Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Total Eclipse: Stunning!

Hubby and I went to Grand Island, Nebraska to experience the total solar eclipse on August 21. We decided to witness it on the grounds of the Stuhr Museum. Traffic was backed up the minute the grounds opened at 8:00 AM, but it limped along at a steady crawl, and we got in and parked with plenty of time to spare and plenty of parking spaces left for more people. The grounds are huge, and they had room for thousands. The whole time we were there, until the last few minutes, traffic kept coming in.

If you have ever watched a partial eclipse, you have an idea of what the waiting time was like. The moon gradually moved into the sun's path, but we couldn't see any difference on earth. We put on the special glasses and looked. It seemed to be a small bite out of the sun for the longest time. Finally the moon moved further over the sun, and we were surprised to see that there was still very little evidence on earth. The sunshine was still bright; it did not feel like dusk at all until the eclipse was nearly full. That gave us an appreciation for just how bright and strong our sun is. With even a sliver of it left shining, it felt like full sun.

Near us was a young woman who teaches middle school science. She was so excited about the eclipse, and she ran periodic live Facebook lessons for her students. Her excitement was contagious; it was very fun to listen to her explanations of what was happening. She told them she was "nerding it out with 15,000 other nerds" and that we were all excited.

Below: (1)a fraction of the large crowd that spread throughout the huge museum grounds
(2)the science teacher, with phone in hand, and her sister, watching the unfolding excitement

For a while the surroundings took on a bright yellowish tinge... hard to describe, but the colors were just odd, and the shadows were different. Under the trees, we could see crescent-shaped shadows, from the eclipse shining through the leaves.

The temperature dropped. It felt chilly. It got a little dusky feeling. Crickets started to chirp. Canada Geese flew in "for the night" to rest with their buddies in the nearby pool. There was a sunset-y looking sky all the way around the horizon. You can see that in this picture of people, all looking up.

Then came the full eclipse. I'm telling you, friends, it was soooo awesome! I can't even describe it! The crowd oohed, aahed, cheered, made noises of disbelief. It is INCREDIBLE, having night suddenly happen in the middle of the day. SO AWESOME! I was stunned at its beauty. We could finally look directly at the sun/moon/corona. Glorious!

We could see a few stars. Then, slowly, the moon kept moving, now getting out of the sun's way. First came the diamond ring. That, my friends, is another gorgeous moment. This picture of the diamond ring is from NASA. I couldn't get a good pic of it myself.

Then the sunshine came back, it was daytime again. We were still in awe, kind of in shock. People stayed put and were quiet for a while. Then..
back to normal. The sun was shining again. People packed up, went to their cars, and left. Just remembering this experience gives me shivers. If you ever get a chance to experience a full eclipse, DO IT! Next one is on April 8, 2024. Start studying that path now, and make your plans to be there. If we're still able to walk and travel, we will be there with you.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Hey! I'm Back!

Howdy! Did you miss me?? I have been away and too busy to post. Hubby and I went to Nebraska to see the total eclipse (beyond awesome!), and then extended our tour of America by visiting Colorado. On the way there and back we also set foot in Iowa, South Dakota, and Wyoming. We had a blast! It is taking me a while to get pictures all sorted, so for now I'm going to show you some random (well, only sort of random) quilt pictures. These should hold you until I can get back here and post the pictures of our trip.

(1) a quilt top I made before we left on our vacation
(2) a giraffe quilt hanging in a shop in northern Minnesota - lovely, isn't it??
(3) two quilts I recently sent to Wrap-a-Smile for kids getting cleft lip/cleft palate surgery
(4) a quilt thrown cavalierly on the lawn at my church, with no one watching it, but waiting patiently for an evening event to occur. I don't know whose it is or who made it.

We saw some quilts and quilt shops on our trip, and I will share that information with you when I get some hours to work on the photo-sorting task.

It's good to be back home!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Bonnie Hunter Trunk Show/Lecture

Last week Bonnie Hunter came to town. For those of you who don't know, she is a famous quilter who does a lot of traveling and teaching of classes. She is a very prolific quilter and makes large quilts out of zillions of tiny scraps. She is the queen of scraps. And she does make lovely quilts! She teaches how to make the small units ahead of time, and she has a special technique which she calls "Leaders and Enders."

I didn't know this, but Bonnie was born in Minnesota and attended elementary school here. Her kindergarten teacher was in the audience!

There was a Show and Tell by audience members. Most of them showed Bonnie Hunter patterns they had used. My cousin, B. showed this one from Bonnie's recent mystery, En Provence. WTG, Cuz! It's beautiful!

Bonnie is a fun and lively presenter. She taught two or three classes while here, but I did not take any of her classes. You can check out her blog and website, and lots of free patterns, at quiltville(dot)com.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Book Review: Journey to Iceland

My Journey to Iceland; 10 Crazy Years Later and I am Still Here by Satu Ramo is a book written by a Finnish woman who married an Icelander. They live in Iceland, have a couple of kids, and she tells her story of learning the language and learning to navigate a new culture.
This book was fun for me as I had just completed a trip to Iceland, and the book expanded on some of what I had learned. It also mentioned familiar place names and introduced me to new perspectives on Iceland and its people.
This was a fun book and often made me laugh. I'm glad I found it at the airport on my way home from Iceland.

Monday, August 07, 2017

Iceland Part Four

(1-5)visiting a national park; the four women are me and three others who are all members of the same guild, Minnesota Contemporary Quilters
(6)a geyser
(7-11)gorgeous waterfalls; see the rainbow?
(11)a salmon ladder

(1-5)a stop at Gudrun's mother's house; she served us Icelandic doughnuts, and then fermented shark followed by a shot of Black Death. Now I can say I've eaten fermented shark, and I can also say I will never do so again.

(1)2:00 AM - it's really not as dark as it appears in this photo. It is just dark enough for city lights to come on. This is from our hotel room in Reykjavik. The Harpa Concert Hall is streaming colors across its front. It's an award-wining and very interesting building that reflects pretty lights off its fa├žade during the day.
(2)a pretty,quilt-like sidewalk in Reykjavik
(3)sculpture along the waterfront
(4)our hotel in Reykjavik

(1-2)Workshop with Icelandic quilters was so much fun. This is four Americans with our Icelandic table-mate, Jona. She gave us each a skein of yarn which she hand-dyed - two with moss and two with rhubarb. I got a rhubarb skein. I must plan something very special to knit. The second photo is one of the Icelanders during show and tell.
(3-4)visit and soak at Blue Lagoon
(5)S.knitting while waiting for our flight home
(6)late addition photo from friend M., is me feeling jubilant after finishing a tough hike

(1-3)During the flight home I had a window seat, and I got this great view of Greenland as we flew over it.

(1)flying over Newfoundland, Canada
(2)modeling my souvenir sweater from Iceland