Saturday, October 19, 2013

Full Moon & Ghosts

Yesterday, I felt like I spent the entire time in my car...

Haunted Bungalow
First, an early a.m. board meeting. Through town, which is all torn up. Yes, I'm happy that the folks are working, but on EVERY street in town?? Simultaneously???

Ah well.... It was worth it to be on one segment of my drive to see this historic home, a traditional bungalow, all decked out for the season. Click on the picture to see it close-up. The details on the leaded windows in the porch area are amazing. Yes, I was stopped when I snapped this, thank you. 

It's been recognized TWICE as a national historic building, and I always said that if I could, I'd lift it from where it's sitting and plant it right where I want to retire. There are a lot of these kinds of bungalow homes in our area, and this is the one most well-restored and well-kept. You can see a little slice of its neighbor, and you can perhaps see that they "renovated" their porch in a newer style. 

These houses are small-ish and usually have bedrooms along one side, one bath, and a "shotgun" kind of arrangement along the other side: porch, living room, dining room and kitchen all in a row. There's usually a wall between the porch and living room, and dining room/kitchen, but often an archway which is the demarcation between living room and dining room. Usually also a basement, and part of that can be a cistern or a "root cellar."

Ok, I did say "retire," and you all can stop laughing. I can dream...


After the board meeting, my 2 knitting buddies and I drove to St. Charles, to Wool and Co. My favorite shop for the most part, because they carry yummy yarns. This day, needle selection was a bit scarce, but it was still cool. 

We were able to help a crocheter. The gal at the counter didn't know much about crochet, but we could at least advise the customer about hook size, yarn, etc. It's a cool vibe where nobody minds that you are giving advice to another person (something my LYS certainly lacks lately...). 

Didn't photograph my purchases, but it was all sock yarn, plus another set of Karbonz DPNs, in a 1.5. The one skein of yarn said 1.0 but the clerk said 1.5 would be fine. This yarn is a tad heavier than, say, Opal, so the skoosh larger needles shouldn't be a problem. The bright red means that if I can get them done in time, they'll be Christmas socks for me. Bright red shot through with real silver, I might add. Simple rib pattern, I think, unless I want to repeat that swirly rib, which would also work nicely...

And I got a mug. Like I needed another one, but it's 16 oz, which is what I like for my a.m. tea, and it's a "Knitwit" mug. Pics tomorrow or Monday, I promise!

Cloudy full moon this morning...
Full Moon...

Yes, the crazies are out. So is the moon. As I came in to work this morning, I saw it, in all its glory, and then when I turned to grab my camera, the clouds passed, but I think you get the idea.

I have to say, I'm disturbed. One of my FB friends posted something on Thursday and it was about dog cruelty. I should've skipped FB before bedtime, because I was up at 1 a.m. Thursday morning (of course, because I had to get up early anyway). I had a horrible nightmare and I couldn't get the pictures out of my mind... After tossing, turning, tossing, shuffling around - I got up and went out to the couch, and even though the "real" full moon was supposed to be Friday, the living room was as bright as if I had a spotlight on the front yard. It was the white light of the moon and it was stunning. If I knew I wouldn't have caused a riot with the dogs, I'd have slipped outside to take a shot of it. 

Anyway, it was beautiful. I wish we could get to a spot where there's very little light pollution so that Hubby can get out his telescope and take pictures. I've had this thing in my mind where we are able to get the moon in all 4 of its phases, and we do a "series" photo. Lately, though, when the moon's in its various phases, we've had clouds or weren't able to get far enough out of town, late enough. Especially since he gets up before the chickens (just about the time the bats go to bed) to work. It's hard to justify screwing up a work day just to get moon pictures. 


Speaking of crazies: BusinessWeek says the Tea Party won, but it was a Pyhhric victory. They say that now "crazy is the new normal." God, I hope not. Crazy needs to go away. How about, the next election, we replace Crazy with oh, I don't know: SMART maybe??

Mitch McConnell says "There is no education in the second kick of a mule." Maybe now that Ted (Canadian/Cuban) Cruz has his million-name mailing list (which, in my cynical mind is what drove his madness), he will be hushed by saner heads in his party? Like John McCain??? I can't believe I'm typing that... Though he DID say, "It is one of the most shameful chapters I have seen in the years I've spent in the Senate" when commenting about the recent fiasco -- I mean government shut-down. 
From the staircase down the esplanade

I also see where Tom Foley died yesterday. For those of you who remember, Foley (D)-Wash, was an outspoken critic of the extreme partisanship that emerged in the mid-90s. Unfortunately for us, he was defeated in 1994 - the start of the Gingrich era and probably the impetus for Karl Rove's fantasy of a "permanent Republican majority." He was a consensus builder, and I hope that somewhere on the back bench, we find another one of his ilk. Lord knows we need one. 

Spirits With the Spirits...

I finally managed to corral my sister and we went to an event at our local theater - the "jewel" - the Rialto. I'm always stunned at how beautiful it is in there. And how close it came to being plowed over for a parking lot. Dorothy Mavrich, one of our local activists, who's now in her mid-90s, was the firebrand responsible for making sure that our city council didn't vote to destroy it, but instead voted to renovate it. 

Here are just a few shots of the place. It's just jaw-dropping beautiful. That's about the only word I can come up with for now. The work that went into the renovation was certainly worth it. I think my sister and I may come out for the annual Festival of Trees, too. Can you just picture this space decked out for the holidays?

You'll see autographs in one of the pictures. Downstairs in the "green room" area, there are walls, more walls, and stairwells FULL of autographs and doodles. Everyone from Howie Mandel, Jerry Seinfeld and the like to Taylor Swift. Even Carol Burnett and tons of other famous folks. 

Barton Grand organ
Just looking at the Barton Grand organ is enough to entertain "Phantom-esque" dreams, and looking at the plasterwork and all the details lovingly restored around the stage brings you some faith in the permanency (such as it is) of such things as old buildings. The organ is on a pneumatic device and it can be raised up to stage level when needed. There's usually a Christmas concert, and it's just glorious.

My only complaint is that sometimes artists come in there and don't do their homework. As I said, the space is fairly intimate. It's not exactly the Chicago Theatre. There are only 1,926 seats in this venue and very rarely do you hear complaints of "a bad seat." It's reasonably priced, for the most part as well. Nice entertainment and close to home. 

One section of the "autographs"
One concert we attended -- the artist had the amps cranked to about 16! You really don't need it, honest! The docents told me that it's all up to the artists, and they are always a bit annoyed when the artists don't get that the acoustics in there are phenomenal. You don't need it up to 16... you can get by actually pretty nicely on about 8 or 9. And the audience doesn't leave with ringing ears and raging headaches. 

Anyway, our local women's club had a party there, as a celebration of our 40th anniversary. Sadly, I don't think it was well-attended, and that's a shame. Here are some of the pictures. She's a competitive cuss... we won the Scavenger Hunt, even though we didn't get any ghost shots. Or at least we didn't see any spectres. I did get some orbs, which the ghost hunters at the Rialto say are "something" and Hubby says are "reflections." Spoilsport!! 

Where my flash "popped."
So a funny thing happened on the way to hunting ghosts... We hiked up the stairs toward the "nosebleed" seats (really not - it's the upper balcony and there are a ton of steep-ish stairs). The docents told us that was an area that was "active" with spirits. One of my friends actually did get a wisp of something. I took the big camera and the big flash. I snapped a picture similar to this, but my camera's large flash failed. Died. Kaput. I thought, "oh nuts..." and took the large flash unit off. Snapped this one, and swear-on-granny's-rosary... There was a large "POP!" as if I had one of the old-timey flash bulb units. Sis jumped, I startled, and I turned the camera toward me, expecting to see a blown flash unit. All I could think of was how I was going to explain to Hubby that I blew out the on-camera flash unit in a brand new Canon EOS! Though Sis did say, "hey, you have witnesses - it was the ghosts!"

One of the docents told me that sometimes, the spirits "play with energy" and perhaps they decided they would have a little fun with my camera. I might be a bit of a skeptic, but I can tell you that not 5 minutes later, I put the unit back on to take a picture of the stage and it worked just fine. Go figure. 

Amazingly, as we went upstairs to one of the dressing rooms, my sister turned to me and said, "Do you smell that?" I didn't smell anything. She said that she "hit a wall of lilac." She told the gal who was the "sensitive" (the person who channels the spirits) that she smelled "something." When the sensitive said, "Lilacs" my sister said YES! And it was also interesting that in that room, with 6 women in a fairly tight space, 2 of them said they were "freezing" while my sister reiterated that she smelled the lilac again. It was not cold in there. Lilac is the signature scent of "Vivian" - one of 3 documented spirits in the Rialto. There was even a TV show segment about the people haunting the place! 

Scarf winners
Anyway, the most fun part was hanging with my sister. We don't do that often enough. You may recognize a certain black-and-orange scarf?? Four of us knitters in the club did the Scavenger Hunt prizes. My sister is the one in the red with the long scarf (she says it's not long, SHE is just short). 

I had been talking about her to my fellow club members, and I think they thought she was a myth! But I think she's also coming with me to our Christmas event, which is cool. 


Tomorrow, I go with my teacher to deliver donated yoga supplies to the Prison Yoga Program. I think I'll investigate the training when it comes around. 

Our studio took up a collection during the month of September, which was designated "National Yoga Month" (among the seven billion other "dedications" you probably know about...). We have a bunch of mats, some books and a car-load of meditation magazines, and the lady who's coordinating the local program is very excited to get these items. 

There's usually a waiting list to join a yoga or meditation program in the prison. And before anyone goes all "Ok, just pamper the inmates," I have to say that there are documented studies (click here if you're interested) that show how meditation changes your brain. Click on the link above if you want to know how these types of programs help the inmates both during their incarceration and long-term to assist them in making better choices. Anything that helps to keep people on the right track and keep them out of prison? How could you not like that? 

Random Picture...

Porky, about 2008
Outside our deck, we have the luck (?) to be close to our neighbor's hickory tree. I think it's a hickory. But what I definitely know is that it's just about half-dead - maybe 2/3 dead. And the neighbor, unfortunately, is a lazy-butt who does the minimal to keep his yard decent. Often, his wife and her parents are out there doing things he should be doing. And occasionally, we get an earful when we're out in our yard. 

So it used to be that our deck rail (truth be told, it's a "deck" in name only - it's actually an extended back stoop, since it's right on the property line and only large enough to allow you to go in and out the back door, and keep a snow shovel out there) was  "the" hot spot for birds, squirrels, etc. I could put out stale bread, seeds, fruit, etc. and we'd have a show. We even had squirrels come chattering at us when we didn't serve dinner quite as prompt as they'd like. And a cardinal family that would chirp if the sunflower seeds were stolen by the squirrels. 

This is a shot I caught through the side window of Porky, our most famous squirrel resident, hopping down from a limb onto the rail. I think it was when I had stale bread AND peanut butter. The picture was taken in 2008 during a snowstorm. 

The reason I'm sure the tree is 2/3 dead is that nobody comes to the railing anymore. True, we have elkhounds who watch to make sure the Big Evil Bunny stays away, and they stalk the ground squirrels and the grey ones. But even when I put stuff on the rail, no takers.

So I'm thinking that perhaps the tree is unstable. And I'm sure that, even though we trim the branches that overhang our deck and roof, the neighbor will wait till the blasted thing falls over before he does anything...


I'm going to start Judith Lasater's "Living Your Yoga," both because I have to read it for training, and because I'm interested in how to integrate the principles into day-to-day life. 

Just about done with "Emma" on the Kindle. Still searching for the one Yarn Harlot book that I'm sure I have...

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