Wednesday, July 30, 2014

coulds, shoulds, and ought tos

Well, I'm sitting here at loose ends. We are moved and the next grandkid doesn't come til August 10 and I'm leaving on Friday for the Pacific NW for a 5 day vacay with the girls.

So what to do, what to do?

I could go through these last boxes of stuff from the old house and shop and my daughter's attic, most of which I intend to donate to the women's crises center here. I could organize the last two bags of drawings from nearly 40 years of etched glass. I suppose I could do some finish work on the Botanicas that are cast but it's high summer out there which means it's too hot to do anything outside like cold work or gardening or replacing the hose from the pump to the filter in the water lily pond that is already choked with string algae or or. Hot and dry. No rain for weeks. Cicadas and dragonflies are the only creatures stirring out there.

What I should be doing, I guess, is starting to pack for my trip and stop feeling guilty for not Accomplishing something in the next two days.

My friend Catharine came up with this idea and invited some women with whom she wanted to spend the week and, much to my delight, I am one. There is myself and three others whom I met and spent a week with at the residency last year and then two friends of Catharine's whom I have never met. We are going to spend 5 days at a beach house on the Oregon coast.

So instead of turning my attention to setting up the new shop like I ought to, I'm going to be escaping some of summer's heat. Besides, Marc has promised me the new shop will be up and running by the end of August, at least rudimentarily.

Monday, July 28, 2014

granny camp 5.3

As I mentioned previously, grandgirl Jade has been here for her week.

I discovered this morning that two consecutive days of pictures I took of Jade's visit, the day we did the tie dye and the day we went to the beach, are missing. Apparently, I deleted them before downloading them. I can't imagine that I did so but they are missing.

Monday we got groceries and craft supplies in. We spent Tuesday and Wednesday in the city getting the last of our stuff and buying the new car so Jade will return for a make-up weekend.

The rest of the week we poked around in all the little antique stores and resale shops.

We tie dyed (my pictures are missing but Jade took a few).

We swam in the pool.

Jade likes to cook so we made her favorite chicken dish, smothered chicken, and banana pudding and a big fruit salad and a lime pie. Not all on the same day.

We went to the beach. There was almost no surf that day but the water still felt good. There were two large flocks of brown pelicans floating out in the water and we watched while one flew over and then took a nose dive and plummeted into the water. I guess there was a school of small fish out past where we were swimming as the seagulls and other shore birds were flying around above a section of water and diving in, sometimes coming up with a small silver fish. We had to leave mid-afternoon though as a huge rainstorm with lightening and thunder was sweeping over us. It was raining so hard as we traversed the bridge over the inter-coastal canal that I could barely see.

Friday was movie day. We went to see Lucy. It was not what I expected though I'm not exactly sure what I expected.

While we were at the beach, we collected lots of shells, primarily oyster shells, and driftwood to make wind chimes, or rather, wind clackers. I used the drill press to put holes in them and Jade strung them up.

She also made a dream catcher using some of the smaller shells for decoration.

Then, Sunday, it was time to take her home.

Friday, July 25, 2014

indulgence and...well, it's Friday, right?

In the midst of all this moving, the other twin arrived for her week.

Or rather, we picked her up last Sunday on one of our forays in to get stuff. I have promised her an extra weekend to make up for the fact that two of the first three days of her visit have been spent in the city dealing with moving and...

spending some of the money from the sale of our stupidly valuable property in the city!

We bought a new car, the first car we have bought since 1984. We bought a new truck about 5 or 6 years ago when we were first moving out to the country house and let the '84 Volvo rest in peace.

2014.5 Toyota Camry

Things on this car I have never had on a car before:

automatic transmission
power windows
power adjustable seats
power adjustable side view mirrors
CD player
radio that can be programmed about 50 different ways
back up camera
cruise control
outside temperature display
integrated bluetooth
voice command system
lock/unlock, alarm function on the key

and these are just the things I can think of off hand. It's pretty overwhelming. The salesman was halfway through showing me all the bells and whistles right before I drove off in it when I went on overload.

So, while we were waiting for paperwork to get done sitting at the desk (our third 'wait'), I was fiddling with the keys to the new car which was in the prep garage a fair distance from where we were sitting. There is a little red button that says 'hold' with the symbol for horn or loud volume. Hmmmm, so I held it down thinking we were too far away from the car for it to activate anything. Wrong! The horn on the new car started going blatt blatt blatt and then we couldn't figure out how to shut it off. Finally Marc got it to stop. He and Jade were shaking their heads at me but I thought it was really funny.

So, yes, it seems I am still a little kid.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

done and done

I am terrible about responding to comments. When I do respond, it is via email so unless you make an email address available, I can't respond to your comment. I guess the reason I do it that way is that I rarely go back to a post to see if the blogger has responded (there are a few exceptions). Shoot, I can't even keep track of what I comment on or much less remember to go back and check for responses.

So this is in response to all the wonderful comments and questions I have received about this very long drawn out move, this uprooting literally, from my old life.

As Marc says, we have decamped.

I have dug up so many plants or taken cuttings. I have no idea how much is going to survive, which cuttings will root. I'm still trying to get them in pots temporarily till the weather cools enough to not give me heat stroke while I prepare the ground for planting.

We decided to leave the sandblast booth/Tuff Shed after all as it has termites. Not bringing termites to the new shop.

I didn't take anything from the house itself besides memories. Just the chandelier. How do you do that anyway? I would like one of the diamond paned windows if Kevin decides to deconstruct the house. We'll see.

So yes, I'm OK. I walked through the house, my last time, and touched the walls and thanked it for giving us shelter and holding our family together. We weathered three direct hits from hurricanes over the years in that house with nary a creak. I apologized for not taking better care of it and for abandoning it. I told it I loved it.

Then I walked out and closed the door.

Mostly, I think, I am just glad that it is finally over. I am anxious to get the new shop set up. I don't like not having a shop or work space available to me. I have stuff to do and stuff to make! There are three exhibitions coming up that I want to submit work for. I have agreed to be in a gallery show next year and I need stuff for that. And the open house in December, which I assume will be happening.

Our future is here and before us.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

saying goodbye

Heading in again today with a list of incidentals to retrieve...wheels from the big table, ladder, some lumber, some bolts that got left behind, the pavers from the driveway. It will be the last time I go in the house as I am leaving the keys when we leave. Kevin is going to have the sewer cut off first thing tomorrow morning so that he can start the permitting process and we will cancel our utility accounts.

We (or maybe just Marc since the other twin will be here for her week) will be back on Wednesday to try and load up the sandblast booth onto a trailer and motor it out here.

And after that? I doubt I will ever go back.

Friday, July 18, 2014

gaping holes and dangling wires and a selfie

Well, I guess we're out. We have stripped the old shop of supplies, tools, equipment, light fixtures, and glass. We have taken what we want from the old house.

The entry glass and the large window and the other large window at my daughter's house were delivered to the new shop Wednesday. The air compressor, the refrigerator, and the pony tail palm were delivered out here yesterday. Our son-in-law brought out the old truck yesterday as well. There's still a few pieces of good lumber that I want to retrieve and some more plants, either through digging them up or cuttings, and the rest of our pavers that we repaired the driveway with last summer when we had to have the main sewer line replaced but by and large, we are done there.

The sandblast booth may have to be abandoned since we couldn't find anyone with the ability or willingness to move it for us. It will fit on our son-in-law's trailer if we can get it on there so we may make one more attempt before we give up. We did not disconnect the plumbing from the old cast iron ball and claw foot tub. Even if we had, I'm not sure we could have gotten it out of the bathroom without removing the toilet and sink (very small room) or even then.

So now we get to turn our attention to setting up the new shop. Lots of things to be done...taking down the old cigarette smoke infused paneling and replacing it with sheetrock, pulling up the old indoor/outdoor cigarette smoke infused carpet in the rooms, putting in insulation and sheetrock in the large bay area, getting the air compressor hooked up and a shelter built and the air pipes placed, building a permanent glass rack, getting 220 plugs installed for the kilns, getting the AC/heater installed in the rooms for starters. Also, the roof in the big bay leaks in two areas so we need to get that looked at.

I'd like to get a rudimentary work area set up pretty quick and devote some days to work while we remodel.

I also have a lot of plants to get settled so I started removing grass along the south side of the cement bunker yesterday so that I can get these bulbs and other plants in the ground. I'm happy that the dirt seems really good, doesn't have the clay we have across the street. It's not the best time of year to be digging stuff up and shocking it but at least the summer has been fairly mild this year.

More digging up grass today.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


The house in Houston is no longer ours...technically. We won't get our check until today and we won't hand over the keys until next Monday, but yesterday we signed all the appropriate papers.

Kevin is a small builder and he plans to build a very nice single family home on the property. He plans to save the house if he can by having it moved onto another property. It doesn't seem likely though because all the power lines are on our side of the street and the streets in the neighborhood are narrow. Definitely the roof would have to be removed and it might have to be cut in half as well. He's still looking into it. He can't just restore it and add on to it where it sits because of the premium he paid for the property.

If he can't save the house he is going to try and salvage as much of it as possible instead of just having it demolished, reusing the old shiplap and maybe even the hardwood floors. I've let go of the house emotionally, and now, physically.

Our daughter had a sleepless night anticipating selling her part of the property. She has never lived anywhere else except for about 6 months in a different neighborhood. Other than that, she has lived in the Heights her whole life and all but about two years were spent either in my house or the one next door that they eventually bought from us. It's harder on her but she is looking forward to a better house. I, at least, had lived in many houses and neighborhoods and several years not even in the city before I settled down in the old house.

We'll be going in every day this week, still collecting stuff like the light fixtures out of the old shop and things we thought we would abandon and then changed our minds. Yesterday I pulled up the sandstone slabs that made up a short walkway and we're still trying to find someone to move the tuff shed for us and maybe get a moving company to move the other three large heavy items. My son-in-law has moved the old truck into his driveway for now since they have an extra week to vacate.

The carved glass entry into the shop and the two 5' x 5' windows will be picked up on Wednesday and delivered out here.

I guess I'm going to tackle digging up several of the larger shrubs because, as my son pointed out, I may kill them trying to move them, but if I don't try they are going to be killed anyway.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

second verse, same as the first

Not much has changed since Friday except we came back with another truckload of stuff, mostly boxes of old business records (8 to be exact), two boxes of tchotchkes I had put aside for the grandkids and had misplaced (so I was glad to come across them), a box of silver and crystal items that belonged to my mother that had been put aside for my son (who has decided he doesn't want them as they don't fit in his lifestyle), the rest of the red crinum lilies that I finally dug up along with cuttings off the heritage rose and the yellow trumpet flower (that are now in pots having been dipped in root stimulator), 

and the air conditioner/heater window unit from the old shop with help from the teenage boys that are squatting in the house.

My 17 year old grandson has basically moved into my vacant house, dragging the bed and box springs and the run down loveseat from our little apartment part of the house to the living room where the big air conditioner is, moved his TV and clothes over. We got there one day last week to find 8 teenagers camped out, one group playing video games and another group playing cards. They had fetched the patio furniture and barbeque grill from his house next door and fixed themselves dinner the night before. So cute to see the boys playing house. They have been very helpful without complaint though, loading the truck for us. My grandson calls nearly every day letting us know when he has to be at work in case we are coming in and need him to help with heavy stuff.

We finally have a firm time and day for closing. Monday at 11 AM. We're going to try and be completely out by the end of next week but I figure it will take longer because, well, just because it does. Kevin (the buyer) is being very accommodating. I think we really have, this time, got everything but the air compressor, refrigerator, sandblast booth, old truck, and the etched glass still installed in the old shop. I'm calling my installer Monday to arrange for them to move the two big pieces for us. It doesn't seem like much left to be done and once our son-in-law gets his trailer, maybe it will go quicker than I think.

Ha! What are the odds of that?

I've been wanting to get in the pool just about every day this week but somehow I managed to supercharge the water with chlorine and it still hasn't dissipated to 'safe' levels. Maybe today.

Looks inviting, doesn't it?

Friday, July 11, 2014

faster, faster, the lights are turning red and, yup, a selfie

I'm going to have to stop reading the comments to articles and posts I read on FB. They are making me despise humanity and I struggle with that already as it is. Something about this medium that brings out the worst in some people. Or maybe, those are the ones that it attracts most, the sociopaths. (I amend this...only certain posts and news items. I've 'met' some great folks on FB that I am happy to be connected with as a friend reminded me).

Anyway, I spend too much time on-line myself and I intend on cutting down and start spending that time in the studio.

This moving the shop from the city is taking far too long for my liking. Stuff is just thrown in the new shop helter skelter, no organization at all and no ideas even about how we are going to use the space. I'm getting antsy, everything is in turmoil. I want to get to work.

It's hard to focus on the new shop when we are still trying to move out of the old place. Who knew we still had so much stuff in the city though we are down to the big items like the Tuff Shed that is the sandblasting booth which we have no idea how to move. We may have to abandon it and just buy a new one. The air compressor which is upright and very heavy but we have an inkling how to move it but not how to get it in the truck or on a trailer. The refrigerator, also big and heavy. The air conditioner/heater in the old shop. Still have to move an old truck in the driveway that needs a new battery which we don't want to buy.

And it's looking like the closing might not be today after all. It was supposed to be last Tuesday but the underwriters weren't ready so it was moved to Friday, today. But now, the lawyers that are drawing up all the paper work may not be ready til Monday.


Monday, July 7, 2014

granny camp 5.2

We picked Autumn up on Sunday along with a truck load of stuff from Houston.

Monday she and I went shopping for craft supplies and clothes and groceries and other errands for her week here. And I spent a lot of frustrating time trying to get the Ph, chlorine, and alkalinity adjusted in the pool. Finally gave up and just let her swim though by the next day the chemicals had balanced.

She made earrings.

I took her to get her hair cut.

We tie-dyed.

We went to the beach.

We went to the movies. And yes, seriously, a T-rex transformer.

We shot off fireworks. I figured out early on that I could try to photograph the fireworks or watch them but I couldn't do both. So I watched them.

We had hamburgers, deviled eggs, stuffed jalapenos (which, once again, nearly killed me), and peach pie. The pie is the only thing I managed to photograph.

She painted clay pots.

She made a jewelry holder for her younger sister.

We dressed up a couple of pairs of her shorts.

She was in near constant touch with her twin, either texting, face timing, or snap-chatting. 

Sunday it was time to take her home and just as we were about to load up the truck with her stuff, the heavens opened and it poured rain. So we were a little delayed.

Back home with her twin.

If I still didn't have so much to do moving out of the old shop and house, I'd be vegetating on the couch today.

Friday, July 4, 2014

the beach and...can you guess?

My grandgirl Autumn is here for her week and we have been busy!

We spent the day at the beach in Matagorda yesterday. It was hot but not too hot, it was windy but not too windy, and we had shade via the patio umbrella and stand we brought.

This is the beach at Matagorda on the Gulf Coast. The water was pleasantly and surprisingly clear, for the Gulf Coast. Visibility was about 12” deep. The Gulf, for those of you who are not coastal residents, is usually very muddy looking due to the currents that keep the fine sand granules suspended in the water.

This time of year the sargasso seaweed comes in and blankets the shore. It's in the water too.

This flock of brown pelicans was trailing this fishing boat, or so it seemed to me.

Four seagulls poking around in the beached seaweed.

It rained inland.

Autumn and I body surfed in the waves or hung out in the swells in the space between the sandbars. We had a lot of surf in the morning but by the time we left the breakers were only happening on the closest sandbar.

In the dunes there were white and pink goatsfoot morning glories and something similar that was yellow. Their blooms had closed by the time we left and I stopped to take pictures, but this little pink star was blooming. It's about the size of a dime.

Last year Autumn daintily applied (old) sunscreen and came home with a bad sunburn that peeled. So this time I got new super sunscreen and made sure she applied it liberally and reapplied a couple of hours later.

She did not get sunburned.

I, on the other hand, did not reapply sunscreen and I did get red.

It's not actually as bad as it looks. I get red but I don't burn easily. It isn't and hasn't been the least bit painful.

The downside is that I don't hold a tan either. Any tan I get fades pretty quickly.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

busy busy and pictures

Well, I meant to post yesterday but...

Autumn is here for her week and I haven't had time so here's some photos that have been languishing.

I strolled out in the yard the other morning and sprinkled all over were these little mushrooms. The caps were about the size of a nickle.

We had some tree work done last year and we got delayed and didn't get back home til the next day but the guys went ahead and did the work, which was fine, except that instead of just trimming the one limb off the magnolia, they decided to 'even it up' for us and cut all the lower branches that I could reach. One branch has grown enough so that I could reach this one flower. I had been watching the bud for weeks because I didn't want to miss it.

The crinum lilies are blooming. Have to go dig up the rest of them from the city property.

A small ball moss fell out of one of the pecan trees.

Two more of the plumerias I had thought frozen to death have come out. That's all but two of them now and those two are still green at the dirt line so they may still regenerate. And the mexican bird of paradise that my grandboy and I hacked out of the easement almost two weeks ago is sprouting new growth all over itself.

I was cleaning off the table in the garage so I could do some cold work and went to put some safety goggles away in the box where I keep them on the shelf. The top to the box was halfway off and wrens had built a nest in it. Crazy fucking wrens. I don't think they used this one. The males will build several nests hoping to entice a female into one but this one was too close to the door into the house and I know I startled it several times.

The double orange day lilies have been outstanding this year.

I've been putting up corn so we will have some later in the year. This is a sweet bi-color hybrid that I bought from the farmer. Unfortunately it underscores the edge of the cliff that the fungicide neonicinoids are pushing us over. These poisons are commonly used and have been shown to be a major culprit in the dying off of honeybees. I have not seen any bees this year (or butterflies for that matter). Well, an occasional bee but nothing like the swarms that have been common is past years. These ears of corn show incomplete fertilization. Each strand of silk must be fertilized to produce a kernel. Fully 20% to 25% of the 20 ears of corn were affected.

The boys were having a confab.