Archive for May, 2010

Ellicott City

To be a comfortable, competent driver, I’ve decided, I need to drive every day. Since I’m not naturally a spontaneous person, this means I have to plan to go somewhere every day. I started making a list of places to go. So far, I’ve gone to Fort McHenry, where the Star-Spangled Banner was written while Baltimore was under attack by the British. I’ve gone to the Baltimore Museum of Art. On Sunday I went to the black Pentecostal church where I was on Good Friday. Yesterday I drove to Ellicott City, about five miles away.

This little village, founded as Ellicott Mills in 1771, has retained its original buildings, built into the steep hills. On Main Street and some of the side streets and alleys are thriving shops, bars, and restaurants. It’s a tourist, eating-and-drinking, and shopping destination. Lots of antique and decorator shops. Again I was without my camera, but I used my mobile phone to get some shots to show you. Here’s the back of a house built right into the stream that runs behind Main Street.

Creek house

Here’s a view of Main Street. Notice the steeple in the background.


From Main Street I got this view of a house built on an enormous rock out-cropping.

House on rock 2

At Tiber Alley and Main Street is the Tiber Tea Shop where they serve afternoon teas.

Tiber Alley

Back on Tiber Alley is a bar and restaurant called The Rumor Mill. It is housed in an old mill, right on the stream. Notice the cobblestone alley.


Here’s the restaurant entrance at right angle to the bar entrance.

Rumor Mill 2

And here’s the rear view of this old mill. The boarded openings go right down to the creek. Note the steeple.

Rumor Mill rear_edited-1

Many church steeples can be seen far up and beyond Main Street. For example, here’s one behind the house built on the rock.

House on rock

This is the florist!


Here’s another shot of Main Street. See the brick sidewalk? The building with the balcony has apartments for rent.

Main Street

From the parking lot behind Main Street, I saw these houses built on the steep hill.

Hillside houses

The red house is a shop of some kind. The dark posts along the white fence are topped with carved women’s heads, about six of them.

The railroad runs right through town on elevated tracks. Here you can see a passing freight train. The historic train station is now a railroad museum. The original fire station is another museum.

Train 2

Okay. That was my destination yesterday. I drove further out Frederick Road, which is Main Street in town, into the countryside. It quickly becomes rural. Then I turned around and went back home.

I’ve started listing places to go, but it’s actually hard for me to think of places where I really want to go. Ernie says that’s because I don’t like shopping.

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Well, I’ve had quite a few adventures since I became a car-owner on April 24th.

The day I bought the car I drove from Alexandria to Rockville, about 50 miles, and then from Rockville to Charlestown, about 45 miles. One hundred miles and no problems–not bad for a first day.

Since then, starting the next day, I have had problems: not driving the car, but getting to and from the places I want to go. I’m now driving in my hometown, Baltimore and environs, an area once very familiar to me, 20 years ago. It is not familiar to me now.

Driving to my son’s house, I took the wrong exit from the Beltway. I had to phone him for directions. Three times so far I’ve taken wrong exits from the Beltway. Returning home from Towson after a concert (my first time driving after dark), and going to Ft. McHenry which is adjacent to the neighborhood where we lived until 1992, I found myself orienteering back to the Beltway on streets that had familiar names but which I no longer knew exactly where they led.  Today I found my way with MapQuest directions to the Pentecostal church where I was on Good Friday, but after the service I made a wrong turn and drove several miles before I realized that I was headed out of the city, not back to my home.

The driving feels quite familiar, but navigating around an area that is now strange to me feels intimidating. And that is strange to me. When I was working, I traveled on business frequently, arriving in strange cities or airports not in cities, renting a car, and finding my way to the workplace or hotel where I was headed with no qualms. Is it my age? Is it because I was in seclusion for so long? Is it because it’s been so long since I’ve driven?

I’ve ordered a GPS.

Unfortunately, I have almost no pictures to show of the places I’ve gone, making lots of mistakes, either getting there or getting back home. Until today, I hadn’t thought of taking pictures with my mobile phone, which I have had with me everywhere. Here’s the church where I was today.

Here’s a shot of the interior.

And of the opposite side of the street.

With my GPS and my phone, I expect to have more adventures, but I hope with less anxiety and more to show about them.

By the way, I’ve just updated the Page About me and the blog. See the tab above. I’m now asking myself, Why am I blogging?

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Since I can’t post about the project I just finished until after I give the gifts next month, I’ll just show you what I’m working on right now.


I’m trying to figure out how to embellish the collar. Here I’ve done some experiments on the inside of the collar, which I will remove. I needed to see the effects of some of my ideas.


I’ve decided to use copper pearl purl #3  for the wavy line. Not the bugle beads. Not the cotton pearl #5 French knot. I think I’m going to put a French knot in the center of a silk ribbon fly stitch. And maybe a bead on the other side of the line.

To do this I’m going to have to do what I definitely do not want to do—open the collar so the stitching will be hidden when I close it again.

Where will it end?

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Ss done

Originally uploaded by jowynnjohns

Thursday I finished filling in and outlining the last S shape on the border of the jacket. Seventy-two hours so far, with lots of interruptions for driving practice, entertaining family, taking care of Noah, shopping for a car, and sitting/standing in the ER.

Next comes copper pearl purl and bugle beads on the collar, tops of the pockets, and ends of the sleeves (cuffs?) Don’t yet know how I’ll shorten the sleeves.

Meanwhile, another interruption–graduation gifts to be made.

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