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Sunday, February 16, 2020

Sunrise and Baloney

I am sorry to tell you that today was pretty much a non-starter. We did perform bell choir this morning, doing Pachelbel's Canon in D. It's the hardest piece we've done this year, but also a very pretty arrangement. We did not embarrass ourselves.

The sun was shining, and I should have at least gone out for a hike if I couldn't make myself work in the afternoon. But the truth is that I didn't sleep last night, and I just couldn't make myself get moving. I played my game and read a book. Oh, and I washed the dishes. Big deal.

Enjoy two very different sunrises from the week. This is Wednesday.


This is Saturday. I'm not going to apologize for something as "ordinary" as a sunrise this time. I read this week that people don't look at the sky very much. I find that hard to believe. At least the people I am friends with on Facebook post lots of beautiful pictures of the sky. Have a couple more. For sure it is two more days I got to have a sunrise, and I appreciate those more and more all the time.


In the genuine baloney category, you know how the memes were saying that the palindromic date of 02/02/2020 would not be repeated for umpity-ump years. People just don't think for themselves. I didn't see anyone post that it will happen again next year on 12/02/2021. The memes also said it hadn't happened for 900 years or some such nonsense.

Remember 11/02/2011? That was a nice day too. I was contemplating beautiful fungus.

earthstar fungus

Or 01/02/2010? Ellen and I went to Bowman Lake and snowshoed.

Or 10/02/2001? That was before I was blogging, but I know what I was doing. Marie and I were hiking on the Superior Hiking Trail.

hikers climbing trees

And soon I'm going to contemplate the inside of my eyelids. I should be able to sleep tonight.

See Earthstar

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Art, All Day

I was determined to finish re-doing the illustrations for The Secret Cellar today. Well, I made my goal, but so much for working steadily on any of the other projects. Drawing is all I did. Takes a lot of concentration. They are mixed media with pen, marker, and pencil. I've put a set of gray-tone art markers on my wish list. I really only have 3 shades of gray available in markers. I'll buy it soon, but right now money is just flying out the door, what with paying to print North Country Quest, property taxes, sales tax, several membership fees due, and signing up for future sales venues.

All four of the drawings are on the Joan of Shark blog.

I'll show you the one that was most tedious. I made a major change to this one by adding one of the kids. Little Ruby has gotten tired of hunting through the cellar and she sits down in a corner to rest.

I also had to do a line drawing for the Books Leaving Footprints Newsletter because I'm including a coloring page. That will be sent out in the next couple of days. So, I did 2 1/2 drawings today. I'm not speedy, so that's a lot for me. The only other thing I accomplished was laundry.

See one of the illustrations for The Bigg Boss
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Friday, February 14, 2020

Hike 100 for Parkinsons

I always meant to show you this patch, but then I misplaced it. It surfaced today while I was sorting things. It represents hiking 100 miles in order to raise awareness of Parkinsons Disease. Hiking is a good way to help slow the progression.

Hike 100 for Parkinsons

This is not the Hike 100 Challenge that is sponsored by the North Country Trail Association. This patch is offered somewhat in conjunction with it, however. A supporter of the NCT, Paul Spoeltra, was diagnosed with Parkinsons a few years ago, and he decided to create this award in order to raise awareness of the disease.

Since my mom died of Parkinsons, I was especially interested in earning this patch. These 100 miles hiked can overlap with the miles for the NCTA Hike 100 Challenge, but I chose to count different miles. However, these miles do not have to be completed in one calendar year.

Hike 100 for Parkinsons

So, I got my patch! Paul is still operating this program. You can connect with him on Facebook at Hike for Parkinsons.

And, while we're at it, I put this on Facebook, but I'm going to stick it in here too, so I don't lose it. I didn't even do a very careful job of this, but I threw together some images of snarky candy hearts that work well for hikers. It got a ton of laughs and likes, so I want to be sure to not lose it.

candy hearts for hikers

In other news: I continued to be SO, so good today. However, I can feel the gears slipping on the "good" machinery. I had to beat myself into quite a bit of the program. I did enough shoveling that I could get out and in the driveway. I worked on accounts. I worked on volunteer stuff. I worked on cleaning and sorting. I finished the re-do of the second picture for Secret Cellar and started the third (but I need to get cracking on these so I can order more books). I started reading a book I promised to evaluate for someone (eye roll- I need to limit this activity or else get paid for it). I started putting together the next Books Leaving Footprints Newsletter.

Wish me luck to keep working hard on all this "good" stuff tomorrow.

See Hike 100 2019

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Dragon Dreams

Enjoy a dragon. I forgot to share it when I took the picture, and ran across it today. It's somewhere in a park in the Upper Peninsula.

dragon statue

I was so boringly good today. Not sure how many days I can keep this up, but if I can, there's hope for some fun later. I worked on accounts. I worked on volunteer stuff. I worked on cleaning the house. I started another of the drawings I'm re-doing. Not ready to show you the drawings yet, and nobody in their right mind wants to see pictures of accounting stuff.

See Metal Art Dragons

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Ray, Jr. - the Delay Factor

You know one of my alternate nicknames is Ray, Junior, because of how much like my father I am. Well, not all of those characteristics are great. One that I seem to have gotten in full effect is the delay factor. Mom and I used to tease Dad about it all the time. Apparently, that did not help me avoid catching it.

Dad would never use something new right away. He would put it aside until it was really needed. He died with unopened dress shirts in his drawer. He eventually started using a brand new hand cultivator in the garden, but it was years after he bought it.

Why? I can only guess. The old item wasn't quite worn out? He wasn't sure he could make the new item be 100% satisfactory? The demon we know is better than the demon we don't know? Inertia? Pick one or more. Think up your own.

Anyway, I bought a replacement faucet for the kitchen sink 5 years ago. The old one hasn't been spraying water, but it has become increasingly difficult to shut off completely.

kitchen faucet

OK, the project was originally stalled for lack of a basin wrench. I didn't want to pay $30 for a tool that wasn't going to be used more than a few times in my life. But then a couple of years later, I found a cheap one. Sure, it wouldn't last long if in a professional's toolbox, but I just want to replace one faucet for now.

basin wrench

This is a nifty tool which allows you to reach up beside the sinks from below and get hold of the nuts that hold the water supply lines, and the anchors that hold the faucet unit to the sink unit.

basin wrench in use

Got the old faucet off, and there was a ton of calcium crud on it- which doesn't matter. It's junk. However, there was a corresponding amount on the sink where it had been sitting.

corroded kitchen faucet

Not a problem. I little brush work and some vinegar and I had that cleaned up. There's a tiny bit of corrosion, but oh well. Here's where I should tell you about the sink. We'd always had an enameled cast iron sink. Great for breaking dishes, getting stained, and generally being a pain. So, when I knew we were going to be building this house (in 1990) I walked into Home Depot one day, and this sink was on sale for $24. It had a scratch. Needless to say, it came home with me, and I certainly can't find the scratch any more.

sink with holes for kitchen faucet

The supply lines were long enough and not damaged. The shafts were the same size. The whole thing went back together with no glitches. Then I really cleaned the sinks. Yes, both of them.

new kitchen faucet

Since I'd had to empty the cupboard under the sink to work there, I cleaned that too. It no longer cleans up like new, but not too bad.

under sink cupboard

Sorted and put all the stuff back. And I think I've found a spray nozzle that will fit and looks nice for a reasonable price.

under sink cupboard

Total time spent- about 2 hours. Any reasons this has taken me five years to accomplish? Only the basin wrench, and I've had that at least three years. Done! Woohoo!

In other news: I worked on accounts, and some volunteer stuff, and one big book item. I'm re-doing the drawings for the first three kids books in ink instead of pencil. Got one of the hardest ones done today. You'll see it eventually.

See Primary Colors (when I prettied up the splashboard.
See Ray, Jr. Again

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Meet Modestine

My big ticket piece of hiking equipment this year is a new backpack. I am in serious mourning for Shamu, but he weighs 9 pounds empty, and I just need to take off some of the weight at this point. This one is named Modestine. I'll tell you why in a minute. It's a Gossamer Gear Mariposa 60 liter pack, and it weighs only 2 pounds empty.

Gossamer Gear Mariposa 60L pack

I haven't had time to play around with the pockets and things, but here she is with the big basics: tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and chair frame inside. You can also see the top bar of the minimal internal frame.

Gossamer Gear Mariposa 60L pack

First, let me tell you why I chose this pack. I HATE most of the modern ultra-light packs. Most are nothing but a nylon pillowcase with a drawstring slung onto some straps with a hip belt. No. Just no. I want pockets to keep my gear organized. I want a basic frame. So, I contacted Jennifer Pharr Davis (record holder for fastest Appalachian Trail time, and a great person, too). She and her husband, Brew, now have an outfitter operation in North Carolina. She commiserated about having to give up a favorite pack. I told her what I wanted, and she recommended this one.

It also has an option to order the pack and the hip belt in separate sizes, which was a big plus to me. I am very long-waisted, and I did the measurements and got a medium pack with a small hip belt. It fits perfectly!

Now for the name. Did you know that Robert Lewis Stevenson wrote what is considered to be one of the very first "hiker stories?" Maybe you did, but I did not. How could I have been unaware of this? Seriously? Anyway, it's called Travels with a Donkey in the Cevannes. When he was in his 20s, he bought a little donkey and took a 10-day hike through the Cevannes Mountains in southern France. The book has become a classic, and his route can now be hiked with much less difficulty than he had in finding the correct roads.

So, I had to buy the book! Most of it is charming, although near the end it gets into a lot of local politics. I can't really fault the book. One takes whatever entertainment one finds when traveling on foot, and that's what he encountered from the locals. That said, the squabbles of the Catholics and Protestants in France in the 1870s isn't high on my interest list. I'm sure you are shocked. You thought I was interested in everything.

Here is one of the illustrations.

Travels with a Donkey

The donkey's name is Modestine. She is small (not much bigger than a large dog) and gray. My new pack is small and gray. I think her nickname will be Teeny, but for formal occasions, she goes by Modestine.

Stay tuned for more as I learn how to pack things. She fits perfectly. I just hope all my gear works in the spaces where I want to put it.

In other news: I worked on my list of so many things I have to get done this month, and then I did errands, bell practice and writing group.

See Shamu is Packed

Monday, February 10, 2020

Lansing Art Deco

I'm going to introduce you to this building the way I discovered it. As I was crossing the Skywalk, I looked over and thought, "what interesting doors."

Lansing Ottawa Street Power Station

After I had made a couple of trips to get all my stuff from the car to the venue, I looked at the building a little more, and realized that the shapes of the windows followed the same design as was on the doors.

Lansing Ottawa Street Power Station

Then I realized that both of those were echoes of the shape of the entire building.

Lansing Ottawa Street Power Station

When I looked up what this was, I found out it's a rather famous example of Art Deco begun in 1937. It was originally the Ottawa Street Power Station and it had a big smokestack on the top. The colors gradate from a foundation of polished black granite (which you can see more closely in the door picture), through purple brick, then to red and tan. This is supposed to represent the combustion of coal.

Although Lansing still generates its own power, this facility ultimately became too small, and a larger power station was built. However the building was renovated and is now the offices of the Accident Fund Insurance Company of America. The building has its own Wikipedia entry.

And now, a big shout out to Joni and Ping-ping for hosting me while I was in Lansing. We didn't have time to hardly even visit, let alone take a little hike or anything, but it was a wonderful place for me to stay.


In other news: I chilled with Chuck and Sylvia for part of the day and then drove home. Haven't done much else. Better get back in the harness tomorrow.

See Lansing Street Art

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Lansing Street Art

These are just some nifty colorful pictures from downtown Lansing. The first one is taken from inside the Lansing Center, a window at the end of the main concourse.

colored glass window in Lansing Center

The rest of these were taken from the Skywalk.

This is a decorated column at the corner of the parking garage where it meets the Skywalk.

street art in Lansing

These windows are in the Anderson Office Building for the Michigan House of Representatives. Yes, you can see sky below the section of the building with the pretty windows. It spans Ottawa Street.

colored glass window in Anderson Office Building, Lansing

The final bit of art is quite transient. But I like it as much as the others. It is reflections in the black glass of another panel of windows in the Lansing Center.

black glass window in Lansing Center

I am safely back at Chuck and Sylvia's for tonight. We watched a movie and laughed a lot. Maybe tomorrow I'll have a brain again. I made a profit at the event, but not much for three full days of work.

See Grand River Scenes

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Grand River Scenes

One of the neatest things about the part of Lansing we are in is the Skywalk. This is an enclosed walkway over the Grand River that connects the Lansing Center, the Raddison Hotel and a parking ramp. There are also several exits/entrances to the outdoors.

Lansing Skywalk

Today, I went early enough to take time to get some pictures of and from the Skywalk. Along the river front is a Riverwalk. This is a network of paved trails over 20 miles long. I liked how the snow cover emphasized the lines of the levels and the geometry of it all.

Lansing Riverwalk

There were joggers out, even in the snow.

Lansing Riverwalk

Just a couple more interesting cityscapes.

benches in the snow

winter park

In other news: I have now broken even on expenses vs. sales, so tomorrow is profit, but I have to say that a 3-day show is a lot of strain. It doesn't look like I'll make as much as I'd hoped.

See Expo, Ka-POW

Friday, February 7, 2020

Expo, Ka-POW

And so, this year's book sales events begin. Michigan Authors have a nice little subdivided booth space at the Lansing Women's Expo. It's the first time I've done this event, which lasts three days. Traffic was moderate, with some down times. In the slow spaces, Andrew Smith helped entertain us. The huge boxing gloves from the booth across the way were fun.

man wearing huge boxing gloves

I met Ron Rodemacher who writes about Michigan Back Roads. Neat books. His sidekick is Bob the painted turtle.

man talking to wooden turtle

There were occasional fictional characters walking through. I saw Batman and Catwoman, and another lady in battle dress. This appears to be a Southern Belle, but I don't know if she was supposed to be a particular one. She's posing with authors Andrew, Jean Davis, and Lori Hudson.

lady dressed as southern belle

Now I'm spending the night with a trail friend. Two more days of the event. I haven't broken even yet, but hopefully Saturday and Sunday will be busier.

See Grand Traverse Commons

Thursday, February 6, 2020

The Eyeball Knows

Is it really possible that I haven't visited Chuck and Sylvia for 18 months? No wonder it was feeling like a long time between visits.

Turns out that Chuck had cataract surgery earlier today, but it didn't slow him down much. Well, OK, reading required a little assistance, but with one good eyeball...

eye seen through magnifying glass

We visited and laughed and laughed some more. It's all good. Sometimes, online friends turn into really good friends.


Tomorrow, I head for Lansing to sell books at the Women's Expo.

See Vocabulary Enrichment by Chuck and Sylvia
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