Tuesday, June 30, 2009

As Near As To Heaven As By Sea

My sister Jennifer and her husband Dave scurried off to St. John's this past week. Though off season there (big bugs & humidity), they couldn't have picked a better week. Who would guess what a dull nightmare June has turned out to be in Boston? Supposedly, we'll get some relief this weekend.

Anyway, she went scuba diving everyday, & saw enough lizards to open up her own pet store. Iguanas, geckos, and anoles, I guess. The good thing is, the lizards eat the bugs. (Except iguanas eat leaves). I say eat away, reptiles! I would have freaked to see a gigantic millipede or cockroach.

Under the sea she saw an old sea turtle, a stingray, a puffer fish, a parrot fish, a tarpon, & a needlefish. Cool.

Can you see me now? A needlefish & a six foot tarpon.
By the way, Happy Birthday J.A.T.!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Congratulations M. Kulig!

Yesterday my good friend Melissa Kulig graduated from the Art Institute of Boston, with a M.A. in Art. What a triumph. Not only did she graduate with a fantastic display of work, but she also got special recognition from the faculty as the student most improved throughout the program (a small scholarship).

Melissa's family was present (Mom, Dad, Brother Chris, Aunt Elizabeth, Great Uncle Larry), as was her faithful friends the Baron (me) and Jonathan (a.k.a. Johnnie Darko). I do not have a camera these days, so I have no live pictures. (Lame, I know) But included is a postcard of one of her major works (and my favorite). To check out Melissa's work further, go to her blog: http://www.mixedmediamaven.blogspot.com/

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The King of Pop

The recent death of Michael Jackson was shocking to me, & I'm more upset than I imagined I'd be. Even though I always thought something tragic would happen to him eventually, I still find myself sad. Just last week I thought: "Haven't heard much about him lately. He's probably not going to make it much longer."

I've never really been a fan of 'pop' anything. I never owned a Michael Jackson album, glittery glove, or had a poster in my room. But I'm still very saddened, because I realize that Michael Jackson's music has been there my whole life. From his 'ABC' 'I'll Be There' Jackson 5 days, through the 80's and 90's, his music paralleled the milestones and 'eras' of my own life. From the late 60's through the early 90's, those were my growing up years too. It makes me nostalgic.

I didn't like all Michael Jackson's music, but there are a few songs that stand out in concert with events in my life. I remember "Rock With You" at a junior high school dance, and "Beat it" and "Billie Jean" in my second year of college. The 'Thriller" video was my favorite of his, (it's hard to imagine it was made in 1983) & I recall watching it on MTV with my sister. Here's Michael Jackson at his best. One of my favorite songs is "Human Nature."

Michael with Diana Ross

Monday, June 22, 2009

Cleaning Out the Rafters

I helped my friend Steph in her attic yesterday. I painted while she went through boxes and purged. I don't know if I was much help when I kept saying, every 10 minutes, "Oh, you've got to keep that." Two of the items for keeping included the following, a Cordomatic Clothesline Reel from the 50's, 60's, and a Sheffield cigar/flask holder.

We weren't quite sure what the cigar holder was at first. It's clearly marked, "Sheffield, England," and it has a nifty
Celtic design on the outer shell. After some research, I determined it's probably made of pewter, and the flask is made for a nip of brandy. In the other compartment you put your jumbo cigar. In comparison to others I saw on EBay and other auction sites, my friend's cigar holder might be worth about 165.00. Many of the cigar holders featured did not have the flask, or the Celtic design.

The Cordomatic Clothesline is certainly something Steph will use everyday, as she will the cigar holder.

Seriously, what I loved about the clothesline was its
pristine condition, and its quality. It is made of very solid materials, something you'd never see for a similar item today. It's also this retro turquoise, very 50's.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Mozart's Seranade For Winds

I'm turning to classical music, these days, as a matter of sanity and survival.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I've Heard the Mermaids Singing, Each to Each

What would life be without opera and classical music? At least that's what I think. Classical music is the experience that I need to ground myself. It makes me feel there's continuity to life, that the past is present, and that all sentient beings are connected. It makes me feel that I'm not alone in my dreaminess, and that there's something bigger than me that I'm part of. Classical music nears or is perfection. It gives me hope that art can transcend the mundane. Here's "The Flower Duet," from "Lakme," by Delibes. It's a love song between two women.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Couch to 5K

I'm going to attempt to begin running again. Though I am a bit worried about my knees and shin splints, I'm going to try anyway. Here's one of the many plans suggested.

Phase I Walk/Run Month 1 Mostly Walking (Times in minutes per day)

1 Off 25/0 Off 30/0 Off Off 30/0 85/0
2 Off 27/3 Off 27/3 Off Off 27/3 81/9
3 Off 24/6 Off 24/6 Off Off 24/6 72/18
4 Off 27/3 Off 24/6 Off Off 24/6 75/15

Grand total: 313/42

Phase - II Walk/Run Month 2 Mostly Walking (Times in minutes per day)

1 Off 21/9 Off 21/9 Off Off 21/9 63/27
2 Off 18/12 Off 18/12 Off Off 18/12 54/36
3 Off 15/15 Off 15/15 Off Off 15/15 45/45
4 Off 18/12 Off 15/15 Off Off 15/15 48/42

Grand Total: 210/150

Phase - III Walk/Run Month 3 Mostly Running (Times in minutes per day)

1 Off 12/18 Off 12/18 Off Off 12/18 36/54
2 Off 9/21 Off 9/21 Off Off 9/21 27/63
3 Off 6/24 Off 6/24 Off Off 6/24 18/72
4 Off 9/21 Off 6/24 Off Off 6/24 21/69

Grand Total: 102/258

Phase - IV Run Month 4 All Running (Times in minutes per day)

1 Off 15 Off 15 Off Off 20 50
2 Off 20 Off 20 Off Off 20 60
3 Off 20 Off 25 Off Off 25 70
4 Off 25 Off 25 Off Off 30 80

Grand Total: 260

The Wilds of Stoneham, Ma

I installed a bird feeder on my back porch yesterday. At first no birds were visiting. This morning, however, much to the my delight ( & my cats'), a tufted titmouse and a wren of some kind landed to feed. A squirrel also came along, but was unable to get up on the bird feeder. Supposedly, my bird feeder is squirrel-proof. We'll see.

Some later visitors included a male & female Northern Cardinal.....
Also, a Common Grackle....

Friday, June 12, 2009

My 50 Things

My 50 Things is a fun website, where you list goals and achievements in your lifetime. Here are some of my 'to do' goals, and below is a list of what I achieved. I don't exactly have 50 things altogether, but I'd rather list things I think I realistically will achieve. Seeing the Great Wall of China? I'd love to, but going to China right now seems out of reach. I don't know why.

To see the Grand Canyon

Visit Greenland, Iceland

Own a hybrid or electric car

To visit Western Canada

To hike the Long Trail in Vermont

To do a civil war reenactment in a large venue

take course in Norwegian

read Walden Pond

Teach an adult to read

Run the Boston Marathon

Try dog sledding

Shoot a gun on a shooting range

take a backpacking class

Exercise at least twice a week

Spend one evening a week without watching TV or using a PC

Visit Stonehenge

Do a parachute jump Completed
Plant a tree Completed
Wear a tux Completed
Complete a bookmaking/scrapbooking project Completed
Take a fiddle class or lessons Completed
Buy a condo or townhouse Completed
Visit Kripalu Completed
To complete a second cartoon zine Completed
To go square or contra dancing Completed
To meditate everyday for 21 days Completed
To try Tai Chi Completed
To take a fencing class Completed
Play golf one time Completed
Send mother flowers Completed
get a motorcycle license Completed
put some potted plants on porch Completed
see Grand Canyon Completed
shoot a gun on a shooting range Completed

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

My Five Favorite Natural Places in New England

My Five Favorite Natural Places in New England
Of course there are many other choices for natural places in New England. There are also many places I haven't been. Still, here are my consistent favorites, and some of the places I've visited many times.

1. The White Mountains, NH
(atop Mt. Carter with my sisters & brother-in-law)

2. Walden Pond, Concord, MA

3. Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary, Topsfield, MA

4. Baxter State Park, ME

5. Crane's Beach, Ipswich, MA