Monday, January 30, 2012

Boys and Their Toys

Extra credit to anyone who knows what this is. You can tell it's something a man would like, right? Give up? Ok, I'll tell you; it's a cyclic! But what is a cyclic you ask. Well, it's like the

The Lord of the Manor has a friend who just bought this 1967 Hughes OH-6A. It's a Viet Nam veteran; shot down twice, but patched up and sent back into battle. Apparently these Hughes were tough old birds.
LOM's friend wants LOM to teach him to fly it. Can you imagine buying something you don't know how to fly? And these things aren't cheap either!

Anyway, this is the really cool thing about helicopters; they have awesome visibility. And of course they are so cool to fly. You can land virtually anywhere you can get away with it.

It's painted olive drab with military markings...

and has all the original equipment including gun buttons on the cyclics and a machine gun for the guy in the back.

But all this old equipment isn't exactly legal, so there is a debate going on about how to maintain the original equipment (which looks cool and increases the value of the craft) yet comply with modern FAA regulations. For instance, the transponder is totally illegal, and they ferried the helicopter home Saturday using no transponder at all. Under the radar so to speak. The owner is a clever guy and we've made some aircraft parts before, so I'm sure they will find a creative way to install modern avionics yet cover them with the old face plates once on the ground. If we go for a ride soon, y'all will be some of the first to know about it.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Legion of Honor

Have you ever visited the Legion of Honor in San Francisco? If not, I highly recommend it as a wonderful day out. It's located in Lincoln Park out past the Golden Gate Bridge where the air is fresh and the views are amazing.

Before you even get into the Museum, you see the Thinker by Rodin in the courtyard. The museum has almost 100 works by Rodin alone! Because several casts were made of Rodin's sculptures, this is not the only Thinker in existence. You can also see one at the Rodin Museum in Paris, and places like Tokyo, Copenhagen, Moscow, New York, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Detroit. But the highlight of our visit was easily The Medusa by Bernini. This masterpiece is on loan from the Musei Capitolini in Rome only until February 19th. If you want to see it, you'd better hurry. After that, you'll just have to go to Rome to see it, which doesn't sound too bad either.

It is displayed in the center of the Baroque Gallery and you can walk all around it. It was wonderful to see such interest in it; it was mobbed with admirers taking photos, scrutinizing it up close and even sketching it.

And of course we had to pay a visit to the Impressionist Gallery where you can see this large water lilies painting by Monet. They also have paintings by Renoir, Van Gogh, Manet, and Seurat. We had a glorious time at the Museum and highly recommend a visit.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Old Books and New Comments

Several years ago I did a post about Princess Mary's Gift Book and today I got a new comment on it. It always amazes me when I get a comment on a really old post, but I guess folks are still interested in Princess Mary's Gift book, or maybe the Cottingley Fairy Hoax.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Pt. Sur Lighthouse

Have you ever visited a lighthouse? Over the years we have visited several here in California. And when we were in Oregon two years ago we visited three more, but we had never visited the one that is probably closest to us; Pt. Sur. It's only 19 miles south of Carmel on Highway 1. It sits out on a rock that is connected to the mainland by a sandy spit of land and often looks like an island. I took the photo above early in the morning on our way to see the elephant seals.

You can tour Pt. Sur Lighthouse on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. All you have to do is pull off the highway at the gate and wait for the docents to let you in. Then you drive across the pasture, park, and start your walking tour with the docents leading the way.

As your group climbs up over 300' to the top of the rock, the docents stop and explain how the lighthouse came to be, and interesting facts about the history of the area. When you get to the lighthouse they take small groups up the spiral staircase to the top.

The views from the top of the lighthouse are beautiful; especially on the day we visited because the weather was so warm and clear.

Here is a drawing of the original equipment showing the Fresnel lens. The lens and machinery were taken out in 1978 and put on display at the Museum of Monterey.

Above you can see the modern electric light. It isn't nearly as pretty as the prismatic Fresnel lens, but its white flash every 15 seconds probably still looks BEAUTIFUL to a confused mariner far out at sea.

Speaking of beautiful, Teen2 was on her winter break and accompanied us on this tour. Looks like she enjoyed it.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Pt. Lobos State Reserve

We recently visited Pt. Lobos State Reserve which is just south of Carmel, California. The weather on the Northern California coast is fabulous this time of year and this day was no exception.

Pt. Lobos is a beautiful park with over 6 miles of trails meandering around a rugged rocky point. We started at Whalers Cove and almost hiked around the entire point.

One trail leads down to a slot where the "The Old Veteran" perches on the rocks. It is an ancient picturesque cypress tree.

After hiking the North Point, the South Point, and Sea Lion Point, we cut across at Mound Meadow where we found these mushrooms; fly agaric or amanita muscaria.

We also saw some beautiful brown mushrooms.

And finally we found our way back to Whalers Cove where this snowy egret was fishing amongst the seaweed. It was a beautiful day at Pt. Lobos and a highly recommended day out.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

My Studio (Finally!)

It's been a looooong time coming, but I finally have the cottage/studio all to myself!

Shortly after Teen1 moved out we began moving furniture out of the cottage and into her old room to make it into a proper guest room. Then I rearranged what was left to make more room for painting.

Now the table and chairs are over on the other side and my easel is by the large front window.

I got a frame for this painting, but I think the red needs to be muted so I'm going to sort of antique it a bit, but I like the way the frame repeats the balls on the door.

Now after all the moving of furniture, I think we need a cup of tea, don't you?

Monday, January 9, 2012

Empty Nest

So Teen1 moved out last weekend and Teen2 has been away at college for 4 months and we are finally "empty nesters". The house is so quiet and neat and clean and stress free. We are making one of their bedrooms into a proper guest room and talking about buying some new furniture for the library. We have rearranged the furniture in the kitchen to accomodate our antique meat block that we haven't used in years. Actually....

I'm kind of liking this empty nest thing!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Sunset at Rocky Point

We had dinner at the Rocky Point Restaurant recently and timed it to coincide with the sunset. We were not disappointed. As we ate our salads the sun started coloring the clouds and by the time our entrees were served the sky was ablaze. The photos below were taken only about 3 minutes apart and then it was all over, but what a finish!

Although the sunset was breathtaking, the food, well...not so much. It was like stepping back in time to a menu and cooking style from the 80s. Not that it was bad, just dated, but I guess with this view it doesn't really matter, does it?