Thursday, December 29, 2016
I woke up this morning and instead of getting up I turned over and went back to sleep and fell into a heavy REM and one of those long, weird, and complex dreams that two of my friends were in but the roles they played were based in my main insecurity. I'm pretty sure this is a result of the conversations I've been having with another friend who has been telling me some of the details of her life which she hides from people and for good reason. Suffice to say, not many people would be able to endure what she has endured.
So, after having a week of springlike weather with highs in the low 80s we are returning to fall with a cold front blowing in from the north and the temp almost already as high as it's going to get today when I got up. However, the warmth and the sun this past week has caused lots of little green sprouts to come up in the wild flower mini-meadow. Still too small to identify yet but I'm sure the lion's share is the salvia I pulled out of there. And sunflowers.
We are halfway through the Lost Week. I never try to get anything accomplished during this week as we're all just treading water until the calendar runs out. It's all about the holidays from Thanksgiving to Christmas Day and then we have a week of just absorbing it all before the country shifts back into gear after one final drunken revelry. Well, some of us. New Year's Eve is the last night on earth I want to be out and about on the roads.
Monday I worked at the antique store, still filling in for my sister but Tuesday was Marcmas, our irreverent term for Marc's birthday, so we engaged in our annual celebration...a movie and a meal. He wanted to see Rogue One and I wanted to see Passengers but since it was his birthday, he got to pick. Being Star Wars fans, in fact we went to see the very first one when our daughter was 6 weeks old, taking her to the theater with us and sitting in the back row so I could easily slip out if she started crying, which she didn't, I was happy enough with the choice. It was good, telling a part of the story that came between episodes 3 and 4, about how they got the plans for the Death Star and handed them over to Princess Leia but still, half the movie was just one big battle in space and on different planets, all of which we have seen in every single Star Wars movie.
Then Wednesday, because I was pretty sure Passengers would be gone by the end of the week, we went to see it. Passengers is basically a love story set in space. Humanity has grown and expanded through space. 5,000 people and over 200 crew members are in suspended animation on a luxury cruise liner spaceship headed for the planet Homestead2, a journey that takes 120 years, to begin new lives when the ship is hit by a huge meteor which causes a glitch and wakes a single passenger. After a year alone and on the verge of suicide, he wakes another passenger. Eventually things on the ship start to malfunction, getting more and more severe. A crew member is awakened during one such episode and they finally get access to the restricted parts of the ship to determine what the malfunction is. It starts out slow paced, sort of Castaway in space, but it builds as the story progresses and is quite exciting at the end. I really enjoyed it.
Now it's Thursday and we are waiting to hear if our daughter and son are coming out for a visit today or tomorrow. I'll probably get over to the shop later today and repair that glass panel for the lamp shade since the north wind has pretty much scoured the sky of clouds.
Monday, December 26, 2016
I trust everyone had a wonderful holiday, whichever one you relate to, without too much underlying tension this year. We had a fun evening at our daughter's house for dinner.
My brother always sends us chocolate covered strawberries. This was the card included...
I'd say he knows me well.
One of my anti-Trump posts finally got noticed by a Trumpet and he, I presume it was a he, left a comment from a fake account that was mild in comparison to some of the stuff that has been going on. Let's see...he told me I was a stupid pig, called me a moron cause obviously I hadn't heard Trump won, and then told me I 'must be' very ugly. I deleted it and reported it as spam. But not satisfied with that he sent me an email I assume under a fake or spammed account because would he be so stupid to use his real name? maybe, which got caught in my spamblocker, just to tell me I am very ugly. So, what the hell, I replied. I told him what a coward he was for using a fake name, that he obviously had a little bitty penis and couldn't get a date, hence his lashing out at me, and that I found it hysterical that he thought Trump gave a rat's ass about him unless it was trying to figure out how to con him out of his last dollar. Then I marked his email as spam. I didn't expect him to get it, you know fake account and all, but apparently he, or someone, did as I got a reply which showed up in my spamblocker which I did not read and immediately marked it as spam.
Another confrontation...I worked in the antique store Friday and right at closing a couple came in asking what time we closed. Right now but come on in and take your time. As they were leaving, he says 'merry christmas, we can say that now with our new president' or something to that effect. That just set me off. You could always say it, everyone could always say it, no one is telling anyone they can't say it, it's a tempest in a teapot! Well, he says, in the schools it's got to be 'happy holidays' (as if he doesn't know holiday is a contraction of holy day, on second thought he may not). I asked him what was wrong with that as there are many holidays during this season and what is wrong with people who can't accept well wishes for a festive season from a stranger. His wife was mostly silent during this but she did sort of murmur assent at that. Well, I'm christian, he says as he is leaving, and I say merry christmas. I pretty much guaranteed they will never be back. That was probably wrong of me but I will no longer let crap like that pass, I don't care what time of year it is or where I am.
On the non-political front, I chased another wren out of the house yesterday, something I do four or five times a year. They love to come in the garage and poke around and if the door is open, which it often is weather permitting, they just come right on in.
I've been over at the shop making waxes for use in new pieces
The wax makes these swirly patterns as it cools.
and starting on the reorganization now that everything our friend is bringing from his vacant and deserted studio is here. I've spent three days over there moving boxes and small equipment, got the wax working set up in it's new permanent spot...maybe, I know where I'm putting the mold making area but the sandblasting cabinet is there right now. It doesn't look like I've done much but at least I have a plan. The four kilns are going over in the single bay and the big table is now back over in the double bay. The dozen or so crates of sheet glass and frit are going against west wall and the cold work machines will stay pretty much where they are.
Left to right: wet belt sander, kiln (silver), kiln (blue), flat lap, kiln and another flat lap behind the table, tall rolling rack also behind the table, work bench with grinder, ring saw, small flat lap underneath, and glass saw on the bench, behind the work bench is a tile saw and the fourth kiln. And this is just the stuff in the middle of the double bay.
And, finally, we're having unseasonably warm weather which is saying something since it's in the low to mid 70s on christmas more often than not. It's springlike except that everything is turning brown instead of green.
Thursday, December 22, 2016
Last Sunday night it dipped down to freezing. I knew it was going to do this and I had brought in all the pots that held plants that would be affected. Most of them are in the garage this year, so a little less protected than previous years. What I didn't expect was that it was going to stay that cold for the hours necessary to wipe out the foliage on the banana trees, the morning glory bush which was blooming, the angel trumpets also blooming, more than half the penta, all the cosmos which was...blooming sparsely but still, the hummingbird bush, some of the ginger, the yellowbells, what was left of the confederate rose. We lost a lot of greenery Sunday night. So I supposed we have segued into winter. Well, it was the solstice after all.
A cold and windy Monday stripped all the remaining leaves off the deciduous trees, a less cold Tuesday, we are on a warming trend and the predicted high Wednesday was 69˚, mostly sunny. I snipped wilted ends and pulled up and gathered all the dead cosmos, eventually working in my undershirt and barefoot.
I found a monarch on the ground Monday morning while there was still a layer of ice on the birdbath and brought it in. I thought it was dead but it started moving as it warmed up so later I took it back outside.
I worked at the antique store Tuesday, helping to cover some of my sister's days while she is out of town for the holidays. I arrived to see a pair of sparrows flying around inside the store. They get in now and then through holes around some of the upper front windows or where some boards have rotted out. The birds fly around and chirp and eventually they find their way out. We guess. At least we stop seeing them in the shop and never find dead little bird bodies. I tried opening both front doors once when the weather allowed and eventually I realized I hadn't seen the sparrow but I don't know if it went out the doors or it's secret little hole.
Speaking of birds, I've been seeing my regular winter birds just not very many of them. Mockingbirds, doves, cardinals, a little yellow warbler, chickadees, a bluejay, I hear the titmice but don't see them. I hear the wrens but don't see them either.
I don't seem to be getting much accomplished this week. Spending too much time on-line. The house still needs a major do-over or just vacuumed at the least, I haven't finished clearing out this room, I haven't started on any new models, and I haven't repaired that glass panel for a lamp shade for a guy like I told him I would months ago.
Sunday, December 18, 2016
Sorry, I know this is very long but mostly because I included his cabinet picks. Well, maybe not mostly but it did add to it.
Tomorrow is the day for the last tiny sliver of hope that Trump won't be voted in.
I have no hope that it won't happen though. The electors, whose job it is to prevent an unqualified, temperamentally unsuited, bully who brooks no criticism or insult, who has no respect for the constitution or the rule of law which he feels doesn't apply to him, who lies nearly as often as he speaks, and who isn't even interested in doing the job he isn't qualified for anyway from becoming president will still vote for him because they won't have the backbone to stand up and do the right thing. They will couch it in the false narrative that they are trying to represent the people in their state but that is not their job. Well, it is as long as the candidate is suitable. Their job is to protect the country at large from someone inimical to democracy in either a vague or outright threat. And Trump is an outright threat, actively engaged in threatening the electors who are resisting with political reprisal and general ruination if they don't vote for him which is against the fucking law! More than one or two have come forward anonymously with stories of, literally, blackmail...do what I want or else.
So, no, I do not expect the electors, and later the Republican party, will do the right thing for this country. Their allegiance is to themselves and their wallet first, party second, and maybe the country third. Maybe. It may be to Russia. And I don't think the people even make it on their lists.
These last several weeks have just been one horror show after another. I don't even know where to start. The nepotism of installing his children in his regime and asking for top secret clearance for them, Ivanka sitting in on political meetings to push her and her family's business interests, Ivanka getting the office usually reserved for the First Lady to do what? Or the not wanting to live in the White House thing which means that we the people will be hit with a huge security bill for his penthouse and I suppose by extension to all his business complexes around the world with a big target now painted on them.
Or the fact that he so irresponsibly tweets untrue and ignorant things with the intended result to tank a business's stock or to send his pack of rabid Trumpeters to harass and threaten individuals who say things he doesn't like, or to ruin a magazine for a review he didn't like of his restaurant, or to send waves through delicate and balanced foreign relations. He's like a third grader with no restraint or cares about the consequences of his actions.
Or his ridiculous claim that he won both the popular vote and the electoral vote by a landslide, both false as he lost the popular vote by more than 2.8 million votes and ranks 47th in electoral votes.
Or his deep ties to Russia which besides being in debt to them for millions has appointed people with ties to Russia to positions in his future government. Or his unconcern about the Russian cyber interference in the election to the point of scorning our own intelligence agencies that all agree that it did indeed happen and that one of the hoped for results would be less faith in America from our allies. And to that our republican controlled congress that spent years hounding Hillary Clinton over Benghazi doesn't think this warrants appointing a special investigator.
Or his team of attack dog lawyers with their pages of list of questions to beleaguer the folks doing the recounts in order to impede their progress and get as much thrown out or undone as possible with an almost 2/1 ratio lawyers/counters which is against the fucking law.
Or his selections for cabinet positions...
Environmental Protection Agency – Scott Pruitt, climate change denier, fossil fuel frontman, scorner of environmental protection, wants to dismantle the agency
Department of Energy – Rick Perry, big ties to Big Oil, latest claim to fame being on Dancing With The Stars, as presidential candidate wanted to dismantle the agency
Department of Labor – Andy Puzder, millionaire fast food CEO, opposes minimum wage, overtime, and worker safety regulations, wants to dismantle the agency
Department of Education – Betsy Devoss, millionaire who never went to public school, never sent her kids to public school, does not have an education degree, pushes the voucher program as a way to introduce christianity into schools, wants to dismantle public education
Treasury Department – Steven Mnuchin, Goldman-Sachs man, foreclosed on 36,000 Americans during the housing bubble bust
Secretary of Commerce – Wilbur Ross, billionaire wall streeter, caused the deaths of 12 men when his mine collapsed because of ignored safety violations, against free trade, robber baron
Secretary of Transportation – Elaine Chao, wife of Mitch McConnell
Housing and Urban Development - Ben Carson, no pertinent experience, against the fair housing law
Health and Human Services – Tom Price, opposed to the ACA, opposed to CHIP, opposed to mental health equity, favors privatizing Medicare and cutting Medicaid
Small Business Administration – Linda McMahon, ran World Wrestling Entertainment, donated millions to Trump
Department of the Interior – Ryan Zinke, favors drilling on federal public land, favors pipelines
State Department – Rex Tillerson, close business ties to Putin, climate change denier, ties to ExxonMobil
Defense Department – James 'Mad Dog' Mattis, retired general, hawk, wants to 'get tough' on Iran
Homeland Security – John Kelly, retired general
CIA – Mike Pompeo, in favor of torture, wants to expand Guantanamo
Attorney General – Jeff Sessions, racist, sexist, bigot, hardliner
Ambassador to the UN – Nikki Haley, no experience in foreign affairs
Granted, all these positions need to be confirmed by congress and I hope the Dems and however many Republicans that still have a shred of decency will put up a vigorous fight and defeat these totally, for the most part, unsuitable selections. However these positions do not need confirmation:
National Security Advisor – Michael Flynn, retired general, irrational fear of muslims, passes along conspiracy theories and fake news, close ties to Russia
Chief of Staff – Reince Priebus, chairman of the RNC
Chief Strategist – Steve Bannon, racist, bigot, misogynist, white supremacist
White House Council – Donald McGahn, served on the Federal Elections Commission, specializes in election law
No, the electors are going to go ahead and give this man the White House which he scorns, free to destabilize the world and loot the treasury while he's at it, free to destroy the very government and nation he will be sworn in to protect and NO ONE has the balls to stop him.
Add to all this that he is so unpopular that he can't find anyone to entertain at his inauguration even though he is reportedly offering an unlimited amount of money, a name your price deal, even promising positions in his government to any agent who can come across with some A list entertainers, which is against the fucking law!
The DC area school marching bands won't even perform for him.
Friday, December 16, 2016
Well, I did get out there yesterday after all. While it was colder, only got up to 60 for an hour or so, it was sunny and I dressed warmly and after a while I shed my sweatshirt. I had a tremendous pile of dead stalks that I had broken down to about 6' lengths that had to be loaded up. They were all easily 12' – 15' tall with a few even reaching 20'. Suffice to say that that stack completely filled, and then some, the back of the truck. It's all over on the burn pile now.
Then I nearly filled the back of the truck again with the debris from digging up the hay grasses and the red salvia which is still sitting over here waiting to be driven across the street. I also added the two boxes of pecans left over from 2013 and 2014. And two large buckets of seed pods from the magnolia tree because walking on them barefoot is no fun so I pick them up. Then I loaded up all the pecans I had gathered sans one box and took them to down the pecan place and sold them. 80¢ a pound for the small natives and 50¢ a bound for the large ones. I pocketed about $47. Not a big crop but better than last year when we didn't get a single one. Then I gave an enormous fire ant bed that had built up around the base of the banana trees the soap and orange oil water treatment and then I had to clear the hose from the new pump, installed earlier in the week, in the water lily pond to the filter. I was going to work outside today as well since it's warmer but it is also overcast and drizzly and everything is wet.
I ought to be thinking about and starting on new pieces for the show in February, like maybe an angel trumpet, since I sold the three mid-range pieces I had at the Open House but I'm not doing that. After the summer and fall working on that A&M job, which dominated the landscape around here, and then getting ready for the open houses, casting an eye around has revealed that the homestead, not to mention the shop, inside and out, is pretty much a wreck. And I haven't even unpacked from the shows yet. Unpacked the car, yes, but not the boxes or put anything away. So, I'm working on straightening up my work room here in the house, which getting rid of all those pecans was part of, throwing away no longer needed materials for the A&M job, clearing off horizontal surfaces, putting accumulated drawings into tubes for storage, doing a final determination on some lingering things from our move (yes, that was years ago), taking the accumulating donation to the Crises Center...you get the picture.
It remains to be seen if I run out of steam before it gets to the actual cleaning part.
Wednesday, December 14, 2016
Monday was relatively warm. I say relatively because temps were in the high 60s and when it's cold outside and we have the heater on, high 60s is where we keep it and it doesn't exactly feel warm. Monday was also overcast and humid and it was warm enough to have the doors open which I did til the afternoon when I closed them. We unloaded the car and that was the most productive thing I did all day. I never did feel warm until around 5 when I grudgingly took the dog for a walk.
Monday is also one of my yoga days and I didn't go. I was reading, covered with a blanket and my feet were still cold. I didn't feel like making the effort to drive to the town just down the road where the class is so instead I fed the dog and then took her for our quick walk down the block and back. And then I felt warm. And more energetic than I'd felt all day. Well, damn, if I'd done this a half hour earlier, I'd have gone to yoga so when we got back, before I sat down anywhere I got my mat and did about a 30 minute workout. Yay me!
Yesterday was warm though, low 70s, so I got out there and finished clearing the wildflower mini meadow. Only in one small area had seedlings sprouted so I hope that now the bluebonnets, evening primrose, queen anne's lace, clasping cone flower, etc. will start to sprout. Those tall dead stalks behind it are ringing the old burn pile, now brush pile that is slowly sinking back to the ground, are field sunflowers and another thing that gets huge but does not bloom. I have to get out there today and get those down and cart all the debris piles from yesterday to the truck. Only getting to the mid 60s today and overcast with no hint of sun.
I noticed yesterday that it finally got cold enough last weekend to turn the remaining gingko leaves bright yellow but all in all it's pretty dreary out there. Well, except for the pansies I planted last month and of course the ever blooming penta even though the foliage is looking pretty much the worse for wear and a few other things that are valiantly and sparsely carrying on. I'm still not seeing the amount of birds I'm used to seeing this time of year but right now there is a pair of mockingbirds chasing each other in and around the red tip photinia outside my window.
Well, I'd best get out there and get to it.
Monday, December 12, 2016
Hard to believe it's almost mid-December. Both weekends of our collective Open House are now concluded. We headed in Saturday morning and it was cold and stayed cold all day. We had the heater on driving in and everyone had their little space heaters going throughout the day at Kathy and Dick's studio. This was the weekend we added four more artists (and hopefully attract a more varied crowd instead of just glass enthusiasts)
but alas, the turnout was so dismal (and it was so cold) that Chin and Thomas didn't even try to do their demos which, if you remember from last June, were throwing clay on a wheel and wood turning respectively (although they did on Sunday). Some sales were made throughout the day but none by us. We had had a good total from the previous weekend and so I was happy even if we didn't sell anything else.
Sunday, it was so warm that we had the AC on in the car on the drive in and we opened up the bay door of the studio and eventually Kathy turned on the shop fans. Only in Texas. Heat on one day, AC on the next. We had a bit better turnout which isn't saying much, some sales were being made (I bought two things myself)
but by 4 PM, still none by us. Then a man came up and asked Marc if he was the Marc Leva that had lived across the street from him back when they were growing up and yes, indeed he was. So they talked about the past and catching up for about a half hour or so and then his wife came up whom I had seen looking around at all the offerings but she had never seemed to have been overly interested in our work, nor did he, but then he asks her which is her favorite and they settled on the Bumblebee with Wild Rose and indicated it was just the first piece that they would acquire over time. Turns out they make a lot of money and collect art. Then, as we were starting to pack up, an acquaintance bought the Swept Away piece. Those two pieces alone were more than we had made the previous weekend so all in all, we had a great show.
Unfortunately, I had forgotten to photograph Swept Away. It was the last piece I readied for the Open House and I was busy getting everything organized for setting up. Fortunately, I know who bought it and next May when we do our next group show, I can ask her to bring it so I can get a better picture than the fuzzy cropped image I have now (it's on an easel because I didn't have room on the board to hang it).
Swept Away was originally going to be a box and had four panels but my idea of how to construct it turned out to be way more work than I was interested in doing so the four panels have sat here for years waiting for me to figure out a way to use them. I have arranged them and rearranged them over and over until finally I took out the other bigger panel and voila! I glued them to a board and slapped a hanger on the back. The title refers to my days as a river guide, things that the river washes away...cliff swallow nests, cane that lines the river bank, heron footprints in the sand, and me. The 'me' panel is the one I took out but here it is...
I have about 6 weeks to get a few pieces ready for a show at Kittrell Riffkind in Dallas next February and a shop full of equipment and glass that needs reorganizing but today I'm doing nothing.
Friday, December 9, 2016
So, as you can see, I did get out in the yard Wednesday and made headway on the overgrown and neglected wildflower mini meadow even though the day became completely overcast. I warmed up quickly and shed down to my undershirt. Field sunflowers always colonize the edges in the summer along with the grasses that I have to clear out every fall. Cowpea moved in this year and the red salvia has aggressively taken over a good third of the area. I've decided to dig it all out as it is too selfish and doesn't allow room for anything else to grow. I've noticed poppies are already sprouting in the small bed in the Big Backyard and larkspur in the old garden.
I also moved all the tropicals in pots either into the house or the garage. The big plumerias are in the garage, which provides some protection, because I just don't have room to bring them all in the house. I'm glad I moved them Wednesday while the weather was relatively nice because Thursday morning dawned overcast, cold, and windy and at 9 AM it was 47˚, the warmest it would be all day. The dog the size of a cat, even with her sweater on, did not want to go out and pee. What she wanted was to lay in my lap which is basically all she ever wants to do anyway.
Since the day was miserable and neither of us had anything that needed doing we decided to go to the movie and see Arrival and take advantage of being in the shopping district to get some things, like stock up the liquor cabinet.
Arrival is not a blockbuster action packed sci-fi film, rather it is slow paced and thoughtful, the story of a first contact, 12 ships scattered all over the globe, and the linguist who is tasked with learning their language ASAP in order to find out why they are here, if their intent is hostile (though it seems to me that if their intent was hostile the humans would know immediately but whatever) before the freaking out armies of the world decide to take things into their own hands.
It's now mid-day on Friday and tomorrow we head back into the city for the last weekend of the open house.
Wednesday, December 7, 2016
Months of working on the A&M job, a frantic month after installation to get new work done before the open house, a week of preparing and setting up, and then the first weekend over has me with a week in between with nothing to do.
At dinner Sunday night, something of a tradition, we all go for pizza, Gene asked me what I was going to do this week. Maybe I'll start on a new model I told him. Wrong. Can't do that as I left all my model making tools there where the open house is. I took them thinking I might demo model making which I didn't do. I left them thinking I might do that next weekend.
Anyway, Monday was cold and rainy and wet. I didn't even venture out of the house until evening when I took the dog for a
quick walk forced march
down the street and back. I didn't even go to yoga. Tuesday turned
warm relatively and sunny and I picked up about 5 gallons of
pecans and eyed the wildflower patch which has been taken over by a
red salvia and field sunflowers and cow pea and pasture grasses. I
need to get in there with a shovel and clear it out except the ground
is still too wet. It's sunny/overcast today so far so I might get out there
today and work on it.
So what with the cold and rain and wet ground and just not feeling like doing anything in general, I spent the last two days updating my website. I have several changes I still want to make but am hampered by not knowing how. Guess I'm going to have to hire someone to do it for me.
Monday, December 5, 2016
For the past month we have been having warm dry weather. So of course, with our first Open House weekend coming up, the weather forecast changed on Thursday to cold, heavy rain, and wind all three days! Not exactly conducive to getting people to come out. As it turned out, it mostly just rained in the mornings and nights at least there at Houston Studio Glass. Coupled with the fact that there are many events going on the first weekend in December, we had our smallest turnout ever. People didn't even show up for the glass blowing demonstrations. You would think that as a result it would have been a miserable show and it was really for everyone else, well except for Kathy and Dick whose studio it is and who always do OK with their small glasses, paperweights, ornaments and small vases, but we did pretty well with our 5 sales, mostly because we sold this one
and two other moderately priced pieces. Usually it's the other way around.
So, last Thursday, we drove in and got set up. We took a different spot than the one we have occupied for the 15 years or so we've been participating in the Open House. Usually we are the first ones as you walk in the door which means we are the cold and wind break for the next display. This year Kathy asked us if we wanted to move further in and I said YES! especially since I was setting up my display differently this year.
We always have a Friday evening preview from 6 – 9 PM and so since I wanted to get there an hour earlier and we had to make a stop on the way in, we left at 3:30 (it's usually an hour drive in to the city). We didn't get there til 6 PM. The highway between us and the city is undergoing construction as it is being upgraded to an interstate and before we got 15 or 20 miles down the road all traffic came to a halt and it took an hour to creep through whatever the obstruction was which put us in Houston right at Friday rush hour on a rainy night. Our usual one hour drive in with one quick stop took us two and a half hours. Didn't put me in the best mood since the reason I had wanted to get there an hour early was that I still had some things to do on my display.
Not that it mattered. With the cold and rain, hardly anyone showed up.
Lisa Klein – enameled jewelry and small dishes
Gene Hester – fused glass
Bob Straight – marbles, fused glass, wood turning
Kathy Poeppel and Dick Moiel – glass blowing
We'll have another go at it next weekend. We add 4 more that do not work in glass...a ceramist, a wood turner, a furniture and leather worker, and a jeweler...the group from our June Open House.
Oh, and the weather is supposed to be colder but not rainy.