Thursday, September 30, 2010

hello, it's me...

It's been a long week and we didn't finish this job. In fact we are having to redo a section because the first time didn't come out that great. It's an unpredictable technique. I'll have to come back next week for several days to finish it. But that's OK. I'll just make sure one of those days is Thursday. That would be 'yoga with the girls' day.

It's been nice, having the grandkids hang out in the afternoons/early evenings but I am almost out of clean underwear. Plus it's like living in a Korean dormitory here...stuff works, sort of. And more than once we've had to make do without something that isn't here, but at home.

Along with all the stuff I had to do on this job, I also got together with our friend Gene who does fused glass to work out a sample. He has already done two very simple renditions that we decided to fuse together for a very cool effect and then we did another. It needs work. There are several things I would change if I was going to re-do it (not use that dark red glass for one, use more frit or powder for shading for another). Instead we are going to try a different flower from the proposed panel next week.

And we're casting a bunch of little egg shells. The first time we ran through the kiln program, I picked one of eight at random and demolded it to see if it had cast and it had not. So now the kiln is going through the program again with a longer period at casting temperature. I hope they cast this time. I hope we haven't slipped out of the groove and are now going to be faced with a bunch of failures til we get warmed up again.

All in all, I'll be glad to get home for a few days.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

river vignette 9 - Lower Canyons of the Rio Grande

In the city this week fabricating the small job we have and taking care of some other business.

Our first cool front of the year has finally made it here and given us a break from the heat and humidity. Fall is some of our best weather; warm days, cool nights, low humidity and a clear blue sky.

Makes me want to be on the river.

The desert and canyons are very green, remarkably so. Ocotilla and lechugia are blooming. Also several types of yellow and purple flowers. All signs of recent rains. There are dragonflies, damselflies, and butterflies of all sizes and types everywhere. Swallowtails, monarchs, fritillaries, checkerspots, sulfurs, whites, and brushfoots. The yellow and orange sulphurs cluster together and rest on the ground or in the low growing plants, rising like a cloud when disturbed. Swallowtails, monarchs, and fritillaries fly around unconcerned with our presence, sometimes even landing on us. After we make camp a huge beautiful black, white and gray butterfly (moth?) comes to rest on my arm while I am eating and stays for about 15 minutes.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

another one down

and another one bites the dust...

My mother-in-law called last Thursday to let us know that Rosane was dying. Her health had been deteriorating for several years. She was in the hospital for a bleeding ulcer that was not responding to treatment and with her family at her side she decided to have them stop the transfusions and let nature take it's course. She was 84.

Friday we got the call that Rosane had passed.

My husband comes from an enormous family with lots of siblings and aunts and uncles and cousins out the wazoo and they all like each other. Rosane was my mother-in-law's first cousin. When I married into this family it was a little overwhelming, the more so because I come from a very small family. Life cycle events were/are celebrated by inviting everybody and everybody comes. It was not unusual to find myself abandoned in the midst while Marc hung out outside with the rest of the smokers BS-ing with the cousins. I learned to make my way and place and eventually, the names and the intricacies of relatedness. I still have trouble calling up some of the names of the younger generation but I know which cousin they belong to.

So at these gatherings that usually involve food and music along with whatever ritual is being observed I would seek out certain individuals of the previous generation, the current reigning elders, make sure I greeted them, provide whatever service. One of those was the flamboyant Aunt Florence. She left us 2 years ago. Some of them are Aunt Anna and Uncle Sid and I will be sad when they are done here. And one of them was Rosane. Rosane is, in the relatedness of it all, a first cousin once removed. Her son, David who is of our generation, is a second cousin. I would always go visit with Rosane and then take David away with me, David having remained single.

I would spirit David away with me to dance. I like to dance. I like the music, I like the beat, I like moving to it. Marc doesn't dance, doesn't really like it, doesn't really get it and though he will go out on the dance floor with me it's hard to drag him out there when he is outside. So unless David had a date we would hang out together. David isn't the only reason I would go sit with Rosane though. She was always warm and welcoming to me and interested in what I was up to.

Back when David's dad started to fail, he quit his job at an architectural firm to work freelance and moved home to help his mom care for him. Charles died 5 years ago and David stayed with his mom. And has cared for her as she began to fail.

For jews, usually, the funeral is set for the next day but maybe since Saturday is the sabbath, it was not scheduled til today, Sunday.

Many of the family had gathered for Rosane including some from Dallas. The casket was already in the pit when we arrived. The graveside service was short and to the point. People spoke, the prayers were said, the eulogy given, the dirt thrown.

The dirt thrown. This is probably my favorite part, aside from the being short part, of jewish funerals and I always take part. It just seems right to me.

At the end, after all is said, it is considered a mitzvah a good thing to help spread the blanket of dirt, putting the dear one to bed for the last time. Family and friends each take the shovel and throw a spade or two of dirt on the casket in the hole. I liked Rosane a lot but I didn't expect to get teary at her funeral. This part, though, is always the most poignant to me and I shed a few tears for her passing.

After all those who wanted to participate had, the two workers took over and proceeded to fill the hole. They were done before half the crowd had left. So now Rosane has passed and David is a caring soul with no charge.

Later, at the wake, I asked him.

So David, what are you going to do now?”

He kind of shook his head, “I don't know” he replied, “everybody's asking me that.”

Friday, September 24, 2010


It continues to surprise me how the seasons turn on a day, not a gentle gradual coming or going, but a! 
As if summer is being hustled off the stage with the hook.

The oaks have heard the chant and have started releasing their acorns. 
I don't know why this surprises me but every year, surprise me it does.

There is no looking up one day and realizing that, oh, it's fall, whenever did that happen? 
For me it's opening the door in the morning to summer one day and opening it to fall the next.

I realize the big old tallow in the little back yard has been losing leaves for weeks now and the ginkgo and pecan joined it last week. 
But now, in the second day past the equinox, they have definitely received some signal.

The angle of the light and the movement of the sun across the span from spring to fall has shifted and a breeze was stirring from the east.
We had rain of a different sort as leaves gently showered down.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


image via:

OK, I'm over my little snit. When I first saw the link at I filled out the comment form on the website. I did get a reply and it was no less than I expected and I'm paraphrasing here: All that stuff is perfectly safe, humans are more important than bugs, you are spreading mis-information. Then he quoted our governor Rick Perry (a man I have voted against every single time) at me and told me that I needed to continue my education and that nobody would like the results if they quit using all that stuff. The tone was condescending.

I could, if I cared enough to waste the time, marshall all the facts and statistics I wanted to support my position. So could he, which is why it's an exercise in futility. He and I will never come to see the other's point of view. The differences are many and rooted in our belief systems. So live and let live. Surround yourself with chemicals and poison, dude. Infuse your house. Slather it on, take a bath in it, consume it. Just don't inflict it on me. Don't dump it into the atmosphere or water. Don't spread it on the earth. Just sayin'.

So. Did I mention that today, the day after the autumnal equinox I felt fall in the air for the first real time? There have been a few mornings when there was a hint but today it was all day. Something different about the air and the breeze. Still hot in the sun, it got up to 91˚, but the feeling lingered all day.

After abandoning the garden towards the end of July, we finally went out to clean it out and start getting it ready for a fall planting. We have some tomato plants and some brussells sprouts. I want to put in some kohlrabi but I think I should have started the seeds already. I pulled out grass and weeds while Marc uprooted all the old tomato plants. The banana peppers and bell peppers are still trying valiantly to produce. The regular rains have helped since I stopped watering. The strawberry plants reproduced and I need to move them to a dedicated bed.

I'm looking forward to the weekend.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

we interrupt our regularly scheduled programming...

I was thinking about doing a post on the equinox, about how some signal has been received by the trees in the last several days re the amount of leaves that are being shed or about the slow creep to the longest night that is beginning, but I got sidetracked.

I was checking my stats today and saw I had (the total is now) 55 referrals from Agairupdate is a website and on-line newsletter for crop dusters. It took me a little while to find the link he posted to my blog. But find it I did...This is the mentality and mindset aerial applicators face as urbanites move to the if I'm leading the pitchfork armed mob storming the pilot in his plane.

He seems to take issue with my opinion concerning poisons in the environment. Never mind that my post only had one little sentence at the very end about the local crop duster. Never mind that my post was not about 'aerial applications' or how conscientious (or not) the people who do it are. Never mind that I did not lambaste agribusiness specifically or farmers in general. Never mind that he doesn't know anything about me. Never mind that the bit about the crop duster was about the irony in my life and not about the crop duster, who was btw just doing his job.

The ever supportive partner, when I showed him the rudely worded link, said, “He's right.”

No, he is not right!” I replied indignantly.

I'm not some urbanite getting away from it all on my little ranchette on the weekends or complaining about the noise of the plane and the smell of whatever chemical from my gated community big city suburb recently carved out of ranch or farmland. Yes, I would prefer if the farmers engaged in a more sustainable form of agriculture and stopped pumping chemicals into the air and ground. Yes, I think that people and other living things would be better off without all the poison that is used everyday without thought. But if I was going to engage in any kind of protest I would start with my neighbors and try to get them to reduce the amount of household and garden toxins they use.

I guess he needed a bogeyman and thought I fit the bill. Apparently he's not aware of all the country people (as opposed to us transplanted urbanites) who think aerial application is at the root of a lot of serious illness in their families.

In the meantime, I will just take care of my little half acre making it the healthiest ecosystem I can without poisons.


This was my dinner last night.

Chicken pot pie or peach pie?

Hee hee. If you guessed chicken pot pie then you don't know me very well.

Monday, September 20, 2010

none for me, thank you

We've had a rainy weekend here and the cat expresses her displeasure every time she comes in. We've been getting rain fairly regularly since September and let me tell you, the mosquitos that didn't bother us all the long dry summer are fierce and abundant out there now. Even when it's not raining you can't stay out for long unless you want to coat your skin with poison. It takes them less than a minute to zero in on you.

I'm not a big fan of poison myself. I've never understood why people spread poison all around their homes and yards on a regular basis. My neighbor, when the kids were growing up, would always warn me when they sprayed their yard and around their house so that I could make sure the kids didn't go over there for a day or two. I also don't get the anti-bacterial craze. I prefer to keep my good bacteria alive and my immune system strong.

When I was younger, in my pre-glass days, I and my then husband bought some poison for roaches from an exterminating place and only read the cautions and warnings after we got home. I was so horrified that I didn't even want to touch the glass jug. We returned it to them, asking for our money back. The salesman/exterminator guy reacted with scorn and derision and by way of demonstrating how harmless the stuff was put a coin in the gum machine, got a gum ball, sprayed it with some of the same stuff and popped it in his mouth. I'm sure my revulsion must have shown on my face as he laughed at us on our way out.

You will never convince me that poisons and neurotoxins are targeted and safe. That doesn't mean I haven't bombed my house a time or two in desperation but I am acutely aware of absorbing the residue.

Because I see something fundamentally wrong with poisoning my home and environment I've become a live and let live kinda gal. My spiritual outlook was evolving too. When you pay attention, it's amazing how many things humans kill in the course of a day, without thinking. Without it even being necessary. I raised my kids to respect all life and to refrain from killing some small creature just because it is there or stripping a tree or shrub of leaves out of idleness. I've tried to teach the same to my grandkids, to not step on that little bug there on the ground that deserves it's own small life just as much as they do, to be gentle and not cause injury to the lizard or garden snake or toad or butterfly that they have caught out of curiosity. It's why I catch insects and lizards in the house and release them outside, it's why I rescue goats from dogs and possums out of rain barrels, why I let the wasp nests stay and encourage the fire ants to bed in the field. I refrain from killing or disturbing that which does me no harm. It's why my property is a no kill zone.

And so, if there is little justice in the world, at least there is irony.

I'm a country girl now. I live in a little neighborhood in the county outside a small town sandwiched between agricultural fields. The crop duster was back the other day zooming low over our house to make his banking turns as he sprayed defoliant on the cotton. Defoliant. Heinous stuff.

I stayed inside thankful that it was, at least, a windless day.

*if you are here via the link from agairupdate, read this one too.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

busy and boring...again

I seem, suddenly, very busy but it's a hurry up and wait kind of busy I think. Between working on this little job we have and doing the drawings for the new proposal and still trying to put some time in on the wax models every day (which I didn't do yesterday) and heading into the city every Thursday lately, well, I'm reading folks, just not commenting much.

I have a list of four work related errands in the city today which mostly justify the long drive and gasoline consumed and disguise my real reason for going which is yoga with the girls!

The sketch is for one of three proposed panels that will be wall mounted for a community room at John Wesley United Methodist Church (our new patron it seems since we have already done their chapel). The room is referred to as the 'garden room' so the theme of the panels is plants of the bible. This one will be the right hand panel and represents what I think of as 'useful' (melons, leeks, beans, garlic), drink (grapes), clothing (cotton) and ointments (aloe). They will be fabricated in fused glass and be very colorful so I will be collaborating with a friend of mine. I'm doing the art work and will assist him in the fabrication. The other two panels will represent flowers and trees. They have a possible donor but I don't think he has committed yet.

Updates in my small country world...the ground is still literally hopping with small toads with every step. The pecan drop seems to have stopped mostly so I'm hoping the trees will hold onto the ones that are left til they are mature which shouldn't be all that much longer. I haven't checked on the voles yet. I read that they mature in about 4 weeks so I'm waiting til I think they are grown before I pick up the piece of sheet metal. The best news though is that when I got up this morning, it was 67˚ outside!

Yeah, I know, boring but it was the best I could do today.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

endless summer

And I don't mean the movie.

It continues to be hot and humid here, rumors of fall arriving elsewhere notwithstanding. A thirty minute criss-crossing of the yard in the shade to fill a 1 gallon bucket with fallen (bad) pecans has me dripping sweat. And I mean that literally. Walking slowly, picking up pecans is not a vigorous activity.

Work continues on the shop nonetheless. I have to hand it to him. I've been hiding out inside while he puts in three or four hours out there getting the roof panels on. When he comes in his clothing is soaked through. Occasionally he calls me to come give him a hand and as soon as I have done what was requested, I scurry back inside. I have my own work to do.

I was surprised and delighted to see that my moonflower vine, the one planted near the house, had three flowers open last night and that they opened while it was still light. They unfurled so quickly that you could almost see it happen.

It was still plenty light enough to get a good picture without the flash (and I did get one) but with the flash, it gives the petals a silky luminescence. Now if I could only capture that in glass.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

a little peek

As mentioned previously, I finished the first model in my erotica tryptic.

Finished model, 6” x 6” x 1 1/2”

I'm well into the second model but haven't had as much time to work on it what with my brother's visit and working on the art work for a job and a couple of proposals.

In progress. I initially thought of this one as a bunch of little boobies. Also 6” x 6”.

It's still pretty rough but now it's looking more like wiggling sperm and eggs.

Another view.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


What do you see?” she asked me.

My feet.” I replied.

I was looking down at my sandal clad feet. Old, worn leather sandals with straps. The ground was dry, sandy with rocks scattered about and boulders. I was sitting on a boulder looking at my feet. I was wearing some sort of homespun garment and those were men's feet. I was a man.

This was how my past life regression started out.

I was, at that time, going through a rough emotional patch, having been shunned by my main social group and I was having a hard time making sense of it. My friend Renee suggested this session to see if maybe we could find the underlying cause or stimulus. Renee lives close to the veil. She is very sensitive to the ether. And she had recently gone through an intensive workshop to learn and utilize this technique (not hypnosis) in her role as a therapist.

How do you feel?” she asked me.

Sad, full of guilt and remorse.” I replied.

Why are you feeling that way?” she asked.

I don't know.”

She had me go back farther.

Where are you now?” she asked.

I'm sitting on a low wall in my village.” Maybe a small town. It's dusty, the wall is stone. There seem to be people passing by. We might be in a public area, I'm not really sure. I'm talking to someone next to me. There has been a theft and I know who did it. I indulge in a bit of gossip, I let this little bit of information, the name, slip to the person with whom I am talking, a person whom I trust. I tell all this to Renee.

What happens next?” she prompts when I stop talking.

I'm walking on the road and I turn into a property, walking through a gap in the low wall into the open space in front of the small house. The wall is stone, the house is stone and mud brick perhaps. It is my house. I am standing there in the courtyard or maybe sitting when a young man comes running with the news that our friend, the thief, was found out, caught and sentenced to death, put to death. I walk out, away from the village.

And that is why I am sitting on the boulder, contemplating my betrayal.

Afterwards, Renee and I were both surprised, considering the situation that had been preying on me, that this vignette did not really seem to have anything to do with my current situation. It did however have meaning for me, gave me a deeper understanding of some part of me. At the end of the session she had asked me to visualize my guardian angel for guidance but unlike some people I have never felt the presence of a guardian angel. Instructed to relax and empty my mind, a living person's image came to me, a friend, someone I admire, with a bit of advice. Well, not advice so much so much as truth. And that bit of truth released me from a mental burden or perhaps, allowed me to release myself.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

rain is a good thing

It's raining. It was raining when I woke up and it has rained all day. It's all green out the open door and I can see the rain coming down. It's one of those steady rains, not torrential. A torrential rain is like a temper tantrum and is over quickly enough. This is a pout settling in for a long visit with an occasional thrashing of the fists in the air stirring up the trees.

I've been wanting rain. We have been needing rain. We finally got some afternoon showers last week little happy dance and yesterday we drove through several tantrums on the way to Galveston. Now, though, it seems we are in for another week storms. Hermine is out there stomping around in the Gulf and if she dawdles we could have a week of days like today.

Rain is good, yes? It nourishes all living things. It also stands in pools in the low spots when there is clay underneath like there is here. That clay is one of the reasons the ground gets so hard and cracked when it is dry. It's also the reason why the dirt is so sticky and the ground is so slippery when it is wet.


I wrote this yesterday but didn't get it posted. It's overcast today. The stand of field sunflowers has been flattened, splayed out in a circle. The ground is littered with branches and pecans still in the husks. I'm beginning to think we aren't going to get any good ones this year. I've cracked open a few of them and they are black and shriveled up inside.

Oh, hey, I think the sun just peeked out.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

the wild blue yonder

My brother lives in a small village outside Seattle. He has moved around a lot in his employment, living on the east coast, Switzerland, California and finally Washington state. We don't see each other often but he has taken the holiday weekend to come visit on his way to a meeting next week, staying with our elder sister while he is here. He is also co-owner of a little four seater airplane. His partner in ownership was going to have the plane in San Antonio this weekend so they arranged for the partner to fly it to the little local airport here today and he gave us all plane rides.

this is the plane

peering in

granted, my brother is 6' but it is still very small inside

instruments from edge to edge

gaining altitude, that's the Colorado river below...and probably a pecan orchard lower right

it was hazy in the lower altitudes...a patchwork quilt

we've reached cloud level now

flying around them

up above the clouds...pasture land and woods

coming back down

our own Nazca

crossing the river again, rice fields top right

approaching the runway

sister, brother and I

Saturday, September 4, 2010

work stuff

I don't seem to be inspired by writing currently, though I do have some things I am toying with. I'll sit down ready to work on a post and before too long my mind starts wandering back to the model I am working on. And then my body follows so I must fall back on my doings. I have been in and out of the city to tend to some business but all my other time has been spent in the studio.

You might remember this drawing from earlier in the summer.

I finally got a picture of the installation.

My other accomplishment in the city, besides securing a small job, some face time with the grandkids and lunch with friends, was meeting with the art director and possible donor for another art project at the Methodist church where we did the work in the chapel. The donor seemed interested in the project, didn't seem put off by the estimated dollar amount so now I have to do a more complete drawing and sample and get it priced out. This will be a bit of a different project for me as I will be collaborating with a friend of mine who does fused architectural glass. These will be colored fused glass panels (3 of them) approximately 42" x 102". I'll do the design work and assist him in the fabrication.

So, now we are back home and I am holed up in my studio again.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

a few things

The world has been out there while I have been in here busily working with the wax. I'm working on the second model of my little erotica tryptic now. I might go back to the first and make a few minor adjustments judging by the way the shadows fell across it in the final picture but I want to be done with it. I can't make progress if I never finish. As my friend Kathy tells me when I point out the flaws in my work to her...”You're the only one who will ever see that.” So. This is one of my life lessons, letting go of the pursuit of perfectionism.

Ah, but if you don't seek perfection, how good is good enough?

We haven't started making the molds for casting yet. We're a little leery of using the water out here until we do some experimenting because it has a high sulphur content and sulphur reacts with other chemicals in the glass we use. We haven't been making molds yet because right now Marc's priority is getting the siding and roofing on the shop. To date, three sides are done.

I've been taking little breaks from my work and wandering the yard, picking up immature pecans. I do this, pick up the immature pecans, because I like to go barefoot and I also hope that by picking up the bad ones now, I'll reduce my percentage of bad ones when the ripe ones start to fall. We'll see.

It must be the time for babies because I keep seeing baby things. I saw a little praying mantis. I've seen tiny lizards, just hatched, hanging around the moonflower vine. I mentioned before that there were baby toads everywhere. Every step you take at least one or two little baby toads hop away.

When Marc picked up the last sheet in the stack of metal that was laying on the ground, he disturbed some voles. They had built a little nest under the stack and it had five (that I could see) babies in it. Those little guys are maybe an inch long. I found a piece of the sheet metal that was scrap and covered it back up.

We're making a little foray into town tomorrow. I have some business to take care of, measurements for a job and a presentation and a little g'kid exposure. And then my brother is coming in town this weekend and is going to give us all plane rides.