Friday, June 27, 2014

a small vanity and yes, a selfie

I've never been concerned overmuch with vanity during my life. Too much of a tomboy when young and too much of a rebel later on. I wasn't a great beauty and had a rather disappointing figure. I mean, I was nice enough looking but I kept waiting for my boobs to come in as I had finally started my period way after everyone else, and one day I asked my mom, who was, as they liked to say back then, flat as a pancake, when my boobs were going to get big and she told me that they were already as big as they would get.

I looked down with nary an obstruction in my line of sight to my feet. It was one of my more disappointing crushing moments.

I didn't even fill a cup size A bra and back then, cup size A was barely a step above a 'training' bra, which was really just a piece of stretchy fabric where the cups would be on a real bra. and what the hell were we training them to do?

I know the popular thing now is to go get them pumped up but back then the only option was to accept it or stuff socks in your bra. I decided early on to accept it once I had emerged from the gauntlet known as high school though my mother went out and got huge ones the very minute she could (this was back in 1965 so it was only the strippers and my mom getting boob jobs). I also gave up make-up, messing with my hair, and shaving and, being a self employed artist, I could get away with it. I discovered early in my first year of college that you could get away with a lot of shit if people thought you were an art major.

Anyway, this isn't really about my boobs or lack thereof, though they did get nicely big and functional when I was pregnant and nursing so I guess they did their job just fine.

No, this is about my hair.

This is my little vanity.

I'm 64 and I still don't mess with my hair. That color in my selfies? That's the natural color of my hair though I do have some gray interspersed in there.

The only thing I can figure is that while all the other girls were standing in the boob line when the Fates were handing out attributes before incarnation, I must have been standing in the 'no gray hair' line and by the time I got to the boob line, they were all out. 

But you know, it's been great not having to wear a bra my whole life and I didn't really lack for boyfriends and they worked well when needed so I guess I knew what I was doing when I got in line.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

my pathetic excuse for a garden

Granted, we got our garden in late. Stuff didn't get planted til April 9th after we finally had time to make the drive out to the nursery in the Hill Country where Frank Of The Bountiful Garden always got his plants. But even so...

This has been the most unproductive and pitiful garden we have planted in the years since we have been here and planting a garden.

The six pack of cucumbers barely grew, produced male flowers only, then died.

The tomatoes, most of which were heritage, didn't grow or bloom for the longest and once they finally did, they grew sparsely, bloomed but failed to set fruit. We picked two very small tomatoes so far and there are three currently on all those plants.

The peppers also failed to grow until late and they are blooming but the baby bell peppers turn yellow and fall off. We have gotten a few, and by few I mean three, banana peppers though there are two more on one of the plants and looks like there might be a jalapeno.

The six pack of japanese eggplant has three fruits growing, the only ones they have, so far, produced.

The six pack of watermelon finally put on two little melons.

Never got the zucchini planted, they expired in the little plastic 6-pack. Never got the okra.

I haven't bothered with keeping the weeds out. Seems pointless.

I have heard other people say their gardens didn't do diddly squat either and then there are those at the farmer's market (was extended for two more weeks because everyone's gardens started producing late this year) who have an abundance.

I don't get it. I am so frustrated that I'm ready to just yank everything out and start planting some of the shrubs and flowers I have in pots waiting for the weather to be more amenable to heavy gardening. We aren't going to use this garden for vegetables any more anyway as it is usually in shade by 3 PM.

New raised bed gardens are going to go in over at the new shop where we have space and sun galore.

Another rainy day today tho it isn't raining yet, it is rumbly out there and the prediction for rain is 80% chance for today so third day in a row and no driving to the city to bring back a truck load. I am, however, trying to move some of the stuff out of the garage or barn over there. Something has to be moved every day! I also hooked up the hose to the cold working station in the garage so I might work on the botanicas when it actually does start raining. I decided to go ahead and finish the ones already cast and get them framed and ready before I do any more model making or casting.

Monday, June 23, 2014

more boring moving and work stuff

More truckloads of shop stuff out of the garage and over to the new shop. It's all just going in helter skelter until we decide how we are going to utilize the space. Right now we're just trying to get everything over there while we clean out the old shop in the city, the garage out here, and the barn (what was going to be the new shop but turned into more storage for gardening, lawn mower, lumber, and the other kiln). Haven't moved either of the kilns yet and those will probably be last because there's no plug over there to plug them in. Haven't moved the cold work station either since I hope to use that equipment before the new shop is completely set up.

Today we take the grandboy back and retrieve more stuff from the city including the chandelier. Maybe more plants too.

I haven't been very diligent about taking pictures of this visit. The grandboy won't cooperate for them anyway so I only have one I snuck in. But mostly we've just been busy moving stuff or he was hanging out with Jacob who lives at the other end of the street or he was swimming or we were watching movies. And speaking of movies, he and I went to see 22 Jump Street yesterday. It had some pretty funny moments.

Here's some better pictures of the last two panels we completed. Still just shop photos though. They are both approx 36” tall.

Friday, June 20, 2014

granny camp, moving, and a selfie

So busy! Picked up the grandboy yesterday for his (short) week. Three out of the four grands have summer jobs this year making their visits more problematic. The boy may come for two long weekends instead of a continuous week. The twins can get their whole week off, just have to tell their boss about two weeks in advance when they will be gone.

Anyway, when I went to pick up the grandboy, we brought back another truckload from the old shop...some boxes I had already packed and a shelving unit and the little refrigerator from our corner apartment in the house. I also dug up the rest of the ginger and between the two of us, we got the mexican bird of paradise out.

I planted it all those years ago in the easement space between the sidewalk and the ditch. Digging that puppy up was no easy task between digging at the very edge of the sidewalk and on the slope of the ditch. Good thing the grandboy is handy with a shovel and an ax. I didn't think we were going to get it out but we had done so much damage by then that we had to persevere. It was so hot and humid, I had to stop at one point and totally douse my head with cold water. We did finally get it out. Poor thing. Since it was too big for my biggest available pot, it is temporarily in a wood box til I can decide where to plant it.

The other thing we did was buy a pool on the way home. A big one this time instead of the 8' dia x about 18” deep that we had been buying for the summers. The kids are not so little anymore. This one is 12' dia x 30” and we set it up this morning. Holy Cow! 12' diameter is a big ass pool!

Mikey was in it off and on all day, in between carting stuff over to the new shop. I got in it when we were done for the day. The water was cold so I eased in and eventually just took the plunge and dunked myself. Once all the way in, it was great, until my feet started to usual. I don't know why swimming or being in pools makes my feet cramp, but after a while, it does.

The grandboy helped me moved two crates of glass and a crate of kiln shelves, a metal shelving unit and it contents, and the traveling glass rack. And he assembled the pool.

The other thing I accomplished today was to get my summer haircut. That's what I told Maria when I arrived for my appointment, that I wanted my summer cut. I generally just let her do what she wants once I let her know I need a wash and go cut. Maria likes to talk and as she talked, she clipped. So this summer it's pretty short, shorter than usual I think. It's taking some getting used to since the difference is rather extreme but I won't get another one until maybe early next spring, in which case I'll get a spring cut which is similar to a fall cut. I never get a winter cut.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

sunsets, flowers, and other stuff

Today is my neighbor Frank's birthday. Frank of the Bountiful Garden. He will be 88. His family has found a wonderful woman to take care of him in his home 15 days on, 4 days off. Yesterday his son and daughter had a combination birthday/father's day party for him.

They have been working on getting the yard trimmed and spiffed up, the way Frank and Dorothy would have kept it, and Saturday they barbequed and had family, friends, and neighbors over. We had a nice time.


I have a new flower in the yard this year, one that I want to try to get established. I got seeds from a fellow gardener that has them in her gardens and I scattered them in four different locations to see where they liked it best. It is called love-in-a-mist.


We had some pretty spectacular sunsets right around the time we got that 6+” of rain a couple of weeks ago.


And some miscellaneous flower pictures.


The other thing I did last week besides work was I took all my girls to see Maleficent. Marc didn't want to go so I treated my daughter and grandgirls. If you have been living in a cave somewhere and don't know about it, it is a re-telling of Sleeping Beauty only it is Maleficent's story. Angelina Jolie was great. They could not have picked a better person to play that part. Very enchanting with a bit of a twist.

It's probably too late to see it if you haven't already.

Friday, June 13, 2014

finished...and a selfie

I woke up this morning at home, having finished the work in the shop, with the backache that tells me that I have been working too long and too intensely without taking the necessary breaks and stretches, the downtime, I need.

It was an unsatisfying last week. I got the work finished but I'm not completely happy with it. I decided to go with 1/2" tempered at the last minute because the client's glass man recommended it though I usually work on 3/8" laminated. It is more difficult for me to order that as the wholesaler has instituted a minimum and this did not meet it. I could still get it but they would add $50 to the total. Now I'm thinking I should have just done that. I wish I had done what I am used to.

Because I don't like the way the background came out. The four panels I did the two previous weeks came out great but they were annealed (not tempered) and laminated is made from two pieces of annealed.

two of the four cabinet panels

The point is that the cream etch I use for backgrounds sometimes reacts differently with tempered glass. I say sometimes because I know this has happened before but I'm pretty sure it hasn't happened every time on tempered. I don't think. We don't work on tempered that much.

Bored with the totally unnecessary details of my work yet?

Anyway, these last two panels are for the customer in Maryland for whom I was doing Chesapeake Bay flora and fauna. And I recommended doing the background (whatever you think is best, he said).

It looks OK, I guess. My grandson said it looked more like water but it wasn't the softer mottled tone I am used to. It was more varied in tone, more mottled, it doesn't fade into the background. It's too busy for the carved elements.

I wanted the last work to be satisfying and this wasn't. It was hot and I was tired at the end of a long slog in the shop. Instead of finishing with a flourish, I feel disappointed.

We still have to deliver the panels to the company that is going to crate them and deliver them and I want to take pictures with the tripod that we forgot to take with us this time.

But, we are done working in that shop. And we are done sleeping in the house. I think. We brought back the rockers on the porch and the birdbath. Still have lots to fetch.

Next week I think we are going to take down the Dresden porcelain chandelier. I don't remember exactly when my mother bought the chandelier but I can't ever really remember when she didn't have it. It always hung in parents' bedroom and I have always loved it. Still do. And when she died there was no question who was getting it.

It hangs nicely from a 10' ceiling in the old house.

It will hang from an 8' ceiling out here above the dining room table.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

the last week

We arrived in the city for our last week working in the old shop and our last week living in the old house. I am finishing up the last two panels this week, installed the ones we finished the last two weeks and Marc might begin to dismantle the air system.

He's also tackled the front yard with a weed eater since it is totally overgrown with weeds and the little bit of grass that grows there. The Boy and Wife quickly lost interest in maintaining the yard and since one of the first things they did was remove the leaf mulch and wedelia ground cover I had in the front and dumped it all in the even smaller back yard, the weeds and wild seeds dropped by the birds found ample room to grow.

They did no maintenance in the back at all and it is thigh high with wedelia, lantana, mist flower, bridal veil wandering jew, and Japanese hydrangeas, especially after all the rain we got two weeks ago. The mulberry tree that volunteered by the back corner of the shop has grown unrestrained for two years after I cut down the sapling. But I had a wonderful surprise when we got in this afternoon.

When I was unlocking the back door I happened to look into the back yard and saw this:

Once I waded through the overgrowth, I saw more flowers.  I've never planted a passion flower vine back there so I guess it is a gift from a bird.  A last gift. If I can find where it's planted, I might try to dig it up.

Monday, June 9, 2014

this is why I need a window to look out of

I looked up from what I was doing to see the local red shouldered hawk standing in a barely submerged pot in the turtle pond, getting a drink.

After a bit he (could be she, but I will refer to it as he) moved to perch on the gate into the Little Back Yard.

He turned around to face the pond again.

Then back in the pond standing in the barely submerged pot (from all the rain we had last week, usually it stands above the water line and has sword leaf growing in it but when it get submerged, the turtle eats the sword leaf which is why it looks like nothing is growing in it).

I think he wanted to take a bath but couldn't figure out how to manage it. He stepped off the edge of the pot into the deeper water a couple of times and lifted himself back onto the pot.

Then he moved to the edge of the pond. He would look directly at me quite often. He knew I was there standing just inside the open door taking pictures.

Back to the edge of the submerged pot.

He finally gave up and moved to the fence rail where he attracted the unwelcome attention of a mockingbird who eventually chased him off.

I waited and waited and waited to get the shot of him flying off and when he finally did, I missed it.

Friday, June 6, 2014

we did it...and a selfie

We signed a contract to sell the city house. We are divesting ourselves of this place. Closing is in 30 days or less. Probably less as we told him that we wanted to close as soon as possible.

I bought this place in 1975 and Marc moved in not that much later. By spring of 1976 I guess. We married in the house in 1976. Our daughter was born in 1977, our son in 1979.

We conducted our business there having converted the garage into studio. We made an enormous amount of decorative functional glass there over the course of 38 years or so. In 1985 we bought the house next door for studio space, the house our daughter now owns and is selling as well.

Now, it is (almost) no longer ours. The new owner is a small builder who plans to save the house if possible. If not, he will use as much of it as he can and incorporate it into a new house. My daughter's house will be torn down and he will build a new one in it's place.


We planted the magnolia tree that is in the front yard, an asset. Nice trees are prized and saved if possible. The magnolia will be saved. Maybe the crepe myrtle but the camphor will go to make the narrow driveway wider. I'm sad about the camphor. It was the climbing tree for two generations of kids and provided us much shade.

Kevin said take what ever we want so I will be trying to dig up some prized shrubs and the last of the ginger and my heritage rose from a cutting from a neighbor and the red lilies and and...

I also have to retrieve my Dresden porcelain chandelier. And I want the cast iron claw and ball foot bath tub if we can get it out of the bathroom.

And I know there is stuff in the attic but I haven't been up there for at least 20 years.

As agonizing as it was and as long as it took, I guess I finally extracted my roots, because once I decided to sell, I was impatient to do so and now that the contract is signed, I feel relieved.


In related events, last Monday I hauled the first stuff over to the new shop...5 boxes of packing materials and over a dozen tubes of full size art work. As soon as we finish the last two panels in the shop next weekend, we will start to dismantle the shop there and start moving it to the shop here.

We think we will have the enclosed rooms part of the shop remodeled. A cousin is an architect and we want to get him out here and give us a proposal for a couple of work rooms and a small gallery.

Me and another load of drawings...

Sunday, June 1, 2014

spring reading list

I can't believe it's already June 1st. Only six books this spring quarter. Definitely my second shortest list. Too damn busy. No time to read. Too much mindless solitaire when I get time.

The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan - Amy Tan is on my favorite author list. That said, it took me a while to get into this one, her first in awhile. But that pretty much describes all my reading these days. We meet Violet in 1905 when she is seven, the daughter of her American, not Chinese, mother and madam and co-owner of a first class courtesan house in Shanghai. Violet is actually half Chinese, the result of an affair with a mediocre Chinese painter who was the reason her mother found herself in China as a pregnant 17 year old girl. But we don't get the mother's backstory until late in the book. The story is essentially about Violet who due to a series of events gets sold as a virgin courtesan to another first class house when she is 14 after she is separated from her mother through trickery and social upheaval. There she finds a former courtesan from her mother's house and they form a strong relationship as she becomes Violet's mentor and assistant. The story follows Violet, and Magic Gourd, as they navigate their way through courtesan life and relationships and loss and their desires for a secure future. It's a good story and at one point I had to page forward to make sure she got out of a bad situation.

Divergent by Veronica Roth - a young adult post-apocalyptic world novel, first of three. My grandkids are reading them. I have to wait til all three girls and their mother get through with the other two before I get my turn. In Divergent, society has been divided up into 5 factions and once a year all 16 year olds must choose which faction they want to join for the rest of their lives. To help them with this choice, they are tested to see what their natural affinities and tendencies suggest but they aren't bound by the result. Everyone is free to choose to stay in their birth faction or move to one of their choice. However, there is a large group of unaffiliated and if you fail the initiation or become expelled for some reason, this is where you go. It is the serf class, the working poor and homeless. In a faction, your needs are taken care of and in return, you perform some work to the benefit of the faction. So, Beatrice is 16 and her test is inconclusive, what they call 'divergent'. It is covered up by the test administer and she is told to tell no one. Being divergent is not encouraged. Beatrice, now Tris, has chosen Dauntless, instead of her birth faction. Dauntless is the faction responsible for protection and security and whose initiation is like boot camp and they kill divergents when they find them because, well, that's part of the story. This first book is about the training and the initiation of the new Dauntless wannabes and the cutthroat competition since only 10 of the 20 will accepted. Tris makes friends and enemies and becomes an unwilling participant in an illegal uprising against the political faction.

Switch by William Bayer - a retired NYC detective blows his brains out and at the funeral his protege, another NYC detective is given a case by the chief of detectives who also attended...two young women both killed on the same night, their heads cut off and switched. Janek assembles his team and they set about to solve the murders. At the same time, the widow asks him to look into what his old partner had been investigating when he committed suicide and that and his involvement with a woman he questioned from the funeral leads him to solve another case, this one involving the chief of detectives. It was a quick OK read.

Spider Woman's Daughter by Anne Hillerman - this a first novel by Tony Hillerman's daughter who picks up and carries on with the characters from her father's novels about crime on the Navaho Reservation. I was a little amused at the different portrayals of Jim Chee, (Anne's and Tony's) who in Anne's novel is very demonstrative of his love for Bernie, Navaho Officer Bernadette Manuelito, his wife, who is the main character in this story, it is she who perseveres until she solves the crime. I don't recall Bernie being the protagonist in any of her father's books. But, all in all, she told a good story even if it did rely heavily on the background of her father's novels. I'll read another when she writes it.

The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman - a very unusual story about two people whose lives intersect and the love that saves them both in the end although the story ends soon after they come together. The author has written this story from three perspectives, Coralie's, Eddie's, and the narrator's. We get the story of Coralie's life from her though it is scattered through the book as is Eddie's that he tells. In between, the story of how these two people are brought together progresses and it is framed between the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire in NY and the Dreamland Fire on Coney Island, both real events though the story is fiction. Coralie tells us of her life in her father's house and Museum of Extraordinary Things on the pier across from where the Dreamland is being renovated. He is a stern hard man with many rules and rules his house and the Living Wonders, as he calls his acts. The housekeeper Maureen is the only mother she has ever known. As the fortunes of the Museum start to wane with the introduction of new and better entertainments, Coralie discovers that the regimen of her upbringing was not for her health after all, but for a far different purpose. Eddie, who escaped from Poland with his father after the Cossacks burned their village and his mother along with it, goes to work in a clothing factory with his father once they reach NY. After many are fired for agitating for better working conditions, Eddie sees his father jump off the bridge into river, trying to commit suicide, or so he thinks. His father is rescued but Eddie turns his back on his father and his Orthodox community and eventually runs away. He works for the local go to guy for problems, usually abandoned women looking for their husbands or fiancées, and he develops a knack for finding people and it is this knack that eventually puts him on the path that leads to Coralie when a father whose daughter is missing after the Shirtwaist Factory Fire comes to him for help. This is a great read and I recommend it.

The Silver Star by Jeanette walls - In 1970, 12 year old Bean and her 15 year old sister, Liz, daughters of an aspiring musician and wannabe hippie living off her inheritance, often find themselves alone for days at a time while their mother goes off to one audition or another. When things don't pan out wherever they are, their single mother Charlotte pulls up stakes and finds a new place to try. One afternoon, Bean blurts out a sudden realization, a truth unspoken, and their mother goes off to find herself leaving her girls enough money to get by on for a few months til she returned. Eventually a shopkeeper gets suspicious and calls the police to investigate. Coming home from school, Bean sees the cops at the door before they see her and she knows that if caught they will be put in protective custody and likely split up. She intercepts her sister and they are forced to use their plan in case something happened. Before they leave, they grab the luggage and money and leave a cryptic note for their mother and set off on a cross country bus trip from California to North Carolina to spend the summer with their Uncle Tinsley whom they have not seen or had any contact with for 12 years when their mother left the family home. In fact Bean knows nothing about her family nor does Liz beyond a few early memories. I like Jeanette Walls. She tells a good story and did not disappoint this time.