Friday, December 29, 2006


Coffee in the Austin skyline mug, no music (sound of child crying instead--no one is ever nice to her. She just had breakfast on the couch and watched Barbie in the Nutcracker but when she was told no more movies this morning she said no one is ever nice to her. Now she is pouring out her woes to her father. *sigh*). This cold is beating me down. I woke up three times in the night to the battle raging in my chest and sinuses. I think my body won by morning, but as the battlefield, I am pooped. And I still have to write the overview today. Ah, new sounds from upstairs: Someone is playing "A Dream is a Wish" on the Barbie violin she got for Christmas. Now she's Cinderella and I'm...

...back to work. I have 800 words to sum up 8719. Maybe if I just take every tenth word...

Thursday, December 28, 2006


Earlt Grey tea in the Washington skyline mug, "The Distance from Her to There" by Lambchop on iTunes (thanks Ren!). Tea. Tea in the mug can only mean one thing: bad head cold. Yep, I'm sick *again*. Between the three of us, someone has been continually and miserably sick for almost two months! Right now both J and I have lousy head and chest colds, and Dave spent the week before Christmas under the thumb of a stomach virus. Gotta say, Lambchop sounds a lot like Jeremy Irons singing...

Back to the book today. I have been asked to write a couple pages of overview so we can make the existing techniques section lighter. The goal is to sum up how to cut and kilnform glass in two pages. Oh yes, and to leave room for a big, beautiful, glossy photo. I said it took me X pages to say how to do those things, how can I be expected to to say them in X-29? Time and space mean nothing to editors unless you go over on either.

At some point I also need to do my books for the year. I think if I am okay with not knowing every little detail about what I spent and what I made then the IRS should be too. They (according to my accountant) don't share that thought. I watched the scrap with the mileage to Philadelphia in Febrary float by on a sea of paper yesterday and began to despair. A head cold makes it impossible to be as creative with a spreadsheet as I need to be in order to capture (remember, make up) everything I have bought, sold and spent since last January. *sigh*

No use whining. It's after 9:00. Better get creative...

PS--finally got the pics up for the Day After Christmas on Stranded in the South. Christmas Eve with Keith and Mike and Christmas Day.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

A Short Week

Coffee in the Los Angeles skyline mug, no music on iTunes. It's a short week in terms of time but not in terms of scheduled work. What is it about the week between Christmas and New Year's that makes it seem so long in the days and weeks leading up to Christmas and also one to complacently schedule SO MUCH STUFF in it? Is it the magic of the holidays that makes requiring a miracle seem logical? I blithely assigned to this week all the bookkeeping for Siyeh Studio since February 1, a complete organization and cleaning of the studio proper, all my editing on the book AND all the rewrites I need to do... Was I high? The "week" is only three days long (at least according to Dave's work schedule thoughtfully provided by Turner Broadcasting).

The rest of the days between Christmas and New Year's are for doing similar things for the Griffith family: eight months worth of register reconciliation for the credit cards and bank accounts, sorting all the books in the "library" (at the top of the stairs) and getting more bookcases for it, hanging pictures, kites and art, blowing the leaves off the deck and raking the backyard, cleaning the office and filing a year's worth of papers, organizing all our photos in iPhoto, and banishing the last of the VHS tapes to a bookcase upstairs (with all the cd's). I need to figure out how to get all the vhs tapes on dvd... but maybe I shouldn't try to do THAT this week too! We also need a new couch and to fix the kitchen table (it fell apart during a dinner party around Thanksgiving).

Anyone have a spare temporal extension potion or spell lying around? No? Well, it is the season of miracles... maybe there's hope for me yet!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas!

No coffee yet--and that's a crime, let me tell you, no music either. It is 9:32 and we are waiting for Jessie to wake up and come down to see what goodies Santa brought in the night. Now at her age I was up by 7:30 no matter what. But we had friends over last night for the traditional Christmas Eve lasagna and champagne, and we ended by watching Love Actually till 12:30. It was a very late night for the J. So we wait.

And while we wait I want to wish A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS to the Glass Incarnate Regulars Barbara, Bill, Doug, Jodi, Julian, Ren, Sandy, & Sue! Happy New Year and Peace to one and all.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Strategies of Success

Coffee in the New York skyline mug, "Emmanuel" performed by William Ackerman on iTunes. I already posted about Peace on Earth on Stranded in the South. Now I sit and watch the rain fall on my pallet of boxes of frit and molds in the driveway. It came Monday and I never got it unpacked and now it is pouring. I hope the plastic wrap keeps most of it dry. On the other hand, it is tubs of crushed glass and ceramic molds. How much harm can rain actually do?

I am not by nature a passive-aggressive person. I am flat-out aggressive. If I think something, I say it. If I see a wrong, I stand up against it. I do not play a good long-game. I pay lip service to Grace Murray Hopper and occasionally beg forgiveness instead of asking permission, but more often I demand permission up front. Why does this trait come up today? I observe around me the success and failure rates of those who put "it" out and signal their intentions, and those who smile and nod, deftly change the subject when it is raised, and blithely do whatever the heck they please in the end. The latter seem to come out ahead and have less stress than the former. Should I change my strategy? Am I even flexible enough to be able to do so?

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Winding Down

Coffee (from Jupiter coffee with an extra shot of espresso in it) in the Atlanta skyline mug, some slow instrumental Christmas thing on the iPod. I think I need to clean up this playlist and not put ALL the Christmas songs on it. Some of them just aren't that good! (And we have 357...)

Got the last commissions fired and the one that needs to be drilled off to Dixie Glasshoppers yesterday. They are swamped but will try to get to it in the next couple of days for me. I brought them cookies and they said that improved my chances. I love having a business which provides me with the excuse to give people cookies. And these cookies are special because I bought the frozen dough as part of a raise-money-for-school thing in my neighborhood so I got to support the hood kiddies, and I have something to give my professional contacts for Christmas (and they taste incredible and all I had to do was put them on a tray and bake. As Dave would say, these are the days of miracles and wonder!). So my UPS driver Al and his son got a dozen, Dixie Glasshoppers got a little over a dozen, and we still have some here!

The year winds down. It is Thursday, but it feels like Friday. I will probably not fire anything more for the rest of the year. Next week I have paperwork, inventory and massive studio cleaning on tap. The photo shoot for all the how-to photos for the book is scheduled for January 24-26. The timing couldn't be better--late enough I have time to redo projects and get all the project stages ready to photograph, and not right up against the Buyer's Market in February. I may live through the first of the year after all!

And now a bit of disappointing but not altogether unexpected news: Neither the Coptic Blue Eye Box nor the Carnivale Box was selected for Corning's New Glass Review. *sigh* Something to try for again next year!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Promised Update on the Book

Coffee in the Chicago skyline mug, "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" by the Robert Shaw Chorale on the iPod. It has already been a Morning. It started at 4:00 with projectile vomiting--not mine, Jessie's. She is home from school for the day and right now is riding her bike around the house (inside) wearing a Disney princess nightgown, a polar fleece cap and snow mittens. If you think THAT is surreal...

It's time for the update on the book. I found out last week after I asked my editor (nothing is ever told pro actively to me) that the publication date has been moved to November 2007 because they are *busy* with other things. Never mind that I practically had a nervous breakdown meeting *my* deadlines with them. December 5, while I was in Chicago, I got an email with yet another project change *request*. I was guarded about its feasibility, and said I would follow up on it on my return to Atlanta.

Since my return we (the various editors and I) have been immersed in getting the illustrations and the shot-list for the photos firmed up. This morning I made a call to the main editor to follow up on the new project request. It was not a pretty conversation. I said there may be technical issues with the December 5 request, and I might need to do another technique. I brought up the technical difficulties *in detail* and presented their options realistically: 1) They may have to either settle on the bowl they already have, or 2) They may need to drop the project entirely, or 3) I might need to do a different technique in different glass for a wall sconce. I was told I was expected to redo the project *exactly*--technique, glass, and color--as decided by them. I finally snapped. I did it calmly, I did it politely, but I did it.

I said I had signed on to accept suggestions on color, projects, style, etc., but I never agreed to be told exactly what to do and how to do it. I was asked to have the manuscript have done by November 1--including a write-up of all of the projects--and I did. I went along with a project review on 10/13--two weeks before the manuscript was due and long after all the project write-ups were due. I went along with requested changes to 30% of the projects (and the resultant changes to the write-ups) which came out of the project meeting. But now they have pushed too far and I will not just jump blindly

Ironically, I originally wanted to do a ceiling fixture for the project in contention. They asked for a bowl instead because a ceiling fixture would be too big for a "beginner" kiln, so I did a bowl. At the project meeting they decided a bowl was too boring and they wanted a ceiling fixture. Deep breath, okay. December 5 I got an email telling me they found the hardware for the "wall sconce". Whiplash. What wall sconce? The one I am to do instead of the ceiling fixture. They had reconsidered and decided the shot of the ceiling fixture would be too boring.

I said enough. They trusted me enough to have me write the book and do the projects. They were going to have to trust me to make technique change decisions on my own. This is *MY* book, and ultimately, *I* am responsible for it and will be judged by its quality.

The conversation ended politely and frostily. Now I gear up for the photo shoot at the end of January. I hear I have a really great photographer and a super Art Director. The book begins to feel more real. (I also have a GREAT line editor and the editing process is going really well).

Monday, December 18, 2006

Countdown to Christmas

Coffee in the Denver skyline mug, "Deck the Halls" in my left ear as I wait on the phone on hold to place another Christmas present order. My frit and molds from Bullseye finally showed up at 7:45 this morning. I was, of course, naked and dripping wet having just stepped out of the shower, but my spouse stepped into the breach, answered the door, and held the driver at bay till I was dry and dressed.

Today I juggle shipping the last of the One of a Kind Show orders and a few Christmas gifts, tasks from my line editor for the book, and Christmas shopping! Yes, today, December 17, I BEGIN my main Christmas shopping. I have never been so late. And I write here and now--before the annual New Year's resolutions are due--I will NOT be so overextended next year! I am cutting back my show schedule and focusing more on my home and family. And I am taking weekends OFF. But I save the resolutions for a couple of weeks. No use getting ahead of myself when I am still behind on posts (I now owe four--two here and two Stranded in the South). Unfortunately the ones I owe all require more thought than I can spare while juggling.

Peace on Earth, Goodwill to all.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Time to Transistion

Coffee in the Austin skyline mug, "O' Come, O' Come Emmanuel" by the Canterbury Christmas Ensemble and West Winds on iTunes. I am still in my jammies though I should have received the lost pallet of frit and molds from Bullseye five minutes ago. I did not really believe it would happen, and I was right! I called Roadway, my scheduling rep is out for the day, and the woman who is there doesn't know anything about my delivery--can't even find IF it is scheduled, much less when. And yet, through it all I am serene. I will not be using it before January anyway as I am now DONE FIRING TILL NEXT YEAR.

Yep. It's almost a vacation! Of course the flip side of not firing is doing the bookkeeping for, um, this whole past year. I am philosophical and realize there is no way it will take less than a week to pull it all together in Quick Books and find out if I made money, lost money, or broke even this year (door #1, Door #1, please, please, please door #1!).

Because of the transition and focus of my energies, I am deferring yet again the promised pertinent posts (show and book) for another day--at this point another week! Instead, this afternoon I have a couple of posts for Stranded in the South, "A Package! A Package!" and "Five Year-Olds and MRI's". The last of the Caymans posts will have to wait till next week when I get my hands on Final Cut Pro to strip a little from the snorkeling video--it's too big to put up as is and I don't seem to be able to grab stills from it with a Mac.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Trials, Not Many Tribulations

It's lunchtime so there is no coffee, and I am ripping all the Christmas cd's so I am not listening to iTunes right now. Yesterday was a trial from beginning to end, no doubt about it. I waited all day for my delivery from Bullseye and, as usual, it didn't come till 5:00. Unexpectedly it did not contain the 35 boxes--500 lbs--of frit and molds I ordered. Finally just got word that the missing pallet has been located, now I am just waiting to hear when it can be delivered. I know they are going to try to fob me off with a "We only do residential deliveries on Saturday" line, but I am not going to take it. I have a business, this is a business delivery, it is easier than many other small business deliveries (as easy as it can be without a loading dock), and I am bloody well not going to hang around all day on Saturday again waiting for it! I have a Christmas tree to buy and decorations to put up. I am NOT working this Saturday!

And I am far too cranky to be relatively newly home from vacation. Now I have to run get a kiln load in of things which need to ship tomorrow. Sometime before I A) die, B) disembowel someone, or C) kill someone, I will do a nice long post about the book experience of the month and the recent show. If you get the Crafts Report magazine, check out the back cover AND the regioanl artists section inside.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Yep, Home

Coffee all over the floor (it was a large Jupiter Coffee with an extra shot of espresso--I dropped it as I walked in the door before taking even one sip), no music. Going to be a quick, yes-I-am-alive-and-back-from-Chicago post--today is PACKED.

The show was great for me, though terrible for many, many others. A dedicated post on it to follow. In almost stereotypical fashion I found out that the publication date on my book has been pushed back to November. I wouldn't have been told had I not divined it from other data and pushed to be told. And the ceiling-fixture-turned-bowl-turned-ceiling-fixture project is now... a wall sconce! Another post on it.

Today will be filled with unpacking the car from the trip, getting the biggest order from Bullseye this year (maybe ever), starting all the orders from the Chicago show and the trunk show earlier in November... and that ought to be enough! Pictures and detailed, eloquent posts... later.

Friday, December 08, 2006

These Boots Weren't Made for Walking

No coffee yet, "Sweet Surrender" by Sarah McLachlan on iTunes. It's 5 degrees Fahrenheit outside right now. 5 degrees! Ooh baby, gonna make that walk to Starbuck's a treat. I have to work for my caffeine this morning. Toto, as you can probably guess, we are not in Kansas (or Atlanta for that matter) anymore. Nope. Today I write from my room at the Embassy Suites lakefront in Chicago (Go Priceline!). It's One of a Kind Show time again, and we are off and running. Tomorrow I will put up pics of the booth, but for today, just a few highlights of life for the glass artist on the road.

The car was packed so fully that there was bubble wrap crammed up to the ceiling. It lumbered up the interstate making occasional vulgar grinding noises. I know it's not supposed to sound like that, and it only has a couple thousand miles on it (if that) so I am a bit worried. Sell! Sell! Sell! I need to get rid of as much glass as possible so we go home lighter and have room for all the wine I have to carry. Thanks to the arcane tax restrictions on wine, some California vinyards (from whom I purchased wine club memberships) can't or won't ship to Georgia so I have it all shipped to my in-laws in Illinois and pick it up twice a year when I come to town for a show--unless I drink it here. It's nice to have a stash.

Today I am tired. The show started last night and I made the mistake of breaking in a new pair of boots. I figured, heck, it was only four hours! I never wear heels anymore and today (and all night) the balls of my feet just ache. Today I am back to sensible flats (still boots). And it's hard to dress for this show. They're only so many layers you can put on. It's 5 degrees ( 5 DEGREES) outside and under the 2400 watts of lights (and additional heating helpfully supplied via the furnaces by the Merchandise Mart facilities people) I need a silk cami, a sarong and a fan! Ah well, I'll survive.

This morning I am going to walk the floor and hunt for friends' booths. I think I have schmoozed with everyone but Chrissie and family (Dave are you here?), but I haven't seen all their booths yet. The show opens at 11:00 and I then I am going to sell, sell, sell! Now I had better go get dressed (layers, layers, layers).