Mom and I, Snow and Snow

Mom and I went to Lowell to visit the New England Quilt Museum and arrived just in time for a blizzard. The museum was closed on Thursday but we did get in on Friday due to the New England-ish work ethics of one of the employees. We of course had brought lots of stuff to keep us busy and we spent the blizzard day watching the snow and the snow clearing crew out the window and binging on Pokemon and political stuff.

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Came home, shoveled out my driveway, went to work the next day.

Spent Sunday snowed in again.

Rinse and repeat!

Tea Tag FTW – in for the night

Mom and I are watching the weather, catching pokemon and came prepared to do some serious coloring

Mid-December, where’ve you been MB?

I have realized that I haven’t been posting here since my return from Wales. I think this happened after my NZ trip too. It seems to take e me time to recover from the jet lag (and after NZ, the bronchitis), settle back into the routine and this time, throw myself into the madness that is holiday in retail. Yeah.

The trip was marvelous. I’m still looking through the photos and thinking about the things I saw and did. It was my first solo trip planning and doing and it certainly taught me a lot. It also taught me that things can and will go wrong and there are always ways to fix or get through it… as long as you don’t keep spinning your wheels about what went wrong. For example – I could not find a place to drop off my car in Cardiff. I missed my first train connection and then had to give up on the rescheduled one but my choice was to keep trying to find a place to bring the car and then how to get to manchester OR drive to my next scheduled bed near the airport and call it a super-long day. Arrived at the B&B very late but that was better than no sleep at all and I was within range of the airport WITH a drop off.

Landscapes were great everywhere. Rolling hills, stone walls and sheep. Just enough autumn color, mostly from poplar and oak. Old there is much older than what is considered ancient at home. In the UK there is a legal right to walk from point A to B, even across privatete land. These paths are marked and mapped and often involved stiles across stone fences or revolving stiles through wire fences or gates that you have to open and close securely behind you to keep the sheep and or cattle where they should be. Sheep poo on your boots, no extra charge. Went to an exhibit at a castle and had money out for entrance fee and the man at the ticket booth looked a little surprised – there’s no charge ma’am!

So many days of wonderful skies. I saw so many rainbows! Rain was often very localized so it might be raining just over there and sunny behind you – the perfect makings of a colorful moment. It poured down rain only a few times. One day, when I chose St. David’s Cathedral as my “good day for an indoor activity” place, it was so windy that it literally blew the water out of the road puddles. I got wet but I didn’t fall over!

Local folks were always ready and enthusiastic in telling you all about their local church or historic fort or whatever. There were enough people standing by to tell you stuff that it made me a little embarrassed on how little I probably know about my own historic stuff.

Had meaningful and considered conversations with folks, everyone from the car rental person to a fellow-hostel-guest about current events. This always started with “so we had this big surprise here (in the UK) recently about the Brexit vote and now you…” and once I’d nodded or given the appropriate sign of dismay, they’d tell me all their fears and worries about the newly elected president and ask all kinds of good questions about our election system and why people don’t vote and … well yeah. All those questions.

I did do a little painting while I was there – darn it I brought all these supplies and I’m going to use them or else! – and you might have noticed that I took quite a few photos.

So will I go back? Yes. And I won’t worry about seeing everything – maybe I’ll spend more time in just one place. Maybe I’ll do Scotland or Ireland too!

Greetings from Penmachno, Wales

Using some wifi to upload photos from the past few days to the Flickr album. I can’t say I was distraught over unplugging from all the news and happenings across the pond and there’s something to be said for immersing yourself in what you’re doing especially when it’s vacation.

The workshop was just great – wonderful people and good teachers, stretching exercises and feedback from the two who run the course and from the other students. So much talk about writing, and writers and politics and everything else you can imagine. Some wine. A lot of good food. A long walk on the first free afternoon and a walk to see an old (iron age) church and then a walk along the walls of the Conwys Castle on the next. The latter was followed by a nice field trip to a “pub” – actually a bar in a hotel where I sampled a very nice flat, darker cider. 7.5% I think. I got dissuaded from having a pint but ended up having two halves so…

It was sad leaving but everyone seemed ready to go out there and not only get writing but get down to the business of submitting things. Charge! Make it so!

This is a pretty big dump of photos, beginning with Caernafon Castle and the Weeping Window exhibit.

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Wales I am in you

There were two planes, two trains, a laundromat, a bus and a rental car involved since I left. 

I am grateful to be having dinner and a not-cold old speckled hen in the place I’ll be laying my head tonight. That was way enough traveling today!

TGI… um what day is it, anyway?

Yes, I had that moment today. Thought I was going to writers’ group after work, thought I was off the next day… only to realize that it wasn’t Sunday after all, that it was Saturday and in fact I get to go to work on Sunday (all over again).

I made a quick stop at the Nassau Post Office on the way home and finally caught a Pikachu! Only the second one I’ve ever seen.

Then I came home and started a small sunset scene in watercolor. I’m trying to teach myself to wait, to let things dry before going on to the next part. Do like how the clouds came out though.

Then I looked at the little Windsor Newton Cotman travel kit I have and decided to add it to my color swatch page. It has half-pan colors in not a half bad array although if I was filling my own half pans I’d have different colors. I’d found some of the plastic corrugated board I’ve been using to tape paper down to and cut it to match the size paper I’ll be traveling with. At that point I didn’t have much oomph left so I watched a few “traveling watercolor kit” videos, two of which showed taping down a stack of paper to a board. That seems a little excessive. I don’t mind packing some tape. I was thinking of cutting some Arches paper to bring and that could go sandwiched between the two boards. We’ll see.

Packing it up (or down)

For kicks tonight, I thought I’d try one of the compression packs I got awhile ago. One thing I learned during last year’s trip (right after – don’t over pack!) was that having to repack your jumbled up stuff all the time in order to find what you need is a pain in the patootie. So I thought I’d give these a try. My carry-on-sized bag came with two mesh zip packs too but these promise to make things smaller if needed.

In went a week of undies and a slip.

The bag has a partial zipper to provide an opening. Then there’s another zipper that goes all the way around and snugs down the edges and therefore the whole thing.

when you zip up the second zipper - voila compression.