Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Playing With Polymer Clay, 2013

I have learned enough from Lilian Nichols to venture out on my own.  I made the votive candle holders and the small vase by baking the polymer clay designs to the glass.

The orange butterfly is one I made in Lilian's butterfly class but the blue one on the vase is one I made on my own.

I made the simple lily leaves by layering two or three shades of green, then encasing the layers in another green.  I squeezed the ends to points and sliced off thin layers of leaf.

The flowers on the candle holders were one of the several different flowers I made following Lilian's directions for making one type of flower from canes.

Lilian Nichols has been a wonderful teacher.  She constantly adds new information about using polymer clay and comes up with interesting ways we can use it.  I plan to continue going to her classes once a month classes at Studio 14 in Tipp City.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Charleston Falls, December of 2013

Our December has been different from the average for our area.  That is not unusual.  Every December is different from the average.

Rarely, December has been so warm that I have had flowers blooming.  Some years we have rain, or sleet, or snow or all three.  This year we have had all three.

The snow was the most noticeable this year, almost three times the average of about 4 inches.

Schools have already been closed twice, as much because of the ice that arrived before the snow as because of the snow itself.

Last Saturday, December 21, this is the way the falls looked.  The temperature was cold, 26 degrees F but we had had a few days of between 25 and 35 degrees F so much of the snow had melted.  The roar of the water was wonderful to hear.

But next came flash floods. None of the overflowing streams and rivers affected us retirees because we stayed home.  Our daughter said people had a terrible time getting to Kroger's where she works part-time. Major state roads and even the interstate were closed because of high water.

As Tom and I drove beside the bike trail today, Tom noticed debris from the flood still clinging to this sign.  The road we were driving on was one of those flooded a few days ago.

Jeanne and I had already enjoyed a hike to the falls.  The temperature was 33 degrees F and this afternoon, it rose to 52 degrees.  Very nice breather before winter returns.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

A 1940's Radio Christmas Carol Presented by The Drama Workshop at the Glenmore Playhouse

I have never seen a play quite like this one.  I've seen plays within plays.  I've seen audience participation plays.  A 1940's Radio Christmas Carol is both plus it has an intermission that leaves the audience wondering if the intermission is real or part of the play.  In addition, it is a comedy, a drama and a musical. The director, Dennis Murphy, and Producer, Elaine Volker, did a great job.

As usual, the lobby was decorated to reflect the theater's presentation.

Kent Smith plays Clifton Feddington, the announcer and general manager of WOV Air Theatre.  Bill Keeton plays William St. Clair, the special guest who appears as Scrooge.  Here they are during the intermission.

Others in the cast are Clint Brankamp, Karen Wiebe, Joe Penno, Ian Tinney, Morgan Carter Woodring, Joel Lind, Ramona Toussaint, Matthew Bross, Tobie Braverman, Dennis Betz and Chimere Egesi.

When the performers passed out a flyer complete with biographies of Cliffton Feddington, William St. Clair and the other members of WOV Air Theatre, we, the audience, realized we were part of the play, too.  At the back of the set, lights lit up to show when  the performance was On Air and to remind us when Applause was to be our response.  You can see those rectangular signs under the WOV logo to the  left of  the sound effects booth.  "Little" Jackie Sparks (Matthew Bross) and Buzz Crenshaw (Ian Tinney) are standing behind the  booth during intermission.  On it and in front are various tools of the sound effects trade. Toots Navarre, composer, musical and vocal arranger,(played by Dennis Betz),  is standing at the left with a coffee cup in his hand.

The play reminded me of programs my dad listened to on radio when I was a child. The spot ads were a fun spoof of the ads I remember. The WOV signature song brought back memories, too as did the various 1940's style harmonized songs sung by a lead vocalist backed by  the ensemble of all the performers  and interspersed throughout the radio production.  As I recall the play, there were several lead vocalists depending on what the radio production suddenly needed because the production did not go smoothly.  Even that was typical of some of the programs my dad listened to.

There is a recognizable version of Dicken's A Christmas Carol at the heart of this play.  How the players react to it is an important part of the play.

Like many of the movies of the 40's, there is  wry humor as well as slapstick humor but the serious business of the World War II always looming in the background.  Patriotism and faith in the troops is the order of the day.  Here is the back page of the WOV program flyer.

The play has been well received with several sell-out performances.  If this play is presented in your area next Christmas season, make an effort to see it.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Journey to Bethlehem, Union Baptist Church, Troy, Ohio

On December 7,  Tom and I journeyed through Bethlehem and came to the stable where Jesus was born.  The experience was memorable.  I am glad my friend invited me.  I hope that those of you who live in the Troy area will watch for the information about it next year.  The journey was presented two evenings, one weekend only.

Here are some photos from the Bethlehem set.  Imagine vendors and inhabitants of Bethlehem on the set because they were there, lots of them.  Our group was the family of Job who had  come to pay our taxes.

Here, the innkeeper was sweeping her porch.  She told us that she had no more rooms at the inn.

Tom was intrigued by all the detail on this wooden-wheeled cart.

Our "family" was led down the street by our family leader past the many  booths where vendors called out for us to buy...furs, fish, chickens (live),  bread.  We passed the pen where the slaves for sale were imprisoned.

We arrived at the tax collectors.  At first, we weren't sure we had enough money but the tax collector finally told us, the amount we had would do.

Next, down the winding street was the jail where those who couldn't pay their taxes were imprisoned.

Ironically, the vendor beside the jail was selling fine jewelry, pots and candlesticks.  Our family leader told her we had had to pay all our money to the tax collector.

All along the road we met vendors and villagers who were concerned about the small family who had passed by earlier.  They couldn't find a place to stay for the night.

You know how the story ends.  I hope you can visit Bethlehem next year and see it and the beautiful ending for yourself.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Troy Civic Theatre presents Nuncrackers

I don't have any photos of the cast because I was concerned that the precipitation coming down after the performance was sleet so we left immediately.  As it turned out, Tom and I drove through mostly rain as we headed toward home, only a little sleet now and then. Nevertheless, I was glad the drive was a short one.

If you live in or near Troy, Ohio and you are looking for something to do this coming Friday or Saturday evening, consider attending this play.  Mount Saint Helen's Elementary School Christmas program, The Nutcracker,  is being televised in the studio of the Little Sisters of Hoboken.  The performers are the nuns and the students in Mount Saint Helen Elementary School.

I guarantee you have never seen The Nutcracker performed as these actors perform it. Because the soloist who is to dance as the Sugar Plum fairy is accidentally injured, the Reverend Mother (Terressa Knoch)  steps into the role. She gives a truly memorable performance.

In addition to their version of The Nutcracker, the nuns and students sing and dance to fractured Christmas songs as well as original songs that were written for the play.  The seven children in the cast perform a cute Santa's Little Teapot song and dance, the tune being the familiar "I'm a Little Teapot."

Since fifty of the members of the Little Sisters have died recently due to poisoning, the order is recruiting.  The nuns and Father Virgil explain the joys of convent life with a jolly song, "In the Convent." The tune was suspiciously similar to the song, "In the Army" or is it "In the Navy"? The revival meeting type song, "It's Better to Give" is sung by Sister Hubert (Jessica Carson)  backed by the other nuns and Father Virgil.  Some nights Father Virgil is played by Donald Kuchta and other nights by Kevin Glover.

During intermission, the audience was invited to buy at the Mount Saint Helen's bake sale.  There were even tiny slices of Father Virgil's fruit cake if we were brave enough to sample it.  He took the cook's place because the cook was  at the police station reporting the stolen Christmas gifts when it was time to televise her cooking demonstration.  His demonstration was different from the usual cooking demo.

The plot is light but the aim is fun and laughter and there is plenty of that.  Oh...the Christmas gifts turn  up though not at the convent.

Actors and actresses in addition to Terressa Knoch as Reverent Mother, include Jessica Carson, Bonnie Littlejohn, McKenzie Stotler, Sydney Edington, Jason Studebaker, Donald Kuchta, Kevin Glover, and Chuck Fox.  Mount Saint Helen students are played by young people who were part of the cast of Annie, the musical which was presented last year.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Sambo's Tavern in Leipsic, Delaware, and Salt Marsh Canal Traffic

It's become traditional for Bruce, Tom and me to eat at Sambo's when we visit Bombay Hook.  The tavern is on the canal that meanders through the salt water marshes along the coast of Delaware.  Sambo's is open from some time in April through mid-October.  We timed it well, only a few days before it closed for the winter.  The day was beautiful so the tavern was full.  This is a place to get really fresh seafood.  Through the windows we could look out on the canal through the salt water marsh.

This year we watched different traffic than we had never seen before...a barge had just delivered a generator component for a new electrical system for a little town south of Leipsic. We learned that from Bruce's friend in the pale green sweatshirt.

Scrap materials were being loaded onto the barge before it started the return trip to the south..

We were torn.  We wanted to watch the activity but we wanted lunch, too.  We were happy  we could see a lot of the activity from our table. 

We ordered our sandwiches.  Tom had another crabcake which he decided was as good as the one at Harris' that he had eaten the day before.

But sometimes our curiosity overcame our hunger so Bruce and I left our meal several times to go outside and get more pictures.

The tugboat which had been along side the barge moved up and nudged itself between the dock and the barge.

After a considerable  amount of nudging, the tug boat moved along side the barge and began pulling  using a rope tied between the two crafts.

Then with help from the small blue boat, and the tugboat, the barge headed off down stream.

I was impressed with the patient maneuvering required that finally sent the barge off on its way.

Some of the photos are Bruce's, some are mine.  By the time I decided which photos to use I had lost track of who had snapped what.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Charleston Falls, November 30, and on December 2

When Jeanne and I walked on Saturday morning, November 30, this is how the falls looked.  The white at the bottom of the falls is ice, not snow.  The weather was cold enough for snow, 26 degrees, Fahrenheit. (-3.3 Celsius)

On Tuesday afternoon, I took a rapid walk to the falls and this is what it looked like.  The temperature was 49 degrees, Fahrenheit. (9.4 Celsius)

Changes of temperature like this are typical of southwestern Ohio as cold winter weather begins to move in.  These ups and downs were the first thing I noticed about the weather when we moved here from northern Ohio.  In northern Ohio, the weather tends to come from the northwest.  In southwestern Ohio, we know the weather will usually come from the west but sometimes it comes from the northwest as it did on November 30 and sometimes it comes from the southwest as it did on December 2.

We're expected to have 50s (10 Celsius) and 60s (15.5 Celsius) as highs for the next couple days but 20s (-6.6 Celsius) by the weekend.

Our first snow melted weeks ago but there will be probably be snow again before Christmas.  We live far enough south that we don't always have snow for Christmas.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Bombay Hook, National Wildlife Refuge, near Dover, Delaware

We went to Bombay Hook hoping to see the Snow Geese (Chen caerulescens)  Size..28 inches or 71cm. 

Picture from All the Birds of North America, American Bird Conservancy's Field Guide 

The ranger told us he hadn't seen any yet this year and to let him know if we saw any.  Tom pointed up in the sky as  Bruce and I walked back to the van.  We looked up and there they were, twenty-five snow geese flying in a Vee.  Bruce ran back to tell the ranger.

One year we were here early in the morning and saw thousands flying up  in huge flocks up from the ponds where they had spent the night.  We were a few days too early this year.  The huge flocks had not yet arrived.  

 Tom took a few photos of what we did see...

American Avocets (Recurvirostra americana) 18 inches (46 cm)  in winter plumage...

and Great Blue Herons (Ardea herodias) 46 inches (117cm)...

 Tom spotted this one up in a tree.

We saw a wide variety of ducks, also.

We didn't see the snow geese on the ponds but the marshes and woods were beautiful.

We went out of the park for lunch and when we returned, all of us attempted a  walk on the trail to Parson Point.  The Green Briar crowding into the trail forced Tom on his scooter to turn back.  Bruce and I pressed on.

Parson Point is a mud flat.  The mud was firm enough to walk on but Tom's scooter would have sunk in it.

And then there was the last part of the trail barely wide enough for person to squeeze through.  This was beyond the Green Briar.

On the return trip, I stopped to see if I could still sit on a tree limb.  Notice the spreading roots.

There was a remnant of World War II along the trail.

The words are decipherable if you click on the photo.