Saturday, April 24, 2010

Spiffing up Malta

Malta trails clean-up day was held Saturday and lots of folks were out helping. Working along the nine or so parks and trail systems throughout the town, folks picked up litter on a stunningly beautiful spring morning.

The HH* and I were out doing our part. The good news is, there was not a ton of litter to pick up. Most of what I found looked like this, below, near a playground: the odd piece of wrapping from a child's snack.

I was pleased that there was nothing too alarming to find, no deliberate illegal dumping of tires or appliances or anything like that. Maybe the world is becoming more civilized.

The HH* is on the town trail committee, and he and some fellow Rotarians cleaned up the Malta Community Park.

Below here are Ann and Pastor Peter Klotz (he also a Malta town councilman) along with Arlene, Helen, Kathy, and Al.

And here below is Arlene Schmidt with the HH* (AKA, Bob Conner, of PlanetAlbany.)

Following our part in the clean up, we went back to Shenantaha Creek Park and met up with folks who had been working at other locations.

Maggi Ruisi and Tara Thomas, both town councilwomen, had been doing their part...

along with about one hundred capital district youth rugby players, both boys and girls, and some folks from the Luna Chix Mountain Bike team .

We all got to enjoy a cookout, sponsored by the town and the trail committee. Below, trail committee members Rob Roy, Jim Todt, and Bob Conner were keeping an eye on the burgers.

This is a good event, successfully coordinated by John Rudick and Maggi Ruisi and by town officials like Parks and Recreation director Audrey Ball. It was good to see a number of town council people there (in addition to those pictured, we also spotted John Hartzell) and amusing because some of the trash pulled out of the woods included a few of last fall's political campaign signs.

In the end, the bulk of the trash from nine parks and trails made a modest pile (there was a bit more to be added after this photo, but nothing horrible). I think that's encouraging and speaks well of the folks of Malta. Belated happy Earth Day, friends!

* HH = Handsome Husband

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Rachael Ray at Lake George High School

I didn't know her when she was a student, but Rachael Ray once attended the high school where I have taught for the past 19 years.
Tonight, as she has for the past 8 years, Rachael Ray returned to spend an evening cooking and bantering with a mostly local audience in the high school auditorium.
The money raised from this event goes to scholarships and for technology and media purchases for the high school.
Like Ms. Ray or not, I give her credit for being such a good sport about helping her old high school.
And I like that she is loyal to the same pizzeria that she has patronized since the age of 13, The Harvest, in Queensbury, which, of course, has named her favorite pizza after her.
Tonight, Rachael Ray was relaxed, funny, and happy to pose for pictures with students from the audience. But to one young girl's disappointment, Ms. Ray could not remember which locker had been hers in high school.
"I'm 41 now," Ms. Ray laughed. "I don't remember what I did last week!"
Too bad about the locker, though. We could have put a plaque on it.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Forsythia free-for-all

Here in our neck of the woods, this has been one heck of a spring for forsythia. The blooms came early and have lingered long. The odd weather pattern seems to have suited these beauties just fine.

Although we only have one lone bush at the edge of the woods, it has supplied a great deal of color to the back yard. Around town, more established plantings have been spectacular.
I am hoping my dogwood will be next to put on a show.
What's blooming at your house?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Common Thread - a new yarn shop in Saratoga

Here is a February 2012 update about Common Thread, a Saratoga Springs, NY, knitting shop: They've moved.

New info is: 
Store Hours:

Mon-Wed 10-6
Thurs 10-8
Fri-Sat 10-6
Sun 11-4
508 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

From the North or South: Take Northway I-87 to exit 15. Turn onto Route
50 South toward downtown Saratoga. Bear left as Route 50 turns into Broadway.
We are located on the East Side of Broadway in the building just south of the
Saratoga Springs City Center.

For Saratoga ladies of a certain age and proclivity, Beekman Street was the place to be this Saturday afternoon. Above, owner Ashley Gardner warmly welcomed knitters and crocheters to her new store, Common Thread.

As store rents on Saratoga's Broadway continue to rise, Beekman Street has become an art district, a new home for galleries, shops, and bistros.

Common Thread fits right in here and Ms. Gardner has created a cosy and colorful shop.
Today, at the store's grand opening, customers browsed, sipped wine, and grazed on fancy hors d'oeuvres.

I chatted with friendly spinner Lin Woods of Saratoga Llamas, who tempted me with the thought of spinning lessons.
I was in the store about five minutes when I won the first door prize: a cheerful red box containing some lovely green baby alpaca wool and a pattern for a knitted scarf. Very nice gift.

I also picked out a couple of skeins of wool to buy for an on-going project at home ...

...and milled about as best I could in the growing crowd.

I, too, enjoyed a glass of wine and schmoozed a bit...

...and then decided it was time to move on and let the newcomers have some floor space.

As I left the shop, I was invited to take a small packet of yarn and participate in a fiber collage project.
Just down Beekman Street, textile artist Francelise Dawkins will be coordinating a session to complete this collage, "celebrating the common thread that ties us all together."
What shall I make with this, I wonder? Stay tuned.
In the meantime, you can contact Common Thread at Ask to be put on their newsletter email list.
The store will offer classes, open knitting nights, and more. See their hours and find directions, below.

Store Hours:

Monday 10-6
Tuesday 10-6
Wednesday Closed
Thursday 11-8
Friday 11-6
Saturday 10-6
Sunday 11-4

55 Beekman Street, Saratoga Springs, NY

From Broadway, go west on Congress Street (across from the entrance to Congress Park)
Go through two stop lights, then turn left at the first stop sign
Common Thread is on the second block on the right hand side.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Book'em, Danno.

Old books R us. I have no trouble finding free old books. My high school's excellent librarian judiciously weeds the collection each spring, replacing worn and damaged tomes with new and updated books.
Many of these well-used books have no monetary value and so they become free for the taking. They may be stained or have missing pages and so are not worth saving as books, per se. Yet I always take some, especially if they have interesting old illustrations.
I keep thinking: I can do something with these.

Last year, inspired by birdhouses like these below (which cost a mere $120)...

... I bought a cheap craft store birdhouse to try to make my own version. I decoupaged some old book illustrations to the outside, but the book covers were too big (or the birdhouse was too small) to make the roof work as I had planned. I skipped that part and just painted the roof.

Which left me with twenty or thirty wonderful old books untouched, along with a potential supply of many more.
What to do?
I have turned to the Internet for inspiration.

I like this idea from re-nest a lot:

Colorful - but could I pull that off? It looks good here, but it could easily become a mess in my clumsy hands. (Remember, I couldn't even get the birdhouse idea to work as planned.)

I think these shelves are neat, but I would need to do more research to see exactly how it was done.

Another idea I like is this table, but the books I have are not long and thin, like these are. Still, I could probably figure something out to make this work.
The gardener in me finds this idea appealing.

And then there's this idea, from Great Green Goods.
Summer will be here soon, and I will have time to experiment. If anything comes of all this, I will be sure to share. And in the meantime, perhaps I will stick to just reading books. What a concept!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

From Temples to Tattoos

The HH* and I were in the Nashville, Tennessee, area over Easter weekend, visiting our soon-to-be-redeployed Army daughter and son-in-law (but that's another blog post...)

While walking around, exploring Nashville (which likes to call itself the Athens of the South) I was stopped by this sight, above. At a major downtown intersection, this former bank is now a tattoo and piercing parlor.

Hmmm, I thought. Very Kunstlerian.

James Howard Kunstler is the Saratoga Springs, NY, author of such books as The Geography of Nowhere, which he says he wrote, "because I believe a lot of people share my feelings about the tragic landscape of highway strips, parking lots, housing tracts, mega-malls, junked cities, and ravaged countryside that makes up the everyday environment where most Americans live and work."

I think the was-bank, now-tattoo-parlor is a pretty good example of what Kunstler has been writing and declaiming about. If you don't mind some salty language, check out Kunstler's Eyesore of the Month sometime.

Looking again at the photo, this Nashville street corner does give me pause. It can't be a good thing when our faux Greek temple banks become tattoo parlors.

*HH = Handsome Husband