Tuesday, January 31, 2017


I wanted to write something but it's all just so depressing. Not only what is happening but the changes in the American psyche that has allowed this to happen. For all the protests and they are awesome, there are a lot of people who like what Trump is doing. They don't understand, of course, the ramifications and the consequences of what he is doing, they just see him doing what needs to be done to keep out anyone that is not white and Christian. Never mind that it is our bombs that have destroyed their homes and livelihoods and their lives, if they are Muslim, not welcome, a measure guaranteed to increase the enmity towards the United States and in fact ISIS is celebrating, expecting more people to join them.

Regardless of all the scary stuff that Trump is doing, and I increasingly believe that he is in thrall to Steve Bannon, this white Christian America First stuff is going to cause so much suffering. Because this is not just about who we allow in but how we treat our own citizens and permanent residents. This weekend, mothers were kept from their children, children were kept from their families, people whose homes are here were refused entry, people who sold everything they had in anticipation of arriving were refused entry, people who helped us in Iraq at great danger to themselves were denied entry. All these people had no where to return to.  And yet, the muslim majority countries that the 9/11 terrorists came from are not included on the list while not one refugee from any of the countries on that list has committed terrorism in this country. The unexpected and immediate ban was bad enough, worse is Trump's careless and thoughtless sudden execution of it and of course the very next day a mosque was burned in Texas and a Canadian white christian Trump supporter killed 8 muslims in Canada and again here in Texas, muslim religious leaders were sent letters by one of our state legislators basically asking them where their loyalties lie and wanting them to sign pledges.

As if the Muslim ban isn't bad enough (and it is a muslim ban since christians and jews were excluded), he was all set, at Pence's urging, to issue an executive order on Tuesday rescinding Obama's executive order protecting LGBT federal employees and workers hired by contractors using federal money from discrimination, allowing discrimination based on religious beliefs. It was tabled at the last minute for fear of creating more bad press but I don't for a minute believe it won't come up again. And while we were distracted by that he issued an EO on regulations in the EPA and FDA requiring that for every new regulation, two old ones must be got rid of. You know, those regulations that keep us safe from pollution and unsafe food and drug processing. And worse, fired the generals on the National Security Council and replaced them with Bannon and Priebus. Fortunately, they will have to be approved by the Senate (something else that pissed Trump off) because the NSC has to approve any American targeted for assassination for being a real and immediate threat. I, for one, don't want Bannon involved in that decision.

And now Trump has fired the Attorney General because she did not uphold his unconstitutional ban, insulting her and her integrity in the process, because that's what he does, which means that since Jeff Sessions has not yet been approved, we don't have an Attorney General.

And this all just in the last several days.

Meanwhile China is mobilizing and moving nuclear missiles to their border with Russia, the better to reach us my dear. China is not amused. China does not have a sense of humor.

No one is talking about the wall between us and Mexico anymore. It's just one fucking bombshell after another, which is a tactic btw to shell shock us and keep our attention on something else while they secretly go about their real agenda. I read an essay today that essentially said they are doing extreme things, unlawful things, to see how much push back they get, to see just what they can get away with and where they can get away with it.

I've been following two twitter accounts, @RoguePOTUSStaff and @RogueSNRadvisor, who are posting from inside the White House reporting on things there. Bannon has almost complete control and Trump's son-in-law Kushner has a lot of influence. Anyone else, not so much. It's not a pretty picture and actually downright frightening how ignorant Trump is, that a fact is not a fact until he says it is, that so much about our system of government needs to be explained to him, what he can and cannot do, that he is rude and screams his anger and frustration, that he has a constant supply of fast food being delivered, that he hides in the residence watching movies instead of doing his job.

I'm proud of all the resistance but it's only been two weeks. People will have to go back to their jobs, to their lives, and it's wearying to be protesting all the time. Can we keep it up for the length of time it takes? Well, we must regardless because if we quit we will see this country transformed and not in a good way.

Friday, January 27, 2017

working in the yard and studio

Some of you might be wondering what I've been doing all week. Well, I'll tell you. I've been digging holes. Big holes. 24” in diameter by about 10” deep holes. Three of them. Then I lugged 40 lb bags of compost over and mixed it with some of the dirt and filled those holes back in.

Ta Daaaa! 3 blueberry bushes!

Actually, that's just what I did Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. I still need to get all the bricks around and eventually I'll get rid of all the grass in the triangle, outline it with the bricks, and fill it in with mulch to make mowing easier. I also cleaned three more windows. I've been slacking on the one a day thing though. That window cleaning is a chore.

I've been surveying the freeze damage and here's a list of all the established perennials I might have lost. I say might have because it will be March at least before I know for sure.

*rangoon creeper that I planted three years ago and bloomed for the first time this year
*shrub that I can never remember the name of with the long spikes of small pink flowers
*Mexican bird of paradise
*shrimp plant
*night blooming jasmine
*yellow angel trumpet that I didn't think to take a cutting of
*upright rosemary which still has some green needle leaves but looks terrible and is struggling
*angel wing begonia
*all my succulents and cacti except for the hens & chickens, the big aloes, and the century plant
*most of the walking iris
*butterfly weed
*pony tail palm
*purple orchid tree which I just planted this spring
*white orchid tree which is in a pot

but then, there's this crazy thing...

It doesn't usually bloom till late summer.

And, of course, I've been obsessing about keeping an eye on Crybabyman and his executive actions, orders, proclamations, declarations, and obsessions. The man is insane. I had a running list going but I inadvertently deleted it but essentially, he's trying to gag the media and portray them as liars, gag the governmental departments whose work and science is at odds with his beliefs like the EPA and NASA, and the National Park Service because they tweeted that his crowd at the inauguration was small (as if he is going to stop information from coming out). There's plenty more about Crybabyman Trumplethinskin but it will need it's own post. I even dusted off my twitter account so I could follow the rogue accounts of the silenced departments and so I could send my displeasure directly to @POTUS and @realDonaldTrump.

Oh, and this week I did finish the three new pieces, got them secured in their frames, and today I have to box them up and send them off to Kittrell/Riffkind Gallery in Dallas for their show in February.

Robin with Cottonwood Leaves 6.5”w x 6.5”h x 1.25”d

Green Wo/man 4.75”w x 4”h x 1.5”d

Bumblebee with Red Hibiscus 6”w x 6”h x 2”d

Sunday, January 22, 2017

cleaning windows and other trivial things

This post on my general activity last week got elbowed out of the way by the inauguration. And wasn't Saturday a beautiful thing? All those people gathering worldwide to oppose hate and bigotry and racism and sexism and discrimination and having those things expressed through governmental public policy, gathering in peace and love, it was kinda awesome. Gives one hope, but it could all be meaningless, in the long run, if it isn't followed up by action, by more participation, by getting in there where the laws are made and upheld, by helping others get in there, by speaking out and naming it to it's face.


last Tuesday dawned warm, but it turned into a cool rainy day, not hard and thunderous but light to medium off and on all day. The previous Sunday the bird panel had come out of the kiln and I got all the finish work done on it Monday. The other two came out later in the week and I got the finish work done on them as well. I'm still getting the frames so I won't put pictures up yet.

The other thing I did last Monday was to clean the bathroom window which may not seem like a big deal but was actually no mean feat. These windows all have storm windows and screens on them and I have no idea how long it has been since anyone took them off and cleaned all four surfaces and hosed down the screen. Certainly not me in the nearly 10 years we've owned this place and not in the year it stood vacant.

So I guess I finally reached my limit on the amount of dirt and cobwebs and bug body detritus I was willing to tolerate and started messing around with it til I got the storm window off which, in this crazy house, is on the inside, but I couldn't get the top one off til I realized one of the latches wasn't retracted all the way, something I remedied with a screwdriver and hammer. Washed all four surfaces and hosed down the screen and cleaned the frame and finally managed to get the storm windows back on, something of a struggle, and I have to tell you, that window fucking sparkles! All day long, every time I passed the bathroom I would have to stop and exclaim about it.

So now my goal is to do one window a day, which I did one today in the dining area.

yes, that's just how dirty they are and while I should be ashamed, I'm not

The rest of the day I took care of little lingering things like...

cleaning the angel faces, my latest junk store find, and getting them hung up,

finally cleaning the little candle lantern and the old oil lamp I got for $5 each at a different shop on a previous occasion, both of which had a thick layer of dust,


cleaned and hung up this metal hanger thing I found at one of the estate sales we go to and got the ornaments hung,

I tacked a piece of mat board up so you could see the ornaments

finally put the dragonfly door knocker on the door, not that we need it because, weather permitting, if we're here, the door is open plus we don't know anybody here that would just drop by and yes, it's off center,

and repaired the garden totem that my friend bought and had become broken.

So now it's Sunday again, when after a week of rain including 2 days of heavy rain and thunder and lightning, even losing our power for about an hour and a half, we have 2 days without rain and a clear blue dry sunny sky and not cold and not hot and I was going to get my blueberry bushes and satsuma in the ground or at least make headway on that but it is so windy out there that after a short while it drives you insane inside, 25 to 35 mph sustained with gusts over 50.

Maybe I'll clean some more windows. On the inside.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

not the post I planned but the one that got written

I could have written about many things today, on the edge as we are in this country of a paradigm shift.

I could have written about Obama's last day and that when he walks out for the last time as President he will be taking all the hope that he brought with him back out, all the quiet strength and dignity and grace he and his family showed in the face of outright contempt and hatred and bigotry and constant obstruction from Congress not because of the content of his character but because of the color of his skin. Even so he brought this country back from economic disaster and advanced civil rights and gave America a leader the rest of the world respected.

I could have written about the congressional hearings for Trump's cabinet picks which would be hilarious if it weren't for the fact that our feckless congress will go ahead and approve these totally unqualified and interest conflicted campaign donors.

I could have written about the midnight congressional votes attempting to get rid of the Congressional Ethics Committee, targeting the ACA, and any outgoing last minute rules Obama may try to put in place.

I could of written about all the government supported programs, like the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, PBS, Public Radio that are going to go immediately on the chopping block since there will be no presidential veto. Not satisfied with that they are also targeting Social Security and Medicare, and most scarily the 1st Amendment.

I could have written about Trump's enormous conflicts of interest, being in a position of power to boost every corner of his real estate, licensing, and merchandising empire not to mention his and his family's personal fortunes which the Republican party is just brushing off as inconsequential.

Or the fact that more and more evidence is surfacing about election tampering not only by Russia but by the Republican party.

Or that our president-elect is under the influence of Putin who reportedly has film of him with prostitutes.

Or Trump's scorn for our intelligence gathering agencies, his refusal to read the briefings and his dismissal of the contents, as well as the Secret Service preferring to keep his thug bodyguards on hand.

Or that Trump wants to institute military parades. You know, like they have in Russia, China, and North Korea.

Or that Trump still really does not want to be president. He's taking a three day vacation as his first act in office when he has only named appointees to 29 of the 690 administration posts that need senate confirmation while telling our ambassadors and the head of the National Guard to be out by midnight tomorrow.

Or that Trumplethinskin is still acting like a petulant third grader and is doing everything he can to suppress the press.

I could have written about all that and more but scrolling through all this on FB was depressing enough and so I plan to stick my head in the...oh look! A dandelion blooming in the grass two days after the deep freeze.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

fruit tree sale

40 pages of fruit tree varieties and information on planting, growing, and caring for them

First of all, I didn't take a single picture of the fruit tree sale! I meant to, but I just never thought of it. It started at 9AM and was about a half hour drive to the Fort Bend County Fairgrounds where the sale was being held. Usually, it's held outdoors but because rain was forecast for Saturday, they held it in one of the big barns. We got there 15 minutes early because, as my sister said, it's not exactly like the 70% off sale at Macy's with people tugging trees out of your hand, but it's a close second. So, 15 minutes early and the parking lot is already full of cars and trucks and there is a long ass line and I'm not talking single file either, plus a good many of them had brought wagons and garden carts.

We got in line and I perused the list I had made the night before from their web site narrowing down the possibilities because seeing all those people ahead of me, I knew by the time I got foot inside I needed to know exactly what I wanted and go straight for it. I had peach, fig, navel orange, satsuma, blueberries, and something called cherry of the rio grande on my list with several choices of each. They offered 24 different kinds of fruit trees including things like avocado, olive, persimmon, jujubes, pomegranate among others plus blackberries, blueberries, and goji berries with most things having several varieties and some having many varieties all good for growing in this area.

It's a well run event. They made sure everyone in line had a copy of the booklet that listed all the trees and all the varieties and had a map of the space included so you knew where to go for what you wanted. They had some wagons available for those of us in need, check out was organized and speedy with lots of people herding you into the proper line and getting all the info down so that when you got to the cashier you just forked over the proper amount.

photo credit:https://www.facebook.com/FortBendCountyMasterGardeners/?hc_ref=NEWSFEED

Imagine this room filled elbow to elbow with people and wagons and garden carts from the first row of trees back.

photo credit:https://www.facebook.com/FortBendCountyMasterGardeners/?hc_ref=NEWSFEED

Anyway, by the time we got to the door I had decided on a satsuma and blueberries and fortunately for me, they were both on the same aisle. I headed straight for the satsumas and my sister went for a wagon. I got about 30 or 40 feet in and came to a screeching halt as the crowd in front of me with all their carts and wagons made forward progress impossible. However, being skinny and limber has some advantages, plus I learned how to move through crowds when I was a teenager at Mardi Gras in New Orleans so I'm stepping over people's wagons and slipping between people keeping my eye on the trees to my right til I spotted the satsumas and picked up the first one I came to that was on my list (I had 3 varieties selected) and then headed back the way I came, stepping over wagons and slipping between carrying the tree in a 3 gallon pot, for the blueberries and my sister with the wagon and checkout. We were probably in and out in 30 minutes, back on the highway in 45.

I was going to work on the new raised bed over at the shop today for the blueberries and figure out where to plant the satsuma but as things usually go, it's rainy out there today. Not enough rain to do us any good, of course, but enough to make it impossible to work outside.

Friday, January 13, 2017

filling molds

I've spent the last three days over at the shop. Marc got the molds made so it took a day to clean them up and do the volume measures and pick colors and get it all out and to hand and set up and ready to fill them. Yesterday I filled the hibiscus flower mold and today the bird mold. They took about 5 hours each to fill. The fussy bits like the bee and the bird's markings take the longest. The rest is just weighing, mixing, and spooning while paying attention to keeping the edges sharp and the frit evenly distributed. It's not as easy as it sounds or quick. Nothing about this process is easy or quick. Unless I just cast in one solid color. Which is something I've been thinking about. More and more people who comment on my waxes suggest casting in black or even the wax color. I think that if I'm going to do that, I would have to make a rubber reproduction mold to hedge my bet, something I don't do now.

I'm particularly interested in seeing how the bird panel comes out as it is sort of new. The face has a lot of markings that are already covered up by the next layer of glass particles in the picture, plus I used more powder than I generally do albeit mixed with fine frit. I hope the markings are somewhat distinct but they could come out just mashed together.

I'm tired. It's a very focused activity plus I'm standing on a rubber mat on a concrete floor, my constant companion at my feet. I'll get the last one done tomorrow. Ordinarily, I would be working at the store but tomorrow is the Fort Bend County Master Gardener's tree sale and my sister and I are going to try and get a fruit tree. Apparently it's a mob scene. We've been advised to get there at opening and know what kind of fruit tree I want. If I browse, I'm likely to get nothing or certainly not my first or second choice.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

damage of one kind or another

Remember Sunday when it was below freezing when I got up? This morning, Tuesday, was 64˚, supposed to get up to 75˚ today. Wandering around yesterday and today, the damage is extensive. Everything I brought in and protected is fine but the yard is a loss. Even the grass turned mostly brown though it will recover quickly. I had some bromeliads in the ground that I meant to dig up and never did that weren't in the least affected but the little cactus that was growing so nicely and putting out pups is soggy as are the other succulents and aloes that it never occurred to me to bring in.

Even the century plant is looking soft and droopy.

The mexican petunias are toast but I was planning on cutting them back to the ground this spring anyway

and it didn't occur to me to protect the gardenias either

or the walking iris. I think everything will recover except maybe the gardenias. They look pretty dead.

One thing the cold weather did was keep me inside and working on models. I finished the bird panel and another little one, sort of a Green Wo/Man (4.5" x 4.5"), and they are all set up and ready for the casting molds to be made.

It's also kept me off FB mostly and unsucked mostly into the looming disaster that our political system has become. The hypocrisy being exhibited by the Republican Congress is just mind boggling. The rules they imposed on the Democrats when Obama was elected now seem unnecessary and Mitch McConnell, the man who spent 8 years doing nothing but obstructing Obama and the Democratic agenda is shocked, shocked I tell you, that the Democrats now plan to obstruct him and his agenda. Unfuckingbelievable. First they try to get rid of the congressional ethics oversight commission in a middle of the night vote and then they decide that vetting Trump's cabinet picks before confirmation hearings is totally unnecessary. Apparently, rules don't apply to them. The Republican Party has become a complete joke, like a clown, except that it's just not funny and clowns are scary.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

like a yoyo

It's cold outside. Cold cold cold. Not just cold, frozen! It was 20˚ when I got up Saturday morning. I was expecting around 27˚ not 20˚. Just about the only things untouched are the roses and the pansies, and the azaleas of course. Well, and the ferns but everything else...mush. Or will be when it thaws out. The birdbaths...frozen. 

The tubs of water plants...frozen, or at least a thick ice layer. 

The water lily pond was iced over around the edges even though the water is moving. Big Mama is hunkered down in her pond as close to the pump as she can get as it produces a little heat and the goldfish are all snuggled up together in one of the holes of the mortar brick on the bottom of the pond.

I did bring a few more things into the house and garage Friday, covered the ones in the garage as best I could with sheets and put a little space heater out there to help keep them warm. And I cut back the two yellow angel trumpets in the yard deep enough to fit under a big bucket, reasoning that they would freeze to the ground otherwise.

Here's something amazing. When you go outside when it is 20˚ and then again when it is 35˚ and the sun is shining and there is no wind, 35˚ feels warm. It finally warmed up to 42˚ yesterday, supposed to be 10˚ warmer today. I stayed inside for the most part, making the occasional short foray into the yard, working on another wax model since I had finished the hibiscus flower.

This morning it was 27˚ when I got up. Everything still frozen and looking even more miserable if that's possible. One night in the 20s was bad enough, two nights and even the pansies look like they have been sugared.

This is the last of it though for this go round. In two days it's supposed to be back up in the mid 70s like it was last Wednesday.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

no, really, I'm good

I'm amazed that so many people seem to be worried about me since the election and I admit that most of my FB posts since have been in-your-face political but really, my blood pressure is fine, I'm not on the verge of stroking out, and I still find joy in my daily life. I am still avoiding all political conversations with people I don't know well because support for Trump is still a deal killer and if any of the people I encounter on a daily basis and enjoy chatting with support him, I just don't want to know. And this is not about my candidate losing. This is about a basic moral foundation or rather the lack of one. Regardless of the lies he promised, if you support a racist bigot who has spent his entire career cheating and ruining anyone who opposes him, an admitted sexual predator who mocked a disabled person and who acts like a third grader, a man who stands by this country's main opponent against his own government, constitution, and citizens whom he called his enemies, then there is something seriously wrong with you. I will continue my in-your-face political posts and blog entries because this is something that should never become normalized and it's looking like it could even get disastrous but I am trying to temper them with more art and beauty.

So, I'm back to work, working on a few new models for the critter show at Kittrell/Riffkind Gallery in Dallas in February, the first of the three shows we have been invited to participate in there this year. I'm trying to get these done by the end of the week. The first is this hibiscus flower with bumblebee.

It's turning cold again after our week of spring-like weather and in fact is going to get really cold this weekend, down in the 20s so I'll be bringing the few plants in again that I trundle out when the weather is good, plus some others that can tolerate low 30s but not 20s. The roses and morning glory bush and confederate rose have really liked the warm weather and responded by sending out all kinds of new growth. I kept telling them it was far too early and now they are about to get a hard lesson.

And this poor sulfur.

The baby spiders are still hanging out in their protective web. Later that same day I saw they had come together in a single round mass. I've been keeping watch and sometimes they are spread out and sometimes clustered together in one or two balls. If you jostle the twigs trying to get a picture of them clustered together though, they will spread out.

That's my wander for today and I need to get started.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

new year

New Year's Eve day was heavily overcast and wet, sometimes sprinkling, sometimes raining heavily up until mid-afternoon though still overcast, still damp but warmer than I expected. We didn't buy any fireworks this year. The daughter and fam were going to come out for the usual fireworks extravaganza but the weather put them off and another person was killed on 59 at Rosenberg this morning and what with the construction, the weather, and the drunks it was just as well to stay home. So far this has been a very quiet New Year's Eve.

Nearly 10 and I haven't heard any racket or seen any aerial displays out the window. The Tee Pee Motel behind us usually has something going on and one or two other neighbors usually have aerials but so far nothing more than a firecracker or two and a few muffled booms from when I was outside earlier. Nothing loud enough to be heard inside. As if no one is particularly anxious to go forward.

Ten minutes to midnight and there goes one loud pop and the dog is an instant quivering panting mess. Looking out the window I see our neighbor on the next street over is making an effort. I'd stay and watch but the dog is torn between quivering at my feet or hiding in a dark corner. Finally I take her into the back bedroom where I think the noise won't be as loud but it is. I climb into bed but she hides in the closet and I listen to the loud booms and crackles imagining the colorful display in the sky. Still, this is the quietest New Year's Eve that I can remember since moving out here. At some point I fell asleep and later the dog climbed in bed with me.

the Little Backyard on New Year's Day

New Year's Day is heavily overcast and wet but not especially cold. I walked around the yard looking to see if there was anything particularly interesting to photograph but not much.

a disintegrating cardinal nest from last spring

I noticed this tight mass of spider silk and when I looked closer I saw dozens of baby spiders hanging out within. They are about the size of the head of a pin.

Usually I write a post on this day about the past year but scrolling through my archive for 2016 I see that last year was mostly dominated by the A&M job, the yard, my trip to Scotland, and the election. I think we've all already heard enough about those.

So, nothing planned for today besides mimosas, brunch, and watching a movie from Redbox though later I might work on a wax model I started last Friday.

Happy New Year!