Saturday, June 30, 2012

Camp 61 had a wild and crazy week

Three little girls in the back seat of the art class bus last week; my granddaughters Laura and Caroline, and my neighbor Charlotte.  At the end of the week my body was fine; my brain exhausted. 

Every day there were tie died strips drying outside.  They ripped up old clothes and curtains and over dyed them. 

They used a ball winder to mix weights and kinds of yarns to be used.  Things were happening every day.  Over the course of the week, they

Made a sculpture.  The instructor made a wire form of the sort of animal the child had in mind.  Using wool and llama hair for filler, the wild and crazy artists used their dyed fabrics to flesh out the animal.  Charlotte made a dog.  Caroline made a cat.  Laura made a unicorn. 

This little girls’ creation is waiting for wings.  "Miss Carol is cutting them for me."

Made very big god’s eyes, with tassels.  Braided bracelets and anklets.

Had a go at a regular loom.

Wove their dyed fabric and mixed yarns and buttons and beads and stuff into the spokes of a bicycle wheel. 

I quit trying to keep it straight.  It took all the available space in my little car to bring home three bicycle wheels, three sculptures and all the rest of the stuff.  I left the wild and crazy art teacher and her assistant surveying the detritus of a week and looking for brooms to start the cleanup.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Random baby pictures

This baby crossed the road in front of us this week, on our street.  We stopped and inched along while the kids hung over the seat and grandma unholstered the camera and snapped away. It watched us for many long seconds before bolting.  No sign of mama; I guess it’s been set loose.  How big the ears.  Nice defroster vent reflection.

This baby picture came courtesy of Beth.  The babies are almost discernible under the plant.  Two baby tadpoles have grown arms and legs.

Francis brought them back from an outing to tend cemetery plots, Beth explained in her e-mail.  “They came from a long line of croakers.”

Rather sadly, she had no response from her mother.  Another e-mail and another picture of Caroline’s cat, Widgit, keeping an eye on the kids.  “That was for grandpa!  Didja gidit!?!?”

Groan.  And yes, my dad would have grinned. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Lavender and little girls

I love lavender.  It’s what grandma’s smelled like when I was a little girl.  I doubt that’s what I’ll be remembered for.

The laws consigning children to the back seat past the age of majority have some side benefits.  Listening to three little girls in the back seat can make my heart turn over for their joy and innocence.

Going to empty the dishwasher last night (pardon the sink that needs wiped out), I smiled. Perhaps they’ll remember grandma’s as the place they eat pineapple chunks (and watermelon) with pickle forks.  And eat their morning cereal with iced tea spoons.

I was given two lavenders to plant last fall—a kind thank you from a nice friend.  I haven’t had lavender growing for twenty five years.  Back then this little instruction pamphlet arrived in the mail as a sample of a book we could buy. 

That sheet certainly wound up in the right hands.  I didn’t buy the set, but I cut my lavender blooms and had a go at the lavender wands.  Sadly, mine were not the charming little bit of lavender pictured here.  My stems would not bend, but cracked in awkward places, and my cage was not charming.  Or pretty.  Oh, well.  I’m sure lavender comes with stem pliability by variety, and the proper one will just have to arrive in our garden.

When the current plants began blooming, I brought some in just for their fragrance.  Jan felt sorry for them in their nasty water on the mantel in a few days.  The blossoms were already dry, so she set them in a separate pot to finish drying. 

More stems that Laura brought in have been drying, too.  I’ll have the little girls keep bringing in the blossoms.  They can strip off the dried flowers and we’ll make little sachets for them to take home.  I was a failure at wands, but this grandma can sew little drawstring bags!

A parting shot—Jan’s hoya.  It adores the west window and goes into a sulk if moved anywhere else.  We don’t mind.  One less window to wash.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Monday morning sun flower

Sunflower has come far in a month.  The more I consider, the more I believe it was Glinda by Sunflower last week. Sunflower is another three inches tall and has a lovely bud.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

My dad’s army

I don’t know how it began, but around the supper table at 729 Moraine, three children piped up, "Dad, dad, tell us a story about Sarge".  When I had been a teenager for some time, and long after stories about Sarge weren’t requested, I realized my Dad was Sarge.  Curiously, I never asked him.

Sarge was an NCO in this man’s Army.  Dad joined the Army in September, 1924, days after turning 17 on August 28.  At that point he was bouncing between the Akron Children’s Home and Charity Latch School.  I can find no information on Charity Latch School, but it sounds like an ominous destination for a tall, smart and probably willful young man.  Dad was more than six feet, and certainly that tall as a teenager.  Like many young men, the Army was his alternative to having no future.

The 1930 Census had my dad in Ft. Benning, Georgia, the locus of his stories.  He loved the south and the heat; he hated the lingering effects of malaria.  Sadly,  I don't remember a lot from the stories we demanded almost every night.

Before the good stories, though, here are a couple of snippets.   They stole watermelons from farmer’s fields, punched their fist through to get the seedless core and left the trail of destruction behind them in the field.  I wonder how they saw so well in the dark.  Narrow escapes from buckshot were recounted.  Mom didn't like the watermelon stories.

In those days there was a soft drink bottler, or two, in every town. Cliquot Club and White Rock ginger ale.  Nichol Cola.  Barq’s root beer.  Nehi.  Orange Crush.  You could buy stock in any of them, pennies a share.  Coca Cola stock was the same crap shoot in 1924 as any other bottled drink company.  Apparently dad took a flyer on the stock market with his pay; his reminiscence was only the guys who bought Coca Cola got rich.

Dad was a communications officer.  A  telegraph and radio man.  His equipment was big, and went on maneuvers packed on mules.  He had a large brown discoloration on his shin that mom told me much later came from a mule kick.

Then there was the new recruit sent to find a left handed spanner.

But the story we hollered for over and over was the pie stretcher.

A new recruit was assigned to KP duty there in Company A.  When he worked his way through peeling all the potatoes Cook scratched his head for a bit for the next job and then realized he didn’t have enough pies for all the men for dinner.  “Son, I want you to go over to Company B and ask Cook to borrow the pie stretcher.”

Over at Company B, of course, the pie stretcher had just been lent to Company C, so the new fellow was sent over there to retrieve it.

The story of the adventures of this new recruit looking for the elusive pie stretcher always went on until mom said it was time to clear the table.

 early 1900s photo Pack mule of U.S. Army Signal Corps, used for carrying storage batteries for the field wireless telegraph  

Saturday, June 23, 2012

I’m exhausted

When I picked up Laura and Charlotte last Monday, I had my camera, to see what had transpired in art class that day.  I liked the pictures and sent some to the art academy that evening. 

The Art Academy is staffed almost entirely by volunteers.  When my pictures showed up in the e-mail box, the director (part time) asked me to take more, for their advertising and brochures.  I can take pictures of the backs of kids as well as anyone, so what the heck.  In fact, that cute little picture of my man Will transporting his picture went right on the art academy’s Face Book page.

I’ve spent afternoons this past week ankle deep in arty youngsters contained in two spaces of a not overly large open plan building that also contains displays of art for sale.  Paintings, pottery, sculpture, glass. 

These ten youngsters ranged from maybe six (Will’s little brother) to nine and ten—my two.  I understand that until the Friday before the class started there were only four registered.  The master teacher, an artist in town, took them all, and she and the volunteers steered the ship all week.

Will deduced early on that I was taking pictures.  He spread the word.  Smile a lot for that lady; she likes to take your picture.  Children sensed those over the shoulder moments and turned right into the camera before my trigger finger triggered.  One little girl quit turning left with me as I circled behind her, stopped and whirled the other direction to be head on with her treasure.

I quit keeping the program straight.  The volunteers sorted out kids by skill, attention span and ability to keep themselves occupied.  The first day was the big circle/cycle painting and the coiled basket. 

There was a lot of drawing for a couple of days, and then little copper enamel circles at the end.  Oh, yes, and a solar system. My biggest impression was movement, voices, and volunteers keeping the flow working.  Children circulating.  Children talking.   

Did I mention customers.  In the generic sense, not actual.  Town has been overloaded with people of late, and they kept coming through, too.  Will’s little brother scooched himself out of the aisle frequently.  And graciously. 

My two, plus Caroline, go back next week for felting, tie-die and weaving.  That’s three.  I hear only four are registered.  We’ll see how many kids really are spread around come Monday afternoon.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Summer around town

I had to run errands after I dropped the girls at Art Camp, and I kept my camera out because I wanted some pictures on a beautiful summer afternoon.

These are categorical, not chronological.  Fortunately, I only cross the main street going to the Art Academy.  There are more bicycles, tourists and cars than roads and sidewalks to contain them.

I went to a gallery in town, Elements Gallery.  It's Steve and Deb Bures' gallery, widely known porcelain artists.

I like the lamp standard in the lot behind the gallery.

I had to drop books at the library, and knew I wanted a picture of their sidewalk lamps.  This is the only straight one.  I hope they can fund repairs on the rest.

Then, I wanted the lamps at the Village Hall on the way home.  Every Christmas the clerks put red cellophane in one and green in the other.

I saw someone by the sunflower

On my way to work this morning.

Was it Glinda?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

A good office chair is hard to find

Office chairs hurt my back.  I don’t sit up straight enough.  I fractured L1.  C4 and 5 are fused with a bone.  There should be a chair to fit that.  When I was younger, before the L1 incident, office chairs were OK.   We bought them cheap; eventually the pneumatics wore out and they went on the curb, and went free to a new home.

I tackled the next to last chair very seriously.  I sat in every chair in two stores and purchased a compact fake brown naugahyde number.  Back at home Tom put it together.  I pushed it to the desk and sat down.  Still comfy, but too short.  Soon I had a neck ache from looking up to the monitor.  The chair couldn’t go up, the monitor couldn’t come down.  I added a cushion, solving the height problem, and negating comfy.

Toby the kitten arrived.  A friendly and nosey little guy.  In the beginning he climbed the chair to get on the back.  Eventually he made it in a single bound, plus a few more claw holes.

Ten pounds of cat leaning on my neck, together with an aching back from the uncomfortable seat, and the compact fake brown naugahyde chair had to go.  It went to Good Will on my way to an office supply store.  This time I took a tape measure, and my primary criteria was a chair that could adjust to twenty inches.  I sat in every chair in two stores and was on the way to a third when I passed an isolated chair, showcased with blaring signage announcing its office chair worthyness.

The salesguy had totally overlooked this chair. Completely.  That was some bad marketing and floor arrangement, in my estimation.  I sat down.  Bliss.   I measured.  Perfect.  I looked at the marketing hype on the surround cardboard pillars.  Tempur-Pedic©.  I won’t mention the price.  And, Tempur-Pedic© has never heard of me.

This chair has seven knobs or levers that adjust everything.  It also makes me sit up straight.  And, the cat that sleeps on top cannot lean on my back.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


All the pictures neatly stacked when we arrived, awaiting further embellishments today.

When the bus pulled into take my two home, I found them working on solar systems, which I learn will be finished tomorrow and go home to hang in rooms.

I took a tour of the embellished pictures, drying outside.  Further embellishments scheduled for tomorrow.

We’ll see.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Summer at Camp 61

Summer began Monday; I dropped Laura and Charlotte for an afternoon at the Art Academy.  Charlotte lives down the street, and down the first hill.  That’s great, until you ride the bike home.

Laura spent a lot of Cousin Camp last year at the Art Academy.  She had Charlotte primed, and they are only ten years old, so all they needed from a grandma in the front seat was gas to drive the car. 

I went in to drop off a pack of parental releases and found my two deep in the throng around the table.  The theme is circles, and the project is a coiled basket. 

Here’s Laura’s.  We may never see Charlotte’s finished basket, which may be big enough to hold her baby sister, if she gets all the rope covered.

I was early today, and greeted by this picture. Another circles project, no doubt.  As I was getting the shot, a little fellow leaned into the frame and back out, just as quickly.

“Oh, you’re taking pictures,” he said.

“Just this one.  I like the picture.”

“Thank you.  It’s mine.”

I was done, and he leaned over and took it back inside; it was dry.  What an observant and polite young man.  May he live long and prosper.

Monday, June 18, 2012

The sunflower has a visitor

Common sunflowers, with edible seeds, grow about six feet within the first three weeks, and reach maturity in 85 days.  Our sunflower seed surely was left behind by a squirrel scurrying away from the bird feeder next door.  As close to grade A as that bird feed mix may have been, we can bet the seed the squirrel let fall into the crack did not come from Burpee.

Whatever its humble origins, it’s growing as fast as it can, busting up good township concrete as quickly as it can.  When I noticed the trouble the super took to save it from the Memorial Day parade, it was 31.5 inches.

When the parade went through, the sunflower was up to 38.5”.   

Last week, another three inches, to 41.5”

Today, up to 45.5”.   It won’t be next week, but soon it can peer through the windows and see garage activity, as well as the traffic out on the road

Sunday, June 17, 2012

A long cat weekend

An old friend of Tom’s is in town for the weekend, and visiting.  With his dog, Hobo.

Hobo settled in like regular dogs.  He knew “Get out of the kitchen.”

Ryan retreated immediately to his safe place, a basket on top of my dresser, in the closet, two sizes too small.

Toby kept an eye on things.

Euba was pleased to meet a Norfolk terrier.

Cairns and Norfolks hanging and doing terrier stuff.

Toby still checking up on this stranger

And not backing off.  Closed door bravado.

Yep, this is Norfolk living

I don’t think so.

And, Purrl has not been in since Saturday morning, and and must wonder if Sunday evening will ever come.