Monday, September 29, 2008

Back Home!

A new week – and I’m antsy as can be. I want to be home nesting. Creating. Cleaning. Bringing out Halloween!

We made it back from the lake yesterday – Gypsy was bellowing like Ethel Merman for awhile (I forgot his carsick pills, though he did calm down after a bit.) When I named him Gypsy for the celebrated Broadway show, I wasn’t really thinking of Ethel! (He was such a tease… and, as a foundling, truly a Gypsy!).

It seemed to take forever to put things away this time. The house is a mess – half Halloween decorations coming up, about a quarter of toss-about… And all that yarn!

This is a short week – on Thursday I head to Niagara on the Lake, Ontario to see two shows at Shaw Festival (“Wonderful Town” and “Follies In Concert”) and hang out with my forever-friend Suzanne at yarn shops, antique stores and places that are “cute” (which Rick so thoughtfully calls “old lady shops”).

Sunday, September 28, 2008

While Rick Rides, I work!

Rick is beating the pavement on a 200-mile bike ride in Southern Ohio this weekend...

I'm doing cottage clean-up -- the last visit of the year.

It's profoundly quiet here this weekend. I started this working at the Alpine Oven having dinner last night -- partly because they have Wifi. (And the pizza isn't bad.) Apparently the turn off the wifi at the county park by my cottage after a certain time. Now I'm at a little cyber cafe uptown, after hitting the farm market.

The trees aren't nearly so rosy as I'd hoped they'd be, although I know it's about two weeks too early, so I shouldn't be surprised.

Along the way, I saw some bright shocks of red along the highway, so I suppose it's just a matter or time.

And I've noticed bits and branches on my walk in the woods.

Another beautiful sunset last night -- I know my photos of sunsets all look the same. But I can tell the difference.

I'm a bit melancholy -- the last visit to the lake of the summer. The Gypsy is good company, though. And soon I'll be off to the most excellent dollar store. I did find a grand pumpkin at the farm market... I'm just enjoying the quiet of fall.

Later this weekend, I'll say a seasonal farewell to my neighbors who top 90 and 100. That's always melancholy, too.

And between doing my closing tasks, I'll have some fun. I'm nearly done with another scarf and another project to begin; I brought some ATCs and three books. It wouldn't kill me to spray paint my new wicker shelf here, rather than at home where it'll be more difficult!

So, I'm off. But one other thing -- on Becca's Write on Wednesday prompts she often offers an "extra credit" writing challenge. I've posted this week's on my graphics test blog, Chopsticks and String -- so if you want to read it, just stop by!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Pink Saturday!

This is my first time posting for Pink Saturday!

Since I'm closing up the cottage up north, I thought I'd share the pretty chairs on the beach for one last time.

May the days be sunny and warm. In the cool evening, I shall curl up under a lovely quilt and knit!

Thanks for welcoming me to Pink Saturday!


On another note, I've made it to my peaceful place, only to discover the Wifi source near me shuts down after the summer (unless I did something wrong on this new laptop, which is totally possible!)

I'm hoping to blog hop later this weekend and visit some of you who popped in during "Inspired Autumn" and other posts. I promise to do my best and visit soon!

Friday, September 26, 2008

20 Little Things That Inspire Me for Autumn

A stop at The Inspired Room inspired me to add my "20 Little Things That Inspire Me for Autumn." Stop by that site and visit some of the others participating!

1. The glorious splashes of gold, red, orange and brown that greet me on a walk through the woods or a drive through the country.

2. It’s the best time of year for farm markets, with pumpkins, squash and divine apples. The last of the season’s bounty!

3. Halloween masks – scary or funny!

4. Pumpkins –solid, painted, orange, white, real or fake!

5. And carving them, too!

6. Autumn food – sweet potatoes, pot pie, apple crisps, and soups. Turkey breasts and cornish hens and roasting chickens, done on the grill!

7. Visiting the cider mill.

8. The lake is quieter – the boats have been put away, and the days are lovely and still.

9. Cool nights, crisp days.

10. Falling leaves. (Especially in someone else's yard!)

11. Wearing warmer clothes – the return of the sweater, jeans, fleecy fabrics, and deeper colors.

12. Halloween decorations – Big headed pumpkin people, spooky trees with cute decorations, pumpkins and black cats everywhere!

13. Flannel sheets! So warm and toasty as I huddle with the Gypster each morning, listening to his purr and avoiding getting up till the last possible minute!

14. Yarn in autumnal colors. For that matter, any yarn feels better when it’s cooler!

15. Thanksgiving is nearly here – time for dinner with friends and family, using my Johnson Bros. “His Majesty” plates and setting a pretty table.

16. The smells of autumn – cinnamon, spice. The autumn fragrances are among the few that don’t set off my allergies! And yes, on occasion, I am able to smell burning leaves and that just seems so fallish to me!

17. Halloween costumes on animals. (I know, many of you will take exception to this, but it simply makes me laugh – and believe me, the cat doesn’t let it go on for long!)

18. Autumn art – I adore making Halloween and Thanksgiving ATCs!

19. Snuggling under quilts – a little heavier than the summer blanket, not so heavy as the winter ones!

20. The giant-sized Harvest Moon I seem to see only in October.

Do stop by The Inspired Home to see more fall inspirations!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Shutter Sisters: Suddenly a Heart Appears

Recently I have been enchanted by the photographs that RobinBird has posted on Bird Tweets as part of Shutter Sisters' Love Thursday.

Each image reflects the theme as interpreted by the blogger and you can see many beautiful images by the links at Shutter Sisters.

This week's prompt: Suddenly a Heart Appears.

When Rick and I were at Myrtle Beach this summer, I was fascinated by the hard, damp sand that so beautifully held my finger-writing, until it was washed away by a wave. Of course I couldn't resist.

I hope that before a crashing wave took our heart to sea, someone passed by -- and suddenly, a heart appeared.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Write on Wednesday: It's All In the Details

Today’s Write On Wednesday prompt by Becca discusses detail and how one uses detail in writing.

Specifically, she asks:

Are you detail oriented in your writing? What are some of the details you most notice in the world around you? What details do you focus on in your writing - place, character, emotional? What are the kinds of detailed descriptions you most like to read about?

While my work-writing is press releases and articles that have a “5 W’s and How” format, my personal writing is extremely detail-oriented. Maybe too much so!

I confess that when I “think” my mystery stories, I get bogged down in the details of the characters’ lives! I can tell you where the furniture is placed in the house, what they are wearing, what their environment smells like. I cannot tell you what happens in the next chapter, because plotting is not my strong suit! But boy, do I know those people!

I work with all the senses – and rely on them in almost every facet of life.

Art offers the visual.

Music can provide contemplation and sound...

While some music or performance offers a variety of sensual options -- color, sound, heat.

And communication is largely audio -- except when it's not! (We all know about body language!)

Knitting offers the texture.

Making sure nothing is dead inside my walls or garbage can work my nose.

And cooking is the ultimate sensual experience, using them all in force!

My use of senses as a strategy for working with detail ramped up for me as a theatre major in the early ‘70s in college, when “sensitivity training” was the buzzword for actors.

We would gather on an empty stage and the professor would pass out a bowl of grapes or cherries. We’d each take one and have to experience it –looking at the color, the texture and sniffing it.

Then we would place it our mouth. What does that smooth surface feel like to the tongue? Does it begin to dissolve on its own or do you bite into it? When you do, and hold the pieces in your mouth, how do they feel? Are they sweet, bitter, both? Is there a pit or seeds?

I don’t know if this made me a better actor, but we ate a lot of fruit.

And, I really started to observe everything with all my senses.

The way sand feels as you walk on a beach.

The way the water on the lake looks when it’s drenched in the colors of sunset.

The fragrance and texture of fresh herbs...

...or flowers.

The smell of pasta sauce cooking on a warm stove, combining garlic, onions, tomatoes – and how it feels on the tongue when mixed with soft noodles.

The coarse texture of Gypsy’s soft fur…
And how it contrasted with Stimpy’s satiny-smooth coat.

The sounds of the ocean and its crashing waves, their salty taste when diving in headfirst, and the splash of the surprisingly warm water.

When I journal, it’s all emotional. But when I observe, it transcends that. My observation is raw from the start, then moves into emotion and memory.

When I graduated from college and before I started graduate school, my mom and I went to England. While there, we took a bus tour to Stratford. As we left London on a bright September morning, I recall going over a hilltop bridge on the highway, passing between neighborhoods where the houses were close together, the rooftops tall and the yards small. I don’t know if it was the temperature that day, the clear sky, the sun, or the air, but at this time of year, as I drive to my office and go over a bridge near my house – an area entirely unlike that of my London route – I am immediately transported to that beautiful day.

Sense memory.

Yes, I recorded details in my travel journal, as I always do. But what I recall is far deeper than that. And maybe it needs to be recorded “for real.”

Becca offers a Write On Wednesday Extra Credit: As you perform a household chore that you do on a regular basis - making coffee, washing the car, cutting the grass - notice every detail of the process. The smell of the coffee grounds as you spoon them into the filter, the hiss of the water as it splashes against the car, the rumbling of the lawnmower’s engine. Write about your experience in great detail.

I’ll throw that out to you to try as well – not sure which one I’ll pick or if I post it. But I think it’s something I need to try!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Are You Ready for Digital TV?

Nationally, the digital television switch-over date is February 17, 2009. Some stations (including mine) are shutting off their analog signal prior to that date. If you have cable or satellite on all your televisions, you probably don't need to read this post -- unless you have friends that might need your help.

Basically, the digital transition nationally is a mess. Converter boxes are available and fairly standard, but unless you have the right antenna, many of the viewers in our area (and I answer all their questions and e-mail) are having trouble with signal break-up, and we hear that is nationwide.

With digital, you don't get "snow" -- you get picture or no picture (possibly with some extremely annoying pixilation as the signal dies.)

Anything can get in the way of the signal and make a difference -- wind, birds, tall buildings, interference from cell phone signals. We find that people who could watch our analog channel can't receive our digital channel, and until we have a power increase from the FCC, they'll be in trouble, though a taller antenna might help.

Antenna. That's the word and the thing that can make the most difference. If you watch over the air and get a converter box, try your original antenna first... even if it's rabbit ears. If it doesn't work, check (link on my media links at the right) and see what they recommend for your location.
Remember, time is of the essence. It takes about a month for converter box discount coupons to arrive (valued at $40 off; you may get two). If your antenna isn't adequate, you'll need to make arrangements to upgrade and as we get into winter, those living in the north will find it may be pricier for installation.

How can you help others?

Make sure your friends and neighbors are not only aware of this, but have taken action, either by getting a converter box, digital TV or subscribed to a pay service.

Help people hook up their converter boxes to their sets. I talk to a lot of senior groups -- this is particularly challenging for those with arthritic hands, unable to turn their television set around to the back for the hook up, or visually challenged and not able to see which spot to insert the cables. It's not hard to do at all, but if you can't see or wiggle fingers or move furniture, it's pretty tough.

If you don't need a coupon, you can order a coupon for others. Some people without services may have multiple televisions and need more than two coupons. (You might even need one for the basement or kitchen set.)

Remind your friends that coupons have a 90-day expiration date. Take it from me, who didn't use her second coupon in time -- they don't make exceptions!

Check out my Media links at the left. WKAR's digital guy pages include some frequently asked questions, you can order your coupon, check out antennas and Crutchfield Advisor has some very good articles.

If you have any questions, e-mail me or include your e-mail address in your comment. I'll try to help troubleshoot with you. (I may be sorry I suggested that, but go ahead!)

And now I don't feel so guilty for blogging at work!

Popular Posts