Jane has been visiting this weekend. We took her on a hike at Knob Hill, where I think that we have just passed the "peak color" of autumn. Many of the most colorful trees are almost bare now.
We also went to the University of Pittsburgh, where Jane is a distinguished alumna. This is the Cathedral of Learning, a huge Gothic structure that serves as a study center (of sorts), and several floors of classrooms and offices.
On the first floor there are several classrooms that are decorated in the style of the countries of Pittsburgh's immigrant population. This is Romania (I think):
Jane is most at home in front of a blackboard!
This is the Heinz Chapel. Jane remembers being a student on the Friday that JFK was shot. All of the students spontaneously ran to the chapel.
Meanwhile, this was the view from our balcony a couple of days ago:
They're invading, they're everywhere, I'm not sure why they are called "stink bugs". We have to keep our screen closed, and still they get in and are on our walls.
Meanwhile John and I watch the leaves fall, which is very calming.
First of all, it's beautiful. Weather-wise and color wise.
FA and I went to Olean where I indulged my Lax obsession at the St. Bonaventure archives. I browsed the Lax collection of photos, books, and got to hold in my own hands some of the little notebooks that he used to carry around to record his poems, sketches, journals.
And what about this graphic representation of one of his color poems?(!) How cool is that?!
We saw the Lax grave, which is a simple stone, flush with the ground:
Finally, we set out to find the abandoned Lax cottage, famous for the summers of 1939 and 1940 when Lax, Merton, Ed Rice and Ad Reinhardt hung out there, drank beer, and held writing marathons. We did not have directions for how to get here - it IS on private property. But we knew that it was on a hill on the South side of Olean, about 5 miles out of town, and had a radio tower in the back yard. So we set out southward toward Rock City, with our eyes on the radio towers in the hills. Literally following our noses, we found the cottage. I had to cross some posted no trespassing signs but felt sure that we had found it (and it was later verified by the Lax archivist at St. B.). It was a cool adventure.
This is all you can see from the road. I wonder why the radio tower people don't tear it down?
Then we had lunch at a Lebanese restaurant in Olean and tonight we're going out to a fish fry.
The colors of Western Pennsylvania and New York State are astonishing now. These photos are just a small glimpse of the astounding color that is all around - purple(!) and blazing yellows that glow like candles when the sun hit them.
It amazes me that all the different colors go together so well. I have to use a color wheel whenever I'm making websites because I don't have an innate sense of how to combine colors. If you get just a few numbers off on a shade, it throws everything off. But these many colors are all just naturally the perfect shades of orange, green, yellow, red, white and purple.
Jubilee and I drove to Wellsville today. Tomorrow I have an appointment with Paul Spaeth, archivist for the Lax collection at St. Bonaventure University in Olean. The drive was mostly delightful. I had a latte, was listening to the first part of the book, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and marveling at the beauty of autumn. Not much traffic on the road. Then the cop got me. I was going 72 mph in a 55 mph work zone! I was going downhill and didn't even realize I was speeding. Damn. I think this is going to cost me points and some $$$.
It is 44 degrees now and supposed to be dark and rainy again today (I love it!). Things are going to start clearing up and warming up tomorrow.
Last night John decided to try out the gas fireplace to see if it worked. The reason why the photo above is so blurry is because as soon as the fireplace fired up, the smoke alarm went off and chaos ensued. The very sight of the fire freaked Jubilee out and the smoke alarm didn't help.
We knew that the smoke alarm was too sensitive because it would go off almost every time we cooked something in the oven. But this time it wasn't stopping when we opened the doors and windows. It's not like there was the smell of smoke in the house. Sadly, we had to turn the fireplace off after about a minute in order for the smoke alarm to stop. I'll have to call the maintenance people to re-set the smoke alarm.
On another front, we bought a wonderfully warm and soft down comforter yesterday. The kind that are good for extremely cold temperatures. I never knew that a bed could be so delightful. We felt like hibernating bears sleeping under it.
John says that I need more photos of me on the American Adventure. So here's one of me in the frisbee park (Knob Hill). Getting cold here this week. (Actually, it's rainy and damp, and that makes it seem colder than it really is.)
This is Professor Starbird, our Calculus Teacher. Yes, John and I are taking Calculus (again), via a set of classes on DVDs that we purchased from the Learning Company. John saw them advertised in the Wall Street Journal and suggested that we do this. So far, we're not lost. Great for watching on a rainy Sunday morning. It may take us all winter to make it through the 20 or more lessons.
The old laptop, which is not good for much else, is serving as a DVD player.
One of the other dog walkers that I meet at Knob Hill told me that I needed to hike Thorn Hill, which is across the road from Knob Hill. This morning we hiked Thorn Hill. It was OK, but really not such a big deal. The path followed power lines to the top of the hill where there was a large transformer switch yard. From there we were soon in the parking lot of an industrial park. It looked like it might be a good trail to jog on (if I jogged).
We decided that we like Knob Hill much better. Knob Hill is more remote, with trails that are less developed and lead further into the woods where you can hear different bird songs. A little more wilderness and mystery, despite the fact that you are just off the road.
Back at Knob Hill, Jubilee found a very big stick and attempted to carry it home.