Monday, June 20, 2016


Saturday: I'm down to my last two days and yesterday I learned that I cannot pay for my lodging at the little bed and breakfast with a credit card. Leave it to me to pick the one place where that's not possible. Also, when I booked my trip I booked each segment as a round trip because I couldn't figure out any other way to do it. This is the first time I have ever had multiple destinations when I traveled because doing it that way was cheaper than direct to Edinburgh. So, I fly to Newark and then to Edinburgh and then to Wick where I will be picked up and driven to North Lands. On the return, I fly to Edinburgh where I have to stay overnight because there are no flights out to North America after I arrive until the next morning. Then I board a flight that has a layover in Toronto on my way back to Newark and then another flight to Houston. All fine and good until my husband pointed out to me that I will have to retrieve my checked bag and go through security for each flight. Well, fuck. So I have spent a considerable amount of time on the phone this morning.

The good news is that I can get my bag checked all the way through to Edinburgh where I would have to retrieve it anyway to go through customs. All I have to do at check-in is explain it to the agent and have the confirmation number of the next flight and more than likely I can do the same on the return.

Next item on the agenda was to contact the credit card company with my travel dates and destinations so they won't deny any of my charges and that was easy enough. Then I tried to get a pin number on the credit card for use at an ATM in order to pay for my lodging instead of carrying all that cash. That took several phone calls and three or four agents but I did finally get a pin number.

The last item on today's agenda was getting a hotel for my one night in Edinburgh on the return trip. My flight leaves at 8:20 AM so I opted for a hotel near the airport even though I get in about 1:40. I could have got a room in the city for about half what the hotel is costing me but I figured since I have to check out and get to the airport so early, closer was better. My plan is to make an excursion into Edinburgh since I'll have most the afternoon and evening the day I arrive.

OK, so lists checked off, all incidentals gathered and stowed, rain jacket arrived, niggling details taken care of. Now it's all about the packing of clothes and deciding what to wear on the plane.

Sunday: I got just about everything packed yesterday with still room for what's left and maybe even my smallest pillow and I didn't even use the largest suitcase. I even weighed some of the items in it and made a list so that I know what I can shove in the backpack if the airline decides it's too heavy and wants me to pay a premium. I am so fucking organized about this trip I can't even believe it. 

the sky yesterday evening with the full moon rising

Then we had a huge thunderstorm last night with lots of rain and lightning and the dog was not happy...nervous, pacing, trembling, panting...I finally got up with her and when I went back to bed I tripped over that stupid suitcase and fell completely prone.

I was talking to my friend Denise the other day, whom I met at the residency three years ago at the Buddhist Meditation Center, about this upcoming soiree with total strangers but one, Natali who I also met at the residency, and my usual reservations about holding my own with artsy educated people since we are all expected to participate. You'll be fine she says. Yeah, they're going to ask me what I think and I'm going to go all Bart Simpson on them making faces and doing somersaults. She says my experience will outweigh their education, or at least equal it, but one thing for sure. I have little patience for artspeak.

Monday:  I'm off, abandoning the man, the turtle, the cat, and the dog to fend for themselves.


Thursday, June 16, 2016

get set...

Sunday I drove to the city to take my twin grandgirls, now 18!, out for a meal and do something of their choice only they couldn't think of anything they wanted to do even given three days notice so after we ate they went with me while I shopped for a rain jacket and some good waterproof hiking boots. And socks. I found the boots fairly quickly, I only had two real choices so that was easy, but I couldn't try them on properly because I forgot to bring socks and the throwaway stretchy things that pass as protective gear, well, I would for all intended purposes basically be trying on the boots bare footed so I thought, hey, no problem, I'll just buy a pair of socks or two cause I could use some new socks. The choices were 1 pair of nice hiking socks for $15 or 10 pair of crew socks for the same amount. Either way I was looking to spend $15 on socks. I really didn't want 10 pair of white crew socks and I really wasn't about to pay $15 for one pair of socks so I tried the boots on sending the girls to get this size or that and picked some out thinking once home with socks, I could always return them. Oh, and I did break down and buy the $15 dollar socks but only after I was headed to the register and I have yet to try the boots on with them.

The rain jacket proved more elusive what with all the rain we have had here. I checked the weather forecast for where I'll be and it predicted rain or showers for nearly every day during the time period so OK, I need the rain jacket.  After another fruitless shopping expedition, I had to order one online. It will be here tomorrow.

I have numerous lists and a box at my feet to put things in as I accumulate them...adapter, itinerary, sketchbook and colored pencils, presentation, apron, wax and clay tools, first aid kit...slowly things get ticked off this list or that.

I did finally go get my summer hair cut yesterday which I have usually had for at least a month by now. Well, not my short short summer hair cut since I'm heading into winter in a few days. I'll probably get it cut shorter for high summer when I get back.

I've worked on the next drawing some. 

I'm doing the easy parts, the clothing, the dog's blanket, so it will look like I got a lot done this week in my last progress report before I abandon the project completely until I get back. In last Monday's progress report, I explained that when I returned we would not be able to make much progress during the summer as I was not going to risk heat stroke when the heat index was in triple digits especially when they had been in no hurry to get me started, that I had expected to be done with this job by now and because of their foot dragging the job has run afoul of summer plans and summer heat. Her reply was to ask me when they could expect it to be ready for installation so she could apprise her client. What. The. Fuck. This is what I deal with.

Well, I did finally put on my boots and $15 socks and wore them around the yard yesterday (and they were surprisingly comfortable) while I dug up another nearly two dozen pecan trees and how the fuck do we have so many pecan trees sprouting when neither we nor anyone I know of got a single pecan last year.

OK, back to list checking.

Friday, June 10, 2016

on your mark...

Once again I am getting ready for an adventure. I've just finished my presentation for the upcoming 9 day International Artist Symposium and Retreat at North Lands Creative Glass in Scotland led by Jane Bruce, it's fourth incarnation, whose theme this year is 'location and self'. Here's the descriptive paragraph, I don't think I could have said it any briefer...

Our idea of self is rooted in a sense of place and is formed by our immediate surroundings and traditions. Location and all of it's manifestations...inherently affects the ideas we have and the work we create. How often do we actually consider this relationship between location and our work and what can happen to that work when (we) are relocated into a new and different environment.”

So this should be interesting because my work, at least, is very connected to location and what lives and grows around me.

I finished one of the full size drawings for the A&M job this week and laid out the paper to start on the next but it's Friday and I work at the antique store on Saturday and Sunday I'm going in to the city take my twin grandgirls out for their 18th birthday and then it will be Monday and I will have one week left before I leave. Somehow I'm not feeling the urge to power through another drawing. I'm feeling more like making lists.

So back to my presentation. I had to do that three years ago for the residency in upper state NY with Catharine Newell at the Buddhist meditation retreat. I started with that and updated it a bit and added 9 more pictures. Jane wanted a bit about where we physically live since people from other countries will be attending. I think it will still fit in the 15 +/- minute time limit. I'll have to time myself.

one of the new pictures

Well, we had two days in a row with no rain and then it has started back again. Doesn't rain all day every day but we are getting some rain every day. Believe it or not, that's an improvement.

Some things have liked all this rain though...the banana trees are growing tall as is the ginger and all three groupings ore putting out flower spikes.

The plumeria likes it too

and the ground is sprouting some weird stuff.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

7 Artists show

Well, it was a fun weekend and we had a good turnout despite the weather which held off, raining only a little in the morning and then again at the end of the day. Saturday was never what I would call crowded but there did seem to be a fairly steady stream of people coming in. Sunday, not so much. Everyone had some sales except for us which was what I expected since the least expensive thing we had was still almost $200. I did have a couple of people very interested in one or two pieces. Generally, people have to see my work several times, understand the process, before they are willing to spend the money. I got a ton of compliments and wonder though. Always nice.

Vorakit Chin – ceramics

This man is always smiling, always happy, laughing. I adore his work. Chin did demonstrations on Saturday and Sunday and at the end of each demonstration he would smush the forms he had made to the gasps of the onlookers so as to use the same clay the next time.

Thomas Irven – wood turning

Thomas makes the sweetest little boxes, most in an acorn shape, with tops that screw off and on. I adore his work too. He also did demonstrations on Saturday and Sunday.

Leslie Ravey – Leslie, who works in wood and leather, makes some gorgeous furniture. Leslie, on the left, with her partner Jo.

Gene Hester – fused glass

Gene, who also does stained glass, organized the show which made it really easy for the rest of us.

Barry Perez – jewelry

Barry has a beautiful aesthetic. His jewelry is stunning and attracted a lot of attention.

Kathy Poeppel and Dick Moiel – blown glass

Kathy and Dick generously opened their studio for the venue for this show. They usually blow glass October through April when they shut down the furnace for the summer.

And there was me and Marc – pate de verre cast glass

I intended to work on a model on Saturday but forgot my wax but I did remember on Sunday so at the end of the day, Kathy snapped this pic of me pretending to work. 

I definitely need to work on my display, something that sets the work off better. And better lighting.

Monday, June 6, 2016

a dog the size of a cat

A fluff piece while I recover from the weekend and try to figure out how much progress I'll be able to make on the full size drawings during the next two weeks as I'm getting ready for my trip to North Lands Creative Glass.

she doesn't chew on it, just carries it around like a cigar

a lady always crosses her legs

not too sure what that thing is

on the road again

just after their mad romp around the house

Friday, June 3, 2016

more rain and exotic blooms and small tasks

ho hum, the river's at flood stage again

The river is up again and more rain is coming upriver from us and eventually to us though we are still in no danger from the flooding. It's only been a month since the Colorado went over it's low banks on the west side of town. Last time it crested somewhere in the neighborhood of 48' which was higher than the the May 2015 flood which crested somewhere around 43'. It crested somewhere around 40 something feet and started to go down and now more rain and more dam releases and it's not just the Colorado but the Brazos River as well. And the Brazos is getting the worst of it. People are losing homes, cars, livestock, crops because the rich on the lakes in the hill country can't be bothered by high water. Certainly, they must release some water to prevent pressure on the dams but if they didn't keep the lakes at capacity they could absorb some heavy rain instead of sending it all downstream to flood those who depend on the land for their living.

My night blooming cereus bloomed last night. They don't usually bloom til late summer or fall but they will put on a bloom or two around this time of year. Last year I missed both times it bloomed so I was really happy to see it this time. They smell so sweet, kind of lemony.

I had two days to play last week because of the holiday. Couldn't do much outside because it is so soggy and hot and the mosquitos are fierce. Sunday I doused myself and clothes with repellant, something I am loathe to do so that I could do some maintenance in the yard and unclog the hose from the water lily pond to the filter...again. The string algae is fierce so I also treated the pond for that. And I took care of all the little things that have piled up. Hung a painting that's been sitting on the floor for months, repaired two wind chimes and got them hung and got the last two wind chimes from my latest estate sale haul hung. Tied the crystal back on another that had come off, hung a plastic 'crystal' do-dad in the window. Replaced two drawer handles with the glass ones I found at a previous estate sale. Drilled a hole in a saucer and got the tea cup bird feeder repaired and back up. Cut a piece of rebar in two with the metal saw, sparks flying all around. Steamed the wax out of a mold. Made a pie from the small sweet white flesh peaches the local orchard had last week and it was an awesome pie even if I do say so myself.

This weekend is the art show that we are participating in with six other artists so I spent the day yesterday getting the display ready and packing up the glass and gathering up all the other shit that we'll need for our display and sales (one can hope). We're headed into the city in a little while to get set up. Of course, it's supposed to rain all day today and Saturday with a flash flood warning through Saturday (see the first paragraph). Sunday should be decent though with only some rain predicted.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

spring reading list

I made a hasty visit to the library at the beginning of this quarter. I was out running errands and I wanted to be home by a certain time and I decided to squeeze in a quick visit on my way back since I had returned the current books the previous Saturday and it had been several days already with no reading material. I quickly perused the new arrivals shelf and settled on two fairly short novels and made my way home. Big mistake. I couldn't get past the first 10 pages of either book. Didn't care for the writing style of one and didn't like the first person perspective or the character of the other. Style again I guess. I took them both back unread and picked out an 870 page science fiction novel. Been a long time since I sat down the a good sci-fi and this one grabbed me on the first page when the moon exploded.

SevenEves by Neal Stephenson - OK, so it wasn't 870 pages, it was 861. I enjoyed parts of this book, the parts that advanced the story and, some of the 'technical' part. It is, after all, science fiction but there were pages and pages and pages of explanation of how they accomplished everything. As mentioned, on the first page of the book the moon explodes, they surmise by a tiny black hole traveling through space (it could happen!). It broke up into 8 major pieces that seemed to obtain an equilibrium that rotated in a cluster around the earth until two pieces collided and broke up further. Brains all over the world conclude that the earth has two years before the moon breaks up enough to create the White Sky and hard on the heels of that, the Hard Rain when enough bolides fall to reshape the face of the earth and set the atmosphere on fire which could last for up to 10,000 years. The whole world unites to send as many people in space as possible (less than 2,000) with as much equipment and knowledge to insure the survival of the human race as they can while more earthbound measures are being taken by a group who create a habitat in a mine. Most of the book is taken up by this effort and the five years it takes after the Hard Rain starts for the survivors in space to land on a hunk of the moon's core to dig in and start to multiply. By then there are only 8 survivors, all women, one of whom is the geneticist and one of whom is too old to reproduce. They establish seven races, (and a few sub-races) of human beings, each Eve choosing attributes she thinks her offspring will need to survive. Jump ahead 5,000 years and the earth is surrounded by a ring of space habitats and they have, after clearing the space of the moon's bolides, begun to terraform the surface of the earth, throwing comets first to re-establish the oceans and whatever to re-establish the atmosphere and reseeding the earth with life forms created from the ancient data bases. Already there are about a million Spacers living on the surface, the races divided into a coalition of two groups, stupidly IMO labeled Red and Blue replete with wars (a split that occurred even as the Hard Rain got underway). Anyway, it's not until page 746 that they make contact with the group who went underground, the Diggers and not until page 852 (out of 861) that they come face to face with a group of humans who took refuge under the ocean and evolved into a different race known as the Pingers. And then it ends. All the new and the one old earth rootstock human races have finally come face to face and the book is over. That sort of pissed me off.

So, after trudging through that, my next two books were short and light reading...

The Tears Of The Giraffe by Alexander McCall Smith - Second in the series of The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency. Mma Ramotswe embraces two orphans into her life and gives closure to an American woman who's son disappeared 10 years ago.

Tricky Twenty Two by Janet Evanovich - Twenty second in the series of Stephanie Plum, bounty hunter and object of attention from two really hot men, and her sidekick Lula. They still entertain.

Still going for short and light...

Morality For Beautiful Girls by Alexander McCall Smith – Third in the series. Rra Matekoni, Mma Ramotswe's fiance, suffers from depression, Mma Ramotswe solves a poisoning, and Mma Makutsi steps in to run Speedy Motors and the agency and saves a beauty pageant.

The Job by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg – Third in the Kate and Nick series. Kate and Nick put on an elaborate con to nab the worst drug lord in the world who has undergone extensive plastic surgery.

The Kalihari Typing School For Men by Alexander McCall Smith - Fourth in The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series. Rra. Matekoni is once again well and back at the garage. There's a new detective agency in town, Mme. Makutsi starts the typing school for men, and Mma. Ramotswe helps a man make amends for his bad behavior and confronts an errant husband.

And then I picked up this one which took me far too long to read...

Mount Dragon by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child - The surprising thing about this book is not that it's about genetic engineering but that it was written 20 years ago. Scientist Guy Carson is called in for a personal teleconference with the CEO and owner of GeneDyne where he works doing routine lab work and offered to take over the development of a very secret product, so secret that it is being developed in the world's only Level 5 containment lab in the middle of the desert in the nuclear testing grounds of New Mexico. The team there is working with a deadly 100% lethal strain of the flu virus in an attempt to develop a vaccine for flu that will not only make the recipient immune to the flu but it would be passed down to the offspring. In other words, altering permanently the DNA of humans. While dangerous and controversial, that is not the immediate threat to the population. A previously developed product, a universal artificial blood, is about to be released for hospital use when Carson and his lab assistant discover it isn't so safe after all. With the entire staff of Mount Dragon slowly and not so slowly going crazy as a result of the Beta testing, Carson and de Vaca, the only two on site not infected with the PurBlood in this extremely remote, completely cut off with no phone lines or computer access to the outside world, location, fear that the scientists will inadvertently or purposely release the deadly flu virus. They initiate a disabled but not removed fail safe protocol and incinerate the level 5 lab and in the process blow the place up to kingdom come. They escape on horseback and are pursued by the crazy before and even crazier now extremely paranoid and dangerous head of security on a better horse with more water and a high powered rifle as they try to cross the desert to a line camp of a ranch nearly a hundred miles away to alert the world that PurBlood is not safe before it's imminent release.

And one more...

The Full Cupboard Of Life by Alexander McCall Smith – number 5 in The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series. As you can see, I am working my way through these. Mma Ramotswe pulls Mr. Matekoni's butt out of the fire not once but twice and investigates a client's suitors to see if they are after her or her money. Mma Makutsi moves into a house. Mma Potokwane arranges for the foot dragging Mr. Matekoni to finally marry Mma Ramotswe.