Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Need More Batteries?

Yesterday flew by and I never got a chance to visit the electronics stores.  But today is a different story.  After I post here I'm going straight there.  It's a must, although I'd much rather be at the beach.  It's going to be a hot one today.  Tempting as it is, I need to do something about the dead computer.

I can remember when there weren't any computers to be fooling around with.  The thing is, there was always something that we couldn't do without after having used said thing.  Computers, cell phones, cordless phones, TV remotes, DVR, CD's, food processors, blenders, microwaves, what else?

Remember pencil and paper?  Forget it.  Low technology is out.  People today don't even need to hold a book to read one.  Just open up your Kindle or iPad thing.  Make sure the batteries are charged up or forget reading a book!  Anyone remember grating walnuts with a Moulix?  How about beating eggs with a hand held rotory beater in a bowl?  And no batteries or electricity needed.

I don't know about most people, but I like putting pen to paper or holding a heavy book and flipping the pages as I read.  Just think of the exercise we're missing out on by not getting up off the couch to change TV channels.

OK, well if I can get myself together and figure out what I'm going to do about my computer I'll be posting some photos soon.  I know some people are going to want to see what a Moulix and a hand beater looks like.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Ding Dong the Witch is Dead

I'm sorry to have to say it, but my computer went kaput the other day.  I turned it on and nothing happened beyond the first blink of lights.

I tried pressing the ON button again.  Again, lights flickered on the monitor and then nothing.  "No signal" was all I could see before the screen quickly went dark.  Now what?

Luckily my mom lives nearby and has a computer.  (She hates computers worse than me.) That's where I'm posting from for the time being.  Let me tell you how I just could not access the internet or printer from here and this computer is fairly new.  Why?  Who knows. 

Computers are worse than bad mannered children.  I have to iron out the bugs on her computer before she uses it and flips out.  What I know technology-wise, she knows even less.  "When you push the button and turn it on it better work right otherwise who needs it?" is her philosophy.  She's funny.

This is one adventure I'm just not prepared to begin.  My next stop today will be to the big electronics store to pick some brains.  My sons say to just give it up and get a MAC.  That means big dollar bills.  I'd prefer to just fix the old PC, but that could also lead to big dollar bills out the window.  No keeping the cash stash intact, I guess.  Why are these things so expensive anyway?  Don't these people know there's a depression around the corner?

I'm so not happy right now.  Blech..

Friday, August 27, 2010

Photos for Friday- Horton's Point Lighthouse

Horton's Point lighthouse in Southold, NY was commissioned in 1790 by President George Washington and first lit in 1857.  It's a beautiful sight to see from the land, I can only imagine how it looks from the sea.  We came upon the lighthouse too late in the afternoon to visit inside, but I climbed over the chain and walked up to it to take these pictures.  The steep walkway down to the beach was just as breath taking as the lighthouse.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Thought for Thursday

"Maggie and Millie and Molly and May
went down to the beach (to play one day)
and Maggie discovered a shell that sang
so sweetly she couldn't remember her troubles,
and Millie befriended a stranded star
who's rays five languid fingers were;
and Molly was chased by a horrible thing
which raced sideways while blowing bubbles:
and May came home with a smooth round stone
as small as a world and as large as alone.

For whatever we lose (like a you or a me)
it's always ourselves we find in the sea.”

E. E. Cummings, American poet 1894-1962

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Rocks on the Beach

Beach vacations are pretty much similar where ever you travel, some more luxurious than others.  We've been to quite a few different places where the beach is the main idea and each destination is unique.

Cancun, Acapulco, Nassau Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Greece, Long Island, Las Vegas, oops Las Vegas has pools, all have some aspects that are similar and different.  Some have sandy beaches and others have rocks. 

The Mr. was born in a Greek island with rocky beaches so that's what he looks for in a beach.  In fact, most Greeks are lured by calm waters and a rocky beach, something that resembles home to them.  But I'm a New York girl so what do I know other than sand and waves like Jones Beach and Pt. Lookout?  Rarely did we travel to the Long Island Sound with it's calm waters.  It's fine with me, I'm drawn to the water, rocks or not.

One fascination Greek island people have is watching the ferry arrive with it's passengers, trucks loaded with produce, cars and stuff.  The ferry is so huge and things keep coming off.  Then it gets loaded back up with the same stuff going the other way. 

In Greenport there are ferries that shuttle all the same kind of stuff and people to Shelter Island, all day and night, back and forth.  So of course, we're fascinated by all the action.  They loaded a huge tractor trailer onto this little ferry, plus people in cars, people with bicycles, and just people on foot!  I was in awe, just like we are when we're in Greece! I know, whacko.

When we were finished gawking at the ferry coming and going we were ready to head back to the beach.  The sun was high in the sky and glistening off the clear blue water.  Not many people were on the beach so it was all for us to enjoy.  Like I said, Heaven is an empty beach! 

Except for the seagulls.  No matter where you go seagulls will take your food, throw it around the beach and eat it.

Our last full day I took out the watercolors at the urging of The Mr.  He said, You brought your set out here, now get to work!  Oh gee, thanks.  I was so happy to do nothing on this trip, absolutely no brain waves nothing.  But OK, it was time, and the rocks looked so interesting. 

I began sketching out a few nearby rocks with some dried seaweed clinging to them.  So The Mr. says, You're going to paint rocks?  What's wrong with the water and the sky?  I don't know why but rocks are neat and painting the scenery was sort of intimidating with watercolors.  And anyway, I have pictures for later. 

Without penciling in the subject I just went with the paint.  The brushes I keep with the set have a great point so I can sketch with color and blend in the paint with the side of the brush.  I added color and tried my best to keep the whites white.  The good thing about this little travel set is the limited palette.  That seems to keep me in line or I'd add every color I can get my brush into.  Bad, good, I don't know, but that's what my brain tells me to do. 

©2009 Dora Sislian Themelis

I thought I would try to paint every day on the trip, but thinking about doing it was stressful.  I needed to wind down my brain and think of nothing and of doing nothing.  Once I started painting I guess by that time I was really ready for it. 

OK, when's the next trip?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

No Stress Vacations Are Perfect, and a Sunset to Boot!

What kind of amenities do you look for when you travel?  If you ask me, I need a clean and quiet room.  No bugs.  Close to the water and restaurants.  That's pretty much it.  Now, if I'm in Las Vegas or the Bahamas, that's a whole other set of priorities and expectations except for the a fore mentioned amenities, but on a more luxurious scale. We were interested in getting away to change our scene as close as possible with the least amount of stress involved.  This was perfect.

In little towns like Southold and Greenport you can't expect luxury.  This is farm country, wine country, old maritime fishing villages.  You're not getting luxury here.  Maybe the Bed and Breakfasts are a little more plush, but don't expect too much.  I certainly don't.  Like I said before, clean and beach is what I need, and what I got.  The Long Island Sound was so clean and clear this year it was a pleasure to be so close to it.

The rooms at this little place have efficiency kitchens, OK; they're clean, OK; they face the beach, big OK; air-conditioned, OK; a short drive to a cool town for dining, OK.  Downside-the refrigerator went on and off all night, the road out front was noisy with traffic all night, an illuminated EXIT sign inside the room (code) was lit up all night, the air-conditioner was either too cold, or when turned off the room was too hot.  OK OK OK.

The one thing that made us crazy was a noise we figured out was a cricket in the wall.  It chirped at intervals with the refrigerator, all night long.  I wanted to find it and kill it, but we couldn't do either.  So we decided we'd nap on the beach, eventually.  Seems there's a lot of history here on the north fork of Long Island especially during the Revolutionary War.  Along the main road there are these signs telling of raids and war activities.  There are tales of pirates, too.
We visited Greenport for dinner every night.  Many restaurants there have outdoor dining and a few are right on the docks.  Boats large and small can pull up to the docks of the marinas and stay for dinner or moor for the night.  When the weather is good it's a beautiful place.
We had great food at Claudio's Clam Bar right on the water, surrounded by boats, the water, Shelter Island across the bay and the most beautiful sunset you could imagine.  As I'm not so great at remembering to take pictures of everything, we were half way done with dinner before I thought about it!  We really enjoyed the freshest seafood around.  After dinner we walked around Greenport investigating all the boats docked at the piers, window shopped at the antiques and quaint shops, listened to jazz at a gelato and dessert bar.  The sun was setting so spectacularly that we had the great idea to grab some coffee to-go and run back to our hotel to have the amazing apple tart we bought on our way from Briermere farm.  Dessert and coffee, the beach and the setting sun were the perfect end to a perfect day.

Of course I remembered to take a picture of the apple tart.  Wouldn't you? 

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Heaven is an Empty Beach on Long Island

We're back from our quick trip to the east end of Long Island, New York in the town of Southold near Greenport.  These few days were a great break from our normal routine and I must say it was much needed.  Do you ever realize how much you need a vacation until you actually go?  I knew it was the right idea as soon as I made the reservation for three nights out there.

To me travel is stress.  Being able to just get in the car and drive to a destination was the least amount of stress involved, unless there is traffic.  But really, if you're on vacation with no timetable, no one expecting you, no reason to be anywhere at any time, who cares if there's some traffic?  Yes, we had a little bit of traffic.  The usual suspects were involved, meaning people who need to see all the aspects of a three car accident.  OK, there were police cars and tow trucks, one really beat-up-from-all-sides car and two other beat up cars on the Long Island Expressway heading east.  Rubberneckers abounded.  After we passed it we had smooth sailing.

 First stop on the way was in Mattituck at Cooper's Farm.  This is the best farm stand out east with the most vegetables you can pick on your own, or just buy what they've already picked.  We go all U-pick.   The most beautiful and large beefy tomatoes, long crunchy cucumbers, glossy eggplants and peppers, sweet as anything watermelon.  Delicious.

Actually, our real first stop was at Briermere Farm for the best buttery apple tart there is in New York.  We can't visit the north fork without a stop here.  Neither can anyone else.  Every time we stop in there's a line out the door.  Each time the door opened, out wafted the smell of butter crust and sweet fruits.  Breathe deep!  I was so excited I forgot to take pictures.

We arrived at our little hotel/motel around four o'clock in the afternoon.  The sun was behind some hazy clouds, but the air was still hot and humid.  Just how I like it.  We settled in, put our things away, donned our bathing suits and headed across the street to the almost empty beach, where we sat until well after 7 P.M.  The waters of the Long Island Sound were calm as oil, the Mr.'s phrase.  The summer air had almost no breeze, but the clouds above kept changing patterns as the sun went down over Connecticut.  

Heaven is a warm summer day and an empty beach.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Taking a Hop, Skip and a Jump

While I tried to get the Mr. to take a trip to somewhere this summer, the only idea he liked was to stay local.  Forget Greece, Las Vegas, Bahamas, or Florida.  A short road trip it is, with no housework in sight!

We'll be visiting the east end of Long Island, on the North fork, in farm and winery country.  While I don't know if we'll be going to any wine tastings, I am hoping the weather is hot and humid, perfect for sitting on the beach. Weather is not something you can predict with any measure of accuracy and any outside activity depends on the weather.  Being a person who likes the heat, the weather better cooperate.  Earlier it was cloudy, rainy, but hot and humid. Now the sun is showing up.  It better!

Last week the humidity lifted and we were left with temperatures in the low 80's and high 70's.  That's cold to me!  That's get out the woolies weather!  I never complain when the temps go up into the high 90's!  Nope, not me!  I am in hog heaven when it's hot, hot, hot!  I know what New York winters are like and I never complain about a sweltering New York summer.  Yup.

So I will probably..scratch that, definitely be AWOL from the blog.  I don't have a Blackberry, or a netbook, or an iPad.  You'll all have to carry on without me.  Rest assured that pics of my days will be forthcoming.  I plan to bring along my travel watercolor set and my ink pen with a drawing pad.  Morning pages will be coming along too, which I will have to sneak because the Mr. always wants to know what I'm writing about.  Will I get to do some art while I'm sitting in a beach chair all day long?  We shall see, won't we.

Monday, August 16, 2010

From Sketch to Done

The latest watercolor painting is done.  Finished.  I finished something!  I was so happy to remove it from the paper block.  I have so many ideas in my head I just couldn't work on this any longer.  Once I painted in the details of the butterfly's wings I was just so done with it.  Here's a look at the progression from sketch to finished work.

I really have to remember I'm not using oil paints.  The highlights have to stay white or else forget about highlights.  There's no adding in later.  It's a process and I'm learning.  And waiting for the work to dry is another thing.  With oils it's just the opposite.  You can let it dry and then have issues because now it's dry!  Watercolors need drying time.

The other thing I wonder about is if it's too big a painting for the size of the surface.  I tend to go large and then find out that my subject pushes the edge of the paper or canvas.  The size of this paper is only 12x16.  I think this looks as if it's a huge work.  Just another thing to ponder over. 

I can hear my painting professor saying "Great job. Now go bigger!" 

Friday, August 13, 2010

Photos for Friday-Quack Quack

This pair of geese visited our service station the other day.  I guess they ran out of 'gas' and needed to rest.  The funny part about this was that everyone stopped whatever they were working on to run out onto the lot and gawk.  People immediately took out their cell phones to take photos.  Like they never saw a goose before!  It was an event.

Anything for a break!  I love New Yorkers, even Long Island New Yorkers!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Thought for Thursday

"It is only too true that artists are mentally ill-it's a life which, to put it mildly, makes one an outsider.  I'm alright when I completely immerse myself in my work, but I'll always remain half crazy."  ~ Vincent van Gogh

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Painting and a Peek

Made some headway on this watercolor painting yesterday. Slowly added in the darks so I don't go crazy and ruin it.  Taking photographs in between painting sessions helps me see where I'm going with it.  It's as if I'm stepping away from the work and squinting at it to see where to go next.  I like it!  If I can keep a light hand on it we should be fine.  I'd like to avoid disaster if it's at all possible.

Oh, by the way, here's a little peek at the finished thing.  I can't say any more about it except that it's knitted and it's this color that you see.  We'll discuss at a later date.  There's too much to say and I have to stop now before I shoot my mouth off.  The time will come and we'll dish, but not until I say so.

Yeah, I like suspense, too.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Finishing Something Else

Every day I try to work on this newest painting.  I've abandoned the basement studio for the time being to work on this outside, or at my kitchen table, where the light is brighter. 

When not working on it I prop up the painting on a mini easel so I can eyeball it as I walk through the house doing my chores.  Here and there I can stop what I'm doing if I have an idea and throw some paint in an area that I see needs something. 

I usually have my work in progress in my general vicinity when not working on it.  It gives me a different perspective and I'm able to live with the work.  Then again, it's nice to work in the studio and leave when done working, leave it all behind and go on to life.  But right now this is working for me.  It's keeping me in the game, so to speak, so Mr. Resistance can keep his distance.

Distraction was never my middle name, but it is now.  Keeping me in the loop is a tough job and I could use all the help I can get.  With a few things working at the same time, all different media, I could be drawn away to any of them and never finish one.  "Finish Something" has been my mantra.

Most evenings I like to knit, if I'm not too exhausted.  This week I finished something!  I was determined to finish this one thing and I did it.  I sewed up edges and hid all the dangling yarn ends. The bad thing about finishing this knit is now I've got my eye on different yarn and a new project I'm dying to start.  Bad.

The good thing is that the yarn I'm eyeing has not been available in the local shop I visit.  The longer it's not available the better, otherwise I'll never finish anything else.

The Latest Work With Permission

©Dora Sislian Themelis, 11x14 Watercolor, Patmos Sunset Available for purchase The latest work is from another person's photograph...