Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Sorry about my absence

Bogged down in grading, bathroom remodel almost done, attended the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Run last weekend.  M ran it, I couldn't because of a foot injury.  *sigh*  Fall came in fast and furious here, one moment it was September and worrying about October coming, I blinked and we're already in the middle of November.  I tell myself I will sit still when I get old, but I'm not sure I'll be able to even then.  :-)  Until I can get on top of all this grading, here's a lovely tree near our house blazing in its Fall colors.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Skeletons climbing

I've been so busy that I forgot to take pictures of this year's Halloween display. We moved things around, added new features, and had over 300 trick-or-treaters this year! This is the most we've ever had. We had multiple people handing out candy and they got overwhelmed a couple of times at the massive number of people swarming onto our property. Oh my! I told CK about the skeletons we added that we positioned to look as if they were climbing up the side of the house. I didn't get any pictures, but M did, so I snagged this one from her FB page.

We're also in the midst of a major bathroom remodel. Yes, we are gluttons for punishment. I will post on that as soon as the dust settles. We had the whole bathroom gutted down to the studs and expanded a bit. After 3 weeks of destruction, re-construction, wiring, plumbing and painting, we are finally at the tiling stage today. I'm really hoping it all gets done this week. Well, mountains of grading awaits me. Later!

Friday, October 24, 2014


I love my daughter.  What mother wouldn't say that?  Sometimes when I look at the pictures she posts on Facebook, I'm suddenly faced with the realization that this beautiful girl, my baby, is a wild child.  I am constantly amazed at her bravery, some might call it willfulness, but she's living her life on her own terms.  It's not an easy life.  She works harder than anyone I know, but she also plays hard, lives fully, and is always pushing herself to see what else she can do.  The above picture is her, on the right, taking fun pictures with her best friend on the left.

She has always been connected to animals without even trying.  When she was very young, somewhere between age 3-5, a wild cat followed her home.  The cat would run if we came near it, but would come up to her.  As a teenager she worked on a nearby horse farm, and I watched as the horses followed her across fields and to the barns, without her even getting reins to bring them in.

She's always been an odd mix of worry-wart, perfectionist, and daredevil.  New things always scared the hell out of her.  She never handled change well, but she was also very stubborn.  She would force herself to confront scary things if she really wanted something on the other side of it.  It made me really nervous when she began jumping horses.  When she moved onto trick-riding, I had to find peace with it, that if she broke her neck doing it, well at least she would go out doing something she loved.

I don't think I would ever strap jets to my back and skyrocket over water.  The height, the speed, the water, nope, I would never do that, but damn, you go girl!  She's not one to sit on the sidelines.

I don't believe she's an adrenalin junky.  I've met the type before.  She doesn't do things for the rush of risking her life.  She does these things because she's alive, and she wants to experience everything she can.

She wants to achieve competence.  She wants to try everything once (at least) to understand the experience, to learn new things, to participate.

She's decided she wants to be in a circus, but not one of these romaticized, "I'm going to run away and join the circus," type of fantasies.  She wants to join Cirque de Soleil.  She first started with pole classes, then competitions.  It was great, but she wanted more.  Next she began taking aerial hoop classes.  Better, but she wanted to do more.

Then came the ribbons.  She excelled at all of these things.  She then applied to various circus schools.  She had to send in video auditions for these schools.  She got accepted to two programs.  She really wants to go to the school in England, but she doesn't have the money.  You can't get student loans for this type of education.  So she has begun selling off everything she owns, piece by piece to get the money.  I think with covering boarding for her horse while she's gone, continuing to pay on her car, airfare, room, board, and tuition, she needs around $10,000.  

To me, this would be overwhelming, which is probably why I gave up on too many things that I wanted to do when I was younger.  I admire her determination.  She can't afford to continue her hoop and ribbon classes if she's going to save any money.  So she found people who do free acro-yoga classes in Baltimore in one of the churches.  She's now expanding her acrobatic skills by working with the instructor and classmates.  I admire her focus, drive, and determination.  I will give her some money to help her out, but I don't have ten grand.  Her father said he will give her some money too, also not ten grand.  I hope she's able to pull this off.  She's working so hard for this.  Sacrificing all she can.  Is it any wonder I love this child?  She's just amazing.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Greetings from Miami

We hopped on a plane this morning and headed down to Miami for the weekend.  M, her sister, and some of their friends from high school flew in from around the country to all attend a Green Bay Packers game on Sunday.  Ths is M and her sister catching up on the beach.

We had a wonderful Cuban dinner and then strolled around South Beach.  The place was packed with young people and dance clubs.  That was never my thing even when I was young.  I looked up at one point as night was falling and saw some clouds moving in and the trees looked very moody.  This was the best I could do to catch the moment with my cell phone camera.

While walking on the beach we saw this guy, on his laptop and smartphone.  Dude!  Look up, there's an awesome ocean right in front of you.  ;-)

This is the view from our room on the 18th floor of the Hilton.  Tomorrow we're planning to drive down to the Florida Keys.  

Saturday, October 4, 2014

A day at the beach

My sister came for a visit from Ohio.  We went to the beach today and I snapped these pictures of my baby holding my sister's baby.  First cousins, 25 years apart.  Life is amazing.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Oh the irony

Over on CyberKitten's blog he has a picture of a seagull on a "no birds" sign. This made me think of a photo I showed to my class today. What are the chances of a cop holding a sign reading, "no more police brutality," while another cop is brutalizing a 6 year old child, and then, that someone will get the shot with all the elements in the frame at that exact moment?

This photo was taken by Matt Herron in 1965, in Jackson, Mississippi. The 6 year old boy was holding an American flag as part of a Civil Rights demonstration. When his mother saw the cop grab the flag, she told her son, "don't let that man take your flag," so the boy held on, was yanked up off the ground, and then fell to the ground. Stunning how people can behave.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

My love of old hurricane lamps

I blame CK for this post.  He had a post about design on his blog here:  http://cyberkittenspot.blogspot.com/2014/09/just-finished-reading-language-of.html

In the comments section I mentioned which time periods I liked as far as design (1920s-1930s) and I also mentioned my love of hurricane lamps.  I've been thinking lately about what I would like to post about, and the minute I thought about my lamps, I thought, that's it!

So I have no idea how old any of my lamps are, and until this post, I never bothered to research anything about them.  I didn't buy and collect them because they were worth money, I collect them because they have aesthetic value to me. I love the weight of them when I pick them up.  I love the cool feel of the glass in hand.  I love the beauty in their curving lines, and I love that they are practical as well as beautiful.  

I purchased my first oil lamp (a reproduction) in 1982.  It has a glass top and a wooden base.  I got it for the look, but I was also moving away from home for the first time and I wanted to make sure I had a source of light if I couldn't afford to use electricity, which as it turned out, was pretty prescient.  I was very poor when I first went out on my own and couldn't afford to use electricity for anything that wasn't necessary.

Later when I was living in Arkansas, I discovered Quattlebaum's junk shop.  I was like a kid in a candy store there, they had junk, but also antique oil lamps and iron beds (both of which I began collecting) and I was hooked.  I became a regular customer, haunting the aisles and the shelves every week when he brought in new products from estate sales and other places where he found these treasures.  

Now I'm a long way from Arkansas, and there are no junk shops in Maryland like you would find on every back road in Arkansas, so I have to satisfy myself with getting to the weekend flea market a few times every few months and picking up the occasional lamp, or part of a lamp.

Currently I've found myself in the possession of two very old bases (first photo on top) in which they have a base that has the brass threads for the burner on the inside of the glass neck.  Reproduction lamps and reproduction burners are made to screw into threads on the outside of the glass neck.  So I've been unable to find a burner to fit either base.  In the picture at the top, I placed a burner and chimney on top of one of the bases, but they re not secured.  

In addition to the oil/hurricane lamps, I've also started picking up lanterns, antiques and reproductions. I don't know why lamps have captured my attention so thoroughly, but I do love looking at them.  Currently I have lined all the shelves in my daughter's old room with various lamps and lanterns.  I'm actually out of room to put any more up there, so I don't know what I'll do if I find another I can't live without.  

Recently I've begun picking up old milk and medicine bottles.  I love clear glass, etched or pressed. I also collect dishes like that.  I wonder what my fascination is with old glass. Oh well, I guess I should get back to researching them.  Maybe I'll find out how old they are or find replacement burners for those two older bases.