Archive for the ‘Home’ Category

Productive procrastination

Sunday, January 15th, 2017

So, I am supposed to be working on something that has a FIRM due-date of mid-to-early-ish March.  I have dyed the fabric and know what I’m going to do, but got sidetracked for a few days doing something I’ve wanted to do for eons:  paint the basement room that has the furnace, water heater, fuel oil tank, and water pump in it.  WHY?  Well, it’s where I do my fabric dyeing.   Since fabric is a lot more attractive than cement, here’s my last two batches of fabric.  Remember them, you’ll see them transformed at some point this year.

My time at the dye pots was FUN! And more interesting than a basement utility room which is what this post is really about.

What provoked this flurry of activity?  The Elfa sale at the Container Store, where good quality closet storage stuff goes on an annual 30 percent off sale.  Decided after much research it would be the best option for getting some shallow shelves above my “not a legal sink but a a basin” in my dye room because it would require the fewest screws going into the cement foundation walls and those few could be above grade (important for when the ground and snow melt in spring).    Here’s the before:



Panorama shot of the basement in the before stage…which I remembered to take only after I had started putting the DryLock paint around the window.  Click to make larger.  

I decided that I couldn’t stand putting the Elfa stuff in without finally painting the walls white (which will help with light and visibility in the room), so I started painting.  Four days ago!

First coat of DryLock paint partly on.  Better already!

Just about done except for the cleaning and moving stuff back in place and waiting for the shelf stuff to arrive.  A vast improvement (did another coat of primer on the wall at the far left).  Now, if I could just convince Paul to let me paint our dark living room……

I finished the last of the painting/priming today.  I used DryLock which helps keep water out on the cement walls.  It is like trying to paint with sludge/mud/thick paste.   ICK.   Primer on the base of the chimney/stone fireplace, and semi-gloss on the wall behind the sink as well.    I’ll post pics of the shelf stuff once it arrives and is installed.   It will require a masonry drill bit and Advil for the arthritis in my hands that will be aggravated from drilling the holes!

2016–a Baker’s Dozen of my best photos

Saturday, December 31st, 2016

I’ve been part of a photography class with Ricky Tims (in 2015) and a critique challenge this past (and coming) year.  For our final assignment this year, we are to pick our favorite image of 2016.  Here are my top 12 + 1 for a Baker’s Dozen.  For lack of a better way, I’m posting them in chronological order. You can click/right click on all photos for a larger view.

Clearly, I am biased about some of these, so tell me–which do you think is The Best of the bunch? Doesn’t matter why–just the one you like the best!  I need to submit one on January 1, so pipe up!

Photo 1:  For the past eleven years, the calendar year begins in the middle of wrestling season, so for both quality of photography and affection/nostalgia, I’ll start with photos of Eli’s last Maine wrestling season.

Here’s another very typical shot:

Photo 2:  Eli, in red, goes in for the pin (and win). I have very, very few photos with Eli’s face, but this one shows the intensity of the sport.

This next image is probably the most technically complex I did all year.  I had three layers at one point, but the boys’ position in the frame didn’t make a logical sequence, so two worked better.  I printed this fairly large and framed it as an 18th birthday present for Eli, and it is in his room with his ***many*** ribbons, plaques and trophies from his sports achievements.

Photo 3: Transparent overlay with Eli in a take-down. I was sitting on the edge of the mat and was maybe 6 feet away from them. Luckily, they didn’t crash into me!

Photo 4:  In March the entire family went to hear the Taiko Drummers that came to perform at Strom Auditorium thanks to the Bay Chamber Concert group. I make a tripod of my arms and the rail in front of my seat and was delighted so many of my images turned out well despite the dark.

Photo 5: I love that the drum and legs are crisp, the face is clear, and the arms and drumsticks are total blur, telling the story of the physicality of the performance.

Photo 6:  I don’t know why I like this picture of water boiling in my electric kettle so much, but I just do!

Photo 7: a vintage effect for a summertime photo of a barn near me that has now fallen down (even before the snow).

Photo 8: A “panned” image of a sunflower from the Camden Inn garden by the footbridge over the river, just a stone’s throw off of Main Street.

Photo 9: I had missed seeing Paul Noel Stookey when he was here before, so I made sure I didn’t this time, even if I had to go alone. I loved it! I was also pleased that my “tripod on the railing” worked again to get a good shot. The theme was “past prime” which I interpreted that someone might *think* he is past his prime, but really isn’t!

Photo 10: October is always glorious in Maine, and this year was one of the best. I’m not usually in to “artsy” images or affected techniques, but I rather like the painterly effects you can get with some panning. Panning is when you move the camera on purpose while the shutter is open to create a deliberate blur.

Photo 11: I must have taken 200 photos on a not-too-long walk in my neighborhood. One of my favorite spots is across the main road on Blueberry Lane. This is a close-up of the sumac leaves in full glory.  I always like the simplicity of photos like this that celebrate the beauty of the ordinary.

Photo 12: Another “lots of edits” photo, but one that makes me laugh. This kinda describes my entire year. Sometimes I think I ought to make this into a poster and sell it!

And the “Baker’s Dozen” image, from just this past week or thereabouts:

Baker’s Dozen: I took several versions of this, made one black and white, but I like the soft winter colors and the gentle curves of our driveway.


20 pounds down, Armour thyroid, normalcy and Thank You’s

Monday, December 19th, 2016

First things first:  I need to thank Judy Coates Perez and Jenny K. Lyon for sharing with me their luck with Armour thyroid.  For years I have not felt well or normal, always tired, despite having “good” levels on my thyroid checks while taking Synthroid and Lyothironine (T3 and T4) to deal with my thyroid disease.   My endocrinologist REFUSED to prescribe Armour, however, because it is derived from pigs (whom I bless for sharing their thyroid) and not as precisely quantifiable as the synthetic thyroid replacement drugs.   Finally after 2 1/2 years trying the endocrinologists way, I got fed up and looked for another doctor.   I kept asking my GP, and it took two years to find an in-network (Blue Cross Anthem) doctor in Maine that would prescribe Armour.  It is a 4+ hour drive round trip.  And worth every minute!

In March, in preparation for my soonest-available-appointment in May, I started a diet, using the phone app (free, easy to use, and really has helped) to track my calories and weight.   Despite eating about 1400 calories a day plus walking regularly when I could (I could either exercise or work, but not both as I was sleeping 11+ hours a day), I didn’t lose an ounce for 6 weeks.   Then, astonishingly, a slow weight loss began even on synthroid.

On Monday, May 9th, (and I didn’t have to look that up–it is ingrained in memory) I visited the new doctor.  She said she’d let me try Armour, but said some people saw no difference, and that it wouldn’t help the being tired as my levels were just right (so I should investigate whatever else might be making me so tired).  Hah!   By Saturday I was feeling SO MUCH BETTER I went to ask the pharmacist (LOVE the two at Hannaford in Camden) to find out how long it would take for the synthroid etc to work out of my system.  Six weeks.  By that point I felt better than before, but not as good as when I started.   Turns out I needed a tiny bit more RX.

Since July, I have felt NORMAL for the first time in YEARS!   I can sleep 8-9 hours and FUNCTION like a normal human being!  I can go for a 30-40 minutes walk and not feel obliterated!   I totally get that Armour doesn’t work this well for a lot of people.  But for those of us for whom it does work, it is quite literally LIFE-CHANGING.  And yes, I am *shouting* because this is so flipping amazing.  I was delighted in my follow-up appointment to tell the new doctor I was happy to say she was wrong about the tired thing, that it too was so much better!

Do I feel like I did when I was 35 or 40?  No.   I feel my 59 years (my knees and feet and hands think 79), but I am functional again!   And (DRUM ROLL) as of this morning, I have lost TWENTY POUNDS and 11.5 percent of my body weight!     I am within 2 1/2 pounds of my original goal (which I never thought I could reach) and maybe 7-8 pounds of my revised goal (since I think I can actually do that).  I am very careful, most days eat around 1400 calories with occasional hot fudge sundae splurges, and it is Very Slow Going.  It has taken nine *months* to lose 20 pounds, but I’ve done it.  But the weight is GOING!

So I just wanted to share my delight.  I am, most importantly, feeling NORMAL for the first time in years.  I can get stuff done.   Usually when I have returned from teaching in Houston I am obliterated for at least a week, maybe two.  This time, one day, then I bounced back and started getting stuff done again.   LIFE CHANGING!

So thank you to Judy and Jenny.  HUGE Thank you to the pigs whose thyroid hormones make me feel normal (I hope the thyroid can be extracted somehow without them giving their lives, but since they are bacon anyway, I can live with this).   And thank heavens for the new doc who was willing to let me try!

Autumn at its finest

Saturday, October 15th, 2016

Dropping in briefly to share autumn’s glory.  Just got back from teaching in Little Rock, now entering final preparations for teaching at International Quilt Festival Houston.  Some of my classes still have openings, and you can sign up on site.  Hope to see many of you there and will try to post to share with those of you who can’t be there.









Ironic…I love “what is it” type of close ups, but this week somehow my psyche obstinately decided *this* would be my submission. Perhaps not as mysterious as it should be, but I was so tickled that I shot this hand-held and got the effect I wanted.  I’ll post a link to my other pics in the comments, but don’t go there until you (easily?) guess….


This is what those odd photos are above...I was tickled that I was able to hold the camera steady for 1/4 of a second to get the blur shots!

This is what those odd photos are above…I was tickled that I was able to hold the camera steady for 1/4 of a second to get the blur shots!

Hmmm…there may be a quilt or few in these……

A brief interlude….deer!

Friday, May 6th, 2016

Yes, it is spring.  And we’ve had more deer this spring than ever before.  One day, we counted NINE in the big meadow…along with a passel of wild turkeys who are preening and displaying in hopes of a mate to make more little turkeys.  Anyway, one day I came home and spotted many of the deer on the neighbor’s back 40, which is just beyond the stone wall that marks the boundary of our property. If you look through the woods, you can just see one of the does looking at me before she decided it was time to go elsewhere.  There were at least five of them up there!

Deer and sunny skies

Deer and sunny skies.  If you look in between the second and third trees from the left, you can see her.  There is another peeking through that sliver in the next gap, and couple closer to center, but you can’t tell from this photo that they are deer!