Saturday, January 31, 2009

Snow & Ice & Lunch

Ann and I paid our friend, Peg, a visit last week on the day it snowed. We hadn't seen her in a long while so suggested we bring her lunch and we could sit and chat. I brought Brunswick stew and just baked peanut butter cookies. Ann brought a delicious greens salad with grapefruit, feta, and sugared pecans. We also had grainy bread and coffee. We sat in Peg's warm kitchen with her little wood stove heating up the room to a comfy 70 something, watching the snow gently falling out the large kitchen windows.

After lunch I grabbed my camera and made my way just a bit to her cabin/studio/bed & breakfast place. The cabin was built in the mid-1700's I believe and Peg runs it as a B&B from April until November. She makes a huge full breakfast that she walks down in a basket.

The cabin is surrounded by fields, woods and a beautiful pond. Three sheep graze the fields and a canoe awaits one for a paddle to the little island. The snow made the cabin look so peaceful.

If it was a warmer day, I could picture myself sitting on the porch, rocking the day away. But instead we got to have a wonderful wintery day shared with good friends.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


Three of my girlfriends and I took a pastel paint workshop for three days in Chestertown, Maryland. The four of us needed a refresher on pastel painting before taking the class, so my neighbor, Susan, had a mini-workshop a few days beforehand. Above is one of her paintings.

Susan has been an artist for decades and works in many different medium. Her pastels are very used.

Not like mine, which are brand new. I almost don't want to use them, they're all so perfect. But these particular pastels go on like 'buttah' and are just luscious. Love them! And I should love them as they cost a small fortune! But just look at all those colors lined up in their varying shades of yummyness! As a child, I loved a new box of crayons, especially the big tiered box of over a hundred that they don't even sell anymore. I had my favorites, like Magenta. I noticed that 'Flesh' was renamed 'Peach' in 1962. Good for them since flesh comes in so many colors.

All the pretty pastels, ready to use.

This class was learning to paint from a photograph as some days (months) it's too cold to paint 'Plein Air'. Mary Pritchard was our instructor and had us do a value study first, to find out where the lights and darks should be. The photo I used is a barn in Barnesville with Sugarloaf in the background.

These are a couple of Penny's outbuildings.

and this is a barn in Maine. What captured me about Mary's art is her love of barns. The Chestertown area is agricultural (along with fishing) so there are many barns around. And of course we have a lot of barns in Barnesville!

Penny has a second home about a mile outside of Chestertown right on the Chester River so we had a great place to stay. We painted from 10 - 4, then drank wine and ate fabulous meals at night. This is her new dock and new boat. She always has ducks around and they were always sitting on her boat, messing it up. So she named her boat, "Duck Off!"
Her house is just feet from the river and the upper floor bedroom where I was staying overlooks this view. It was a full moon while we were there so the we went to sleep with the moon glow on us and awoke with the bright pink sun coming up over the horizon.

These were some scenes walking around Chestertown. I think this will be my next pastel subject.

Chestertown was founded in 1706 and boasts the second most 18th century houses (Annapolis is first). The houses are very well maintained and cared for. When it's a bit warmer I want to just ride around town looking at the arcitecture.

We had lunch in a small cafe that bakes their own bread. The temperature outside was about 8 or 9 degrees, and when we opened the door, a warm wave of air smelling of hot, yeasty bread hit us. Yea, we'll stay!
It was sad for it all to be over but we were all so enthused that we've ordered more pastels and paper and have started a pastel group that will meet once a month. I guess I'll just sleep less.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Houston and I went down for Obama's inauguration. We had a place to stay within walking distance so we could avoid all mass transit. We walked down to the mall around 9:00 and arrived at the Washington Monument around 10:15 where we posted up for the swearing in.

We had these wonderful views of the monuments and the capitol before we crossed the bridge.

This was the GW Parkway, which was closed to traffic except for buses and taxis. It was pretty eery really.

The day was clear and crispy cold, around 18 degrees. The Potomac was frozen and peaceful.

This stark white sycamore stood out in sharp contrast.

Walking across the Arlington Memorial Bridge, was a sea of people, all being drawn to the day's festivities.

Folks were taking over the World War 2 Memorial to get a view of the Jumbotron. There were hundreds of volunteers around welcoming us to the mall. The spirits of all the people were so high and everyone was excited.

We ended up at the base of the Washington Monument. It's as close as we could get and was just fine by me because we had plenty of breathing room, a good view of one of the 20 jumbotrons and the crowd was so happy, cheerful and friendly.

Looking up, many jets were flying over, leaving trails behind creating circles all around.

It really wasn't too crowded where we stood. I had room to move around, stomp my feet when they got cold and throw my arms up in the air whenever Obama showed up on the jumbotron.

The sound system was great. That's one of the speakers hanging from the crane on the left. National Guard guys were on the viewing stands overlooking the crowd. Obama's speech was well received and I could not believe how quiet 2 million people could be. A reverent hush came over the crowd and as I looked around, all eyes were on Obama and all faces showed a content smile.

Leaving the celebration was when it really got crowded. We were herded to just one exit onto Constitution. But first we hit a wall (like maybe 50) portapotties. Some younger folks were climbing over them or walking along the tops of them. Us old folks just had to slowly make our way around them.

People in trees held up signs that read "Hope".

This is the crowd leaving. In the background is the wall of buses that we couldn't get around without walking even further down Constitution.

The National Guard were blocking most of the roads around the parade route and the White House.

and some folks just wanted to pose with the guards.

The parade was a blur.

Ghost riders. At the end of it all, we walked back to our condo for the night, exuberant and feeling that we are now on a path to recovery and better world standing. We are all putting so much faith in our new president and I believe that he is the man for the job. Best of luck to or new leader.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Trying to Stay Warm

Forrest is home from Montana (although going home tomorrow) and informed me he wanted some hand warmer/mittens. I made him a scarf for Christmas and he would like some mitts to match.

They're great for keeping his hands warm, especially by the fire!

With his name being Forrest, I thought that woodsey colors would be a good choice. I knit this scarf in a P1, K1 ribbing, one half green and the other half brown.

Sara's modeling a lace cowl made with my hand dyed alpaca (which I'll have for sale on line soon). The pattern is from the fall issue of and is called "abby". I love so many patterns from knitty. There are some great designers and innovative patterns. I'm almost finished with the handwarmers, "fetching", a very popular pattern (nearly 10,000 postings on ravelry!)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

I'm glad I'm a girl

I grew up with three brothers (no sisters) , had three sons of my own (no daughters) and also live with another guy, my husband. So I've bought boy clothes for a long, long time. When my guys were younger, I'd go into a department store and be bombarded with aisle after aisle and rack after rack of girl clothes, in the most amazing rainbow of colors. I'd walk past these and find the small section of boy stuff, in the dullest colors of grey, dark blue, and if it was a more progressive store, the breakout color, green! I could never do red, white and blue, which was also popular. Three little flags running around was not my idea of cute.
As the boys grew, they needed man shirts. I found them on the shelves of the store, all tightly packaged up, with nary a clue as to how big they were. I'm a visual person and I could pick up any article of clothing, hold it out, and say, "Yep, that'll fit." But what do those sizes mean, 13, 15, 16 1/2? I soon found out that was the neck size. A man can by an entire shirt by just the size of his neck?!!!! I've seen a lot of men with bellies are WAY bigger than their neck, and other men with flat abs. I just don't get it. Can you see a woman buying a blouse that's folded to the size of a piece of paper?! But my husband told me what size his neck was, so I bought a few new shirts for him.

I tore off the plastic wrapping, pulled out 7 stick pins, (who puts these in?!), took off 2 stickie tags, one plastic piece tucked under the front collar and around the button, a cardboard neck ring, tore off 2 cardboard tags, and finally got the shirt down to a piece of cardboard backing and tissue paper. Whew! Luckily I recycled everything, but what a waste of resources! Now let's hope the shirt fits cuz I'll never get it all back together!

Monday, January 05, 2009

Sweet Tooth

Is your new year's resolution to eat more candy? Then you should visit Candyland in Cumberland! We did. The store is really called 'The Fruit Bowl' but inside it's filled with candy (and a little produce). We brought our son, Forrest there who is nearly 21 but not too old to have his eyes bug out at all the dreamy candy. You just grab a bag and start filling it. They charge by the pound and by the looks of some of their customers, they've moved a tons of candy.

There's old favorites, like Smartarts, Milk Duds, candy necklaces, Necco's (ick!), Mike & Ike's, candy buttons, candy cigarettes (were'nt we cool?) and new ones like Shock Tarts, Sour Patch Kids, and liquid sweet in plastic. Remember going to the movies and getting a box of Milk Duds for 5 cents?!!!! Yea, I'm old. My little town in South Dakota where I grew up, had free Saturday matinees at the only theatre in town. It had velvet seats and velvet curtains. Our folks would drop us off (or we walked downtown) while they shopped. We saw Ma and Pa Kettle, the Lone Ranger, Lassie episodes and National Velvet.

WE made it out of there with just 1 pound of candy. Forrest is eating the entire pound, I swear!

The holiday display of cakes at the local bakery in Cumberland is always the best.

But I'm done with all that. On to my new life of no sugar and plenty of foods on the bottom tier of the food pyramid. Happy New Year!