Summer reminiscence

Evidently, I don’t blog anymore. Only three posts this year! My excuse is the large amount of scientific writing I’ve been doing lately. When you remove the ability to be quippy and do nothing but voice your own opinions without forethought or justification, it turns out I’m a fairly terrible writer. Soooo, when I finish staring at my computer screen for hours trying to form words into cohesive thought, I am simply in no mood to do any other writing…at all…ever again. The unintended benefit is I now have a tremendous amount to fill you in on. Shall we begin?

The 42nd Annual Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival

It was on May 2nd and 3rd this year, and it still surprises me that after attending this festival for the last four years, I can still find new and interesting things.

20150502_142941I found some gorgeous handmade glass circular knitting needles by Michael and Sheila Ernst Glass. I was assured by the artist that they absolutely won’t, say, break while I’m knitting and impale me through the hand. They were a little pricey (not that I wouldn’t realistically spend that much on needles if I were being truthful with myself) but still stunning.

I learned a new skill from woodworker Stephen Willette who makes beautiful fiber art tools. Now normally I can’t have anything to do with artisans like these; my boys would simply not tolerate exposed balls of yarn in expertly crafted wooden bowls to go undestroyed. But I bought this lovely lucet and learned how to make a lucet braid. <– That link, by the way, will take you to a YouTube video with a good tutorial…and bitchin’ soundtrack. This is a technique that apparently dates back to the Vikings and the resultant cording can be used to make just about anything: jewelry, potholders, rugs, things like that. I’ve decided, once I get the hang of making the braid more uniform, to begin with some cute neon friendship bracelets and I’ve also found just the yarn for it:

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And speaking of neon, I am absolutely thrilled that vibrant, rich colors are back in vogue. I, and my skin tone, simply cannot do pastels, and white clothing is just impractical. That is when I discovered Neighborhood Fiber Co., a local, small batch hand-dyed yarn company that makes some of the brightest, most colorful yarns I’ve found. I got their exquisite Penthouse Silk Fingering. Yarn colors are named after neighborhoods in DC and Baltimore.

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Traveling in the name of science

I attended a couple scientific conferences this summer (a.k.a Nerdfests according to the Greek) which gave me the opportunity to do some traveling for free. Well, for me at least. And of course I had to do lots of science-y things, but there was time to spare to take a look at my surroundings, and I saw some amazing things.

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This is the lobby area of the Union Station Hotel in St. Louis, MO. Clearly a converted railroad station from a grander era, at night they have a subtle light show of changing color on the roof. It was an unexpected pleasure since while I don’t know much about the Midwestern town outside of the Judy Garland film, I hadn’t had high hopes.

The intensive scientific workshop I was attending in Dubrovnik, Croatia coincided with their Summer Festival celebrating music and art. This meant that in between didactic lectures and dipping into the cool, blue Adriatic, I was able to attend an open air chamber quartet performance held in an old abbey and hear La Traviata sung in the streets. Yeah, it was an okay time. The festival opened with a fireworks ceremony, and we found a tremendous spot to view it from:

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And finally, a real, bonafide vacation

In September, I got the opportunity to visit the Greek’s homeland of Cyprus. Well…he was actually born in Maryland. His family is from Cyprus, a Greek isle in the Mediterranean invaded by Turkey in 1974 forcing his family to flee to the States. So, it was both homecoming and vacation. The resort town his family actually lived in is still on the occupied side and I’ve got to say, seeing most of the city abandoned and crumbling and, ironically, unoccupied, cordoned off in a “forbidden zone”, was truly haunting. Aside from that though, it was a happy and exciting trip, and I think I’ll conclude this post with some of my favorite photos from it.

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Lunatics cliff diving from off the top of the sea caves near Cavo Greko

I

IMG_1273 20150918_093430  It isn’t all warm, sandy beaches and clear, blue water. There were also forests and mountains that actually got pretty chilly. Our jaunts there were pretty much the only time my aggressively endothermic partner was truly comfortable.

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The Greek talks nuts.

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But let’s not forget about those sunny beaches and crystal blue water…

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I know. I’m jealous of myself right now.

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