Tuesday, October 31, 2023

one extreme to another

Sunday's sky about 5 PM before the front moved through.

Too hot to work over at the shop Sunday with a high of 90˚. Just going over there and putting some foam insulating noodle on the new water pipe had me sweating and I am sick of sweating. It's been a long horrid summer. I didn't go over there yesterday because it was too damn cold, 48˚ Monday morning with a brisk wind and only got a degree or two warmer. Really? Can't we just have a spate of days in the 60s and 70s? Is that too much to ask?

Instead of me working over at the shop Sunday we watched two more episodes of Amazon Prime's 'Outer Range' about two ranchers, the Abbotts and the Tillersons in the outback of modern day Wyoming fighting over who owns the Abbott's west pasture just as Royal Abbott discovers a big void in the ground there and a mysterious young woman approaches him and his sons for permission to camp on their land for awhile. Things start falling apart pretty quick after that when one of Royal's sons accidentally kills one of Tillerson's sons in a drunken brawl and we're only three episodes in. Kind of a sci-fi in a western setting with two feuding ranchers. All mysterious and intriguing at this point.

Monday I pretty much cocooned on the couch, making only one foray out to the library to pick up a book I ordered through the interlibrary loan system. Texted Abby that I was going to weenie out of yoga class that night. She texted back she thought it would be too cold for me and then 30 minutes later she canceled the class altogether.

Today is just as cold though not as windy but it's supposed to warm up some late afternoon. Still, this is the grocery shop day so I'll be out in it. I haven't brought any of the tender plants in yet, neither to the house nor garage, even though it's supposed to drop to mid 30s tonight because when this little cold blast is gone we're going back to temps in the 70s and 80s. I figure they can tolerate one or two cold nights but I have to admit that one of the plumerias in front looks pretty ragged. One thing that wind on Monday did was knock down a lot of pecans. I went out briefly today and picked up half a gallon bucket's worth in a pretty small area.

My turn to fix dinner and stew is on the menu. 

Sunday, October 29, 2023

probably shouldn't have done that

Everyone was right and I enjoyed myself much more that I thought I would. And I definitely gave them a peek at the real me. Probably shouldn't have done that. 'That' being taking my blouse off halfway through the meal at the dining room table where half of us were sitting conversing and eating.

OK, is everyone finished spitting out their drink or choking? I had on a white tank top underneath. Fortunately the group at that table (the rest were sitting at the table in the eat in kitchen) were the guys I work with in the back and their spouses and the hostess who works up front. I apologized (only took me about 10 tries to spell this word correctly) in advance to the table saying I had to take this off because I was just too hot and then pulled it off over my head. There was a moment of stunned silence when one of the guys said “we're all friends here” and the conversation resumed as if nothing had happened. I did put it back on after we all got up from the table. I had wanted to dress up a little and the clothes I had chosen were way too warm but I thought I would be fine in an air conditioned house only they had cathedral ceilings and it was not exactly cool.

So back home, I'm reviewing the evening and I am a little shocked myself at myself. I can't believe I did that. I don't know why, I do shit like that all the time. So a sleepless night wondering what they all thought of me and the next day I sent this text to the hostess:

Hi XXXXX. First I want to say it was a lovely party and I had a really good time. Second I want to acknowledge that I shocked everyone when I took my blouse off though I knew I had a tank top on underneath and didn’t think wearing just that was indecent but when I got home thinking about the evening I sort of shocked myself in retrospect. I’d blame it on dementia but doing something spontaneous and inappropriate that seemed imperative at the time is something I’ve done many times in my life. My filter breaks down I suppose. Anyway, I had a sleepless night on the ass kicking machine. So for that I apologize.

But let me make an attempt at understanding where my head was at. I take two meds that one of the side effects is intolerance to heat. It doesn’t affect me all the time but Friday was a particularly bad day and coupled with my poor choice of clothes for the evening and how warm it was in the dining room I felt like I was radiating heat and was a small step from physical unwellness and my brain said cool off now! I was so appreciative of everyone at the table just moving on as if nothing had happened.

When I do stuff like that I just have to brazen on through. At the very least I gave you a story to tell.

She was kind enough to reply with this:

Oh my, I am so sorry you lost sleep over this! It was not inappropriate. I wear a camisole often, so it was not offensive at all. We owe you an apology—XXXXX noticed today that the vent in the dining room was closed. Guess he had done that a long time ago to try to route the air better to the kitchen (we seldom use the dining room). I was anxious to tell you this on Thursday. 1) I’m sorry you were so hot 2) I’m so sorry you have worried this 3) you certainly are welcome back in our home anytime.

Please do not worry about this for one more second!!!

So now I'm waiting to see what kind of ribbing I get on Thursday.


In other news Rocky finally came on Saturday and fixed the cracked pipe that brings water into the shop so now I have water in the studio and a functioning toilet.

No more having to pee behind the shop. Yay! So while Rocky was working on that I filled another trash bag, emptied another metal shelving unit, added quite a bit to the trash pile to take to the transfer station, tossed a few things on the burn pile. This particular shelving unit is rusty since it was against the wall where the roof leaks so I brushed it off, sprayed it with Ospho in preparation for painting before I move it into the empty space to the left of the studio. Still too hot to work over there today, temp still climbing to the high of 90˚ but a front is moving in this evening dropping the low to 45˚ so next week I can get more work done over there.

I took a new selfie for my profile pic on FB yesterday.

What's blooming...

four o'clocks and mistflower

the large array with cosmos

and the morning glory bush.

Friday, October 27, 2023

seasonal stuff and social anxiety

It's October so that means the confederate roses are blooming. Confederate rose is a not a rose but a mallow, part of the hibiscus family or, I guess, hibiscus is part of the mallow family.

There are two times a year, spring and fall, when two things happen. The first thing is that I have to wear a cap in the morning sitting at my desktop because I face east and the sun is rising later and has moved so that it shines in my face when it breaks through the leaves of the photinia. The second thing is the chair in the bedroom. You know, the chair where clothes go that have been worn enough not to be folded and put away and too clean to go in the wash. These two times every year the chair sports not one season's garments but two, warm weather and cool weather. Wake up, check the weather app, select the appropriate clothing off the chair for the day, get dressed. Tomorrow it may be the other set of clothes. My yoga clothes also live on the chair Monday through Thursday. I usually wear the same clothes for a week unless they get really dirty or smelly. I don't go anywhere except the grocery store, an occasional errand, and SHARE (I do wear fresh clothes to SHARE) so I see no need to put on fresh clean clothes every day and it cuts down on the laundry.

Monday was a good day. I got rid of a lot of the give away stuff. Rocky took all the fishing gear, the two footlockers, and a National Geographic telescope that was given to my grandson at some point and everyone thought it was a great idea to leave it at Granny's house out in the country. All well and good but we could never figure out how to make it work. Rocky knows a guy into that stuff so he took it to give to him. The other stuff was the box of games and puzzles, the box of yarn and crochet hooks, and the box of memories from the kids growing up. I took those over to where my son in law works for him to take home to Robin and Sarah. After Sarah goes through the box of memories she can take it to her brother for him to sort through.

It was pretty breezy Tuesday and the pecans are really starting to fall. Up until then, for the past three weeks or so, I've been picking up a handful or pocketful or two a day. Tuesday I picked up two gallons worth and I could hear them falling now and then when I was out there,

filled this bucket twice

was still a little breezy Wednesday, overcast and humid, 50% to 91% chance of rain starting today and for the next seven days. Walking the yard at midday picking up pecans and fallen trees branches I was hot and sweaty enough to change my mind about going over to the shop and doing more clearing out and reorganizing. That's going to change on Sunday when a front comes through. Instead of dropping 50 degrees from high to low as previously predicted, it's only going to drop 40 degrees.

I've stopped buying lunch meat because we are sick and tired of all the choices and too processed for our preference anyway but just so convenient so we've been making do with leftovers and tuna and the like, grilled cheese. I decided I wanted to make tostadas from the leftover refried beans in the fridge so I looked for already crisp tostada shells (not really a shell, just crisp corn tortillas) and I could buy them if I wanted 32! So I got a small package of corn tortillas (10) and I'm going to crisp them up myself. So that was a success and they were really good.

Tonight, Friday, is a little social gathering and dinner at the home of one of the couples that volunteer at SHARE. I have RSVPed my attendance but I'd be lying if I said I was really looking forward to it because I'm basically anti-social. I told Marc he did not have to go since he doesn't know any of the people besides our two neighbors that volunteer so he's staying home. I wouldn't want to go either if the situation was reversed. I get along with everyone and we joke and kid around but we're there to do a job so it's easy. Plus, you know, I've had weeks and months to get comfortable with everyone. But a purely social situation is different. I'm very different from the rest in many ways, I don't do religion, not conservative and in fact am an unapologetic liberal, I smoke pot and drink, I'm fluent in profanity, I'm an old hippie fer cryin' out loud. Anyway, my anxiety surfaced in my dream last night. I dreamed that I was having this party and I had waited til the last minute to clean house or prepare food and get in drinks so I was frantically running around making beds and picking up personal belongings, searching every closet for the dress I wanted to wear and couldn't find it and people were starting to arrive and somehow there was some drinks and some sort of hors 'doeuvres made out of graham crackers while I was still trying to find the dress but not the promised dinner. Then the whole group moved out to the park where some sort of competitions were planned and one of the women was a little pissed about either not winning or not being chosen, something. Anyway, I woke up.

Sunday, October 22, 2023

meanwhile back at the ranch...

I worked over at the shop again on Sunday afternoon after we got back from the Orange Show and Smither Park, this time working mainly in the space to the left of the studio room sorting through boxes, setting up the display stands we used during our open houses for more shelf space in there, moving the 'keep or give away' stuff from there into the studio like all the games and puzzles, craft materials like yarn, cookie cutters, tie dye squeeze bottles, container of my kid's crap from school, etc. Some of that stuff is going to the grandgirls, some to my daughter, some to SHARE, some to the resale shop, some, very little, I'm keeping and will take back to the house. Then I started making a pile in the big bay of stuff getting thrown out. I took no before or after pictures until the next day and by the time I took this picture Monday morning I had already cleared out about ⅔ of the boxes in that space.

Monday I continued to haul boxes of stuff from our etched glass days and the early days of the pate de verre to the trash pile in the big bay like all those rubber reproduction molds of the sculpted small bowls which we will never use again and other molds made for particular pieces.

After changing my mind several times about what to do with all the open weave and lace fabrics I used to glue onto the glass and then sandblast over them to create texture, I bit the bullet and threw them away. I sorted through two footlockers and threw away life vests and other crap like the first aid and survival kits from my river guide days that's been stored for nearly 20 years, sorted out the camping gear that is still usable, gathered all the fishing crap from Marc's fishing days for any of my friends who fish, and finally used the shop vac to suck up all the accumulated dirt. 

I ended up with 3 and a half big bags of trash and a pile of boxes to get rid of and the worktable in the studio cluttered with stuff while I determine its future. And that's just the stuff from that one space. I haven't really even begun to sort through and get rid of all the etched glass stuff like the stencil material, adhesives, cleaners, protective tapes, glass jewels and bevels and dicroic glass and clear textured glass that I used for laminating, the crates of samples, etc.

Tuesday I moved the drill press, band saw, radial arm saw, and a miscellaneous small motor off the counter in the back storeroom into the big bay so as to dismantle the cabinets and countertop where we used them because the wall that separates the studio from the storeroom has had a supporting post fail and the plywood on the storeroom side needs to come off to get at it.

I did not work over there Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday. Went to the chiropractor Wednesday morning and led the yoga class Wednesday evening dragging my brother along. He was a good sport about it, didn't seem intimidated by being the only guy there. Thursday, of course, was my SHARE day and he came along with me then too. He volunteers at a food pantry warehouse up where he lives. Friday, as previously posted, we went to the beach. And Saturday the only thing I accomplished was getting my pea plants in the ground.

So now today is Sunday and I'm not working over there today either because the cool weather that enabled me to work over there is a memory. The last several days were 90+ and next week, high 80s though I'll probably get back over there tomorrow. I'd say the only thing I accomplished today was washing the pile of dirty dishes and cleaning up after brunch except that then I cleaned and refilled the hummingbird feeders, took out the compost, used a hammer and putty knife to remove some of the built up crud on my two oldest cast iron skillets until I got tired of banging my knuckle with the hammer, used the little leaf blower to clear the deck and the concrete apron in front of the garage of leaves and acorns, and replanted the pot on the little boy's head with alyssum to replace the trailing petunias that died this summer. 

The rest of the day is going to be spent sitting on my butt.

Saturday, October 21, 2023

a day at the beach in Matagorda

My brother returns to the PNW today but yesterday we drove down to Matagorda, about an hour away, to spend some time on the beach. It was really a lovely day. Absolutely clear intense blue sky, low tide, no one about but a few fisherpeople.

This is how blue the sky was.

We walked down to where the Colorado River enters the Gulf of Mexico and back retrieving our shoes left in a pile on the beach.

The fishing pier.

There was a shrimp boat trawling out in the Gulf. Those dark specks behind it at about water level in the photo are its contingent of seagulls. And what you can't see in the water following after the boat was a pod of dolphins poking their heads up and breaching now and then after whatever the net was stirring up.

The Colorado River empties into the Gulf of Mexico.

It was low tide so all the little holes and mounds of sand from the coquinas and other bivalves were exposed.

There was a big congregation of sea birds by the jetty

and as I got nearer, they flew away only to circle around and land again after I moved on.

After we retrieved our shoes we returned to the car and went and had a late lunch at the restaurant at the marina and then headed home.

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

the mosaic park

Smither Park  is located next to the Orange Show, a half acre of mosaic art. I'm not going to go into who, what, when, or why. You can read that on their website. I'm just going to show you 18 of the 84 pictures I took. Unfortunately the sun was in position to cast most of it in shadow when we were there so I brightened and reduced shadows on most of them which washed out the color a little bit and a couple of the pictures have a glare across them diagonally. A few are close-ups or details of larger compositions. Most of the pathways were done. You're going to want to look at these on a laptop or desktop instead of your mobile device.

Monday, October 16, 2023

rose rustling, eclipse, addressing the shop, and folk art

Friday evening my brother arrived for a week's visit. He lives in the PNW in Washington state across the river from Portland. He stays with our sister who lives across the street from me because I don't have a guest room any longer.

Saturday was the last EarthLab speaker for the year at Hesed House in the red house. A woman from the Rose Rustlers came and spoke about the organization. They started out by going around to old cemeteries and abandoned homesteads and taking cuttings of the old antique roses that thrived even with total neglect and have brought some of them back into commercial availability by propagating them and then she talked about how to do that. She was through with her talk but still answering questions when I left to go out and check out the eclipse over at the welcome center (the white house) where a group was standing out with the dark eclipse glasses. Pretty cool. We didn't get totality of the ring of fire but pretty nearly. As soon as I walked out of the red house I could tell it was going on. Didn't get dark by any means but there was just a different quality to the light and air. Meanwhile back at home Marc took this picture of the multiple images as the light filtered through the yew tree onto the deck.

After I got home I finally went over to the shop and opened up all the bay doors and the door to the studio with the goal of cleaning up the studio and putting way all the packing material and in general getting it ready for work and beginning to reorder and clean out the big bays. We've been retired from the etched and carved glass for 6 years now and it is time to get rid of all the materials and supplies used in the production of same. I cleaned off one of the metal shelving units in the big bay and dragged it into the last small room that has yet to be built out from when it was torn out to the metal walls after the flood 6 years ago and has boxes of stuff covering the floor and stacked up full of stuff from the back room and stored over there for 6 years like all those small bowl reproduction molds and other miscellaneous molds and waxes, games and puzzles and craft items, books and cast glass experiments, open house display stuff, just stuff too numerous to name. So I flattened the boxes and organized packing material that was taking up floor space in the studio and put it all on that. When I was done the studio looked like this (of course there's no before picture because...me).

Sunday we, my sister and brother and I, did a day trip into Houston to go to the Orange Show and the Mosaic Park. I hadn't been to the Orange Show since the kids were little and it looked basically the same except for 40 or so years of decay.

The Orange Show is a folk art construction that was built by Jeff McKissack on a vacant lot across the street from his house. It is constructed almost entirely of found and scavenged items he collected throughout his life. He initially had a nursery on the lot for 10 years and in 1968 began building the Orange Show in earnest and ending in 1979. In his words the purpose was to encourage people to eat oranges, drink oranges, and be highly amused.

Without further ado or information (you can go to their website for that), here are some pictures.

Next: Smither Park (the mosaic park).