Monday, June 29, 2015

What DOES The Fox Say? 2.0

Imagine that you wake up on a lovely sunny summer day, go to your patio door, open up the blinds to look out upon your lovely lawn and flowers...  and you see something standing in the yard.....  at first glance it looks like a dog..... but it's not....  This is what you see:

This is exactly what happened to Hubs on June 18, 2015 at Old House.  He looked out at 9something on that morning and saw a fox making himself comfy in the back yard.  Of course, he grabbed the camera to document the event.  What unfolded in front of him turned out to be a bit of foxy drama.  Watch these videos to see the excitement (be sure your sound is up):

The white cat is affectionately known to us as "LillyCat".  We think she lives at a house that backs up to ours.  She visits almost daily and has become quite friendly.  Her tag says "Lilly".  We suspect that Little Mr. Foxy was calling for Mama.  He totted away and she didn't follow.  We have since seen a fox in the yard as recorded on our yard cam - about the same time of day actually.  

We continue to be amazed at the wildlife we see in our densely populated suburban neighborhood!


Saturday, June 27, 2015

Museum Visit - In Lima, Ohio - Who Knew?!

Lima, Ohio.  Have you heard of it?  It's not huge, and it doesn't have a great reputation for being a hotbed of cultural activity.  However, it does have museums.  I recently spent a couple of days in Lima visiting friends, and I had the opportunity to visit one of the art galleries in town.  It is called ArtSpace Lima and it is in an old building in the center of town near the corner of Market and Main Sts.  When Hubs and I lived in Lima in the '80s and '90s, we did some volunteer work there, so it was fun to go back and see what things are like now.  While the organization recently celebrated its 60th anniversary, it has only been in its current location about 25 years.  Here is the building which used to be the headquarters of Standard Oil a long time ago:

Upon entering the building, visitors will notice a gift shop at the left and the main gallery at the right.  Straight back are rooms where classes are held.  Offices and other work spaces are upstairs.    The main gallery is called The Ellen Nelson Gallery after the woman who was the director of the organization when this space was secured and renovated.  She has since moved on to other endeavors, but the gallery has been named in her honor.  Here are the "gates" which welcome visitors:

The exhibition that is currently on display is a collection of works from the private collections of local people.  I am sharing here some of my favorite items:

Pablo Picasso
Girl and Dove
Lithograph, Signed Stone

Dale Chihuly
Drawing, Mixed Media

Ron Fitz
Steampunk Contraption 
Mixed Media

Michale Huffman
Oil on Canvas

Sid Chafetz
Intaglio Print, 1970
Maintaining the Tradition
Intaglio Print, 1968

Sid Chafetz
James Thurber
Woodcut relief

James DeVore
Intaglio Print

Jack Earl
For Darvin and Evelyn Luginbuhl
Ceramic Sculpture, 2000

Jack Earl
You can't eat it all

The last pieces are sculptures by Jack Earl which are for sale in the shop:

This exhibit runs though July 18, 2015
There is much online about ArtSpace - Google it and look at the website and the Facebook page - very cool stuff!

Thanks for visiting and come back again soon!


Random Acts of Nature

Today's post is just a collection of photos from the yards from the last few months.

We are once again enjoying the Visitation of the Hummies.  We have feeders up at both houses and at times get LOTS of Hummie activity.  Here are a male and a female:

We also again have a woodchuck whom we have affectionately named Chunkie, for obvious reasons.  We have seen as many as 4 baby Chunkettes running around with Mom this year.  Here she is, posing, and looking guilty:

At Old House one day before the roofing was done, Hubs heard a noise on the roof.  It was so loud, he thought maybe someone from the roofing company was up there checking something.  He went out to look and there were 4 turkey buzzards up there with a dead squirrel having a snack!  Here is one of the big guys:

The peonies have been glorious this year!  I just love the row of them that we got with New House.  Here they are at their peak:

We also have chipmunk activity at each house.  Here is one being particularly cute:

My loyal readers may remember that we planted two new trees in front of New House a couple of years ago.  The locust is in the front and the red bud is a little behind and to the right of it.  Hubs made this collage showing how much they've grown (If you click on the photo, it should get bigger for you to see):

Last but not least, there is Rosie.  Do you remember Rosie?  I ordered her from David Austin Roses in Texas, and she came as a bare root - "Golden Celebration" is her official name.  We planted her in the spring of 2013, and nothing happened for a long time.  She decided to start sprouting when I was in the hospital for my knee replacement - June 11, 2013.  She is going strong again this year after surviving a VERY cold winter.  Here she is in her first bloom:

That's all for now.  Come back again soon because I've got lots more to share!  You don't want to miss a thing!


Roofing a House - it's way cool - You should try it!

Have you ever lived through the process of having a new roof put on a house?  I had not until June 3, 2015.  It was a very interesting experience which I am going to document here in photo and video form.

Our house ("Old House" for my loyal readers) was built in 1973.  We'd been told by inspectors that it had 2 layers of shingles on it.  At one point, a year or so ago, we lost some shingles in a storm, and the workers who came to repair it said that we should really think about getting a new roof - this one was on its last legs.  In March of this year, we began the process of getting estimates for a new roof.  We got quotes from 3 companies which all had good ratings with both the BBB and Angie's List - we do our homework!

We settled on a company called B&T Roofing and set the date for approximately June 1.  A week ahead of the big date, I called to see how their schedule looked.  They told me they thought they would be able to get to us on Wed, June 3, and indeed, they did!

The first workers arrived before 7:30 am to start removing the old shingles.  They parked an old pick-up truck in the driveway to receive the debris and laid large tarps on the ground all the way round the perimeter.  They spent several hours removing what was there.  At times, it was very loud (actually louder than the installation of the new shingles later).   They also found a few places where the decking needed to be replaced.  While they had the decking off, they got into the attic and vented the bathroom ceiling fan, which had never been vented outside.  That may have been code in 1973, but it isn't any more.
Here is a photo of the nakey roof:

We stayed safely inside during the removal process because we didn't want to end up with anything on our heads, but once they finished this phase and took a break, we ventured outside with the camera.

Next came the laying of the new deck pieces where needed, and then the vapor barrier and water/ice block.  

Here's what that looked like on the shed (which had not previously had any vapor barrier) and on the house:

In this last photo you will notice a crane.  That proved to be the most interesting part of the entire process.  Even though I have seen houses in the neighborhood getting new roofs, I had never before seen the truck that delivers the shingles with a crane on it.  When I saw this monstrosity arrive in the driveway, I grabbed the camera and started shooting. Here is what the truck looked like before the crane was opened up:

Here is the process of the crane opening up:  

Here is a video of the crane doing the business of lifting the shingles on to the roof:

After all the shingles were up on the roof and unloaded from their pallets, we got to listen to the rhythmic nail gun which hit each shingle 6 times.  Da - DaDa - DaDaDa.... over and over the same rhythm.  Fascinating!  Here is the finished roof!  

In the photo above you will notice something called a ridge-vent running along the peak.  That is new to us as well.  From our salesman, we learned all about the new regulations for venting attics.  Ours, with its 5 metal boxes along the back of the peak, was not adequately vented.  He recommended removing the boxes and cutting an opening along the entire peak ridge and putting in a vent that stands up about an inch or so.  After we learned about them, we started noticing them all over the neighborhood.  Evidently, we were the last to receive the memo!

The next step in our process will be to add attic insulation to increase the R-value to R-46.  More about that on another day!

Do you need a new roof?  Good luck with that!


Friday, June 26, 2015

Birdman and Whiplash - Two Movie Reviews for the Price of One!

Birdman.  Wow.  This is going to be a relatively short review because I have little to say about it.  The movie won MANY awards in the winter of 2015, most notably the Academy Award for Best Picture.  Seriously?  I honestly don't get it.  Michael Keaton also won a Golden Globe for Best Actor.  That I sort of get - maybe.

I made it through watching the whole movie, but I really didn't enjoy it.  I found it confusing.  It is also labeled as a "comedy".  I found NOTHING funny in the movie at all.  "Black comedy" maybe? No, I still don't get that.  I was left feeling let down by "The Academy" and wondering who paid whom for all the awards!

Michael Keaton plays a washed-up actor who had portrayed a hugely popular fictional superhero called Birdman.  The fame of that role had put him on top in the acting world, but he is tormented by the voice of Birdman.  In this film we see him slowly losing his mind as he directs and stars in a play on Broadway based on a Raymond Carver short story called "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love".

The ONLY thing I liked about the movie, and the ONLY reason I stuck with it was because it was set in a real Broadway theatre, so we got to see a lot of the back rooms, and the stage set, etc...  As a theatre person, that was cool to me.  What was NOT cool was waiting for the movie to get interesting or entertaining.  As I turned it off, I just scratched my head and said, "HUH?"  

Recommendation - Only watch it if you too want to see the back rooms of a real Broadway theatre!  

Whiplash.  This is going to be an even shorter review because I watched about 30 minutes of this movie and turned it off in disgust.   I really wanted to like this movie because I really like the actor who played the lead music instructor - JK Simmons - who actually won an Academy Award for this role.  However, the music teacher is so violently abusive, both verbally and physically, of his students, that I couldn't stand to watch it.  About the 3rd time he was poised to go off on one of his students, I turned the movie off - I was done.  I really don't want those images in my head.  I have read the plot online, and it is very predictable and very unpleasant.

Recommendation - don't put yourself through watching this.  Just read the story online and move on.

Thanks for reading!  Come back again soon!


Big Eyes! - Movie Review

The movie Big Eyes was released in December of 2014.  Hubs and I watched it in the spring of 2015 from Netflix.  It was directed by Tim Burton and starred Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz.  I highly recommend the movie.  I found it fascinating!  

The movie is based on the true story of artist Margaret Keane and her husband Walter.  Margaret started painting pictures of children with large, dark eyes before she ever knew Walter.  After she left her first husband, she met Walter at a sidewalk art event where they were both displaying their work. They had a short and intense romance and got married rather quickly.  After that, he displayed some of her art with his, and at first, because of a mis-step in communication, a customer thought he had painted the big-eyed child, and he let the person think that.  As the big-eyed paintings started to become popular, and the assumption that he was the artist continued, he started lying to people that he was the artist.  Meanwhile, Margaret kept painting.  She wasn't happy about his lying to people, but she let it continue because the paintings were selling, and she didn't have the self-esteem to stand up for her rights.  The money started rolling in and the paintings became HUGELY popular.  She kept painting and he kept taking the credit.  Eventually, the truth came out, and she stood up for herself, but I am not going to give away the details of the ending.

Here is a photo of actress Amy Adams with the real Margaret Keane:

Here is Margaret Keane with some of her work:

The movie is set in the '50s and '60s, and that was one of the things I enjoyed about it.  The "period" aspect was done very well with costumes, hair styles, home decor, street scenes, etc...

I was also fascinated with the issue of a woman being taken advantage of - and allowing herself to be - and then how that finally turned around.   Watching her give in to her husband's pressure was maddening at times. I even yelled "NOOOO!!!!" at the TV once when I'd had enough!  

From what I've read, there were some small changes from true story to movie script, but over-all, the movie Big Eyes appears to have a high level of accuracy.  

Walter Keane died in 2000, but Margaret is still alive and well in California where she has her own art gallery.  

I really don't remember specifically seeing the art work of the large-eyed children during my childhood in the '60s, but I do recognize the style as being "of the '60s world".  I always associated them in the same category of the art world as paintings on velvet for some reason, but I'm not sure where that association comes from.  

If you've seen the movie, I'd love to hear your thoughts!  This movie is a 2-thumbs-up for me!

Thanks for reading!  Come back again soon!