Friday, October 15, 2021

first look and when it rains it pours

Finally! I had a night where I didn't wake up with a long weird dream in my head. The one the night before was equally as weird as all the ones I've been having for the last several weeks. I had about decided that if this is what remembering my dreams is like I'd rather go back to not remembering them.

Short synopsis...I was late going to pick up Robin and was entering the 610 Loop in the city driving in reverse, couldn't remember the exit, then someone else driving us (me, Robin, and my sister's granddaughter (?)) going over an insanely high bridge, didn't have my phone, Robin had deleted the map app from her phone, Abby had so many apps we couldn't find the map app, realized I had my phone after all which turned into some sort of directory and no matter how many times I pressed the button it would not give me the dashboard. Woke up. Looked at the time, it was 5:30. WTF, I still had an hour of sleep, I wasn't in the city, and I know how to get to my daughter's house!

Finally got the trumpet flower piece out of the kiln (which is falling apart, the kiln, not the casting). Here it is with the plaster removed

and here after it's vinegar bath.

The small open flower came out much pinker than the color sample led me to believe but it's OK I guess. And the background came out grayer than I thought so I'm really glad I didn't go with the gray blue. And the green tone in the unopened bud is very subtle but may show up more after I do the finish work. I just never really know how these things are going to turn out.

This weekend would be a good time to do the finish work as a cold front (predicted low of 48˚ gasp! that's a winter temp though now they're saying 50˚s) is supposed to come in and not a minute too soon as the air conditioner crapped out yesterday. We had to have an expensive part replaced this spring to prevent this very thing.

So back to the kiln which is very old (at least 25 years maybe older as I don't remember when we bought it) and rusty and the two bolts that hold in the top hinge of the door no longer do that. We have another newer kiln that is not working. Early February 2016 a firing went haywire and the kiln temp shot up hotter than we thought it could even go (if you've been reading for a while you might remember this post) and it hasn't worked since. Marc made a couple of efforts to fix it, replacing various parts but apparently there's a wire that he can't get to that is crucial. We need to haul it up to the Dallas area to the manufacturer for repair if they can and are willing to repair it which I'm trying to find out. It's that or buy a new kiln and they are pricey. I could get away with a smaller one than what we have now which would save about $1,000.

And if all that's not headache enough the kitchen sink is stopped up again, draining very slow, and this time I'm calling the plumber on Monday.

Edit: the AC proved to be a simple fix, clogged drain line which disconnected the compressor so that the pan wouldn't overfill. All good now.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

drawings and blooming things and more weird dreams

I had to take down the picture of Paisleigh in my last post for a few hours. It's back up now plus one more so if you missed the picture or if you only saw the one you might want to go back and look at her adorable little face.

The trumpet flower piece has cooled down in the kiln but we'll probably let it sit for a few more days to settle. In the meantime, I'm working on another trumpet flower drawing for the small stand. I was just going to do the two but I wanted to try a pink one so I'm using the drawing I did back when of just the bottom part of the flower, adding in a few leaf tips at the top to keep the eye from shooting off in space. Still adjusting the position of the leaves but this is essentially the composition.

Now I need to figure out the changes I need to make to the luna moth composition so that it will slide into its stand.

It was so hot out there yesterday. We're having a reprise of summer, as if it ever left. As soon as you walk out the door the heat just hits you. But, the orange cosmos finally is putting on blooms,

These things are at least 8' tall, at least.

the confederate rose as well but no open flowers yet. Zinnias, red salvia, white Philippine lily,

porterweed, mist flower, firespike are all providing food for the bees stocking up for winter and the hummingbirds and butterflies migrating through. We're supposed to get out first real cold front somewhere around the weekend, and it's a little breezy today, predicted low of 48˚.

So the weird and bizarre dreams and me remembering them has continued just about every night. I woke up from a doozy last night, similar to one several nights ago though completely different in location but the central motif was the same, rejection by the 'mother' figure. The first one I woke feeling sadness, rejection, of being unwanted and it took me awhile to come out of it, laying in bed knowing it was just a dream and not anything I experience in my life now. This morning's dream had the same rejection but it was crueler, like punishment, but instead of feeling sad, I was getting pissed off. I woke up with my first words being 'what the fuck'. The dream...we, the parental figures, another couple, and I (though it seems like at times there were a few more people), were at a fancy resort in three separate rooms but adjacent. The parental room was really nice with a small porch/balcony off it. They had all gone to breakfast at one of the restaurants there without telling me and when I got there they were halfway through their meal and I was rightly a little angry that they had not included me and the mother figure would not allow me to join them. When I tried to get a table of my own the host wouldn't seat me because my room had been included in the larger group. Went back to my room and decided I would try another one of the restaurants because I was hungry and went into the lobby sitting on the steps to decide where to eat when the other couple joined me. Then a woman came by with a tray of nibbles and offered some to every person sitting on the steps except me. I got up and followed her to a counter and asked why and at first she ignored me but then said because I looked like I wouldn't want any. You didn't even look at me, I told her! So then this other couple and I went to one of the other restaurants at this resort and were seated and we were getting served some small plates of things when a big guy came and sat at the table and apologized but he couldn't serve me because he was concerned about getting paid. When I asked why he thought he wouldn't get paid, that I had a room there, he showed me the reservation chart. The parental unit had already reserved a table including all three rooms. I got up to leave thinking I would go and get my things and leave the resort since they had brought me along just to deny me. That's when I woke up. I don't think the parental unit was my actual parents, I can't recall any specific faces and both my parents have been dead for a long time (and I very rarely, almost never, dream about either one of them specifically), but in reality, I did not have a good relationship with my mother ever, and for a long time not with my father either. There was a lot of emotional rejection from my mother when I was young starting with my birth when she told the nurse that dark haired baby (she and my older sister were blond) couldn't possibly be hers and it took my father to convince her I was. My early report cards, 1st - 3rd grades, frequently noted I was clingy and emotionally needy. Later in high school they denied me friendships because the people I liked were never good enough for them and then in college, they totally alienated me and I didn't really speak to them for a couple of years. But fer cryin' out loud, I'm 71 years old. I dealt with this shit long ago. Why is this coming up now? The guardian angel, dream catcher, and talisman bag hanging over my bed better start doing their jobs.


Monday, October 11, 2021

I'm a great grandma y'all!

Paisleigh Reese Russell, 7 lbs 15 oz, 18.5”, made her appearance before 11 PM Sunday night. It was a rough slow go and they finally determined a c-section was needed. Audra's blood sugar crashed after the delivery (she's type 1 diabetic) and they moved her to ICU but she's doing well now and mom and dad and baby are able to be together in her room.

Mikey was the only one allowed during the labor and delivery and no visitors because covid so us grandparents and great grand parents and aunts will have to wait til she's home to be able to see and cuddle her.

Friday, October 8, 2021

odds and ends

We have three wifi connections in our house via two different routers. I generally prefer to use the oldest as it's the fastest even though one of the new ones is supposedly 5G so you'd think that when I wake up my computer (it disconnects from the wifi when asleep) it would reconnect to one of those in the house. And you would be wrong. Often it connects to my sister's wifi across the street (I have her password from back when we were staying with her right after the Harvey flood), skipping our two routers in between my desktop and my sister's house. And that one is very slow.

I get notifications on my tablet. The two were Amber alerts and Severe Weather alerts. I finally turned off the Amber alerts because they always came in the middle of the night but I still get the Severe Weather alerts though at some point they segued into...

So is it going to start hailing stolen children?

Learned Wednesday that the birth of my first great grandchild has been moved up from October 13 to this Sunday if the doctor, who is concerned about her feet and sugar levels, can get an appointment.

Across the road that the west end of my street ends at is a railroad track, a corn/cotton field and then a county road that parallels that road and then the highway. Yesterday evening set fire to four big piles of trees in that field that must have been cleared from somewhere nearby. They were flaming up when we drove by on the way to yoga but never really caught as they were still there coming back and smoldering smokily. When I set out to walk Minnie it was hazy and smelly from the smoke that was drifting into our end of the neighborhood. Thursday morning it was even worse so I guess they smoldered all night.

Another mostly sleepless night Thursday night but boy did I have some weird dreams in the hour or two of sleep I got before I had to get up to get ready for my day at SHARE, part of which involved people milling around my house while someone, the maid/cook was fixing breakfast that these people had been invited for. When we were called to eat, a big table had been set and another table was laid out with a big spread of different food buffet style. I fixed my plate (can't say what it all was except for scrambled eggs, some bread kind of thing, and everything else was sort of fluffy sweet stuff) and decided my place at the table was too crowded so I stood/sat? off to the side and my mouth started watering for real while I was asleep and I woke enough to to know that while I was swallowing all that saliva in my dream, I was swallowing it for real. There was another one that involved some kind of animal, a dog that turned into a tortoise kind of thing later and a swimming pool and feeding it some weird snowflake shaped crustacean like things.

Also last Wednesday, I filled in the rest of the background color even adding a little more, if it's going to turn out darker then I might as well go with it but I don't think it will really be that dark, and then started back filling for the clear layer but ran out of time.

Finally got over to the studio this morning and filled in the last of the clear and then the final white layer and now it's ready to go in the kiln.

I'm sure everyone is breathing a sigh of relief that they don't have to listen to me moan about it, at least til it's fired and I see how it came out. The gallery in Dallas has already contacted me about having these two pieces for the Botanical show in February.

Another sign of the end of summer and the somewhat cooler weather, the Philippine lilies are starting to bloom. They can get to be a good sized shrub though this one is a volunteer I put in a pot and the single stem has shot up at least three feet. I have a white version too but it's not blooming yet.

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

why can't I make up my mind!

Sunday, when I went over to the studio to work on the mold it didn't take me long to think that I might have used the marigold powder instead of the yellow powder when I started backfilling the large flower. The reason I thought this is because when I added more of the 10/1 ratio color, it looked lighter than what was already in there. And if so then I've totally lost control of how intense the color I was trying for will turn out. Later though I thought surely I didn't make a rookie mistake confusing one jar with another. The powders both look the same but the marigold is in a small jar and the yellow is in a bigger jar. So we'll see.

Then I had to decide on a background. I was thinking a light blue, there are blues that don't react with yellow and decided on gray blue but after filling in two sections now I'm not so sure. It would be a pain to remove it without disturbing the yellow but I could do it, well most of it, probably not where the two colors touch.

The gray blue was the color I used for the first failed body for the heron box. You might remember that disaster from late summer 2019.
 Maybe I'll remove most of it and then layer in some of the indigo behind it.

Watching the bird feeder Monday morning, there's one male cardinal in particular that hangs out and chases off all the other cardinals that light on the bird feeder or the shepherd's crook it hangs from.

Coming back from our walk Sunday, I pulled up a handful of hay grass in the front and passed this plumeria to toss the grass in the garden cart and I noticed this grasshopper laying eggs in the hollow stump of a branch I had pruned back.

Ah well, of course I removed the gray blue Monday morning and I got almost all of it out replacing it with the indigo which looks fairly dark in the mold but I don't think it will be that saturated after firing, at least I hope not because I don't want a dark blue (I know you're thinking that indigo is a very dark blue but this is a tint, one of the very pale colors). It's only about a 3/16” thick layer and so should only be as dark as the tip of the sample after it melts down. But of course now I'm thinking I should have stuck with the gray blue.

gray blue on the left, indigo on the right

I don't know why I'm so indecisive about this but I'll just have to forge ahead as no way can I remove the frit from around the narrow tendrils without screwing those up but probably what I'll do is try and lift out some of the indigo in an uneven manner and put in a layer of clear so it will look slightly mottled. I have no idea how this is going to turn out.

We had a full class at yoga last night, 8, about average for that but sometimes a few more. I start out with breathing and a gentle warm up getting increasingly more difficult from beginner/intermediate to intermediate/advanced as the class is mixed in skill level. I'm not sure when Abby's coming back, maybe next week, maybe not but surely the week after that. It's challenging for me and maybe even a little fun now that I'm over my nervousness.

Sunday, October 3, 2021

the terminally stupid, dogs, birds, caterpillars

Someone reported a week or so ago that there was a new conspiracy theory on Breitbart (no I don't read it) that liberals were dunking on MAGAts and other far right anti-vaxxers so they will dig in their heels to 'own the libs' and die. Who knew their refusal to get vaccinated and wear masks is really a heinous liberal plot. It seems somebody finally noticed that most of the people dying from covid are the nut job republicans.

Yesterday morning Minnie started going nuts barking her head off. There was a big white dog over at the shop yard, very friendly and chill, totally unconcerned with Minnie, barking hackles raised, when we went out. Pam checked the tags on her collar, had a name and number so I called. By the time he showed up the dog had headed down the street and I didn't know where she was but told him if I saw her again, I'd call. A couple of hours later I was heading over to the house from the studio when I turned to make sure Minnie was following and she and that big white dog were nose to nose. So the dog followed us home and into the garage and I called the guy again and then closed the garage door, the dog was just laying down in there. Anyway, the guy showed up, a youngish guy, says he has a hard time keeping her in, spent a week looking for and repairing holes and tears in the fence around his 10 acres where she's getting out. She's a Great Pyrenees, guards his goats, has already killed two coyotes. She likes to range, he said, but you'd think 10 acres would be enough, said she was gone for three weeks once and someone found her in Richmond 33 miles away, took her to a local vet, she's chipped.

Saturday's progress on the mold. You can see some of the shading I'm trying to get this time. I've put in marigold yellow, which is a little more orange than the canary and the pale yellow. I wish I had remembered to take a picture of the green tones in the barely open flower before I covered it with the yellow. Second photo I'm filling in with the yellow. I'm using a less intense yellow than on the first piece. I can get varying shades of yellow by mixing different ratios of the pale yellow frit with the very saturated intense canary yellow powder. In the first piece I used two ratios; 10/1 and 10/3; and got that deep yellow. This time I'm using just the 10/1.

Still getting some rain most days but thankfully without the lightning and thunder and intense downpours. It's very wet out there and very humid. On my walk around the yard yesterday early evening I spied two of these, monarchs in the making.

And the bird feeder is getting lots of action. I'm seeing adult cardinals and juveniles in various stages of getting their adult plumage chickadees, titmice mostly. The other bird feeder with the grain is not so I wonder where the sparrows are. Maybe I need to move it to a different location.


Friday, October 1, 2021

more progress, observing nature, and clueless people

Leading the yoga class on Mondays and Wednesdays is going well enough. I lead a different class than Abby does, more intermediate to advanced as opposed to beginner to intermediate, and people are still showing up though the number varies. Wednesday was iffy for me due to the thunderstorms we've been having this week but it cleared up in time and off I went. The thunderstorms seem to have passed but we are still getting rain, raining today, gentle but steady.

I made more progress on the mold yesterday, filling in the unopened flower but just to surface level. Still need to build it up. What you can't see is the green tones that went in first before I covered it up with the light yellow. I'm heading over to the studio in a few minutes to work on it some more.

I did finally get a good night's sleep last night. I woke up twice but was able to go back to sleep quickly.

There's a lot of racket out there this morning coming from the other side of the wild space between property lines. When I drove by to go pick up Robin and take her to work I saw that the house and garage of the junk man who gathered and recycled metal was being torn down. It's been fairly deserted for over a year now with someone showing up periodically to work and for a while the year before there was an RV parked in the front that someone seemed to be living in but not for awhile. I don't think they ever repaired that house after the Harvey flood and the guy had some health issues so perhaps he died.

Saw a dragonfly laying eggs in the water filled ditch the other evening slapping her tail against the surface of the water, dip down, slap, dip down, slap, while walking Minnie, a doomed effort as two days later the water had all been absorbed. And for the last couple of weeks when I close up the garage at night there has been one or two wrens in there, one of them the same wren I'm fairly sure judging by its sparse tail feathers. The other night when I pulled down the garage door it peeked out at me from behind one of the struts and I managed to get its picture.

A stroll around the yard and the confederate rose is finally putting on some buds, late from being frozen to the ground by the arctic freeze after it had started coming back after our normal winter, I'm getting no pecans again this year and have no idea why two years in a row, the bird of paradise has sent up a bloom stalk,

and the mist flower is blooming. The bees and butterflies love it.

Speaking of bees, the guy that bought Pam's old house completely cleared the yard of all her plantings and flower beds, most of which were bee friendly, and then he set up bee hives in the back yard after removing all the food sources. 

Today's progress on the mold. I know the frit in the small flower on the right looks pink but if my color sample and the formula for it are correct it will turn an orangey yellow after firing. I had considered doing it pink at one time but changed my mind. I just hope I have enough depth to get close to the sample color.