Travel Theme: Routine

This week at Where’s My Backpack?, Ailsa offers us a glimpse into routine for her photo challenge. As I need to re-routinize myself to blogging with the new year, this seems auspicious. 🙂

Ever forward.

Welcome to a goalie practice at the Herb Brooks Arena (home of the 1980 Miracle on Ice US Olympic hockey team upset-slash-victory, and I was so excited to walk in there I felt like a five-year-old on Christmas Eve). There were CAN/AM teams in the arena practicing, and we got to watch goalies get some top-notch coaching. Over. And over. And get shelled by their teammates. Over. And over. And then they’d stop and talk about what happened. It was fantastic.

OK, so, we're going to do this for the hundredth time. You ready?

OK, Bob, we’re going to do this for the hundredth time today. You ready?

Closer to home, check out these kids performing one of their dance routines at the Lewisburg Arts Festival. Come for the dancing, stay for the hand-crafted jewelry (not pictured, but trust me…you want some). 

We ain't never had an arts festival like this!

We ain’t never had an arts festival like this!

Boat maintenance is never done, and if you want to keep that boat up and running you have to tend to it as part of your daily grind. Just ask this fellow, sanding away at his boat in a Venetian canal.

All work and no play...is pretty much what happens when you have a boat.

All work and no play…is pretty much what happens when you have a boat.

Next, it’s Hilby the Skinny German Juggling Boy! Who is doing a juggling routine with his own hat that seems to surprise even him.

HEY! Where did that thing come from?

HEY! Where did that thing come from?

And finally. Ducks and swans in Reykjavik‘s Lake Tjörnin are so accustomed to people feeding them, it seems they’ve incorporated patiently waiting for bread into their daily routines.

Hey, kid. You gonna finish that?

Hey, kid. You gonna finish that?

Side note: No, you’re not imagining things. Icelandic whooper swans really are the size of a small child.

And I will leave you with an Icelandic folk song written in honor of the raven. Because I am a giver.

Enjoy the photo challenge!

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Travel Theme: Letters

This week at Where’s My Backpack?, Ailsa invites to look at letters.

So let’s look at letters.

I can’t read it, but it’s letters for someone. The tattered remains of an ancient scroll written in hieroglyphics. Seen at Boston’s beautiful Museum of Fine Arts.

Don’t ask me what it says, I don’t remember. And I can’t read it. But it looks super-cool, doesn’t it?

Chef Boyardee was, in fact, a real live person. Hector Boiardi emigrated to the US, became a chef, began marketing his sauce and–as one thing leads to another–eventually had so much demand he needed his own factory. Hector Boiardi built said factory in the fertile, tomato-crop-growing lands of Milton, PA, just a few short miles from my home. It has since been bought out by a larger food company (which shall remain nameless) but the iconic smokestack–and the surrounding tomato fields–remain.

He's real, people.

He’s real, people.

As seen in Skaneateles, NY. ’nuff said.

Ham, sweet ham. HOME! HOME!

Ham, sweet ham. HOME! HOME! I mean HOME!

If you ever wanted to read a collection of poetry by Nobel Prize-winning author Pablo Neruda–translated into Russian–here’s your chance. It’s even prettier when it’s written in Cyrillic.

A little light reading (and a kind of creepy doll) before bed, anyone?

A little light reading (and a kind of creepy doll) to send you off to dreamland, anyone?

And recently, I went on a nighttime river cruise on the Hiawatha, an event-and-rentable (party) boat on the mighty Susquehanna River. Here’s the recently-risen moon, shining on the tiara of letters that spell the boat’s name.

Nice night for a cruise.

Nice night for a cruise.

That’s it, for now, for letters. I hope you enjoyed them! Or even want to play along yourself… 🙂 Happy shutterbugging!

Travel Theme: Paint

Ailsa has set the theme this week at Where’s My Backpack? to: paint.

Right. Got my brushes ready! I’m going to town.

First! I saw this super-airbrushed, mega-painted truck at a rest area somewhere in France. I have yet to understand what gnomes at a swimming hole have to do with long-distance hauling, but nevertheless…behold!

But...why?

But…why?

In my town we have a fabulous movie theater, recently lovingly restored to all its art deco glory. If you’re ever in Lewisburg, make sure you catch a movie at the Campus Theatre. The art painted on the walls alone is worth the price of admission.

Feast your eyes upon its glory!

Feast your eyes upon its glory!

’tis the season. Lots of face paint. Me as a zombie, getting ready for a Zombie Run 5K. (Also, please note: the copyright is correct, as this was a selfie. An incredibly successful selfie, but a selfie nonetheless.)

My mother hates this photo.

My mother hates this photo.

Next! It was a lovely day at Montour Preserve, and this painted turtle was out for a bit of sun.

You're beautiful, baby. Don't ever change.

You’re beautiful, baby. Don’t ever change.

And finally. En plein air painters hauled their paints and their easels and their canvases up to the top of Whiteface Mountain to work on a painting of Lake Placid, a/k/a “The Gem of the Adirondacks”. Because…that’s easy? (OK, there is an elevator you can take. And it is very pretty indeed. But still.)

A photo of painters, painting the lake in the photo. This is SO. META.

A photo of painters, painting the lake in the photo. This is SO. META.

Thanks for checking out my photos! Enjoy the rest of Ailsa’s photo challenge participants…or play along, yourself! See you ’round the interwebs.

Travel Theme: Intense

This week at Where’s My Backpack?, Ailsa has issued a really challenging challenge. One might even call it…intensely challenging. *nyuk nyuk nyuk* The theme is “intense”. Hmmmmmmm….

Here goes!

Recently, George and I drove to Point Pleasant Beach during a visit with family, and hooooooo-weeeeee! The wind was crazy that day. My mother came with us; we were worried that the winds would pick her up and carry her away.

Down where the trade winds play...

Down where the trade winds play…

Next up: the intense physicality of an NHL game. Last year, George and I went to a New York Rangers game in Madison Square Garden. (Welcome to Rangerstown. Now get outta here.) A thousand years ago I was always going to hockey games as the ex- and I had season tickets, but when the marriage ended, so did the subscription. C’est la vie. Now, when I get a chance to go, it’s a real treat. Though you know, I’ve always thought that if I went to work and a colleague knocked me to the ground with a big stick while another colleague made off with my work implements? Screw you guys, I’m going home. I’m glad hockey players think differently.

Get the puck GET THAAAA PUUUUUUCCCCCCKKKKKKK!!!!!!

Get the puck get the puck GET THAAAA PUUUUUUCCCCCCKKKKKKK!!!!!!

I’ve spoken of Knoebels, our local gem of an amusement park, before. It’s always a thrill to go there and get flung about upside down and sideways.

OMGOMGOMGOMGOMG

OMGOMGOMGOMGOMG

Meanwhile in Venice, glassblowers use intense heat to make beautiful glassware. Bear in mind: this flaming red glass sculpture? Will cool and turn colorless, completely clear.

How'd you like a nice piece of molten glass?

How’s about a nice piece of molten glass?

For the last several years, the garden club in my little town has organized a summer garden tour, where select local homeowners with tour-worthy gardens graciously open their yards to the public for a day. I have world’s blackest thumb and can kill any plant you put in front of me; thankfully, I know lots of people who can make things grow at will. This was taken in my friend Steva’s amazing raised garden beds. Behold! The intense beauty of a perfect rose on a gorgeous summer day.

Welcome to Pleasantville.

Welcome to Pleasantville.

That’s it for now. I hope you enjoy the other participants in Ailsa’s photo challenge, or even decide to play along, yourself!

Here’s a little Bugs Bunny, singing about the trade winds, to enjoy on your way out.

Central PA: Blue Moon on the Susquehanna

This past Friday night, July 31, we were lucky enough to have a confluence of many things fabulous on the mighty Susquehanna River. It was a gorgeous night–not too hot, gentle breeze, low(ish) humidity. It was a blue moon. And Lumpy Gravy, a friend’s band, was playing on the Hiawatha, a modified paddle boat that runs pleasure cruises along the Susquehanna. What a great way to spend a Friday, no?

Hawaiian shirt means extra fun.

Cap’n George says: Hawaiian shirt means extra fun. Ahoy!

The sun was setting, we could hear the band warming up down below (they play in the climate-controlled main room, in case of weather or issues).

The bright light is from the parking lot, but you can see the pink glow behind that of sunset in the west.

The bright light is from the parking lot, but you can see the pink glow behind that of sunset in the west.

But then we noticed something else happening in the east. George said, “Hey, what’s that glow over the top of that ridge? Is there…some kind of light source?”

It's some kind of something, all right.

It’s some kind of something, all right.

Yeah, we realized, a moment later, as the light source was climbing. Oh, yeah. Ohhhhh HELLS TO THE yeahhhhhhh. It’s the moon.

Hey, li'l fella. Don't be shy!

Hey, li’l friend. Don’t be shy!

And you know, as these things tend to do, the moon just kept right on coming up.

I am always surprised by how quickly sunrise and moonrise happen.

I am always surprised by how quickly sunrise and moonrise happen.

Here she is again, with her reflection snaking away in the wake of a passing boat.

Behold.

Behold.

Once more, can we please? From the back of the boat?

'Merica.

‘Merica.

Great, you’re beautiful, baby. Now how about a wider shot?

You mean like this?

You mean like this?

There’s a state park on the boat-landing side of the Hiawatha, and beyond that lies an industrial strip, home to factories that always have an abundance of lights burning. Thus, there is interesting light and shadow on the landing side that doesn’t necessarily mirror what the actual ambient light for the time of night should be.

The factories are beyond the trees, and I've got to admit, they make this interesting to look at on a night cruise.

The factories are beyond the trees, and I’ve got to admit, they make this interesting to look at on a night cruise.

And there we go, cruising right past some kind of utility tower.

Maybe it's beaming messages to aliens.

Maybe it’s beaming messages to aliens! 

Meanwhile, belowdecks, revelers twirled to the jammy sounds of Lumpy Gravy, celebrating 17 years of tie-dyed togetherness.

Rock it, Lumpy Gravy! 17 years and still going!

Rock it, Lumpy Gravy! 17 years and still going strong!

But you know, when you’re down below, you don’t get to see…

This.

Le sigh.

Le sigh.

Bonus: they have good beer available for sale. Open water. Beer. Boat. Music. Friends.

Nope, not a bad way to spend a Friday night. Rollin’ on the river? Not a bad way at all.

Central PA Living: Jerseytown Tavern

Snuggled into a northeastern corner of central PA, tiny little Jerseytown (pop. 184) is home to the Jerseytown Tavern, the (self-proclaimed) Bluegrass Capital of Columbia County.

The banner says so.

It’s true. The banner says so.

The Tavern is, basically, a house that’s been converted into a bar and restaurant, and from what I understand, the food is pretty good. Next time, we’ll go for dinner. Every Wednesday night, local musicians pile into this little road house and find a spot for themselves on their one small stage. With one condenser microphone between them. And they bust out some fiddlin’, banjo-in’, dobro-in’, guitar-in’, singin’, butt-shakin’, boot-scootin’ down-home bluegrass and old-school country.

What's that thing overhead..?

What’s that thing overhead..?

And they do it all surrounded by some of the strangest decor I have ever seen in a bar.

Look carefully over the guitarist’s head. That’s right. It’s a “hang in there” raccoon, painted onto the ceiling tile. Every other ceiling tile has some kind of adornment on it, like a chess board full of bizarre.

There’s this zebra.

Hey, buddy! Why the long face?

Hey, buddy! Why the long face? *nyuk nyuk*

And these floating space rabbits and bears. Are those rabbits wearing…is that lederhosen?

 

Wait until they bare their fangs. #TheHorror

Watch out, deer. We’re here to turn you into pants. #TheHorror

No, no lederhosen. They’re just wearing rompers. Boring floating space bunnies in rompers. But…why?

This one is my personal favorite. It’s former President Bill Clinton, playing saxophone.

Nice, uh...shorts. Bill.

Nice, uh…shorts. Bill.

The entire bar is covered in wood etchings. Dig the squirrel who guards my beer.

Thanks, Mr. Squirrel!

Thanks, Mr. Squirrel!

Bonus: They had some really good beers on tap.

And then…the wooden support post…there’s…uh…

Dreamy. Thanks to George for playing along!

Dreamy.
Thanks to George for playing along!

OK, OK, the decor is fun and quirky and all but, there’s the music, right? We went there for the music. What about that?

Because that is how we roll in central PA.

Sing it, Mary.

Oh, we’ll be back.

See you at the Jerseytown Tavern, everyone!

Bluebirds In My Back Yard

Bluebirds, indeed. Plus maybe another guest birdie or two.

Yesterday, I looked out my window into my back yard while I was on the phone with my mother, and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. We usually have a lot of birds in the yard; cardinals seem to love it here, as do the usual assortment of blue jays and grackles and mourning doves. But yesterday…it was like someone was throwing a bird party and they all showed up.

(WHERE THE HELL DO I LIVE AND WHO AM I SPENDING MY TIME BIRD WATCHING??? God damn it, I’m from the suburban sprawl that is New Jersey. The only wildlife I spent time watching was the raccoons getting into the garbage. WHAT IS GOING ON HERE? And I digress.)

The red-tailed hawk that lives in our ‘hood was circling overhead. And my yard was filled with the chatter and flit of birds going about their very important bird business. A goldfinch or two joined the party, and I thought I saw the bright orange burst of an oriole fly by. It was like someone unleashed a box of flying crayons in my yard.

But the bluebirds. The Eastern bluebirds! Two mated pairs, in my yard. Hanging out on the telephone wires. Unfortunately, I didn’t catch a good photo of all four of them together, but you know…so what?

You look great in blue. Did I ever tell you that?

You look great in blue. Did I ever tell you that?

DIG MY PLUMAGE!

DIG MY PLUMAGE!

A juvenile song sparrow* stopped by to have a look around.

june 9 15 (15)-001

Hey, I know I’m not blue or anything, but I still deserve love.

And he kind of looks a little huffy. Well, hello, Mr. Crankypants.

*At least, I’m pretty sure that’s what this li’l fella is. If anyone knows differently, please do, tell.

june 9 15 (8)-002

WHAT.

Meanwhile, the bluebirds were busy checking out the new fence posts, built to keep in the sheep (SHEEP? OH MY GODDDDDDD WHERE THE HELL DO I LIVE?) our neighbors are getting.

june 9 15 (11)-001

Oh, yeah, it’s quite nice, innit? You’re getting sheep, you say? Right here?

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And now, for a moment of interpretive dance. I call this “The Stillness”. Thank you.

Meanwhile, a northern flicker attempted to be aloof and mysterious in the branches of the neighbor’s evergreen tree.

june 9 15 (16)-001

I said no photos. Damn paparazzi.

But at the end of the day, the bluebirds were the stars of the back yard show.

june 9 15 (19)-001

Derp.

june 9 15 (17)-001

You talkin’ ta me?

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ALL SHALL LOVE ME AND DESPAIR.

Thanks for dropping by, birds! See you again soon!

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