Thursday, May 29, 2008

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Dight Road....Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania

(Click on any of these images to enlarge.)

My parents live outside the town of Slippery Rock in western Pennsylvania on Dight Road. They have dial up Internet service for their computers. High-speed simply isn't available. They've been told that when their neighborhood has enough demand, some sort of cable company will come into their area.

The nearest neighbors are very, very quiet...and also quite dead. It is a lovely cemetery.

While visiting for my sister's wedding, I visited the nearest building. It is also quite lovely. Below are the photos I took.

(Above and below are images taken from within the empty silo.)

I don't think a high-speed Internet connection is coming anytime soon!

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Toast!

Cutting the Cake

The Reception, Part 2

Everyone had a great time at the reception. All these images can be clicked for a closer view. Above is the bride with her grandmother. Below, she's with her new husband.

Above and below: Wanda and Reinhard's toast!

Above: Sonya with Grandma

Above: Reinhard opening a gift. Below the couple with Dad.

Above is Sonya and her crew from Orbit Travel. Below, the pastor enjoying a Heineken and some fishing.

The Reception, Part 1

For a reception that was supposed to be low-key, just a picnic, nothing fancy, totally casual...Wanda and Reinhard's reception was absolutely wonderful! Debbie made the best cake. Linda brought bratwurst and sauerkraut. Sonya furnished decorations. Steve and I provided a matted picture on which all the guests could sign their best wishes. It look planned for months!

(All the images can be clicked for a closer view!)

Below is Lulu...the "flower dog"...simply exhausted from all the wedding activities!

After the Wedding

Wanda and Reinhard were pronounced MAN and WIFE! Many congratulations!

As soon as the service ended, everyone was shaking hands, hugging, and happy for the newlyweds.

I shot a couple of photos but we were quickly headed to Lenzelhof, Mom and Dad's lakeside cabin, for a picnic reception.

Above: Wanda and Reinhard with Steve and I. Below, Wanda with our nephews Vinnie and Tony.

Before the Wedding

Steve and I had the privilege of driving Wanda and Reinhard to All Saints Lutheran Church for the the wedding. I missed some of the traditional preparations. Wanda was given a handkerchief that was supposed to be "blue"...only it was teal. It was special, however, because Grandma donated it. There must have been something "old" and something else "new"...but I missed this. The gorgeous fringed jacket was definitely BORROWED from our mother! The rest of Wanda's ensemble just fell into place around it...including Wanda's favorite "hippie" beads and dangling earrings. She was a stunning bride.

(Click on all images to enlarge.)

The church was just the right size for the 28 in and close friends.

Lilacs were cut from Sonya's yard as the flowers for the occasion.

Grandma and Mom looked wonderful.

Above are the happy parents of the bride.

Our niece Nicole invited friends.

Sonya and Vipin stood up for the couple during the ceremony.

We all started to take our places when the pastor arrived.

Above and below are the last photos I took before the ceremony sisters Wanda and Sonya.

I took videos of the short but sweet ceremony. Hopefully, I'll have them spliced into a mini video in the next day or so.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Wanda is getting married!

Above is a photo I snapped the other evening of a bull frog that now lives in the man-made pond in our backyard. Steve thinks there are two...maybe a family! The noise is incredible.

Later today Steve and I are headed to my parent's home in Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania where we'll attend my sister Wanda's wedding to her first love, Reinhard. They met when Wanda was sixteen. He's Austrian. They live in Germany. We're very much looking forward to a wonderful time with family and friends.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Texere Mills

(All images can be clicked for enlargement.)

Before going to England, I had written a blog post asking about great places for textiles. Shirley Anne Sherris wrote a comment suggesting Texere Mills in Bradford. She included a link. I didn't need to click further than the website's homepage to know that I wanted to go...and the second day in England, I boarded a train from Victoria Station. I forgot the map and address I'd printed from the computer...but it didn't matter. I knew I'd find the place...somehow.

Once there, a nice man in a copy shop looked up the website on his desk top computer. He pointed me in the correct direction. I knew I'd find it.

On the top of a hill...

...the sign beckoning....

...the company name in full view... an exterior blue doorway....

..that led to an interior red doorway....

...with a sign requesting a "ring" for admission.... where Joanna greeted customers.

At this point, I'm going to type out the entry I wrote later in the day....

"It's a good thing that I couldn't figure out many of the signs at Texere Mills. How much thread wound around a cardboard cone is 250 grams? 100 grams? I hadn't the slightest idea.

I was nicely left to my own...gaping around every awe. The floor was littered with merchandise and crowded with unopened corrugated boxes full of thousands of spun yarns. There was a system...but not everything fit into it and much simply wasn't put away. Texere Mills is a fantastic jumble of texture...old and new...floor to ceiling...tightly packed away and out in the open...spilling into the aisles and overflowing from the shelves.

I was nicely warned, "Watch your step!"...."lest you fall." I assuredly replied that any accident would just bring about a new point of view."

(Above: The first hallway past the main entrance door.)

(Above and below: Aisles of thread on the first floor.)

(Above and below: More views taken on the first floor.)

(Continuing from my notebook)
"A few clients mingled in and out. There was a young girl with long red and hot pink dreadlocks accompanied by two pierced boys. An old lady sorted through the one pound sale bin. Joanna walked briskly through a first floor aisle with a customer looking for a specific yarn, chatting. The sun shone in long rays through the wavy, antique glass windows. I felt like I'd entered heaven."

(Above: Grab bags of thread.)

(Above: A basket full of bobbins found on the landing between the first and second floor.)

(Above: The "knitting" room on the first floor.)

(Above and below: The embroidery section.)

(Continuing from my notebook)
"Two employees ran machines that wound yarn from large cones onto many smaller cones. Nothing is actually milled on the premise and hasn't been for years...maybe never. An outgoing, happy man was filling mail orders in another section of the building. He's been working at Texere Mills for over fifteen years...and loves it. He explained that most of the customers were "individuals, students, and schools"..."especially since the Internet". He'd never actually seen the website...all the wonderful pages of threads and fibers....but he obviously didn't need to see it; he knew where everything to fill the orders going to places all over the world. "

(Above and below: Machines used on the second floor.)

(Above: Another machine. Below: An aisle on the second floor.)

(Above and below: The "web" book which I found on a desk.)

(Continuing from my notebook) "Newspaper articles, complimentary letters from clients, and fabulous stitching examples were hung all over the walls in the stairway. This didn't surprise me. The place is utterly fantastic. After exploring for over an hour, I finally grabbed one of the large, plastic bags and began loading it with wool rovings, alpaca fibers, exotic twists of yarn, linen, a grab bag of miscellaneous thread, and yarns of very type and description. I hoped I could afford what I'd selected...because I still had no idea how much most of the items were. One larger cone was so beautiful that I figured it didn't matter how much it cost...I had to have it. When Joanna tallied up the prices, this cone cost one pound ten cents. I was floored...and glad I didn't know just how affordable it had been...I would have bought even more. As it was, I had two enormous bags to haul down the street to the Cathedral. I looked like a "bag lady" or some homeless person carrying around all the textiles of ones life. I didn't care. It was grand....really grand."

Several days later I was on my way home, airline flights to luggage claim carousels; passport checks to U.S. Customs...where I was randomly selected for a more "hands on" inspection. All the security and customs officials were very, very nice and polite.

"What are you bringing into the USA?" asked an inspector?

"Thread!" I said happily. The man eyed my two-sided form and noticed the word "thread" in the appropriate box under purchases made while abroad.

He carefully unzipped my suitcase. Cones of thread started rolling out....and down the table...and onto the floor...more escaping with every few inches of the zipper. He rummaged through my dirty clothes. More thread. Lots of thread. I simply smiled broadly. I knew I had over five hours before my next flight. I was in no hurry and had nothing to hide...just thread.

Sheepishly, the customs official said, "I'm much better at the unpacking than the packing. Can you put all this back inside?"

"Of course!" I smiled...thread...lots of thread...a wonderful day at Texere Mills spilling out into the "declaration of goods" area in the airport! Perfect!