Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Stacking & Unstacking Logs

Oh Blog, it's been a bit. I found myself with a minute to reflect, so here we are. When we decided to move to Arizona, Nate said it was like stacking logs. Each worry, each task, each seemingly surmountable item just kept stacking up. I woke up one morning worried about where I would find dog food! We hear our Corning house is closing today at 5. I know I will breath easier now that it's behind us and we are moving on to the next log to throw on the fire! 

Closing here is yet to be scheduled but it's eminent. Which means we get to leave the Faux House that we are short term renting behind. I won't miss it. It's a sad house that needs some love. The mattress is slightly better than sleeping on the floor, the shower is tepid, and birds are trying to break into the "attic" manically.  It's certainly better than a hotel, although the ice maker there would probably work. I cannot imagine trying to do this on our own though, so there is that! Thankfully this is a relo!

Looking forward to settling all the things at the end of this week. I won't lie though. Nate told me that one person lost all their cookware in their move. So now I am worried about my pots and pans. What would be helpful would be if they lost the Christmas tree that probably shouldn't have been moved as I cut all the lights off it the year before and it lost half it's fake snow. Do you put up trees with fake snow in Arizona? Yet another one of my many questions! 

What I am most looking forward to is planting a few bulbs I brought with me from NY. They have sprouted and are looking for a good home in the soil. I think they will go up front near the roses. I heard they don't have squirrels here so we might be in good shape for them making it to spring! Suppose that is all anyone could ask. Just for a bit of dirt and a chance to bloom. 

Sunday, August 30, 2020

The Pink (Gate) House of Poughkeepsie & Winifred Pleninger

 This past summer to occupy ourselves, the kids and I schlepped to various thrift stores. I mean, not too many were local due to Covid, but we managed to find a couple an hour away that were fun. In Ithaca, NY they have a several called the ReUse store and this is where we found this beauty. It's a rather well done water color and certainly caught my eye for $10. The painting itself was slipping down so it was rather hard to even tell that it was signed. Frame was in excellent shape, but what really caught my eye was the pink gingerbread house in the wintertime. 

Since the walls here at Pratt Inc. are pretty much full, I wasn't sure why I had actually bought it. A snippet of newspaper on the back had caught my eye and I'm a sucker for good art AND a good story. Bought it home, cleaned it up, and discovered that Win Pleninger had painted it. My quick google searches really turned up nothing....although I had some good key words to use....

Here is the clue I had to work with. 

With that little clue photographed, I turned to the internet. In particular a Facebook Group that I like a lot:  Weird Second Hand Finds that Just Need to be Shared. The internet did not disappoint. Within a half hour I had quite a story. Check out what the New York Times has to say about the Pink House in 1976

These days a new road would mean a State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) review. You'd have to submit your project to SHPO and see if they allowed you to tear it down.  I cannot envision that they'd be on board with tearing down a historic structure without moving it, changing where the highway is going or at least a year's worth of work to analyze the project every single which way to Sunday. I guess we all hate red tape, but at the risk of losing things that are important, a little red tape will save regrets later on. I guess it's kinda cool that 40 years later we have a process to make sure the things we love hang around a little longer. 

The Weird Second Hand Finds group also turned up a link to the Poughkeepsie Historic Preservation Office on Facebook who posted some cool photos of this house back in the day and a lot more info!

Needless to say, Poughkeepsie does not have this pink house any longer. It's a sad story and one that was probably repeated at least a couple of times in various places in New York. My daughter and I agreed at this point that obviously saving this painting was the best way was to give it back to the City of Poughkeepsie. So, we contacted the lady who was tending the Facebook Group and said listen, we have this painting we really know nothing about. Are you interested? The answer was maybe, because who knew who Win Pleninger was? So, she did some digging and it turns out that she was really Winifred Pleninger and was a local artist. It's possible she even painted the house in real life before it was torn down. (Insert Cold Chills here!) 

Now, the answer was a resounding YES! She would find a home for this painting. Keep in mind that this literally was a $10 purchase! Lexi is going to college near Poughkeepsie, so we met up with the Historic Preservation lady the day Lexi moved back in. It was hard to have a meaningful conversation with masks and social distancing, but I felt confident that good things would come of this exchange. 

Just got the email earlier this past week. This painting has been accepted at the Clinton House! Lexi and I are beyond thrilled and can't wait to visit if it's installed! Generally speaking, junking isn't always this exciting, but I'm so happy we got this painting somewhere that others can enjoy it and better yet tell the story about Historic Preservation. 

Friday, August 28, 2020

His Future is In The Air


Sometimes when life hands you lemons, you decide to spend your summer in the air. I mean, it's not like the universe up and decided that both of the Pratt kids would be jobless, hello Corona virus I'm looking at you...However, once college ended for Luke at the start of summer & Civil Air Patrol was only meeting on zoom, he had a significant amount of free time and spending the summer days in the clouds was a perfect way to stay positive and motivated. And I mean that it helped all of us stay positive and motivated! 

Check out the recent article written about the flying program he's doing and his plans. He's working on an essay atm for the Air Force Academy and shortly after that will work on his plan b, which is looking at colleges. It's scary stuff. Kinda as scary as knowing your kid is in the air flying cross county by himself. I employ the same strategy with the virus. I think about it in very small amounts and with deep breathing to keep panic feelings at bay. Thankfully being so freaking proud overwhelms those feelings most of the time. 

These days we're looking forward to his successful check ride which will conclude his private pilot's license and also an interview & congressional nomination which will help the possibility of entering the Air Force Academy. 

I'm also looking forward to hitting some garage sales this weekend. You have to scatter in some of the little happy things while you're helping your kid achieve his dreams! Have a good Friday peeps! I'll be back soon with a story about a pink house. It's been peculating for quite some time and I'm pumped about that too. 

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Don't Follow the Light

This past week I've sweated in places I wasn't aware could sweat and my feet still feel like I'm walking over a bed of coals. Three blisters, some oddly placed bruises, and some bad tan lines are the physical results left on my body from four days spent working from 7 am to 8 pm on a park build in Elmira. My heart however is full and I'm oddly satisfied.  

The playground was likely built in the 1950s and it showed. I watched the demo and didn't even feel a small twinge as old metal was ripped out of the ground and carted away on a dump truck. Later when a security guard at the building adjacent to the park mentioned a kid in his building was devastated that we were taking the playground away, I felt horrible. The news that a new kick ass park was coming along was shared, but still...I wondered how many little people would look out their windows and wonder why the park was going away. The City of Elmira has a lot of parks, but only some of them were reopened due to the pandemic and this one was still closed. 

By Monday, the holes for the equipment was in process. It was slow going as you had to carefully position the drill over top of the surveyed flag. The City guys had a process but with only one machine there wasn't a lot to do that could speed up things. They were still drilling holes by the time the playground guys showed up the following morning. 

There was a small crew the first day. Turns out that despite the best surveying, a lot of the holes had to be redug by hand. Since there was a foundation and cobblestone street under one section, this process took longer than anticipated. 

Concrete was supposed to go in on Thursday am. In actuality, it got poured Friday am. Two skid steers with huge buckets and a parade of wheelbarrows started filling in the holes. It was quite a relief as the volunteer numbers were smaller due to Covid and the extreme heat. When the driver left, he handed the invoice over. The concrete was donated!

Food and money to purchase food came from various places. Home Depot and Lowe’s gave supplies. A little old lady showed up with boxes of ice cream sandwiches and said she had worked at the the school across the street for twenty years looking at the old playground. She had tears in her eyes.

I heard that normally a playground this nice goes into an upscale neighborhood. Upscale isn’t the right term for this neighborhood. Under development might be a better term as after the new playground, a bandstand is planned as well as big changes to other not for profits in area. Exciting times ahead!

I’m off for a couple of days and will miss the last of the build. I’m a little sad as I helped install the header for the big ass slide but won’t be around for the other pieces. It’s not a small slide and there was a bit of a pucker factor! I do intend to give it a try though after it’s completed. I will be missing spreading three tractor trailer loads of wood chips though so maybe I’m not missing much! 

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Sparkly Bits and Die-cut Planes

It was only natural I'd spot the fluttering banner that said thrift store. I crossed paths with the banner on the way to the park where all the food trucks were. I made a promise with that banner that I'd check out the store on the way back. I was there to hand out flyers for a park that I'm involved with. 

A short while later, I passed out all my flyers. Conversation was limited due to mask wearing and most of the people were happily eating their lunches. I had mistakenly packed and subsequently eaten my lunch prior so I had to skip trying Global Taco or the one called Over the Moon Grilled Cheeserie. I consoled myself with a whoopie pie and headed back the way I came with a promise that next Thursday I'd be back! 

At first glance, the church basement thrift store was exactly that. I had spotted a cool vintage butterfly pin full of sparkly bits right off, but I was pretty sure my sale would be pretty small. Despite the warning that all was half off, I was less than impressed with the first two rooms. Then I came across a small collection of painted plates. Embossed gold with roses, Mine Mine Mine! Inner crow screamed with glee!

A second plate had lovely free form roses with handed painted little pretty flowers at the top. It was also had a $3 sticker on it. Never seen anything like it. It almost looks like the artist was playing with a few styles of decoration. Very entertaining. In all, my little painted plates totally made up for skipping a delicious super cheesy grilled cheese sammy. It was a nice way to slide into the weekend. 

Saturday evening I had a little bit of time while waiting for fried pickles to arrive. The rest of dinner too, but specifically the fried pickles. My earlier disappointment in not having a grilled cheese off the food truck manifested itself in mac and cheese from a local place for dinner. Anyhow, while waiting, I dug out some new stamps I got that came with the ability to die cut out the pieces. I bought them after I had an on-line scrapbooking party. 

Did I tell you about that? A bunch of us got on-line in the midst of the virus and scrapped via web ex. I wouldn't have known how to set up a web-ex except I was taking some on-line classes for something else and happened to have an account. So, we got to all hang out and work together. I made a sh*t-ton of background pages, which I'm likely to do when I don't have 100% concentration and just want to do something mindless. Since evidently there is a little bit of camping this summer, they will come in handy for layouts. 

I made six of these cards. I only needed two, because kids are still graduating and other peeps are still retiring. Despite the bug, life events march on even it's a socially distanced graduation wearing masks and a last day of work after spending your whole life at it but skipping the get together because let's face it most peeps are still working off their kitchen table. 

I am thankful that we will have a little of this and a little of that to look forward to this summer. They say it's the mask wearing which we all have gotten mostly used to, I guess which is why the numbers in my state are down. With the threat of bad things happening, I'm noticing that the majority of peeps are wearing theirs. We've had our big box home improvement store shut down twice for lack of mask wearing and one of the local bars that operates in the sticks lost their liquor license as they kept serving.  I can say that perhaps some should consider running their masks through the laundry, but we've all got our personal preferences, right? 

And with that, I'm off. I have my own laundry to do and left over mac and cheese for lunch to devour! 

Sunday, June 14, 2020

A Good Last Day

I was pleased when a couple of weeks back the owner of Costa's Flying Service told me that Lou would be Luke's CFI (Certified Flight Instructor). I've met Lou numerous times. He's flown our Civil Air Patrol Cadets at least once, not to mention he was previously in CAP. I think his membership predated the current members of our Squadron for the most part, but I knew that he and Luke would hit it off. 

Well, I knew they would hit it off eventually. Although Luke is well spoken around adults and confident, he does tend to be on the shy side of things and I was pretty sure Lou also was on the quiet side. This past Friday at work I got the text message that Luke was on his way home from flying and that he had stories. 

When I called on my way home to see if I could coax the stories out of him, Luke said that I had to wait for supper when we had longer to talk. He had been flying on one Cessna in particular, but they had to fly an older one for lessons on Friday as the plane Luke was used to flying had to have 100 hour maintenance done. The older plane Luke wasn't used to gave Lou and Luke a little bit of a hard time. 

First the pre-flight inspection was different as items were switched around and then the headsets stopped working when they did finally get off the ground. You can't hear over the engine while flying so you can imagine there was a bit of yelling as Luke interpreted what Lou was asking him to do. After landing the first time, they were able to work the kinks out with the headsets. Despite these complications, Luke had enjoyed his time in the air and told me that he thought he and Lou were finally starting to bond. Lou had told him about his time in the Army at one point Friday. It had been a beautiful day to fly. I've been with Luke after he lands  and he gets all shiny happy. I imagine Lou probably thought that was pretty cool. 

Later that night I got a text message that Lou had been out walking his dog and had been found unresponsive on the sidewalk and had passed away. Luke was crushed. I'm pretty sure Luke was Lou's last lesson. At least he got to spend the day with one of the best kids I know up above the clouds. That's a good last day. 

Later, I asked Luke if he could have landed if something bad had happened to Lou while they were flying. He said yes, I could have landed. It would have sucked and I probably would have wanted to stop flying for a while. However, I know what to do in an emergency. That made me feel better. 

I asked him this on our way back from junkin. He had managed to score a really old CRT monitor that was small enough for his F-16 project and a handful of servos, so he was feeling the glow after a successful hunt and I thought that he might be willing to talk a little. He had initially wanted to take a week off flying, but his new flight instructor informed him that he would be back in the air on Tuesday. I think when Luke does finally solo that we'll have a quiet moment for Lou and to thank him for his last final instruction. 

Sunday, May 31, 2020

We're All In This Together

A friend made that super fantastic title for me the other day and I decided it needed to be the feature of this page about the award that my son received from Civil Air Patrol. I also decided to use a piece of plastic that my son gifted me after he dismantled a key board. I thought it was only fitting as the award was for the Air Force Assocation's CyberPatriot competition. They got first place in NY State for the service division and there wasn't time for the ceremony before Covid hit. So, a couple of months later when the Cadets really needed a lift, they got an award presented to them at home. 

It's super hard to believe that the kid that started CAP when he was just a youngster now is old enough to grow a beard and fly a plane. 

Yes, that's right. He's flying these days. A scholarship from our local Experimental Aircraft Association has him lifting off a couple of times a week in hopes to obtain his solo and ultimately his private pilot's license. He's taking ground school as he goes. It's a pretty useful pursuit this summer. A summer where a job isn't a thing as the place he normally works isn't open yet and we're not even sure what phase that place will fit into or whether they will even need the extra staff. 

It's good for my soul that he's getting to do something worthy. I, like every other parent on this planet during the pandemic is worried that her kids are not getting enough. We're embracing the small things here, but right now there are some fairly large things looming on the horizon that are scaring our socks off. 

It's all a little too real to me at the moment. Generally speaking in our quiet little spot, democracy is something in the background. On Friday it was in my head all day. My office at work is above the police station and was one of the many places throughout the country with protesting. All day there were horns honking in support, chanting, and squealing tires. Normally I can work through just about anything but all the cacophony coming into the third story of my building was distracting. Despite my best attempts at calm (it was peaceful after all) I could not relax. By the time I got home my head was pounding. Other places aren't so lucky as we've seen fires on the news and some of those places are a short drive away. 

Escape with a book, some cooking & crafting were the small things that helped bring my head back into a good spot. Add in some sunlight and a historic SpaceEx launch, I'm ready to head back into the thick of it with a little wind under my wings. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

When Bad Things Happen to Good Transfers

Picked this little dresser up off Facebook Market Place. It met all of my criteria. It needed to be cheap ($35), close by, and ugly. Since it was previously white and pink and not the nice shade of pink and in my town, it all worked out. Don't believe me on the pink thing do you? Alright, hold tight.

The owner had it stored in the garage and it had kinda picked up a bit of a funk smell to it as well. The first chore was cleaning it off & spraying it with Lysol. I'm not entirely sure that actually worked or it just aired out on it's own. Anyhow, the intermediate step was to get rid of that pink which really wasn't all that easy to cover, even using gray chalk board paint.

About three coats later, it had a nice gray tone to it. Sadly the drawers weren't all that excited about closing firmly so after the paint job there was a lot of sanding to get things to fit happily back together. I then ordered the Prima Transfer "On a Voyage" from Amazon. I really was excited about the ship and the compass and I thought with the curved top it would look like a sea chest...or at least have that theme.

Since this was in the very middle of Covid, shipping of the transfer took forever and even was delayed. Finally, I got my hands on it and that very evening began working on getting it transferred onto this dresser. The first piece went on really well. The second which had the ship was horrible! I've seen transfers pick up the paint instead of transferring onto the piece, which is bad paint adhesion. This was very different. It was like the bottom layer of the transfer that was sticky went on but the top layer with the image refused to budge. I think to be honest it was old and I learned subsequently that it had been discontinued. If I had ordered from a distributor, I could have asked for a new one or at least gotten my money back. Amazon wanted the whole product back and two sections of it were already on the dresser.

 I kept at it and it turned out to mainly just be the second drawer up that didn't work out so well. My options were to order another transfer and sand the drawer back down or come up with plan B. I decided I wanted roses and to make this look like the inside of a trunk. Enter a second transfer. This one was a water slide transfer and required the whole piece be mainly finished.

After a bunch of brown glaze rubbed on, gold paint dabbed in various places and then a coat of clear, I was ready for the blue rose water slide. That can be found on Ebay and was shipped super quick and worked effortlessly. It definitely made me much less sad about the places that didn't transfer so well. There is so much detail in this piece now!

I'm not sure yet what I'm doing with this piece. It's up for sale, but mainly because I made it for fun and to pass the time during the no fun Covid. Might be a donation piece, we'll see.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Orioles and Buffalo

I was pretty emotional Mother's Day morning. NY weather had been flirting with us where one weekend I got a sunburn and the next all the plants were covered in snow and ice. I bring a lot of potted plants in for the winter and some of them have been around since my first house which is pre-kids. So, around 20 years. They had all headed back out of the heated porch and had been basking in the sun. I knew better when I heard it was getting cold, but the volume of plants to bring back inside was A LOT. Some of them really didn't look good after their cold night out in the snow and it felt like a big ole stomp on my heart on top of all the rest of the shizz going on. One cannot possibly have to deal with a virus AND snow at the same time....

I went for a drive, hid some rocks in a local park and came back home. That head clearing session did give me some perspective. I could mope the rest of the day and go to bed angry and sad, or I could rally the troops.

The troops had just gotten up. See Pratt Inc. has first shift and second shift. Second shift has just wrapped up the last semester of in person, on line, extra break weeks, messed up college. How anyone managed to get decent grades at all in such a rapidly changing messed up situation was beyond me. Both kids have taken a little time to smell the roses so to speak or in this case stay up all night playing on-line games.

Anyhow, by the time I stomped back into the house, they were all just finishing showers. An offer of Arby's for whatever meal immediately follows cereal at noon and a trip to the Buffalo farm was on the agenda with ice cream for dessert. While I was negotiating this trip out, my first visitor to the orange and grape jelly feeder arrived. He was cold too but stuck his beak into the jelly and orange like a rock star.

Add in orange birds & buffalo babies, it was a pretty rock star day. Most of the plants are recovering with one probably a goner. I'm OK with that. Shizz happens. Here's to Mother's Day 2021 with no snow and better yet no virus!

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Snooze for 30 Days

Moved the kid out of college last weekend. I do not possibly think a more f-ed up semester was had. From the week and a half off due to water issues (somebody damaged a fuel supply line accidentally which in turn ended up migrating into the Town aquifer ) to an extra week off on top of Spring Break for Covid so the teachers could transition classes to electronic, to on-line everything even finals. We signed a contract with John for a room in the Haunted Mansion on the hill for the whole semester which meant that she still had to pay rent, including this month for three days, so she headed back down after Spring Break to social distance in New Paltz. We moved her out in a cloud of pot smoke. The remaining kid in the house was smoking a bong at the time. Made me wonder if Code Enforcement should require vent fans in each room in college towns. Dear me we had quite the sore throat at the end.

Anyhow, she's back and moved in. I have passed off all my orchid duties, which was pretty extensive back to Lexi. Most of them decided to bloom so it looks like a green house in her room these days.  We are all enjoying the birds at the feeder, an extra hand with the dogs, and wishing that both Pratt Inc. kids had the benefit of real college vs. this on-line mishmash that everyone is making the best of. I suppose in the scheme of things, it's not like they are in the middle off WWII after college like Grandpa Ham. Grandma Skip lost her fiance to the war and then ended up marrying a flyboy who was my Grandpa. Major life things right there that dictate the course of a life.

Anyhow, speaking of flowers, cupcakes, and art...all those little things that make your day just a little bit happier, let's talk about social media. I think the majority of us tune into places like THE BOOK as a palate cleanser, or at least I do. Being an election year here in the States I was prepared to see everything go political. Add in a Global Pandemic, we have the addition crunch of conspiracy theories, opinions, more opinions, and stupidity. At times I have found myself wondering how the particular person posting gets through their life with the serious lack of science and common sense that they are displaying by hitting share. I try to be careful what I share. For one thing, I try to read/watch/double check it all. One time I posted something about a broken window in a business, without checking to make sure it was Corning NY and not Corning, California. I was thankful somebody alerted me to the fact it wasn't local to me and I deleted the post.

It's making me increasingly angry to see all the stupidity. I've taken to actually posting content that explains why their hysterical conspiracy theory video was actually harmful. So harmful that Facebook was taking it down. One of the answers to that link was less than satisfactory, so instead of getting angry, I hit the unfriend button without remorse. A group of us came up with a good plan the other day on THE BOOK. If you wouldn't eat lunch with the person in real life, why are you friends with them? If you'd eat lunch with them but the things they are currently saying piss you off? There is the Snooze for 30 Day Option. Hopefully when they are out of your time out jail, the opinion du jure has passed and they are back to posting flower photos.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

A Tank on 86

Recently my son popped out of his room around 2:50 in the afternoon and asked if I had a minute. He then adjusted his shaggy hair in the mirror and tweaked his collar. Working from home, sure I have a minute. My coworkers used to just yell from the other room. Now they snore on the couch and occasionally pop out of their rooms in a college induced coma. I miss the old ones. The new ones are cool but I have to make lunch for them and listen to them bark about the squirrels.

Luke wanted a photographer. A photographer for yearbook photos. Photos that were due in ten minutes. I signed, stopped what I was doing and put on some slip on shoes and trudged up the hill. A clump of daffodils would have to do. I took a ton of photos until he was happy and then gave up my phone so he could take the ones he wanted & color correct.

He also has a license for Photoshop on his computer so he added a few things. In one photo, he added a tank tooling down Interstate 86 that you can barely see in the background. Now, these little Easter Eggs are way too small to see in general, but he knows they are there.

What a crazy time and crazy year. Who knew I'd be a yearbook photographer at this stage of my life!

A quick shout out to Tanya Leigh Designz who created those cool little tabs. I actually was pretty excited to work them in, even the little germ Covid which looks better in blue! The one bright spot too all this social distancing is that there has been an increase on the crafting side of things for me!

Have a Happy Tuesday!

Friday, April 24, 2020

Seriously Snow!

Who knew that you could play with sculpty clay ON a bottle? I discovered that a few posts back and then I wanted to try another bottle with round two. My plan was to glaze the bottle first and bake. Then add clay and bake again. It's hard to see the glaze, but it's a shimmery glaze. I used an opalescent one with some thinner. I haven't yet come up with a technique so you don't see the brush marks, but I don't doubt I'll eventually figure it out.

I worked on this while watching the last Star Trek Discovery Season 2 finale. CBS All Access offered a free month and I hopped on that band wagon so we could watch since it's still chilly here and alternating snow with rain. I have suggested to the weather that it would be much easier to quarantine with nice weather as then there is gardening and all that, but so far my appeals have resulted in more snow. THE MAN has purchased an old lady tv table for me to use and I've been making good use of it while watching tv in the evening. I'd rather be planting flowers, but I'll make them out of clay for now while waiting patiently for winter to actually be over.

I find that working with my hands in the evening keeps me off my phone. How one multi-tasks while watching a show, I don't know, but I seem to like to do it. Social Media is completely no fun these days and I've got my fill of virus related news/fake news/opinions on virus/opinions on (insert political party here) by breakfast time and perhaps even earlier if the news is particularly stupid. So, I'm thankful for that little table. And thankful that I am a craft hoarder and lots of things to play with.

Looking forward to Saturday when we do a virtual crafternoon! Who knew such things existed!

Happy Friday!