Monday, January 20, 2020

weekend activities

I've done almost nothing for the last two days and not getting much done so far today. My sister Pam and I went to Roots and Relics in Rosenberg Saturday to check out a new vendor who has taken over the patio area with talavera pottery and colorful metal yard sculptures and decorations from Mexico. Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures and neither did Pam but there was lots of cool stuff, some kinetic sculptures, one of which was an octopus and it's arms rotated. You might remember that Roots and Relics is the store that the woman who had Miss Hattie's Antique Store here in Wharton where Pam and I both worked. She went into partnership with another woman and they opened that venue in Rosenberg that gets way more traffic than Wharton and then closed the store in Wharton shortly after the tornado came through in early 2017 and blew half the roof off. The only other things I accomplished on Saturday was washing the dishes that had stacked up, plus it was a rainy day (and the new downspout is doing its job).

I did wear my new shirt on Saturday as it was very warm that day and now I'm looking for a simple long sleeve shirt of an appropriate color to wear under it in the winter. 

My friend Joanne Noragon of Cup On TheBus made it. She not only made the shirt, she wove the fabric it's made from and she also makes the most luscious cotton kitchen towels and sells them on her blog so if you don't know Joanne, you should check it out.

Sunday was cold and sunny but also windy which made it unpleasant to be outside for long but I went out several times for long enough to pull up handfuls of clover and to walk the dog who was up for a longer walk even with the wind which she doesn't usually care for. The squirrels or some critter finally ate the pecans so I set more out and they were gone this morning.

The other thing I did Sunday was to finally glue the broken art piece back together, the one I accidentally knocked off the wall with the broom handle a while back.

I managed to glue back all but four tiny pieces of the ones I was able to salvage.

I know where the rounded one on top goes but it's almost paper thin and I don't think there is enough contact for the glue to hold it. I know where the little piece bottom left goes also but there is a sliver missing and so the contact point is very small, like the head of a pin, and there will still  be a gap between the pieces and the one bottom right I haven't figured out where it fits. The last chip is off the back somewhere I think. I might, after the glue has had time to cure, use my little diamond grinding bit to round some of the more obvious broken points.

I ought to be getting out my model making or modeling glass stuff and get started on a few things in case we do do the discussed spring open house but it's already after noon and I have to leave at 4:40 for yoga tonight and I'm really into the book I'm reading so after I pull up a handful or two of clover I may just settle down with it.

Saturday, January 18, 2020


I saw a group of geese flying west and a large group of geese flying southeast. In mid-January.

I saw a daylily had bloomed. In mid-January.

Woodland violets, dandelions, and 10-petal anemones are blooming. In mid-January.

The woodland petal pinks are starting to put up bloom stalks. In mid-January.

The red climbing rose is blooming, the confederate rose is putting out new growth, the clover is rampant and starting to bloom. In mid-January.

I cut back one of the confederate roses earlier in the week and should cut back the other one before the new growth gets too far along. I thought about planting the camellia today since it's done blooming but decided to wait til next week. What I did do today was continue to cut out the dead canes in the climbing roses and pull out the dead branches caught in the tangle of canes. I had already cut the ones I could reach from the ground so today I got the ladder out and worked higher. It looks a lot better, cleaner, even though there are three long thick canes maybe 3/4 to an inch in diameter that I'm pretty sure are dead but they climb really high into the crepe myrtle and I'm not sure if they have growth on the ends. As you can see from my pile, I do occasionally cut a cane that looks dead but isn't. Oops.

If I had our 10' ladder I could get high enough to see but Marc basically gave it away to the guy who comes around and does some tree work for us. He asked to borrow it one day, would bring it back when he finished and Marc told him no hurry. That was before last winter. I'm going to have to go buy a new one.

I also picked up errant sticks as I happened upon them and pulled up a couple of handfuls of clover, my annual spring task to keep it from smothering the bluebonnets. My neighbor drove by and stopped one day last year while I was out there pulling up clover to tell me you know it's gonna grow back. Yes, I know.

Rocky finally got the extra downspout put in (the one on the left) and the gutter screens on to keep the leaves out Thursday. Now, hopefully, when it rains hard all the water that poured off that section of the roof (two valleys feed water onto that section) will be diverted away from the slab. I get a little nervous when it rains hard and the water starts standing along the slab.

The other thing I did yesterday was drive to the Evil Empire and get a plunger. We used to have one but it is nowhere to be found so we think it floated out of the garage and off during the flood. Anyway, the toilet in the big bathroom is flushing very slow and never completely empties so you don't want to do anything in it that you don't want to be seeing. The plunger did not remedy the situation so, luckily for me, Rocky was working at another house on the street and I was able to tell him and he'll be down to fix it.

For all it feels like spring out there, winter is supposed to make an appearance Sunday and Monday. We'll see.

I'll leave you with squirrel acrobatics. I put some shelled pecans on a slab of stone on the ground for the squirrels hoping to distract them from the bird feeder. They have so far ignored the pecans.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

pending bathroom re-do and lesson #2

Years ago, years before Harvey, the toilet in the big bathroom got rocky and a little leaky and so Marc pulled it up to find that the subfloor underneath was rotten. He patched in new plywood and reseated the toilet and all was good. Now, two and a half years after the flood when the subfloor got soaked from underneath, the toilet is once again rocky and a little leaky. After the repairs and renovations from Harvey there were only two rooms in the house that have not been upgraded since we purchased this property...the big bathroom except for the flooring I replaced several years ago 


and the small bedroom Marc uses for his office which didn't get so much a new coat of paint before he took it over. So now that we have to pull the toilet up again and repair or replace the sub floor, we're going to update the whole bathroom, well, most of it. I like my turquoise tub and the vinyl flooring that has been discontinued and the upper cabinets on either side of the mirror are handy but need to be freshened up. I want to replace the built-in vanity with a furniture piece with a marble top and the sink in the middle in front of the mirror instead of off to one side like it is now and I want to replace the wallboard around the bottom of the walls and around the tub/shower with tile. I think. Definitely tile around the tub/shower. I may use bead board again on the wall behind the vanity and under the window. And so I've been looking at vanities and I think this one is my first choice (second choice is very similar)...

I'll lose 10” of counter space but that's fine as we don't really use all the counter space we have now and this is the longest one I can find that has two drawers and three cabinets which is basically what we have now. I could find 60” vanities but they all have one cabinet and multiple drawers and I need the cabinets more than I need more drawers.

Yesterday was my second watercolor lesson. We made a color wheel and I made one mistake on mine using the wrong blue (turquoise) instead of blending the color like I was supposed to.

Then we practiced brush strokes with a round pointy brush and a square flat brush

and then we painted a picture using the brush strokes we practiced. The instructor had two examples for us to emulate shown below.


This was the one I did...

Not too shabby.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

no winter to speak of so far, maybe even spring, and boxing up art

It's been overcast and wet and drippy the last several days and one night it dipped down in the 30s and there was frost on all the rooftops and open ground the next morning. Yesterday, while it wasn't so cold outside, the house was cold and I could not get warm, felt achey and tired even though I slept nearly 11 hours Sunday night. Thought about not going to yoga but I went anyway and actually felt better for it. Spent the rest of the evening on the couch under a blanket with the electric heater on. Last night I was out like a light from 10 PM to 1 AM at which point I tossed and turned for several hours but eventually got back to sleep. This morning, it was 70˚ at 8:30. If it wasn't the middle of January I'd swear it was spring. It may be spring. The early spring weeds seem to think so, I've seen a few 10 petal anemone blooms and things are sprouting new growth that shouldn't be coming out for at least another month.

I got the two art pieces boxed and double boxed for shipping last weekend, cushioned in their inside boxes on Saturday and on Sunday I ran up to the Evil Empire to get some bigger boxes because the ones I had on hand were not the right size and of the two I purchased, only one was the perfect size, the other I had to cut down by 4”.

I did finally completely unpack the magnolia leaves and it's a good thing I did since whoever packed them at the gallery in Dallas when they were sent back to me had the outside box filled with loose peanuts (and there was a hole in the outside box that I hadn't noticed before), a tall kitchen trash bag full of them.

Loose peanuts are a nightmare for a gallery to unpack and they will shift so I never use loose peanuts when I pack my work. I do use peanuts but they're bagged up in the plastic sleeves that the newspaper comes in. This is how I pack my work to withstand the gorilla...first the pieces are wrapped in several layers of bubble wrap and surrounded by 2” of upholstery foam on all six sides in the inside box. Ideally, the outside box is 2” larger all the way around and I nestle the inside box on a 2” thick bed of bagged peanuts and then fill the space between the two boxes with more bagged peanuts and then another 2” layer on top. I want to make it as easy as possible for the gallery to return my work after an exhibition so that all they have to do is remove the top layer of bagged peanuts, open the inside box without removing it from the outside box, remove the top layer of foam, and then remove the work. To repack the piece if it doesn't sell, they just need to repeat the process in reverse.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

another few days in the life...

We got some rain last night, maybe half an inch, as a cold front blew in. It was accompanied by lots of lightning though not much thunder but even so the little dog was in panic mode trying to dig through the blankets and pillows and mattress until I threw her off the bed a couple of times at which point she just laid next to me trembling and panting and there is no consoling her when she's like that. It had been overcast and windy and humid the last two days and I got out the ladder and cleaned out the gutter on the driveway side of the house Thursday and the one in the little backyard yesterday. Rocky is supposed to come by Monday and get that last downspout in and the gutter screens on. He was going to do it months ago but I put him off since I had dental work that needed doing and I've finally got around to calling him about it.

I went to the first watercolor class last Wednesday and all we did was this...

It's a chart of color combinations blending the main color with a different color. The circles were supposed to have just the right amount of water on them that the second color would migrate and display different variations of mixing. I was bent over my paper with my usual amount of meticulousness and had the top two rows done when I looked over at the other people at my table and other tables and everyone else was on the last two short rows and the teacher was calling up those who were finished to demonstrate the large rectangle of dense to light wash. Oops. Guess I need to hurry up a bit so I sped through the rest and did get done before the class was over but I think in my typical fashion I was probably the last one to finish.

Today the plan is to get the Seapot and Coral Cup packed up for the show at the gallery in Dallas that opens February 1st and runs through March 1st 

as well as the magnolia leaves set for an invitational exhibition at a gallery in California. 

The magnolia leaves are already boxed up since the gallery in Dallas had them and sent them to me which I haven't opened yet to make sure everything inside is intact. I'm sure it is but I should check just to make sure.

Other than that it's a nice winter day even if it's been spring like the last couple of weeks and the pansies have been liking it. 

I saw a blue jay in the yard this morning (picture taken through the window on high magnification). 

Haven't seen many of them since the Harvey flood.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

miscellaneous stuff

One more day. My sister is returning tomorrow but not until late so one more day to look after the Demon Duo. They will be glad to have her back. I haven't minded because I get about an uninterrupted 45 minutes or so to read while they play or lay in my lap. It does play hob with my routine since I like a leisurely morning and going over in the middle of the day breaks it up just enough that I don't get much else accomplished but it is my choice when to go.

Speaking of routines, I've done my yoga routine 5 days in a row now. Yay me! I used to wait until after coffee and reading and writing blogs and before breakfast but always ran out of time so now I've been doing it first thing after getting up and before I sit at my desk and have my coffee and that seems to be working out.

When Marc gassed up the car and had the oil changed the other day, the guy discovered a big rat's nest under the hood. We drive that car nearly every day so that surprised the hell out of me. Now I'm wondering if there's one under the hood of the truck as it rarely gets driven these days. I suppose I should look but haven't so far.

We've been having a spate of really pretty days, not too hot during the day, not too cold at night, blue skies and low humidity, just really pleasant. The downside is we aren't getting our winter rain and we could really use some. The other downside is all the early spring weeds are already rampant in the yard...chickweed, cleaver, clover, henbit, oxalis, etc. The woodland violets are blooming and the 10 petal anemone are emerging but not blooming yet. The climbing roses in the crepe myrtle and oak are blooming but I can't tell if this is their fall bloom or their spring bloom.

The place I found out here in Wharton, Hesed House, that has yoga classes and other community activities and lectures and stuff is having a six week series of free classes on Watercolors For The Beginner (for adults) so I signed up for the Wednesday classes which start tomorrow. I'm not exactly a beginner artist but I have never taken watercolor classes. I'm sure I'll learn something and it will be an opportunity to engage in a broader range of art or it may be so basic that I'll be bored. We'll see.

I just took the dog out to see if she had some business to do while I watered the poppies before the dip into the 30˚s tonight and looked up to see her hauling ass across the 12 acre field behind us chasing that gray cat into the scrub on the other side. She ran full out without a thought but coming back she slowly picked her way with her dainty feet.

And now I'm going to go finish my book.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

crazy people

The other day the son of the crazy woman who owns the lot next to us came over to mow and cut up the catalpa tree on the corner of the open shed that fell over several months ago. Then he was out there with a metal detector trying to find the metal stake at the front of the property that marks the property line and he was looking in the wrong spot, figuring it would be across from the fence line of the shop property across the street. Originally, the lot next to us belonged to the people who owned my house but for reasons unknown to me, they sold it to Frank of the Bountiful Garden whose property was on the other side of the lot. Frank didn't want to buy the tallow trees on the property line so the original owner retained 5', meaning we own the 5' adjacent to our property. This was news to her son and he finally conceded he would have to get someone out there to find the actual property line in preparation of putting up the fence. I'm pretty sure this is news to the crazy one as well and all this time she's been thinking we have not been respecting the property line, hence the fence between us, I guess. Or who knows what motivates her as far as we're concerned. I have to admit that I wish I could have been a bug on the wall to see her reaction when he told her. Don't you know she went nuts learning we owned 5' of property that she thinks should be hers.

And speaking of crazy people, the madman in the White House has kicked the hornets nest by assassinating the second most powerful man in Iran. For reasons. Trump is a proven liar and governments lie when they want to go to war (Iraq being our most recent example) and so I do not believe a word Trump or anyone in his administration or any of his Republican supporters says about Soleimani and his plans to attack US embassies and bases especially since defense officials dispute Trump's claim. So Soleimani was evil. So is Putin, so is Erdogan, so is Kim Jong Un, so is the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Netanyahu and all the other dictators Trump so admires and in fact he alerted Putin of his intention and not Congress who has the sole power to authorize an act of war.

Not satisfied with this stupid thoughtless stunt all because Trump and his minions can't tolerate the achievements of a black man, and asked if he had an exit strategy for the events that will surely follow, he replied “I don't need an exit strategy”; Trump has threatened to bomb 52 cultural and heritage sites in Iran, 52 non-military targets. This is a war crime. Not surprisingly, our allies that Trump has spent the last three years shitting on do not support the impulsive assassination of Soleimani with no thought as to the consequences that has already endangered their own service people abroad and Trump can't understand why not while Pompeo actually said he expected the Iranians to rejoice over Soleimani's death.

And who are we to claim righteousness? How many innocent lives have we ended in our quest for oil and conquest of the world? We destroyed Iraq under false pretenses, over half a million Iraqis dead, their infrastructure destroyed, the economy decimated, caused it to fall into anarchy and terrorism, not to mention the 30,000+ maimed American soldiers, all because Dick Cheney had a hard on for Iraqi oil.

Trump has fulfilled his own prediction/tweets about Obama...a failing unpopular (and in this case impeached) president would start a war with Iran to get re-elected.

Welcome to 2020. And I thought 2019 was fucked up.