Random blog, evolving themes, art, science, water

Stand-up Paddleboarding – Grand Traverse Bay, MI

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Paddleboard in Grand Traverse Bay

Paddleboarding in  Grand Traverse Bay, Michigan

Last week of summer in Traverse City, MI, in Grand Traverse Bay, off of Clinch Park, West Bay. Stand Up Paddle-boarding on a beautiful calm Wednesday morning. Swells, waves, and attempted asanas make it harder. My first class was sponsored by Yen Yoga in Traverse City.

Heading out into the unsalted and shark-free Great Lakes

Heading out into the unsalted and shark-free Lake Michigan – The Great Lakes


Written by watsueast

21 Oct 12 at 23:21

Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains

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Touring Virginia’s Blue Ridge mountains in autumn is always a treat, even when the tree colors are still only approaching their peak. Driving Skyline Drive through the Shenandoah National Park offers nice hikes, great views, occasional wildlife, and a gentle 35 MPH pace.  I saw my second bear of 2012 this month;  he crossed the fire trail about 100 feet ahead and then stopping to check us out before scampering (at about 250 pounds?) into the brush, but this time I wasn’t watching from inside the car. I guess I should have been wearing those bear-alerting bells the rangers always recommend.

Autumn Sunset from Skyland

Autumn Sunset from Skyland

Blue Ridge - View from Skyline Drive, west at Sunset

Blue Ridges at Sunset

Written by watsueast

20 Oct 12 at 23:22

Kaaterskill Falls, Hudson River School, and Bad Parents

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Kaaterskill Falls - view with Dog

Thomas Cole - Falls of the Kaaterskill - 1820

Thomas Cole – 1820

While touring eastern New York I was able to visit both the top and bottom of the Kaaterskill Falls. I had known the falls to be a anchor scene of the Hudson River School of landscape painters from the 1800’s. 300 ft up and a half mile in: I was at the lower pools in early August. It was a nice steady rocky walkto the fall’s base – lead all the way by an eager city dog loving all the goings-on along the trail.


Risky Ledge - Kaaterskill Falls, NYWatching folks wading in the pools and moving about the spray, I was surprised to see a number of children up on the fall’s ledges. Saw this one child posing (in fear) at the edge and opined out loud that “it looks like some parents are sponsoring their own Darwin Award Nominations.” The woman with the camera next to me said nothing: not then, or when I saw her with her husband and this child in the parking lot as I was leaving. So at least I know the little girl made it down safely. With three decades of annual fatalities about these falls, and with posted signs so stating, I believe this father is an idiot, and mom probably agreed with my assessment of his antics.

Written by watsueast

01 Sep 12 at 01:16

Bronze Castle

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Another month – another castle in the gallery. I’ve painted and etched a few landscapes; printed and sculpted some angels, mermaids, flora, and figures; but just two architectural pieces. Since the Pitfichie Castle etching was well received in July, this month I offered a bronze that I had originally cast for my mother of the “Hurry Castle” – a structure that we had visited many years ago.
With a new juror and a sculptural theme for August – Pitfichie made the “Shape of Things” Show and has now been represented for the second month in a row in the Alexandria Art League’s Members Show.
I hope there’s room for other themes (as I’ve exhausted the fortified house) – maybe a stone circle in the mist, pixies in the heather, or mermaids in the loch? Back to the studio…or maybe Scotland.

Written by watsueast

07 Aug 12 at 00:22

Homecoming and Recognition

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Homecoming in the airport

It is not every day that America remembers to recognize and celebrate the sacrifices and significant contributions that our military service men and women offer to us all. But they are recognized daily by family and friends throughout our country and among our allies. Most are welcomed home safely from their deployments and they stand ready for the next task their nation requests.
Today was one of those days in my family.
Go Navy. Go SeaBees. Can Do.

Written by watsueast

24 Jul 12 at 23:47

Posted in Family

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Yoga on the Beach – Solstice

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Yoga on the BeachSolstice Sunset

The season’s first Yoga-on-the-Beach session in Leland, Michigan, was offered at the moment of the solstice. Three excellent yoga instructors tour the Leelanau Peninsula’s fresh-water beaches offering morning through evening yoga sessions. Amy, Angela, and Julie host appropriately paced sandy sessions at the water’s edge. After our solstice session, half the class made it into the water to cool, watch the sunset, and track the lakers heading north. If you make it to Michigan’s Traverse City area in the summer time – look them up and take your towel to the shore. The class.

Written by watsueast

16 Jul 12 at 23:58

Sunset and an Atomic 4

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July sunset, Galesville, West River, Maryland, Chesapeake Bay

July Sunset, Galesville, West River, Maryland, Chesapeake Bay

Prior to snapping this summer sunset, I spent a solid two hours resuscitating a classic Universal Atomic Four engine in a 1972 vintage sailboat. After 10 months of dormancy, it needed some attention. Tracing wires, brushing and tightening contacts, cleaning plugs and points, it was ready to go. Almost. What appears to be a decade or so of wintered-over marina gas can turn a fuel filter into an impenetrable brick. And given the sun’s altitude, the marine supply stores were shuttered.

Over the years I’ve removed or replaced everything but the crankshaft on these little dependable boat motor workhorses  – once even changed the head gasket underway. Half the axillary sailboats made in the 1970s came with the Atomic 4, and most of the engines are still running. Thirty horsepower into a direct-drive screw could almost always get a sailor off of the mud or sand bars of Chesapeake Bay – especially if you had a mate willing to swing outboard, hanging on the boom.

Written by watsueast

14 Jul 12 at 00:52

Posted in Chesapeake Bay

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