It was hot, but the storms moved through the area bringing dramatic skies and solitary beaches! Consequently some nice compositions! Here is a range of the activities and colors around the beach from sun up to sun set.
The pictures can be seen best when you click on them to see full size and crop!
Don't miss yesterday's pictures in "part 1" or tomorrow in "part 3"!!!
I am so thrilled to have four of my recent art quilts in the upcoming Houston International Quilt Festival October 29 - November 2, 2015.
While the subject matter of the quilts are quite different they all started with one or more of my original photographs custom printed on fabric. It is my goal to make sure at the end, it is not just an embellished photo, but instead the photo and the stitching are so completely integrated that neither would be complete without the other.
I was hoping to get to Houston, but will be just ending a month as an artist-in-residence in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, so will head home instead! But if you are there, I would love to hear what you thought of the show, so please let me know through my Facebook pages (jill2day, or jillkerttulaphoto), or here!
Below is a gallery of the quilts that will be there and the names of the shows they will be in. Please click on them to see them in full crop and detail.
Such a fun day! Today the farms that participate in the Charlottesville City Market opened their farms to the public for tours. We went to two of the farms; Double H and Caromont Farms.
At Double H we saw the pigs, turkeys and chickens they raise. We met the dogs that guard the animals, and saw the gardens of veggies that are planted, rotated and after the harvests are done, grazed and snuffled by the poultry and the pigs. The owners, Armenian immigrants Ara and Gayane Avagyan, gave us a very informative tour through the pens and gardens. They are all organic and self sufficient; doing all of the work themselves for the lat 11 years. It was evident that it is hard labor and a labor of love. They supply both produce and meat to many of the C'ville restaurants we go to, and now we will appreciate that food so much more, knowing what has gone into the making. (click on any of the photos to see a large image)
Next we went to Caromont Farm. They raise goats and are spectacular cheese makers. We got to meet Gail Hobbs-Page’s herd of Alpines, Saanens, and La Mancha goats. The goats were very friendly and even tried to sample my shirt! They started the first year by selling 300 pounds of cheese locally, and now sell about 30,000 pounds nationally. We sample the cheeses and had brats made and served by yet another local farm, and brought some fantastic feta home for our salads this week. (click on any of the photos to see a large image)
Another great part of the day was driving on the back roads of this beautiful Virginia countryside. I still can not get over the beauty of the red clay land against the vivid green foliage and blue sky. A perfect day.
As I said in and earlier post, my photos are my sketchbook. They train my eye, inspire me, and are just plain fun! But I really like it when one (or more) inspire me to stitch, cut, bead, add, subtract, or whatever to them so that they may gain the textures that fiber art can bring to them. So here are a few ways that I use my photos in my fiber art.
As whole cloth ...
Sometimes the photo is printed to become the basis for a whole cloth quilt. I loved the composition of this photo and didn't want to change a thing about that, but I wanted to add the grit and texture of a sidewalk with embellishments that included dryer lint, leaves, and found objects, as well as yards and yards of stitching. This is "Where the Sidewalk Starts"
As the inspired beginning...
Again, I really likes the photo, but not so much the crop, so I "enlarged it" piecing other fabrics to the photo. I also let the photo inspire the directional flow of the stitches, and the type of embellishments that I would include.
This finish quilt "The Blue Brush" includes about seven different photos, some collaged within the initial fabric printing, and others added later. The subject matter was far less important than the colors and textures of the photos. Most importantly, the photos had to integrate with the stitching, added fabrics and each other to form a cohesive composition.
Here are three different "auditions" for placement prior to sewing the collage together...
I have been derelict in my posting duties lately! But I have not been derelict on my life activities! Not sure if anyone missed me or my musings... but I missed doing them, so I shall renew my posts.
My absence started with a medical excuse. I had "takotsubo" incident. It is like a heart attack, but without all the nasty long-lasting effects or required surgery. I am fine now, and all has resolved, but a few days on a heart monitor and a month of cardio rehab does funny things to your confidence and introspection! However, it has resulted in more trips to the gym, more veggies, and less coffee. so it is all good!
Then we moved into summer. One would think being retired was a relaxing avocation, but, alas, it is not. Trips here and there, books to be read, walks to be taken, laziness to indulge and grand kids to visit. And an Avocado to plant! All that adds up to a summer quickly passing by.
I have been creating, too. I have been derelict in updating those activities here on the site as well. I have been in a few exhibits. Sent out more for other exhibits, and won an award or two. I will shortly update the relevant pages here with that information as well.
The continued constant has been my photos. Someday I really need to sort and file the thousands that are accumulating! But they have been my journal, my touchstone, my fun, and have kept my eyes open and head working.
Now, I am getting ready for my next adventure! A month long artist residency within the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. I will be housed within the park for the month of October, and am very excited to explore and create. That is one of the reasons I am back here. I will be journaling the experience while I am there. So stay tuned... much more to come. I will be posting links on Facebook; Jill2day page and JillKerttulaphoto pages so watch for the links or... better yet. click the "follow" button on the top of this page, and I think you will be notified of updates!
I will be alone in the Park, so hope you let me know if you drop in to read my posts, so I will know I am not spitting into the wind!!
I have a large collection of sketchbooks and journals. All 98% empty. Artists are supposed to keep sketchbooks. I've been told, that we should be introspective and keep journals with our profound thoughts and creative musings. I am a semi-competent writer, and a better than average artist (so I have been told), but miserable at documentation.
This blog is the only journal-like-thing I have managed to keep going for any length of time!
One of my art professors, Walter Hamady, kept hand-bound, beautifully written and embellished journals. They were on hand made papers, and were works of beauty - meant to last the ages. My friend Lorie posts beautiful images from her sketchbook pages. Other friends have kept sketchbooks that were achingly inspirational; musings, sketches and collections of ephemera! I have scraps of paper, sometimes, kept in a cardboard box, and my collection of journals and sketchbooks that have the first pages desecrated with horrible attempts at self-conscience profundity.
But now I have photos. Hundreds - verging on thousands - not taken for reproduction or sales or even journalistic documentation (with the notable exception of the ones of my family). They are exercise for my eyes. They are calisthenics for my knowledge of design and composition. They slow me down and make me think and work - hard.
At first I just snapped away in 'automatic' mode with my trusty Fuji. but soon I found out that to 'sketch' the right photo, I needed to be able to adjust the depth-of-field, and pick an exposure. Just like sometimes you want to sketch in color, and sometimes in black and white - the same applies to photo sketching. So I upgraded the camera and learned more about my manual settings.
Photography is an art in itself. A laudable and incredibly diverse one. But not one that I (at least for now) find a satisfactory final artifact of my creativity. I use it as the basis of my fiber art; Sometimes quite literally when it is printed as an image in my whole cloth quilt pieces. More often, as the inspiration for the textures or colors in other pieces. It isn't about the specific photographic image for me. It is about taking that to a more universal place of color, texture, and emotion through the addition of other fabric, objects, and embellishments. In the end, I hope the photo is integrated with the fiber art to create something much more layered - both figuratively and literally - than the photo alone. Here is one example of that idea (click on either to see larger):
Here is a piece that uses seven different photos within the final piece:
Some say the computer is not the place to connect with people. They say it is shallow and all you learn is what they had for dinner last night. I choose to disagree. While I love being with people in person, I also value the communication possible with the internet.
Family and food: Our family is stretched from the Middle East, through the continental USA and all the way to Alaska. We also happen to be a tribe of foodies! So seeing where and what each other is eating is fun and, through Facebook, I have gotten to experience some great foods; fish from Norway, platters of goodies and 'care' packages in Qatar, San Francisco's best dining establishments, an anniversary donuts, freshly backed goodies of all ilk, and Alaskan Salmon on the grill - and shared Jon's culinary efforts back at them!
Facebook has let me stay in touch with relatives I would otherwise have lost track of. It lets me learn more about relatives I barely knew, and it lets me find new relatives! Sometimes we even talk about things other than food! The cross generational thing is what I value the most, so nice to learn and experience through the eyes of newer generations.
Flesh and Blood Friends: We have recently moved 700 miles. So Facebook has become my lifeline to the "old neighborhood"! I value seeing what is still going on 'back home', even as Charlottesville becomes our home. It is great to hear of art openings, job changes, new books read, and even politics! (and yes, more foodie posts!) What is really unexpected though, are the expanded and new connections... finding out someone and I have mutual friends; getting back in touch with people I haven't seen since graduation from high school; learning more about people who I barely knew, and now wish I had known better before leaving the area. It is all good and interesting.
Virtual Friends: Every morning for the last 5+ years, I have gone immediately to a facebook group where I chat with three other women. We met through Etsy, and have bonded through the internet. You couldn't have pick 4 more unlikely compatriots if you tried! Completely different ages, lifestyles, interests, and locations, but we have become fast friends. We have moved, some of our kids have grown and left home, some are still growing, our pets have died and we have welcomed new ones. This is a friendship circle, I can't imagine having formed anyway else and value a lot.
Professional Contacts (and friends!): Since the halcyon days of my jill2day shop on Etsy, I have learned the value and fun of virtual connections for business and information. Sure I sold through the internet, but I also learned so much about how to do what I was doing there. While locally there may have been a few folks pursuing the same goals, on the internet there is an international community to answer questions, commiserate, and whine to! I can not begin to acknowledge the Etsy sellers, the Fiber artists, fellow Art Fair Sellers and Photographers that have entered and enhanced my life through the 'interwebs'. Kudos and and thanks to you all.
Some have become friends, both in-person and on-line, but great friends either way. All have helped me to grow - sometimes in patience and diplomacy ;-) - but mostly in information and creativity.
So here is to the Internet - and my favorite, Facebook - may we all continue to connect, confer, converse, and conflict. OMG :-) CU soon!
If you are a relative or someone I have coffee with regularly please come join me at:
If you are an artist, photographer, or just an interesting/interested person come interact here:
If you just want to follow my business page that is here:
But of course, I love to see you here, on my website, too! In fact if you leave a comment, or click on the "follow" thingy, I will know you like it here too!
I have been horse crazy since .... well since forever! It all started with a great rocking horse that my father made for me, and continued when I discovered that if I stuck a broom, handle down, into the folded roll-away bed in our basement, I would have almost a full-sized 'horse' to ride on. The covey of kids in our neighborhood used to play cowboys and Indians... I was the horse! As a young teen, I actually got to ride real ones! Until one threw me off (my fault not his) onto a manure spreader and I broke a few bones. My parents weren't too keen when I wanted to get back on after I healed. My family has taken a horse-pack trip into the Rockies - probably my favorite vacation ever. I even past the "cowboy test" (next time we have a beer I will tell you that story!)
The love of all things equine includes carousel horses. They are beauties frozen in time. Yes, some weird carousels have lions and dragons and various other creatures and some even have (the horror of it all) benches.
Those are fine for others, but for me give me the horse. The one with head bowed just before rearing, or the one with fire in his eyes, the black steed who, I know, comes alive at night, and, now untethered, out runs the rest...
In downtown Charlottesville, there is a small carousel. No calliope or barker, no lights, just some patient small steeds ready to fulfill a child's dream with a push from a parent or friend. I have talked to them, and watched them many times, but today I finally found them at rest. Not a child in sight! ALL MINE!!! We communed for a while while they frolicked and posed for me. I took portraits of them... each in their own private mood.
Today we walked up a couple of blocks to the 'International Celebration' in one of Charlottesville's many parks. It was a display of cultures, causes, food and music, but what I couldn't get over were the textiles. Draped, and cut and embroidered, and embellished, and woven and batik-ed; it was all there. So much color and beauty and pride! Here is a slideshow of just some of the textiles I saw.
Yesterday was one of those wonderful days in life where it is just plain good to be alive. The weather was perfect; I was spent it with a new friend, who is also both a photographer and a fiber artist (and, as an added benefit, seems to approach life with the same pace and gusto as I do); And we spent it on and around the Blue Ridge Parkway - one of the most spectacular drives in the U.S.A. It is dotted and crossed with numerous paths for the casual geezer or the intrepid Appalachian trail through hiker. While I was sure today I would wake up stiff from the climbing, bending, walking, etc, it is my neck that is sore! I think it is from the constant looking around. There was no end to the details and vistas to soak in, and of course, photo!
We even had to come to a screeching halt when a hawk swooped down to get a snake, but saw us and flew off. Note: if you ever see a snake, and decide to check it out, be sure to look at it with your longest lens first, to see if it is a rattle snake. Then, if it is, get back in the car!!!
The wildflowers were stupendous! I have never seen so many trillium in my life (see the top picture on this post), jack-in-the-pulpits, rhododendron (which I assume were only found in floral stores!), May apples (not quite in bloom yet, but covering the forest floor) and untold numbers of flowers whose names I do not know.
Then, there were my favorites; the mosses, lichens, and ferns. The understated textural plants that grab for the sun at this time of year, before the tree leaves cover it up for the summer. Covering the rocks, the logs, the trees, and hanging on for dear life!
Here is some of the plant life we encountered; to see the pictures larger and in their full crop, click on them.
Then there are the views. You may remember an earlier post I did (last fall) about photos from this same drive. It was amazing to see it in the next season! Here are a slide show of some of the vistas for you.
There was a post in one of my Facebook groups the other day, that posed the question "what inspires you?". A question that is posed to artists a lot, and is interesting to ponder. When I first went to college (at Minneapolis Art Institute) it was the rocking and rebellious late 60s and beginning of the 70s. Statement was king. Art was 'purposeful' (but extremely strange) and what you were saying about your work was often more important that how you created it. I found a lack of profundity in my work. I made stuff because I needed to make, not say. While I had political and social views, communicating them through my work was not important to me. I reveled in color and composition. I wanted to draw, not pontificate. So I left the fine art world for the world of advertising and design. There I could use my talent to express the message of others. That was fine with me.
Now I am back in the more finer side of art! Making things - not for purpose - but for .... uhm.... well.... maybe... not really sure what 'for'! Because I can? Because I need too? Because I have the time now. But back to the question "what inspires me?" Little things. I take great joy in the world around me. I am blessed with eyes that see in compositional and artistic ways. I have only, in later life's moments, realized that not everyone sees what/how I see. So that is what inspires me. Looking around documenting what/how I see and hoping it expands the sight of others. (I still leave the politics and social statements to other artists!)
Last night this balloon went over our house. It was very pretty from that vantage point, but I knew that from my urban mountain-top perch on top of the parking ramp, it would be better. So I ran there. and watched and waited until it passed by the setting sun; there was the sight that I wanted you to see. The inspiration was the balloon, but how I see it is the picture. The Grand Canyon is awesome (in the true sense of the word) but equally as awesome can be the sidewalk shadows right under our feet, or the kid marching across the street. Stop and take a look sometime, it will inspire you.
I purchased a beautiful spring bouquet at the Farmers' Market. Soon the inevitable happened, the stems weakened and the petals became frail. As I went to throw them out, I realized they hadn't stopped being beautiful, it was just a new type of beauty. A more subtle beauty, and a more unique beauty individually forged through their experience. Sounds kind of like a number of us, huh!?
This getting older stuff is, as they say, "not for sissies". But it does have its upsides, and once it happens to you you actually can see some of those.
I was sitting around a table with about a dozen other women last week. There was colorful clothing, funky haircuts, and vibrant talk of adventures, creations, personal history, families and hopes. Most (with the exception of a couple of young whipper-snappers) were women "of a certain age". That age where we have ceased to worry so much about thighs and more about thoughts. We have histories; we have survived traumas - emotional and physical; we have traveled -geographically and educationally; we have cried - with joy and sadness; we have loved and been loved; we have lived.
And now we know life is finite, so we embrace it more fully and a little tighter than when we thought it had no end. We have learned that beauty is not just for the perfect and youthful, that there can be even deeper beauty in the imperfect and aged. We express and create out of internal need, not just external applause. We are almost comfortable... much of the time. We are beautiful, even past our prime.
This is our first spring here in Virginia, and all I can say is "wowsers!!! When one is used to the momentary spring that appears between winter and road construction in Wisconsin, Virginia redefines the word spring! The warm hits and the snow is gone - without leaving grey mounds of debris in its wake! The blooms have time to sway and glisten in the breeze and mist of spring rains and sunshine! I could get used to this! Good thing I got a new camera just in time! Click any of these to see them larger and as a slide show.
'The Matriarchs' took a road trip to Cary, North Carolina to be in the 'Reminiscence' show, put on by PAQA-south. I drove down this weekend to check on them and join them at the Artist Opening. The event was held in a beautiful venue. The Page-Walker Arts & History Center is a wonderful old building that now houses rotating art shows. They filled two floors with the entries juried into this show; and it made for a beautifully curated, diverse and high-quality exhibit of a wide range of styles of art quilting.
It was a real surprise to walk in and see my ladies, greeting everyone as they hung, front and center, over the guestbook! I also found out they had appeared in the mailings and advertisements for the show - I thought it looked like their heads were a bit larger than when they left home!
The show was fantastic and only surpassed by the wonderful people I met while there! The organizers from PAQA-south were enthusiastic and welcoming to all the attending artists. Great show - and a fun dinner of camaraderie out afterwards with many of the attendees. Here are a couple more shots of the venue:
But wait! There is more!
The awards were announced during the opening, and 'The Matriarchs' were given a judge's choice award!
A second judge's award given to Susan Lenz for the fabulous quilt made with vintage gloves and fabrics (shown below) and a gallery prize given to Cindy Pryer for her innovative 3d quilt (also shown below). Click on the photos to see them larger!
And a couple non-quilt related shots of the venue!
Since moving from Wisconsin to Virginia, we have had a bit to learn about winter in the south. After pooh-poohing their complete shut-downs for [what seemed like to us] minor snowfalls, We have come to respect the approach!
While the winters are less severe and the snowfalls both less frequent and less deep, the treachery produced by the just-above and just-below freezing temperatures, are a whole different game! Snowfalls, quickly melt into puddles which transform into sheets of black or white ice by morning, just to fool you into thinking they are still puddles. The last couple days have been like that.
Headed to the gym, I crossed three inch deep ice, bare ground, puddles, and snow... only to find the gym closed while the got the parking lot under control. So I thought I would finally post in this forgotten blog with some of pictures taken this morning. I headed home, got out the camera, and took another (very careful) walk around the block. Below is a slide show of the photos I took... hope you enjoy!
I went out today to explore the Skyline Drive of Shenandohah National Park today. Hoped to hike one of the many trails, but evidently the freeze and thaw of this past week made the road treacherous, so the Drive was closed. I spent a long time talking to a very nice person at the visitors center about alternative jaunts for my day. Part of the Blue Ridge Parkway (a bit to the south) was open so I headed off towards that area. Past a winery or three, a couple of cider works, a distillery and around about a million more curves, I found the entrance to the Blue Ridge. The roads are very slim and very curvy. It dawned on me that they don't need wide shoulders to hold the mounds of snow like we do in Wisconsin, but it sure makes it hard to pull over when you see a shot you want to take - and may explain the prevalence of 'God-fearing' people around here!
There were a few overviews to take advantage of though, and here are a couple of the many photos I took.
click on a photo to enlarge it.
Last night we had an opening for the New Members show at the McGuffey here in Charlottesville. It was well attended and festive.
This is the third show I have participated in at the McGuffey. The first was a fundraiser, the second a Holiday show and this present show. I am so pleased to be involved with the caliber of artists represented by the McGuffey. It is a co-op that has been a mainstay of downtown Charlottesville for 40 years. The artist represent virtually every kind of visual art, and also dance and performance arts.
I am on a waiting list for a rental studio in the center. There are about 40 artists on site, each of whom is actively working, teaching classes, and participating in many outreach programs. In the meantime, I have accepted a position as the Liaison for the Associate (non-rental) members. Wish me luck!
It has been a interesting year. One that had more changes than most for me.
I am sitting here, New Year's cocktail in hand, thinking about it all. I was going to wish you all the happiest and most prosperous year of all for 2015, but maybe that is not what life is. Perhaps we instead should wish each other strength and humor to deal with all that is set on our plate. Maybe we need to remember to spend a bit more time in reality than in wishes. There is so much beauty we miss while wishing for something different than what we have. There is so much peace we miss while wanting ultimate happiness!
I am getting old. This year has taught me that. I accept it and in a way it is an interesting place. It is not good nor bad, it is merely reality. The word "finite" is a bit more real. I wish I would have started exercising earlier and more frequently, and I would have tried a few more things before they became terribly uncomfortable, unbecoming or just not worth the effort. But I also realize how full I am. Full of memories and friends and family and still a lot of potential!
I see things everyday that I hadn't noticed before. I realize how precious time is now, and I enjoy both spending it and wasting it more.
So people, I will toast you with a wish for strength and humor as we approach 2015. May it bring you life in all its complexities and layers, and may you gain from or at least notice each one.
Happy New Year. Jill
I made a return at Michael’s Craft Store yesterday. In this busy retail season, it was not a task I was looking forward to, but I had come to the realization that I was not going to get to the holiday craft experience I had planned, so I had better cut my losses and return the supplies.
As expected, all the check-out lines were long and people were shifting from leg to leg as their patience ran short. I took my place at the end of one of the lines, willing to wait knowing my trip would shorten my “to do” list not lengthen it. Surprisingly, my line got periodically shorter even though the same person held the front spot. Soon I realized that one by one people were leaving the line, each with their own rendition of a groan, a cluck, or an exaggerated exhale. I was soon in the 'on deck circle'.
The clerk turned and smiled at me. The woman checking out was a white-haired large woman with a flamboyant cape, a walker and several bags – one of which she was diligently digging through. She would stop every few seconds and converse with the clerk and then, go back to her digging. Each time the woman looked back into her bags, the clerk would slowly look my way, smile and covertly wink at me.
The credit card was finally located, and the transaction appeared complete, until the lady suddenly realized she had a small item in her hand that she had not paid for. This started a long and involved story about where she found the item, what she would use it for and that it had to be paid for in cash, not the recently located charge card. The digging resumed. Slowly bills were unfolded and handed to the clerk – again with a pause between each one for a bit of chit chat. The fact that there were only four bills in that particular location lead to a new search for a fifth bill, and then the dig to the bottom of the purse for four pennies.
All the while the clerk remained genial and calm, chuckling and conversing appropriately and sending winks my way, until again the transaction was complete; But not the conversation. The woman was assuring the clerk she would be back next week, but was unsure of the time or date, but hoped the same clerk would be there when she returned. Finally packages and bags placed on the top of her walker, she started her long journey out the door, but not before turning to me with a smile and a “thank you”.
The clerk then turned to me and with a big grin and a small shake of the head said, “She is so lonely”. The clerk thanked me for my patience, and said the woman comes in each week sometimes to buy, sometimes to return what she purchased the previous week, and always for a chat. “I have been a clerk for 14 years, and have learned that for some people this isn’t about shopping”.
It was then that I realized the all the glitter, the boughs, the Mannheim Steamroller on the intercom, was not about Christmas; this clerk was the Christmas spirit incarnate. Who knew that I would encounter the true Christmas spirit of compassion in the middle of Michael’s holiday rush.
This past week I had the pleasure of visiting The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams, MA. Honesty requires me to admit that I went there with low expectations, and avoidance of going sledding, but was pleasantly surprised! Contemporary Art is not my favorite genre. I often find it both self-serving and pretentious and not enlightening or uplifting in the least. Well some of it was. But the experience overall was wonderful and expanding.
The facility is both innovative and wonderful. It is a warren constructed of several buildings that once housed a 19-20th century manufacturing concern. They have retained the bricks and mortar and connected the buildings with tunnels and bridges that are interesting in and of themselves.
The highlight of the museum was the Anslem Kiefer exhibit. He is one of those artists that should rarely be shown in reproduction. The monumental size and the textural richness of his work is just not done justice no matter the number of dots per inch in reproduction! There is an entire building that has been erected to house three major works of his. The Museum will house these for no less than 25 years. The three works are vastly different in both concept and execution, but each as resounding as the other. For me, there have been few works (especially in the "contemporary" genre) that have moved me as the "Women of the Revolution" The literature about the exhibit explains the work as: It takes "its inspiration from Jules Michelet's 1854 study, Les Femmes de la Revolution, which chronicles the lives of specific women. who, in their uncompromising willingness to pursue democratic values, played an important role in the French revolution."
Click on any of the below photos to see larger and fully and at full crop.
Thank you Mr. Kiefer. You have done what art should do. Your craftsmanship is impeccable and supported fully by a strong concept and point of view, with not a trace of self-aggrandizing. You made me think on many levels.
Moving to a new state has brought a lot of changes. We have enjoyed them all. This month we are experiencing our first fall in Virginia. It has been glorious. The colors, the temperatures and the skies - all perfection! The best part is how long it has been. Back in Wisconsin the trees turn, the cold sets in and all is bare and gray November in a matter of [seemingly] days. Here it has been weeks of crisp and color and there are still flowers!
Last week the "THE front" moved through the USA, and watching the Facebook post of friends and family have been interesting. Reports coming in from Alaska, where they are out riding through the snow in the ATVs already; From Boulder, CO where it was in the teens and single digits with snow on the ground (but as we all know it could be 70 there the next day!); My friend in Duluth, MN reported skidding and sliding on the roads, and increased use of her wood pile; and back in Wisconsin the cold hit, the antifreeze levels are being checked and the snow blowers are getting tuned up!
Meanwhile, back in Charlottesville, Jon and I broke out laughing with glee during one of the weather reports on the local news! The reporter was warning everyone to "break out the heavy coats" because "January like" weather would be happening this week. January weather evidently means highs in the 40s and lows in the high 2os.We will take it!!! Something tells me my big faux fur coat won't get used much this year! I wonder what the weather reporters here do with all the left over "minus" signs at the end of the winter... export them to Duluth and Madison?
Meanwhile, back on Facebook, a report came in from Cali that sweaters had to be donned because the temp got down to 70! I guess we humans are both adaptable and our comfort and expectations are all relative. I just hope my blood doesn't thin out too much in this warmer climate. I really don't like the idea of ever feeling I need a down coat or ear muffs (yes I have seen them both) in 40 degree weather!
Hope you are all having a good fall - however you experience it!
I used to have a job that required I travel a lot. It was back in 'the 90s' when computers were either ungainly or impractical to take with you traveling and cellphone minutes were precious and connections precarious. Weekly, I would fly to some hub (Chicago or Detroit) sit for a connection (or miss a connection and sit a long time) and do what people did then in airport waiting areas. Often that meant striking up a conversation with whatever road warrior or weary traveler happened to be in the vicinity. Once boarded on the plane, there was the immediate intimacy of being partnered in a small seating area with a total stranger. Often these were people you had shared eye rolls with when the airline had announced a delay, or they had helped heft your bag into the overhead compartment.
What followed was often a traveler's dance of deciding if conversation was welcome or not. If it was, what followed were usually interesting tales of travels made, airport mishaps and near misses, details of the visits to come at the next destination, business meeting comparisons, and often family histories or insights that seemed so much more confessional or intimate than the situation warranted. The conversations were so prolific and interesting, that I often thought about compiling a book of them - 'Short Stories from Economy Class'.
It has been years now since I was a frequent flyer. I just flew to Wisconsin and back, and realized how times had changed. Earphones. Everywhere. No eye contact, no traveler's camaraderie, road warriors connected only by being wired to the same docking and power stations. Even in the airport bars, the tablets were out, the phones connected and conversations were being held with people around the world, but not at the next bar stool! And the same happened on the planes. The small tablets and 'airplane mode' phones insure close to non-stop connection with anyone other than those next to you.
I am no Luddite. I love technology (see here I am talking to you on the computer!!) but there does seem like a loss here. Never will I get advice on a good restaurant, from the person going home to where I will be a visitor. I once heard trucker stories from a guy who drove trucks across country to deliver them and then flew home - who knew people had that job. That conversation will not happen again. Sure there were many times I hoped beyond hope that the person next to me would NOT talk because I wanted nothing but peace and quiet, but that was easy to signal by closing my eyes, or cracking a book - any experienced traveler knew that meant "do not disturb!"
It is no surprise - all this connectedness and disconnection at the same time, but I have been gone from airports long enough for it to be really noticeable to me. It changed an experience I have always thoroughly enjoyed into a much more mundane one. I hope the guy next to me enjoyed his movie, and the guy across the aisle got all his emails sorted. It sure would have been interesting to know what books all those kindles were tuned to. Guess I will just have to meet them all through Facebook or somewhere else on line.
I had the most magical encounter this AM, just had to tell you all about it. I was walking to the library to return a book (Goldfinch! loved it, and read every one of the 700+ pages!). As I went up one of the side streets, there was a Gingko tree in all its autumnal glory. Not only were its branches filled with gold, but the sidewalk below it was carpeted with gold leaves and diamond raindrops.
I pulled out my cell phone and started taking pictures, when a gentleman (actually a gentle man) walked up and inquired about my love of Gingko trees. He said that he too was a fan and asked if I would do him a favor. He pulled out a camera from his pocket and said he had tried something the day before, but there was no one to help him, so would I mind taking a photo of him under the tree. I said of course I would. He got under the tree and counted to three, at which time he shook the trunk of the tree and it showered down yellow leaves, and I snapped away. He was so excited!
Turns out his father was responsible for the planting of many of Charlottesville's many Gingko trees. This included the giant one on the lawn of the UVA campus. (See picture below) He told me about a long line of Gingkos that had been planted on the UVA lawns, that later had to be taken down because they were all female trees and had stinky fruits! He told me of some streets to wander down where the Gingkos are especially bountiful and beautiful. Such a nice man, and a wonderful encounter. Here is a pic of the UVA Gingko - planted in 1924 - that I took earlier this year, and some more pics from this AM (click on any of them to see a larger slide show:
What's not to like; sweaters, deserved coffee, dramatic skies, colors galore, cold sheets and warm blankets... and did I mention sweaters! Nothing like putting on the wool or cashmere or even a bulky acrylic (or that, now rare, jill2day creation!) and heading out to kick some leaves, or as we did tonight, to pick up a growler of beer from the neighborhood brewery to go with hubby's curry!
We have had almost a week of drizzle and grey, but the sun broke through late today and mixed with the fluffy clouds to bring us the best fall could offer. Here are some pics I took. Click on any of them to see the full crop!
If you are really into history, click here for blog posts prior to 2014 !