Sunday, May 29, 2016

Ellen channels Mary Moon or what I did Thursday and Friday and rain

Well, I have gotten almost nothing accomplished this week. I did finish the dog butt on Wednesday and then cleaned off my desk. Thursday we went to see Captain America: Civil War which we enjoyed and the Avengers with the exception of Iron Man and Vision and maybe Black Widow are now wanted criminals in hiding and as usual lots of stuff was destroyed.

The shopping district in Rosenberg where the movie theater is is divided by the highway with only two bridges, one at each end so after the movie we crossed over and went to the liquor warehouse to stock up, then crossed over again to go to Best Buy to buy a new TV. We have been watching a 24” and wanted to upgrade to a 28”, keeping it small because the bookcase we use for the TV, cable, and internet stuff is only 30” wide plus I don't want a TV so big it dominates the room. But then we looked at a 32” which was only 29.7” wide. That should fit we told ourselves. So we came home with a new 32” TV. Turns out the inside dimension of the book case is 29.5” so it's wedged in there a little on the slant. Still dicking around with the picture quality though and since we bought the cheapest one they had we can't decide if we just haven't adjusted it properly or if the quality is just really bad. So we may take it back and exchange it for one that costs a little more. We have 14 days to decide.

Then we checked out the Aldi, the no frills cheap prices grocery store chain that doesn't supply bags or boxes for you to put your purchases in and you have to use a quarter to get a cart. You get your quarter back when you return the cart. It's like a warehouse, kind of like Costco but much smaller and far less obvious organization. They have meat and dairy and produce but they didn't have the Rice Dream that I have replaced the soy milk with (did I post about this, my deciding not to drink soy milk anymore, I don't think so) so...I gave up milk for reasons I won't go into decades ago and I finally read enough pros and cons of soy milk and decided not to drink it anymore and I was looking for a substitute and in the meantime I was back to drinking milk and oh my god it tasted awful and I had tried almond milk which I thought was so nasty I poured the rest of it down the drain and besides it really has very little almonds in it and I wasn't about to make my own no matter how easy some people claim it is and someone suggested Rice Dream and since I do like the Mexican drink made from rice whose name escapes me right now horchata! and I tried it and liked it and I can't get it in Wharton.

So back over the bridge again to the Kroger which is beginning to look more like a Target but with a much bigger food department to get that and then back over the bridge again to get on the highway back home going in the right direction.

Not a very well planned out expedition.

Friday I went into the city to drop off the mylar drawings for the prints and enlargements, had lunch with my son and a quick dash into Marshalls because rumor had it they had a bunch of Tom's shoes (none in my size, 2 pair in his) but I did get a badly needed new yoga mat because my old one is full of divots at each end from my toenails which I apparently don't trim on a regular basis, then trips to various grocery establishments to stock up on stuff we can't get out there (short grain brown rice for example), pick up my prints and head back hoping to beat the holiday traffic at the bridge over the Brazos River which narrows down from about 5 lanes to two (not best but not too bad) to get home before the storm that was deluging the hill country with 20 inches of water falling again passed over us which I did and it did and the yard was littered with small and larger branches Saturday morning and a big branch off a neighbor's pecan that fell in the shop yard.

I'll tell you what, for all the times I have wished for riverfront property I am really glad I don't own any right now. This is the third deluge this spring and these small towns on the rivers are getting hammered and the city still floods when so much rain falls at once and I think the Colorado as well as the Brazos is supposed to go into flood stage again and they have issued flood warnings and mandatory evacuation orders again.

It seems lately it's drought or deluge, nothing in between, and we are due even more rain next week.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

anxiety, dog butt, and chiggers

I guess the anxiety for my upcoming trip to the North Lands Creative Center in Scotland is starting up. I have three flights to make to get there and last night I dreamed I missed the second one, the one that will take me overseas. I also dreamed I dropped a $20 bill and couldn't find it. I also dreamed that I had a big potted plant as a gift for a friend and their door was unlocked so I just walked in and through the house with it to the back garden where they were entertaining and she wasn't too happy about my having just walked in the house and then told me they were getting a divorce. I don't know what the fuck that was about. Or even who the friend was.

What I do know is time is running out and my trip that was months away is now only weeks away and I am a little anxious about the three flights (did I leave enough time between each to accommodate any delays, is it going to take me three hours to get through security like I've been reading about, how miserable am I going to be in coach for 8 hours while flying over the Atlantic Ocean, will my checked bag make it there with me). Oddly, I'm not anxious about arriving safely, not worried about crashing or terrorists.

I have to prepare a presentation. I had to do that for the residency I did with Catharine Newell three years ago so I'm starting with it and updating it. Only one person will have heard it before. It took me three days then to write it and prepare the slide show that goes with it. I'm making it a bit longer with more pictures this time.


I'm finishing up the last intermediate drawing for the A&M job. Just have the butt and tail of the dog on the last drawing to complete. I didn't work on it yesterday, taking the day off to run accumulated errands plus I'm tired of drawing shaggy dog hair. This particular section on this black and white dog is a black hole of black. Even when I use photoshop to lighten it up, the defining lines of hip, leg, and tail are not clear. 

I had planned to go into the city on Thursday to get the prints I need for the next set of drawings but Marc has proposed going to the movie to see Captain America: Civil War before it leaves and I'm all for that. Guess I'll go in town on Friday. Don't want to go tomorrow because I go to yoga on Wednesday and I don't want to be running around the city and then trying to beat the traffic over the Colorado River bridge and through all the construction on the highway home to get back in time. Besides, I'd rather have a stiff drink when I get home after a day in the city.


I worked out in the yard all day Sunday, well, til about 3 PM when I was thoroughly pooped doing maintenance. You could see my progress around the 1/2 acre by the piles and trails of debris left in my wake. It was hot and muggy out there and I dug up pecan and other trees and pruned the dead wood out of a large rose bush and pulled out the gone by bluebonnets and clumps of grass and other weedy things out of the wildflower garden and fertilized the azaleas and numerous other small tasks and became home to a bunch of chiggers that think the crack of my butt and between my legs is the best place ever.  I also pulled out the guara I planted (or rather that planted itself through the pot) last fall because it WOULD NOT BLOOM. Besides it had gotten to be 7' tall and was being a bully in the garden and I had warned it over and over that it had better perform. I've had guara before in that very same spot that bloomed madly and only got about 3' tall.

But here at the beginning of summer, the gardens are looking pretty good. Things have filled out and started blooming since the grand tour.

Thursday, May 19, 2016


Still plugging away on these drawings, er, tracings. They aren't as easy as one might think. All three dogs are shaggy, though it looks like Reveille had been groomed to within an inch of her life; shaggy with large areas of white shaggy and these enlarged black and white prints don't show any detail in the white shaggy hair areas. I've got the color images open on my desktop and I have to keep referring back to them as I draw trace. Well, I'm on the last one. The next step is to get prints off the mylar drawings and then enlarge those to full size and re-draw them deciding what stays and what goes and how the hell I'm going to cut the stencil and what will be carved and what will be shaded.

Minnie sits patiently, naps, while I work waiting for me to indicate that I am moving away from the table at which point she bounces over for my attention. She reminds me that yes, I do want to go outside and stroll around for a bit.

Big Mama is on walkabout and Minnie is just a little freaked out about the turtle being in the yard and not in her pond.

The cardinal nest in the mock dogwood has been abandoned. I saw the female sitting in it for a week or so, so I guess something got the eggs. But! We have spied mockingbirds making a nest up in the native pecan and some other bird yet to be identified is making a nest in the jasmine over at the shop. Both are too high up for pictures.

Because we had a mild winter and the shell ginger did not freeze down, it is in full bloom, massive full bloom, all over town. My variegated variety is just now coming into bloom. It's a little behind because it's on the east side and under the shade of two trees so it doesn't get a lot of sun.

It's dark and rumbly and sprinkley outside. It's been rain and rain and overcast and sunny and overcast and overcast and sunny and overcast and rain. The sprinkle has upgraded to rain.

Just as the altheas have come into full bloom we have had rain more often than not. The bush with the white flowers is getting crowned by the low branch on the crepe myrtle next to it. I'm going to have to take the whole branch as it is also getting too low to mow under. Still, the rain is good, keeping me focused on my work.

Sort of.

Monday, May 16, 2016

more of the same

It's been almost a week since my last post...sounds like I'm in a BA group - Bloggers Anonymous...but I haven't been doing anything out of the ordinary. Just working, finished the model for the feather on the beach and then put that stuff away to start on the intermediate sized 24” wide drawings for the A&M job. Finished one, started on another, and I figured y'all are probably tired of seeing these models and drawings over and over but here's the pictures anyway (and before anyone gets all excited about how great the drawing is, I traced it from a photograph onto mylar from which I will get a print).

Saturday I worked at the antique store and sold a sweet little dresser that I really liked. It came in just after I bought the larger striped oak dresser and if it hadn't been about the same size as the one I replaced I would have switched the new one out for it. But the whole point in getting a new dresser was getting a bigger dresser. Anyway this lady came in and just loved it but it was twice what her budget was and wanted to know if she could get a 25% discount. I confabbed with my sister and long story short, I offered her 25% off but she had to buy it right now. If she decided to look around and then came back, the price would be higher, still discounted, but higher. So she went for the deal.

Speaking of deals, my sister and I went to an estate sale up the road last week and I got 6 wind chimes/bells for $6 each but they aren't the cheap cheesy mass manufactured kind but, all bar one, artisan made. I'd take pictures but it's raining outside. Been raining all day so far. It started yesterday afternoon depriving me of my dedicated day out in the yard but we really need the rain so I don't really mind. It gave me some time to make progress in the book I'm reading.  well, the rain let up enough for me to run out and get these pics...


Recognizing that the rain is good, still it has me in a funky mood and I've made no progress so far today on the second drawing. I've been trying to put together a political post for weeks, months even, but the whole sorry spectacle is just too fucking depressing. Not just the candidates but the general nastiness that passes for social interaction these days. My poor little psyche can't take it. It makes me want to retreat even more into the natural world and my non-political-without-content art.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

approval to proceed

I finally got the go ahead for the A&M job yesterday. It only took 4 weeks for the person in charge to look at the drawings and say OK. I've put those 4 weeks to good use working on wax models but now I need to put all that away and get out my drawings and start on the intermediate sized art work...tomorrow. They weren't in a big hurry so I'm not either. 

I think I would like to finish the current model I'm working on first, one of the feathers on the beach pieces. It's fairly simple compared to what I usually do so I think I can get it finished today. It's a long day today, meaning that I don't have any errands or activities scheduled, like Mondays and Wednesdays when I go to yoga at 5:30 and I ran all my errands yesterday.

And speaking of yoga, last night was the first time in weeks that I have been able to do everything, even the headstand. I've been having trouble with my right shoulder, a tight painful muscle that has prevented me from moving my arm in certain ways or bearing weight. I haven't been able to do my daily practice trying to give it time to recover. Last Wednesday it was feeling pretty good but after yoga, my arm hurt so much I was thinking I was going to have to become ambidextrous to the point that I put my right hand in my pocket so as not to use it. Then about 3 hours later I realized my arm didn't hurt AT ALL! Well, almost not at all but felt better than it had in weeks. So whatever we did in yoga unhinked whatever was hinked in my shoulder and now it is pain free.

So, 10 AM and it's already 80˚ in the house. I guess we'll be turning on the AC later since it's supposed to get up towards 90˚ today. We try not to turn it on before June though the last several years we have caved the last week of May. This year, we already had it on twice in the afternoon in late April.

Yesterday evening was really sweet though, not humid, not hot, gentle breeze with puffy clouds billowing up luminous all pale pink and pale blue with the birds chirping and the mockingbird giving forth with his aria and the heavenly scent of the easter lilies and the tallow tree blooms filling the air. 

I puttered around in the yard after yoga til dark while Minnie romped in the 12 Acre Field.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

two tests

I've always said I was about as white as it gets (something I take no particular pride in) and now it seems I was right. My sister sent away for one of those DNA tests to see where we originated. The results came back 100% northern and western European.

57% England, Ireland, Wales, Scotland

32% Germany, France

8% Scandinavia (Denmark, Norway, Sweden)

2% European Jewish (Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Russia, Hungary, Israel)

1% Finland

So, boring, and no great surprise as all the family lines that my sister, who is into genealogy, has pushed back (as far back as the 900s in Denmark in one line) have been from those very countries (with the exception of the last 3%). So the few family uncorroborated stories of some Native American in the mix are just that, stories, and my guess is that the European Jewish is from the German heritage and the Scandinavia is from Vikings that settled in England et al. Interesting that they separated Finland from the rest of Scandinavia.


The second test is for the soil that I bought. I spent $140 on 4 yards of vegetable mix dirt from a reputable dirt yard and everything I plant in those raised beds, dies, or if it doesn't outright die, it turns yellow and does not grow and drops it's leaves. I thought the tomatoes and peppers and squash and japanese eggplant were nipped and stunted by the late frost we had soon after I planted but the new tomatoes and squash are faring no better. So I went down to the extension office yesterday and picked up some soil sample bags and will send them off to A&M for analysis. I expect that it will show that the dirt is too 'hot' and that the compost hasn't cured properly yet. Hopefully it will mellow out for the fall garden.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

more wax work and trying something different

Well, I'm still on hold on the A&M small animal hospital job. Apparently the woman who has to approve the compositional sketches and renderings is VERY BUSY and can't be bothered to spend the 5 minutes it would take to just say OK. Fine, whatever. It seems my joke that when they first told me it would be a November install, they meant November 2016, may come true after all. Even if they got me started again today we don't have enough time to complete the job before I leave for Scotland late June. And once I get back, it will be summer for real which means less hours available in which to work each day due to how hot it gets in the shop and sandblast booth.

So, as mentioned previously, I've been working on wax models. I showed the leaflet and bark waxes here, and they are now waiting to have the molds made, but I've also been working on some others.

I'm trying to use some old waxes that have been hanging around forever. This moonflower model was supposed to adorn the top of the moon box but I didn't like it there and set it aside for future use. That was years ago. I've been sprucing it up and got an idea how to use it for a hanging piece or in a stand. In a stand I think but it will have to be custom made as I don't think any of the commercially available ones will accommodate the thickness.

The leaf plaque it will rest on (before polishing), approx. 6" x 8".

Or rather, float above.

Also made the first base for the 6 panel series of the moon. I want to make a reproductive mold of this so I don't have to carve the disc of the moon each time. We'll see how that goes. This piece is 8” x 8”. It doesn't look like much now and except for one which will have a layer of leaves across it, they will all be just like this with the color applied differently. This series will actually be a big departure for me for several reasons, one being I'll be using opaque frit instead of transparent.


And I have also got the blank for the first of four panels of feathers on the beach. These are 10” x 10” which will be the biggest I've done so far.

I know, not much to look at right now and who knows when they will get cast.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

birthday and May Day

So, I'm officially 66 now as yesterday was my birthday. I tend to connect my age with the year so mentally, I've been thinking I was 66 for 4 months. Then I'd have to remind myself when my age was brought up that no, I'm still 65. But now, it's official. 66 is OK, still my mid-60s even if on the downward side. The 60s was a hard decade for me to absorb but last year, I finally felt good about it. Not that I had much choice. I mean, I was here regardless of how I thought or felt about it so might as well get on with it, accept what can't be changed and make the best of it. Life is actually pretty good here at this point in my life.

Birthday selfie caught by surprise by my device camera that seems to take pictures of it's own accord. The 3 second live photo settled on the third second.

Here's another, better, sort of, the flash seemed to think it was too dark.

We went to the movie and out for dinner which is our standard celebration for every event we celebrate...birthdays and anniversaries. Since I'm a big fan of fairy tales and myths we went to see The Huntsman: Winter's War, martinis and dinner at Greek Bros. Bar and Grill. 

The garden club plant show and sale was yesterday. I took my little plants for the sale and came home with some different ones. 

I did not take a single picture. The plant show was small this year though they said it was bigger than last year but even so not even half as big as the show was when my sister was in charge of it. And it was too polished. Everything looked like it had been professionally done, so perfect, too perfect, boring. 

I've been model making the last two weeks so until I'm ready to post about that and since it's May Day, here are some gratuitous flower pictures.

This enormous magnolia bloom is 14” across.

The easter lilies are filling the house with their perfume.

walking iris

lizard tail

queen anne's lace

Cardinals are nest building in the mock dogwood.