Celebrating the New Year

Visiting my sister and  spouse in northern Vermont, the neighbors traditionally have a bonfire New Years Eve. It was quite warm, and the neighbors showed up from all around (but here, you can’t see any of their houses from any other!), and we watched it burn most of the way down before going in for food and drink. There was a killer chocolate cake – dense and rich enough that I had trouble falling asleep! Or maybe that was from the long nap I took in the afternoon…

One of our favorite Christmas decorations is this elf, perched on one of the braces on the framing:

Today was a busy day. After sourdough waffles for breakfast, we went into town to worship with the Quakers in Burlington, then went to lunch at a Vietnamese restaurant for banh mi sandwiches (excellent, and great value for money), went to a concert of Beethoven’s 9th, in which my brother-in-law was singing (he had to be there early, so I got quite a few rows of knitting done), and where we were joined by lots of friends, and then to the house of one of the friends for dinner, with intelligent conversation flying in all directions, drove another friend home, and finally returned to the house.

Mural outside the Vietnamese restaurant:

Roadtrek Roadtrip, at Elk Neck State Park and North East

Tuesday, October 25 and Wednesday, October 26: It rained. And rained some more. It wasn’t constant, but you couldn’t count on it ever being dry! Tuesday, my friend found this interesting character on some oak leaves:

Maybe this is what is sounding cricketish at night? A brown one later jumped onto my shoulder. But indoor crafting activities meant that I finished the first of a series of Christmas stockings:

No pattern; I used yarn from stash run doubled, and made it up as I went along. I was able to take the photo on the picnic table between showers!

The first photo of the post is from a mural in North East, a charming little town about 15 minutes north of the campground. We went there to meet a friend from Delaware for lunch at Woody’s Crab House – we all had crab, of one sort or another, and also one raw oyster and a small bucket of clams, and salad and veggies to go with my crab sampler –

It was great to catch up – I’d not seen the Delaware friend for years! She had to go home, but the remaining two of us wandered the very compact downtown for a while. Woody’s also has ice cream (but not that day), with an assembly of animals in front:

Even the small windows above were charming!

My favorite quote of the day was in a shopfront window:

There was a occasional scrap of blue sky!! and one ray of sunshine!!! On the drive back to the campground, we took the road down to the western side of Elk Neck, where the swimming beach is; on the way in, this deer stopped in the road to watch us. As we crept slowly closer, she decided she’d had enough, and exit stage left she went.

Today is Thursday – and THE SUN IS SHINING!!!!! In the next post I’ll let you know what we did with it.

Last Portland Post

And about time, as I returned to Vermont last Monday! But there were still photos I wanted to share. Being a coastal city, coastal life and boating are featured in much of the public artwork.

And one night we got Thai takeout – not something available around me in rural Vermont! Portland is a very cosmopolitan city, with many immigrants and refugees, so the food available is diverse.

Crab Rangoon? Spring rolls? Yes, please. And in the lower left of the plate was a dish I’d not met before (and don’t remember the name, either) of many veggies, with shrimp, and a light peanut sauce over all. It was outstanding. The Pad See Ew with chicken was less impressive, too salty for my taste.

And on the drive home, Shawnee Peak Ski Area (yes, I usually think of the Shawnee in the Poconos, but there’s a different one in Maine!) still had snow, across a lake that had only recently lost its ice:

Roadtrek Roadtrip, Part 15: Blackwell Horse Camp to Marietta, Ohio

Thursday, December 2: I took only one photo yesterday – and that didn’t come out well, so you miss the scenery from Missouri and Illinois. That’s the problem when I know the driving day is going to be too long – I don’t stop for photos I know I’d like, like the St. Louis Arch, the rolling hills of Missouri, the flatness of Illinois farmland. I spent Wednesday night at Blackwell Horse Camp, south of Bloomington, Indiana in Hoosier National Forest – dark, quiet, level, and free. Getting in well after dark, I didn’t do much besides heat some supper, read a bit, and sleep. In the morning, here I was – and there were riders heading out.

The first part of my drive today was through the National Forest and rural Indiana – hilly, and not always paved, but the scenery was worth it. Having missed a turn that wasn’t labeled the way I was expecting, I turned around, stopping in Houston at the old schoolhouse – no, not the Houston in Texas!

I didn’t write down where this amazing mural was:

The sun was setting when I stopped in Waterford, Ohio, about 20 miles from Marietta, where I am visiting friends. It got to be truly spectacular – but by then I was on narrow, winding roads with no place to pull off for photos.

Roadtrek Roadtrip, Betty Cooke’s Jewelry

Betty Cooke is a native of Baltimore, in her late 90s, and still creating artworks in the form of jewelry. There is a retrospective of her work now at the Walters Art Museum in downtown Baltimore, and most of the family went to see it today – as well as the panel discussion and question/answer opportunities with the artist. Several of the family have pieces by her – and those present wore them. Looking around the people in the gallery and in the lecture hall, there was a good representation of her work on living breathing people, not just in display cases and on walls!

Actually, my favorite piece wasn’t jewelry at all, but a drawing of a yak, maybe?

The photo of jewelry I like best is this one of a unicorn, maybe, with bent horn – although it’s abstract enough, I could be wrong! But I also like how the shadows work in the photo.

And here’s Betty, answering questions. She’s a little sprite of a woman, with an engaging presence. She wore a piece made of thin tubes of silver, strung on something invisible, and draped artistically a few times around her torso and under one arm.

Across the street from where we parked, there was one of Baltimore’s excellent murals, entitled “My Sister’s Garden” –

That wasn’t all we did today – four of us went to visit my 101 year old uncle; we went out to dinner to further celebrate my local cousin’s birthday, and I started the next knitting project.

Troy, New York

Troy one troyVisiting my friends in Albany, we headed over to Troy to the Winter Farmers Market.Troy Farmers Market shroomsThis would have been a great place to eat lunch – if we hadn’t just eaten a more than adequate breakfast! There were lots of food stalls – and lots and lots of people! I didn’t take many photos inside, as it was difficult to get a clear shot of almost anything. Outside again, I spent a lot of time looking up, admiring the architecture and artwork. Troy architecture

When you have a building shaped like this, Troy the marketthe back of the block looks a lot less organized!  Troy backsThe city has quite a few murals – of the music hall: Troy music hall muraland across the street, the music hall: Troy deco reflectionTroy paint muralWe walked on to the Post Office, which has two murals inside, of local lore. Rip Van Winkle, and the bowling:            Troy PO muraland Headless Horseman, from the Legend of Sleepy Hollow: Troy PO headless horsemanThese were done by Waldo Peirce (or Pierce, depending on source) but there’s nothing in the building to credit him, or tell the history of these New Deal paintings. Troy deco framedTroy deco newsThere are so many ways to frame a photo! I couldn’t decide which of the above I liked better – so you get both. Then it was back to the parking garage and the car, and this shot of Uncle Sam – the legend has it that he’s based on Samuel Wilson, who provided meat to our troops during the War of 1812. Troy Sam