Monday, December 31, 2012
I've made several attempts to write an end of year post while I worked yesterday on cleaning the detritus of the last six months off my drawing table, computer area, and work table. I don't want to start the new year with the clutter of last year.
I'm not feeling very philosophical this year like years past. Maybe it's because I'm busy. I have already made a list of work related items I need to accomplish the first half week of the new year.
Because we have a lot of work waiting for us!
This is a far cry from how 2012 started out. Life has shifted back into the certainty lane, at least for the next six months or so and I have things to focus on.
It's been a challenging year. By mid-summer, things were looking pretty dismal. With no work, dwindling personal resources and reducing our expenditures to as little as possible, with the IRS breathing down our necks, we were beginning to wonder if we still had a business, wondering how much longer we could tread water.
Proposals that looked promising languished. I filed for SS, we taught a workshop, then a windfall from a previous inheritance came, and I had my little part-time job at the antique store. Income came from varied and unexpected places while the garden kept us fed.
And then in July, everything changed. I sold a cast piece to an art consultant and we won 1st place at a gallery exhibition with a money prize. After that, a very large commission was finally funded and other commissions have come in. We have been very busy since August and the year is ending in abundance.
The Universe took care of us for another year and I am thankful.
Well, I see I managed a post after all.
Happy New Year everyone, may it be well and prosperous for us all.
Friday, December 28, 2012
I seem incapable of finishing a blog post these days off. I have a couple I started but then got distracted and then it was the next day. Plus, I've been working more days in the antique store, covering for my sister.
Today we drive into the city to dole out the gifts to the grandkids and daughter and SonIL. They all left on the Saturday before Christmas to go spend the holiday with Mike's brother and cousins and also Sarah's cousins on Marc's side in Dallas.
My SisterIL had called us the week before christmas asking us if we were planning on coming since the kids were, they would love to have us visit, but we declined. We had just finished the mountain wall and the last thing we wanted to do was take a four hour drive to Dallas and a four hour drive back. Besides, we were dog sitting and I had to work at the store.
So here are my two incomplete posts:
Sunday, December 23rd...
I have been puttering with the best of them today. Or maybe more like a butterfly and flitting from thing to thing. I picked up a couple of handfuls of pecans and got most of the fallen leaves out of the garden intending to go back and tend to it after I ate a late breakfast.
The garden is in sad shape since we haven't been here to take care of it and the few days of the week we were in residence about all I had time for was making sure it got watered. It's not weedy but all the fallen leaves had blown in and there was a heavy mulch around all the plants. That's a good thing for flowers but not so good for food plants because it harbors food plant eating bugs. Everything except for the broccoli, I think, has aphids and pill bugs and some kind of little bitty back beetle. It's a mess.
But by the time I was ready to go back out a strong wind had come up and although the temperature is in the mid-70s, it's no fun being out in it. So I am entertaining myself indoors today. I've made one stab at washing the dishes from yesterday. That being my chore I'm constantly confounded by how fast they pile up and there is just two of us!
I have other tasks I am entertaining like juicing three bags of meyer lemons that my friend Kathy
foisted off on generously gave me when we
went to pick up our stuff from the open house.
I also want to photograph the individual little pediment pieces I cast for the open house. That involves cleaning off and setting up a suitable area and unpacking them all from the box they are in which sounds like a lot of effort. Maybe I'll just aim for getting them unpacked.
And I need to go over to my sister's house and check on the cats and while I'm at it I'll go by the store and get my book which I inadvertently left yesterday when I closed up. It's handy having keys to the store.
Thursday, December 27th...
Today is Marcmas around here. That's how we refer to Marc's birthday. It's cold and overcast, drizzly and rainy out there and will warm up some but it will still be colder than the 65˚ we keep the house. We slept late, snuggled in bed, and are still in our lounging clothes.
I'm not working in the store today and the dogs go home this afternoon. Probably we will take them home so they will be waiting there for my sister when she gets in. Usually she just picks them up on her way home from the airport but I think we will go to a movie later. That's always our fall back birthday gig.
I can't believe it's been over a week since we finished the 'big job' and I have not lifted a single finger towards cleaning up my drawing desk, computer area, and work table. Actually I made a bigger mess when I brought the drill press in to make a little teacup bird feeder for my sister. And one for me. It's still sitting here on the end of my work table. The drill press, I mean.
Well, we did not get to see the Hobbit after all. We arrived for the 3:45 show to a full parking lot and adults streaming in. Why aren't all these people at work?! Anyway, the ticket seller was kind enough to tell us that it was pretty crowded in there and it would probably be difficult to find two seats together, so not wanting to watch a nearly 3 hour movie on the first couple of rows or separated, we put it off for another day. Instead, we rented Rise Of The Dark Knight from Redbox and watched that. It was terrible BTW.
So, off to the city we go.
Tuesday, December 25, 2012
(I wrote this last night but didn't publish it until today)
It's Christmas eve and not being an adherent of either the religious aspect or the cultural extravaganza it's become on the secular side, I am having a normal relaxed evening and my day tomorrow will be one of those rare days in which nothing will be asked or expected of me.
I worked at the store today for my sister who is visiting her family and for who this holiday still means something. I'll cover for her on Wednesday too. I'm happy to do it and happy I successfully tracked down several items for people over the last few days.
I missed a couple too. Like the antique ironing board someone's friend had told her she'd seen. I assumed she meant the child's metal toy ironing board I had sold the previous week but when the man showed up Saturday and picked up the china cabinet he had bought, there in plain sight was an old wood antique ironing board.
Another day a woman came in looking for antique irons, the kind you heat on the stove. I knew we had some but could not find them so I sent her to another shop, same vendor. Later Joe, the vendor, came in and I related the referral. Then he showed me in his section the two antique irons.
I've been in a pretty good mood since last week after we finished that big job, relief and elation at being finished and feeling pretty good about the product coupled with some pretty nice weather and the general good mood of the population.
Christmas, or at least the last few days before, does seem to put people in good moods and that kind of energy is contagious whether you believe the religious myths or not, good moods are contagious just like laughter, you can't help but be buoyed by the energy field.
At least that's how I think of it this year. I don't generally like the Christmas season but I'll save my scroogey attitude for a different post. While I like Christmas carols, ironically enough, and would sing them with feeling given the opportunity, I do not believe in the divinity they proclaim.
My family is scattered and varied on this night. I was raised as an Episcopalian, I raised my children as Jews. I left Judaism behind as I had Christianity before it as my understanding of the divine deepened and matured. I hold to no religion that defines the undefinable, that tries to hold themselves above all others as more beloved, right, or true.
We are all children of the divine no matter how we express it, no matter what story we attach to it to help us divine the Divine. Even the atheist is as beloved as the most devout religious follower because each story, each myth is as only one petal of a glorious flower.
So I say Happy Holidays to friends and family as there are many holidays, some ancient, some old, some new, celebrated in the weeks before the end of the secular year. May you all be blessed in the year to come.
Friday, December 21, 2012
Nature is awesome. I just saw a picture of a parasitic nematode, the kind that can be transmitted by mosquito, that can, given no resistance, suck the life right out of you.
It's quite beautiful, don't you think? I do.
Makes you wonder about how something that can kill you can be so beautiful to look upon.
But if you think about it, the roundworm is also an expression of the godhead, whatever you conceive that to be. To me it is simply the source from which all this reality that we perceive emanates. It seems obvious that there was as much love expressed through this nematode as through us.
I have no way to describe what that source is besides life, energy, magnetism, love. A totally unknown source, of which you are but one expression but all of creation an expression of the same thing, floats in an unknown realm and...dreams.
I imagine the tendril of dream becoming thought and the thought becoming crystallized and the crystallization becoming manifest with the atomic breath and the link that cannot be broken because it is us. All of us. All of it.
Whatever ritual you pursue or recognition of a greater whole, whatever play you hold dear created to counter the long nights or if you have no pageant at all, the root of all is the end of the long night and the welcoming of the light. It is a story that has been told and retold over and over and written down for as long as humans have been able to write.
The long night is over and even though we know winter is still to come, we also know it will end.
It is a holiday for those with a religion and those without. It is a human holiday.
We celebrate the coming of the light!
We are well and truly done with the mountain wall. The four panels are cleaned, covered with protective film, and stacked waiting for pick up. With the holidays and businesses having days off and the end of year madness, Henry, from the glass company, and I decided to put off pick up and installation til the first week of January. Whew! I can't be available for the installation til then anyway.
After my last post I kept the composite picture of the mountain on my computer screen all weekend, pausing to look at it with a less critical eye every time I passed it. By the time it was time for us to head back in to the city to do the last touch-up, I was happy with the overall piece. I think it's going to look really good. I still don't like installations, but at least I don't have to deal with that til next year.
We actually finished everything up last Tuesday. Wednesday I was in the best mood. It didn't hurt that it was a beautiful temperate day. I took advantage of it and did what little holiday shopping I intended to do. Well, except for the three grandgirls. The twins are getting new mattresses and the youngest is getting cash. We'll do that when we go in on the 28th for our gift giving.
Whenever we work on big projects like these two walls that have kept us busy for the last 4½ months, I tend to lose my grip on all other activities. It doesn't happen all at once, gradually letting things slip. My posting has gone way down, my reading of blogs and commenting as well. I am single minded, focused on the work. I expected to do a new post when we returned home Wednesday evening but now, here it is Friday and I'm just now composing.
Well, that's not entirely true. I was working on a post about the latest shootings and the whole gun proliferation thing in this country, about how we worship violence but to tell you the truth, I'm sick of it. I've read so many really excellent essays on the subject, the knee-jerk 'more guns is the answer' responses that display so much ignorance of what it is really like to be in the middle of a situation like that. Perhaps I will still publish it down the road though it needs a lot of work.
So now, the end of the world has come and gone, once again. And I still feel fine. Another blog post that didn't get written. Or the one on christmas trees.
The good thing is that now the time of the long nights is over. Even though the winter solstice marks the beginning of winter and we will have our coldest days in the coming months, those days will be growing longer and the nights shorter.
We are dog-sitting for the next week while my sister visits her daughter and grandchildren in Albuquerque. It will be a quiet week with no demands on me. A week in which I get to putter around, doing or not doing whatever I want. Resting. After the new year it will be back to work on the three jobs we have waiting with another confirmed and another possible. So it looks like next year will be business as usual at least for the first 6 months.
That's about all.
I'm still here.
Friday, December 14, 2012
Well, the mountain wall is finished for the most part. We still need to touch up ever so lightly one or two spots on the last panel (far left in the image), mostly so it will match the adjoining sections on the panel next to it.
I expected to feel elated or at least relieved but what I'm fighting off, trying to hold in abeyance, is disappointment.
This whole process, after the carving is done, is so subjective. For one thing, these panels are so big and heavy that there is no way to put them all together to see how well the tones are matching. We look at the one in the sandblast booth, then go look at the adjoining panel on the rack, trying to hold the density in mind. More? Does it need more? Does it match, too much?
Everything is so dusty. After he blasts, I dust off the surface with a bench brush but there's no getting to the back of the panel where dust also collects. We try to mitigate that by putting clean black paper on the blast booth wall and replacing the protective film on the back of the panel so it's clean also before he does the softer tones. But of course, after he blasts the first time, dust starts to collect again.
So we have been taking the protective film off the backs again and photographing each panel as we finish and then compare the photos to see how well they match and then making adjustments the next trip in. But even doing that it's hard to decide because the photos are taken on different days with different light conditions that we cannot control. The smooth side we are photographing wants to reflect the wall of the shop and while the first two panels were photographed with a bare white wall, the last two were photographed with the two finished panels against the wall which subtly changes the intensity of the tones. Not to mention the reflection of the extruded metal stored high up on that wall and of course, my own reflection.
This I do know. The lightest tone on the third panel (second from left in the image) is too heavy. There is nothing we can do about this and we are both and neither at fault as we constantly consult until we either agree or just quit in a fog of indecision. There is no erasing with sandblasting so now, in order for the fourth panel to match it must also be too heavy, at least where they join up. This is what glares at me, that the other main area of the lightest tone is too heavy.
This I suspect. That the lightest tone on the first panel (far right in the image) may be too light. It looks that way in the picture (I didn't adjust the brightness or contrast at all fearing that I will diddle with them til they match when they don't) but when we went back the next week and looked at the actual panels again we each agreed that they looked similar enough. I'm resisting the urge to unwrap that one and look again.
Next week, we will go back, make our final evaluation/adjustment and call them done, clean them, seal them, wrap them and arrange for pick-up.
I'll withhold judgement til installation during which I will be a nervous wreck until I can see if we did well or not.
the mountain wall, 16' x 9'
the photograph of the mountain we worked from
Sunday, December 9, 2012
I see that the Supreme Court is going to take on Prop 8 and the Defense Of Marriage Act. I would be glad that this debate is finally going to be put to rest but with such a conservative court, I'm not sure that they will be able to keep their religious views out of it and come to the only right decision.
Prop 8, in case you aren't aware, is California's amendment to their state constitution that banned gay marriage. It has been challenged in the courts and found to be unconstitutional but it's proponents keep pushing it to a higher court and it finally made it's way to the top. The challenge to DOMA is only against the section that prevents the federal government from recognizing and giving the rightful benefits to same sex marriages even if it is legal in the couple's home state.
It seems to me the outcome should be pretty clear. In this country we are supposed to have separation of church and state.
Although many states have banned same sex marriages, their main reason for doing so is based on their religious beliefs, a 5,000 year old book of stories. Their god finds it abhorrent so they find it abhorrent and since so many LGBT are not staying in the closet and insist on being who they are in their public lives as well as their private lives and they fall in love and want to get married, that somehow threatens these religious people so they scrambled to make it against the law. To 'define' marriage. And, by god, their tax dollars will not go towards benefits to people that god abhors.
Only, that's just their religious opinion.
The reality of it is that human gender and sexuality is extremely complex. It comes in many forms and there is no one 'right' way to be.
Isn't it enough that two people, regardless of their sex, have bonded in love and want to have a committed relationship? And if special civil rights are given to married people should not same sex couples be granted those rights as well? Because it's not just about being able to get health insurance through your spouse's job. It's about having the right to sit by your loved one and make decisions for them while they are gravely ill. It's about having the right to inherit, without all the taxes, the estate of your partner. It's about having the right to be recognized as a unit by all the powers that be. It's about not being marginalized in your community. And yes, it's about getting the same perks from the government as opposite sex couples and why not?
Regardless of what they claim, this group of religious people did not invent marriage and should not be allowed to define marriage, an institution that has existed in many forms throughout human civilization. I'm not saying that these religious groups should be forced to marry LGBT people if they are against it. I am saying they should not be allowed to force their particular religious beliefs about the right or wrong of human sexuality on the rest of the population and deny marriage to anyone who so desires it. Marriage does not require a religious ceremony.
It is my great hope that the Supreme Court will be able to take religion out of the equation altogether when they deliberate these two cases because when you take religion out of the equation, there is not one single good reason to deny the gay community the right to marry.
Thursday, December 6, 2012
It's been raining in earnest the last two weeks or so but we still need rain because it hasn't been raining water but leaves.
We weren't home even 24 hours last week and while we were gone the trees shed their leaves in earnest.
They had been dropping for weeks but not really serious about it.
Now, the yard lays under a blanket.
oak, pecan, maple, and tallow
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
I wish I could think of something smart or witty or topical to write about but we are closing in on finishing the mountain wall and that's pretty much all on my mind. At least the open house is over now so my days home will be freed up to read or relax or, more probably knowing me, finish up the peach box. I have two posts planned on some of the work we've been doing (the wall and the little castings) but not until it's all finished lest you tire of 'in progress' pics. Well, the little castings are done but I didn't get them photographed yet besides the group shot at the show in my last post.
On to my regular fallback...the yard.
Walking around the yard yesterday I noticed that the yellow jackets were swarming on the morning glory bush, harvesting the nectar I guess. I took several pictures but only these two came out. There were also a few of some other types of wasps and lots of lady bugs too.
Can you see all the yellow jackets? There were at least 8 on this cluster but I guess the other two flew away or are hidden.
This guy was trying to decide if I was a threat or not. Glad he made the right decision.
Monday, December 3, 2012
I'm tired and I don't want to go back into the city today. We just got home last night about 9:30. Now we are supposed to go back this afternoon for our work week on the mountain wall. This going into the city every week for the last 3 ½ months is beginning to tell on me. But we are so close to being finished. Two more weeks we think. We hope. The carving is done on panel 3 so we just have the shading to do and then the last panel.
We worked our week last week, came home Thursday evening and then turned around and went back on Friday for the open house at our friends' glass blowing studio. It was fun to see the regular participants, our friend Gene who does fused and stained glass, our friend Jennifer who flame works beads and makes some awesome earrings, and of course Dick and Kathy who host the open house in their studio and blow glass.
It was a different crowd this year seemed like. Some regulars showed up but many seemed to be missing. We did all right though. Sold a vase and a small bowl and one of the little pieces I made just for the show. Might have sold more but I just wasn't up for explaining over and over about why these small castings cost so much. Since we have so much commission work these days I wasn't motivated as much as I have been at past shows. For me, it was all about the socializing this year.
Saturday night after we closed down Marc and I headed over to our local gallery for their very last opening. Oliver and Nancy are retiring at the end of the year, closing the gallery. We'll have to find a new local gallery but it's going to be hard I think, finding the right one. Goldesberry Gallery was very unique, the only fine craft gallery in the city and they did very well for us over the years. We're going to miss them.
And Sunday after closing we all went to Star Pizza for dinner and relaxing and laughing with our friends which is why we didn't get home til 9:30 last night.
Now, today, I am ready for a day in which nothing is required of me.
Friday, November 30, 2012
-A very short list this quarter. I've been far too busy to read and my down time, what little I've had of it, has been spent mindlessly playing Spider solitaire.-
Goodbye For Now by Laurie Frankel – a love story of sorts. Sam, an exceptionally smart software engineer working for an online dating service develops an algorithm that actually matches you up with your soul mate. He tests it on himself and finds and falls in love with the one who happened to also be employed by the same company. In fact, it works so well, he gets fired because the company doesn't really want people to meet their soul mate on the first try because if they do then the company doesn't make money. When Sam's soul mate Meredith's grandmother dies suddenly, she is inconsolable and talks Sam into developing an algorithm that will let her email and chat with her dead grandmother. Eventually, with the help of Meredith's cousin, they develop it into a company to help people with their grief. As you might guess, the inevitable happens and Sam is left bereft. It's a sweet story about love, loss, mourning, and finally, living.
Black List by Brad Thor – what does it say about the reader (or about the heros) when the guys you are rooting for, the ones you want to win in the end, are basically cold blooded killers? Perspective is everything, right? The main character, Scot Harvath, a highly trained and skilled counterterrorism operative, kills, like, 21 people before the book is over. Granted, they were all bad guys who were trying to kill him first and his usual victims were government identified enemies of the state. Still... The story unfolds as a female hacker, Carolyn, is trying to send off terribly incriminating evidence of a plot to overthrow the government by releasing a virus to bring down the internet before she is caught and killed. There follows an attempt to kill Harvath, his boss, and all the other operatives that work for that organization, and it is mostly successful, in an attempt to set up a frame for the coming 'digital Pearl Harbor'. The story continues as Harvath meets up with an internationally known hacker, the recipient of the flash drive, as they try to unravel the attacks on Caroline and Harvath and the Carlton Group. It's a good story, well written, and there is a lot of scary information about surveillance techniques, the role of the internet, and just how often the government spies on us thanks to the abrogation of our civil rights in the aftermath of 9/11.
Corduroy Mansions by Alexander McCall Smith – I was a little disappointed in this novel which was fairly entertaining and enjoyable enough. It was very reminiscent of Maeve Binchy with a central location, in this case the old home turned into three flats, and separate story lines for all the characters that occasionally intersect but not as well done. I didn't feel like he tidied everything up in the end, there were a lot of loose ends. It's like the story just stopped without any resolution. But beside that it was a decent, but not great, read.
Earth Unaware by Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston – this is a prequel to Ender's Game and it centers on the first contact between humans and formics. Out in the Kuiper Belt, the free miner families excavate metals from the asteroids and send them by unmanned quickship to one of the Weigh Stations that buys the metals. The families live their whole lives on their spaceship homes in the outer reaches of the solar system. On El Cavador, Edimar, whose job it is to scan space and interpret the data from the Sky Eye, finds an object moving much faster than any human ship is capable of and decelerating on a path that will take it to the solar System. Unable to contact the Italians family with whom they have just had a trade meeting, they hurry to intercept them when they notice another small craft coming from the direction of, what they now believe to be, an alien spacecraft. They are too late however and find the four ships of the Italians to be just a debris field. While they search for survivors, the probe returns and they have an encounter with the aliens. On board El Cavador, Victor volunteers to modify a quickship and take the 6 month journey to Earth to warn the home planet at great risk to his life. After Victor's departure, El Cavador contacts two other ships in the vicinity to come up with a plan to try and stop the now obviously hostile aliens. It's a good book, but then I'm a big fan of Orson Scott Card. Ender's Game is the story of how humans finally triumph over the formics, the hero of which is a young boy.
Old Twentieth by Joe Haldeman – another sci-fi tale. I had a hard time getting into this one which is why it took me so long to read. I finally finished it this morning and my end reaction was WTF!? I thought I knew what the story was about but now I'm not so sure. A vaccine of sorts is developed that basically causes the body to repair itself ad infinitum making people, for all intents and purposes, immortal. Because, as we all know, when pharmaceuticals first come out they are exorbitantly expensive so that at first only the wealthy and powerful can avail themselves of it. Eventually it would have become available to everyone but panic took hold of the population and a war between the immortals and the nots broke out. The immortals won by developing a toxin that killed everyone that had not had the treatment. They soon discovered how much they had depended on the segment of society that hadn't been wealthy enough to have had access to the treatment. This is all narrated and filled in as background by a guy who was 16 or so when the war happened. He's over two hundred now and on a starship with 800 other volunteers headed for an earth-like planet 20 light years away. His job on this multi-ship expedition is to run the 'time-machine' for the residents, a sort of virtual reality travel agent/technician to the past (the total sensory illusions are built up out of people's memories and histories so only the past is available). At least half the story takes place in the time machine on the ship where Jake begins to notice 'anomolies' and one day on one of his 'observational trips' he meets himself and himself says 'we have to talk'. Anyway, people start dying, the first two while they were in the machine and then they hear from earth that people are dying there too, mostly first generation immortals, about half in their own time machines and true to form, a third person dies on the ship but not in the machine. There are discussions about going into suspended animation and Jake, as a 1st generation immortal makes plans to submit until brighter minds can find out what is happening and fix it but before he does he wants to go back in one more time and talk to the program that has recently revealed itself as an AI. He has begun to realize that things are not what he thought. Life is an illusion and it's on a loop while the 600+ surviving in stasis immortals hurtle to their future 18 light years away in a dead ship. Or was that also illusion?
How It All Began by Penelope Lively – An older woman is mugged from behind, falls, and breaks her hip. The story starts as she hits the ground. Writing in a narrative style, the author tells the stories of the people affected by this happenstance and how their lives are changed because of it. The actions of a complete stranger cause a chain of events that affect far more than anyone would suppose. Took me a while to get into it but that probably has more to do with my state of mind than the quality of the book.
Sunday, November 25, 2012
This is my last entry for the Alphabet Game. I am finally at 'Z'. Unlike my friend Jane of the messy hair, from whom I got this idea, who finished her series in a timely fashion, it has taken me 1 year, 9 months, 15 days to get through mine. Once again, if you haven't been following along all this time and would like to see the other entries, there is a link on my side bar under the heading 'stuff about me'. If you are from the link, keep clicking on 'older posts' at the bottom until you finally get to A.
Z is for...zany, zebra, zone, zipper
Z is for zipper.
I have a pet peeve. It's one shared by many people, I think, only my peeve is in direct opposition to theirs.
The peeve in question is how drivers act when approaching a lane ending sign on a highway.
Quite a few people believe that as soon as they see that sign they should, must, move over to the lane that continues even if it doesn't end for another 500 or 1000 yards. They dutifully move over as the traffic gets slower and slower as it approaches the merge point.
And they get angrier and angrier as they sit there 'doing the right thing' in their minds while other drivers speed on by to the merge point. A lot of road rage is generated this way with some people in the continuing lane edging over to try to prevent drivers from passing them in the lane that is ending further up.
I don't get that. What is the purpose of abandoning a perfectly good lane long before it ends just to get slowed down to a near stop as you creep toward the merge point? Perhaps they see it as good manners on their part and bad manners on the other driver's part.
Me? I'm one of those drivers that speed along to the merge point and then move over.
There are also overpasses where highways intersect that take you from one freeway to another, and these ramps often start out as two lanes and merge down to one. No one is moving over long before they get on the ramp even knowing it will merge down to one lane. No one gets upset, no road rage, no one trying to prevent other drivers from passing them before the merge point. The two lanes simply merge at the merge point and people continue on.
It's like a zipper. You take turns. One car from this lane, one car from that lane, one car from this lane, one car from that lane. Easy.
So why is it different when a freeway or highway or even a surface road loses a lane and traffic must merge? Because there is a sign that alerts you to the loss of a lane?
It's a zipper, people! Just keep going til you merge at the merge point. Be polite, take turns, don't be a jackass if you choose to move over early and get slowed down by the drivers passing you and merging before you.
Now, those people who use the shoulders to pass a long line of slow traffic and then barge in in front of drivers in an actual lane is totally different.
I'm all for paint balling them as they pass.
If I had a paint ball gun that is.
Friday, November 23, 2012
Yesterday the family came out to the country house for Thanksgiving, children and spouses and a friend and grandchildren. Even my sister stopped by on her way home from spending the day with her daughter and grandkids. The kids all came loaded down with food and all we had to do was cook the turkey which Marc did early in the day.
We pulled an assortment of chairs (an antique wheel chair, 2 beach loungers, plastic patio chair, metal patio chair, and a 5 gallon bucket) out into the Big Back Yard, put up the hammock, and sat around enjoying the beautiful afternoon, drinking beer and messing with the kids.
Mikey and his dad were throwing the football around when it went into one of the pecan trees and pecans rained down. The game with the ball quickly changed to knocking pecans out of the trees. The grandkids dragged out one of the ladders and climbed into the trees with a baseball bat. The ball was no longer thrown to another person but kicked into the canopies.
Warming up all the food in a timely fashion was a challenge in our one oven but no one seemed to mind that everything was less than hot. We crowded around the dining room table and stuffed ourselves.
When evening came, Mikey pulled one of the burn barrels up by the lawn chairs and started a fire, not that it was cold, and Mikey's friends from down the street showed up with fire crackers so the boys all had a grand time.
Eventually everyone headed home except for the four grandkids who are staying with us til Sunday.
It was a good day.
Sunday, November 18, 2012
This is the second to last entry in my alphabet game. If you want to read them all, there is a link on my side bar under the Stuff About Me heading but you'll have to scroll down all the way to the bottom to get them in the proper sequence. Not that it really matters.
Y is for...yellow, yarrow, youth, yoga
Y is for yoga
I was introduced to yoga when I was 20 years old...I think. It could have been a year or so earlier when I was initiated into TM (that's transcendental meditation) when I was 19 but I don't really remember any instruction in yoga, just sitting in the group sessions or alone at home with legs crossed trying to ignore how uncomfortable I was becoming. The meditation thing didn't last long with me. I was only successful with it a time or two. Mostly I just fell asleep or was fidgety trying to focus on my mantra til the time was up.
But the following year, the year I lived in Chicago, some friends and I hitch-hiked to D.C. for the anti-war rally and we met some folk who were involved in Ananda Marga, a meditation group with a different spiritual leader than TM. I had become disenchanted with TM early on because they were very much about the money. They charged you to be initiated into their organization.
In D.C., my boyfriend and I had become separated from our friends and we were waiting, had been waiting for a while, at the designated 'meet up again' spot when we were approached by a couple of guys offering us respite and an eye out for our friends.
They offered us food and water and a bathroom and rest, united us with the rest of our group and found us a ride back. They asked for nothing in return. Neither did they try to convert us or entice us in any way but they were so serene and selfless and kind and you name it and so we learned some stuff about who they were. Which I am not going into now because this isn't really about them.
It happened that there were only three teachers in this country at the time who were qualified to initiate anyone into their 'meditative' life and one of them lived in Chicago. So one evening found some of us at the home of an Indian man and his family while he talked to us about his spiritual leader and meditation and yoga and then he led us in some simple yoga to relax our bodies and he initiated us one by one into meditation with a mantra. I don't remember if it was all on the same night or if it was the second time we went but what I do remember is that while he softly spoke to us, his aura expanded with a bright white light until it filled the room. Seriously. It was awesome.
My friend and I continued to go once a week for a while but we had to take the train out to a suburb and it was in the evenings because the man had a regular job and then a few months later I moved back to Texas. I did not become an adherent to the Indian guru but I did retain the yoga and the mantra.
Even though I've never been able to develop a daily or even weekly home practice I find yoga to be very beneficial and it's one of the things or habits that I attribute my fairly good health to. It keeps you limber and agile and strengthens your muscles. It massages your organs and helps them function, it rids you of toxins through measured breathing and teaches you to pay attention to your body.
I have used meditation and yoga sporadically as needed or as opportunity presented itself in my life. For the past 20 years or so I have been involved in one or another weekly gatherings with a teacher, though not always every week or even every year.
My most recent weekly get together was in the home of a wonderful amazing woman who would lead a small group of friends in yoga and meditation. Alas, she moved to New Orleans to be near her daughter and her family.
It's been over two years now since I have done any yoga on a regular basis and I can feel the difference. Out here though my options are limited so I best find a way to set aside a little time one day a week at home if I want to continue being able to get up off the floor.
Not that I'm on the floor a lot unless I'm doing yoga.
Friday, November 16, 2012
first mountain wall panel, with black cloth behind and stencil still covering the clear portion, uncertain over whether or not it's finished
Three days in the shop is about all we can take. This week was not as productive as we have been. It was cold for one thing and I don't work well when I'm cold. Then we realized we had left the stencil material for the last panel at the other shop so there was a delay while we went back and got that. Then we dithered for most of the day over whether or not the first panel was finished. We touched it up about four times (it has to be incremental because there is no erasing, if a tone gets too dense, it stays that way). Finally we just took it out and removed the dusty protective film on the back and still dithered about it so I barely got started on the last stencil. That was day 1.
Day 2 in the shop, getting adjusted to the cold, we draped black velvet behind the first panel and could see very clearly then, finally, that it still needed some touching up but the next panel was already in the sandblast booth so we recovered the clear side with the protective plastic film and Marc got started on the carving for panel 2 while I worked on the stencil for panel 4. Ah, but then another delay. The regulator on the sandblaster, which hadn't been working well from the get go finally just quit altogether and had to be replaced.
Day 3 wasn't much better. The people from Invesco are very excited about this project and decided that they wanted to document its making so at times a guy comes out to the shop and takes pictures and short stretches of video while we work. That's kind of fun and we will have a great promotional tool at the end, but it does slow things down while he is there. And then I had to leave to go pick up our cast stuff that was left at our home town gallery as they are retiring at the end of the year so by the time I got back, I didn't have enough time to finish the last stencil. We wanted to get all the carving done on the second panel this week, but didn't accomplish that either.
We're trying to get done by the middle of December. It seemed doable last week. Now, Thanksgiving is next week and we will only work for two days in the shop but we should be able to get caught up and finish the first two panels. That will give us 3 weeks to do the sandblasting on the last two panels. Still seems doable.
Making a living as an artist is hard work. Not just the brain part where you are thinking of what to do and how to do it or the promo part where you are calling people and making presentations to get work but the actual physical part of fabricating the project. I'm always amazed at how many people don't actually comprehend that.
I have a proposal out and it has been accepted though no money has changed hands so far. This is for a project that is for 4 panels 30” x 40” with very specific imagery, photographs of people that they didn't send until the end of October, that to tell the truth I'm not really sure how I'm going to manipulate the images in a way that I can actually do the work, and the client is moving into the space mid-December. I explained to them that we were quite busy on another project and we would not be able to start until after the first of the year at the earliest.
Yesterday I got an email asking me if I thought I could have them installed by the end of the second week of January. Seriously? They think I can manipulate the images, do the full size art work, get the materials, do the fabrication, and have them installed in two weeks? It'll take me longer than that just to get the art work ready.
This is the part of having work and being busy that I don't like. Unreal expectations on the part of the clients. Parties scheduled before the work is commissioned. Attitudes that art is not really work and we ought to be able to just knock this stuff out. I try to give them the benefit of the doubt, that they truly don't know what's involved in producing a one of a kind piece of art.
But two weeks? Really?