Wednesday, December 7, 2016

twiddling and tweaking

Months of working on the A&M job, a frantic month after installation to get new work done before the open house, a week of preparing and setting up, and then the first weekend over has me with a week in between with nothing to do.

At dinner Sunday night, something of a tradition, we all go for pizza, Gene asked me what I was going to do this week. Maybe I'll start on a new model I told him. Wrong. Can't do that as I left all my model making tools there where the open house is. I took them thinking I might demo model making which I didn't do. I left them thinking I might do that next weekend.

Anyway, Monday was cold and rainy and wet. I didn't even venture out of the house until evening when I took the dog for a quick walk forced march down the street and back. I didn't even go to yoga. Tuesday turned warm relatively and sunny and I picked up about 5 gallons of pecans and eyed the wildflower patch which has been taken over by a red salvia and field sunflowers and cow pea and pasture grasses. I need to get in there with a shovel and clear it out except the ground is still too wet. It's sunny/overcast today so far so I might get out there today and work on it.

So what with the cold and rain and wet ground and just not feeling like doing anything in general, I spent the last two days updating my website. I have several changes I still want to make but am hampered by not knowing how. Guess I'm going to have to hire someone to do it for me. 

Monday, December 5, 2016

1st weekend Open House

For the past month we have been having warm dry weather. So of course, with our first Open House weekend coming up, the weather forecast changed on Thursday to cold, heavy rain, and wind all three days! Not exactly conducive to getting people to come out. As it turned out, it mostly just rained in the mornings and nights at least there at Houston Studio Glass. Coupled with the fact that there are many events going on the first weekend in December, we had our smallest turnout ever. People didn't even show up for the glass blowing demonstrations. You would think that as a result it would have been a miserable show and it was really for everyone else, well except for Kathy and Dick whose studio it is and who always do OK with their small glasses, paperweights, ornaments and small vases, but we did pretty well with our 5 sales, mostly because we sold this one

and two other moderately priced pieces. Usually it's the other way around.

So, last Thursday, we drove in and got set up. We took a different spot than the one we have occupied for the 15 years or so we've been participating in the Open House. Usually we are the first ones as you walk in the door which means we are the cold and wind break for the next display. This year Kathy asked us if we wanted to move further in and I said YES! especially since I was setting up my display differently this year.

We always have a Friday evening preview from 6 – 9 PM and so since I wanted to get there an hour earlier and we had to make a stop on the way in, we left at 3:30 (it's usually an hour drive in to the city). We didn't get there til 6 PM. The highway between us and the city is undergoing construction as it is being upgraded to an interstate and before we got 15 or 20 miles down the road all traffic came to a halt and it took an hour to creep through whatever the obstruction was which put us in Houston right at Friday rush hour on a rainy night. Our usual one hour drive in with one quick stop took us two and a half hours. Didn't put me in the best mood since the reason I had wanted to get there an hour early was that I still had some things to do on my display.

Not that it mattered. With the cold and rain, hardly anyone showed up.

Lisa Klein – enameled jewelry and small dishes

Gene Hester – fused glass

Bob Straight – marbles, fused glass, wood turning

Kathy Poeppel and Dick Moiel – glass blowing

We'll have another go at it next weekend. We add 4 more that do not work in glass...a ceramist, a wood turner, a furniture and leather worker, and a jeweler...the group from our June Open House.

Oh, and the weather is supposed to be colder but not rainy.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

fall reading list

Another short list. I find it hard to believe that at one time I was reading 10 – 12 books every quarter. Who has time to read these days? I'm currently trying to get ahead of the game and get my display fixed up and the pieces priced before I set up on Thursday for the first weekend Open House.

In The Company Of Cheerful Ladies by Alexander McCall Smith - I'm back to this series, number six. Mma Ramotse surprises an intruder in her home, helps a good man just released from prison gain employment, and is faced with her first husband who threatens to tell her secret if she doesn't pay him off. In the meantime Mma Makutsi decides to take dance lessons and is pared with the worst of the men in the class or so it seems, helps Mr. Matekoni discover what his house that he rented out after moving in with Mma Ramotse is being used for, and accepts a proposal.

The Curious Charms Of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick - on the one year anniversary of his wife's death, Arthur discovers a charm bracelet that belonged to his wife of 40 years, a bracelet that he had no knowledge of, and discovers that his wife had quite an adventurous life before they met. He sets out to discover the stories represented by the charms. Each charm he learned about only sent him off into doubting his relationship with his wife and blah blah. That got tiresome as if because she had some excitement in her life prior to their very staid life together it cast doubt on the nature of their love. It was OK but not very well written. The book is less about the stories than Arthur's journey from stagnating grieving widower to a man starting out fresh.

Beasts & Children by Amy Parker – a series of short stories about three families or rather the children of three families...Carline and Cissy Bowman and their cousin Danny who grow up in a family of declining gentry; Jill and Maisie Foster, the neglected children of diplomats stationed in Indonesia; and Manny and Gracie Guzman, immigrants from Colombia though their stories are as much about their parents as the children. They are young when first introduced but each story takes a big leap in time and as they age, their lives intertwine. The stories center around their ability or inability to change their lives. I haven't read a collection of short stories for some time but I enjoyed these. It was nice to be able to sit and finish a story in the short time I have to read these days instead of trying to remember who and what in whatever novel I am currently trying to get through.

Troublemaker by Linda Howard - I read two pages and had to go back and re-read the synopsis on the jacket. I checked this out? "One of the most recognized and lauded names in romantic suspense" Well, OK, but what the hell was I thinking? I don't read romance though I did spend a number of years reading Nora Roberts. Anyway, Morgan, a special OPs team leader is the object of an assassination attempt which very nearly succeeds. His boss sends him in hiding to recuperate with his ex-stepsister while they try to catch the person responsible, or would if they could figure out who was responsible. Bo is the chief of police in this small town of about 3,000 or 4,000 people who is fiercely independent and lives alone with her dog who is a major presence. She takes in the extremely weak Morgan and nurses him back to health and giving him shelter and a cover story to the town and of course they fall in love and have lots of fantastic and orgasmic sex and they figure out the who and why of his assassination attempt and catch the bad guys and they get married, the end.

Ink And Bone by Lisa Unger – a story of psychic gifts, abductions, and a mounting evil. Wolf and Merri and their two kids, Jackson and Abbey, rent a cabin in The Hollows, a small town in NY state. Wolf takes the kids on a hike and because he is distracted by his extra-marital affair girlfriend on the phone he lets the kids get too far ahead. Shots ring out and Wolf and Jackson are hit and Abbey is abducted. Finley 'shines'. She hears thing others can't hear and sees the dead. In an attempt to get hold of her life, she leaves the west coast and goes to live with her grandmother, who also shines, in The Hollows in the hope that she can understand what she is supposed to do with these visions. Her grandmother works with a private detective to help solve cases that have run into dead ends. After over a year, a desperate Merri contacts the detective after learning that others have gone missing in The Hollows and Finley and her grandmother are drawn into the investigation but it is Finley who is having the visions and it is she who is tasked with finding the girl before it's too late. This was a good one and I actually read it in a decent amount of time.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

because I can't think of a catchy title

I trust everyone had a good Thanksgiving Day with family and friends and no mention of the horrendous future of our federal government. We went into the city to our daughter's, the kids, the grandkids...and had a fine time. Not everyone is in the picture, the other two men, Mike and Mikey, were in the living room.

Friday, my sister and I went to see Fantastic Beasts which we enjoyed very much except for me in the last 20 minutes or so when I really really really had to pee. I was out of that theater the moment the first credit popped up.

This is the time of year when the sun comes blasting in right in my face through the leafless tallow tree in the mornings as it rises. The weather here has been getting down in the 50s/60s at night and 70s/80s during the day. I'm happy to report that in the last week I've seen some chickadees and titmice and even a little warbler and a white wing dove and a cardinal was just on the totem bird feeder but they are still scarce. Just about everything has stopped blooming, even the orange cosmos almost which are looking very scraggly, except the roses and the morning glory bush and the shrimp plant and the milkweed.

Pecans have been falling steadily, still, not nearly as many as the year before last when I shelled until I was sick of it, sold over three hundred pounds of unshelled nuts, and still had a box of nuts left over.

Very windy out there today. Not sure what I want to get accomplished today. Usually I'd be out in the yard but I still have to finish the leaf plaque and revamp my display before next weekend. Or maybe I won't do anything but sit on the couch and read.


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

getting ready

Wednesday. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. My contribution is the dressing and cranberry sauce. I made the cornbread yesterday and set it and the white bread out to get stale. I'm going to get up in a minute and cook the bacon and start chopping stuff and cook down the cranberries but I probably won't make the dressing till tomorrow morning. Getting all the prep work done today will save a lot of time tomorrow.

I'm also going to try and get some more work done on the leaf plaque and the moonflower. It still isn't finished but I did go talk to a metal artist I just discovered in one of the next little towns over about making the stand for it for me and he's going to have it ready for the Open House, which means that I have to get busy and finish the cold work and get it glued together. He's also making a stand for me for an older piece that I had initially hung on the wall. I'm thrilled to find this guy and he's so very close, 10, 15 minutes tops.

As for the wider country and world out there, I'm trying to keep informed but keep it at bay for a few days and since I have a lot to do still before the first weekend of December. I'm going to focus on that.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

rain and cold and recycling and art

We had our first real cold front blow in this weekend, preceded by a most welcome rainy day on Friday, after weeks and weeks of temps in the mid-80s. It was supposed to get down to 38˚ in the wee hours of this morning. Don't know if it actually did but it was cold enough in the house when we got up to turn on the heater which we did for the first time since we turned it off last spring.

Today would be a good day to work in the yard especially since I didn't get out there last Sunday but instead I'm driving to the city to take a truck load of recyclables (remember all those boxes of glass?) to a collection center and then head over to my daughter's house to help her get ready for Thanksgiving which we have been having at her house so the son and daughter-in-law will come.

I have all but finished all the little pieces I was working on for the two weekends in December, even got them photographed. I spent that rainy Friday making a photo box and then tried it out and it worked great! Better pictures than I had been getting and I didn't need to tweak them much if at all. Now I have time to work on my display which is pretty amateurish compared to the more sleek set-ups of some of the other participants.

After the open houses, I'll be starting in earnest on my next body of work...groupings of larger wall hung pieces that are variations on a theme. The first two are feathers on the beach and the moon. They're going to very different, I think, than what I have been doing. I'm also going to do some smaller framed pieces at the request of a gallery in Dallas that has three shows next year that they want to include our work in. I have 5 leftover frames from the Botanicas so I'm going to do pieces that will fit in them.

Well, I need to get on the road, the day is wasting. 

Friday, November 18, 2016

this and that

I'm not talking about politics today even though the situation is just as heinous as it was two days ago. Well, one thing, Hillary has now won the popular vote not by a few hundred or even a few thousand but by over a million votes. The electoral college that was founded for the purpose of preventing the people from electing someone who was completely unqualified or dangerous could end this nightmare but they won't have the courage. The patriarchy will not allow a woman to be president even though she clearly won the election. Not this time, not this woman.

OK, on to other stuff.

Where are the birds? I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that the birds seem to have all gone. I had run out of bird seed but that has never run them off before. Now the seed I have in the totem bird feeder is still mostly there after 3 days. In the past three days I have seen one cardinal, one bluejay, and one little warbler (I think). No doves, no titmice, no chickadees, no wrens, no mockingbirds, no sparrows even. We usually have a large population of birds that winter over, others that never leave, but gone they are. Now that I write that I just saw a couple of bluejays and can hear some other bird out in the Wild Space but still, a dearth of birds.

I did have a red shouldered hawk come visit the other day. It sat on the gate to the Little Backyard casting it's eye over the turtle pond and Big Mama's posse of goldfish. I took this picture from where I sit through the screen door on high magnification. 

A few days later I was working in the garage/shop when I heard a sudden loud flapping noise and a strangled sort of squeaky cheep and went out on the drive to see a red shouldered hawk up in one of the oaks. As I moved around to try and get a better look, it flew off with something big and black in it's talons. A bird, obviously (so I know where at least one of my birds has gone), but I couldn't tell what kind. Black. Could have been a crow I guess or a grackle or a cowbird but I haven't seen any of those around either.

And speaking of Big Mama's posse, one of the gold fish has turned a very pale orange.

The cosmos and plumbago are still blooming but just about everything else has finished up. Most of the butterflies have migrated through but I'm still seeing monarchs.

And then there was this guy.

And this sky.

I've been dog-sitting the past two weeks for my sister while she has been out of town. Between the two dogs and the cat, I'm pretty much pinned down in the evenings.

And very last, I finally heard from the art consultant about the A&M job...three weeks later! The client is very happy with the work. The art consultant did mention the flaw but the client was unconcerned and so they told me to go ahead and submit my invoice which I did one week after the install. Now I'm just waiting for the check.