Friday, September 23, 2011

Vacation Recap

For our 30th Anniversary, Liz and I booked a cruise over a year ago. Finally the day arrived and we enjoyed our first cruise ever.

I really didn't want to go to the Caribbean, so instead we headed north on a 9 night New England and Canadian trip. Leaving out of Baltimore, we made stops in Portland and Bar Harbor, Maine, then stops in Saint John, New Brunswick and Halifax, Nova Scotia. On the way back to Baltimore we spent a day in Boston.

I like cruising more than I thought I would. We really hit it off with our table-mates for dinner, which helps. We had one very rough day at the beginning as we sailed into the remnants of hurricane Katia, and one mildly rough day at the end as we grazed another that stayed well out to sea (Marie?).

In Portland, Liz and I hit the LL Bean flagship store (in Freeport, not too far away), where I got to eyeball a bunch of gear up close to perfectly prioritize potential purchases. Say that 3 times fast.

In Bar Harbor, I did a bus tour of the stunningly beautiful Acadia National Park, including to the top of Cadillac Mountain. My hike on the Ocean Trail was cancelled. Apparently not enough people are crazy enough to think walking outside is fun. Dammit. I bought maps and guide books, Maine isn't *that* far away from here.

In Saint John and Halifax, Liz and I just headed into the towns and enjoyed exploring on our own. In Boston, I took the "Freedom Trail" walking tour, where we visited the burial ground where Paul Revere (among others) is buried. Then we went to the site of the Boston Massacre, then the North Church (one if by land, two if by sea) and Paul Revere's house. Lots more along the way as well. Pretty cool.

Of course, as soon as we got home, the flu kicked my ass. I still went to work most of the week - self-quarantined - and I'm just starting to feel better.

Here are a couple watercolor paintings I did while on vacation.

A buoy in Portland, Maine:

This was inspired by a lighthouse in Nova Scotia:

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Advantages to Big City Life

Here's an email I got from Kremer Pigments, located in New York. I highlighted the coolest part.

Making your own paint can be fun and addictive.
It is much easier than it seems. I want to show
you how! Instructors like to talk about
historical facts about processes and provide
recipes with precise ratios to achieve an ideal
medium or paint. Similar to cookbooks you read
today, one should not take these steps so
literally ? you can come up with new ?flavors?
if you experiment a little. I believe this is
the same with paint. I will provide historical
processes and some modern ones as well.
The following courses though, are meant to
provide you with a firm grasp on the materials,
so you can then manipulate paint the way you
want - for your own personal aesthetic.

I invite you to follow me on the investigation of
raw materials and learn how to control them
for your purpose.

All classes will be approximately an hour and
half long, with Q&A relevant to the topic.
Seating is limited to 20 per class; first come
first serve basis, no fee. Reservation is
required. All classes will be held on Saturdays
at 3 pm.

Colorful regards,

Roger Carmona

Gotta love a company that will do something like this. I already do a bit of business with Kremer, and this is the sort of thing that keeps me coming back. Now if it wasn't for the whole 'having to be in New York' thing, I'd love to attend the third class on Watercolors.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Break Time!

I'm outta here for two weeks for a long overdue vacation. No internet and spotty cell phone service sounds like heaven to me.

Take care, I'll be back soon.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Like A Zoo Out Back

We survived hurricane Irene with little trouble. Daughter Robyn and granddaughter Lorelei came up from Virginia Beach "just in case". Their street flooded, but the water never got higher than halfway up their driveway. Other than a rain gutter downed by the wind, they did fine too.

While Lorelei was here, I took her out back to see the garden and to meet the spiders. She was fascinated by them and got a kick out of blowing on the web to make them scramble around for safety.

She also noticed the eggshells in my garden and asked if I were growing eggs. As we got closer, she saw they were broken and marvelled that Grandpa hatched birds in his garden!

This morning, I had already gone out to harvest tomatoes before the rain arrived. I left the back curtain open wide and while working out it started to rain. As if on cue, at least three big frogs started jumping around in the garden. I hadn't seen them before, but once they hopped they were pretty obvious.

Next came the big surprise.

This handsome devil was racing up and down the fenceline (well, racing as much as a turtle can race), trying to get into the next yard. When he climbed up on top of an old push mower close to the door, I opened up to snap some pictures. He tucked in for a while, but finally came out enough to pose for the above.

Definitely a big guy.