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Table of Contents
Hands-On Glassmaking, Corning, NY, October 2015
Ed & Indy in Virginia, September, 2015
Corning, NY, Mini-Vacation, April 2015
Sanibel Fl, Winter of 2015
Off We Go Into The Wild Blue Yonder, Fort Myers, Fl, February, 2015
Ithaca Ice Festival December, 2014
Equestrian Competitions at Wellington, FL, February 2014
Fall Visit With Indy
Me and Indy
Operating ARRL Headquarter Station, W1AW, October 2011
The Submarine Force Library & Museum, Groton, CT, USS Nautilus, October 2011
Mystic Seaport, CT, October 2011
The Flood of September, 2011
Hiking in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, August, 2011
A Horse of My Own
Montréal June, 2010
Christmas In Maryland, December, 2009
A Capitol Christmas, December, 2009
A Longwood Garden Christmas, December, 2009
Ice Sculpture on the Ithaca Commons, December, 2009
Ugly is Beautiful
United States Dressage Federation - Recognized Dressage Competition, June, 2009, Horseheads, NY
Ithaca Festival Parade May 31, 2009
Ashokan Civil War Days Weekend, May, 2009
United States Dressage Federation - Recognized Dressage Competition, June 2008, Horseheads, NY
Hamming It Up Again
Sedona and the Grand Canyon, February, 2009
Ice Sculpture on the Ithaca Commons, December, 2007
Vacation on the Maine Seacoast, September, 2007
Tibetin Mandala's, Cornell University, September, 2007
Phelps Mansion Civil War Living History Day, May, 2007
CDCT Schooling Show - August, 2006
MAPS Air Museum Canton-Akron Airport, July, 2006
Valley Forge National Historic Park, August, 2006
Philadelphia - Memorial Day Weekend, May, 2005
Mr. Buck - Power Supply Designer
Demetera And Friend
Dressage - Ballet on Horseback
Space Shuttle Power Supply, Your Tax Dollars At Work
Virginia Vacation, Fall, 2001
Progressive Dinner, Spring, 2002
Aircraft of The Mighty 8th Air Force
A Tree Grows, Perhaps I Waited Too Long?
Mom In Her Garden, Akron, Ohio, July 2000
|Hands-On Glassmaking At the Studio of the Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, NY, October 2015|
During the program we stayed at the Watson Homestead Conference and Retreat Center. The surrounding woods were in Fall color and the extensive grassy fields green with envy. Arriving early, Joyce and I took a long walk up a country road. In the photo above, upper left, a small stream paralleled the road, repeatedly jumping from one side to the other over its' course. Upper right and lower center, tree leaves displaying peak colors. Lower right, moi caught by surprise. Lower left, a pair of draft horses munched grass at the far side of a fenced pasture. After waiting patiently for a half hour one succumbed to curiosity (a treat perhaps?) slowly working his way toward me. After letting me scratch his withers and pat his head, as I was fresh out of horsy treats, he turned to munching the tall grass on the outside of the pasture fence his curiosity satisfied.
Molten glass at 2150 °, enthusiastic but green gaffers who didn't know the difference between a block and a jack, what could possibly go wrong? Nothing, fortunately, as our instructors, Cat and Christa, kept us out of trouble while still letting us make mistakes.
In the photo above, upper left, a glass flower in the making. Cat clamps the glass in place as I use tweezers to shape the blossom. Hot out of the furnace the bulk of the glass glows red while the cooler edges reflect the true color. Lower left, I keep the body of a blowfish in the making rotating otherwise the form, still more liquid than solid, will slump. On the bench to the right are a collection of the glass blower tools including crimpers, jacks and blocks. Bottom center, At the end of a punty rod Joyce reheats a piece making it pliable to work and from cracking by cooling too quickly. Bottom right, Joyce has a block ready to form a gather of glass. Upper right, a bowl in the "Glory Hole".
Click here to watch a beginner make a flower.
Lamp Working (also called flame work) is not as hard as it looks, it's MUCH harder. Try as they might, photo above upper right, my one and only successful bead, and lower center, Corinne, Lu and Stephen were unable to make lamp worker of me. Lack of depth perception convinced me my best contribution was documenting those who knew what they were doing!
With much hand holding from our instructors we came home with glass from our own hands. In the photo above, upper left, two blowfish made in the hot shop. Upper right, a flower and bowl from the hot shop and kiln work fused glass wind chimes. Right center, another hot shop bowl, flame work beads and icicle and a kilnwork slumped glass bowl. Lower right, a hot shop flower and sandblasted glass bowl from the kiln work shop. Lower left, paperweights courtesy of the hot shop.
|Ed & Indy in Virginia, September, 2015|
Time for my annual pilgrimage to western Virginia to visit my friend Mary and spend time with Indy, the sweetest horse I ever had the pleasure of owning.
In all the time I was (trying to) learn to ride Indy even making a turn proved impossible. With riding no longer was fun he needed a new home. I donated him to Farmington Stables where he's been very happy. In the photo above, lower left, my friend Mary who first introduced me to dressage, fostering my love of horses. From upper left to bottom center Indy and I on parade. Perhaps it's because I had nothing to prove we rode better than ever, making turns, riding circles, figure-eights and serpentines. If a years' lay-off made me this much better next year we'll be ready for Grand Prix :-)
|Corning, NY, Mini-Vacation, April 2015|
The promise of warm weekend weather and the recent opening of the new wing at The Corning Museum of Glass was reason enough to spend a weekend in Corning, NY. Besides, it's been four long, long, long weeks since returning from Florida! Staying at The Radisson we were a one minute walk from the historic Gaffer District and five minutes, via a pedestrian bridge over the Chemung river, from the glass museum.
The Rockwell, located in the old city hall and placed on the National Register of Historic Places, holds the finest collection of Western art in the North East U.S. Since our last visit touch screen displays have been added offering the visitor additional information on displayed items. Of particular interest to me was an exhibit of U.S. Civil War photographs. Before leaving we made significant contributions to the local economy via the gift shop.
In the photo above,upper left, The bold colors attracted me to a painting by Kiowa/Comanche artist Blackbear Bosin. lower right, "Photographic Collage" one of a series by Thorney Lieberman. Lower left, "The Spirit of Wyoming" by Edward James Fraughton.
We made a beeline for the museums recently dedicated New Contemporary Art + Design wing and weren't disappointed. Beautiful abstract glass sculptures lurked around every corner of the new wing. In the photo above upper right, "Vessel, Untitled" by Frantisek Vizner. Upper left: "Incantatrice (Sorceress)" by Toots Zynsky. Lower right: "Cityscape" by Jay Musler. Center right, "The Pyramid" by Marian Karel. Lower left, "Hopi" by Lino Tagliapietra.
Upper left: "Endeavor", by artist Lino Tagliapietra was my favorite piece on display. The colors and shapes reminded me of a flock of birds. Light played with many of the pieces, artist Frantisek Vizner created, lower left front, "Smoked Bowl" and lower left rear "Blue Vase " as well as, upper right, "Bowl", one of a series. Lower right, Dale Chihuly's "Macchia Seaform" group.
Want to look over the shoulders of craftsmen? The new hot shop amphitheater at the Corning Museum of Glass puts you so close to the working floor you can almost feel the heat. We spent hours watching the team working glass along with guest artist Albert Paley as part of the Visiting Artist program. You can watch live streamed video from the hot shop floor on YouTube.
Elements of the photo above show the hot shop team and Albert Paley at work using simple tools little changed from Roman times, except, perhaps, the water-soaked New York Times used to keep the piece round. Upper left, periodically placing the piece in a gas fired furnace keeps the glass at a temperature where it can be worked. Bottom left, the piece is rolled on a marvering table. Bottom right, The top of the piece is last in and first out of the furnace. Heat's applied to it to equalize the temperature of the entire piece. Upper right, the head gaffer in his fire resistant suit begins the process of removing the piece from the blow tube. Center right, the piece is placed on its' metal base.
|Sanibel, Fl, Winter of 2015|
Wintering on the Gulf coast we enjoy birds unlikely to visit a feeder in the Great Frozen North, i.e. NY state. Folks here take them for granted but for us they're eye candy. So acclimatised to people it's easy to come close to the larger birds. In the photo above, lower left, a female Snowy Egret shows her displease at the male that's been wooing her. The lady wasn't impressed, adopting this menacing posture to fend him off. It worked. Upper right, a Wood Stork in flight. Upper left, a Great Blue Heron on the hunt for dinner. Lower right, a Roseate Spoonbill high over the beach ... or is it?
The beach is full of surprises, particularly after a storm. In the photo above, upper left, a Sea Cucumber. It's a bottom feeder. mud and food in the front, mud out the back. Think of them as the earthworms of the sea. Lower left, a purple sea urchin. The roe is considered a delicacy by some, but not on my plate . Lower right, a skate eggs case. Middle right, whip coral. We always saw it attached, as seen, to an Ark clam. Upper right, a sea star (a.k.a. starfish) half buried in the sand. I'd thought they always had five arms. Au contraire piston puss. (apologies to Click and Clack the Tappet brothers) varieties with up to forty four arms have been found though five is more common.
In the photo above, upper left, a Little Blue Heron seen from Wildlife Driven at The J. N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge on the island . Lower right, a Boeing / Stearman PT-17 "Kaydet a.k.a. "The Yellow Peril", a WWII basic trainer. Having flown in the B17G earlier this trip this plane's next! Upper right, another creation by the 'kite guy', Bob P., a regular winter guest. His kites feature complex three dimensional designs and motion. Lower left, Several 'Brothers' in Wind' joined Bob an the beach this year. This butterfly kite was among my favourites.
Of the fine restaurants on Sanibel we dine, on our own or with guests, most often at Cip's Place . Given the island's mild climate eating on the enclosed 'back porch' or on the covered veranda is a treat. In the photo above, top, Joyce and I at Cip's for lunch. If you're on Sanibel or the vicinity between mid January and mid March, 2016, please join us at Cip's.
|Off We Go Into The Wild Blue Yonder, Fort Myers, FL, February, 2015|
Sitting on our condo veranda I heard the unmistakable roar of four Wright R-1820 Cyclone 9 engines as a B17G made a pass over Sanibel Island.The Collins Foundation brought this aircraft to the Binghamton airport, near my home in Endicott, NY, in October, 2001. While taking a walk-through I passed on an opportunity to take a flight and kicked myself forever afterwards. After waiting 14 years I was not about to miss this chance.
Boing's self financed model 299 prototype for what would become the armies first four engine bomber flew in 1935. The "G" version of the B17 reflected the culmination of lessons learned in the unforgiving school of aerial combat in WWII. Defensive armament increased to 13 50 caliber on the "G" including three powered turrets. The aircraft was known and loved for its' rugged construction returning crews in impossibly shot up condition.
The interior of the aircraft is incredibly cramped. Turning sideways is the only way to take the catwalk through the bomb bay from the radio operators crew position, through the bomb bay into the nose of the ship. The pilot and copilot sit high in the nose on the flight deck above the navigator and bombardier. The flight engineer / top turret gunner is located just behind the flight deck.
The photo above, top, provides an external view of the bombardier and navigators crew positions. The bombardier and his Norden bomb sight occupied the nose while the navigator sat at a small desk, in this view, to the right. Each crewman could double as machine gunner when not performing their primary missions. The view from the nose, photo above, bottom, is spectacular.
As an avid ham radio operator I jumped at the chance to take the radio operators station, just aft of the bomb bay and forward of the ball turret in the aircraft waist, for take off. In the photo above, upper right, I'm at the Morse Code key. Lower right, a bank of two ARC-5 command set series transmitters and three receivers. The series included transmitter and receiver for various frequency bands and were mixed and matched to meet a specific aircraft or application needs. After WWII they flooded the surplus market and became many "ham radio" operators first stations after war time restrictions shutting down the hobby were lifted . Lower left, a Signal Corps BC-348Q "liaison" (or long distance) radio receiver. Upper left, a bank of "TU" antenna tuning units.
Our flight path took us over Fort Myers Beach then along the length of Sanibel Island. The photo above shows the Oceans Reach condominium complex at closest approach. Our unit's on the top floor of the building on the right, second veranda from the left.
Click here to link to the 2001 visit of the B17G"Nine O' Nine" to Link Field in Binghamton, NY.
|Ithaca Winterfest, December, 2014|
Ice carved for the 2013 festival didn't last through the first day as temperatures reached into the 40's. Better luck this year, cold on Saturday while the 40's held off 'til Sunday. These photos, taken on Sunday, had been additionally sculpted by rising temperatures. Some sculptures became unrecognizable lumps surrounded by ice shards calved off the main lump.
|Equestrian Competitions, Wellington, FL, February 2014|
During winter in the great frozen North Wellington, Florida, is the east coast Mecca for the horsey set, dressage, polo, hunters and jumpers, those with $$$ or generous sponsors anyway, converge for top level competitions. February 19 and 20 found me in Wellington for the The Winter Equestrian Festival at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center for dressage and jumper competitions.
The photo, above, was taken during the Stillpoint Farm Nations Cup. Nine teams, two each from the US and Canada as well as teams from Germany, the Netherlands, Australia, Colombia, and Spain competed at the top international levels, Prix St. George to Grand Prix. This sport is difficult. Most people don't understand that though the rider, a great rider, appear to be doing nothing, subtle shifts of weight, light touches of the leg, all cue a well trained horse to respond appropriately. The horse has a mind of its' own though with good days and those when it don't want to work, test the riders ability to adapt.
Thursday afternoon found us at the Center for the round VII of the 2014 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup. 150 riders, including champions of the 2012 London Summer Olympics, competed in two sets of placings for purses of $125,000 each placing.
|Fall Visit With Indy|
After years of lessons my performance had plateaued below the minimum I was willing to accept to continue competing at dressage. Much more time than I was willing to commit, dressage's a very demanding sport, was required to improve. I decided to find Indy a good home where he would continue to be worked rather than stay with me as a pasture ornament. Efforts to sell him failed. I offered him gratis to Patrizia at Farmingdale Stables LLC, in Blacksburg, VA. in the Fall of 2012. Since then I've visited to ride him twice. He's fortunate to have a surrogate owner, Pat, who cares for him as if he were her own. Spending time with him has become more urgent as he's been diagnosed with terminal melanoma. I'm very fond of him, a sweet, gentle, soul. In the photo above we're riding in the indoor ring at Farmington Stables in November of 2013.
I've been an amateur radio operator since 1960 using commercially built equipment. Since retirement I picked up the hobby again and, as a learning experience, took on a project to design and build a complete short wave receiver. As an electronic circuit designer for Lockheed Martin designing radios was out of my field but ignorance prior to beginning a project hasn't been an impediment before! The circuit cards shown above put me 3/5 of the way to a successful end. It's been a learning experience with many errors along the way, but fun. In time I can tell folks I contact over the radio "the receiver here is home brewed".
Nearly new on moving in the Fall of 1973 the kitchen design and fixtures were now dated. Though a free standing wall between the kitchen and living room was a fine location for a desk it contributed to the claustrophobic feeling in the kitchen. A friend shamed me into upgrading. Clem at Kitchen Concepts Inc. of Endicott, NY, did the design work and selected the contractor to execute it. Randy and his crew bent over backward to complete the work.
Dark and crowded with much wasted space kitchen gadgets were stuffed in every available location. Counter space was at a premium not helped by the microwave oven on the far right in the photo above.
Tear down took one day. The refrigerator and dining room table furniture found temporary homes in the living room. For a week after the work was done I still turned left into the living room to get to the 'fridge! The slop sink in the laundry room served as a temporary dish washing site when paper table wear and cutlery wouldn't do.
The proof is in the cooking as demonstrated in the photo above, upper left the oven christened by my signature pot roast. Having removed the wall the kitchen, dining and living rooms spaces joined creating a bright space in what had been a cramped, dark, collection of individual spaces. From the couch I can see through the sliding windows overlooking the backyard. Full height cabinets and storage in the island left me with more space that stuff.
|Me and Indy|
While you may read this as the statement of a deranged owner I'm happy to say Indy and I have become buddies. His playful and caring personality has removed the last vestiges of a childhood fear of large animals. I'm unsure who enjoys grooming more, me doing or him receiving. The photos above were taken at Fortress Farms, Castle Creek, NY where Indy's boarded.
|Operating ARRL Headquarters Station, W1AW, October 2011|
I've been an amateur ("ham") radio operator since 1960 and a life member of the ARRL, American Radio Relay League, the U.S. member association for amateur radio, since 1972. On a recent trip to Connecticut I took the opportunity to visit the headquarters and headquarters station, call sign W1AW. In the photo above, upper left, I'm seen at one of three guest operating positions. Upper right, the W1AW antenna tree rises over the Hiram Percy Maxwell memorial station. Lower left, the entrance to the memorial station. Lower right, one of many historical examples of early amateur equipment. Though not old enough to have operated this particular receiver I did build one of only a slightly later vintage. I used that one to listen to Cleveland Indian baseball games while under the covers when I was supposed to be sleeping.
|The Submarine Force Library & Museum, Groton, CT, USS Nautilus SSN 571, October 2011|
Even before my brother, Tom, served on a submarine I've been fascinated by the technology, and the bravery of the crews who serve under the sea. The Submarine Force Library & Museum in Groton, CT, provides an overview of United States navy submarine history from Bushnell's Turtle,to the USS Holland, to the latest fast attack boats.
The first nuclear submarine USS Nautilus, SSN 571, is on permanent display at the museum. A turning point was reached when, on January 17, 1955, the commanding officer of the Nautilus cast off sending the message "Underway on nuclear power." In the photo above, upper left, the gangplank to the Nautilus. Upper right, the Nautilus sail, far right, center, on the deck of the Nautilus, lower right, a view of a portion of the foreword torpedo room. Note the exposed pipes and electrical cables. Bottom center, planesman control the vertical and horizontal movement of the submarines. Bottom left, periscope on the ship's bridge.
More photos and videos of the museum and of the Nautilus providing additional details of the interior are available at Virtual Tours.
|Mystic Seaport, Mystic, CT, October 2011|
The last stop on our Connecticut vacation was Mystic Seaport in Mystic, CT, just in time for Chowder Days. In the photo above, lower right, the hull of the 163 year old whaler Charles W. Morgan is visible while the ship's on land for repair. Lower left, the Fishing Schooner L.A. Dunton. Far left, center, below decks on the Charles W. Morgan. Stages in processing a whale for oil are described in detail. Top left, no trip's complete without the traditional horse photo. To the right the Joseph Conrad a square rigged ship. Next, a historically accurate 19th captain barking orders to the crew while at his ship's helm. Upper right corner, Joyce and I take a break on a VERY large anchor.
|The Flood of September, 2011|
Rain, rain and more rain, hurricanes Irene and Lee dumped plenty of it on the Southern Tier counties of NY. High school football fields, railroad underpasses, drug and home stores, entire neighbourhoods flooded. From late afternoon on Wednesday until Sunday afternoon my neighbourhood was isolated by flooded roads. With time on our hands Joyce and I joined neighbors exploring the shrunken boundaries of the neighbourhood.
The photo above, upper left, looks south down the main road out of the development. Water from Nanticoke Creek, normally a few inches deep and a few yards wide, spread out on the valley floor to a width of several hundred yards. Homes on both sides of the road are flooded out. Upper right, a car just a few yards from the entrance to the development is partially submerged. The owners were away when the creek rose. Lower right, Nanticoke Gardens nursery's green houses are surrounded by "Nanticoke Lake." Bottom left, once the main road opened trash removal began. Long lines of dump trucks waited as front end loaders picked up family properties now reduced to junk.
|Hiking in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, August, 2011|
After spending time on our own in Quebec City we drove to The Outdoor Lodge in Glen Sutton, Quebec, located in the Eastern Township of the province near the Vermont border. There we joined a Roads Scholar program of hiking and walking. As expected our companions though coming from different backgrounds shared one thing in common, enjoying being outdoors. As a bonus we were treated to fine food at the lodge. In the photo above are pictures Joyce took on a hike along the Missisquoi River.
In the photo above, upper left, The entrance to The Outdoor Lodge. We ate our meals here, were briefed each morning on the plan of the day and enjoyed evening programs. Upper right, the birthday boy. Complete with a blueberry birthday pie and presents I was treated to a surprise birthday party, thanks to all. Lower right, each evening supper was taken at the lodge. The staff provided great food and service. We felt like honoured guests. Lower left, a platter of fresh cheeses served with one evenings supper.
|Indy – – – – A Horse of My Own|
I compete as an adult amateur in the sport of dressage. For years I've ridden leased, untrained horses. Is it the horse or my meager skills keeping me on the lowest rung? To find out I'd hoped to lease a trained horse but, after years of searching, none were available. Though I swore to never own a horse with its attendant expense I relented. After travelling to four states and riding a half dozen horses I found Indy, a warmblood / quarter horse cross gelding at Upper Creek Farm in Stockton, NJ.
The trainer and owner of the farm, Kim, was friendly and helpful. Indy's owner, Lisa, came to the barn to insure her baby would go to a good home. Once Kim had warmed him up it was my turn. As soon as I sat in the saddle I felt comfortable and safe on him. We started with short walks and halts, making sure to find the "stop" button, multiple times :-) Transitions from walk to trot and trot to canter were smooth. Unlike previous mounts Indy took up the canter after a gentle push behind the girth rather than a slap on the rump. We followed with circles, squares, diamond and serpentine patterns.
During plunking down gobs of $$$ to buy him Indy had to pass a veterinary check. Think taking that used car to an independent mechanic. Having passed the check and completing final haggling over price my teacher, Donna, and I drove to Upper Creek Farm pulling a horse trailer behind us. Bringing the trailer didn't strengthen our bargaining position ! Donna rode Indy then gave us a lesson, deciding we were well matched. An hour later we were on our way home with horse in tow.
I believe changing a horse's barn name invites bad karma. Indy he was and Indy he's remained. A show name's another matter. His new one is Amber's Echo, in honor of the first dressage horse, Amber, I rode at my friend Mary's farm in Virginia. Thank you Mary. I've dreamt of being a handsome white knight on a big white horse … I'm halfway home!
Photo above, upper left: Indy and I at the trot in the indoor arena at Upper Creek Farm. Mirrors provide a view of your ideal form or, more the norm, what your current errors are. Heels should be on a line passing through the hips to the shoulders to maintain proper balance. My legs are far from properly placed causing my body to tip forward. Upper right: On our way home with 1200 pounds of horse in Donna's trailer. Indy did not want to load. I stood back letting the experts, eventually, load him. Had loading been my responsibility we still might be in NJ. Lower right: Indy spent his first few days alone in his stall acclimating to his new surroundings then was first turned out with the barn's babysitter, John, a 30+ year old Morgan horse. Finally turned out with his permanent pasture buddies the pecking order needed to be established. Indy, along a fence separating the geldings and mares, objected when Lando came over horning in on his, Indy's, mares. Objecting, Indy received bites on his neck and shoulders for his trouble. Lower left: Everyone at the barn loves Indy, calling him by name even if not remembering mine. He is a handsome devil don't you think?
|Notre week-end merveilleux à Montréal le 8 juin 2010|
Joyce and I enjoyed many a good meal while in Montreal. Here on the Place Jacques Cartier we're at lunch at Jardin Nelson's terrace.
Photo, bottom right: I'd heard the stories, English speaking visitors ill-treated by French speaking residents of Quebec. No, à l'effet contraire, people were friendly and patient with English only speakers. Joyce, speaking French, responded "Parlez francais" "Speak French" whenever possible when addressed in English. Myself, whose French vocabulary is limited to "merci" and a four-letter word I won't repeat here, felt welcome in the city. For example, these two women pleaded to have their photo taken with me. What could I do but oblige? No ugly-American I.
Photo bottom center: Horse and trap pairs line up along Place Jacques-Cartier, photo left center. A pedestrian oasis in the middle of town traffic it's surrounded by galleries, restaurants and shops. Place Jacques-Cartier reminded me of the pedestrian square along Castle Street in Edinburgh.
Photo upper left: Attending the Cirque du Soleil - Totem, was a highpoint of our visit. The show theme reflects the evolution of life from the sea onto the back of the Great Turtle forward ending at today's briefcase carrying executive.
Photo bottom left: We stayed in a small auberge (inn) in the center of Old Town, Les Passants du Sans Soucy.Like many structures in Montreal exterior and many interior walls are stone and cement. Stone was complemented by attractive wood flores, staris and railings. I enjoyed "pain d'ore", Bread of Gold. aka French toast, yogurt, REAL maple syrup, "pain au chocolat" croissants with chocolate filling and "chocolat chaud" hot chocolate, for breakfast both days.
|Opening Christmas Goodies|
This year Joyce and I spent Christmas at her brother's home in Hyattsville, Maryland. We'd hauled goodies with us from New York waiting with bated breath for Christmas morning. Attempting to start a new holiday tradition I persuaded Joyce and Ed to open at least one gift Christmas Eve. In the photo above top left: Enjoying all things horses moi was delighted to receive HORSE-OPOLY. Upper right: Horses, Again! Joyce found this ornament at Don Drumm's during our Thanksgiving visit to Akron, Ohio. Lower right: Joyce resplendent in her new comfy socks showing a gift book. Bottom left: Again from Don Drumm's, a pitcher, necklace and earrings. Blue pottery and red jewelry, can't miss gifts.
|A Capitol Christmas, 2009|
The day after Christmas was perfect for a Capitol visit, a light drizzle keeping away the faint hearted. We were rewarded with short line waits and a leisurely pace. In the photo upper left: Looking upward to the interior of the Capitol rotunda its' true size isn't apparent. Bar fact: If the Statue of Liberty, base to torch, were placed inside the rotunda a 30' tall party hat could be placed atop her head with room to spare! Top right and center: Barack and Michelle stopped to pose with two supporters. Center right: Gold artifacts made by native peoples fill a wall in the National Museum Of American Indian. Lower right: Having paid our fair share of the US Capitol Visitor Center original, overrun and additional overrun costs we had to take a look. The $$$ seem well spent. Each state contributed statues honoring favorite sons & daughters … both native and foreign born in the center. Bottom center: Until the mid 1800's the Supreme Court met in the Old Supreme Court Chamber in the Capitol building. Lower left: Did name Polly Cooper's name surface in your American History classes? I doubt it, certainly not in any I attended. Oneida legend says she led a band of who brought food to Washington's starving troops at Valley Forge. Lower left: The story's commemorated in this bronze of Cooper, Oneida Chief Oskanondohna and George Washington "Allies in War, Partners in Peace" by Edward Hlavka in the National Museum of the American Indian.
|A Longwood Garden Christmas, 2009|
Photo above upper left: An entire room of Orchids and I have to pick a single representative! The Orchid room's the reason digital camera's were invented. 100+ photo's later we left for the succulent garden. Top second from left: Since my last visit Longwood Gardens has added three Nature's Castles tree houses. Top third from left: Place settings in the Music Room reflect the holiday opulence of the Dupont family. Top far right: Entering the Conservatory a carpet of poinsettias, amaryllis, cyclamen and more lead your eyes to a magnificent Christmas tree. Bottom right: Joyce nestles amongst the many poinsettias in the conservatory. Bottom left: Figure skaters entertained us at the outdoor ring near the Chimes tower. Middle left: I thawed in the visitor center while Joyce photographed the evening light show.
|Ice Sculpture on the Ithaca Commons|
December 2009 and it's time again for art on the Ithaca Commons. Merchants on the Commons commission sculptures reflecting their wares. In the photo above, upper left: Have a busted window? Ithaca Glass will fix it for you. Top, second from the left: New this year a really slick slide gave kids a swift ride. Top, third on the right: Fresh from its' pupa a butterfly graces the Commons. Top far right: A beer, naturally, pitches Simeon's On the Commons. Bottom right: A reindeer … just because. Bottom, second from the right: No cushion on the throne this year, brrrrrr! Bottom, third from right: Passerby's pressed breath-warmed pennies into this wishing well. Bottom left: "Under the Sea" won first place in the competition.
|Ugly is Beautiful|
I've found working in my home electronic lab much more satisfying than when I designed for a living at Lockheed Martin. There are no schedules, budgets or status meetings to contend with. I do miss the support staff though. In lieu of pretty circuit boards at home it's just me and my Dremel. Fortunately electrons don't care.
|United States Dressage Federation - Recognized Dressage Competition - June 2009, Horseheads, NY|
This year, 2009, we made our second foray into a United States Dressage Federation sanctioned competition. During our first attempt, June 2008, I spent almost all of my time recovering from the previous disastrous movement. No time was left for breathing or thinking, yet it was fun. I was at the bottom rung of understanding, unconsciously incompetent. This year I had the sequence of movements memorized. We rode the line, that is followed the prescribed path of the movements, and I didn't grimace once! There's still much work to do after all I've only been at this for 6 years. My knees were bent back placing my calves somewhat northwest of their proper position at Tyler's sides. His head position was, well how to put it ... terrible, with his nose sticking way out, my fault. I've climbed to the second rung of understanding though, conscious incompetence... messing up but conscious of the fact.
Show photos courtesy of Joyce W.
Once more Tyler's favorite gate is The Halt. At the end of the Training Level II test, upper left, we stopped squarely on our mark. The judge gave us a (well-deserved) score of 8 out of 10. In a sport where 6 out of 10 is considered a good score an 8 is a real treat! Rain held off Sunday but Saturday's heavy storm left the competition rings with 4 inches of mud to play in. Before our first ride, notice the absence of mud on his majesty, my instructor Donna loosens up Tyler while calming me down. Bottom right we practice in the warm-up ring where, momentarily, I get Tyler's head into position. Bottom center we're leaving the ring after performing the Training Level I test. You might not believe it but that's a smile on my face. Bottom left we turn the corner for our run down the centerline of the ring prior to the last movement, halting and saluting the judge.
|Ithaca Festival Parade May 31, 2009|
Ithaca's been described as ‘ 10 square miles surrounded by reality.’ The people's parade which kicks off the annual IthacaFest celebration supports that proposition in spades. The parade begins at Stuart Park on Cayuga Lake ending at Dewitt Park near the center of town.
Ithaca's known throughout upstate New York as the home of the extraordinarily tall. This claim to fame is evident in the photo, above, as the Tall Person's Anonymous Club leads the parade.
Each year critters, real and fanciful, are among the most popular participants in the parade. Would I pass up an opportunity start with a picture of horses? If your answer is yes then you don't know me very well! Eric Carle's ‘ The Very Hungry Caterpillar ’ is acknowledged to be the most popular of his 70+ children's books. Ithaca's the home of (way too) many seagulls. This one was delightful to watch as it fluttered along the line of march. The last time we saw a Chinese Yellow Lion Dancer was during our trip to Scotland in the summer of 2008. It was nice to see an old friend again.
The people of Ithaca are the real stars of the parade. The town's population is ethnically diverse. This is due, in part, to the presence of two world class schools, Cornell and Ithaca College, drawing visiting scholars from all over the world. In addition the town's churches and civic associations actively support relocation of refugees from many of the world's trouble spots.
Upper left dancers bring a beautiful piece of Central America to upstate NY. Upper right the He-Man Chainsaw Band, expanded to include women, lawn mowers and trimmers in the ranks, are a crowd favorite in their traditional position at the end of the parade ... perhaps so other marchers are spared inhaling the fumes? Pictured lower right are members of the Volvo Ballet Company, complete with tutu's and accompanied by the music of Swan Lake. The Mini Cooper car club has the right idea. Why walk when you can ride?
Only in Ithaca ...
|Ashokan Civil War Days Weekend - May, 2009|
We stayed at nearby a B&B that was, well, serviceable. We shared sinks and toilets with an adjoining room. One of the pair in each room did not work. Watching the first floor through a hole in the second floor offered an outlet for voyeurism if one was so inclined. More than making up for these foibles were the first night fire pit complete with roaring fire and two morning breakfasts offering delicious French quasants and coffee. I plead guilty to poaching left-over crouissant from vacated tables before the host cleared them.
I've attended many Civil War reenactments but had never seen participants interpreting sailors, photo upper left, of that era. These reenactors portrayed a naval landing party because, as one explained to me, it's hard hauling a boat along. Upper right, Union skirmishers reload their muzzle loading rifle muskets before the final charge on the Rebel works. The Johnny Reb position on the brow of the hill was overrun and the survivors fled. Lower right the Southern reenactors demonstrate fire by volley. Lower left, two well accoutermented reenactors survey the scene in the Union camp.
We both enjoyed the music. Upper left, the Ampersand Heritage musical group joined The 77th New York Regimental Balladeers singing and playing music of the time. Upper right Kim and Reggie Harris perform in the evening concert. Earlier they presented "Music and the Underground Railroad" to an appreciative crowd. Molly Mason, of the husband and wife team Molly Mason & Jay Ungar , entertained us with her sweet voice. Lower left the "The Iron Jacks of the USNLP", Dave Dziewulski, right, and Bob deLisle, left, entertained us with Sea Shanties including a haunting "Leave her Johnny, Leave her."
Upper left, Joyce crosses a wobbling bridge on the Ashokan Center site. Each step resonated with the structure building the bounce higher and higher! We tried in vain to catch up with a sponsored nature walk but, along with a half-dozen other lost souls, had to settle for one self guided. Upper right, a dragon fly posed long enough for me to take its' picture. Lower right, rocks and flowing water caught our attention. Lower left, well, some folks never follow directions. "Can't you read the sign? NO Pedestrians."
|United States Dressage Federation - Recognized Dressage Competition - June 2008, Horseheads, NY|
For several years we've participating in schooling, i.e. practice, shows, were we could ride before a judge without the overhead of a recognized show. This year we were ready, I sincerely hoped, to move up to the big time! Pictured, left, are Tyler and I performing the Training Level I test at the Cayuga Dressage and Cross Training Association sanctioned dressage competition in Horseheads, NY. Despite the 6 inches of mud in the arena, courtesy of a cloudburst the previous day, we enjoyed ourselves.
Competing in the show gave me a new perspective. Used to watching other riders perform I didn't see a single test all the way through this year. There was always something to do. Horses are wary of everything new. Twice each day we toured the grounds while I showed Tyler where all the horse-eating monsters lived. Water buckets need filling and hay provided. All that hay had to come out somewhere and that had to be shoveled. Dressing inside a hot, cramped, trailer I know now how Superman feels changing in a phone booth.
The months before this show Tyler'd undergone a personality change ... not for the best. When I wanted stop he wanted to walk, trot when asked to walk and cantered when cued to trot. As for cantering, let's not go there. Warming up the evening before the first day of competition he pretty much ignored me. Had he read my mind something about a glue factory would've been in his thoughts. Saturday and Sunday he behaved, for him, and I was pleased with the scores for the four tests. Judging was tough but fair and consistent. Scores in the 60's (out of 100) are considered good. We earned scores in the mid-50's coming home with a second, third and two fourth place ribbons. Again, we were the high point male / male pair. Again, I was the only male entered. This is a great sport!
|Hamming It Up Again|
Even in grade school radio fascinated me. It was magic, your voice picked up by a microphone and heard on the other side of the world. I earned my first "ham" license in 1960 just prior to starting high school. From then on through college and into my first job I communicated with ham operators throughout the world. In the early 80's other interests replaced radio and, though holding my license, I was inactive.
Once retired, interest waxed anew. In the intervening years technological change has been amazing. No longer using a microphone I type at a keyboard. The computer encodes my words, sends them to the transmitter and off they go where the process runs in reverse. Replacing my top-of-the-line 1970's equipment, requiring 4 feet of desk space to hold three boxes weighing up to 35 pounds each, are two, small, cigar box size units hooked to a computer. Pictured right is Ed with his new toys.
Antennas however don't shrink in size. After the attic antenna failed to put out much of a signal a fellow ham and former work colleague at Lockheed Martin, Mike G. suggested I look at vertical antennas. Pictured left is the new backyard vertical. At 24 feet tall complete with its' coils, and 2500 feet of Copper wire buried in the yard I'm communicating with the world again.
The magic hasn't changed though. Communicating with the Ukraine today is as much fun as communicating across town 48 years ago.
|Sedona & the Grand Canyon, February, 2009|
Pastels ... as we approached Sedona in the Red Rock country of northern Arizona colors became muted with the palette, aside from the black of blacktop and pine tree's dark greens, reduced to shades of tans, reds and browns.
Views similar to the one pictured ((left) are typical of the terrain around Sedona. This shot was taken from the main street of a small development in the Village of Oak Creek just south of Sedona proper. Imagine this view greeting you in morning light as you awaken.
February 17thJoyce, her brother Ed and I enjoyed a week long group tour, Sedona and The Grand Canyon, presented by the University of Northern Arizona through the Elderhostel organization.
Morning lectures by naturalists, geologists and ecologists prepared us for day trips to Sedona and Jerome, AZ, and the Montezuma and Tuzigoot National Monuments. The highlight of the trip was undoubtedly the day spent on the South rim of the Grand Canyon.
The group featured an eclectic mix of (primarily) retirees from across the United States. Those of us from the East Coast and Midwest welcomed the warmer weather and sunshine while those from the West Coast felt more comfortable with a few more layers of clothing applied.
Sedona is a tourist town. A free trolley service runs through the primary shopping areas and pedestrians have the right-of-way. Tourist bobbles and paintings and sculptures suitable for a big city gallery are found next to each other. Browsing upscale galleries we saw handmade Hopi and Navajo rugs ranging from table place mat to room size. Accompanying each piece is documentation and the story of its' maker. Joyce and her brother, Ed, each bought place mat size pieces. The store carried hand made saddle blankets but I couldn't see putting one on a hot, sweaty horse at the price. Touring art galleries, and being in the southwest, I was in horse heaven and came home with a print "Mustang Storm."
We left Sedona for the Canyon and, rising out of the valley, encountered more and more snow until, reaching Flagstaff, AZ, snow was all around and deep. Dozens of cinder cones, extinct volcanoes, surround Flagstaff. If you live there it's a common site but was eerie to me.
I wasn't prepared for the immensity of the Grand Canyon. There's no place to stand and take it all in. I'd unconsciously expected a wide chasm with the Colorado River, far below, running through it, forgetting that in 15 million years or so the river had plenty of time to wander. I can't really say we ever saw the north rim. Our first look at the canyon was at the site where the Little Colorado joins the canyon.
No, we haven't each suddenly gained 20 pounds (pictured left). A stiff breeze and temperatures in the low 30's had us wearing every layer of fleece and polypro we had.
We walked the trail from the main ranger station to the site of Bright Angel Lodge. Taking pictures of couples, strangers, I did my best to improve Chinese - American relations. Sitting in the lodge one could here languages from all over the world spoken.
I don't understand why more people don't fall into the canyon. Along this 2.3 mile trail only a few lookouts included guard rails. One could see footprints in the snow where the more foolhardy walked out to the edge for an unforgettable, and perhaps last, vacation photo.
|Ice Sculpture On The Ithaca Commons December 8, 2007|
The Ithaca Commons is the heart of downtown Ithaca. On any given day entertainers, students from Cornell and Ithaca Colleges, political advocates and the occasional civilian gravitate to the shops and restaurants located there. This year businesses there sponsored ice sculptures on The Commons and other venues around town. In return each shop received a sculpture representative of there business.
The Snow Queen
|Vacation on the Maine Seacoast - September 28 Through 30, 2007|
The Maine coast is a beautiful place, particularly so this last September weekend of 2007. The extended summer continued tempering cold breezes off the Atlantic. Joyce and I lodged at the Beachmear Inn in Ogunquit, Me , hard by the shore. With the Beachmere centrally located "downtown" a 10 minute to 15 minute walk in any direction took us to all of the town's attractions. This assumes one pays attention to where one is going. Both of us being geographically challenged we saw much more of the area than we'd expected.
Our primary occupations were eating, walking, shopping and eating. Downtown Ogunquit offered coffee and chocolate shops several to the block and restaurants from fast food to fine dining. We came back with shortened Christmas lists.
Pictured left the Atlantic surf meets the shoreline below the cliff at the Beachmere. Mainer's are proud of it's rocky coastline ... which is fortunate as they have so much of it.
Running about a mile from Perkin's Cove to Ogunquit Beach the Marginal Way skirts the seacoast offering ocean views to one side and those of some very expensive homes to the other. The 5-foot wide path occupies a thin strip of public property along the top of a cliff ceded by the homeowners to the town in the tradition of beaches being public to all in Maine. Studded with memorial benches and lookouts you can watch the ocean or the people walking by. We spent some time watching folks who lingered too long too far out as the tide rolled in. Taking too much time searching for a "feet dry" way back most got very wet. Entering conveniently from the Beachmere we enjoyed this walk every morning and evening of our stay.
John Lane's Ogunquit Playhouse offered a professional road show performance of "The Full Monty". Based on the original British film the Americanized play takes place in Buffalo, NY, around the closing of a steel mill. At the end of the play the cast does perform a Full Monty ... simultaneous with a bank of lights behind them comes on blinding the audience. Sally Struthers, Gloria on "All in the Family" played Jeanette, a brassy accompanist.
Our favorite spot on the Marginal Way was a nearby perennial garden, a portion of which is show below. The garden wrapped around a private home and was meticulously maintained.
We took an afternoon drive to Sanford, Maine where my parents lived when they were first married. During WWII Dad served in the Navy and was stationed for a time at the Naval Air Station - Sanford. Sanford was one of several auxiliary fields supporting the nearby primary Naval Air Station - Brunswick. All that remains from the 40's are the (then named) Sanford textile mill and the airfield.
Sohier Town Park, Maine, fronts Nubble Light, one of Maine's best known, most visited and photographed lighthouses. Sited on a small island access is via boat. The light and outbuildings have fallen into disrepair though the light is still an active U.S. Coast Guard navigation aid. To raise funds for restoration the town Historical Society was running a raffle, the first prize being a weekend at the light ... unfortunately prior to the restoration!
On arrival we'd read our room's guest book remarking that previous guests wrote of their fifth, tenth and even fifteenth stay in this particular room. Now we know why!
|Tibetin Mandala's, Cornell University, September 22, 2007|
During the Dalai Lama's visit to Ithaca dedicating a local monastery for the Monks of the Namgyal Monastery, Tibetan monks constructed both Shri Kalachakra sand and Thread Cross Mandala's, temporary homes for Buddhist deities, at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art on the Cornell University campus. Formerly constructed only in monasteries the Dalai Lama has encouraged placing them in public places to spread Tibetan culture and preserve the tradition.
Both mandala's were deconstructed after the Dali Lama's visit to Ithaca was completed. Shri Kalachakra's sand grains were carried to the shore of Beebe lake where they were poured into the water freeing the blessings of the deities housed within.
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|Phelps Mansion Civil War Living History Day - May 20, 2007|
The Phelps Mansion Museum, 191 Court Street Binghamton, NY, hosted its' first annual Civil War History Day on May 20, 2007. Reenactors portraying both civilian and military historical figures of the time gave an air of authenticity to the event. Architect Isaac G.Perry built the mansion in 1870 for Sherman D Phelps. Phelps, who served as mayor of Binghamton, was a banker and businessman. The Monday Afternoon Club currently resides at the Mansion. Sarah Phelps Ireland was the wife of the 137thNY Regiment of Volunteer Infantry's Colonel, David Ireland.
In addition to the martial displays we were treated to period foods. I was partial to the dessert cookies. For the more adventurous hard tack, a cracker with the compressive strength of concrete was available. Given the absence of weevils and the fact that I was able to break off a chunk with my teeth authenticity is in question.
A reenactor portraying a Sergeant Major of 79thNY Regiment of Volunteer Infantry, also known as the "Cameron Highlanders.", drew our attention on entering the mansions ballroom. No, we didn't ask what he wore, or did not wear, under his kilt.
A reenactor serving as a private at the company level can take on the persona of famous historical persons. Present today included Confederate officers Gens. Lewis Armistead and George Pickett, Col. John Bowie Magruder, and Union officers Gen. George S. Greene and Col. David Ireland.
Period dancing took place in the ballroom with all comers' welcome. Joyce dances a Virginia reel with the gallant Sgt. Major and other reenactors. Being on the awkward side I declined, pretending I had to take pictures.
Reenactors from the 137thNY Regiment of Volunteer Infantry and the 1st Virginia Cavalry Company A who appeared at the Phelps mansion will also participate at the upcoming Fifth Annual Pierce Creek Civil War Event
"This From George." So ended many of the letters from Sergeant George Englis, a member of the 89th NY Regiment of Volunteer Infantry, Binghamton's "other" regiment. Eileen Patch, right, a descendant of the soldier's sister, Sarah, presented transcriptions of Sgt. Englis's letters in Sarah's persona. The war was hard on George. The wound received one week prior to Lee's surrender at Appomattox Courthouse led to his early death.
|Cayuga Dressage & Combined Training Schooling Show - August 26, 2006|
It's said you always remember your first time. My amateur dressage competitive debut occurred at the CDCT 2006 Casual Show at Foxtail Farm in Horseheads, NY. It was memorable.
Guided by my instructor, Donna, Tyler and I gelled over the winter of 2005 and spring of 2006. While not an accomplished rider I began to felt comfortable in the saddle. Compared to a real or "recognized" dressage competition a casual show allowed me to ride in front of a judge and audience in a low-pressure environment. A casual or schooling show is for learning. Dress rules are relaxed, coats, high boots, ties and white riding pants are optional ... just be neat. The judge can speak to you during or after the test with suggestions for improvement. At a recognized show conversation with a judge, more than a good morning or nod of the head, is a major no-no.
Preparation begins several days before a show. For cleaning nooks and crannies of saddle and tack toothbrushes and cue-tips are indispensable. "Bon Ami" works well on grungy stirrup pads but the secret to brightly polished boots will have to remain shrouded. Tyler had a tail shampoo then Donna banged, cut the end parallel with the ground, it.
The morning of the show Tyler got a bath and shine before loading him into the trailer. We shared a ride with Deborah and her horse, Spunks, who was also making his debut.
Behind every rider is a terrific groom. I don't think I was nervous but do remember trying to put my riding pants on over my walking shorts! Donna tacked Tyler, warmed us up and got us to be we were supposed to be on time. It was all I could do to take care of myself.
Tyler was relatively calm in spite of the new surroundings. Other than the horse eating white poles and trellises along the side of the warm-up ring and the long green boxes outside the competition arena, hiding god-only-knows what kind of monster just waiting for him to turn his back, he was fine.
We rode three tests, each a unique series of figures selected to show the harmony, or lack thereof. Think schooling figures in ice-skating. We began at the bottom of the difficulty ladder taking a few baby steps upward. Riding time is short for these simple test, the longest perhaps a minute and a half. We scored well and won a few ribbons but the point of the exercise is discovering your weak points and how to improve on your performance.
After the second test the judge told me I could work on getting Tyler more forward (can you ever get too forward?) but since he was a youngster he'd learn. When I mentioned he's 17 she told me "then you're young, you can learn."
Allow me one brag. Each test ends with a halt from a trot. Tyler and I "stuck" two of them, think a gymnast sticking a landing dismounting from a balance beam for example. We transitioned to the halt straight and square with no walk steps. Each score of "8" for the two brought a very big smile.
Riding in front of my friends was great fun. I'd volunteered at many club shows and how have a view from the competitors side. What's next? The club sponsors a recognized show each summer and I plan to be there, both as a volunteer and a competitor.
|MAPS Air Museum Canton-Akron Airport - July 15 2006|
While visiting in Akron, Ohio, my brother Dale and I visited the MAPS Air Museum located just off the Canton - Akron airport grounds.
Aircraft are both displayed and restored at MAPS. Currently a North American F100 Super Sabre, Martin B26 Marauder and Link ANT-18 flight trainer are in the restoration shop. The Link trainer includes the operators console which I had never seen before, even in pictures.
All of the propeller driven aircraft at MAPS are flight worthy. The operating costs and bureaucratic red tape required to fly a former military jet are, however, prohibitive.
Here are photos of the more notable aircraft at MAPS. Clicking a link will open a new window containing the MAPS web page with additional information on the aircraft type.
American F100D SuperSaber
|Chance Vought A7E Corsair II|
|Grumman F11F Tiger||Grumman S2F Tracker|
|North American T28 Trojan - Army Colors||Dale in a MIG-17 "Fresco"|
|Stinson V77 Reliant||State of the Art - 1930's|
Grumman, North American, Stinson and Chance Vought are no more, victims of the relentless consolidation in the aerospace industry over the last 25 years.
|Valley Forge National Historic Park - August 6, 2006|
Natural defenses protected the camp. Quoting from The Forging of an Army By Jane Chai, Spring 2009, supplemented by Lindley Homol, Fall 2009, " Valley Forge had ample natural defenses; a river protected one side, while two creeks provided a natural blockade that would create problems for anyone approaching.It was far enough from Philadelphia, occupied the British army, to prevent a surprise attack yet close enough to monitor British activities." A soldier who'd been here in 1776 wouldn't recognize the lush forests covering the site's rolling hills today. Trees for miles around had been cut for building material and firewood.
The Visitor Center, pictured left, presents a detailed history of the American Army's winter stay through historical artifacts, words and pictures. Details of camp life were particularly interesting. Did you know a $12 dollar prize was awarded to the 12 man squad completing the first winter hut? Dice and decks of cards were used to while away the hours, and probably to separate food and cash from less than expert players.
Exiting the rear of General Washington's headquarters we saw, in the distance, the general himself walking toward us. Portrayed by a remarkable reenactor with a physical appearance, tall and solidly built, with confident demeanor, presented a man who expected and deserved respect. The General took questions from all comers and responded in character. Click here to read all of General Washington's papers.
We also visited the Mercer Museum in Doyelstown, P.A. Founded by Henry Mercer and completed in 1916 the museum displays the tools of daily American life of the 18th and 19th centuries. Ahead of his time Mercer's building material of choice was concrete, including even window frames. The stairwells between the museums 6 levels are indistinguishable from those of today's parking garage.
Each of the over 55 display rooms is dedicated to a single trade or skill including, barbering, horn and tortoise shell working and solar salt maker. A gallows, the tool of the executioner, is included. The buildings central core is open from the first through 6th levels. Large items, a whaling skiff among, them are hung at various levels.
Wireless audio players are included in the admission price. There are 15 stations throughout the museum where detailed descriptions of selected exhibits can be heard.
Mercer's interests were unbounded. While he made many purchases himself he employed full-time buyers who traveled Pennsylvania and nearby states.
There is an overwhelming, mind numbing really, amount of "stuff" in the place. While the museum includes changing temporary displays, the dust covered and cluttered items in the 55 rooms appear to be as Mercer might have left them when he completed the museum.
|Philadelphia - Memorial Day Weekend - May 2005|
Over Memorial Day weekend I visited Kathy and Michael, friends who moved from Endicott to Philadelphia last year. In addition to sleeping late and breakfasts on the deck we visited Longwood Gardens and downtown Philly.
Pierre S. du Pont established Longwood Gardens, located west of Philadelphia near Valley Forge, early in the last century. Spread over 34 acres are indoor and outdoor gardens, gardens on a large scale. Specimens of bonsai, topiary, and plants of all sizes in between cover the grounds. Standing in the center of the orchid display I saw and photographed over two dozen examples simply by turning around.
After touring the grounds we had dinner at the Garden's restaurant, attended a jazz concert on the grounds and capped the evening with the Color & Light & water show after dark.
Sunday we drove into downtown Philadelphia, visiting Constitution Square where the Liberty Bell is on display Constitution Hall where the Declaration was signed and within whose walls the first Senate and House of Representatives met.
We picking up tickets for the Constitution Hall tour, reservations are free but visitors must have one, and joined the site security line. It struck me as ironic and sad that at this shrine to personal liberty we were forced to empty our pockets, open our bags and remove our shoes before entering.
On a slow day you're allowed to touch the Liberty Bell but this was no slow day and visitor crowded around. Michael took the photo of the bell with Constitution Hall in the background.
Clearing another line we entered Constitution Hall. A game of who's the youngest and who's the oldest visitor left me standing with a shrinking cohort for a disturbingly long time until the ranger said "If you're between 55 and 59 you can sit down." I'm an avid U.S. history reader. However reading and actually being there are two different things as we sat and walked where Washington, Jefferson, Adams and Franklin, et. al. invented our country.
My previous horse, Demi, was sold. After a few misadventures on Tyler, broken rib, mine, I met "K" as in "Special K." "K" is a 16 hand imported Dutch Warmblood gelding. Though primarily a jumper he's a good dressage mount for me.
An update ... "K" returned to his downstate home late in September. I'm very pleased to back with Tyler, a chestnut coated Quarter horse / thoroughbred cross. Unlike "K" he can turn to the left and doesn't swat me with his tail during grooming. He's a treat to ride. "K" wherever you are now, thanks for all you taught me.
|Mr. Buck - Power Supply Designer|
With the retirement of my working partner Dick D., power supply design for the project, the four electrical design departments, has come to me. The name 'Mr. Buck' derives from 'Buck Converter', the configuration of choice for the processors (imagine a PC on one small circuit board) that are our product line. Twelve designs are in production and three more in development.
A challenge as I get older is reading the printing on the small parts, although that's been mitigated somewhat as many of them are too small to print anything on anyway. One thing learned early is NEVER open two bags of identical looking teeny parts at the same time :-)
The work is great fun. The challenges include reducing the size, cost and waste heat the supply produces in normal operation. Design reuse is a prime goal. Developing design tools, spreadsheets primarily, to reduce the cost of the second, third, etc. variant has been a significant and satisfying part of the job.
It seems that no matter how hard I work the result is too large, too costly and too hot for someone's new application :-) The next generation power supply design is on the drawing boards now for several new products. Luckily I can use many of the same parts found inside the typical notebook or laptop computer. The commercial industry pressure constantly drives down component size and cost.
|Demetera And Friend|
After Niko discovered he was the alpha horse in our little herd of two it was all I could do to get him trotting. What I'd thought signs of affection, pushing me with his head for instance, were tests of dominance, which he won!
While searching for a new mount I rode my instructors Lippizaner mare, Melissa, photo below. What a ride! A major change from Niko. A little touch and away she goes, trotting faster than Niko's canter! With a very soft mouth I couldn't get away with hand aids alone, had to use leg aids as well. Walked and trotted, adjust to her tempo, my hands eventually staying in the vicinity of her withers :-) She's a gentle sitting trot. Cantering waited for later when my adrenaline level returned to normal. Melissa is way too much horse for me given my current capabilities but a lot of fun to ride.
Deme(Demetra), a Hanoverian mare, is a joy to ride. She keeps me honest requiring both rein and leg aids for a desired responses but not a particular as Melissa. From lessons learned with Niko I've discouraged any misbehavior quickly with an instant whack upon transgression, not to hurt, she weighs over 1100 pounds, but to get her attention. Discounting the time she bit me we're doing OK :-)
|Dressage - Ballet on Horseback|
My earliest riding memory is from Camp Santa Maria on Turkeyfoot lake near Akron, Ohio, on a very large, very slow, animal at least 10 feet tall. Fortunately the horses at camp paid no attention to what the rug-rats on top were doing. Also fortunate is that no photographic record remains.
In Fall of 2001 my friend Mary put me on her horse, Amber, and at the end of a lunge line and we bounced around the ring, oblivious to what I should be doing but it was fun. (See left, Amber and I on a Spring, 2003 visit.) I began riding lessons that Fall, on and off, never quite getting the hang of it.
Mary rescued me again finding a certified dressage instructor close to Endicott. Donna has made all the difference. An excellent rider, competing at Grand Prix level, she's even a better teacher with infinite patience and an ability to make clear the mysteries of dressage. She's slowly turning me from a passenger to a rider. I've learned that whatever goes wrong is always the riders fault :-)
Since regaining my health earlier this year, with the strength now to actually finish a lesson, I'm improving. On Niko, a 20 something, 14 1/2 hand Appaloosa gelding, we've progressed from walk to trot to canter. (first, second and third gear for the equine impaired.) For a split second or two everything clicks and we look terrific, see right.
Over the last several years maintenance expenses for the Acura Legend grew to an uncomfortable amount ... but I loved the car. Last month the transmission began to fail and I reluctantly decided to replace it. Car shopping is at best a pain in the neck :-) I encountered most of the stereotypical car salesmen, deal only good for today, you'd be crazy to pass up this offer, etc. One salesman even asked where'd I get the money to pay for the car!
I'd expected to buy a Honda Accord but the (one and only) local dealer wouldn't deal, looking for a markup exceeding 10%. Turned to Toyota on the recommendation of a friend and am very happy with the new Camry. This is my first car with an automatic transmission and my left foot still searches for the clutch. But with my knees sometimes feeling 30 years older than the rest of me it was time to leave the standard transmission behind.
Driving to pick up the Camry the Legend popped out of 4th gear a just a mile from the dealership, as if to tell me "It's OK, I understand, you're doing the right thing."
|Space Shuttle Power Supply, Your Tax Dollars At Work|
Early this week at the Indiana University cyclotron we tested a power supply I designed for a Space Shuttle application. Bombarding the unit with protons, simulating 10 years on orbit, we looked for any signs of malfunction. Passed with flying colors! We did little but work, arriving Sunday then heading to the lab to set up. In spite of the nice weather there was no opportunity to explore the University or town outside of Mancinnis, a sub shop. Beam time is rented by the 24 hour period and when your time is up, you move out for the next set of folks. Waiting for us to finish were engineers from BAE Systems and another Lockheed Martin location.
Here's the prototype power supply, the first I've designed from scratch. It'll go into a new Space Shuttle unit slated for flight around 2007. It's an open question if I'll be retired by then. Space programs go slowly, particularly with a crew involved. Over the next few years NASA will use prototype units in Space Shuttle equipment in laboratories to verify the new functions. The penny in the upper left-hand corner provides a scale.
At the business end of the cyclotron the proton stream covers an inch square area around the laser dot marking the center of the stream. The unit is covered by a paper overlay with 15 targets spots that include all the active electronic parts. We wore dosimeters to record the total "dose" of radiation we absorbed. I probably got more on the flights from and to home than at the cyclotron.
I was constantly in and out of the "cave", the area where the beam hits the unit, setting switches and adjusting the measurement equipment. The next time, when we test for the record, I'll add a single "PASS/FAIL" signal to minimize the amount of times we have to set and reset the safety interlocks, a big pain.
|Virginia Vacation, Fall, 2001|
The 3rd week in October found me in Herndon, Virginia, visiting my bother Tom and his family. The weather was spectacular, clear blue skies and warm temperatures graced each day as we toured memorials and museums in Washington, D.C. On Saturday Pam, a companion from the Glacier Park hiking trip, and I met for lunch. Her photo album brought back pleasant memories of the trip.
Saturday we visited memorials including my first to the FDR and Korean War Memorials. While the FDR memorial has it bronzes, FDR and Falla, Eleanor, a bread line, a man listening to a fireside chat, the strongest impressions are made by his words. "All we have to fear is fear itself.", "The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough to those who have too little.", "We must guard the civil rights of all citizens, whatever their background ...", "Those who seek to establish systems of government based on the regimentation of human beings by a handful of individual rulers ...; call it a new order. It is not new and it is not order." The ideas expressed here are as applicable now as they were 70 years ago. Just repeating them silently in my mind brought strong emotions to the surface.
A platoon walks across a field, tired, wary, looking left, right, ahead and behind. The impression is strong even in daylight, intense when approached in twilight. Close by is the Vietnam Memorial. Sunday at a Smithsonian museum we saw a collection of letters, medals, bits of uniforms and personal keepsakes left at the Wall over the years. The collection grows everyday. I found the name of a grade school classmate on the Wall.
This view from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial is my favorite Washington scene. The symmetrical lines of the monument and its' reflection and those of the pool and flanking trees are classic. Visitors from around the world are drawn to this place. I took a picture of a family from India with Mr. Lincoln. Many languages fill your ears, unfamiliar clothing, a spectrum of skin colors your eyes. The common thread bringing them to this place is Lincoln.
Leaving Herndon early Monday it was an easy 4-hour drive to Salem, VA, to visit my friend Mary and her husband Dennis and son Craig at their country home.
Since my last visit Mary has retired from her job as a computer system administrator at Virginia Tech. I tagged along as she moved through her daily schedule, sleeping through, however, the 6:00 a.m. horse watering and stabling. After dropping Craig at school we walked the dogs, cleaned the stables, shopped and visited until it was time to pick Craig up at school. Evenings were dinner, good conversation and, Thursday, helping Craig cut, paste and assemble a school project. I hope we didn't set him back too much :-) Tuesday I drove into Blacksburg to Virginia Tech having lunch with my niece Sarah and taking the tour of the Architectural Studio where she studies.
Mary and I have been friends since we met growing up in Akron, Ohio, our longest continuing relationship. She lets me feel special. We've grown older, and wiser, together. It was great fun to see her and her family and the best part was seeing her so happy.
Amber is making me look very good here, through no fault of my own. Mary gave me three lessons, starting with confidence building exercises to assure me I wouldn't fall off progressing to riding in circles with Amber on the end of a lunge line, then riding in straight lines, to simple turns and halting. By the end of the second lesson Amber was, at times, doing what I wanted her to do so I was ready to show off in lesson three. Remember the line from Star Wars Part III"Don't try, do?" Don't think, do, also applies. I was analyzing everything I was doing instead of just doing it. We could turn left with the best of them but straight lines angled of at 45-degree and Amber would not turn right to save my life. When she just stopped and looked back at me as if to say "Just what is it you're asking me to do?" It was time to stop for the day. All in all it was fun.
Like aircraft horses are high maintenance, each hour of riding requiring many hours of upkeep. I earned my keep by mucking out stalls, the run-out area and the out-of-the-wind-and-rain shelter, spreading hay, brushing Amber and BW, washing and filling water buckets. The product of all that hay and feed has to go somewhere and when it was full I got to drive the tractor with the manure spreader. After riding this was the high point of my horsing-around experience :-)
|Progressive Dinner, Spring, 2002|
Saturday night my home was a venue for one of three soup and salad courses for our clubs progressive dinner. After a flurry of housecleaning on the days leading up to dinner the entire house was clean at the same time.
After hors d'oeuvres at Jennifer's seven us traveled to my home to enjoy the Spicy Tortilla soup and Spinach salad Arlene prepared. It's a rare day I eat at a table let alone with a tablecloth, napkins, candles and company! We moved again for the main course, me to Diana's for roast beef and noodles prepared by Esther. We all met at Kathy's for dessert. I'd decided earlier to forget the calories and just enjoy the desert table particularly the Chocolate Peanut Butter cake.
|Aircraft of The Mighty 8th Air Force|
On a sunny Wednesday afternoon off from work I crawled in, on and around two vintage aircraft flown into the local airport. I was surprised how relatively small these aircraft are. At 5'7" tall it was a tight fit for me throughout, having to walk sideways on the B24 bomb bay catwalk.
The B17 is the most famous bomber of WWII. This particular Boeing designed, Douglas built, B17G was restored as "Nine-O-Nine" in 1986. The B17 could sustain tremendous damage and still get the crew of 10 home safe flying on a single engine, missing large portions of wing, stabilizer and tail and, in one case, all but shot in half.
This restored B24G is the last flyable example of the most produced aircraft in American history. Originally designed by Consolidated Aircraft it was also built under license by Ford in Michigan. Given less attention than it's famous cousin the B17 the B24's flew further, faster and dropped more ordinance than any WWII bomber.
|A tree Grows, Perhaps I Waited Too Long?|
I'd noticed the gutters overflowing in heavy rains but never found time to get on the roof to see why. How long does it take for a forest to start forming anyway?
|Mom In Her Garden, Akron, Ohio, July 2000|
Here are pictures from mom's garden that were taken over a July 4th visit to Akron.
|Updated: October 16, 2017|