Monday, March 31, 2014


Spring has gotten off to a rough start but things are finally starting to emerge, and in some cases, emerge again. Still waiting to see if the star of india, the morning glory bush, and the angel trumpet made it.

All the trees have finally come out...the maple and the water oak first, then the ginkgo followed by the crepe myrtles then the rain tree and the other oak with the tallows and the pecans bringing up the rear.

Poking around looking for green shoots I saw this fellow.

The blue iris and the ground orchids got decimated by the late hard freeze but the bluebonnets, and indian paintbrush, are blooming.

as are the baby blue eyes.

The evening primrose are starting up

as is the mock dogwood.

The azaleas are blooming,

the white iris

and the nun's orchid.

We have not put our spring food garden in yet and it may be minimal this year. Being in the city half of every week doesn't give us much time to deal with it. We will get one job finished this week and then it's back to the doing full size art work. I'll be glad to have a couple of weeks here before starting fabrication again.

Friday, March 28, 2014

not fire, but fiery...and a selfie

The indian paintbrush in the fields is incredible this year. There are several different varieties ranging from pink to orange to red. Guess they liked the long cold winter.

bird's eye view

Though it is mostly overcast today (and windy), it is still very bright. Hence the scrunched up face.

Thursday, March 27, 2014


One of the elementals of nature. Powerful. Consuming. Awesome.

Last Tuesday we got to witness, due to the magic of far seeing, commonly referred to as 'TV', the destruction by fire of a 550 unit, 5 story luxury apartment complex that was under construction. It was consumed in about an hour and a half.

A giant column of black smoke could be seen from the city house. The location of the fire, while not one of my trails (I use a different artery one light down), is definitely in my stomping grounds when I am residing in the city.

all images from here:

It reminded me, in a very small way, of the fires in the beach community where my parents had a house when I was growing up. Those timber houses on stilts would go up and be consumed in 30 minutes due to the dry wood of their construction and the winds off the Gulf. It was all over but the cryin' by the time the volunteer fire department would get there.

I saw more than one of those little houses go up.

And then there was the Brindsmaid fire when I was growing up. The Brindsmaids lived, not next door, but the next house down. Which is deceiving since this was not a regular 50' x 100' lot neighborhood. Lots were measured in acres. We had only one acre but our neighbors had more I think. Anyway, there were three houses on our side of the private road and we were on the corner and the Brindsmaid's were at the dead end.

One night about 10 PM, in a way I don't recall, if it was sirens or a phone call, we ran out to see the Brindsmaid's two story house engulfed in flames. It was a three alarm fire. In my memory, the flames are reaching skyward and the black smoke invisible in the night. Fortunately, they weren't home, having gone out to dinner.

I wrote this Tuesday night. Yesterday, Wednesday, there was another fire, same time of day, only this one was closer, 4 blocks N and about 8 blocks E. One two story wing of a large church burned but the fire department put it out before it could spread. Same time of day.

edit:  the authorities don't think the two fires are connected.  No word on how they apartment building caught but they think the church was arson.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

in the city, on the iPad

I tried to get a post done Monday about the profusion of Indian paintbrush in the fields this year before we left for our work week in the city but didn't quite manage.  Last week was spring break and the grandkids followed us home Thursday and the parental unit didn't come get them til Sunday afternoon.  As usual, no work got done while they were here.

BTW, I took Friday's selfie with the camera in the computer so I could see if we were all in the picture.  I pressed the button to take the picture.  That counts as a selfie, doesn't it?

My replacement camera came while we were gone so I set up Sunday after the kids left to take better photographs of the Tea Box and the three Botanica Eroticas for the upcoming invitational museum show in Corpus Christi in May.  I'll post some pics when we get back later this week.

Yesterday, before we could leave, I had to get the intermediate size drawings done for the next bunch of glass to be fabricated so I could get them enlarged this week to full size.

For now, I have three long days in the shop doing the background on two of the three door panels we are trying to finish.  It's possible I could get all three done this week but not probable especially since I have an appointment this afternoon for another possible job.

Posting on my iPad.  This is the first time I've tried to do this and it won't let me add photos unless I have already uploaded them to Picassa.

Well, time to get busy.

Friday, March 21, 2014

spring break and a selfie

The grandkids are usually here most of the week for spring break but since we had to work this week, they didn't arrive til last night. The grandboy refused to be in the picture.

I've been to the grocery store three times in the last 24 hours.

Monday, March 17, 2014

icky aging things

Here is fair warning...

I'm going to talk about icky female aging things.

I had my last period when I was 45. It seemed a little early to me, not that I was complaining all that much, but I didn't have any role models in my family to ask about it because my mother, my maternal aunt, and my sister all had hysterectomies which pretty much put an end to all that for them.

It was at least another 7 years before I noticed any side effects flashes and sweating! I didn't sweat. I was cold natured and I would perspire but I didn't sweat! Not rolling-off-your-fucking-face sweat.

And the hot flashes that started internally kind of in the midsection and would spread, orgasmic like, until it reached all the extremities and your head and popped out on your skin as beads of water. Only it didn't feel nearly as good. More like you were about to spontaneously combust.

I took to carrying around a folding fan.

Those did eventually subside and it completely flipped my internal thermostat. That doesn't mean I dislike winter any less. I still hate being cold. I just don't get cold quite as easy.

And while I don't miss being at the mercy of estrogen at all, I do occasionally miss that primal urge to have sex.

And then there's the whole needing a lubricant thing.  No, you youngsters, we don't stop having sex, it just changes.

That's all old stuff though.

My last selfie it looked like the hair in my right eyebrow is thinning. That's not the only place I've lost hair. While the hair on my head has always been fine, I seem have more hair on the left side of my head than on my right, something I notice when I pull it back with combs.

And I don't have any underarm hair anymore either. Also way less on my legs. And, ahem, down there. Sort of like a brazilian without having to shave. Well, not quite, but I gather that's where I'm heading.

You come into this world hairless and I guess you go out of it the same way.

Friday, March 14, 2014

art, camera, and a selfie

This was a long tiring unsatisfying week in the shop this week. Suffice to say I didn't make as much progress as I intended and I was dissatisfied with what I did get done.

Not sure which was the cause and which was the reaction.


etched side of the finished panel

We're still really busy and I am grateful for all the work but I'm not finding any time to work on the Botanicas.

Today I am trying to get an entry for Craft Texas in as the deadline is tomorrow. I'm bogged down on the artist's statement.

Also, this coming week I have to ready my submission for the invitational show at the Art Museum of South Texas. I decided to submit, as one of my entries, a small grouping of the Botanica Eroticas, one large and three smalls. To this end, I have finally decided on how to mount them for hanging. I had some very shallow 'shadow boxes' made, which will allow me to either hang them on the wall or allow them to lay on a table or shelf.

I also had some stainless steel 'invisible' mounts constructed that would be siliconed onto the backs of the pieces so that they would hang/float off the wall but I'm a little nervous about using those for the these as the the glass blocks are so heavy. Plus I really like the way the black box frames the pieces without obscuring the sides. I'll use the invisible mounts for some future pieces that aren't so heavy.

So I finally found out about my Canon camera which I sent off for repair after it fell out of my jacket pocket when I was taking it off, fell only a couple of feet onto a wood floor and 90% of the functions quit working. It was supposed to be under warranty, being only 6 months old, but they were going to charge me $95 to repair it, or rather send me a new one since they don't repair these models, only replace, because I told them I dropped it and if you drop it, the warranty is void.

When I complained about the quality of a camera that became totally dysfunctional after falling only a couple of feet, the customer service lady told me to hold on while she would see what she could do since there was no damage to the case.

This is me being a little annoyed while on interminable hold.

They've agreed to replace the camera at no charge as a one time courtesy, which is a good thing as I would not have paid the charge to replace it and it would have been the last Canon camera I bought.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

house home

I've written many posts about this house, mostly about our difficulty in leaving it. This is the story about how I acquired it.

I bought my house in the city when I was 25. I was between marriages, though I didn't know that at the time, and was back living with my parents. I was jobless due to the fact that I had quit my job to move out on some land in east Texas with my now ex-husband in some sort of half hearted attempt to rekindle my affection for the rat bastard.

It didn't work.

So here I was at 24, back in the city, back in the house of my parents that I had married the rat bastard for in the first place to escape. And although they didn't hassle me about going out and finding work and my own place or maybe even going back to school and actually getting the art degree I had started on, I really wanted out again. They didn't keep their disapproval of my lifestyle secret.

They did allow me the space to figure out what I wanted to do though and for that I am grateful.

By the time I had got the idea to see if I could buy a house instead of renting an apartment, my most likely future abode, I had started my fledgling etched glass business and was even making a little money.

I don't remember how the idea of buying a house came up, if it was some cock-eyed thought of mine or came from a friend or my parents, I can't say, but my parents supported the idea. A friend of the family in real estate found half a dozen or so little cottages in the run down Heights area that I had selected to live in based totally on a regret mused by a friend of mine at the time who had bought a place in a different neighborhood. It turned out to be one of those serendipitous utterances that had a major impact on my life, much like the one that sent me on my career path.

I had a budget of $15,000 in mind, which at the time was a huge amount to me, a scary amount, and we looked at 3 or 4 run down cottages and then we looked at this house. It was beautiful, beautifully kept with 10' ceilings and hardwood floors and wood frame double hung windows with a pattern of diamonds across the top and a porch and deep eaves, nearly a hundred years old, but I liked that. The owner was firm on the price, $19,000. But this was the house. This one. I could live here and work here.

If you have ever bought a house, you know what a sobering experience that is. My father agreed to co-sign the Fannie Mae note which is a good thing because I'm sure they would not have given me the time of day otherwise. Being a young, female, self employed artist was as good as being unemployed as far as they were concerned. Hell, I couldn't even get a credit card.

a little rundown but in it's heyday

And so that is how I got my house. This house was my home for 35 years and our shop is still there. Over half of my life was spent in this house. It was my own safe place, Marc and I got married in the living room, we worked hard and built up our etched glass studio there, we raised our kids and pampered our grandkids in it. And though we moved from it, it has never really stopped being 'the' house and in a deep sense, home even though we like living out here in the country very much and we like this little house we are in.

The plan was to build a shop out here and move the business but we have not been able to, so far, get that done.

Our son and daughter-in-law have been living in the city house for the past nearly two years, taking care of minor repairs and, most importantly, occupying the place, breathing a little life back into it. We have our little apartment in the back corner and we seem to have settled in to returning to the city when we have fabrication to do.

We've always known we would sell the place eventually, but that's always been 'down the road'.

Only, maybe the road is shorter than we thought.

Friday, March 7, 2014

work struggles and a selfie

the finished stencil, marked up, and ready to blast

The last two weeks of February, everything in the shop was a struggle. It was cold and I had a large complex stencil to cut and the stencil material that we switched to about a year and a half ago is stiff and hard to cut. My cuts were not smooth and I had to use an unbelievable amount of pressure and even then, sometimes it still wouldn't cut. On top of that, the paper pattern that my daughter printed for me at her work wouldn't cut with the tip of the knife blade but was tearing and clumping up, making it even harder.

Last week after I finished the stencil, I was so frustrated that I sent Marc out to buy a new roll of the previous stuff we had been using which was more expensive but easier to cut (cost wasn't the only reason we switched as it also had a tendency to stretch and then shrink after the stencil was cut leaving too wide gaps between the pieces) for the next panel.

Now easier to cut but still the knife blades would not cut the paper unless I held the knife at an angle instead of straight up and down. Holding it at an angle makes it harder to cut smooth curves. So I went out and got a copy of the drawing at my usual place and patched it in where I hadn't cut yet. No dice. Still the paper tore and bunched. Finally, I had one last variable and that was the knife blades I was using, the less expensive brand, which we had been using for 20+ years with no problems.

So, new box of blades and problem solved. It was the stupid knife blades all along. Must have got a bad batch. I managed to get the rest of my work done for that week and this with no further problems.

This week we didn't go in til Tuesday afternoon since with the hard freeze and then the ice storm, it was too cold to work in the shop. We scooted home early today.

My old camera battery died after my first attempts at a selfie so I didn't get any photos of our progress this week.  These are from last week.

Marc on the job

almost done

Not a great selfie today. I only had four to choose from before the camera battery died and it usually takes me more than that just to choose the setting and get the composition, you know, at what angle and how high to hold the camera. Plus it was in the morning and my eyes were all puffy and I need to wash my hair and nobody needs to see that.

me, working on another stencil

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

because a hard freeze just wasn't bad enough

...last night we had freezing rain.

It had already started to melt when I got up this morning but everything was still encased in ice.

On the upside, it was all very pretty and I think maybe, as bad as the redbud looks, that it will actually be OK once everything melts.

And I think maybe the plumerias will be OK after all. Might have to prune a couple of them back but, they needed that anyway.

the cedar tree looks like a ball gown with a hoop skirt

Monday, March 3, 2014

oh woe!

The weather liars did not warn us of a hard freeze. They said it would just dip down to 32˚

It plummeted to 26˚ with a wind chill of 17˚.

All that lovely green new growth from my previous post...frozen.

All those beautiful flowers and buds from my previous post...frozen.

I brought in all the small pots of cold sensitive plants but I did not bring in the big plumerias certain they would be OK.

They are in now but it's a case of closing the barn door after the cows have escaped. I fear they are all lost.