Sunday, January 31, 2010

object: texture and pattern

So, no one else wants to hazard a guess?

There were some very good guesses.  Some were right on and some were, if not exactly correct, so clever and so close.  I myself, had I not known what they were, would probably not have been able to guess more than a few.

Clear textured glass in my window.


Brick wall in the big room.

Ink on paper, a drawing I did of a leaf.


Blown glass vase in a basket weave pattern.

Blown glass vase with a wire drawing embedded in the surface.

Wood inlay design on my china cabinet.

Crackled glaze on a ceramic box.

Striations or threads in a crystal egg.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

surface: texture and pattern

It’s still winter despite our warm weather last week.  It’s cold out now, going down from a high in the mid 40s.  And windy.  That north wind bites.

Because it’s still winter, the outside is still slumbering so I was prowling around the house looking for an exercise with the macro feature on my camera.  I have taken a number of close-ups of the surface of things (except #10, it's actually the interior of something) and I thought I would pose a little entertainment.  See how many you can guess what it is.  I’ll post pictures of the actual objects tomorrow.











Friday, January 29, 2010

does not compute

We have been thinking about buying a new computer for a while now.  The oldest, the one Marc uses, is an Apple G4 and is at least 8 years old.  It has several problems that could be fixed but we'd rather not invest money in a machine that old.  Our newest, an IMac G5 with a 20” screen, is five years old. 

We are Apple people.  We have had nothing but Apple and Mac computers, ever.  Our first computers, purchased in 1987, were a MacPlus for us and a Mac2 for the kids.  Every 3 - 5 years we would upgrade.  We’ve probably had every version of Apple desk top computers there is.

I’ve sort of been pushing for a laptop because they are portable and we have been in the habit of traveling for shows and workshops, with the exception of this past year.  Plus, I like the idea of being able to get all comfy on the couch and still do my word processing and reading.  But Apple laptops are expensive.  You can get a desk model for about the same price.  Marc has been resisting the laptop.  He wants my old computer and doesn’t think I will be happy using a laptop all the time.  So we were very interested in the introduction the other day of the IPad which we plan to look at again in four or five months.  

So last Thursday, we went down and bought a new computer, another IMac.  A computer for which we tried to pay cash, or rather, by business check.  A business check on an account we have had for 35 years at the same bank in which there was plenty of money.  The check protection system refused our check even after they called us on the phone while we were standing at the check out to verify that we had actually written the check.  The credit card company, however had no problem in accepting the charge.  Probably because we had finally paid it off and they weren’t getting any interest charges.  

“It’s the curse,” he says.

Because we are trying NOT to use the credit card, preferring to pay as we go.

Well, we got it out Thursday night and set it up and started the whole process of getting it going and one of the first things it wants to do in the whole registering and setting up process is to transfer files and applications from the old computer to the new one and since we had them sitting side by side, we hooked them up and proceeded with the transfer which was a two hour process.  About halfway through I thought that we had probably made a mistake because it was transferring everything, a lot of which I did not want on the new computer.  

Well, it did turn out to be a mistake.  I found some really old stuff and the few applications I wanted to use wouldn’t open without first starting another application that the new computer couldn’t seem to find and none of my files showed up, nor any of my pictures.

No problem, Marc says.  We’ll just delete the hard drive and reinstall the operating system and applications.  In other words, everything that came already installed.  

Were that it was that easy.  We tried to follow the instructions in the little booklet that came with and when that didn’t produce satisfactory results, Marc consulted the Apple website (which we should have done in the first place) and found out that the information in the booklet is incorrect.  So while we have re-installed the operating system and the applications, our new computer will come on, but it can’t seem to find anything.  So Monday, we get to return it to the place of purchase so they can put it to rights again.  

I’d forgotten how aggravating it is to get a new computer.

“You know what it is, right?” he says to me almost smirking.

“It’s NOT the curse!”

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

it's broken, people

Schism I by Lydia Lynaug

The State of the Union speech is tonight.  We turned it off when the talking heads started analyzing the coming speech based on the color of Michelle’s dress.  seriously?  

Personally, I don’t think it makes much difference what the President says.  The two party system doesn’t work anymore.  We have outgrown it only no one’s really realized it yet.  My friend John Kurman over at Random Walks did an excellent post today, Wither America .  He has an interesting perspective.  Most people in the country don’t vote for either party, they vote for None of the Above (see John’s post).

This country is so deeply and irrevocably divided that even when you get someone who genuinely wants to do something to fix the underlying problems, it is impossible to actually do anything.  Immediately the party not in power spends all it’s influence and resources undermining the party in power.  And, if the politician strays too far to the center in order to attract support to actually accomplish something, then his own party arrays against him.  Good ideas never enter the picture because it’s not about actually fixing anything, it’s about being in power.  In this, both parties are exactly the same.

The thing is, if we as a people don’t rise above this division, then the people are going to be wishing things were as good as they had been in 2009.  2009 will seem like a picnic.  Because if this continues, we’re all going down.

I was telling Marc earlier that I think the only way to reconcile this country is to divide.  

“Oh, you mean like Pakistan and India?” he asks.

Well, I would hope we would be a little more civilized about it.

He thinks, though, that our generation will have to die before any compromise can take place, before the country can heal itself.  That the division, the schism that occurred in the 60s is too deep and too ingrained for us, the baby boomers, to be able to rise above.

A pretty sad legacy for the summer of love.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

one year later

Here I am, one year later, one year old.  I had no idea what blogging was about when I started.  I didn’t read any myself, had never even ventured into blogland.  I’m not entirely sure why, that day in January, I decided to start one.  Feeling my mortality perhaps, wanting to leave a record for my kids, grandkids and hopefully more generations to come.

I am astounded that I am still doing it.  I had tried several times in the past to keep a journal and never got much farther than a few entries.  The only thing close to this had been the news page on my website on which I managed 4 or 5 entries a year.

I am amazed at what I found, this community.  I had no idea and now, now I can’t think what life was before it.  I know people I have never met, I have friends I have never seen, I am connected to others in places I have never traveled.

One year ago this day I introduced myself, was starting to pack things and agonizing about moving away from my kids and grandkids.  I have eaten new things, grown some of my own food; I have started discovering life outside a small town, shared my love of nature and done things that surprised myself; I have moved from a view obstructed by buildings to an unobstructed horizon.

Over the past year I hope I have entertained with my stories of a city girl moving to the country, my posts about leaving the home and neighborhood I have lived in for 35 years, the ups and downs of being a self employed artist, maybe even made you laugh once in a while with my attempts at humor and maybe made you think with my occasional more serious musings.  

I hope I gave as good as I got.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

promises promises

The longer days and the warmer temperatures have teased out the maple tree.

This little dandelion is convinced.

As is the 10 petal anemone.

The bluebonnets

and the evening primroses are getting ready.

As are the roses.

I wish I could get a picture of the cardinal who has been perched outside my window singing his love song.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

11. and boom again

Sunbank, Orlando FL

I guess the picture from my last chapter really belongs with this installment.  Of all that work we did out of town and out of state (of which you will read about below), this is the only one of those jobs that we have pictures of and only because we drove to Orlando to see it and then we took our kids to Disneyworld.

re the glass wallpaper...Nice to look at, but oh, such drudgery.  Not to mention having to deal with contractors who didn't know and didn't care that it was a handmade product, not something stored in a warehouse somewhere.  They had their schedules!  Not that we were late but that didn't stop them from calling nearly every damn day and being assholes.

Remember, if you haven’t read the story from the beginning, go here and as usual read from the bottom up for chronological order.


After the bottom fell out of Houston in the mid-80s, my nurtured relationships with the design staffs at the big architectural firms started to pay off.  As mentioned before, these contacts moved to the east and west coasts in the latter half of the 80s when their regional offices closed.  We started getting detailed in the plans and I had to learn how to read blueprints.  Once we were specified in the plans, contractors remembered us when other jobs that specified etched glass came in.  We did over 1,000 identical 3’ x 3’ panels that made up an interior wall system for Sunbank in Florida, we did conference room walls on seven floors of a building in Atlanta (another bank I think), we did law offices on the east coast, medical facilities in Houston, an office building and a college in NY, retail work on the west coast and Las Vegas.  We were so busy, we couldn’t get it all done.  We were getting $50,000  to $100,000 jobs and the big money got our attention.  We pissed off more than one local designer by being late with their one or two panels.  

What we needed to do was to get a small business loan, get a bigger place and hire more people.  We were poised to be able to become a big business.  We had the know how and the contacts.  Except that we didn’t really want to be a big business.  We had already put on two more employees so now we had three.  It was becoming less about the work and more about keeping them busy.  Plus the money.  The art had been lost long ago, I wasn’t doing any of the designing and we had become a fabrication shop.  We made a pretty good living during those years.  We paid off both mortgages, bought a new car and a new truck, put some money away in investments (which we eventually lost in the various stock market crashes), took actual real vacations but we worked hard.  After the day shift went home and we got the kids homeworked, fed and in bed, Marc and I would put in another 3 or 4 hours.

Friday, January 22, 2010


I found after my last post that I was feeling quite drained.  I hadn’t really realized how much focus and energy I was putting into it until I was done.

I want to thank everyone for all the wonderful comments on this series of posts, whether you believe as I do or hold different beliefs.  I have responded to some of you via email which brings me to a question...should I have responded in the comments myself?  I had thought that I would do a follow-up with some of the comments and my replies, but now I’m not so sure.  It feels done to me.

We have been having some beautiful weather the last couple of days and today as well...mid 70s, low humidity, clear skies.  I will leave you today with a picture of the first bloom of one of the first spring bloomers, wildflower style, in my yard.

baby blue eyes

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

and in the end...

I wish I could say that my journey took me to exotic places but it did not.  I didn’t go on retreat to India nor to Tibet.  I didn’t go to Macchu Picchu or climb the holy mountains.  I didn’t even go to Native American pow wows.  I was married to my first husband then and I had to work since he would not.  So, although my body did not travel, my mind soared.  I read.

I read about the Findhorn Garden and the amazing communication that went on there.  I read The Secret Life Of Plants by Peter Tompkins which served to confirm my experience that trees and plants were sentient beings.  The empty slate of my belief system began to fill with love and respect for the earth and all the forms of life on it.  I became committed to an organic lifestyle, to nurture and protect instead of use and abuse.  I stopped killing things.  Creatures who found themselves trapped in the house were caught and released.  When I began to garden in later years, I was mindful, letting the plant go through it’s entire cycle.  I read up on herbal medicene and, much later, alternate forms of healing.  

A fan of science fiction, I had read Microscopic God and More Than Human by Theodore Sturgeon, Nightfall by Issac Asimov, Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein.  I had started reading Greek Mythology when I was in the 3rd grade and continued with myths and legends of many cultures.  I checked The Golden Bough out of the library repeatedly.  I read about Hinduism, Buddhism and Zen, Taoism and Native American beliefs.  I embraced karma and many years later, reincarnation.  I read Life After Life by Raymond Moody.  

When I became pregnant at 26 I became even more interested in religion.  Having seen many kids get sucked into cults when I was in college, I wanted a foundation for my own whether they stayed with it or not.  Since I had married a Jewish man, I went to conversion classes to educate myself and was surprised to find that most of what I heard, I had already come to.  I liked that it was was a religion that focused on life, not death as Christianity did, that you lived a good life because it was the right thing to do, not for the reward of heaven or fear of the punishment of hell if you did not, neither concept being a part of Jewish theology.  I raised my children as Jews and went to Torah study.  It was a good home for me while I continued my journey.

I became very interested in the origins of religion, the religions of ancient cultures and the evolution of religion.  I read Sarah The Priestess by Savina Teubal, When God Was A Woman and Ancient Mirrors Of Womanhood by Merlin Stone among others.  I railed against the Patriarchy, embraced the Matriarchy, learned how inheritance rights shaped religion.  I read in the Kaballah.  I pissed off the old men in Torah Study.  Eventually I grew away from Judaism as well.

I read about the millions murdered and burned who would not convert, the millions killed and burned in the name of holy war.  I learned that religion was a man made institution whose purpose it was to control men and most especially women.  I learned that when conqueror’s came the first thing they did was demonize the local dieties, destroy the holy places and usurp the holy days for their own ends.  I learned that the dead and risen god was ancient long before christianity came on the scene.

I read Carl Jung and finally found equality.  I read Joseph Campbell.  I read The Time Falling Bodies Take To Light by William Thompson, I read about the power of the sub-conscious mind and New Age mysticism.  I read about Theosophy and The Consciousness Of The Atom.  I read Jane Roberts’ amazing channeling of the spirit Seth.  I read about how we create physical reality, not only our own but the nature of physical reality as well, that there is no Evil in the world, only things we do not fully understand or comprehend, that some thing that is good for one person, can be devastating for another.  I learned that thought is energy and energy becomes manifest.  That what you put out there is what you get in return.

The specific books mentioned are, of course, just some of the very many.  Through 30 years of reading and perusing, questioning and pondering, my understanding evolved, my belief system emerged.

So what DO I believe?  This was my comment on Bonnie’s post :

Here's the thing. God is the sum total. God is the good AND the bad. As compassionate beings we should try to relieve suffering when we come across it. But God cannot 'do' anything about evil or suffering since it is part of the sum total. The All That Is. And the all that is is the full range of existence. God is existence, from the smallest mite to the grandeur of the cosmos and everything in between. It is the black as well as the white.

There is so much more, of course, to what I perceive to be the nature of god/dess and the universe from grand concepts to the smallest details but it would take many more pages.  We are the Dream.  We, and by we I mean every mote of physical existence, are the Avatars by which the Source is manifest.  It is to this Source that we return when we are done on the physical plane.

...the love you take is equal to the love you make.

Monday, January 18, 2010

seeing god

I was 18 the first time I saw god. (And I’m not talking about losing my virginity either, that came a little later.)  It was the morning after my prom and I had come down from my first acid trip via Purple Ozley.  I was on the beach with my date.  We had driven to the coast after all the parties and fallen asleep in the car.  Back then you could drive on the beach and it was deserted.  I woke up just after dawn and saw the most amazing thing.  Everything around me glowed with an inner light...the water, the sand, the driftwood, the morning glories, firewheels and sea oats that anchored the dunes, the sky.  This was the connecting light or energy that infused the universe.  I calculated the hours since ingestion and decided that plenty of time had elapsed for me to be returned to normal.  I wondered if this was my new normal, not quite what I was before.  If so it was OK with me.

By the time I was 18, I had rejected the Episcopal church.  It took a few more years before I rejected christianity altogether.

I was 20 the second time I saw god.  I was living in Chicago, ostensibly going to the Art Institute but in reality cutting most of my classes.  One of the things I did during that time was hitchhike to Washington DC for one of the big anti-war demonstrations.  During this experience, I, we (my companions and I) met someone (several someones actually) who had a spiritual advisor from India (not unusual at the time) and one of only three of this person’s teachers happened to live in the greater Chicago area.  How we met these people and the incredible experience it was is the subject for a different post.  Suffice to say it was enough for us to look up this teacher upon our return to Chicago.  We arranged to meet this man and four or five of us took the train to his home.  As he talked to us this incredibly bright white light emanated from him until it filled the room and the only thing I could see was this man and the light surrounding him.  This was not a drug induced vision.  I could, if I looked away, see the room but as long as I looked at this small man from India, it was all I could see.  Now, I do not believe, and didn’t then, that this man was god.  Rather he was the vehicle that god shone through.  Over the next year, this man introduced us to meditation and yoga.  Never again, after that first evening, did I see his aura but I have never forgotten it.

By the time I had reached my early 20s, I knew that I no longer considered myself a christian.  What I was, I had no idea.  But thanks to the 13th Floor Elevators, I knew that the kingdom of heaven was within me.

The third time I saw god, I was 22.  This time I was definitely on drugs, the finest organic psylicibin in a capsule I had ever had.  We had planned to get to the Atlantic coast to spend the day but it came on so fast we were lucky to make it to this beautiful lake surrounded with a forest of evergreens.  It was August in New Hampshire.  It started with a double rainbow and was a most amazing day.  Everything glowed and vibrated and peace and love was in the air. 

Thus began my spiritual journey.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

evolution of an unbeliever

We got there late so we were sitting in the last, highest row of the balcony and when it came time to kneel the first time, I remained seated.  I had told my mother in advance that I was not going to kneel so there would be no surprises.  She grabbed my arm and tried to force me to my knees which only made me resist all the more.  After the prayer was over, my mother, mortified, made us all get up and leave right then and that was the last time we ever went to church as a family.  I was 17 and it was Christmas Eve.

We had not been in the habit of attending regular services since I was about 14.  After the big scandal, my mother could not bear to show her face in church, in public, having been booted out of their circle of friends.  Or perhaps the whole group of friends parted ways, I don’t know.  All I know is that all of a sudden their busy social life came to a screeching halt and it became my father’s responsibility to take us to church while she slept in with a ‘headache’.  My father was not a religious man and the only reason he went was because it was expected of him, as a family man.  So you can imagine it didn’t take much for us kids to talk him out of it and into taking us to breakfast at the diner instead.  Pretty soon, even that little farce was abandoned.  Except on Christmas Eve and Easter.  Those we still went to.

When I was 13 my parents enrolled me in communion classes along with all the other good sunday school kids.  In our congregation, the kids who were not old enough for communion were sent off to sunday school during services, after the plate was passed but before the sermon.  Once we had undergone communion, a big rite of passage, we were expected to stay for the sermon.  I was totally uninterested in this especially since they assigned homework.  Homework which I never did.  Towards the end of the classes, with communion looming nigh, a call went out to my parents and an emergency meeting was arranged...your daughter is in danger of not being confirmed.  This would not be tolerated, it would look exceedingly bad so under dire threat I had to outline the life of Christ as told by the book of John or maybe Peter and was admitted to the ranks of those that could receive the blood and body of Christ.  After the first few times, the novelty wore off and, thankfully, about that time we quit going to church on a regular basis...because really, eating your god?

One day at sunday school, I’m not sure how old I was, before puberty because after puberty my concerns were entirely different, the sunday school teacher was teaching us about creation, and I, fresh from science class and learning about dinosaurs and such wanted know, how, if this was true, dinosaurs could have roamed the earth for so long.  She blinked at me like an owl, momentarily silenced, before she blurted out some total nonsense.  That was the day I learned the bible was a crock.

Earlier still, I remember wondering how a loving god could condemn a new born baby.  Anyone could look at a new born and know there was no such thing as original sin.  The whole three in one bothered me as well.  Why was the pantheon of other religions bad, but the pantheon of Christianity was good?  And if god was so loving, why were so many people condemned to hell, especially the ones who never heard of him?  Especially the ones who lived good honest lives.  And nascent feminist that I was, I hated the whole story of the creation of Eve and the Garden of Eden.

This little piece was in response to Bonnie over at Original Art Studio who did a post the other day about god, good and evil.  I left a comment about what I perceive to be the nature of god and she responded with a did you and at what point did you arrive at this way of perceiving life and God?...but before I can answer that I had to get to ground zero, disbelief in my natal religious indoctrination.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


Let’s see...where was I when I last left you.  Oh yeah, commuting.

This past week was a drag.  Commuting back and forth.  The plumber came on Wednesday afternoon and the problem turned out to be a loose connection at the meter (nice going gas company).  Fixed in a jiffy and only cost us the service fee but we were not prepared to spend the night so back we went.  

We did get the panel finished yesterday.  It’s a 4’ x 5’ wall mounted piece for a gas company (what irony) with a sort of contemporary rendering of pipes and pipelines.  I haven’t taken a picture yet.  Installation is scheduled for Thursday.  I had to re-do the background with the etching cream on Wednesday as the material was so cold when I did it on Tuesday that it didn’t work very well.  Had to re-stencil the panel and re-apply the cream but it looked good the second time (I do learn from my mistakes...I warmed it up in front of the heater before applying).  Thursday and Friday was spent applying the copper and silver leaf accents.

When we headed into town on Thursday morning prepared to spend the night (meaning we had a change of clothes and the cat), I declined to take the computer.  It was just going to be one night, right?  I could do without it for one night!  And actually, I was so tired on Thursday evening that I was ready for bed by 8:30.  

Well, I’m caught up on my reading now though I have left very few comments.  The weather has warmed up considerably and they are forecasting even warmer for next week...maybe even the low 70s.  One can only hope.  Today though, it’s cold, windy and rainy.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

10. and bust

Since I am so busy right now and with this two hours of commuting every day (an hour each way), I have no time to blog and am getting behind on reading.  So if I don’t comment that’s why.

Here’s another installment of how I became a glass artist.  As usual, if you want to read the previous installments, click here .  They are mostly short and remember to read from the bottom up if you want to start at the beginning.

10.  and bust

In the mid 80s, the bottom dropped out of the economy in Houston and our stained glass tenant moved to Colorado so we couldn’t afford to keep the building.  About the same time, our neighbor put her house up for sale and we decided to buy it.  The payments were less than the rent on the studio.  The extra house became studio space for the design part of our work and the old studio (the two car garage) became the fabrication part.  All those contacts I had nurtured for so many years, the big architectural firms, paid off during this time.  As these firms closed their offices in Houston (we actually lost population during this time), they took us with them as a resource to their new locations.  One day I flew into the DC area to give a presentation to the design section where a contact had moved to, and then flew out the same day.  Others went to the west coast and so we got a lot good jobs on both coasts but they were not very creative designwise.  With a few exceptions, it devolved into geometrics or ‘glass wallpaper ’ as Marc called it.

Monday, January 11, 2010

shop talk

I’m sort of single minded right now.  This week is going to be very busy.  I need to get this job finished while we have 4 or 5 days good weather, and by ‘good’ I mean above freezing.  Actually, it’s going to be pretty nice, mid to high 50s.  Since some of what we do is done either outside or in an unheated shed, freezing temperatures adversely affect our ability to work.  We went in to the city today to do the prep work for the sandblasting that has to be done tomorrow.  Also the cream etch background needs to be done as well.  Going to make for a long day.  After that it will take a couple of days to do the metal leaf applications.  And I also need to make progress on our other jobs, if only to be able to say honestly, “I worked on your job this week.”

When I say we went into the city, as in past tense, that’s what I mean.  We went in, worked, came back.  Because, you see, we have a gas leak at the city house (I explained all about that here ).  That’s the other thing we have to get accomplished this week.  So, the first order of business after opening up the house, which was frigid by the way (it was warmer outside than inside the house), opening the shop, checking on big Mama (the turtle), surveying the yard, checking the mail...OK, I guess it was the sixth order of business; we called the plumber.

“We have a gas leak,” we say.

“Gas leak, huh?” sez he.  “Get in line.”

OK, I may have made up that whole conversation but the end result is the same.  Due to the unprecedented very rare never ending tenacious week four days of sub-zero zero very low 20s, water pipes were geysering all over the city.  They’re a tad busy right now.  Maybe tomorrow.  Probably Wednesday.  Which means unless we want to sleep in an igloo all week, we are commuting.

On the upside, we had two checks waiting for us when we got there.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

the inheritors

Not to beleaguer a point or anything but DAMN, it’s cold.  So as I sit here pondering my imminent encasement in ice, I thought I would do up a post on our likely successors.

Some of you may recall that I made claim to collecting dead insects.  

OK, are we through with the icks and shudders?

Try to look at them with a distanced eye.  They are so interestingly, delicately shaped; so beautifully, iridescently colored;

so wonderfully, wondrously different.  The inheritors of the earth.  Or so we imagine after we have scorched the planet in our headlong pursuit of extinction.

My small collection of insect carcasses is constantly changing.  Their delicate little bodies only last so long.

They get dull and start turning to dust and get eaten by things we can’t see.  As one crumbles into dust and is discarded another is found and replaces it.  My little peeps are on the lookout for me.

They are kept in boxes or placed on altars like relics.

Without them we would have no flowers, no fruit.  Without them the detritus of life would not be recycled into the stuff of life.