Monday, August 30, 2010


photo via

I know summer is ending because the days are getting shorter

and the hummingbirds are migrating through

and the tufted titmice have shown up

and the butterflies are more abundant

and the leaves on the tallow are dropping

and the squirrels are starting to test the pecans

and the corn fields have been razed

and the pampas grass is starting to bloom

and school has begun.

I know summer is ending for all these reasons as I stand outside continuing to swelter in the 97˚ heat and humidity.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

summer reads

I realize it's not quite the end of August yet, still three more days but I'm not likely to finish another book by then. In fact, I can't believe I read 14 this go round, especially since this quarter included all the g'kid visits and I only read during meals and before bed. Oh and then there's the sleepless nights. I read then too. Guess I've had a lot of sleepless nights this quarter.

So here's my take on some reading which I know you are waiting for because my opinion is, of course, intensely interesting.

Judge And Jury by James Patterson and Andrew Gross – I actually liked this one a lot. Better than I thought I would. A gangster is on trial and manages to escape after having the entire jury killed and there follows a manhunt by the FBI agent and the lone survivor of the explosion that killed the jury and her son.

Kite Runner by Khalid Hosseini – it's very rare these days for me to get a book I have a hard time putting down, but this was one. Located in Afghanistan, it is the story of a rich (by comparison) kid and his servant/lesser caste best friend, his betrayal of same. He and his father leave Afghanistan for America when the Russians move in. Eventually, as an adult he returns and finds that the two families lives were entwined in more ways than one.

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides – interesting read that covers three generations of a family of Greek descent who immigrate from Turkey. The storyteller is the daughter/son, the third generation, a hermaphrodite, genetically male who was raised as a girl, thinks of herself as a girl and discovers during puberty that he is not. It's his story but he starts with his grandparents who are actually brother and sister.

Mystic Rebel by Ryder Syvertsen – I was enjoying this little story about an American who agrees to fly medical supplies and money into Chinese occupied Tibet, is shot down, rescued by Tibetan nomadic freedom fighters who he lives with while he learns the language and comes to love the country. Then it turned kind of stupid when he is dug out of an avalanche by an evil worshipping cult who attempt to turn him into an assassin to send against the Dalai Lama, blah blah blah. It has an OK ending.

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khalid Hosseini – Another tale that takes place in Afghanistan, same time frame as Kite Runner, but this time about two women, girls really at first, and their lives. Not a pretty picture although there is a happy ending for one of them but only after years and years of misery.

The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards – a very ponderous read. Page after page after page of the father, mother, son going on and on and on about the distance between them. OK, ok, I get it, the secret destroyed the very thing that the father was trying to save. Now get on with the story. Which is that a doctor unexpectedly delivers his wife's twins one snowy night with the help of his nurse. The second baby, a girl, is born with Down Syndrome and he hands the baby to his nurse with instructions to take her to an institution and tells his wife the baby died. The nurse cannot leave the baby at the institution and leaves town with the child and raises her. She sends updates and pictures to the doctor but refuses to tell him where they live. It's a good story but I would have enjoyed it a lot more without all the constant mental anguish.

Demon Seed by Dean Koontz – stupid. Stoo-pid. A computer AI takes over a computerized house with plans to take over the world after it becomes born into an altered human body.

The Honey Thief by Elizabeth Graver – unsatisfying. I wanted a better ending when it really had no ending at all, except maybe a glimmer of hope for better for the characters. About 3/4ths of the way through I'm yelling at the mother to get over herself, get a freaking grip. Maybe I need to go back to popular culture paperbacks for a while instead of literature.

What The Dead Know by Laura Lippman – I enjoyed this one. It's sort of a mystery. Two sisters aged 11 and 15 disappear one day from the local mall. Thirty years later a woman involved in a traffic accident claims to be one of the missing sisters and then clams up to protect her privacy and leads the police on, giving them information that cannot be backed up or checked out. Eventually the story unfolds but it has a little twist at the end that I did not anticipate and a good resolution.

Nights Of Rain And Stars by Maeve Binchy – one of my favorite authors, I love the way she weaves her characters together and then weaves her books together with these characters. The books are not sequels but independent stories. This one was the back story of a character that featured in the previous book of hers I read. It takes place in a small Greek village on a small island.

Altar Of Eden by James Rollins – a fairly entertaining story about genetic experimentation gone bad with a little romance thrown in. A ship full of 'altered' animals is found floundered on the bayou coast of Louisiana and before more than a few of the animals are removed, it explodes. Then begins the search for the perpetrators who are ruthlessly covering their tracks.

Sizzling Sixteen by Janet Evanovich – the further misadventures of Stephanie Plumb, bounty hunter.

The Ark by Boyd Morrison – an OK read about a madman who wants to purify the earth by wiping out humanity, except for his chosen 300, with a genetically engineered plague.

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver – A story about a missionary who takes his wife and four daughters who were totally unprepared for what was to come to the African Congo to live in a small village for a year's post to raise up the heathen. Caught during the political upheaval of the Belgian withdrawal and the American political games in the fledgling new government, the father refuses to leave when all white people are urged to evacuate. It's the story of the four daughters and the mother primarily and their struggle to survive and their eventual desertion of their zealous father/husband and their long walk through the jungle. One child dies, two stay in Africa and two return to the United States. The book continues to follow the girls and how that year and a half impacted their lives and changed them forever. It's really a very good book but I thought it sort of just petered out at the end.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


in progress

Stuff is pouring out of me. Unfortunately, it's not stuff for my blog.

I have been holed up in the studio and am really involved with the wax and model making. I would have thought that after two years, I would find it balky to work with but whatever skill I had achieved before is still with me. Nice to know.

The first things I did were to finish the two projects left over from before. I attempted to make a teapot that would go with my teabox but found I wasn't really interested in doing that so it became a box. It morphed into a piece I had already attempted to make once and didn't like. This one I like. Then I constructed another box that I really like, the one with the wren that is the experiment with the inlay idea.

Now I am working on the first of three pieces that will be a tryptic.

I am so happy to be working in the studio again and that the waxes, at least, seem effortless.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

late summer day

Standing at the back door, I look out into the small fenced part of our yard. Beyond that is our neighbor's empty half acre and the road that marks the edge of our little neighborhood. Beyond that are the agricultural fields filled with cotton as far as I can see to the treeline on the horizon. My drawing table is along the same wall that the back door is in and when the door is open, I can see the little birdbath in the fenced yard from where I sit. Also along this wall is a bank of windows I gaze out of.

Now in the heat of the day all I can see are dragonflies patrolling the empty yard. All else is hunkered down waiting for the sun to get lower in the sky. The bluejays that hang around all morning are nowhere to be seen, the small white herons gone to other fields. Even the hawks have found retreat from the heat and the cicadas are silent.

As recent as last week, the heat was oppressive at 7 AM. Two days ago when I opened the back door I thought I sensed a slight change, not pleasant exactly but perhaps a hint of things to come. Today there was no doubt, pleasant with a slight breeze that was just a memory by 9 AM. By 2 o' clock, 102˚. At 4 PM I venture out to water some pots and standing there holding the hose I am covered in sweat.

Behind us at the end of our mowed back yard is a thick wall of grass taller than I am like the edge of the Red Sea parting to provide passage. The 13 acre field has not been mowed once this year. Earlier in the summer a dead tree fell at the edge of our property. The wild grape vines and trumpet flower have covered it, draping the dead branches with finery. Another task awaiting us for when it cools off.

A single crow is perched in the dead branches of a nearby tree calling attention to himself. I fill another small bucket with dropped unripe pecans, their pungent antiseptic odor wafting up, and toss them on the burn pile.

At 7 PM I walk out to catch the clouds reflecting the late summer sun. I am standing there at the back edge of our property gazing up at the sky and turn to look behind me and see a rainbow arching across heaven. It has been raining further away.

9 PM. It's dark now and the only things I see are the silhouettes of the trees against the cloud covered sky, the moon not yet risen or well cloaked while the night creatures sing their lullabies. One more day done and summer's end one step closer.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

a country tale

photo via

The pecan trees have started to drop their immature fruit.

Baby toads are everywhere outside and I'm wondering how that can be.

The ground is dry and cracked.

A family group of blue jays has been monopolizing the birdbath.

Two days ago it pretended to rain.

The driveway barely got wet.

No rain for weeks and the cotton is taller than I am.

But the corn has gone completely brown.

I saw that the farmers are starting to cut it down.

The hay fields are being mowed.

And the tallow is dropping leaves from the lack of rain.

Or perhaps the wheel has turned a little.

Friday, August 20, 2010

in the groove

It's been a long time since I have spent this much time in the studio. I guess the last time was the first half of 2008 when I was preparing work for our one person show at our local gallery. I've done less than half a dozen pieces in the two years since. With the crash of the economy in late 2008 and our expectations of finally breaking the collector barrier dashed and the gallery that had been taking our work to the big shows dropping us from the repertoire, well, it took the wind out of my sails. That and having racked up a considerable debt going to these shows for the previous five years that we no longer had expectations of paying off with the cast work sent my focus back to the etched architectural work. Fortunately we had some of that to focus on.

Two years. I wondered at one point if I would ever get back to it. I made a few half hearted attempts but quickly lost interest. Today though, I see the work stretching in front of me. I have a growing pile of finished waxes and more still to complete and many more to start. I'm working on a small box right now that I am trying out a new approach on. I've been trying to come up with a way to do some larger pate de verre boxes without a lot of grinding and recasting and I think I have a way to do it using inlays. I've done this on a few pieces, very simply, with good results. This little box will be a bit more complex. I also have two other series of pieces I have started on. I might even try a few more sculptural vessels, a form I abandoned years ago for a variety of reasons.

I'm not sure what I am going to do with all the finished work once I have it. It will take some time to complete. The shop is still spread out between here and Houston but I want to start casting the small components. I guess we'll be making a foray into the city pretty soon, if for no other reason than to get the materials to start making molds.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

river vignette 8 – the Pecos

Still immersed so here's another moment on the river.

*the sketches that accompany these vignettes do not illustrate that particular moment or even reflect that particular river.

We stop at a ravine and pull up the boats. We climb up the side canyon through this ravine filled with boulders and scrub. The white thorn acacias are sharp. Everything green seems to be prickly. We get up to the shelter known as the Ingram site. There on the canyon wall before us, are enigmatic paintings some thousands of years old. They are beautiful and mystifying. In the narrow ledges along the base of the shelter are smooth rounded depressions in the rock where the painters ground and prepared their pigments. The cactus wrens are building nests in the limestone above us. They hop around giving us the eye and sing now and then. We spend some time here, pausing in the shade and shadow of the past.

Monday, August 16, 2010

siren song

wax in progress*

After nearly two years and several aborted forays into the model making studio I am finally fully engaged. This past week I have spent the lion's share of my time working on models. Yesterday when I put down my work about 7 PM my mind continued to reside in that place in my head, in time and space, that I go when deeply involved in making. My body was on the couch, a book was in my lap but mostly I was staring into the infinite, my mind still in the studio working on the moonflower box, cataloguing what is accomplished so far and thinking about the next pieces to work on. Disengaging from that state of mind, returning from the 'land of art' as Marc calls it, is much like rising up out of a deep and dream filled sleep. Right now I am trying hard to keep the connection, to keep a part of my mind devoted to that place while I tend to other mundane things.

When fully engaged, I drift through life like a ghost, all my connections to the real world put aside, my chores go undone. I'm starting to understand how the city house got to the state it's in, my intention to be a better housekeeper in the country house becoming another paving stone on the road to hell. The housework I meant to do last week is still undone, the dishes, a continual though ever changing pile on the counter, never completely finished. Outside, I manage to keep the birdbath filled and the few pots of plants watered, the long hot dry dog days of August excuse enough for not getting the rest of those chores done.

The siren is calling and I must go thither.

*The top to the moonflower box was actually made for another piece but I didn't like them together.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


August 14th, 1976
I was 26 and he was 24
that's beer in our champagne glasses

Today is our 34th anniversary.

You would think that if someone has lived with you for 34 years that they would know you, right?

Granny hates to cook,” he tells our grandson.

No I don't,” I say. “I like to cook. What I don't like is cooking and having to do the dishes both.” Since doing the dishes is my chore, I don't often cook or rather, I don't often cook dinner. At least not since several years after the kids grew up. I fix breakfast nearly every morning and sometimes I'll fix something for lunch if we don't have any leftovers. But dinner? Nope. Unless the grandkids are here.

It's not the first time he has made a statement to others about what I think or feel about something that has been totally wrong.

The above exchange got me thinking about how and when we form our opinions, our ideas of who people are. How many of his ideas, thoughts, assumptions, knowledge of me were formed years ago? How much of me in his mind is outdated, held stagnant in an opinion codified long ago, resistant to change, blind to my changes? How many of my opinions of him are old and no longer relevant?

We have different styles, he and I. I've got my head in the clouds and he's got his feet on the ground. I think that accounts for much of the clanging that goes on. I'm an optimist. I get an idea and I want to just dive right in solving problems as they arise, if they arise. He's a pessimist (although he does not agree with me on this). He wants to dissect every idea I get, take it apart, tell me all the flaws, every reason why it won't work or can't happen until all the fun is gone out of it for me. He wants to problem solve in advance and I want to go for the spontaneous adventure. I get frustrated and lose interest because what I want is a little enthusiasm for whatever hare-brained idea I've come up with, not a litany of why it won't work. He doesn't want to get started on something unless he has a plan and gets annoyed by my impatience.

We don't talk much either. We are mostly companions in silence. Heartfelt discussions are best had with sisters or friends. In this way we probably don't know each other very well. Talking about our personal feelings never did us any good, usually leading to fights. But here we are still together, all day every day. We've racked up more hours together than most marriages. No parting ways in the morning to our separate jobs and then spending a few hours together before bed. No, we share our lives 24/7 albeit mostly in different rooms these days.

There was a time when we were inseparable, joined at the hip. When we sat, we sat touching. When we showered, we showered together. When we slept, we slept on one pillow. When parted it was painful. Over the years we migrated to different chairs, began to shower at different times, added a pillow or two and for a number of years engaged in separate activities that parted us gladly. We had a span of years that almost parted us permanently.

But here we are, together for longer than we had been alive when we met. We are companions, friends, partners, lovers. We have raised kids, built a business, made choices and survived more than one maelstrom. I can't tell you why. We have just persevered. Maybe we are just habits. Maybe we accepted at some point that no one is perfect least of all ourselves. Maybe we prefer the jerk we know to the one we haven't met yet. Or maybe, it's because we can still make each other laugh, that we still believe in the feeling when we first met. Maybe it's because with every passing day, week, month, year we are even more intertwined.

Maybe it's simply because we are devoted to each other.

Friday, August 13, 2010

fabrication and installation

This job was three panels to be installed in front of the existing glass in the windows in the master bedroom. The client chose a contemporary design using texture and tone as opposed to a lot of fancy carving.

After the full size drawings were done I cut the stencils and applied the etching cream to the appropriate areas. Next I recovered those areas and Marc did the sandblasting. The last step was to adhere the bevels and textured glass pieces which had been cut and the edges ground to insure a close fit and maintain the straight or curving lines.

I had intended to document the laminating (I prefer that term to 'gluing') of the bevels, clear textured glass and glass nuggets a little more completely. As usual, I took a few pictures either before I began work or after and once actually working on the panels, I totally forgot about taking pictures.

The first step is to cover the sandblasted areas to protect it from the glue. These one inch peak bevels will be glued down in the open space.

I use an optically clear glass to glass UV setting adhesive. This row of bevels has been set and cleaned.

The granite textured glass and a row of peak bevels have been applied, set and cleaned up on the center panel. The space for the dicroic blue glass is set up and the area for the thin reeded textured glass is exposed.

The left hand panel with the dicroic and granite circle and the clear glass nuggets already applied and the area for the thin reeded exposed and surrounding etched areas protected.

Preparing the thin reeded glass to be laminated on.

It took three long days in the shop to get all the pieces glued on. It took a previous three days to cut, edge and in the case of the nuggets and granite textured glass, to flatten the backs. Not all textured glass is completely flat on the backside and if it is too wavy, the tension of the glue will cause it to crack about a day later and let me tell you, getting a piece of cracked glass off after it's been set is a nasty and labor intensive process. Basically you have to soak the area in a solvent and chip away at it using a single edge razor blade and a hammer all the while hoping you aren't going to break the base piece of glass.

Yesterday was the installation for these three panels.

The three panels laying on the floor waiting to be set in their openings.

Two of the three installed. The third opening is just out of sight on the left. This picture is washed out, because light expands. What you see in person is totally overwhelmed with light in the picture.

The center panel. Once I zoomed in, the panels showed up nicely.

The right hand panel. The left hand panel is a mirror image of this one.

The installation was interrupted because the installer had to go and take some measurements on another job. He returned later to finish up but I did not. I may go back later and get more pictures.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

pride and prejudice

photo via

I've read a couple of unrelated posts recently about racism and prejudice. It's not something I tolerate well and being the bluntly outspoken person that I tend to be, I will confront people with their...assumptions. Well, people that I know.

For instance, years ago we had a single black mother buy and move into one of the houses on the block. I had met her and knew a little about her and one day was talking to another neighbor. We were talking about the neighborhood I guess and he made some disparaging remarks about our new resident along the lines of lazy black woman with kids on welfare. She was, in fact, employed, was not on welfare and was trying to provide a decent home for her young children after getting rid of an abusive husband and I told him so. He was a little sheepish about that but I don't think it really changed his opinions any.

Most people nowadays will hold their tongue unless they are sure of a receptive audience. It's amazing how easy racism and prejudice can slip off the tongue. I don't think it is always intentional, just notions that people have without thinking and I don't usually confront strangers with their prejudices, especially things overheard, but it's been known to happen. Like the time I was at the gym working on one of the machines and the white guy at the machine next to me was talking to his black trainer.

I'm not prejudiced.” That was the sentence that got my attention and started me listening. I thought what a condescending prick. I thought other things like guilty dogs bark first and most people who volunteer that information usually are. He went on to say more about how he judged individuals, not color blah blah blah blech. And then he said...”except for Jews.”

I knew it. I knew that guy was an ass. He went on about how he had been cheated by a Jew and they were all the same trotting out that old ridiculous tired canard of the rich penny pincher Jew who controls everything from the banks to the governments.

What you may not know about me is that I'm married to a Jew and I raised my kids as Jews and I was comfortable myself for a long time within Jewish theology. I sat there trying to keep myself from springing up and confronting him but in the end that was exactly what I did. I'm surprised he couldn't see the steam coming out of my ears.

I was so furious I could hardly speak coherently. That guy didn't know me from Adam or should I say Eve and he had already judged my character and found it lacking, found me to be distasteful and deserving of scorn and prejudice.

I stood up, took the two steps and turned to face him. The trainer took one look at me and stepped back. I don't remember exactly what I said. I did tell him that he ought to be more careful about what he said in the hearing of strangers. I did tell him I was a Jew and that I found his opinion to be highly rude and offensive and downright ignorant. I did tell him that there were people like that across the board in every culture and religion. I told him that I knew christians that would pinch a penny til it screamed but that I didn't condemn all christians because of the actions of a few.

At least that's what I was saying in my head. Probably I was standing there sputtering. In any event, he didn't say a word. Finally I just glared at him and stormed off, paced up and down the aisle and then went to the ladies locker room to gather my composure. When I came out again he was gone and I finished my workout and left.

I don't know why I blew my cool that day. Maybe because it was personal. Maybe because I knew a Jew, a cousin, who was the slum lord of a small set of apartments, who totally deserved that guy's insults. Maybe it was because it was just so patently unfair. Maybe because the guy didn't just let slip a derogatory word or remark but set himself up as 'holier that thou'.

People have all sorts of justifications, or rather excuses, for their prejudices but I have to wonder, if the guy in the gym had felt cheated by a member of any other group, would he have had the same reaction, the same wholesale denigration of every member of that group? I think not. And really, I think the better question is this, if the exact same transaction had occurred with anyone other than a Jew, would he have felt cheated at all?

Monday, August 9, 2010

the pledge

picture via

I'm starting to feel the pain now. Withdrawal is setting in. So many pictures are lost from the hard drive crash on the old computer.

All the pictures of what the country house looked like on the inside when we got it. There goes my 'then and now' post.

All my sunset pics for the year. There goes my 'the year in sunsets' post.

A lot of my flower pictures but those I can take again when their season comes around.

All the pictures of the grandkids taken the past 8 months. totally irreplaceable.

All the raw footage from all the pictures of our jobs the last year. Fortunately I had transferred the 'doctored' pics over already.

Now the downside of digital camera-ry becomes apparent. Lazy people do not print out their pictures. Lazy people do not back up their hard drives. Lazy people lose their pictures.

So in the grand tradition of closing the barn door after the cows have got out, I have now installed the camera software on my (the new) computer. I never bothered before because I hadn't been able to install my version of Photoshop (it keeps telling me that there is missing or invalid personalization information) and without a graphics program, I didn't see the point. Especially since my new Mac has a slot for the memory chip in my camera and will transfer the images directly from it, bypassing the whole having to plug in the camera thing. I only recently discovered that I can crop, resize, and adjust the levels in Preview, finally being desperate enough to explore a little further into the program. What a nitwit. I thought it was just for viewing images.

I hereby pledge to back up my stuff. I even have a nifty little function that will do it automatically if I will just go get the thingy that it backs it all up on and plug it in. In the meantime, I have a stack of empty media 

Yeah, I know.

Friday, August 6, 2010

rude awakening

I was on a balcony and I saw my cat, Emma, in the crepe myrtle and there was a big snake, yellow with brown specks with a brownish head reaching out to bite her. I could see the intent in the snake's eyes as it opened wide it's mouth stretching out towards the cat. I tried yelling at the snake and at Emma but they ignored me so I reached out and grabbed one of the trunks and shook it and the cat and snake were gone. I looked down and saw Emma on the ground. I thought she didn't get bit. Next I'm picking her up and she has two big lumps which erupt and blood starts streaming out. I run into the house to change clothes (I'm in pajamas which I never wear). I start rummaging through my dresser, three huge drawers or a huge suit case with three big zipper compartments. I have to close each zipper before I can open the next. I can't find any of my clothes although the drawers or compartments are full. I keep asking how my g'kids clothes or Marc's clothes got in my drawers. I'm throwing clothes out frantic because it is taking so much time and finally find a top and some shorts and change. Next I am in the car going to take the cat to a vet. One of my g'girls is driving and I'm a bit nervous because she has to make two left turns in traffic. The vet is just down the block. It's a small white house set far back on a big lawn. I hope she is there and the gate is open and lights are on. But the second gate or door is closed and I'm having trouble with it. Next the door is opening and the vet is calling me by name to come in. She remembers me from my previous visits. It's Amy, (one of my gallery owners) We sit at a long table, there are lots of people, all women I think, sitting along it. She pours us a glass of wine and a small liqueur. She gets out a ledger and starts writing in it. I tell her that Blackie (a cat I had long ago) is dead and so is the other one (another cat I had had). Just then another cat has jumped onto the table and Emma is rubbing faces with him. This just astounds me as Emma does not play well with others, does not like other cats. Eventually I manage to tell the vet/Amy that Emma was snake bit though she seems fine. Amy picks her up and looks at her and wants to know what the snake looked like, how big. The woman sitting next to me gets up and brings back some cracker things. I look back at the table and it is covered with treats, small pastries and fruit cups, mostly berries and puddings or sauces. It's turned into a sort of bacchanal. Everyone is festive and eating and drinking. I pick up a small plate of crackers and take a few and pass it on and someone hands me a small glass with some sort of fruity sauce in it. I looked down to the end of the table and the woman sitting there has a footed cake plate piled high with berries and puddings in small paper cups and she picks up several at a time and puts them in her mouth, paper and all. I'm a little shocked by this and ask someone if she's eating the paper. Someone replies that it's not paper but sugar. I'm looking around for my wine glass and when I start to pick it up Amy pours me more until the glass is overflowing. I start to think that this is all just a little weird and look around for the cat so I can leave. Next I am outside and the house is in the background and I'm talking to someone but don't remember what they are saying about where I just came from. It's gets fuzzy here because the cat is in the bedroom and meowing meowing loudly waking me up. She's very insistent and I am resisting trying to continue/remember the dream. She won't let up until I am awake and then runs out of the room. 

I stumbled out of the bedroom and asked Marc what's up with the cat. She didn't want out, didn't want to be fed. “She just wants you up as nearly as I can tell” he says to me. Now that I'm up, she's laying on the floor sleeping.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

recognized at last

We're in the city this week finishing up this job, our last job or perhaps not. On the way in Monday we received two phone calls. We get more calls while we are in the truck than we do at either house. I think perhaps we should just throw a mattress in the back and call it home.

Anyway. The second call was from a previous client. We did some some work for them years ago in their previous house which they have sold and they now want some work in their new house and can they come by on Thursday. Which was really convenient for us. Gave us time to get most of the work done we had to do (although it is taking longer as it turns out and why do I continue to be surprised by that?). Thursday was going to be an extra day, then it turned out to be not and it might even be Friday before I am done.

This job has a lot of laminated glass and it is so time consuming. All the glass has to be cut to size, shaped and edged with a grinder and flat lap, made to fit and then, while that is being done, the stencil is cut and the glass is etched and carved and textured by sandblasting or chemical cream.  Then more adjusting of the laminated glass pieces because the glass is never the same as the drawing. Then, all the sandblasted areas need to be protected, all the glass needs to be cleaned and blah blah blah. Better explained with pictures. I'm digressing because this isn't supposed to be about this job I've another post planned for that.

It's supposed to be about the meeting. Or rather, my horror at the way the old shop looks. It's been hit and run for the last year and a half and the place looks like it. Not to mention that it has started to flood easily whereas it would only flood once in a while before or if the rain came from the wrong direction. Or the right direction. Nevermind

Anyway, the shop looked dirty and abandoned. Not a place I would want to talk business with to someone. So I spent the afternoon cleaning and throwing away trash and dusting shelves and straightening up tools and machines. There's some definite flood damage along the back wall that I can't really do anything about. My job is still spread out over the big table and I'll be working on it when they arrive. Hopefully, It doesn't look quite the hole now. I'm fairly confident of this meeting because they contacted me with intent and it's just a matter of coming to the meeting of the minds. The least I could do was clean it up a bit.

And we learned today that although our Imac (as reported in the woe post) did not have the blue screen of death, it did indeed have the gray screen of death. Hard disc? Pfft! What, you didn't have it backed up? hysterical laughter and pointing fingers ensue I had moved some stuff. But so so much is lost. 99% of all my pictures. my kick ass sunset pictures I worked on last weekend Some stuff I can get off my web site, some stuff we can recreate. I am surprisingly unperturbed by this. It's a pain in the ass, yes, but I'm not freaking out.


When I had come in from my labors, I checked my email and found that finally I am getting the recognition I deserve! Apparently, some one recommended my blog to the International Blogging Recognition Council, they reviewed a particular post, and have recommended that my blog receive their designation of “Recognized Blog” quote “IBRC reserves this honor to those blogs that effectively connects with the audience and promotes the sharing of ideas and experiences.” I don't know about the connecting and ideas part but they got the sharing my experiences part right interesting or not. They invited me to visit their website to learn more. So...

I went to their website. If I will just register and pay the $45 registration fee, they will send me my personalized IBRC 'Recognized Blog' badge.

Isn't that how I ended up in 'Who's Who'?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


My elderly neighbor who lived across the street and down one passed away Sunday. She was in her 90s and had been in hospice care at home for months. She was one of the residents on this street when I moved in 36 years ago. There are only three other houses on the block with their original residents from when I moved in, not counting me of course. Some of the houses don't even exist anymore and Mrs. Lusher's house will soon be gone. Big Mary will have it sold in a heartbeat. She already has the sale lined up, arranged it months ago with one of the local builders, a couple that used to live in the house next door to Mrs. Lusher. They've already built four homes on the far end of the block and own the corner at the other end as well.

Mary and her brother have been trying to sell that house out from under her since she became incapacitated. Their youngest brother, Tom, lived with their mom, moved in to help when their dad was falling into dementia and broke his hip and then stayed on, caring for his mother when her health started failing. During one of her trips to the hospital, Big Mary and her brother went over to the house to try to find the deed. Their father had built a secret hidey hole in the house in which he kept important things like the deed. They searched fruitlessly and finally left. Tom knew where it was and Ms Lusher's grandson, Big Mary's son, also knew but they weren't telling.

Tom had health issues of his own and died last August leaving his mom to the mercy of his two siblings. Older Brother, who was rarely seen around the old homestead, was all for putting her in a nursing home so they could sell the house and he could get his share. He certainly wasn't going to put his life on hold and help take care of mom. In fact, Mary and big brother put the heavy pressure on Tom to move in with the 'rents in the first place, Tom being single and having no life in their opinion. But Big Mary, thinking that it would be a short time before mom bailed, decided to move in and take Tom's place and let the old woman die at home. Damn considerate of her considering Mr. and Mrs. Lusher raised Mary's two kids because Mary couldn't be bothered.

Big Mary finally got a taste of Tom's life. He tried for years to get some relief from his siblings, give him some time off, some time away to no avail. When Tom's own health became acute, they got a lady to come three days a week to help out but neither sibling spent so much as a night there to give Tom a break. Mary bent my ear more than once out in the street during the last year to tell me that she's been 'ordered' by the doctor to take a weekend a month off for her own mental and physical health, something that she absolutely denied her brother.

I'm sorry to see Ms Lusher go, one more link lost. She was one of the old timers, a staple in the neighborhood. Her family had all lived in the neighborhood too, in fact her aunt lived in the house next door to us. She watched our kids grow up and our grandkids as well, loved to see them all out playing in the yard. She would sit on her porch and the kids would all go talk to her. I have daffodils and a heritage rose that she gave me. She really loved those rose bushes, would talk about them as if they were her lady friends. One of the first things Big Mary did when she moved in was cut those rose shrubs in front of the house down to the ground for 'security'. It broke my heart and must have broken hers as well.