Monday, February 26, 2018

longhorns, rodeo duds, and flowers

not every day you see a longhorn grazing on the side of the road

Last Friday was Go Texan Day. That's the day the trail rides come into Houston and camp out in Memorial Park with a parade on Saturday and opening night of the Houston Rodeo and Livestock Show. I wrote about it years ago here and here so I won't go into it again. Or you can read my sister's post here 

that's me on the right in pants, my sister behind me

Rocky poked his head in this morning about 8:30, need to run to Lowe's, will be back in about an hour um huh, it will take you an hour just to get there and back. Two and a half hours later still no Rocky but he had a materials list and is going to start removing the outside siding in preparation for cutting the holes in the wall for the etched glass when he gets back. The vinyl flooring for the kitchen gets installed tomorrow yay and finally! so while Rocky is working on the outside I'll be pulling the refrigerator, stove, and washer and dryer away from the walls to get the last of the old green linoleum up from around the baseboards.

I've been rethinking the tile in the bathroom. Not going to use the pretty hex tiles for the floor of the shower because it would cost me over $70 just for that and I will never see them. Instead, I'm going to do a rectangular inset with them on the floor of the bathroom. I've been looking at lighting fixtures and pedestal sinks on-line. I should have just jumped in the truck with Rocky and browsed while he waited for his estimate.

Was still cool, wet, and overcast this morning but the sun is coming out and it's warming up, and while I am so not ready for the unrelenting heat and dryness of summer, I'm really tired of this wet and overcast. So many things that can't be done outside as long as the ground is so wet.

A few pics around the yard...

this little corydalis, the only one, a gift from the flood

the little red lilies coming on

the one and only daffodil

I moved the daffodils two summers ago from a spot where they bloomed but were getting overwhelmed by the mexican petunias. Not a single bloom last year but I figured it was because we didn't have enough chill hours but no such excuse for this year so what's the dang deal daffodils?

Friday, February 23, 2018

three things

I finally finished the model for the lizard and anemones. Another 10 hours so I was half right. It doesn't look fundamentally different from the last picture I posted but it is much cleaner, smoother, the parts you can see and the underneath parts. I'm glad to be done with it.

6” L x 5” W x 2.25” H

So that's good news but the really good news is Rocky showed up this morning to start on the rest of the house. He had planned to be here Monday but last week just as he was finishing up at the other house all hell broke loose with a water leak behind the new finished wall in the bathroom and once repaired and water turned on, no water from the well so now all the galvanized pipes need to be replaced in her house. Same will have to be done in the little bathroom here. Anyway, there's lots of sawing and hammering going on back there right now trimming up the sheetrock and getting the old closet wall demolished and getting ready to cut the holes in the outside wall for the etched glass. 

Once he got the sheetrock off the back wall of that room, turned out there used to be a window on that wall, now boarded up. 

And there used to be a door to the little backyard on the outside wall, also boarded up. I'm thinking about putting it back. Or maybe french doors! but probably not. FEMA paid for the repair of the structure and my studio room. We're paying for the back bedroom and bathroom.

Last Wednesday after boasting about spring, it turned cold and wet and still overcast though it's quickly warming up today (and after I wrote that it's gotten partly cloudy so yay for the sun peeking out). 

We've had a few partly cloudy days but I don't think we have had a clear blue sky day this month or most of last month either. Last year at this time I was working over at the garden every day hauling and shoveling many yards of dirt, laying out weed cloth and spreading hay. I haven't even so much as looked over there so far this year.

The third thing no, the weather was not the third thing even though it did get a picture is tomorrow I take Marc to the airport for a week with my brother in Colorado. My brother skies, Marc does not. He doesn't even like the cold and snow but he goes to hang out with my brother and give me a week at home alone. Won't be much of a week alone since I'm guessing Rocky and Gunner will be here all next week.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

a week ago, everything looked like winter

Back to being overcast but at least it's still warm...too warm. The door is open and the wind chimes are playing and the birds are singing, the red shouldered hawks are out calling for mates. Stuff is busting out. The hibiscus and angel trumpet and phillipine violet and night blooming jasmine and the penta are all sprouting from the roots, the spirea exploded with new growth and is covered with tiny buds, 

the chinese fringe flowers are blooming something they did not do last year

peach trees are blooming, 

the azaleas are over eager, the first of the little red lilies are open, 

same with the ground orchids, 

and the bluebonnets are starting to send up their blooms. 

As mention many times, the little white anemones have blanketed the yard and an occasional purple bloomer 

but yesterday I saw a pink one for the first time ever. 

Sunday I cut the banana trees back. 


Only halfway but I will probably have to cut them down to the ground later. Uncovered this little guy. 

Spent the rest of the day picking up the debris from Saturday and weeding the big flower bed in front and again some today.

I am continually reminded that there is still good in the world, good people. Saturday morning a woman pulled into the driveway with a sign on the side of her truck, Disaster Assistance Church Of Christ. She used to live in Wharton, has family still here, and was in our neighborhood checking to see who still needed help. Apparently one of the neighbors sent her to us and, unlike some of these church disaster relief groups, membership in her church was not a requirement for help. She asked how things were going, did I need sheetrock or insulation. No and yes, that I was going to do wainscoting with the bead board instead of sheetrock in the back room and bathroom. She came in and measured the rooms and said she'd get back to me later. I got a text from her, she couldn't get the insulation but McCoy's Lumber yard would be delivering 21 sheets of bead board paneling on Monday. Which they did.

Today, more weeding in the front flower bed. Several years of neglect and the flood bringing all manner of seeds, it's a real chore. Today, also more detailing on the lizard/anemone model. I spent an hour yesterday on one flower. I'm ready to be done with this.

I am heartened by the high school students calling bullshit to all the thoughts and prayers from politicians who are paid off by the NRA and who do nothing to prevent the gun violence in this country. They may not be able to vote yet but they are organizing protests and they will be able to vote soon. With the mid-term elections coming up soon maybe this time the outrage will last and some of these politicians will be replaced. Maybe this time enough adults will call bullshit.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

the yard finally called, more like shouted really

I've been working on the lizard with 10 petal anemone model just about every day last week since I posted a picture of my progress. All three flowers are firmly attached and the void spaces filled in and a first pass of the detailing and cleaning up done.

By my best reckoning I've got about 20 hours in it already. Probably need at least 5 more to be done. Hahahahahaha. Always the optimist. I wonder if these would take less time if I did them in clay. I've bought clay several times with the intention of trying it again but it always gets used up in mold making before I ever find myself working with it. It would probably just as frustrating as wax, just in different ways.

It has finally been dry and partly sunny enough days that it has dried up some. Three days ago I was using a floor squeegee in the garage because it was so wet it was creating puddles from the humidity and the rapid rise in temperature.That concrete is so smooth that when it's wet like that, it's slippery. So, Friday afternoon and yesterday afternoon I started the winter's-over-yard-clean-up. I worked in the Little Backyard getting that back in shape raking and sweeping and cutting stuff back and putting the small pots back on their racks and setting things where they belong. 

I cut back stuff in the yard at large working in the front...yellow bells, beauty berry, lantana, turk's cap, night blooming jasmine all cut to the ground, cut back most of the roses, cut suckers off the crepe myrtles which I haven't done for years. The mountain of rose cuttings was trundled over to the burn pile, the rest is still scattered about. I don't think I'm going to do a garden this spring. The yards, home and shop, need so much attention after the flood and then this very cold winter.

These warm few days, even hot as today first I shed down to my tank top and then finally I had to go in and put on shorts! I kid you not. Shorts. In February. That's just not right, even for down here. These dry warm few days and finally the anemones opened (they don't like cold, wet, and overcast so I forged on without them) and the yard is speckled with small white flowers. 

The woodland violets also exploded into bloom (both are quite invasive and seem to have multiplied exponentially from last year).

This was taken in the old garden now a 'let's see what grows here' flower bed, besides the woodland violets, the feathery things are love-in-a-mist or rocket larkspur. They are very similar at this stage. Also a few of the rounded leaves of baby-blue-eyes (as in lower left) and upper right some oxalis, some henbit lower right.

And what the fuck! Why is it my brain thinks one word and my fingers type something else?

It is spring but I don't think we will have any of those glorious days of warm dry clear weather this year. Maybe never again. This year has been one extreme or another. It is spring and the mock dogwood is covered with tiny green sprouts of leaves. The daffodils are way up but so far only one bud. It was 80 fucking degrees today. Last week, it was cold. I don't know if the satsuma I planted last spring is going to survive even though it was well covered. It looks pretty bad. The main trunk is still green...for now.

Did I mention we went to the movies Friday morning? We went to see Black Panther. It is as great as the reviews say it is for all the reasons they say. It is visually gorgeous and empowering for women without diminishing men, gorgeous men. 

Thursday, February 15, 2018

stop praying, stop thinking, start voting

Maybe we deserve to implode. Perhaps our finest moment was WWII and the few years that followed. Because since then we became drunk with our power and have become the world's biggest bully. We have invaded, propped up dictators, subverted other countries elections, armed insurrections, choked other countries economies, destroyed other nations. We are currently bombing seven nations. We are the world's biggest arms dealer. This country was founded on genocide and slavery. Is it really any wonder that we are the only nation to ever actually use an atomic bomb on another nation? Yes, yes, I know, lives saved and time shortened and all that. Not the point.

Is it really any wonder that we descended into insanity? Our murderous tendency had to be eventually turned on ourselves. Escalation is the name of the game. And so our love of weapons and violence tells us that guns are the answer to every problem, that the more you take out the more you win.

I wrote this last night and then dinner was ready and now I'm trying to pick up the thread. Where do I start? With thoughts and prayers? Fuck thoughts and prayers. God isn't going to fix this for us. The only way this is going to get fixed is by the general population demanding that the people they vote for pass strict measures on gun ownership in general and outlawing military grade or military like weapons in particular. And if they don't then vote for someone who will next time.

Tweet from Shaun King...The United States is not #1 in much. Not education, not healthcare, not economic equality, not much. We're #1 in mass shootings and mass incarceration. It's not even close. That's where we lead. This is what we're best at.

And these mass shootings are increasing. 45 days into this new year, this is the 18th school shooting and something like the 37th mass shooting. But according to the Republicans that have had a choke hold on Congress for the last 7 years, it's never a good time to talk about gun control no matter how many people die, no matter their age. They don't want gun control because they get millions from the NRA.

Tweet from Marco Rubio...Just spoke to Broward School Superintendent. Today is that terrible day you pray never comes.

Marco Rubio has taken over $3 million from the NRA and never votes for gun control. Fuck Marco Rubio.

Tweet from Trump...So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior. Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!

Two months into his term, Trump nullified Obama's background checks for mental illness for gun purchases. Fuck you Trump.

According to BuzzFeed, the FBI received a tip about this most recent shooter months ago and apparently did NOTHING.

Seems I saw some politician said no one knows how to stop this (couldn't find it again). Well, other countries know how to stop it. I know how to stop it. They can start by outlawing and confiscating military style weapons. They can limit the number of weapons one person can own. They can get rid of open carry. They can require thorough background checks on ALL gun purchases. They can require a waiting period and training before acquiring the gun they want to purchase. They can require gun owners purchase insurance. They can classify the NRA as a terrorist organization or at the very least make it illegal for the NRA to donate money to political figures.

All this would be possible if we really cared enough. The first step though is to get rid of every politician that has ever taken money from the NRA. Unless that happens then the next best thing is to outfit yourself and your family with body armor and wear it every day because Congress will not protect you.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

well, that didn't take long

Now that the Republicans have passed their boondoggle of a tax reform giving us peons a temporary tax cut of maybe $100 if we're lucky while the already ultra wealthy and corporations making record profits get a permanent tax cut of millions and billions every fucking year and adding a trillion to the deficit, now they are all worried about where the money is coming from to cover the extra billions going to our already bloated defense budget and the billions they want for that stupid, and in the end ineffective, wall. Guess who they want to make up the difference...the old, the poor, and the ill.

Social Security and Medicare (also Medicaid) are on the chopping block even though these programs are not part of the national budget but funded by a special account that we all pay into our entire working lives that was flush with money for the foreseeable future until the government raided that fund to pay for the things they didn't want to raise taxes for. Now the Republicans are all woe is us, SS and Medicare are bankrupting us!

They also have food assistance in their sights. Not content with passing laws that make it harder for the working poor to access, now the Republicans want to pick their food for them. If they have their way recipients will receive less money on a debit card that they can shop for the groceries they want with and a box of 'shelf stable' food. In other words, the government is going to decide for you what you get to eat and it will be the cheapest sugar and salt laden GMO chemical filled over processed packaged food available because in this country it's all about profit and you can bet whatever agency (or corporation) the Republicans create to compile and distribute these boxes of food will skim off as much as they can of the budget and pocket the funds. Not content with being political nazis, now they want to be food nazis.

And not just food assistance, Trump wants to eliminate things like the National Endowment for the Arts, not cut the budget but eliminate, because they don't see the value to this country of our culture and arts (here's a link to the 22 agencies he wants to eliminate). Not to mention House Republicans voting to eliminate the only federal agency tasked with making sure our voting machines can't be hacked. This coming on the heels of every intel agency in the country warning Congress and Trump that not only did the Russians hack into and influence the last presidential election but they are currently continuing to do the same for the midterm elections coming up in November. Trump's reaction? Meh, Putin says he didn't do it. He believes this country's #1 enemy over all the intelligence agencies tasked with our protection. Trump also refuses to impose the new sanctions on Russia that overwhelmingly passed Congress. So much for the rule of law.

So you peeps know what you need to do right? Show up and vote in November. Ted Cruz is convinced we will as he said in a speech to the Ft. Bend County GOP, "Let me tell you right now: The left is going to show up. They will crawl over broken glass in November to vote."

If you have to crawl over broken glass to vote then put on some fucking knee pads and get yourself to the polls because if we don't take back Congress in November we can kiss what's left of this country goodbye.

Monday, February 12, 2018

weekend woes

It was mild on Saturday and I thought to prune the rest of the roses but it was also drizzly and not even a heavy drizzle but enough that you would be wet enough if you stayed out in it long enough. So I decided to pull all the plumerias and the bird of paradise and the nun's orchid and the star of india and the angel trumpet out of the garage and give everything a good watering and sweep all the leaves and dirt out in an effort to excavate the kiln with an eye to start casting stuff again and so I left it all out on the concrete apron in front of the barn totally exposed to the north because it wasn't supposed to get any colder than a quick dip to 40˚. Then winter came back Saturday night. Of course it did!

The weather app on my phone sucks.

Went out Sunday morning at 9 AM in 35˚ with a strong constant north wind to meet and hear Beto O'Rourke speak outdoors! about the future we want for the country. 9 AM on a Sunday morning isn't a great time in this religious republican town to attract people to his town hall meeting but it was the only slot available in his very busy schedule. Beto is currently a representative in Congress and he is running to unseat Ted Cruz as one of our senators. About 30 of us showed up but I'm uncertain how many were part of Beto's entourage. I did see a few familiar faces. We think there are more democrats in this town then conventional wisdom purports but, as I've said before, this is a mean little town and the republicans here aren't above punishing democrats who make themselves known by boycotting their businesses or spreading rumors or shunning them in social situations. The rare democrat who has the guts to put a political sign in their yard is brave indeed. Anyway, it was cold as shit but only lasted about half an hour and I'm glad I went. I guess I'm going to get more active in the local scene having signed up and checked the box for volunteering.

And the rest of the day was cold as shit too and since none of the little anemone flowers were open because it was wet and gray and cold, we decided to rent a movie. If you ever saw Kingsman: the Secret Service and enjoyed it and think you might be tempted to see the sequel, Kingsman: the Golden Circle...don't. It was really awful.

And this morning it is 33˚. Did I mention the weather app on my phone sucks? And that the tropicals are still out on the driveway? I do think they'll be OK but I should have waited just two more days as we start a warming trend today. But could I wait two more days? Nooo.

I did make a little progress on the model Saturday, roughing out two of the little flowers.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

no clever title today

Rocky stopped Thursday while I was out in the front pulling up clover. “I'm about finished up with B's house so I'll be by tomorrow to assess things and get the guys started next week, you gonna be home?” Yeah Rocky, I'll be here. He stopped again mid-morning on Friday while I was out front. “After lunch,” he tells me.

I guess he never had lunch yesterday. But that's OK, I know I'm on his mind. He'll get here when he can actually give me his attention.

So, believe it or not, I've put in some good hours this week on the current model. Got all the leaves on and halfway cleaned up. 

Next are the three flowers. Not quite sure how I'm going to approach those.

I made it to the garden club meeting Thursday morning and I did my yoga routine Friday morning and today. Am I on a roll or what?

Some days it's winter and some days it's spring and some days, like yesterday, start out one way and end up the other. I had both doors open in the afternoon while I was working and the little glass wind chime that hangs in here was tinkling in the cross breeze. 

I hang it inside because our wind would be too much for it and the gold vanes are paper anyway and I don't have a protected spot outside to hang it.

The spring weeds have taken over the yard, the yard in which we used to have a solid healthy st. augustine that started dying in large patches two years ago. Instead we have a meadow, I guess, full of the little anemone, fleabane which will bloom later, sow thistle (which I dig up), dandelions, birdseye speedwell which has tiny blue flowers, woodland violets, chickweed, plantain, henbit

which has taken over one end of one of the flower beds as well.

It rained during night, not very hard but was accompanied by lightning and low rumbles of thunder which sent Minnie into paroxysms of trembling turning the bed into one of those 'massage' vibrating beds in cheap motels.

And today it is spring.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

yoyo weather, baby steps, and demolished houses

I've known it for awhile but yesterday there was no denying it. The birds have been sure for weeks now. Spring has arrived. The yard is spotted with white 10 petal anemone flowers, the maple tree is blooming, 

Vs of geese have been heading more or less northward, the red shouldered hawks have been keeing for mates, the spring weeds in the yard have exploded, it was warmer outside yesterday than it was in the house, and I saw a mosquito hawk or, rather, a crane fly. Crane flies look like giant mosquitos but they don't eat. They hatch to mate. Their sole purpose in life is to fuck and they happen to be my personal harbinger of spring. Well, they were until the weather became an extreme yoyo. And speaking of that yoyo, it's back to being cold, windy, and wet, high of only 45˚ today. I need to go out and fill the teacup and the bird feeder but they'll all just have to survive without me today.

Weird dream this morning. I had a houseful of people and I was in a near panic trying to get coffee made and some sort of breakfast fixed to feed them all but I hadn't been to the store and didn't really have anything in the house except some weird package stuff and maybe a dozen eggs and the house was the old city house and I wasn't even sure how many people there were (30, 40, 65?) and once I got them fed how was I going to entertain them in this small town that has nothing interesting going for it and then I woke up.

Yesterday, late afternoon after taking the dog for her walk, I pulled out the lizard with 10 petal anemone model that I had started on during the open house last December and a couple of other waxes 

and then went and sat on the couch and finished my book. Baby steps people, baby steps.

Day before yesterday, this pile of rubble was a house at the other end of my street.

The house on the left has been abandoned as long as we have been out here. The neighbor of the demolished house decided not to fix up their house after the flood but to tear it down and replace it with a doublewide. To that end, they bought the property of the abandoned house next door which I guess gets crushed next although I don't understand why they went to the effort of removing all the windows in the abandoned house but demolished their house intact.

Monday, February 5, 2018

still completely unmotivated

Well, if I had done anything to speak of the last two days I might have something to write about. I did make a half assed attempt at cleaning out one section of one flower bed on Sunday. Saturday was a drizzly day and since I had been mostly sleepless Friday night mostly what I did was sit on the couch and read. I did work on updating my website both days. I'm toying with the idea of taking the etched glass off completely but the feedback I'm getting says to keep it.

Overcast and chilly out there today and while it is brighter than it could be it's still dreary. Nothing worth taking pictures of except this little woodland violet in the yard. 

I should be over at the shop getting the raised beds in shape for the spring planting but it's such a mess. All my hard work last year putting down the weed cloth in between and around the raised beds is as if I hadn't even bothered since the flood washed it all away. And I need to go get at least one more yard of dirt to top off the beds.

Rocky never showed over the weekend which didn't surprise me. That poor guy is so busy he's been working 6 1/2 days a week. In the meantime I ought to be starting some new waxes. Still have three of the four big drowned feather pieces to cast but the kiln is surrounded by plumerias waiting for the weather to be consistently warm enough to put them back outside.

I did learn yesterday that the old boyfriend through which I eventually met Marc died and his funeral is today. Apparently he had been ill for some time so says the son of his roommate back when I was dating him, the guy that died, not the roommate, although the roommate is also dead quite a few years now.

Here's something...I no longer seem capable of remembering when to use a 'z' or an 's' when I write.

And something else...R and wife D got the orange plastic barrier up adjacent to the coop so the chickens can get outside now even if they are restricted to a smaller area. I'm thinking that the neighbor J on the other side must have called the sheriff about R shooting at his dog because about a week or so ago, I did see a deputy drive down the street and another neighbor says he stopped at J's house and shortly after that I had my encounter with R and the chickens were confined to their coop. My complaints to R about this never resulted in that.

It's already noon and already I have accomplished nothing.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

some progress

Rocky hailed me as I walked past his house when I was out walking the dog Thursday. He thinks he's got another week on the current house and then he'll be able to start. He plans to drop by this weekend and look over the elevations and details I drew up for the back bedroom and bathroom, start making his materials list so there is some progress on that front.

And Gunner also showed up Thursday and got the 'new' light fixture up above the dining table. Took a bit of finagling but we finally got it up and even though I lowered it 6”, it's still hard to see because that's a dark corner of the house being the NW corner. Plus it was overcast on Friday when I took these pictures in the morning. I'll try to get a better picture of it installed when we have a sunny afternoon.

And, after spending an afternoon working on making the wax blank earlier this week, I finally decided that I didn't have enough time to create anything new for the charity auction so I had the gallery in Dallas send back a piece that I wasn't all that happy with, not that there's anything wrong with it. But I know how these auctions go and it's highly doubtful that the piece will go for it's worth so I'd just as soon it be one I don't care about all that much. You might remember this one.

So, I haven't been very good about updating my website lately, in fact it's been over a year!, and a google search for pate de verre only pointed people to a document on my website on the history of the technique but not to the home page and an image search didn't come up with any of my images so I seem to have dropped out of sight. Hence, I am spending the next few days trying to update my website, thinking about completely redoing it and removing the etched glass pages since we are retiring from that, and creating a new pate de verre board on Pinterest as the one I made long enough ago that I don't remember when seems to have disappeared, trying to boost my visibility.

And finally, neighbor R seems to be hiding out since Tuesday. Haven't seen hide nor hair of him or the chickens. Maybe he's “butt-hurt” by both his immediate neighbors not being too happy about his shoot first attitude. I guess he's keeping the chickens in the coop because as nearly as I can tell, he hasn't erected the orange plastic fencing yet. I thought I would offer to help him if I saw him out and about.

Well, another overcast day at the beginning of a long stretch of overcast days so says the weather app.