dad ever owning a coat like that.

4. With all the snow, the sleepy, little town where I live had some big excitement. The roof collapsed at the strip mall that houses the post office, dry cleaner, Edible Arrangements, bank, beauty salon and some assorted offices. Fortunately, the building was evacuated before the roof caved in and no one was hurt. Sad for the business losses.  Sutton Square Plaza Roof Collapse

5. On the nights Himself works late, The Eldest has invited me to marathon watch programs with her. We finished all 9 seasons of The X-Files, have watched assorted espisodes of classic Doctor Who. She introduced me to a (new for me) anime series, Death Note. It's about a young man who finds a notebook. If he writes someone's name and knows what they look like, he can cause their death. Along with the notebook, he gains a new companion,a shinigami (angel of death) called Ryuk (My favorite character). The young man, Light, decides evil people should die to make a better world.  So the dilemma, do you become evil if you kill bad people?

How was your week?

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Throwback Thursday

I was leaving class at Control Data Institute (computer programming and operations). Got to the parking lot and Hubbell, my 1979 Ford Mustang, wouldn't start. Another woman from a class 2 or 3 months ahead of mine (a new class started each month), hailed one of her classmates, Derry, in the parking lot.  I had AAA, but he said he had jumper cables, would get my car started before I finished dialing the number. He got Hubbell started and worried I'd have trouble on the way home, he put the jumper cables in the car. "At least if you're stuck on the road, you'll have cables and can flag someone to help." Imagine giving jumper cables to a complete stranger? Got home without any problems.

The next day, during morning break, I found Derry to give him his cables back. We went out to the car, and Hubbell had a flat tire.  I told Derry after class I'd have AAA come and change the tire for me. He wasn't going to have any of that. It was a matter of pride. "Can't have anyone [in there] think what a pantywaist I am that I can't change a tire for a little girl." After that, Derry became another big brother.

In his spare time, Derry made wooden cars and trucks which he hand carved for his son. I commissioned him to make a hook and ladder fire truck for my nephew. It was a thing of beauty with small, removable ladders and a large ladder that could extend.

When I graduated CDI, Derry presented me with a pencil holder which he made. "For your desk" There was a place to hold pencils, a brass plate with my name, and Hubbell. Right down to the details. There was a painted engine under the hood, the doors and trunk opened, The car could be removed from the base to be rolled across the floor.  Derry even made the stuffed, good luck teddy bear that lived in a cubby by the gear shift.

After all these years, I have a reminder of my first car and a cherished friend. Derry passed away in 1990 from leukemia. His birthday was 16. February. He would have been 73 years old. I miss you, D.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Library Card

With all the snow and to stave off boredom, I thought I'd download an e-book from the library.  I haven't read Written In My Own's Heart's Blood, the 8th book in the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. The book came out last year, and I thought everyone who would ever read it must have read it by now. Sadly, others using the e-library at the Boston Public Library hadn't read the book either, and the book was not available. Not to worry. I have a library card for Central Massachusetts.

I accessed the service, and got an error message telling me I need to see a librarian. That ain't gonna happen until August because of all the snow, I can't see around the snowbanks at the end of the driveway to back out. And what do I need to see a librarian about? Haven't used the card in years and have never taken out an e-book with it.

After struggling to remember user name and password, I finally get into my account. The reason I need to see a librarian? My library card expired. What the hell? A library card expires? Am I the only one who didn't know this?

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Where In The World?

Another snowy weekend. In a few hours, while leaing on the shovel, I'll be dreaming of a place with perfect weather (i.e. no snow). Andy over on Fishwrap made a list of perfect places the other day. I thought I'd steal  borrow his list, make comments, and add a few of my own places.

1. Arizona - Desert southwest. Sounds warm in the Winter. Is it brutally hot in the Summer? That wouldn't bother me, I like hot and humid, but that kind of weather makes Himself whine. And what about haboobs? Those sand/dust storms? Sounds like shoveling sand might be involved. I don't want to shovel anything.

2. Portland, Oregon. The City of Roses (not Pasadena like you might think) Last week,  "Cousin" Alesia posted a picture of a beautiful, white rose, in full bloom! from her garden. Imagine it warm enough for roses to bloom in February? I hear a lot about the grey, rainy weather. Rain doesn't have to be shoveled, but I wouldn't want to have to pump out a basement. Gloomy weather can cause problems for me, but I have a special lamp for that. Besides, Al has talked about Voodoo Donoughts.  Besides, the Voodoo Doughnut doll on their webpage makes me laugh.

3. Austin, Texas. I've never been to Austin, but I've been to Dallas. Lots of cowboys! No, not the football team. Real cowboys. Chaps in chaps. I was in Dallas in July. The heat made my sandals melt to the pavement. Himself would whine about the heat. I'd get to see my frend, Fraue, more often as her parents are Minnesota snowbirds. But, don't they get snow in Texas? No shoveling is top of my list.

4. Seattle, Washington. With my Bostonian perspective, I'm thinking that's a lot like Portland, Oregon minus the Voodoo Doughnuts.

5. Los Angeles, San Diego, or San Francisco, California. I've been to LA (well, the San Fernando Valley). Liked it though traffic can be a drag along with earthquakes (didn't have one the three times I visited) and wild fires. Earthquakes might involve rubble, and that would need to be shoveled.

8. Tokyo, Japan. Andy's been there a lot. It's his favorite city, and he has family there.. He said it can get really cold. Cold wouldn't bother me. I'd have to learn a new language. Andy probably knows enough Japanese to get by and his wife is fluent in the language. The language barrier is putting this city in my no list.

9. New Mexico. I have friends who live in Eastern New Mexico. In the high desert. It gets cold there. Red posted a pic of her phone with the weather app. The temp was in the teens and colder than it was here. It snows, too. No shoveling.

10. Bermuda. I liked it when I visited there a life-time ago. Wouldn't need to learn another language. Not too hot. Not too cold. Beautiful beaches. Golf. Himself would like that. Just the worry about being in the middle of the Hurricane Highway. Ditto islands in the Carribbean.

11. Florida. No snow though it's gotten cold enough to freeze the citrus crops. Robin, do you worry about the hurricanes?

12. Australia. I have friends there. I know it can get really hot, but that would only bother Himself, not me. Wouldn't need to learn a foreign language per se, and I already know some of the slang. Possibilities here as long as I wouldn't have to eat the Vegemite.

13. Tasmania (still Australia). Friends have retired there. Haven't heard about snow or hurricanes

14. New Zealand. Scenery from the Lord of the Rings movies was gorgeous, and I am on the tall side as far as Hobbits go. Didn't Christchurch have a really bad earthquake a few years back?

If money was no object and you could pick up and move on a whim, where in the world would you live?

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Up On The Roof

While once again shoveling snow alongside Himself...

Me: If I see another effin snowflake, I swear, I'm gonna lose it. You'll find me up on the roof.

Himself: Be sure to take the shovel with you so you can shovel the snow off while you're up there.

Friday, February 13, 2015

The Friday Five Good Things

Five good things that happened this week

1. We had one snow free day last week and another today. The calm before the big storm.

2.  The Young One showed her artwork to me she has uploaded to Tumblr. It's nice to be included in her interests.

3.  Sat down to work in my journal and was hunting for my eraser. The Eldest had sculpted it into a whale. Makes me smile to find the eraser turned into all sorts of creatures.

4. Himself's friend, M, called from warm (wish I was there), South Carolina, to see how we surviving in the snow. M is a gentleman farmer and has a few cows. He and his wife became grandparents in November. He decided his wife needs a more fun name than Grandma or Nana. So when he's around the baby he refers to his wife as Mooma. I asked if he was going to be called Moopa. Not sure he made that extension.

5. The Young One and I tromped waist deep in snow (hand to Gawd, it's true) to rake the snow off the roof. We fell several times making butt angels. I know how a turtle feels when it has difficulty righting itself. Wonder if the turtle laughs as much as we did?

How was your week?

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Snow Is Not Pretty

To those in warm climes., I know some of you miss the snow or maybe you have never seen snow, and you think all of our snow pictures pretty. Snow amounts above a dusting are not pretty. The snowfall to date in the city of Worcester is 90.1 inches of snow. That's 7.5 whopping FEET of snow. This amount fell in 17 days! This is the highest snow total ever since the weather dudes began keeping records in the 1800s. WCVB, the Boston news station, posted this graphic about snow totals in Boston to put things in perspective.

This amount has surpassed the dangerous category. Some snowbanks at intersections are 15 or more FEET high. You can't see around the snowbanks for oncoming traffic. Backing out of the driveway is like playing Russian roulette with an automobile. How lucky do you feel?

Snow is not pretty. It's evil and back breaking to move. Himself did the math for the past two storms. You can view his answers here. Even with a snowblower, there's just no place to put the snow. Could you heave a shovel full of snow 15 feet over your head? Or snowblow through 3 feet of snow when the height of the snowblower is 18 inches?

Most cities and towns blew through their snow removal budget 2 weeks ago with the storm after the 2015 blizzard. They aren't doing a great job plowing or treating roads. In their defense, there's no place to push the snow, and two more substantial storms are being predicted for later this week. Compared to other areas of the country, our roads are narrow and winding. And that's on a sunny day. Add mass quanties of snow, some two lane streets are down to one lane. Good luck finding a place to park in the cities with some streets having parking bans so plows can get through.

The below freezing (32o F.) and below zero temperatures aren't helping. Even if the friction caused by the cars heats the road surface enough to melt a bit of the snow left on the road, anything that's remotely damp will freeze solid in the overnight. Driving on snow isn't fun, but driving on ice is treacherous no matter how many wheel drive you have.

Bad enough to remove snow from driveways, walkways, and stairs, but with this amount clearing the snow from your roof is an added worry or task. The icicles hanging from the eaves like dragon's teeth are far from charming. It's called ice damming. The cycle of heat from the roof causing the snow to melt and icicles to form also has the potential for the water to back into the roof and walls. The weight of the snow has caused roofs to buckle and collapse. Good luck finding a roof rake at this date.

Though we are looking foward to Spring, warm temps too early will cause this mountain of snow to melt into a flood. Storm drains, frozen or oversaturated ground won't be able to handle the amount of water. Water with no where to go ends up in basements.

Snow is wreaking havoc with public transportation systems. Schools have been cancelled for so many days, teachers and students will be making up days in August, if the weather keeps up this rate. Boston has had to shut down its transit system, MBTA, Freezing temperatures have caused the third rail, the rail that supplies electricity to the trolleys, subway, and trains, to fail. They are also having difficulty plowing the tracks. With no public transportation, many people can't get to work. No work, no pay, unless bosses are sympathetic and generous.

Snow is not pretty, unless it's on the front of a postcard or greeting card.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Wordless Wednesday

A repeat from last year because being piled high and deep feels this way.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Introduction to Heraldry

Commission 16 in x 20 in, ink and gouache
Even though the view outside my front window looks like the tundra, there are only 76 days until the Spring session of classes at the Worcester Art Museum.

I'll be offering a new class for this session. Introduction to Heraldry.

Monday, 6PM - 9 PM
27. April - 18. May 2015, 4 weeks
(if we don't keep having snowstorms Sunday night into Monday)

During the Middle Ages, coats of arms were used to distinguish knights on a battlefield. In this introductory class, learn the language of heraldry to design and paint your own coat of arms, or your family coat of arms.  Learn Uncial, a 5th. c. script to add your motto or family name to your coat of arms. Continuing students may use the script of their choice.

Despite the course title, this class isn't a historical class in the rules and regulations of heraldry. We'll be bending the rules for personal expression and enjoyment. We'll look to the Knights exhibit and other pieces in the gallery for inspiration.

I hope you can join me (if I can get out of the driveway)

Monday, February 9, 2015

Give 'Em an Inch

As if I don't have enough scrap paper laying around, after playing with the Gelli plate I found myself

with strips of custom made scrap paper. What to do?

I made Inchies and Twinchies. Inchies are tiny works of art 1 inch square. Twinchies are 2 inch square.

The twinchies have a Groundhog's Day theme: 6 more weeks to shovel

The inchies are mostly winter themed. Some I embellished with stickers, sequins, confetti, and some I just painted.

If you would like a twinchie and an inchie, leave a comment, and I'll randomly select one of each to send to you.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Snow Problem - Answers

Here are the answers to yesterday's Snow Problem. Did you get them all correct? Click on the image to enlarge it.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Snow Problem

Snow Problem

While we were shoveling, Himself wondered how much snow he had shoveled. Those are the kinds of things a mathlete thinks about. He decided to give his students an extra credit problem based on the following data. Can you solve the problems? Don't forget to show your work.


Driveway                                               rectangle 95 ft x 17 ft
Avg snow depth - Storm 1/27/2015     24 in.
Avg snow depth - Storm 2/2/2015       15 in
1 shovel of snow                                   1 bucket
bucket                                                   cylinder: 35 cm in length and 30 cm in diameter
mass of bucket                                      1.9 lbs
mass of bucket + snow                         10.1 lbs
time shoveling snow - Storm 1             4.5 hrs
time shoveling snow - Storm 2             4.0 hrs
Calories burned shoveling by
hand                                                      549 Cal/hr

What is the total volume of snow on the driveway for the two storms, (in cm3)?
What is the volume of 1 bucket of snow, (in cm3)?

What is the total number of shovels of snow for the two storms?

What is the mass, in grams, of snow in 1 bucket?

What is the average density of the snow, (in g/cm3)?

What is the total mass of snow shoveled in the two storms, (in metric tonnes)?

How many Calories did I burn while shoveling for the two storms?

Friday, February 6, 2015

The Friday Five Good Things

Five good things that happened this week

1. Art supplies arrived before the big storm

2. Played with the Gelli plate and made some monoprints

3. Made Inchies and Twinchies

4. Though I don't consider shoveling to be something to look forward to or get excited about, I did enjoy helping Himself shovel. Misery loves company.

5. Got part of my Spring teaching schedule.

How was your week?

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Throwback Thursday

It's snowing again. I'm sick of looking at the stuff and sick of the talk of it. So I spent the morning lost in photographs trying to find a picture that didn't have snow in it.

This is from August 1996. Look how green everything is. It's a warm day.  The Eldest, 10, is barefoot. The Young One is 4. The Eldest had a  butterfly farm and the girlies are setting the butterflies free.

Is it August, yet?

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Gelli Plate

In the supplies I ordered, I splurged and got a Gelli plate. It's a way of monoprinting without a press. Since it was snowing (again) on Monday, I decided it would be a good time to play.

The 8" x 10" plate seemed a little daunting, and I didn't care for the first attempt. So I cut a sheet of mixed media paper into 3" strips.

Smear some acrylic paint. Roll it out with a brayer. Make some marks with stamps, found objects. Lay down the paper, smooth with hand, and lift up. The first strip on the left was meh. I liked the second pull with middle strip much better. I rolled a ball of yarn around the third strip. I liked that effect, too.

Have you used a Gelli plate?