The Seventh Continent - Day Five

“I say: 'The sun rises and falls with you,' and various things about love, then a rising violence in me cuts all my circuits off.”
Nick Cave, More News From Nowhere, 2008

When I was younger, my grandfather – to protect our innocence and his own sanity – would only tell us greatly sanitised versions of his war stories. I've mentioned it once before. At that age, perhaps his most terrifying tale was about a hellish night on the Russian Convoys. The image that stuck clearest in my mind was his warning about grabbing metal railings in the freezing cold; if it was severe enough and you were unlucky, the freeze could rip the palm of your hand clear off. You'd walk away; your hand print would stay forever.
And stupidly, it's this image that I can't shake from my head as I disembark from our old Chilean naval vessel and onto the Zodiac that will take us to Antarctica proper. Quickly, though, I realise that there was no need to worry because it's actually all quite mild – warm almost. The rails aren't frozen, the four layers I have on are definitely too much, hell I can barely even see my breath any more.
Before all that, though, breakfast is abuzz with people talking about the previous night. A rag-tag gaggle of insomniacs had stayed up late and the light, they say, was fantastic. We are so far south that sunset and sun rise became the same thing, and this translated as four hours of the most serene light imaginable as it bounced off colossal icebergs in shades of pink and peach and orange and some brand new colours never seen before by man. Unfortunately, they have some pretty breathtaking pictures as proof.
There's also news of another defeat: we were supposed to push into the Weddell Sea, but were turned back by ice and furious wind. This is a disappointment for a lot of people, especially as we're now to dock at another research station, this time in Hope Bay.
The Esperanza Station is one site of the amazing 1903 Nordenskiold expedition and one of dozens of places where humankind's relentless ability to survive makes the small inconveniences of modern life seem truly pathetic.
Since then, folk have done a better job of living here. In fact, Esperanza is one of the biggest bases on the continent, with 10 families living here, complete with a school and – improbably – even a casino. Weans have even been spawned here for the past 30 years.
Still, none of this seems to interest most folk, who are instead content with taking pictures of penguins going about their business, just on the fringes of the settlement.
Back on board the Antarctic Dream, we have a quick lunch before heading further into the Antarctic Sound. We are en route to Paulet Island, which sounds quite pedestrian compared to its neighbours the Danger Islands and the Terror Gulf. (I'm aware that these little link paragraphs are quite boring, really I'm just wasting space to break up the photos. See.)
Photo: Wee Mo
The journey there, though, is one of the most bizarre, unsettling and cold of my entire life. We are pushing into territory that the Antarctic Dream rarely ventures: here impossibly large tabular icebergs have snapped off and litter the channel like so much polystyrene.
No two of these masses look the same, and with the low cloud pressing down on us, the whole scene feels vaguely sinister. Every now and then we'll pass a bored-looking seal on a smaller iceberg, or a gaggle of tottering penguins weighing up whether or not we warrant plunging into the deathly-cold ocean.
Photo: Wee Mo
Somehow, I find myself on the bow alone, the wind biting at my face as we glide through what feels like a drug-induced dream. The captain and his crew are expert at steering us through the ice field, but after a while, he sets a course directly for one of the smaller chunks. Thankfully, our reinforced hull is strong enough to plough through it. Others haven't been so measured in the past. 
Soon after that, we're bunting and crushing ice all over the place, and as we do, more and more people arrive on deck to nervously watch our progress.
Three hours of this later, we arrive at Paulet Island, which looks not unlike the Ailsa Craig from afar, and like a mountain of shit up close. This is because it is home to a colony of over 200,000 penguins, mostly the “mad men of the Antarctic”, the Adelie. 

Photo: Wee Mo

Photo: Wee Mo
Wee Mo gets off adventuring first, getting out on a Zodiac while I faff around with my camera equipment. I barely catch up, then get distracted by penguins and end up missing out on a trek, over a ridge and back down to the ocean, a path which was modified because of a group of non-compliant Weddell seals. 
Photo: Wee Mo

Photo: Wee Mo

Photo: Wee Mo
Meanwhile, I spent time trying to take picture of skua fighting kelp gull. The skuas are essentially the mafia of the rookery: they guard their own bit of territory fiercely, and subsequently all the penguins in it. As tax, they occasionally steal an egg from lackadaisical parents. The gulls aren't so bold – they just scavenge the left overs. Anyway, after half an hour of sitting in guano, I get nothing more than a couple of wing tips and feet. Thus wildlife photography: a bastard.

By the time people got back to start dinner it's after nine, which helps everyone who feels like they missed out on this mysterious light (i.e. us) stay awake. The fact that it never comes close to being dark and that it's also the French film-maker's birthday eases the passing of time as well, the free wine being extended long past dinner time.
Hours pass and I find myself alone at the bow again, edging closed to death by exposure by the minute, but unable to be bored as we venture ever-south. Ahead lies Snow Hill Island, the site of one of the continent's famous colonies of emperor penguins. They're the reason we've been so intent on heading down the east coast, so rare is it for a ship like to have the opportunity to sail this far south. On the horizon, neighbouring Seymour Island looks like a volcano bodged onto the side of a dramatic cliff.
I, then, am not the only one crushed by disappointment when we make a 90 degree turn away from our target. I look up to the bridge; gloomy faces look past me to the thickening ice ahead. I head up and the captain looks solemn: we can go no further. Bunting icebergs around in open sea is one thing, bunting them into each other is flat out dangerous, especially as we aren't technically in an icebreaker. The captain orders the boat to patrol the shelf, checking and re-checking that progress isn't possible. No one is happy with his eventual decision*, but it seems the only option.
Wee Mo and I find each other as we always seem to do and head out onto the deck. We might never head further south in our lives, but then the sky turns gold, and once more the end of the world is full of splendour.

Photo: Wee Mo

*The following morning, I stumble across this quote from Shackleton, during one of his nearly-but-not-quite expeditions. It sums up the captain's dilemma perfectly: “I must look at the matter sensibly and consider the lives of those who are with me. I feel that if we go on too far it will be impossible to get back... and then all results will be lost to the world... Man can only do his best, and we have arrayed against the strongest forces of nature.”

Birthday Cake

I can’t believe it’s already been a year. Whew. How did time just sneak past me so quickly? Around this time last year (December 12 to be exact) C and I welcomed the 3rd member into our family, the very best Christmas gift we could have gotten. Looking back, I can’t even begin to count all the milestones, the exciting “firsts” (and equally wonderful seconds and thirds) that brought us so much joy. The year past seems to be bursting at the seams with our happiness…even in the midst of many (many!!!) sleepless nights, tired-to-the-bone days, and instances of parental insecurity and uncertainty (we’ve had our share of those too!).

At this one year mark, I can’t help but look back and examine how I did as a mum so far. I’ve tried to give the best of myself, filled her bottles and bowls with what I feel are good things, protect her but also give her many opportunities for discovery and exploration. I’ve put the things I love, that I hope she learns to love, in her path – books, good food, snuggles (and more than the occasional kitchen demonstration). There are definitely things I might have done differently, in retrospect. An adjustment here and there, a little more diligent here, and little less stringent there. But on the whole, none too shabby I think…I hope.

And on her first year birthday, I baked a cake. Nothing earth-shattering, but something that I believe the mum I want to be would do.

In my search for this first birthday cake I looked through all my cookbooks, magazines, and bookmarked cake files. I wanted something special but simple. Nothing over the top (no 3-tier princess cakes please) but something worthy of holding that momentous single candle. As fate would have it I found that very cake on another food blog – a cake baked as a birthday cake (or future birthday cake) by a girl who was expecting her first baby (who at this writing has already celebrated that all-important 1st birthday). It was the classic of all classic birthday cakes – a yellow cake with chocolate frosting. You don’t get any more simple-but-well-loved than that. You can find the recipe HERE. If you find yourself in need of a birthday cake I implore you to give this one a try – it is perfect…moist, light and vanilla-buttery. In my pre-party test-bakes I made it both in layer cake and cupcake forms and both turned out wonderful. The recipe makes two 9-inch round, 2-inch tall cake layers, but I made two 8-inch cake layers and a dozen cupcakes instead.

I used a different frosting from the one paired with the cake originally as it was not holding up too well in my warm-humid native climate. I finally settled on the recipe below which is adapted from the Cupcake Bakeshop. I love that it uses 3 kinds of chocolate that you adjust based on your taste. The recipe below uses my preferred quantities for the different chocolates, but you can find the original recipe here.

Fudge Frosting
(Adapted from the Cupcake Bakeshop)

  • 9 oz bittersweet chocolate
  • 4 oz unsweetened chocolate
  • 3 oz semi sweet chocolate
  • 2 sticks (one cup) unsalted butter
  • 5 cups powdered (confectioners) sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup whole milk

- Melt the chocolate and the butter in a double boiler and stir until smooth. Set aside to cool.
- Sift the powdered sugar and salt into a bowl.
- Combine the milk and vanilla.
- Add the milk/vanilla mixture to the sugar/salt and whisk until incorporated.
- Add the melted chocolate to the milk/sugar mixture and whisk until smooth.
- Chill the mixture in the fridge. When chilled whisk again until fluffy.

I am so happy with the way the cake turned out, but more importantly I am so happy I actually made it. I’m sure all mothers have different (and many!) moments they mark that define themselves as mums. Baking little C’s birthday cake was definitely one of mine.

Happy birthday once again my little cherry bomb! You spin me right round baby and mama wouldn’t have it any other way :)

To everyone else…I hope you are having a fantastic holiday season!

Happy Holidays!!!

We wish you a very Merry Christmas! I hope that you've all been good and that Santa brings you whatever you wish for!

We are going to have a very relaxed holiday. The only excitement that we are going to have is a visit from Santa tomorrow night. He's going to be visiting our neighbor Mr. Frank and I've been told that he's asked to see the kids.

Meanwhile, my little one wanted to make some nature scenes for the holidays.  A couple of weeks ago we dropped by Pottery Barn and Michael's. He saw these adorable squirrels and raccoons and asked if he could have them to make a "nature scene".  Of course you can. 

He even used his trucks to carry the berries to the scene and to fill the vases with some snow.

He was so proud of his display! Mommy was impressed too!

Happy holidays!
xo, L


(Updated Thursday 12/30/2010 -- See Ty Hardin, Geoff Meed Birthdays)
(just a quick note: I've been having some trouble with the links in this post, especially the Gunsmoke episode. If they don't work for you, go to Youtube and search for 'Gunsmoke In Magnus')
I’m getting this week’s post up a little earlier than usual because, just like everyone else, I’ve still got Christmas shopping and wrapping to do. The Round-up’s first year is rapidly drawing to a close, and I want to take a moment to thank everyone who’s stopped by to take a look at the site, and a very special thank-you to all the folks that have emailed me or left comments, whether to tell me about something they particularly liked, or disagreed with, or to correct one of my numerous errors. Your feedback is crucial.

I’m delighted to say that I’ll be starting the New Year with a pair of interviews from a couple of great Western stars, Earl Holliman and Ty Hardin.


Happy Birthday wishes go out to BRONCO star Ty Hardin, who is as suave and handsome as ever! I got to interview Ty this summer, and you'll be reading it here in the next month or so. The colorful picture of Ty, between the Christmas picture and the Indian Chiefs, is from a Swedish candy-card.


Friday, December 31st is the birthday of the villainous actor and Western screenwriter of 6 GUNS. He's just back from scaring people in Brazil in FAST FIVE -- that's Geoff glaring under Ty. If you'd like to read my interview with Geoff, CLICK HERE.


On Christmas Day, The Happy Trails Theatre will be showing Robin Hood Of the Pecos, a 1941 post-Civil War story set in Texas, starring Roy, Gabby Hayes, Marjorie Reynolds, and Sally Payne as Belle Starr. It’s directed by the great Joe Kane, and written by Western pros Hal Long and Olive Cooper. It plays at 9:00 a.m. in the west, noon in the east, and there are a couple of repeats during the week – in case you’re busy trying out your new Red Ryder BB-Gun.

And here’s the line-up for the first couple of months of 2011: January 1st, In Old Cheyenne (1941); January 8th, Young Bill Hickok (1940); January 15t, Sheriff of Tombstone (1941); January 22nd, Bad Man of Deadwood (1941); January 29th, Jesse James At Bay (1941); February 5th, Under California Skies (1948); February 12th, Heart Of The Rockies (1951); February 19th, Sons Of The Pioneers (1942); February 26th, Sunset In El Dorado (1945); and March 5th, Don’t Fence Me In (1945) – the only Republic Western with a Cole Porter score!


Saturday, January 1st, 2011, New Years Day, admission to the Autry Museum will be free. But better news still, a double-feature of Gene’s films will be shown in the Imagination Gallery’s Western Legacy Theatre. And henceforth, the first Saturday every month will feature a different Gene Autry double bill. January 1st, at 2 p.m., it’s Tumbling Tumbleweeds (1935) and Last Round-up (1947). February 1st will feature Shooting High (1940) and Sioux City Sue (1946).

In a recent letter to members, Museum President John L. Gray touted the wide range of events featured at the Autry this year, including events as far out of the mainstream as George Takei’s discussion about being a gay Asian in the American West, but concluded by noting that their best-attended event overwhelmingly was their first Annual Celebration of the American Cowboy. I’ve heard from a number of western enthusiasts who felt that the Autry had been taking them for granted. If it was true, it sounds like it’s no longer the case.


It wouldn’t be Christmas without the man who sang ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ and ‘Here Comes Santa Claus.’ To learn the story behind both songs, and here Gene sing ‘em, CLICK HERE.


The 18th Annual Cowboy Festival will take place April 27th through May 1st, at the historic Melody Ranch, courtesy of the Veluzat family. I attended this event for the first time last year, and it was just wonderful, not only for the event and the entertainment, but for the experience of wandering through the Western streets. The Cowboy Festival will feature the best in Western gear, food, clothing, and living history exhibits as well as performers like Hot Club of Cowtown, Wylie and the Wild West, Don Edwards, and The Sons of the San Joaquin. Returning are past festival favorites Waddie Mitchell, Sourdough Slim, Belinda Gail and Larry Maurice as well as award winning songwriters, Andy Wilkinson and Andy Hedges. Poet Chris Isaacs will spin tales of the West and the Battalion Band of California will make their Main Stage debut. Making his first appearance at the Cowboy Festival is renowned Colorado songwriter Chuck Pyle, “The Zen Cowboy.” Also returning are saloon pianist David Bourne, master magician Whit Haydn and banjo master John Reynolds, as well as Western, Native American and Hispanic song and dance.

This year they’re going paperless, which I frankly think is nuts. While there are a lot of Western fans who are on-line (otherwise I’d be writing the Round-up to myself), a lot of Westerners are hold-outs against technology, and I foresee a lot of fans falling through the cracks. So spread the word, and visit or call (661) 286-4021 for details.


The man who so spiritedly introduced the adventures of the masked man and Tonto, first on radio, then in television, died in his home in Woburn, Mass. He also announced for The Green Hornet and Sgt. Preston Of The Yukon on radio, and The Dick Cavett Show on TV, but is best remembered for these words: “ A fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust and a hearty "Hi-Yo Silver"... The Lone Ranger! With his faithful Indian companion, Tonto, the daring and resourceful masked rider of the plains led the fight for law and order in the early Western United States. Nowhere in the pages of history can one find a greater champion of justice. Return with
us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear. From out of the past come the
thundering hoof-beats of the great horse Silver. The Lone Ranger rides

Foy is survived by his wife of 63 years, Frances Foy, their three children and three grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the USO in honor of Mr. Foy's military service in WW II. And in case you haven’t heard his work in some time, HERE’S A SPECIAL CHRISTMAS TREAT: CLICK HERE to watch a Christmas episode of The Lone Ranger.


The writer-director who was best known for broad sight-gag comedies like the Pink Panther series, as well ultra-sophisticated comedy and dramas like Breakfast at Tiffany’s and The Days Of Wine and Roses, started out on radio, writing for Dick Powell, who was playing Richard Diamond. Edwards wrote the show on television as well, and also Mr. Lucky, and he created Peter Gunn. But his first work on film was writing a pair of Westerns for Rod Cameron, Panhandle (1948) and Stampede (1949) for Allied Artists. He went on to write and direct the excellent The Wild Rovers (1971), starring William Holden and Ryan O’Neal. It was released at a chopped 106 minutes, but was re-released in the 1980s at its full 136 minute length. In 1988 he directed his last Western, appropriately titled Sunset. Set in the Hollywood of 1929, it starred James Garner as an aging Wyatt Earp, teaching cocky young Tom Mix (Bruce Willis) the ropes.


Built by cowboy actor, singer, baseball and TV entrepeneur Gene Autry, and designed by the Disney Imagineering team, the Autry is a world-class museum housing a fascinating collection of items related to the fact, fiction, film, history and art of the American West. In addition to their permenant galleries (to which new items are frequently added), they have temporary shows. The Autry has many special programs every week -- sometimes several in a day. To check their daily calendar, CLICK HERE. And they always have gold panning for kids every weekend. For directions, hours, admission prices, and all other information, CLICK HERE.


Across the street from the Hollywood Bowl, this building, once the headquarters of Lasky-Famous Players (later Paramount Pictures) was the original DeMille Barn, where Cecil B. DeMille made the first Hollywood western, The Squaw Man. They have a permanent display of movie props, documents and other items related to early, especially silent, film production. They also have occasional special programs. 2100 Highland Ave., L.A. CA 323-874-2276. Thursday – Sunday 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. $5 for adults, $3 for senior, $1 for children.


This small but entertaining museum gives a detailed history of Wells Fargo when the name suggested stage-coaches rather than ATMS. There’s a historically accurate reproduction of an agent’s office, an original Concord Coach, and other historical displays. Open Monday through Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. Admission is free. 213-253-7166. 333 S. Grand Street, L.A. CA.


A staggering number of western TV episodes and movies are available, entirely free, for viewing on your computer at HULU. You do have to sit through the commercials, but that seems like a small price to pay. The series available -- often several entire seasons to choose from -- include THE RIFLEMAN, THE CISCO KID, THE LONE RANGER, BAT MASTERSON, THE BIG VALLEY, ALIAS SMITH AND JONES, and one I missed from 2003 called PEACEMAKERS starring Tom Berenger. Because they are linked up with the TV LAND website, you can also see BONANZA and GUNSMOKE episodes, but only the ones that are running on the network that week.

The features include a dozen Zane Grey adaptations, and many or most of the others are public domain features. To visit HULU on their western page, CLICK HERE.


Every weekday, TV LAND airs a three-hour block of BONANZA episodes from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. They run a GUNSMOKE Monday through Thursday at 10:00 a.m., and on Friday they show two, from 6:00 to 8:00 a.m.. They're not currently running either series on weekends, but that could change at any time.


Check out your cable system for WHT, which stands for World Harvest Television. It's a religious network that runs a lot of good western programming. Your times may vary, depending on where you live, but weekdays in Los Angeles they run DANIEL BOONE at 1:00 p.m., and two episodes of THE RIFLEMAN from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m.. On Saturdays at 2:00 p.m. it's THE RIFLEMAN again, followed at 2:30 by BAT MASTERSON. And unlike many stations in the re-run business, they run the shows in the original airing order. There's an afternoon movie on weekdays at noon, often a western, and they show western films on the weekend, but the schedule is sporadic.


Here, in three parts, is the Christmas show from the first season of Gunsmoke, when it was black and white, and half an hour. Entitled Magnus, it features Robert Easton as Chester’s brother Magnus. Robert Easton has long been known as Hollywood’s Henry Higgins, and can claim the perhaps unique distinction of having played the same character, Magnus, in both the Gunsmoke radio series and television series. I had the pleasure of chatting with him after the Republic 75th Anniversary celebration (CLICK HERE to read what he had to say there), and hope to have an interview about his work in Westerns later this year. CLICK HERE for part 1.
CLICK HERE for part 2.
CLICK HERE for part 3.


Henry C. Parke

All Contents Copyright December 2010 by Henry C. Parke – All Rights Reserved

Happy Holidays

Here's my holiday promo postcard. Wishing everyone a Happy Holiday!

Aurifil Designer of the Month 2011

Something fun and exciting is going to start happening in January over at the Aurifil blog. The Aurifil Designer of the Month will start on January 6. Each month Pat Sloan will interview a designer and showcase her work. Each designer will provide a project to you for free. 

We met at Quilt Market [above photo] and we all promised to deliver one awesome event to you. You will find something to inspire you whether you like handwork, machine applique, traditional needlework, needleturn applique, or embroidery.

Besides patterns, there will be prizes. If you make up a project and post it on Flickr 30 days after the pattern is released, you will be eligible to win some Aurifil thread. There will be a different thread collection each time!

Blog -

And add yourself to the Aurifil Designer of the Month Flickr group here:

Pat Sloan [website]

Susan Brubaker Knapp (January 6)

Linda Lum DeBono (February 3)

Kaye England (March 3)

Susan Guzman (April 7)

Sarah Vedeler (May 5)

Denise Clason (June 2)

Barbara Persing and Mary Hoover (July 7)

Jinny Beyer (August 4)

Edyta Sitar (September 1)

Marianne Byrne-Goarin (October 6)

Larisa Bland (November 3)

Sharon Pederson (December 1)

Come and share the fun with us!
xo, L

Where does the time go?

I've been doing my best to have an entirely handmade Christmas (not easy being the youngest of five with eight nieces and nephews...and the boyfriend being the middle of four with four nieces and nephews!)  I have been sewing like a fiend and using many fabulous tutorials that I have found on the internet.  I celebrated Christmas with my family this past weekend, and I have to say that I love the clothesline bowl I made for my sister best...

Photos to come soon!

The Seventh Continent - Day Four

“I mean, do you remember how the air used to smell? How humans used to smell? How they used to taste?”
Russell Egerton, 3000-year-old vampire – True Blood, 2010

I have no idea how the world used to be, but for all the piss and shit animals leave around the joint, I'm damn sure it must have been a lot cleaner before we turned up. Today, with every major city seemingly overpopulated, industrial nations laughing in the face of climate change, and our endless need to construct and develop, the world is a goddamn midden.
We've not been to a country yet that hasn't, in its own way, been disgusting. The deserts of the UAE and Oman may be inhospitable to man, but he's done a good job of showing he's a pretty dreadful housemate too; Nepal, in the foothills of the Himalayas, is one of the most filthy countries we've ever been to; the air in China's cities leaves you so clogged with crap, your nose soon looks likes you've been banging lines of coal dust...
Run, hide – you can't escape the fact that human beings are manky crap bastards who don't give an eco-friendly fuck about the world. But now, now finally I think we've found somewhere where you can get an insight into how things might be when we inevitably blink out of existence. And it only took travelling to the absolute ends of the Earth to see it.
Photo: Wee Mo
We awake to our first day in the Antarctic continent, on King George Island in the South Shetland Islands. This, though, wasn't our intended target – we were supposed to push past this to the Peninsula, but were turned back by a storm, into which our plucky little boat could only sail five knots.
Instead we took refuge further north, at the Argentinian Jubany Research Base and, after putting on half a dozen layers of clothing, we head to shore to meet the locals.
Photo: Wee Mo
The chief has lived here for 12 years – his face tells the tale. Suitably weathered and gruff, his fixed jaw only softens when talking to three largely infuriating children that have travelled with one fraught, largely incompetent guardian.
It's interesting to see how things work on the base, how humans can survive, and thrive, down here against considerable odds. Hell, they've even got a bar, a cinema and an internet connection. It's not quite the hardships of the Golden Era of Antarctic Exploration any more.
Hot from being inside, we leave to take a walk along the beach, meeting our first penguin and seal along the way. People crowd the bamboozled bird, desperate to take pictures, seemingly unable to hear the guarantee of seeing many more thousand over the next few days.
Far more impressive – for me, anyway – are Los Tres Hermanos (The Three Brothers), a towering tri-horned mountain; the beautifully, crisp bay in which our ship is anchored; and another jagged peak that looks like it should be imposing, but for the huge snow dress which billows down from its neck. It's all so clean.
The passing of time is a funny business in Antarctica, and this first morning flies. We get back to the boat, have too much lunch, download the first of what will become several thousand pictures and have short nap.
Awake again, we discover ourselves at the head of a vast, dramatic inlet, surrounded on all sides by fascinating hills, slopes and massifs. We're here for a Zodiac (motorised dinghy) cruise around the bay, but Wee Mo and I have been relegated to the second group.
This, as it turns out, is a blessing as we spend the hour waiting on deck, watching small avalanches crash into the bay and gawping at 360 degrees of stupendous sights. The air is beautifully clear, invigorating... We can see for miles. There's so much information to process, so much to try and photograph, that our eyes can scarcely cope. Although we've not made landfall, for the first time Antarctica feels like an actual continent, full of life and variety, vast with personality and no small amount of magic.
When we do get out into the bay, we are fortunate enough to see each of the three types of brush-tailed penguins (chinstrap, gentoo and Adelie) and one particularly contented Weddell seal. 
Photo: Wee Mo
Photo: Wee Mo
Photo: Wee Mo
All this while floating around in water that looks like a blue mojito. And you can see as deep as the sunlight lasts in the water, and it's so pure that we haul in a chunk of glacier ice for behind the bar. Then, to prove how far away we are from manky, crap humanity, we turn the engine off and we listen to nothing - silence, almost overwhelming.
We're ushered back on board with numb faces, and before too long are being rushed into dinner again. As Wee Mo showers, I'm upstairs first to hear about what the plan will be for our second day on the Seventh Continent. Then the cry of “whale!” goes up, people crowd the port-side window, the boat lists slightly and sure enough an enormous humpback briefly bobs past the window.
“OK, retrieve the inflatable whales,” jokes the expedition leader. “I can't - the remote is broken!” replies the ornithologist. It's funny enough to get a laugh across the room. But not from me – I have to tell Wee Mo she's missed the chance to see a humpback, a species she's been fruitlessly trying to get a glimpse of for over a decade.
Photo: Wee Mo

Countdown To Christmas




I am way beyond tired. I think that I am running on adrenaline alone. The past few weeks since Quilt Market have been crazy. The majority of craziness ended yesterday. Now I can sort of re-group and send out Christmas cards, wrap presents, etc.

I had some wonderful visitors to my home yesterday. My good friend, marvelous, Mark Lipinski, and the fabulous Jodie Davis brought along their crew. Terrific guys! We had fun working and playing. Thanks guys.

We love our Aurifil threads and we love to show it!! This photograph is for you, Alex Veronelli!

Now, get to that last minute crafting and shopping or whatever you need to do! Christmas is this week! Need some ideas? I hear that you can get the first season of QNN on DVD. [hint! hint!] You can also get some gift certificates so that you can take my machine applique class over at CraftEdu.

xo, L