Friday, October 30, 2015

The Friday Five Good Things

Five good things that happened this week

1. Took the annual trip to Old Mystic Village with Red. Wandered in an out of shops, bought a few trinkets, and had a nice lunch.

2. Broke out the gilding

3. Pouring rain and the electricity went out. Yikes! Electric company had the power on within an hour.Whew! No water in the basement, and we could flush the toilet

4. Met a sweet little boy to introduce him to calligraphy. His aunt told me he loves art and she thought he might enjoy working with letters while helping him to strengthen his fine motor skills. He's autistic, wasn't very verbal, but could follow along. We worked with a marker and spent some time writing out his name. Look what an awesome job he did!

5. Weird warm weather. Still trying to hang out in the sun room before closing it for the season.

How was your week?

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Monday, October 26, 2015

The Quest for the Nest

I've wanted a Nest thermostat for some time now. I'm tired of fighting with hard to program thermostats. The one in the living room isn't too bad, but it has limited programming for the weekends. The one in the studio/playroom is haunted and keeps time with the Twilight Zone.

The Nest thermostat is supposed to be simple to use. As you use it, the thermostat "learns" the setting you like. Simple is good.

Now that the heating season is underway here in Massachusetts, I thought it would be a good time to get the Nest. It's not cheap, but I had saved my pennies.

We decided we would combine grocery shopping as there's a grocery store near the closest Home Depot. Perfect.

At Home Depot, we find the Nest display. You have to take a card to the Customer Service desk in order to purchase the unit. Ok, no problem. There were a couple of people ahead of us returning items, but a service rep took us quickly.She went to the cage where the thermostats were locked away, but none were there. She checked the inventory on her computer and noted there were 4 units left. She called "down back" to have one brought up. So we waited and waited and waited. After 10 minutes, she went down back herself. More waiting. I sent a tweet through Swarm wondering if they were building the unit. After another 10 minutes, another clerk at the service desk told me, they didn't have any units. The ones in stock were older models, but had the same SKU so showed up on the inventory. She offered to order one online. No thanks, we'll head Lowes.

So we skipped grocery shopping at the store next to Home Depot. Took a half hour ride to our nearest Lowes. There were two grocery stores close by. On the way over, I called Lowes. Spoke to the Operator "B". Asked if they carried the Nest and if they had them in store." She said "Yes", but I could tell she didn't check inventory and she didn't connect me to the department that carried the units.

At Lowe's we couldn't find where the Nests were located. Found a very nice clerk who went to get the card needed to purchase the unit. Apparently, Nests are so popular or valuable, they have to be kept locked up. He came back a minute later to say, they had none in stock. I sent out another Tweet.

Very disappointing and a waste of time especially after calling ahead.

Both Home Depot and Lowes responded to my Tweet. Both offered assistance. You know what? I can order a unit myself directly from Nest which is what I should have done from the beginning.

So, Home Depot and Lowe's, how about better training for your personnel. Identifiable SKU numbers to go with proper models instead of one SKU for multiple items a manufacturer makes.. Maybe dedicating clerks for special equipment that is kept under lock and key. Just so somebody knows what is in stock at all times. Operators should be able to search inventory or at the very least, forward calls to the proper department.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Writing on the Wall - The End

Final clean up on the long wall. The project is done. I'm pleased with how it turned out. Loved writing on the walls and not getting my hand slapped.The latex paint, Valspar Denim (I think that was the color) was a dream to work with. Very creamy, silky feel and flowed off the brush well.

The only time I held my breath was when the owner moved a bookcase into the room which was placed against the long wall. I had a momentary panic attack thinking I had measured the height of the bookcase incorrectly and part of the writing would be obscured. (English major. You do the math.) Not to worry. The bookcase fit perfectly.

Loved working with this family in their beautiful and peaceful home. They knew what they wanted so it was an easy project to work on.

Time for clean up and final touch up 1/2 hour

Total time for the project: 11 hours.

Friday, October 23, 2015

The Friday Five Good Things

Five good things that happened this week

1. As I was walking up the front walk, I heard a rustling sound. Looked up and a herd of turkeys flew over my head to Prissy's yard. They were so close I could have reached my hand up and touched them. Scary and cool at the same time.

2. An appointment cancelled so I had a free day.

3. Got my new bionic tooth. I can eat faster and bite harder.

4. Both of my calligraphy classes are running this session!

5. Have a Happy Mole Day! Celebrate Avogadro's Number.

How was your week?

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Throwback Thursday

When I was a kid, I spent a lot of time at this house. My mother's sister and her family lived here. When I was little, my grandma lived here, too. The door used to be the same brick red color.

Because Ma worked, Auntie was like another mother. During school vacations, we would ride the Green Line (subway) with Dad. We would get off the subway at Government Center (formerly Scollay Square). Dad would go to his office in Boston, and The Brother and I (or I would go by myself when I was 9 or 10) would go down the subway stairs to the Blue Line to catch a train to Maverick Square in East Boston.

Even though the Airport Station was closer (Auntie's house was one street away from Logan Airport), we were cautioned to get off at Maverick Square.  We were always told Airport Station was not safe. I suspect it was like we were told there were hobos in the woods. Maverick Square was safer as we could just walk straight down Chelsea St.  No turns and no crossing busy streets.

The door opened into a porch. On the left and up 3 steps was the door to Auntie's house. On the right, was the door that led to the two apartments upstairs. Auntie's husband grew up in this house. His sister and her husband  lived on the second floor. Uncle's mother and a mentally handicapped brother lived on the top floor. When I was little, I called Uncle's mother "The Grandma Who Lived Upstairs". I just remember a tiny, old woman with white hair. She always wore a dark colored dress and a black sweater draped across her shoulders. When The Grandma Who Lived Upstairs passed away, Uncle Peter lived with his sister on the second floor and the top floor apartment was rented out.

We'd knock on the door and waited to hear Auntie coming down the hallway. I can still hear her calling out "Who is it? I always yelled "It's ME!" and she'd reply "Who's me?" before she opened the door.

One thing I didn't like about Auntie's house was the "Buckhowsah", the bathroom, as my grandma called it. The bathroom was at the end of the long, dark hallway, before entering the main house. The bathroom wasn't heated and during the Winter, you could freeze to the seat if you weren't careful.

If the weather was nice, we'd get to play outside with The Cousins.  Take turns riding bikes or roller skating on the sidewalk, playing hopscotch, or marbles using the sewer cover as the playing field. We might get a chance to run errands. Go to the end of the block to Anna's the fruit and vegetable lady, cross the busy street a the light to go to Guy's, the neighborhood grocery store. When I was a teen, we'd go to the barber to get our hair cut by the cute barber.

Summertime, was the best time to be there. Men with trucks would come down the street selling fruit. They'd yell, "'Ey waddamalone!" And then there was the man who wheeled a refrigerated pushcart. He sold Slush, a frozen lemondade which he piled into a small, pleated paper cup. On a hot Summer day, it was Heaven in the palm of your hand and all for a nickel.

When I turned 10, I got to have tea with Auntie. She'd make me a cup of tea. It was really more milk than tea with a spoonful or two of sugar in a china tea cup with matching saucer. There would be cookies, too, sometimes the store bought spice cookies shaped like Dutch windmills and Dutch boys and girls. If it was after a holiday, there would be Grandma's bow cookies drizzled in honey and Auntie's sesame seed cookies.

After work, Ma and Dad would come to pick us up. We'd stay for dinner and everyone would crowd around the table in the small kitchen. We'd have Grandma's Cappellini, home-made macaroni shaped like little hats, meatballs, sausage, and Scali bread from Blundo's Bakery to sop up the gravy.

The old folks have all passed away, but the memories and the door remain.

Monday, October 19, 2015


It snowed yesterday. Okay, it was only a brief flurry, but it was still snow! Way too early for this sh..stuff.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Writing on the Wall - Phase 2

Three quotes written on the long wall of the bedroom. This part went quickly as I didn't have to get up and down on the step ladder.

The chalk lines on the window wall were erased and the wall was touched up. Next week, I'll do the clean up on the long wall.

Total time: 3 hours

Total project 10.5 hours

Friday, October 16, 2015

The Friday Five Good Things

Photo taken on 10/16 on a rainy morning
Five things that happened this week.

1. Enjoying the new season (11th ) of Supernatural.  We missed some of the episodes from the previous season so thanks to Netflix are able to catch up.

2. Went to see the movie The Martian. Exciting story, very well done. We saw it in 3D though the effect wasn't as dramatic as I thought it would be.

3. Plans were in the works to take my class on a field trip to the museum's Prints Department.

4. I thought this year's Fall foliage a bit dull. On Wednesday, the colors suddenly popped. Most of the trees in my yard are yellow and when the sun set, the whole yard was bathed in a beautiful golden light. Of course, I didn't have my camera ready and the light changed so quickly.

5. My class got to visit the Prints Department. I requested from the collection a 14th to 15th century Italian manuscript, a leaf from the  86th Psalm. It's so exciting to see hand done work up close. The curator even showed us the verso (left hand) side. And to show a modern use of lettering in artwork, we also got to see Worcester artist, Howard Johnson's One Day the Cannibals Raided the Cookie Jar Such a fun piece.

How was your week?

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Throwback Thursday

From the Way Back machine, the first pair of shoes I walked in bronzed and turned into bookends.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Buon Compleanno, Papa

Today, is my maternal grandfather's 124th birthday. He was born on 12. October 1891 in Ariano di Puglia (now Ariano Irpino). Sadly, I never knew him as he passed away 8 years before I came along.

He doted on my mother. When she was working and still single, they used to go to the movies together on Saturday. His favorite genre was Westerns. (That's where I get it from). After the movies, they would go for coffee and custard pie (I like custard pie, too, but not coffee). Since my mother was earning money, he used to make her pay for their pie and coffee every other week.

Happy Birthday, Grandpa.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Writing on the Wall - Phase 1

Photograph by homeowner as I forgot to take
The actual writing on the wall phase has begun. The first of four quotes was written on the wall.. The writing fluid is a Velspar latex wall paint. I forgot the name of the color.  Written with a size 14 flat brush in Uncial (commonly known as Celtic). The quote is a selection from On Raising Your Daughter Made of Fire. (The site appears to be down so I can't link to the poem/essay at the time)

Writing went fairly smooth. A little tight in the corner for a Southpaw (-; The quote was first written out and then edges were retouched with a smaller brush.

It's a nice project. Fun to write on the walls and not get your hand slapped. The home owner is working downstairs and the house is quiet. Just the way I like to work. I prefer to work in silence. Can't really work with music in the background unless it's classical. If the music has lyrics, I'm apt to write along.

The homeowner's are laid back and I'm not being rushed. There are still 3 quotes to be written on the long wall to the left.

Time spent: 3.5 hours.

Total time for the project so far: 7.5 hrs

Friday, October 9, 2015

The Friday Five Good Things

Five good things that happened this week.

1. Worried about the floods in South Carolina, heard from friends who live there, they are fine

2. The cleaning bug struck. She's been AWOL for some time.

3. Gums and jaw healing well. Should be getting a bionic tooth, soon.

4. It's getting chilly at night. Still trying to hang out in the sun room.

5. A student shared she is enjoying class.

How was your week?

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Throwback Thursday - Vision Board

Over the Summer, we made a vision board in my Art of Stress Relief class. We imagined a place we would like to be. A safe haven. My vision board involved a lighthouse studio. In one of the pictures, there was a shadowy figure by a table. I imagined this would be the person who would clean up after me.

I had always thought my perfect gift would be a wife. I've since had a change of heart and reflected on this. The (gift) wife would be the one that would do all the mundane tasks. Cooking, cleaning, laundry. Everything necessary to keep the house spinning like a top. I explained why I didn't want a maid as a maid would need a day off. A wife would be available 24/7.

However, just like the maid, the (gift) wife would need some time for herself. She'd also need someone to talk to, interact with, spend time with in order to keep her sanity. I don't need a wife. What I want is a Robby. Robby the Robot from Forbidden Planet. I don't want the evil Robby that guest starred an an episode of Lost in Space.

Why a robot? I wouldn't have to worry about dealing with feelings or feeling guilty. A robot is a machine. Robby would take care of all the mundane tasks and chores around the house. He could cook, clean, sew, and drive. I could spend my time creating, taking classes, going to art retreats and conferences, being lazy, going out to lunch, binge watching Doctor Who (wait, I already do that) Anyway, if you ask me what I want as a gift? I want Robby.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Writing on the Wall - Preparation

The wall project has begun. Under the watchful eye of Oola, the cat, with an occasional peek from Boots, the dog, I took measurements and ruled chalk lines on the wall. I used a level.

I wasn't able to plan the layout of the quotations ahead of time. I had to make note of wall outlets and furniture. A bookcase will be going against the long wall (to the left of this photo). That picture came out blurry. Lines were wrapped around so quotes on that wall will line up.

I wrote out the long quote by the window with chalk. This will give me an idea of spacing, and if necessary, "holes" can be filled with suitable decoration. There's an outlet at the bottom of the wall, and because of it's placement, I wasn't able to fit the entire quote,  I have made notations and lines to begin the quote higher up.

Time to complete this part of the project. 4 hours.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Doodles,Tangles, and Dangles

I gave myself a challenge draw 31 days of doodles, dangles, and tangles. I'm working on 4 inch square paper. Punched a hole in the corner and will hold them together with a binder ring to form a small book.

Want to play? Snag the graphic for your blog or website. Then doodle, dangle, or tangle. Use any medium you like. I'm using a Pigma pen and watercolor pencils. Start where you are or catch up to today.

Let me know if you're playing along and post your creations. Please, enable the nosy.  (-;

Friday, October 2, 2015

The Friday Five Good Things.

Five good things that happened this week.

1. Himself and I are working on a long term project together.

2.  I wanted to take a drive to find the courthouse as I wasn't familiar with the area. Himself and I had fun as we followed the GPS, found ourselves on a dirt road called Slab City Road in the Back of Beyond, and the GPS telling us You have arrived.

3. I was worried if I was going to be impaneled on a jury (and I knew I was going to be picked), the trial would last a couple two or three days. There would be a hassle trying to make arrangements to make up my Thursday class. Didn't have to worry as the whole jury impaneling and trial was completed in one day. Whew! Moot point.

4. Did an art Skype with my friend, A. Haven't Skyped with her in a while so was nice to catch up.

5.  Today is world smile day. Do something nice for someone, and make them smile.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Throwback Thursday

Forty-six years ago, I left parochial school and went to the public junior high school for grade 9. Public school was a complete culture shock. No uniforms, except in gym class, (handsome) male teachers, changing classes, lockers, homeroom, gym. Some days were overwhelming, and being the new kid at school, making new friends was slow.

I had to take first year French, even though I had French classes since 6th grade. On the first day of class, the French teacher asked all the parochial school kids to raise their hand. She told us she wouldn't call on us all year.

I was in the slow Algebra class, the right place for me. It also  helped the class was taught by the very handsome Mr. T. Suddenly, I went from being a C math student to a solid A math student.

Most likely because I was in the slow math class, I was also put in the slow English class. The class with all the kids that didn't want to be in school. I was the only one who did the homework. If French class was boring, English class was mind numbing as the work being done was work I had learned in third grade.

After the first month, the English teacher pulled me aside after class. She told me I didn't belong in her class and she was going to recommend me for Honors English. I had no clue what that meant said OK and happily went on my way.

I found out the next day, Wednesday, October 1 when I went to my Algebra class.

"So, C, you're leaving us" Mr. T. stopped me before I had a chance to sit down in my seat, turned me toward the door and escorted me into the hall.


"You're being moved into the Honors English class and that meets at the same time as my class. So you'll be leaving my class. I'm sorry to see you go."

"I don't want to go!" I burst into tears with a lot of deep sobbing. He took my books and walked me to my new English class.

The English teacher, Miss C, was very nice, very young, and right out of teacher college. She welcomed me into class.

I don't remember how many days later or the exact sequence when I met my friend, Teague. I seem to remember Miss C stepping out of the classroom or maybe I was early to class and she hadn't arrived. I think I was reading A Man from Uncle book. This girl came up to me "Wow! You like the Man from Uncle, too."

We became insepperable in class. Sat next to each other. Passed notes, whispered. Got scolded when we weren't talking or passing notes. I also had a pen with 10 different colored inks in it. Like the one pictured. The different pen tabs made the pen look like the hand scanner used by Dr. McCoy (my hero) from another favorite television program Star Trek. Sometimes when Miss C passed by me, I'd hold the pen up and quietly make whistling noises like the scanner from the show. That would reduce Teague and I to fits of giggles. It's also where I got my first nickname that followed me through high school. Teague called me Bones the same nickname as Dr. McCoy.

 Happy Anniversary, Q. The first 46 have been a great ride. Can't wait to see what the next 46 years bring for us.