(190:  Cruising in the convertible.)

As you might have been able to tell from yesterday’s post, I’m bored.  Or burnt out.  Either way, I need to shake things up a little so I went searching for prompts to inspire me.  This photo is based on the prompt “speed” and I don’t remember where I found the prompt as I tried several different things before settling on this one.

This photo was taken during our sabbatical adventures in 2007 while cruising around in the convertible with the top down on some back roads in Pennsylvania.  It reminds me of warm summer days, earthy smells, and the feel of the wind on my face and in my hair.

I played around with the photo in Photoshop, ultimately “posterizing” it.  I did several other things but I Photoshop the way I cook:  without a recipe.  I realize that’s a bad idea to most people as it means I can’t duplicate it.  That’s the beauty of it to me — the uniqueness.

I risked my camera more than a few times when we had the convertible.  At some point whenever the top was down (and I wasn’t driving), I’d hold the camera up in the air, above windshield level, and just snap away to see what I’d come up with.  Most of the time I’d capture the hood of the car, but occasionally I managed to point it straight out and capture some of the sensation of speed (as much as you can in the stillness of a photo).

Back in September we decided that our time with the convertible was over.  We traded it in on a new-to-us used car that is more suitable for grandparents and long drives.  The convertible was fun, but it had also acquired quite a bit of mileage and some rust from living in an area prone to snow and ice and salted roads.  It was time to trade it in while we could still get a decent return on it.

Every now and then, when the weather is nice, I miss the convertible.  But I do kind of like the comfort and quietness of our new car when it comes to long car trips.  I hope that doesn’t mean I’m getting old…

D is for Dragons

(Dragon plate.  Photo © Robin)

This is my favorite platter.  I purchased it during our sabbatical adventures.  Not because I needed another platter but because I like the dragons and the colors.

The snow continues to dance and twirl and fall from the sky.  It should end sometime this afternoon.

(Today’s view of the pond.)

The cats are enjoying the snow, at least from the inside.

(Bella and Izzy at the basement window)

Bella ran outside for a little while this morning.  She doesn’t seem to like the feel of snow on her feet.

Photo Challenge

Kel at the X facta issued a photo challengeTake a photograph using the word “wash” as a prompt.

I wanted to take something new, but it’s been a rather hectic week.  It’s also been a rainy week, not conducive to hanging the laundry out to dry.  There are, of course, other things that can be washed, but I’m partial to laundry when taking photographs of things that involve “wash.”

I do have quite a collection of laundry photos.  All I had to do was pick one.  Here it is:

The laundry room in the apartment building we lived in while M was on sabbatical.

Another view.

What I really wanted to post were some photos I took while going through a car wash.  Either they were really bad and I deleted them, or I’m more disorganized than I thought.  Whatever the case, I was unable to find them.


It’s bloody hot here in Sabbaticalville. We’re in the midst of the second heatwave of the year.

Not exactly a fine time to be moving. But at least it isn’t raining.

The drama of the furniture is over. Most of our stuff is packed into boxes or bags. M is making his first run over to E’s house to drop off some of the things we won’t be taking back with us on this trip. The convertible is a fun and great little car, but it’s little. It won’t carry a lot, even with the carrier hitched on to the back.

Today we went to Lancaster to visit with M’s family for one last time before we move back home. He saw his mom and we had lunch with his sister. M wanted a Pennsylvania Dutch lunch so we went to the Harvest View Restaurant in Intercourse. (I’m sure there’s a joke there somewhere, but the only thing that comes to mind is the old chestnut about Paradise being next to Intercourse, which of course it is if you’re in Pennsylvania.)

This sabbatical has been one heck of an adventure. I think we managed to fit in quite a bit while we were here. There are still lots of things we’d like to do. Since we both have family in this area, I’m sure we’ll be back to do some of those things.

I have to say, too, that this is a beautiful area in which to live. I hope urban sprawl and the compulsive building of McMansions doesn’t spoil it over the next decade or two.

I find myself with mixed feelings about it all. Sad to be leaving. Excited to be going home.

It’s been a blast, that’s for sure.

This will probably be my last post until we’re settled back at home.  I know it’s all disjointed, discombobulated, and lacking any kind of flow (or sense, maybe).  That’s pretty much how I’m feeling at the moment.

See ya’all on the flip side!

Things work out as they should

(Longwood Gardens at dusk.  Photo by Robin.  July 2007)

Yesterday two guys from the Salvation Army came by. We had called them a couple of weeks ago to arrange for them to pick up the furniture we’ve been using in our sabbatical apartment. The friend that loaned us the furniture wanted to donate it since he doesn’t need it back.

I was very unhappy with the Salvation Army guys when they left here with only one item. It was obvious from the moment they walked into the apartment that they did not want to have to move anything. The one guy kept coming up with excuses as to why they couldn’t take this, that, or the other thing. According to this bozo, the Salvation Army only wants high-end, in perfect condition furniture.

I wrote about this at my other blog and you’re welcome to hop over there to read all about it if you’re interested. Basically, I was upset that we live in a world where the people who are supposedly helping others turn down things that someone could use all because they won’t make money on it.

So, being stuck with everything except the futon (the one item the lazy gits from the Salvation Army took, and I’m quite sure that was because they couldn’t find a good excuse not to), M and I put up a notice in the mail room announcing the give-away of our furniture.

Someone came by and took the kitchen table yesterday evening. He didn’t need the chairs.

This morning we received a phone call from a woman who teaches learning disabled young people (mostly the mentally retarded and/or those with Down Syndrome). They have a model apartment here in the building where they teach these young folks how to do the daily chores of life. She wanted to come by to look at the furniture.

She showed up around 10:00am with another teacher, her son, and about eight or so of her kids. She used it as a teaching opportunity. And best of all, she took some of the furniture because they can use it in the model apartment.

I’m so glad those lazy gits didn’t take the furniture yesterday. I like that it’s going to people who can use it.

In other news, we had dinner and drinks with E and A last night. E is the friend who loaned us the furniture (and the guy who brought M here for the sabbatical). It was martini and The League of Gentlemen night. M and I had never seen The League of Gentlemen, and A thought we might enjoy it.

A was quite right. We did enjoy it. It’s hysterically, and darkly, funny. Sometime after midnight I was beginning to think we might have somehow entered Royston Vasey and were fulfilling what is posted on the sign: You’ll never leave! If it hadn’t been so late, we wouldn’t have left, but stayed to watch a few more episodes.

I’ll have to see if we can get it from Netflix when we return home.

The martinis were good. E approaches martinis the same way he approaches margaritas. He had several high-end gins and insisted we taste-test them throughout the evening. I never realized how different gins can be. I thought the same about tequila when we were doing the tequila taste-tests a few months ago.

Dinner was delicious. E and A are fantastic cooks. They don’t hesitate to take on work-intensive recipes (as evidenced by the mole` they made for us the last time we had dinner in their home). Last night we had grilled shrimp in an orange-tequila sauce with a lovely tomato and avocado salad.

I’m a little worse for the gin this morning, but that will pass as soon as I feed the hangover with enough carbs and a few more hours of sleep.

I’m hopping on the wagon when we return home. All the partying has been fun, but enough is enough. My body is in need of several months of good, clean, healthy living.

N. C. Wyeth House and Studio

We went to the N. C. Wyeth House and Studio yesterday.

If you remember way back near the beginning of this sabbatical, M and I became members of the Brandywine River Museum. This membership entitled us to a number of things, some of which we’ve used (mostly the hiking in the Brandywine Conservancy Preserves). One of the things we’ve been wanting to do, and comes with the membership, is tour the N. C. Wyeth House and Studio.

The house was impressive, but the studio was simply amazing. I have an artist friend who might be willing to kill for a studio like that. I’d almost kill for a studio like that, budding artist that I am.

We picked up our tickets for the 12:45pm tour at the museum. As it turned out, we were the only people on the tour for this time slot. They apparently had a lot people signed up for the 2:00pm tour. So once again, M and I got the personal tour where the tour guide didn’t have to rush us through and could take the time to answer questions.

You can’t drive up to the N. C. Wyeth House on your own. You have to take the museum shuttle. It seemed like such a waste to take just the two of us in that big shuttle. I even thought about offering our car as an alternative to save the gas. I’m sure there are liability and insurance reasons as to why that offer would have been declined so I didn’t follow through on the thought.

I have no photos to proudly display from this trip. Photos are not allowed inside the house or studio. Finding a photo of the outside is fairly easy to do on the internet. I decided it wasn’t worth carrying the camera around just for one or two outside shots.

Our tour guide at the house and studio was very knowledgeable and made the tour quite interesting. She also had time to chat us up on a personal level so we learned a little about her life and she learned a little about ours. That’s always nice, getting to know someone new.

One of the facts that interested me was how N. C. Wyeth, in 1911, bought 18 acres of land in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania with the proceeds from the illustrations he did for Treasure Island. Those proceeds were, according to the guide, between $3000 and $5000. Imagine trying to buy 18 acres of land anywhere in the U.S. for that amount today. Maybe in West Virginia or some other rural Appalachian area, but even that is doubtful.

While the house was interesting, I really enjoyed the studio. I can well imagine myself in such a work space. It’s beautiful, spacious, well lighted. Throughout the studio and in the storeroom are the various props N. C. Wyeth used for his paintings and illustrations.

There’s a plethora of information about N. C. Wyeth, his house, and studio out there on the internet. This article hits most of the highlights: N. C. Wyeth’s Studio.

After our tour we went back inside the museum to check on one of Andrew Wyeth’s paintings. Or a print of one of his paintings. I am enamored and in awe of Snow Hill. The only print they had on display in the museum was going for $5000. I asked at the desk if they had any prints that didn’t cost $5000. This garnered a few laughs before one of the women answered, “We wish!” The real answer is that perhaps it will be available in a more affordable print once the autographed, limited edition prints have sold. They don’t even have it on postcards right now.

South Street

(Mural on or near South Street. Photo by Robin. July 2007)

From the Italian Market we went to see J’s new apartment. It’s not far from the Italian Market or South Street, yet it seems to be a nice, quiet little neighborhood. J’s apartment isn’t bad. I think once she has her orange paint in place, some repairs made, and the cleaning done, it’ll look fab. I’d like to see it once she finishes the painting.

After the apartment tour, we went to South Street where J gave us a tour of what used to be a pretty happenin’ place. It still is to some extent, but the moving in (and then out again) of chain businesses has changed the make-up of it somewhat. Still and all, it’s a very interesting part of Philadelphia, with plenty of things to do and see. I’d like to see it sometime at night. Maybe a Friday or Saturday night. I bet people watching would be a blast.

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