Friday, December 31, 2021

new deck, new year

I haven't done much this week besides be around to put in my two cents, answer and ask questions while the deck was being built. 

And here is the finished deck, two sets of stairs, one in front and one on the right behind the yew tree.

They finished up a little after noon Wednesday. Rocky had some lattice in his trailer that the previous owner was getting rid of so he used that to dress it up around the bottom. The lattice is a little beat up and dirty but basically in good condition otherwise. I'll hose it down and paint it the rose color to match the house. The deck still needs to have sealer put on it and I'm contemplating whether or not I want to paint the railing, white if I do. One thing for sure, I'm going to have to pay more attention to the flower beds in the front now.

The luna moth is out of the kiln and I've cleaned off all the plaster. It came out with a major flaw at one end of the caterpillar where for some reason it looks like a bubble came up and left a clear spot about the size of a dime in the solid white background. We're mystified. This is a real problem since it's going in a stand. I have an idea how to disguise it or at least mitigate it using enamel paint so we'll just see how that works out.

It looks like our warm weather is coming to an end and we're going to have our first light freeze. It's supposed to dip down to the high 30˚s Saturday night and Monday night and if that was as cold as it was going to get I would have left everything outside but the prediction is 29˚ Sunday night so Tuesday I cleaned up and reorganized the garage to accommodate the plants and Wednesday set up two of the plant etageres inside and all the plant stands and brought in all the small pots, moved all the bigger pots (plumerias, bird of paradise) over by the garage to be moved in. I still have three plumerias to dig up, somehow move the big night blooming cereus into the garage, and decide what to do about the pink and yellow angel trumpets in pots today or tomorrow. I pruned back the pink so it will be relatively easy to move but the yellow is huge and covered in buds. I'll have to prune back the porter weed which is still blooming and cover it if I want it to survive. I'm not going to bother trying to cover anything else. Sink or swim baby, sink or swim.

We got some unexpected bad news, sad news for Marc, yesterday. One of his first cousins died yesterday morning. Covid. We don't know if he was vaccinated or not, didn't even know he was in the hospital, haven't been close to that branch of the family for a while, but he also had some serious health issues. He was 65, younger than us.

Omicron has made it to Wharton and the Elders, the two young Mormon men who volunteer at SHARE, have been exposed and so they weren't there Thursday. Jan decided to limit people to food only (usually they can select clothing and housewares as well, masks required) and we closed an hour early yesterday. None of us volunteers want to be exposed.

It's New Year's Eve. Twenty twenty one has been choppy but far better than the previous four years. Let's hope for continued improvement and some sorely needed indictments against the principals who supported, planned, financed, orchestrated, and participated in the attempt to overthrow a legal election and our democracy.

Monday, December 27, 2021


one for each decade

Today is Marc's birthday, Marcmas as it's known around here. He finally caught up with me and is now a septuagenarian, marveling at the fact. No big plans, just the usual day to day activity. Curse covid. No movie or dinner out, not this year, maybe next.

For his birthday I suggested we go ahead and get the deck built out front that we talked about doing a few years ago and so we are. Rocky went off to get the materials to start today. A couple of the branches of the big yew tree on the corner of the house will have to be cut off and the deck will be built around the trunk on one side. We're having it built in the front because of our three exterior doors the front door is the best option, that part of the house being on pier and beam and you have to stand on the ground to open the storm door which swings out, it's very awkward trying to come in through the front door. The back door is in the part of the house on slab and leads out to the little backyard, the part that's fenced, which has a small patio and also the three tanks for the septic system so it's unsuitable. And the third door leads out to the garage. There's a small overhang in the front of the house leading up to the door but it's not really a porch so this will give us a place to sit outside and observe the goings on.

My daughter posted this pic of the grandgirls Jade and Autumn on FB the other day. If you are a long time reader you've watched these two young women grow up. Autumn did this last semester abroad in Ecuador, has been in the rain forest working on her 20 page essay required at the end, her topic how indigenous people approached and treated mental health issues, and now that it's done Jade, who just graduated with a degree in actuarial science (math, statistics, economics, and finance) and has a job waiting for her in June in Dallas with AIG, has joined her and the two are vacationing in the Galapagos. Autumn, who still has one more semester, her studies more varied in pre-med and social studies, wants to join the Peace Corps after she graduates. Autumn on the left, Jade on the right.

I did take some preliminary pictures yesterday of the trumpet flowers but I'm not completely happy with them so I'm getting some different light bulbs and giving it another try, might even do it after dark so I don't have to deal with the sunlight coming in from one direction. Now I have to do the hardest part, figure out what the minimum is I will take for them versus what I would like to get for them, double it for the retail price as I only get half from the gallery, and then try to find a balance, one that I can live with and one that will entice a buyer.

Today's progress on the deck. 

Saturday, December 25, 2021

miscellaneous pics while I finish up

Food flavored like completely different food is getting out of hand.

My sister threw out a packet of wildflower seeds that included zinnias and cosmos and with this warm winter they are already blooming. This is a red admiral butterfly but it wouldn't cooperate and open it's wings for me. Still, the underside is really nice.

One of our resident red shouldered hawks on the lookout for a meal.

Another prism cast, this time on the door to the refrigerator.

Last Thursday a woman brought in a fresh food donation at SHARE. She made up about 10 of these bags, everything you need for a hearty soup.

I picked up this oyster shell shaped like a canoe when I went to the beach to visit my guide buddies John and Elise last November.

I stopped throwing the coffee grounds with filter in the compost pile because the filters just take forever to decompose so now I dump the grounds in a covered container and throw the filter in the trash. When the container gets full then I either toss them around various flower beds or dump it in the compost pile which I went to do yesterday and found these tiny sprouts of something. I think they must be chia seeds as I do put them on my oatmeal but how they got in the container with the coffee grounds is anybody's guess.

I trust everyone had a good day today, those who celebrate did and those who don't enjoyed their quiet day. I took the opportunity to finish the shadow boxes and mount the glass. They are done, signed, and ready to be formally photographed. So, pictures when.

Thursday, December 23, 2021

getting there

For those of you interested in making the Israeli couscous pasta salad, do scoop the seeds out of the cucumber before you chop it up. I don't have a precise recipe, just eyeball the proportions.

Tuesday I drilled the holes in the sides of the shadow box frames and got two light coats of the flat black on the plywood backs. One more coat and then I'll start on the frames with the glossy black. I'm ready to get these two projects done, the luna moth in the kiln and the trumpet flowers mounted, so I can start on the next two models. That's my favorite part, making the models, turning those blocks and sheets of wax into a 3 dimensional or bas relief sculpture. There's a third one I need to make, a small botanical for a friend to fulfill my half of a trade. I've had the giclee print of her painting framed and hung for at least a year. Maybe longer.

Well, the pain in my rear is back (no, not the husband, he's here all the time), not my hip but on the right side of my butt near my tailbone but at least it's not the sharp pain it was before. Now it's more like a dull ache so I guess I pulled a muscle down there somehow though every day it's better.

The white glass I ordered came Tuesday so Wednesday, I got the last two layers of frit, clear then white, in the mold and it went in the kiln this morning.

I also finished painting the plywood backs and got the little risers nailed on that the glass will be glued to so that it floats in the frame and got two coats of the glossy black on the frames.

Here's one of the shadow boxes assembled and the next step is to nail the frame to the back piece, attach the hanger to the back, and finally glue the glass panels in place. 

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

a boring couple of days

I guess I'm going to have to ditch comic sans for the benefit of those who access my blog on mobile devices even though it's my preferred font. I'm choosing Avenir Medium for now but I may change it later.

This cold spell that blew in with much needed rain Saturday is going to last longer than the two days originally predicted so I'm not going to be able to paint the shadow boxes until maybe Tuesday or Wednesday when it warms up enough with lower humidity. A few days before it blew in Minnie felt it was too warm to be under the blanket so she settled for just her head to block out that pesky light so she could sleep.

Also Saturday I woke up with a pain in my hip near my tailbone, not really sure where as it wasn't completely localized, painful to walk and painful to sit but once sitting, it was OK. Sunday it was even worse making me think maybe it was a pinched nerve so I spent the day laying around dosing myself with ibuprofen but this morning it was almost completely pain free. So, no pinched nerve which is good.

Yesterday was the Christmas party at SHARE, a little pot luck lunch with the volunteers. I made an easy pasta salad to take...Israeli couscous, cucumber, green onion, toasted slivered almonds, dried cherries (I usually use dried apricots but didn't have any), and a little simple vinegar and oil salad dressing.

I had bought two new long sleeve shirts a couple of weeks ago and it's just now cold enough to wear them, one of which is more like a lightweight sweater, navy blue, which has to be hung to dry. I pulled it out of the closet to wear yesterday and had to use tape to pull off all the lint and dog hair that stuck to it from the washer. After today it will be relegated to lounge house wear only if that's what happens when it gets washed.

And then yesterday Abby asked me to lead the yoga class last night as her young son has the flu so I did that.

My plan for today is to start painting the shadow boxes for the trumpet flower pieces. 

Saturday, December 18, 2021

an experiment with fonts and stalled progress

I'm going to try a little experiment with this post and see how the different fonts translate into the mobile version of people's phones and tablets (I had a really hard time picking 4 other fonts, especially the 4th paragraph, I want sans serif but most of them are just boring with zero character) starting with Comic Sans, then Ariel, Avenir Medium, Cochin, Chalkboard, and the last sentence back to Comic Sans.

This was supposed to be included in my last post but somehow got overlooked...When we left Wharton to head to San Antonio on Saturday we took county roads until we hit I-10, 102 to 3013 back to 102. It's a really nice drive especially the last section of 102 when you start getting into the hill country. There was a stretch of 3013 before we got to Eagle Lake that had thousands and thousands of starlings hanging out in the early morning light just before the sun rose above the horizon. There were many small groups flying their murmurations, even larger groups converged on the power lines and twice we came to a huge group covering the roadway so densely that a good 15 or 20 feet looked black. We'd get almost upon them before they took flight. No picture though, it all happened so fast.

Wednesday I decided to add another layer of the background color so had to build up a little barrier with clear around the edges of the design elements to prevent the background color, olive smoke again, from spilling over into the other colors, wouldn't have mattered with the green but might have altered the moth color, and then filled in with clear over the other colors.

I also added a solid layer of clear over the whole thing, did all my math and still need to add the final two layers of clear and white. But as I feared/expected I don't have enough white to insure a good solid layer. The amount I have is borderline so I've ordered more white but I'm having trouble getting it as the manufacturer has been out for a while now and so the distributors that ship are also out. I ordered 4 pounds from one place but all they can send me right now is two, their last two pounds of plain white. There are other whites...opaque white, dense white, reactive white, translucent white...and those are available but not what I want. So now I'm waiting for my glass to arrive to finish filling that mold and getting it into the kiln. In the meantime I'm going to work on painting the shadowboxes my brother made for me and getting the trumpet flower panels installed in them. Once the luna moth mold is in the kiln I'll start on the two new models I have planned.

I got almost nothing accomplished the past two days, Thursdays being my SHARE day and yesterday being one of my days to fix dinner so I took the dog for a long walk after lunch since the weather has been temperate and then we watched two episodes of The Witcher on Netflix before I started on dinner which was stuffed shells from a recipe I got off the internet. It made a lot, enough to serve 10 people (there's just two of us) but all the recipes I looked at were basically the same. I don't think I'll ever use that recipe again (in fact I may never have to make stuffed shells again ever), total overkill on the cheese...2 pounds of ricotta, one pound of mozzarella, half pound of parmesan...and it was sort of weird as half the mozzarella and half the parmesan was mixed in with the sauce, also some sliced mushrooms. It filled two 8" baking dishes. We ate less than half of one and that was all we had. I lay there last night after I went to bed with dinner heavy in my stomach thinking I should have fixed a salad to go with to balance out all that cheese. And then, now that I have so much left over and divided up in the freezer, I realized I could have easily just divided the recipe. What was I thinking!

Obviously, I wasn't. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

weird font substitutions and more progress on the luna moth mold

Blog weirdness...I had a reader ask me to go back to the font I had been using before I switched to Skia because she had a hard time reading it. I'm happy to oblige so I switched back to Comic Sans. I changed the font on the reading list post and either changed or posted the next one in Comic Sans. The post about Jade I definitely composed in Comic Sans and published it. The mobile version on my phone is showing that post in the very flowery and hard to read font Zapfino. And that's how it shows on my sister's laptop as well. I have no idea what the fuck is going on but if you switch from the mobile version to the web version on your phone (there's a link at the bottom of the post) it still won't be in Comic Sans but it will be a much easier to read font. At least it is on my iPhone. And to make it even weirder, it showed up in the font Wingdings for another reader. So if this post shows up in weird fonts for you please let me know. I may have to find a new font though I have used Comic Sans with no trouble for many years.

Sunday morning the dog was going crazy barking. I let her out in the little backyard and she zeroed in on a spot under the house barking madly. Called her in and she sniffed along the exterior walls baseboard and then climbed up on the loveseat to look out the window and bark, hackles up. I looked out. It was one of the possums that live under the house or under the Wicked Bitch of the West's container. I guess this one lives under the container, an old boy slowly making his way back to his den.

Friday afternoon's progress on the luna moth.

Sunday I had an uninterrupted day to work and got all the color into the design areas so basically the fussy part is done. The only thing left to do is decide on the background color, fill that in, and then put in the clear and white layers.

Monday I got the background in. Now I have to weigh all the leftover colors to determine how much weight of glass is in the mold so I can know how much more I need to add as the clear and white layers. I may add more of the background color first though.

Sunday, December 12, 2021

she did it

Saturday morning we were up at 5 AM for the 2 1/2 hour drive to San Antonio for grandgirl Jade's graduation ceremony from University of Texas San Antonio Business School with honors! Her parents, one sister (Autumn is still in Ecuador), her aunt and uncle and two of her cousins from Fort Worth also made the even longer drive. Jade is a first generation college graduate on both sides. Neither Marc nor I or either of her parents graduated from college.

But this!

Thursday, December 9, 2021

another mold in progress and misc. pictures

Sunday I unloaded the car and put away the display, rehung the work I had taken down to take, and in general put it all to bed til the next time. Monday, I selected the colors and color combinations from my samples for the luna moth mold and pulled all the frit out.

Tuesday, I measured out all the initial amounts of all the colors and color combinations, even sifting the frit of some of the colors to winnow out the smallest particles, in between powder and 'fine', for the small spaces. I don't usually do that. Usually I measure out a color when I'm ready to use it and I have never sifted out the finer particles before but I think it will be beneficial, in fact, I can't believe I never thought of doing this before now. So now I'm ready to actually start filling the mold. I hope that measuring out the initial amounts in advance will speed up the process.

Wednesday I started filling the luna moth mold and right off the bat I messed up. Started with the moth body and got it all nice and tidy and then looked at the picture and realized I hadn't put the band of maroon in that goes from wing tip to wing tip and across the body. Sigh. Took it all back out and started over. I thought I had a check up this morning with the electrophysiologist but they never called to confirm and it turns out I don't have an appointment for today, Robin has a late shift so I basically have a free day today to make more progress.

Some miscellaneous confederate rose was very late to bloom and the first ones to open were stunted but it finally gave me some pretty blooms.

I have given volunteers to two of my neighbors and theirs bloomed fully before mine. A couple of weeks ago another neighbor knocked on the door after one of them told her I had given them the plant wondering if she could have one too. I happened to have a small one in a pot in my 'plant nursery' under the magnolia tree that I had dug up in the spring and happily gave it to her.

I guess we finally had some cold enough nights to finally trigger a color change in some of the trees and leaf drop over the weekend. The ginkgoes turned yellow and the tallows turned red and orange. Some of the other area trees also turned color like the sweet gum I pass by and the bradford pears.

With every gust of wind it rains leaves. There's a solid blanket on the ground now.

I popped in to see Miss Paisleigh yesterday when I took Robin home after work. She's two months old tomorrow.

My morning oatmeal loves me.

This morning's progress.

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

fall reading list

Nine books in the list this time and I'm surprised as it seemed to take forever to get through some of them. I even thought I must not have published the last quarter's list but I did so go figure.

How Much Of These Hills Is Gold by C Pam Zhang – I'm not sure if I liked this book or not. I don't especially like the way it came to an end but then books don't always have to have a happy rosy ending and it was probably more correct than not. The book takes place during the California gold rush and building the railroad all the way to the Pacific. The territory is still wild and the story starts out with 12 year old Lucy and her 11 year old sister Sam, both Chinese and both born in the territory, who set out to find a place to bury their father, stealing a horse in order to do so and they set out into the wilds. We learn that their Chinese father was found as a day old infant on the Pacific coast laying next to his dead parents by a wanderer, that their mother came over with 200 other Chinese in the first import of workers to build the railroad, that the girls think their mother died giving birth to a son, that the family were failed prospectors turned miners. Sam morphs into the son her father wanted. Anyway they wander for three years, crossing the Rockies into the plains, barely subsisting but surviving when they come near a town and Lucy is ready to settle down but Sam is not. Lucy creates a life in Sweetwater coming back to the river every day to check on Sam, bring her food, until one day Sam isn't there. Sam shows up 2 years later and Lucy realizes how false the life she thinks she has is and leaves with Sam. Sam pushes them on back to the Pacific coast and a ship that will take them back across the ocean but the night before they are to leave, the men pursuing Sam finally catch up to her and Lucy makes a decision that saves Sam's life and forces her to get on the ship but irrevocably changes her own. That's the narrative that frames the lives of two Chinese girls living in a land where no one looks like them or thinks of them as having value in and of themselves in a land of Anglos.

The Girl And The Stars *the first book of the ice* by Mark Lawrence – Every four years the four tribes that live on the ice planet Abeth travel to the Black Rock to mingle and to throw their 'broken' children into the Pit of the Missing in an effort to keep the bloodlines strong enough to endure the cold and survive. Yaz, at 16, of the Ictha, who live in the furthest north where the very air freezes during the Long Night, knows she is different and expects to be thrown into the pit this time. Instead, the regulator sets her aside intending to take her with him and the other priests to the Black Rock where they live and trade scarce metal for skins and furs, and it is her younger brother that he throws in the Pit. Yaz, ringing with the injustice, jumps in after him thinking to rescue him. She falls and lands, her brother nowhere to be seen. She is rescued by others of the Broken who have survived the fall and who live in the ice caverns below the surface. Each tribe has members with their own special powers, most rarely the ability to work the stars, round balls of energy that emit light embedded in the ice, and Yaz discovers that she can command them. The Broken aren't the only ones who live in the ice caverns. There are the Tainted, people overtaken by the demons of the black ice, and from the ancient abandoned city below the ice caves where the Broken scavenge for metal, the Hunters, who carry away the Broken. Yaz is determined to rescue her brother, taken by the Tainted. This is the first of a trilogy and it is one fight after another between the Broken and the Tainted, the Broken and the Hunters, the Broken and the Broken in a power struggle for leadership. Yaz has the strongest power, is the central character, and the priests want her back but she has a plan to rescue her brother and friends. I found Yaz's tendency to think she can't do something right before she does it to be a little overused. I may or may not read the next one.

Such A Quiet Place by Megan Miranda – another quick pick from the library when nothing seemed to grab me. Harper Nash lives in a small quiet neighborhood surrounded by woods across the lake from the college where most of the residents work. When Harper's husband Aiden blindsides her by packing up his things and leaving, 20 year old Ruby Fletcher shows up at Harper's door asking if she wanted some company and never leaves becoming Harper's unasked for roommate. Ruby takes on small jobs in the neighborhood which gives her access to people's houses. Ruby is not a nice person and when the Fletchers are found dead in their bed the assumption is they were murdered, the scant evidence seems to point to Ruby, and the neighborhood joins ranks against her. Ruby is convicted and sentenced to 20 years. A year and a half later Ruby's conviction is reversed and she is released. To Harper's dismay, Ruby returns assuming that she will continue to live with Harper and Harper can't find it in herself to tell her to leave. Small disquieting things start happening and threatening notes start turning up in Harper's house. After Ruby insists on coming to the annual 4th of July pool party she is discovered later that night dead in a lounge chair. When the authorities reveal that she was poisoned, Harper sets out to find out what really happened to the Fletchers and what Ruby was doing there. Eighty five percent of this book is what goes on in Harper's head, her thoughts going over and over the same stuff which I found to be tiresome after a while.

Fallen by Linda Castillo – this is the third book I've read in the Kate Burkholder series. Kate is the chief of police in a small town with an Amish community where she grew up as Amish but left for for an 'English' life. She is called to the scene of the brutal murder of Rachael Schwartz, savagely beaten to death in her motel room the night she returns to Painters Mill. Rachael, raised Amish, was an unapologetic rule breaker, far too spirited to remain Amish, often seen as a selfish user who didn't care who she hurt, and eventually banned from the community and moved away. As an adult, Rachael became even more of who she was making enemies both Amish and English. No one in the community knew that Rachael had returned, not her parents who turned their backs on her as a teen or her childhood best friend. As Kate begins to investigate the murder, long buried secrets of Rachael's life begin to surface and Kate nearly loses her own life at the hands of the murderer desperate to keep them secret. I enjoy these books. They are well written and move along.

The Survivors by Jane Harper – Kieran, suffering from survivor's guilt, and Mia return to their home town on Tasmania where Kieran's parents still live 12 years after the unprecedented storm that took the lives of his brother Finn, and Toby, the brother of one of his best mates when their catamaran overturned in an attempt to rescue Kieran who was caught and trapped by the rising water on the cliff face above the caves from which Kieran barely escaped. Also lost during the storm but whose body was never recovered was Mia's best friend, 14 year old Gabby. Kieran and Mia have returned from Sydney with their infant daughter Audrey to help Kieran's mother pack up their house and assist with his father who is suffering from dementia. Two days after their arrival, Bronte, an art student working on her summer project is found dead on the beach behind the cabin she shared with Olivia, Gabby's older sister. In the course of the investigation, old secrets are dredged up, the town is on edge thinking that one of theirs is the murderer, and evidence is discovered that changes the story of when and why Finn and Toby were on the water that day. Kieran eventually puts two and two together and goes to confront the person he believes killed Bronte and why.

Legacy by Nora Roberts – I was looking for a light quick easy read and Nora Roberts never disappoints. Instead of the first of a trilogy as much of her work is, this book is complete in three parts (and only two sex scenes only one of which was very descriptive). Adrian saw her father for the first time when she was 7 when he tried to kill her and her mother Lina but it was he who ended up dead in the attack. Adrian's mother Lina, only one of a very long list of starry eyed coeds, had an affair with her literature professor in college. When she escaped his attempt to beat her into a miscarriage, Lina went on to form a very successful yoga and fitness empire. When Adrian was 16 she started her own brand of yoga and fitness videos produced by her fellow nerds at the private school she attended. Soon after her first successful DVD Adrian started getting poems, one a year, threatening her with death. As the years went by and Adrian's success grew and she balanced home life, love life, and career, the poems became more frequent spurring her mother Lina to hire a private detective who uncovered a string of murders, all women who had had an affair with Adrian's father. Adrian felt she had taken enough precautions to keep herself safe until the murderer turned up at her house.

Peony in Love by Lisa See – let me just say up front, don't bother. And I like Lisa See, have enjoyed her other novels I've read. Peony is on the cusp of turning 16 and her father has arranged for a three day event of the opera, The Peony Pavilion, which Peony is obsessed with, as a birthday present. The opera is about a lovesick maiden who starves herself with longing for a man. As a Chinese daughter of an important family, Peony, who has never set foot outside her family compound, has been betrothed since birth to a man she has never met. She slips out during the first night of the performance and unexpectedly has an encounter with a strange man who convinces her to meet him the other two nights as well and they fall in love. With her marriage impending, she writes a commentary on love and the opera and falls prey to lovesickness and starves herself to death. On her deathbed when it is too late to survive she learns that her handsome stranger is indeed the man she was betrothed to. She spends the entire rest of the book as a ghost mooning over love and the opera and her should have been husband and his next two wives. I skimmed over page after page constantly asking myself why I was still reading this book.

Triptych by Karen Slaughter – a murder/detective story, homicide detective Michael Ormewood is called to the scene of a gruesome rape and murder of a prostitute and has agent Will Trent of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation assigned to the case who is tracking a series of similar gruesome rapes of young teen girls. Fifteen year old John Shelley, successful junior high student, was led down the wrong path into drugs by his cousin Woody and his life fell apart. He invited a girl he had a crush on to a party at his cousin's and just when he thinks she won't show up she does and after rejecting a pass by the cousin, they leave and she sneaks John into her bedroom because she wants to try some cocaine. John snorts fingernail full, a bomb goes off in his head and he passes out, wakes up before dawn to find himself in a blood soaked bed next to the girl's dead body and is sent to prison at 16 for her gruesome rape and murder. Twenty years later he is released on parole and the assaults Trent is working on began. Agent Trent and vice cop Angie Polaski have a troubled relationship but soon start to put the pieces together and while John is brought to their attention, the killer is closer to home. A complex multi-layered story that kept me engaged.

Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr – There are three main story lines, five main characters in all, intertwined and spread out over modern day Idaho, 15th century Constantinople, and a 22nd century starship all tied together by an ancient book, Cloud Cuckoo Land written by Antonius Diogenes around the 1st or 2nd century CE who claimed he found the 24 folios in an ancient tomb upon which was written Aethon: Lived 80 Years a Man, 1 Year a Donkey, 1 Year a Fish, 1 Year a Crow in a chest upon which was written Stranger, whoever you are, open this to find what will amaze you. In Idaho in the public library 80 year old Zeno is helping 5 fifth graders rehearse a play of the story Cloud Cuckoo Land which Zeno has spent his life translating. At the same time autistic teen Seymour is planting a bomb in the library with the intent to damage the sales office next door as a protest for cutting down the forest behind his home. In Constantinople, orphaned 10 year old Anna lives in a monastery devoted to embroidering priests' vestments. She finds the leather bound folios while scrounging for something valuable to sell and reads to her dying sister. Outside the walls of Constantinople as the Sultan's army conducts a siege is young Omeir, a village boy conscripted in the army with his oxen, his and Anna's paths destined to cross. On the generational starship Argos heading to a new planet and away from the ruined Earth, 14 year old Konstance writes down the stories from Cloud Cuckoo Land that her father told her. All these lives are connected by the story of Cloud Cuckoo Land and this novel is essentially about how a book survives through the centuries as told by the lives of the people touched by it. I really liked this book, really liked it.

Sunday, December 5, 2021

Heights Artisan Market

Friday it took me three hours to remove and reorganize the hangers for the new arrangement on the display board. It involves a lot of measuring from the sides and/or top and bottom so that everything is evenly spaced, level, and orderly. Then it probably took me an hour to set up and then dismantle the display. Then I selected the other pieces I was going to take and got everything all wrapped and packed, made sure I had all the necessary items like tools, business cards, tape, dust brush, bags, bubble wrap, etc. etc. and the car loaded by 5 PM. Made my price cards that evening and even figured out and made a list of the sales tax on each price point and I was ready. I don't think I've ever been this ready and prepared for an open house. Usually I'm still sticking price tags on stuff when we open.

Got up at 5:30 Saturday morning, was on the road by 7 to a dense fog all the way to the event building, arrived by 8, was set up by 9 with an hour to spare. I did not take a single picture. But this is how it all display was in the center against the back wall, Gene's fused glass was on a display unit to the right and Dick and Kathy's blown glass was on a display unit to the left, two 2' x 6' tables along the front with a space in between with more work on those. Gene's lights were set up so all the work was well illuminated.

There were fewer artists for this one day show than they have had in the past because all the spaces for artists to set up were 6' apart but there was still a nice variety. We had a weaver with handmade clothes and scarves to one side of us and a clay, mixed media, and watercolor artist on the other. There was a wood turner across from us, several jewelers, an origami artist, a vegan baker (who sold out!), a writer with her books, an artist who made fun stuff out of old license plates, a photographer, a couple of painters, a crochet artist with scarves and an assortment of things, a couple of ceramicists, a furniture and other items made with wood and/or leather artist, a woman who made rosehip beauty products. I'm sure I'm leaving someone out.

All the vendors were required to wear masks during the show hours, 10 AM – 5 PM, attendees were also asked to wear masks and most did. There was a steady flow of people up until the last hour and a half or so. I sold two of the framed feathers (the barred owl and the blue jay), the first in the first two hours and the second in the last hour, and 3 of the snowflake ornaments so since I didn't expect any sales I was happy. I got to know the mixed media artist next to us (we've each been following each other's work via social media) and we plan to stay connected, reconnected with a past gallery owner who still connects artists with collectors and she thinks one of her collectors would like the sandscape with the fern frond so that might come to something.

Best of all, most of the non-glass artists who have usually participated for the past decade in our open house that the glass blowers sponsored every year  were there so we all got to hang out for a day. Here we are.

L to R: Barry (jewelry), Lesley (furniture and leather in front of her space), Chin (ceramics), me (cast glass), Liz (painting and fused glass), Gene (behind Liz, fused glass), Dick (blown glass), Kathy (blown glass).

We took that picture to send to the woodturner that always joined us before he and his wife moved out of state.

It took me a little over half an hour to repack and dismantle my display and get it loaded in the car so I stayed to help my friends break down their displays, left at 6 and was home by 7.

Friday, December 3, 2021

wasted days and wasted nights...

Wednesday...Right now I'm discouraged and not happy. The paint job looks like crap, too thick in some places, varying levels of shine, can't get the fucking spray paint in the corners which is why it's so thick in some places. Tomorrow I'm using acrylic to get into the corners and then I'm spraying the whole things with clear matte finish, fuck the glossy finish on the trim. I may just chuck them and start over or beg my brother to make them for me in time to get them to the gallery by Jan. 21st and just not try and show one on Saturday.

And then Abby texted me to see if I would lead the yoga class tonight or she would have to cancel. She asked me on Monday too but I declined as I was glad to have the extra hours in the shop so no yoga. But today with my frustration I agreed. I needed to get out of the shop, away from the source of my discouragement, and focus on peace of mind and body. It was a small class, just three besides myself but they always enjoy it when I lead. So it did me good. Tomorrow, as they say, is another day. I'm letting go of the unnecessary anxiety.

Thursday...Got back from SHARE and went over to check on my shadow boxes and they didn't look that bad but I still didn't want them glossy. So I used the black acrylic paint to get in the corners, which was matte, and then sprayed one with the clear matte finish and it wrinkled the black paint in one corner where it was thick and left a cloudy surface in some places. Sprayed it again, cloudy surface gone but paint wrinkled in three corners. Sprayed the second one with the clear matte finish and it had areas that were cloudy when I closed the shop. Fuck it. I can't use these, don't have any more time to deal with them, I'm tossing them in the trash. I just wasted two weeks when I could have filled the luna moth mold.

But black was definitely the right choice. Here they are in place before I used the clear matte spray.

Came straight to the house and texted my brother, who lives in Washington state and who is an excellent woodworker with all the right tools, about making the shadow boxes for me like he did the ones for the feathers. They'll look much better, more professional, and he can do it for me in time to get them finished and off to the gallery for their botanical show in February.

I did decide on the arrangement for the pieces I'm taking which will hang on my display but I still have to move the hangers around (and switch the position of two of the feathers).

Friday...Big push today, last day to get prepared, put the display stand together (that's first on the agenda) and then dismantle it, figure out my pricing and get my tags made, get everything I need packed and preferably loaded in the car by end of day.