Monday, July 30, 2012

a day out

Sunday my sister and I took a day trip to the beach at Matagorda. As it turned out we didn't stay very long because the doldrums of August had already set in. There was not much wind and we didn't bring any kind of shade producing device. We were counting on more wind.

And it was high tide so there weren't any shells to speak of. I did notice a lot of tar washing up, leftovers from the BP oil spill I guess though there has always been a certain amount of tar that washed up during my growing up years on Galveston Island which is just up the coast about 100 miles.

It was a pretty day though and I enjoyed being on the beach.

(My camera has developed a circular shadow.)

a fish tale

some kind of sandpiper or other shorebird

a drowned flower

a small camp with horses by the fishing pier

the ocean and the sky

an oyster shell

feet in the water

white goat's foot morning glory

dunes in bloom

pink too

We stopped at Buddy's Seafood on the way home and got some shrimp and a flounder for dinner. Buddy has his own boat.


Saturday, July 28, 2012

some work in progress

wax model for boteros 8

I'm still working on the botanica erotica series with four more of the 4” square waxes ready to invest and cast in glass. I keep finding more pictures that inspire me. I only need two more to complete the originally planned 12 but I think I may end up doing more than that. At least 15. then I need to decide how I want to display them, singly or in groups. Maybe a bit of both. We don't like to run the kiln in the hottest part of the summer so we probably won't cast them until early fall.  

working sketch for Ode to a Peach

Right now though I'm trying to get a new box finished for the show at Morgan Contemporary Glass in Pittsburgh that opens early October. It's going to have an inlay on the front like the wren box did only this time it will be in color and the top will sport a small sculpture of peach blossoms. I'm toying with the idea of having the peach pit feet cast in bronze. Not sure what color to use for the box itself though, or the top.


wax model of flowers in progress

It just occurred to me that maybe if I do the feet in bronze I could do the top in bronze too with the glass sculpture on top of that. That might work. Maybe I'll do the box itself in a nice pale blue to set off the peach.

This is another little piece I'm playing around with. It's an assemblage of small pieces either left over or re-purposed. Not sure how it fits in my narrative yet. I think it belongs in a future series maybe, an idea that I haven't quite figured out.

All this will take a back seat when we start on the project for Invesco. I submitted my invoice for the deposit and once that comes in, it will be our main focus. That and the other job which I'm working on now.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

the last grandkid visit

I fetched the grandboy last week for his visit.

Mikey is 15 this year and he is now taller than both of us. By more than just an inch. The kid is shooting up and his face is changing too. Not a man yet but you can see the glimmers. One thing about that boy that hasn't changed though, he. never. shuts. up.

Initially he was going to bring a friend with him for the first couple of days but plans got changed. Just as well since it rained the first three days of his visit.

The first thing he did was reacquaint himself with my whistles which are currently in that box on the desk. All my pics of him are stealth shots as he is much better at avoiding the camera than his sisters.

During the first rainy days we settled down in the back room and watched the first two seasons of The Glades on his laptop.

We made two kinds of ice cream, coconut and key lime pie. The coconut was really good. So was the key lime pie but after about 3 or 4 bites you started to pucker a little bit.

And brownies.

During a break between episodes, Mikey noticed a big spider web, must have been as tall as I am, just outside the back door so we went out to look at it. The spider had spun it's web outside the bathroom window in which the kids keep the light on all night when they are here. Pretty clever spider, light attracts bugs. Mikey blew on the spider while we were standing there and it suddenly started making the web flex back and forth quite rapidly and then it drew in it's legs and hunkered down in the center of the web. When we went out about 30 minutes later to check on it again, it had taken it's web down and left.

We took my sister some of the key lime pie ice cream and Mikey found an old antique edger at her house and brought it home and without being asked to, set about to edge the concrete apron of the driveway with it.

He did a great job, hauled the grass to the compost pile, hosed it down, and put away the tools.

On Saturday I had to work at the store so he came with me with his skate board and between jaunts around town and over to visit my sister, he helped me with customers at the shop.

I got a kick out of his skater's tan.

That night, the spider was back.

Sunday we all went to see The Amazing Spider-Man movie which was really very good.

Feeding Big Mama watermelon, a particular favorite of hers.

On his last day, it was hot and muggy so he rigged up a slip and slide with a tarp and the hose. A couple of the neighborhood boys joined him and then later they all went swimming at the other boys' grandmother's house.

He's been returned home now. He's a good kid. I mean really, how many 15 year old boys like to hang out with their grandparents?

how does that saying go...

...when it rains, it pours?

It looks like our semi-retirement is soon to be over. For the next 6 months or so anyway.

Monday I finally got the go ahead from the general contractor to submit an invoice for the deposit for the two big walls I have been consulting on and writing proposals for and attending meetings for since January. The client has already moved into one of the floors that one of the walls will go on. Heck, they might have moved into the second one too by now.

In case you forgot, this is the job with the two 16' x 9' walls (originally 20' long), one with an image of a map of the world in diagonal lines and the other with an image of their mountain logo.

Of course we finally get the go ahead that I've been waiting on for months right after I received a deposit for a very nice residential commission which consists of two door panels, laundry room and pantry, and the shower door and big window over the tub in the master bath.

Also on Monday I received an email from a client that I submitted a proposal to almost two years ago for three large fused glass panels for a church. Really, I had finally given up on that one even though the art director would occasionally contact me about possible funding coming up and which never materialized, at least not for our project.

Apparently he's got another interested possible donor he's meeting with later this week. I'm not holding my breath on that one though cause there have been too many false alarms but it wouldn't surprise me now if it did.

Oh, and there are also the two gallery shows coming up. Fortunately, I have work for those already though I am trying to get one more piece completed for the show in October, an ode to the peach.

Well, I'm very happy to have the work and not complaining as it's been a very meager two years but it would be nice for it to have been spread out a bit.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

general stuff

We've had so much rain the last two weeks but it has finally stopped. We had two days in a row with no rain now and yesterday, though it started out overcast, cleared up by noon and turned into a real summer day. Hot. I expect today will be the same.

Pictures have been hard to come by lately because the rain has hatched some of the biggest, blackest, fiercest mosquitos I've seen since I stopped spending my summers on the west end of Galveston Island. Between the mosquitos and the rain or between the mosquitos and the heat, I can only stand to be outside in very short bursts. I'm not a big fan of spraying myself with poison, and besides my sister tells me that the mosquito repellant doesn't even slow them down.

The grandboy is here for his week now and so that has been keeping me occupied. More on that in my next post.

I continue to work in the antique store on Saturdays and fill in on other days. Yesterday I had two black women come in the store. I wouldn't point out their race except they had the most beautiful skin. Not just the texture but the color as well, a very creamy coffee color. They were sisters, originally from Egypt, a little town a short distance from Wharton, who now live in Houston, here for their father's birthday. Their father lives in a home now and is in his 90s.

Anyway, these two ladies came in the store and started looking at all the vintage jewelry. They must have spent an hour in the store trying on necklaces and earrings and holding up the brooches to see how they would look as they bantered back and forth. Pieces that would die on me with my very white skin, just shone on them. Eventually the daughter of one of the women came in looking for them, they made their purchases and left. It was probably the most entertaining hour I've spent in that store.

I'm happy to say we have some work in the shop now having received our deposit for the residential commission on Friday. Still no movement from the general contractor on the two big walls even though I submitted an insurance certificate to them two weeks ago. My liaison got back from vacation late last week so hopefully I'll find out something on Monday or Tuesday. We'll see.

Well, we're off to the movie.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

how we came to have this turtle

For those of you who are not familiar with Big Mama yet, she is our 23 +/- year old red ear slider. Our son, when visiting his grandparents at age 10, fished her out of a golf course pond and brought her home when she was about the size of an old 50¢ piece.

Big Mama with her posse.

I've probably told this story before but here goes...

We had no idea when he brought her home that 23 years later we would still have her. In fact, he brought home two baby turtles but the other one didn't survive the first night, having gotten flipped over and drowned. This was back in 1989, long before any question could be answered in minutes by typing it into a search engine.

We got the surviving little turtle a ten gallon fish tank and when she outgrew that we got her a 20 gallon tank and when she outgrew that one we got her a 50 gallon tank and moved her outside. And when she outgrew that one, she got a small kid's swimming pool with a fence around it and when she outgrew that one...well, you get the picture.

The pool got bigger, someone donated a smaller red ear slider they no longer wanted to care for and one day, the big turtle laid an egg on the sunning stone and immediately smushed it.

I guess that's when the Big Turtle, to distinguish it from the Little Turtle, became Big Mama. Previously we just referred to them in various forms of 'big' and 'little'. Cup Of Soup and Hors d'oeuvre come to mind.

Once the turtle became a girl turtle we decided it would be cool to have little baby turtles so we fenced off a section of the yard around the pond. Well, first thing, Little Turtle made his escape.

Eventually we moved the turtle compound from the back yard into the front right in front of the house where there was a little porch (behind that porch was our bedroom) and included a water garden for plants from an old bathtub. We had the water circulating between the two 'ponds' with a filter which had the added benefit of keeping Big Mama's water clean and fertilizing the water plants. It was very pleasant to hear the sound of the water at night in our bedroom.

Don't imagine anything grand, it was a built-in cast iron bathtub and a small waterlily kidney shaped pond and about 30 sq ft of roving space for the turtle. But it was the source of a lot of fun and pleasure and a pain in the ass every spring when we had to muck it all out. The waterlily kidney shaped pond became her permanent pond, not very big around but about 3 times deeper than the wading pools. She grew to about 10” and laid many clutches of eggs over the years but we never got baby turtles.

After we finally made the transition to the country house, that first year Big Mama still resided at the city house with my SIL taking care of her. 

Big Mama's big pond.

I wrote about bringing her home to the country house to her new 8' diameter x 22” deep pond in the Little Back Yard here. This is her second year out here. The first year when the 'urge' came on her to dig and lay eggs, I just took her out of the pond and let her roam for a couple of hours, putting her back in the pond. She eventually laid three eggs on her sunning stone and smushed them. Full circle.

This spring, I rigged up a ramp so she could get out of the pond when she so desired. The problem is that the dirt out here has a lot of clay and is so hard. Last year my grandson went around loosening up the ground for her with a garden claw whenever she started digging but that just sent her off to another hard spot.

She has spent the last several months, attempting to dig a hole. She learned how to navigate the ramp into the yard without taking a nose dive into the landscaping bricks but she has never understood that the same ramp will take her back to the pond. Until this last weekend apparently.

Five days of rain and she was able to dig an adequate hole. Last Thursday, she dug a hole and laid two eggs as near as I could tell, but she missed the hole, smushed the eggs, and the ants made short work of them. She seems to have successfully dug a hole, laid eggs, and filled it back in again on Saturday. And made it back into her pond. Hopefully by next spring we will have improved a ground area for her.

The first hole, those white things at 7 o'clock are the remains of the shells.

The second, successful(?), lay.

I doubt any eggs that might be in the ground are fertile since it's been many years since we had a male. We have supplied her with several over the years but she runs them off eventually. They are pretty single minded in their intent and she tires of the attention.

Anyway, you wouldn't think that turtles would be much of a pet, but she has been very entertaining over the years. Different sources say they can live anywhere from 25 to 50 years. That's why I was a little upset to see that there was a vendor at the Freedom Fest here in Wharton that was selling baby red ear sliders. He must have had 50 of them. How sad, I thought, every one of those tiny turtles will probably be dead within six months.

Monday, July 16, 2012

some good stuff

It rained every day for 5 days, two of those days all day long. This is most welcome as we are still recovering from last year's terrible drought and it's been a long time since I can remember getting rain so many days in a row. One of those rainy days I happened to walk out into the garage and noticed about a dozen large earthworms making their way across the concrete. 

Not the brightest bulbs in the box as I noticed several dead shriveled up earthworms already littering the floor. I scooped them up and put them back outside on the ground.

I think Big Mama has learned how to get back in her pond by herself finally. Thursday she was out in the yard when we left to go in the city for the day and forgot about her til the next morning when Marc saw her in the yard and put her back in the pond. Saturday morning I noticed she was out in the yard again digging a hole. When I got home from working at the antique store I went out to get her. 

I couldn't find her anywhere and was scouting outside the fence when I looked over at the pond and there she was, her head sticking up out of the water looking at me. Marc says he did not put her in.

We got notice that a proposal has been accepted. This will be a very nice job consisting of two 3/4 lite doors and the shower door and big window in the master bath. It's nice to have some work come in finally this year. The two big walls? I have no idea what's going on with that. My liaison is on vacation and I'm hearing nothing from the project manager.

And of course winning the first place prize at Archway Gallery's annual juried exhibit the beginning of this month. Also on the art glass scene, we will have at least three pieces in a show opening in early October at Morgan Contemporary Glass Gallery in Pittsburgh PA.

The last grandkid visit starts next Wednesday. The grandboy is bringing a friend with him for the first few days. How much do two 15 yr. old boys eat?

And the last good thing is I don't think my pinky toe is broken after all. I was pretty sure it was Saturday night after I stubbed it earlier in the day helping my sister move furniture around in the store.

Friday, July 13, 2012


I'm still thinking about this voter ID thing that is being debated in court now even though the Justice Department had already ruled that it imposed an undue hardship on the poor, the disenfranchised, and the elderly. Our state attorney general, Greg Abbott no relation!, still saw fit to sue the government over it.

Our Republican dominated state government, the one that slashed funding to volunteer and regular fire departments, that gutted education, and refused federal funding for health care for the poor and as a result our state burned during the drought, our schools and educational system are the worst in the country, and our population has the least access to healthcare despite having one of the leading medical centers in the country; this Republican government has a new plan.

Now they want to require a special 'free' voter ID card, justifying their new law by saying they need to combat voter fraud. When I think of elections here and those in certain other countries that purport to have an elected government through voting, I can't help but think that whatever voter fraud goes on here is negligible in comparison. If voter fraud was such a problem, I think they wouldn't have to force it. And they are having to force it.

So tell me. Which is worse? Allowing that no system is perfect and keeping an eye on known weaknesses and perhaps have a very small percentage of fraudulent votes get through, or, instituting measures that would engender a loss of 18%* of the poor, minority, and elderly voter block.

The latter is voter fraud as far as I'm concerned, another attempt to marginalize the opposition just like they do with redistricting. Don't get me wrong. I'm not against trying to do something about voter fraud, but I'm certainly not going to take their word that it's a big problem just because they say so and I'm not really seeing any evidence of widespread voter fraud.

Republicans are very good at the scare tactic. It's what they do. Every time the population gets restless they drag out some bugaboo and whip up a good ole hysteria about it to distract us, while they plot against our rights and freedoms. And enrich themselves at our expense.

Like our attorney general Greg Abbott no relation! who was jogging on a stormy evening and a tree fell on him in a freak accident and he became a paraplegic who sued the homeowner and won a multi-million dollar lawsuit, went into politics, and pushed through tort reform to prevent exactly what he got. He got his so, who cares, right?

And if they aren't scaring us then they are questioning our patriotism or our sexuality or accusing us of acting on feelings instead of thinking because surely if we were thinking, we would think the way they do.

Well, the thing is, liberals do think. We are intelligent, we do read, we do consider, we do understand. We just don't agree with conservative conclusions or agendas. We think they are ruining this country, have ruined this country.

They have certainly ruined this state.