Thursday, July 19, 2007

The beat goes on.....

So to pick up....last week was Art's Festival week. Big dealins' around here. Usually the hottest, humidest (Webster will forgive me), gawdawful week of the summer. Last week was the loveliest week we've had so far. Yes, there was some rain, but for the most part it was sunny, in the 70's and comfortable. (If there is global warming, apparently PA is on another "globe".) I had to travel to the New Kensington Campus (again) last Thursday, the first day of the festival, so I really didn't get to scout it out. I took a quick walk around Friday, not the busiest day, and here's what it looks like:

This is lower Allen Street, the street directly across from the fake "Main Gates" of the University. The artists set up booths for 4 or so blocks around on campus, then there is lower Allen Street with some food vendors, a stage, the Artist's Embassy, and the water features with gardens. Once across Beaver Avenue, the artists begin again and run for approximately 6 or so blocks. The main streets are blocked for the entire week and for days or so afterward. To say it is a mess doesn't quite describe it. Anyway, there are in the neighborhood of 300 or so artists. It's a lot. Plus there are four venues with almost continuous entertainment--much of it bizarre, but whatever.

This is the view looking in the opposite direction. To the right is the water bucket feature, to the left and not in the photo, is the "spray tunnel". A short walk through a trellis, with plants and fine water spray. The ideas behind these is that it is usually so deadly hot, people can just walk through and get refreshed. Parents bring their children in bathing suits to play in the "buckets". The buckets are weighted and fill with water at varying rates. Thus they "spill" randomly soaking whomever is standing underneath. Kids love it.

Here's a view of a few dumping buckets.....

This is view down the length of Allen into town. About four blocks after this, the booths turn down a side street and continue on in a square.

So this is quite a big deal. The State Police bring in their mounted units, there are bicycle cops and medics galore, for four days it is sheer hell or heaven, depending on your point of view.

What I'm finding you look at that crush of people in the last photo, is that people find it necessary to bring their pets. All kinds of dogs, sometimes more than one on leashes and try to walk them through the crowd. Now I like dogs as well as the next person. But this seems to me to be nearly cruel. And, apparently, these idiots, are getting so bizarre (or brazen depending on your point of view), that for the first time I saw a "no pets" sign on the water features.......Perhaps that's a "sign of the times". HA HA.

What did I buy? I saw a very unusual pendant that I was thinking about getting on Friday, and didn't because I had to get back to work, and the booth was way to far away to walk back to in time. When I went back on Saturday, it and everything like it, was gone. The artists made composites of faceted semi-precious stones. They ended up with a striking rainbow stone. I ended up getting wild olive colored quartz earrings from a bead artist from Florida. Probably a good thing.

On Sunday, we skipped the festivals (there is another more folksy arty one on the outskirts of town, started as a protest 10 years ago) entirely, and went to the Altoona Curve baseball game (AA Pirate affiliate). The weather channel is my curse because it has turned DH into a weather weenie, and every mention of a thunderstorm throws him into a tizzy. (And please remember we live in Central PA and there are ALWAYS thunderstorms in our forecasts in the summer! If you're reading this during July/August go ahead and look now, I'll wait....) Naturally, thunderstorms were forecast (no watches or warnings though), but as usual not a drop fell during the game.

Knitting soon....promise.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

If you spend....

...your time reading blogs.....ya don't spend any writing blogs.

I think this is going to become one of the sayings I use on my header. I'm going to play catchup today, because, even though I've been knitting, my frogging has been keeping my knitting from showing any progress.

We spent the 4th of July, just hanging out at home. The weather was shaky so we didn't go hiking or even go out to see the fireworks. Instead, we WATCHED THEM ON TV! I kid you not. But when you can hear the rain pounding on the roof, you just know you made the right decision. That and the fact that you have a great goblet of sangria loaded with berries at your elbow, just adds to the satisfaction.

Right after the fireworks, my DH flipping through the channels found a park ranger on our local access channel leading a tour group at Gettysburg, describing Pickett's charge. The battle of Gettysburg took place July 1 - 3, 1863. The guide was a geeky looking fellow, who turned out to be a state historian, and he was incredibly interesting. Because DH and I are both suckers for history, this turned out to be better than fireworks. Gettysburg is roughly 2 hours southeast of us--a pretty easy drive, but neither of us have ever toured the battlefields. We decided that we will try to do something like that later this summer. Besides the Boyd's Bear museum is in the vicinity.....

We did finally get to hike later in the weekend. We hiked a tiny part of the Mid-State Trail.

The Mid State Trail, Pennsylvania's longest and wildest footpath, extends 270 miles (currently) from the Mason-Dixon Line at the Pennsylvania-Maryland border near Artemas, northward to near Morris, in Tioga County on the Pennsylvania-New York border.

In an email to a relative, my husband wrote "we hiked Mid State Trail also
known as "The Wildest Trail in Pennsylvania". We didn't see any black bears or rattlesnakes, though, which is part of the reason for that name
. Ummmm....he neglected to tell me the rattlesnake part of this.

We had hiked a bit of it on Friday evening. Only about a mile or so along the ridge. On Sunday afternoon we decided to hike to a trail known locally as the "Indian Steps" which was probably not used by indians, nor is it steps. Just one of those weird local things. It is about 2.5 miles further along than we hiked on Friday. I can tell you that the majority of the trail was unrelenting rocks. We were both wearing Bean knife-edged hiking boots, and it was a good thing. The first .5 mile or so is an easy jog down a track used to service the high tension lines at the top of the mountain. Once you leave the area of the towers, though, rocks, rocks and more rocks ...the perfect home for snakes...Yoi! And the perfect recipe for twisted ankles. I hate snakes--even more than twisted ankles. It also made the going so slow we had to turn around before we reached the Indian Steps. We were probably close, but could only guess based on our pedometer readings which refused to agree.

I love this though. This is the view over Rt 45 to the north west.

This is DH overlooking the view to the south east.

Yeah there is a great swath cut through the forest for the power lines. But even with that there is something weirdly powerful about it.

I think that next time we're going to hike UP the "steps" to the Mid-State and see how far we get.

Next time, Art's Fest!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


Has it really be OVER two months....why yes it has. Why have I not posted you may be wondering....well because I haven't finished a damned thing. Really. I've been knitting, but it's all going into some great cosmic black hole of knitting. Anyone actually understand string theory? (Pun intended.)

I've been knitting and re-knitting a lovely silk mobius. It has a 196 stitch cast on which if you're mobius cast-on savvy, you know it means that it has nearly 400 effective stitches each round. I'm finally close I can taste it. If I had remembered to bring the I-cord cast off instructions with me today, I would have been knitting it off the needle, this past lunch hour. It will wait until I get home for the holiday.

I'm working on a B. Marie CeCe too. Great pattern that I'm making way harder than it ought to be. I'm mystified how I knitted tremendously hard things, very much in isolation, back in the 80's (translated most from flat to in-the-round knitting no less), and now, because there is such a rich on-line community where I can ask advice, I'm acting like a scared kid. Sheesh.

Yesterday, our office financial person came to me and told me that my employer (you can guess who that is) lost my I-9 form. They couldn't write a new contract without it. Huh? I had no idea I even had an I-9 let along what it meant. Well, it is proof of US residency. Somehow between last year, and this year, the record of my residency disappeared. Did I have my SS card and license on me? Because identity fraud is so rampant, why would I even THINK to carry my SS card. Well...could I go home and get it? Well, yeah, but it might take some time. I don't know if many of you are like me, but I know I have it, but the last time I needed to produce it was probably nearly 20 years ago, when I first started here. I was a tad miffed to say the least. There are probably illegal aliens (yes, illegal, not "undocumented", I am/was an "undocumented American" Mr. Reid, not the guy/gal who waded across the Rio Grande, but I digress) working over at the Day's Inn and no one is going to bother him...sheesh.

Anyway, I went home and, thankfully, without too much ado, found the needed documents. It felt too late to go to the gym (any excuse in a storm) so I went for a walk in our neighborhood. The walk begins in a small "parklet" nearby and follows a trail to the high school track. Back and forth it's about two + miles. A few laps around the track (nice surface) and the walk grows to three miles. Anyway, as I was heading toward the park I see this on the horizon.... (forgive the bad image, it was my cell phone)

The weather was lovely, low 70's, sunny, perfect for hot air ballooning. While this sight isn't that unusual in our area, this fellow seemed reeeallly low.

As I reached the park, he flew about 150 feet in the air, over the occupied ball field and tennis courts. There was a crowd of people trailing after him on the ground. (I can tell you a miniature collie wasn't happy that this huge creature was just dropping in.) Then he landed, perfectly, on a small strip of park, between the walking paths and a busy town street.

Never a dull moment I can tell you.

And the happy ending is that as of today, I'm officially a US resident in the eyes of my employer. Again......

Happy Fourth of July!