Wednesday, December 11, 2013
I mentioned Kari Minnick in my last post.
One of the great things for me, having a kiln glass center here in the Houston area, is getting to meet artists, whose work I have admired, when they come in to teach a class. I'm not always able to get out there, as it is out in the Boonies, and I missed Kari when she was here last year but this year I did make it out there.
Kari creates beautiful fused glass panels using powders and frit. While her past work used some images of a recognizable nature and verses, her new work is very abstract and though I'm not much for abstract, I love Kari's work.
You can see much more of her work here.
Another artist I've had the pleasure of meeting and whose work I also love is Richard Parrish. It's been a while since Richard came to teach. He also does abstract fused glass panels and vessel forms but his technique is very different, involving kiln carving (slumping over cut out fiber paper shapes) and sandblasting.
Richard's work falls in two styles...pieces that look very geologic to me and others that remind me of woven fabric.
You can see more of Richard's work here.
Well, we are headed into the city today to work on the peacock panel and sketches and will be in residence through Saturday.
Monday, December 9, 2013
Not our best open house and if it weren't for the hosts and one of the participants, it would have been our worst with only one sale to the general public. But...for the other participants it was good to great so, good for them. I'm glad to see people buying from artists even if they aren't buying from me.
Gene Hester fused glass
Gene and Marc
Miguel Unson fused glass
Jennifer Barnds glass bead jewelry
Lisa Klein Addison enameled jewelry
Kathy Poeppel and Dick Moiel blown glass, our hosts
Kathy and Jennifer doing a demo
So now what am I going to do with all those window/garden ornaments? Maybe I'll drill more holes and hook them all together into a long column and hang it from one of our trees. The bowls we can send to one of our galleries. The rest of the little pedestal sculptures will become gifts.
But sales aside, it was freakin' old home week for me over the weekend. Four people who I had not seen in 15 – 30 years came to the open house and the most amazing part about it is that I remembered their names! I can't even remember the names of people I see with some sort of regularity. So that was fun, getting caught up.
It was a long week in the city last week and another bitterly cold one at that. Marc got in the sandblast booth anyway for two days and worked as long as he could stand it on the peacock panel. We have to go back this week to try and get it finished. Fortunately, it's not supposed to be quite so cold.
I managed to run out to Hot Glass Houston to visit a short while with Kari Minnick who is teaching a workshop there. She is an incredible artist and her glass panels look more like paintings. More about Kari in my next post.
looking down the street in front of the city house
After Thanksgiving week and temps hovering in the 40˚s, the city looked quite winterish
the Big Back Yard
and coming home late last night after another week of temps ranging from 30˚s to 40˚s, it is looking downright winterish.
the Little Back Yard
The two ginkos which had held onto their leaves far longer than I would have thought, which were still greenish when we left last Wednesday, had turned completely yellow and shed most of them by the time we returned.
I'm taking the day off today but we are going to try to return to the city tomorrow to finish the peacock panel though it may be Wednesday.
And then my youngest grandgirl Robin is getting Bat Mitzvah on Saturday. Then hopefully things will settle down and I can get these sketches and samples done.
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Busy busy week. Busy busy month. I am always so glad when December is over. And this December is going to be worse than usual.
It starts with the annual Open House with other glass artists at our friends Dick and Kathy's glass blowing studio which is late this year. It usually falls on the 1st weekend in December but this year the 1st was on a Sunday and since Thanksgiving was so late this year we bumped it to the next full weekend.
The following weekend is my grandgirl Robin's Bat Mitzvah. The weekend after that, my sister goes out of town to spend christmas week with her daughter and family in Albuquerque and we get the little dogs. In there is christmas and two days later, Marcmas (if you are new around here, that's Marc's birthday and yes we are irreverent) and finally New Year's.
And in there somewhere, I have two sets of designs to do and samples to make and I just got confirmation that another proposal is ready to send us a deposit.
Fuck. I am never going to get the Erotica Botanicas finished.
Not that I am complaining. I am very happy for the commission work. For as long as we can do it.
Monday and Tuesday I got the cold work done on the three small bowls that Marc did. He loves this property and the view of the sunsets over the vacant 13 Acre Field and so he used the spectacular sunsets we get for inspiration and he did a fabulous job even if I do say so myself.
Also got the window/garden ornaments wired up for hanging last night and dug out the left over cast pieces from last year.
So now I'm trying to get everything assembled, packed, and loaded up for the work week in the shop and weekend. I have to bring my model making stuff as we are going to be 'working at our table' throughout the weekend as a sort of on-going demo.
All right. That's enough, still got plenty to do before we head to the city this afternoon.
Sunday, December 1, 2013
This is probably my shortest list so far. Just haven't been reading as much lately. I've had my current book for 3 weeks now and am not even half way through. Just haven't been able to settle into it. Some good ones here though I think.
The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht – A young woman and her friend and colleague, both doctors, are en route to a small village to bring health care to the children of the orphanage when she receives a call from her grandmother informing her of her grandfather's death. Upon learning that the clinic where he went to die after keeping his cancer secret from everyone except his granddaughter, is in a nearby village, she makes the trip to collect his things. As she works with the children and observes a family dig up grape orchard looking for a body buried during the war in an effort to stop the sickness that has infected the whole family, she remembers the tales her grandfather told her of The Deathless Man and The Tiger's Wife, stories from his childhood and life that shaped the man he became, and weaves them into the narrative. The stories are full of small village peasant tales and superstitions and history and background of the characters, sort of a cross between folk tale and personal history. A good read.
The Stonecutter by Camilla Lackberg - One of the longer books I've read lately but it pulled me in early on. Two story lines, one about a young stonemason and the other about a police investigation of the murder of a young child, the daughter of someone the detective knows. It seems a simple accidental death until the results of the autopsy come in and the search for the murderer, with no leads, begins. Other crimes are uncovered during the investigation. A lot of characters are woven in and it kept me guessing until very near the end when the two story lines finally come together. It was a good story and was told well and moved at a good pace.
Runner by Thomas Perry – Jane Whitefield, now in her late 30s, makes people disappear. Or she used to until she retired 5 years ago. Now, a former runner has sent a pregnant 20 yr old to her who needs to disappear because life with the father has become too dangerous. Not only is he physically violent, she knows too much about his business dealings to be allowed to leave or live and he has sent a team of 6 to find her and bring her back. More pressure is added by his parents who have finally accepted that their son will never be the kind of man they want and have placed all their hopes on raising their grandchild, threatening their son with disownment if he doesn't get them their grandchild. Jane is kick ass and takes no prisoners and her adversaries are no match for her while they consistently underestimate her.
Life After Life by Kate Atkinson – Ursula is born on a snowy February day in 1910. She's early and neither the doctor nor the midwife can get there because of the snow. She has the cord wrapped around her neck and is stillborn. Ursula is born on a snowy February day in 1910. She's early but the doctor just manages to get there despite the snow and slips the cord off the baby's neck and she lives...for a short while. Ursula is born several more times before she survives infancy, dies many more times before she survives childhood. She's beginning to have feelings and dreams and so starts to try and prevent her death even though she does not yet realize that that is what she is doing. She starts experiencing deja vu. She is born and dies and is reborn immediately in the same circumstances to the same family in the same place. Through her many lives and her march through childhood and adulthood we read the same familiar passages with subtle and not so subtle changes as she grows and manages to avoid earlier pitfalls, as her life changes with her survival so the lives around her are affected. Eventually she survives WWII and one day it comes to her what the purpose of all this is, her purpose. Ursula is born on a snowy February day in 1910. She's early but the doctor just manages to get there despite the snow and slips the cord off the baby's neck and she lives... I enjoyed this story a lot. I didn't get tired of reading about the same events as the details and outcome were always different in sometimes big ways and sometimes small ways. Plus the author doesn't make us go through every event of every life. At times, Ursula is born and then jumps her straight to a young adult. It's a longish book, 500 or so pages, but it kept me engaged to the very end.
Dance For The Dead by Thomas Perry - Another Jane Whitefield novel. Jane is half Seneca, which I don't think I mentioned about the previous book, and she draws on her heritage a lot which I like. This book precedes the first one I read about her by more than 5 years since she is not married yet in this one. She is called to 'disappear' an 8 yr old boy and his nanny after his parents are murdered. Two years later, she is back to get him safely in the hands of the court when the firm that controls his inheritance tries to have him declared dead. A simple mission that ends up getting Jane arrested and the boys two guardians killed. On her way home she is approached by a woman who knows who Jane is and what she does and asks for her assistance in the airport. When Jane sees the men following Mary she reluctantly agrees to help her. The two instances finally become connected as Jane faces an opponent that seems outthink her at every turn. He under estimates her though, and Mary as well, in the end.
Poison Flower by Thomas Perry – And another Jane Whitefield novel. A later novel that follows Runner. Jane executes a daring escape of a convicted murderer, James Shelby, from the courthouse where he had been brought to testify against the inmate who had stabbed him in the back two months previous. Innocent of murder, the real murderer is trying to get him killed and so Jane is contacted by his sister to try and save him. Before she can meet up with him at the pre-arranged location, she is accosted by two 'police officers' and kidnapped by the hired goons of the real murderer. Before she can escape, she is shot, beaten, and tortured in an attempt to find out where Shelby is. When they discover how many bounty hunters and other undesirables would like to get their hands on her they decide to auction her off to the highest bidder. She manages to escape while they are waiting for the bidder to arrive and once free, she sets out to join Shelby, picking up an abused woman trying to escape her abuser on the way. Jane is pretty ruthless herself when it comes to protecting her runners and herself and she sets a trap for those who are still pursuing them.
Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn – essentially a murder mystery. 30 year old Camille, a reporter for Chicago's fourth largest newspaper, is sent back to her small hometown that she escaped from to write a series of stories about the disappearance of a 10 yr. old girl nine months after the disappearance and murder of a 9 yr old girl. She shows up to stay at her mother's and step-father's house and returns to the Pandora's box that is her dysfunctional family. Dysfunctional is putting it mildly. Camille is the illegitimate product of a one night stand who doesn't even know her father's name. Her mother was immediately married off and a younger sister, Marion, is born who sickens and dies at 13, an event that the family never gets over. Camille internalizes her rejection by her mother by cutting herself. Words. Words that buzz and tingle underscoring her emotional state. Her body is covered with scars written with a knife, a compulsion she has only recently been able to resist. Camille also drinks a lot, it helps keeps her skin 'quiet'. She has another younger sister, Amma, who is 13, born after Camille left. She's ill a lot. She can also be cruel. Unable to get any information or cooperation from the police, Camille uses her connections to her past to get the story and in the process learns some very disturbing things. The wrap up of the murders at the end of the book happens fairly quickly because this isn't about the murders so much as it is about this family in this small town. Camille does, I think, begin to get her redemption at the end. At least I hope so.
Friday, November 29, 2013
The family arrived about 1:30ish, food and kids spilling out of their truck. Still too cold to hang out outside so Xbox games were played, TV was watched, words were chatted while we waited for the turkey to finish cooking and then the dressing and then the warming up of the other dishes. I never think to take pictures these days.
Mike and Sarah went across the street to check out the auto shop that's for sale. Mike's hobby and nascent business is restoring old cars and trucks and he's ready to get a place big enough to hold all his toys and to have a place out in the country. Their plan is to put their city house up for sale at the beginning of the year and hopefully buy that place and then rent in the city until the kids all get out of school. I'd be very happy to have that happen as the only drawback to being out here is that I'm so far away from the kids and grandkids on a daily basis.
It will be weird though, once their house sells, not to have them next door when we are in the city. For most all of 36 years I have had Sarah and then Sarah and her family either in my house or right next door. I'll have to make the special effort to go visit them every time.
I've always liked the Mexican family compounds. Every part of the extended family has their own little house, sharing a central courtyard and as it is right now, the whole family, when we are in the city, is together in a 100' x 100' space. The Boy and Leesa will still be close though since they are still in the city house.
Anyhoodle, as my friend Janine says, eventually food was eaten, dishes done, candles lit, presents opened, and the parental unit skedaddled home.
About twice a year, I let the grandkids divvy up all my accumulated change and this year I added in some rolls of quarters and dimes and nickles I had rolled up years and years ago and Marc threw in one of his containers of accumulated change and they scored $30 and some change each. So we played dreidel for awhile and eventually I went to bed.
So now I have a house full of sleeping teenagers. Except for the grandboy. He's always up early no matter how late he stays up.
Thursday, November 28, 2013
I can't believe it took me all freakin' day yesterday to make the dressing for today's meal. And I haven't even cooked it yet.
I started about 11 AM and I swear it was after 5 PM when I finally walked out of the kitchen.
I had made the cornbread Tuesday and set it and the white bread out to get stale overnight. So I started in trimming the crust off and cubing the bread. Next was crumbling the cornbread. Note to self: one recipe of cornbread makes enough for two recipes of dressing. So now I'm wondering what the hell I'm going to do with all this leftover semi-stale cornbread. I'll worry about that later, I decided, as I stuck it in the freezer. The crusts I'll reduce to bread crumbs for future use.
Next, I started chopping the onions, using up the last of our homegrown ones, and the green onions, celery, and parsley. Then cook the bacon, saute the vegetables, melt the butter, beat the eggs, add the seasoning, and mix it all together with the chicken stock.
About every five minutes or so my grandboy, who I fetched from the city Tuesday evening and who is rearranging the furniture for me in the big room, my studio room, is calling me to come look at this, where do I put that, where do you want the other, and do you want to clean the floor over here before I put the desk there?
There were other distractions. Like General Hospital coming on and Robin is racing to the church where her husband, who thinks she died in a fire two years ago but she was actually being kept prisoner to develop a drug to cure an all round evil-doer of some sort of poisoning and has finally escaped, is about to get remarried and will she make it in time?
Like stopping for lunch.
Like rearranging my kites in the big room after the grandboy was through getting it all put back together.
I got the cranberry sauce made after dinner last night while Marc cooked one of the turkeys. Another smaller one goes in today along with the dressing.
So now it's about 8:30 on Thanksgiving Day morning and the grass in the back of the Big Back Yard and in the 13 Acre Field is crunchy with frost. We've been having our coldest weather of the year so far this past week. Big Mama is hunkered down in her pond.
Our daughter and her family will arrive sometime today with the rest of the food. The other three grandkids along with the grandboy will be staying through Sunday. Unfortunately, our son and DIL will not be coming after all. He started coming down with one of the seasonal cruds that goes around where he works.
I still haven't managed to get any housecleaning done.
Monday, November 25, 2013
I read a guy's blog post this morning about an encounter he had with the police which was nominally about the gun culture here in this country. This particular man refuses to subscribe to the culture of fear so rampant in this country. He does not let fear control what he does or when he does it or where he does it. By the same token he does not own a gun. Neither is he deluded about the safety, or lack there of, of the streets. He prefers to not live in fear and just be vigilant.
The encounter he had with the police was that he was working in his office when he became aware of two people in the hall testing the door knob to see if it was locked. He walked over to the door and suddenly opened it to find two policemen pointing their guns at him.
They didn't shoot, obviously, and that was his point, comparing trained and psychologically prepared police with the average citizen with a gun reacting with the fear with which they live their lives.
Scrolling through the comments, of course he got his share of the 'guns are my right' crowd, one of whom referenced the Second Amendment. Or rather part of the Second Amendment, the part about the right to keep and bear arms so I reminded him of the rest of that, the part that precedes it that says 'a well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state'. Can't just quote the phrase you like best.
Of course he replied, quoting some Supreme Court decision that guaranteed the right to bear arms to which I replied that we have that part well in hand, now let's work on the well regulated part.
His response was predictable. He made assumptions about me, then insulted me in a condescending manner because of those assumptions. Essentially he patted me on the head and told me it was OK to just go on being a soccer mom but to stay out of discussions I didn't understand or else do some research and quoted some other Supreme Court decision as he explained that 'well regulated' meant 'well equipped'. Earlier he had used the term 'soccer mom' in a derisive manner to describe those who are uninformed spouting off opinions on things they don't understand.
What is it with those people? Are they totally incapable of having a civil conversation?
I'm certainly not an expert on all the law and court cases surrounding the Second Amendment but I have read about it on several past occasions. This ain't my first rodeo after all. And I will do quick searches before posting a comment to make sure I can back up my post. So I did a quick search of the meaning of well regulated as defined by those who used it in that context and it did indeed mean well equipped.
It also meant thoroughly trained and well disciplined, men the country could rely on in time of need to protect itself. I also read that the phrase 'to bear arms' almost exclusively referred to 'in military service'.
I made one more reply. I rebuked him for the condescending attitude and insult, I told him I was neither unintelligent nor unread and I didn't need him to mansplain things to me, and I directed the conversation back to the Second Amendment and the complete meaning of 'well regulated', something that our current culture and society is far from. I certainly wouldn't trust my defense to a peacock strutting around in a parking lot brandishing his AK-47 in a deliberate attempt to intimidate a few 'soccer moms' upset at the level of gun violence in this country.
The thing is, I really don't have a problem with the Second Amendment as written by the Founders because what they wrote, what they intended, what they meant is not what we see in this country today. Citizen's owning a gun that they are competent to use for defense is one thing. The wacko with his conspiracy delusions stockpiling weapons and ammunition and fomenting insurrection is not what the Second Amendment was supposed to protect.
So, I ended my final reply to that guy by telling him I expected he would reply probably with more insults and maybe even some profanity because I didn't acknowledge his superiorness but that I was giving him a gift anyway, the last word.
I see a notice that he has responded once more. Good for him.
I won't be reading it.