Monday, November 28, 2011

post holiday or holiday post

I've started several posts since my last, the 'S' post, but didn't get farther than a paragraph or two with either of them.

I see I've gained a dozen or so new 'followers' in the last several weeks and I want to welcome them. If they are still here, that is. After my last two posts they might have backpedaled. But that's what you get with me. Nothing is too sacred or embarrassing for me to prattle on about.


It's the day after three long days of wax model making, one long day of mold filling and cooking, another day of cooking and sharing a feast on Thanksgiving and from then through the weekend the house is filled with grandkids and the refrigerator is filled with food enough that I shouldn't have to fix anything else all day. And that's saying something because they can eat a lot.

I'm taking the day off, not doing any kind of work. I'm hanging out with my g'kids, teens now except for the youngest who is nearly 11. This time though the three oldest came equipped with laptops and iPod Touchs. We've sprinkled poppy seeds liberally around the yard, they've covered the concrete apron with rainbow drawings, the g'boy has been getting target practice with the BB gun and cans, new murals are taped up over the windows in my workroom, the weather has been near perfect.

Continuing on with my first attempt, I was really very surprised (and delighted as well) to see that Hilary of The Smitten Image chose my 'S' post to include in her feature Posts Of The Week last Wednesday, Nov. 23. Thanks, Hilary. There was another one I haven't acknowledged yet last August 24, my post 'Lessons'. So double thanks. If you don't know Hilary, go visit her place, she takes the most amazing photos.

Continuing with my second attempt, well, I guess there isn't really a continuation. We woke up to rain on Saturday morning and it rained off and on til about 1 PM. We're still very behind on our rainfall but at least we are starting to get some now. After it cleared up we went to the little re-sale shop the kids love, visited my sister, and tried unsuccessfully to fly a kite since it was gusty and not windy.

Having the g'kids here is all consuming. They didn't monopolize my computer this time since they have all their own devices now but they did monopolize my time. It's still my favorite song...Granny, Granny, Granny. So. I am woefully behind not only in my reading of many wonderful posts but also in my own posting. This month will be the fewest times I have posted since I started but this month has been very busy.

You know, I'm a working woman now with my part time job at Miss Hattie's since the commission work has been very sparse the last year and a half and we taught the workshop and I'm trying to get some things made for the open house and studio sale next weekend and Thanksgiving and having the g'kids for three days and next Thursday is clean-up and set-up day at the studio and Friday I'm sitting in on a refresher day with the printing on glass instructor to finally get these pictures done and the Memory box finished and then the open house over the weekend and whew!

Anyway, here's a few pictures from the last several days:

Wax flower with pre-cast bee inclusion.

The three girls had a rainbow contest.

Later, the twins drew a giant birthday card for their dad whose 40th was Friday. They wouldn't let Robin help. You can see their opinion of 40 on the far left.

Mikey shooting cans.

They ate several of the fruits off our miniature pomegranate.

Spied this little grasshopper on a rose.

Monday, November 21, 2011

S is for...

image via:

S is for sex! (now you didn't really expect me to pass this up, did you?)

I'm almost afraid to post this as I already get an avalanche of search engine hits from the repressed middle east for my naughty nakedness N post.

I want to thank Europe for sending all the prudes over to the New World.

Not really.

For all the near nudity and come hither of Madison Avenue ads, America is still one uptight country when it comes to sex.

When I was growing up sex outside of marriage was tawdry, dirty, meaningless, not to mention shameful. And many Americans still feel that way today.

It hasn't been all that long ago when 'nice' people did not talk about sex.

Kids were kept in the dark as if talking about it would ensure that they went out and did it. As if keeping them ignorant about it would keep them from doing it. Of course all it did was make sure that teenagers got pregnant and got married right out of high school.

There are still battles every couple of years in my state over sex education in schools. There are parents who still pull their children out of those classes. My sister-in-law was outraged that the students were going to be shown how to wrap that rascal with a condom and a banana. Or maybe it was a cucumber. I don't know that that was actually going on in the lesson on human sexuality but she sure was ranting and raving about it. Mostly ending with 'not my daughter'.

Abstinence, they say is the only way. But let's face it, sex is the strongest biological imperative there is. People are going to have sex, married or not. And teens are going to have sex because their young plump little bodies are oozing pheromones. It's why abstinence doesn't work. Life wants to replicate. Life demands to replicate. And it's pretty damn good at breaking down resistance.

Besides that, it feels really good, it's a great stress reliever, good for your abs and cardiovascular system. When you are poor, it's one of the few forms of entertainment available to you. There was even a time when sex was one of the ways you worshipped the gods. Many people still do...oh god, oh god, oh god, oh do that again!

But then women became property and their vaginas were used to further family fortunes and positions, to secure inheritance and descendents, male descendents if you don't mind and nobody cared if we were having fun. Virginity became the only measure of a woman's worth. Well, that and having boy babies.

So what's up with that, btw? What is the big deal about a woman's virginity?

I abstained from sex until I graduated from high school and let me tell you, it wasn't easy. I had to break up with my boyfriend as our petting sessions were getting a *little* heated. It wasn't because I wanted to save myself for marriage, like all good girls were supposed to do when I was a teenager, but because I simply did not want to get pregnant in high school. I personally knew of 4 girls who got pregnant in high school and I didn't know that many people. Living at home was hard enough without throwing that into the mix.

After I graduated though (this was in 1968), I determined to do it the next opportunity that came along. Love had nothing to do with it, it was just a thing to be shed of by then and one of the best decisions I ever made concerning love and sex and believe me, I made plenty of bad ones.

From that point on and armored with the new birth control pills, well, let's just say if Jimi Hendrix had asked me 'are you experienced?', I'd have to have said...



edit:  oops!  on my computer the 'pertinent parts' are in deep shadow.  I have just been informed that that is not necessarily the case on everyone's computer.  So my apologies to any who have been offended by the sight.  I'd alter it or take it down or at least make it smaller but that would seem a little cowardly since it's already been up there for half a day and besides, it doesn't offend me at all.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

full court press

The holiday season is barreling down upon us.

I'm not happy about that.  

If you've been hanging around for a while you probably know that I don't have much use for religions and even less for the commercial hysteria that has become known as 'Christmas'.  

Since I don't celebrate or participate in christmas, I'm mostly immune to the unreasonable expectations people put on themselves and the ultimate event at this time of year.  Even so it's hard to escape the constant ramming down your throat.

The slow press started before Halloween, with just an off-hand reference to christmas at the end of the ad.  The days that followed Halloween saw one or two commercials referencing christmas but not full on in your face...yet.

And then christmas decorations going up, a christmas movie on TV, christmas music on the radio, all the ads jing ding-a-linging.  Wait.  What's the date?  It's the middle of November, right?  

Yeah, yeah, so what.  Thanksgiving, get out of the damn way.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


Haven't felt much like writing the last week or so. Yes, I've been busy but it's been more than that. Just haven't thought of anything to ponder or muse about besides the delineation of my days and no interest in writing about that again. I haven't been reading or commenting much on other blogs lately either.

I see the little yellow rumped warblers that arrived last week as they crowd into the birdbath and chitter and tweet in the trees.

Working late yesterday in the shop, my back to the open doors, intent on arranging the pieces on the kiln shelf, a faint call brought me out of my concentration.

Is that geese? I turn around and see the tail end of what had been a brilliant sunset. I move out to the open lot between me and my neighbor and look up in the darkening sky. Yes, there they are, two Vs of geese arrowing to the south, their calls drifting back to me on the wind.

My life seems so easy and mundane compared to some of the people whose blogs I read. Some are facing mortality, perhaps imminently; some struggle with depression, knowing intellectually their lives are good and yet are unable to open themselves to it; some have been turned upside down by unexpected divorce or repeatedly fight to keep an abuser out of their lives; some endure constant physical pain, some face grief every day at the sudden unexpected passing of a loved one and yet none of these people have sunk into a morass of self-pity. Their voices are bright and full of love and the beauty of life and humor. They inspire me and put to shame my puny complaints.

It's late and we are having salad for dinner. I gather up my flashlight and a bowl of water with ice floating in it and carry it out to the small garden, plucking lettuce and spinach leaves by torchlight. I noticed earlier in the day that the pole beans are starting to bloom.

My biggest complaint is no cash in this poor economy, my greatest challenge in these drought days is keeping the garden watered.

I haven't seen the majestic red shouldered hawk lately and wonder if it has moved on to a new territory.

My days are filled with making, working on one project or another...small not so arty things, small very arty things, some larger arty things, some small arty things that will become larger arty things; thinking, pondering, wondering what I am going to do with all these arty things when they are done. That bothers me less than it should I suppose because these arty things are my income. An opportunity to show and tell and sell is coming up the first weekend of December at the open house and studio sale at my friends the glassblowers which they host every year and so that is my most immediate goal.

Green is fading from the world, green fading into yellow, spring in reverse. The dormant fields are beginning their long sleep, the trees drawing their energy in to keep.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

more fall notes

Well, I guess that little cold snap was enough to trigger some changes. The tallows are showing more color today and the pecan in the adjacent yard is turning yellow. The ones in my yard are still green though with a few clumps of yellow. The altheas are turning yellow and dropping their leaves. The gingkos are still green though perhaps not quite as green as yesterday.

It's overcast and humid today. Another cold front is supposed to move in later and bring us a 'measurable' amount of rain. So far we've only gotten an occasional minute or two of sprinkle or drizzle. This time of year it's a constant battle between the north and the south, the storm fronts being the field of battle between the warm gulf winds and the cold arctic air. Cold for a few days, warm for a few days. Eventually though the arctic fronts will come in closer together until they finally beat back the warm weather for good and it will be winter.

Here's another picture of the confederate rose which is not a rose at all but a mallow, cousin to the hibiscus. The day I took this it had bloomed with dark pink and light pink flowers which only last one day. I had never seen it do that and every day since it's just been the light pink flowers. I wonder if the change in temperatures had something to do with it. There is one confederate rose in town that blooms with pink, white, and pink and white striped flowers. Never seen that before either.

The two birdbaths have been doing a brisk business every morning since it warmed up from the last cold front that moved through. Lots of splashing around going on. This morning when I let the cat in I noticed some movement in a pile of leaves right next to the door up against the side of the house. The cat gave it a glance but she was hungry and came on in. Being the curious sort that I am, I got a stick and poked around in it and flushed out this coral snake that was easily 2' long. It moved along the side of the house to the inside corner where it slipped under the part of the house that is on pier and beam.

I've mentioned before about the wrens and their fascination with our garage-that's-not-a-garage-but-our-shop and their penchant for building nests in there. This morning, one of the wrens came in, screeching just about non-stop while it investigated everything. It poked around in and on the table, the shelving units, the kiln, the recycling, the window sill, the top of the open automatic door, it hopped around on the floor and checked out the old nest on top of the motor housing for the other automatic door, pretty much venting its spleen the whole time, totally unintimidated by my attempts to get a picture. For such little birds, they certainly make a lot of noise.

Monday, November 7, 2011

what passes for fall

For those of us living in the south, and by that I mean south Texas, our cues that the wheel is turning are a little different than those experienced by our more northerly neighbors. It's more about the shortening days and what's blooming than about cold weather and turning leaves and it comes later in the season. I think up north it's already winter.

We did have a fair cold front move through several days ago, dipping down in the 30s one night, the 40s for a couple of nights. Whether it was enough to trigger color in the few trees we have that will color given enough cold nights before they finally just lose faith or patience and fall off, remains to be seen.

The tallows are sporting a few clusters of red and orange. The native persimmon in Frank's yard has turned an orangey yellow. The gingko, given the right circumstances, the right nighttime temperature will turn yellow seemingly overnight and then drop all their leaves in one fell swoop. Mine are still green though they have been dropping a few leaves the last week or so. The little maples have already lost most of their foliage due to the drought.

We, here, cannot look to the changing colors of the leaves to inform us that fall is upon us. We must look to the harvested fields, though that too happened early due to the drought. When the pampas grass and the rain trees bloom we know that cooler weather is coming.

When the confederate rose blooms we know it is fall.

When the fall asters open their tiny blooms we know that the season has changed because though short days are upon us and despite the cold nights last week, it is warm and sunny, a balmy breeze plays a tune on the wind chimes.

I sit here, doors open, looking out over the little back yard to the dormant plowed field beyond, bare foot.

It is Indian Summer. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

student gallery

I guess this is my favorite part, seeing the results.

Though I must say they were an unruly bunch this day. One student got there early and went right ahead and demolded her piece (well, the proprietor sort of egged her on), one student started washing his off with water after getting the plaster off which is not what I have them do, and all but two or three left their notes at home so they were all guessing what colors they used during the critique.

fired molds ready to be opened

the cleaned tiles, 5.75” x 5.75” with the exception of the obviously larger piece

Friday, November 4, 2011

work vs a job

Three days in a row of working full time hours has left me little time (or energy) for anything else. In fact no time. I have done nothing else.

It's not like working at the store is a strenuous activity. I open the store, turn on all the lights and do all my blog reading that I didn't do in the morning because I was getting ready for work (which means having breakfast early, getting dressed in real clothes and making my lunch) in between greeting and chatting with whatever customers come in that want to chat and writing up the occasional sale.

Around 1 PM I would get out the little bits of glass and start gluing them onto the larger black pieces for the next kiln load of crosses. The afternoon hours mostly didn't have anyone coming in. Then pack up all my stuff, turn out all the lights and lock up stopping by my sister's house to check on the cats and water the plants on my way home, where I do my own watering, change into comfy clothes, fix a drink and then become immobile on the couch with a book. Didn't even have the energy to write up a post or an email to friends.

So actually, I guess I did get some stuff done. 45 more of the crosses set up and ready for the kiln.

I think I've mentioned how long it's been since I had a job that kept 'hours', some 37 years or so. I'm not used to having a job that commands my day and schedule. Oh, I've had plenty of days where I worked long hours in the shop and back when we were a larger going concern and had employees and were raising kids, we kept regular hours but for the most part I'm used to setting my own schedules. Long leisurely mornings are the norm around here, starting to get to whatever work or goal I've set for the day around 11AM, often working til around 7PM with however many breaks or distractions that occur throughout the day.

I'm fortunate that the store doesn't open til 10AM so I didn't have to set an alarm clock, something I turned off when my youngest graduated high school and never turned back on again. Takes me 10, 12 minutes at the most to go from my driveway to the store. If I had to change my routine, I suppose it's not a bad one to change to. I'd eventually make the adjustment and find time to do other things.

But I won't need to change my routine since this is just an occasional gig. Unless I'm filling in for my sister when she travels, it will just be a few days a month really.

So the whole reason I did it this week is because my sister is out of town dealing with the consequences of our aunt's death and our grown autistically challenged cousin (but that's a different post) which means that I also have the little dogs and the cat that lives here is a bit annoyed.

Here they are in their bed under the covers.

They're under the covers because a cold front blew in Wednesday night and it dropped down in the 30s last night. Since we're on an austerity campaign around here we weren't turning on the heater and the house was not that cold when we went to bed. Then I had to get up in the wee early morning about 5AM before light to deal with the cat.

If there was any doubt about whether the house was going to be cold this morning, it is,” I said as I climbed back in bed. Some time later Marc got up to fix the coffee. When he climbed back in bed he said,

It's 63˚.”

Shit. That's only 2˚ colder than we keep it with the heater on.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

workshop, day 1 and 2

I know. Another post about my work. Sorry. I'm pretty single minded right now.

So, you might remember we taught the first two days of a three day workshop this past weekend. This is the first time we have taught this particular class, lost wax casting pate de verre in a tile format larger than the clay models which are 4” x 4” and we did it with 11 students. These were 6” x 6”. Marc prepared the wax blanks ahead of time and the students added the design. They had all the first day to work on their model.

Most of our students had never worked in wax and it's something you have to build a skill set for, you know, practice, so by mid-day I was feeling a little afraid. Oh no. I've set all these people up for failure. They'll never get these to any kind of finished level by the end of the day. It was looking pretty grim and I thought I was going to have a lot of disappointed people on my hands.

About an hour later I was feeling a little more optimistic and by the end of the day I was really pleased by what they had accomplished.

Sunday they made their molds, we steamed out the wax with a bit of mis-hap, and they got them filled and in the kiln.

Next Saturday we get to see what they made. That's always fun.