Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Tribulations and Trials

Yesterday was another incredible day from both work and personal perspectives. I didn't get as much writing done as I would have liked even though I worked on the book pretty much all day. But what I did accomplish--finally working out the logistics for one of the techniques I want to include but hadn't been able to work out exactly how to do it--was great. Then in the evening I had a couple of perfect parenting moments with Jessie and wife/partnering moments with Dave. I went to bed with a smile on my face and celebrated by getting up a little late this morning... whereupon everything went to shinola.

Understanding what's going with Jessie at mealtimes and helping her to communicate more effectively and less offensively about eating is child's play compared to trying to help her with her summer school work. I not not planned to spend time on it with her this morning, but it needed to be done. I had planned to write, but now I'm so frazzled from trying to explain counting in fractions that I can't even remember what color theory is and I could care less what tools I have added to my inventory since the last book.

Time for a couple of deep breaths and maybe a little medication, I mean meditation. On the plus side, I can make glass that floats!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Never Fear

For all those concerned with my current writing output never fear. I AM writing other than here (and now Stranded in the South), and I am writing A LOT. This morning my head is already bursting with book things I need to get on paper so I'm going to go do that NOW. No more posting. If you want more post, see last night's Stranded.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Caloo Calay!

The rest of the line from which comes the title of this post is "no work today, we're cabbages and kings!". Good thing I am neither a cabbage nor a king as I have PLENTY of work today. Notwithstanding the abundance of work, I will also be going to lake with Dave and the J today--I'll be writing up the projects I am doing this morning. As it's almost noon now, and we want to spend the afternoon at the lake, and I have at least an hour of work in the studio before we go, and we need to stop for walking shoes (for Dave) Keene sandals (for me) and a nerf gun (for J--and maybe a defensive one for me and Dave), I had better leave the long posting for another day. Wherever you are, I hope your weather might end up half as fine today as it is here.

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Seductiveness of Research

The delicate tinkle of wind chimes from the back deck, the gurgle of the coffee maker, and the hum of the refrigerator are my morning Montana music. The warm aroma of the coffee wafts across the cool air coming in from outside, twining with it until they both caress my nose. It's going to be a good day.

Dave is off on a walk, J, Mom and the dogs are still sleeping--Jig in with Jessie and Baxter in with Mom. Bailey, Mom's cockatiel, woken by my tapping on the keyboard as I sit next to his covered cage, has begun a drowsy morning song. I have been awake on and off since 4:24 (you know it's actually starting to get light here at 4:24 am, and it isn't dark till about 10:30--you gotta love summer in the far north) and I really need my coffee this morning.

Yesterday I didn't do much writing, but I did do a bunch of research reading and fact-checking for the section on color and color theory. I read the color theories described by Leon Battista Alberti in 1435, Leonardo Da Vinci in 1490, and Sir Isaac Newton in 1704. From there I explored "The Munsell Color System" by T. M. McCleland from 1935 and read Munsell's own articles from The Psychological Bulletin in 1909 and The American Journal of Psychology in 1912 on the relation of the intensity of chromatic stimulus to chromatic sensation and a pigment color system and notation.  Munsell led to ordering copies of "Josef Albers: Glass, Color, and Light" (Guggenheim Museum) by Fred Licht, Nicholas Fox Weber, and "Interaction of Color: Revised and Expanded Edition" by Josef Albers, Nicholas Fox Weber. Then Dave brought up color and linguisitics right before dinner and...

...I got lost in the scholarly literature surrounding the misnamed Sapir-Whorf hypothesis of linguistic relativity and the effect of one's native language on color perception (and ordered a copy of "Language, Thought, and Reality: Selected Writings of Benjamin Lee Whorf"). From there I jumped to "Revisting Basic Color Terms" by Barbara Saunders, and began delving into Levinson's "Yeli Dnye and the Theory of Basic Color Terms". I decided that, as much as I enjoyed Chomsky's principles of generative syntax in graduate school, I am not at heart a universalist, and I don't subscribe to the theories proposed in Berlin and Kay's "Basic Color Terms"...

...and now today I have already spent three hours back lost in the research docs and on this post--and have written nothing in the book. I did add Zotero to my writing tools and integrated it with Scrivener, but I don't think that is enough of a win to justify the lack of productive word count. 

Think I should get writing for real? Me too!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Day 2

The alarm went off at 6:30, and both Dave and I groaned and said, "Let's sleep some more." We had already decided before setting the alarm last night that we wouldn't walk this morning. Instead, we'd save our energy to load the old garage-floor carpets into the minivan for the dump and set-up the studio equipment. So when we decided to sleep a bit more, I was prepared to reset the alarm for 7:00. But Dave was a rebel and recommended that we just wake naturally. Of course 15 minutes later I was wide awake and guilty as all get out for not getting up on Day 2 of the summer regime. So showered and dressed by 7:15, I commenced my writing day as the rest of the household slept.*

Yesterday no writing was done. I spent the morning ordering the last of the equipment I'll need for the studio here (a bench top blast cabinet) and starting Jessie on her summer homeschool program. The latter of those went surprisingly well. The afternoon began with a trip to the recycling center to empty out Mom's old minivan and make room in it for the carpet going to the dump (not only do you have to separate everything out here, but you also have to drive 15 miles a neighboring town to the recycling center as there's no pick-up). Then we came back to the house and switched vehicles for a trip to the lake property to unload everything stuffed into my minivan designated for storage there from it so we could stop at WalMart (the ONLY local version of the old-time mercantile store) on the way home to get J a new bookcase. I plan to take the metal storage shelving from her room today to use in the studio so she needed a replacement. And finally, we went to the post office to find out where, between Atlanta and here, our mail is. The only less-than-successful stop was the post office as they, unsurprisingly, have no clue where our mail is. The day ended with cello for J--and I'm going to have to rethink the cello timing a bit as doing it at the end of the day resulted in several meltdowns on J's part and a less-than-good practice. The carpenter also came to talk to me (again) about replacing the rotting deck here and adding a roof over a section of it in back. 

Today the electrician comes to put in the wiring for the kiln, and everything we bought last week gets delivered. It's going to be a chaotic day, and I am determined to write in spite of it! Now onward and penward.

*Dave slept in for about 10 minutes after I began this post. So much for a sleepy morning in.

Monday, June 18, 2012

A New Chapter

I've hemmed, and I've hawed. I've dillied and dallied. But now it's time for some metaphor that means let's get on with It. The first half of my year is over--with all its attendant requirements, obligations, responsibilities, and necessities. Now the next quarter begins, and I have been looking forward to it for months! This quarter is Montana and the book. That's it. I am setting up a small studio today in Polson for testing and experimental work--no production. The Atlanta studio continues to run without me thanks to the uber-capable Judy, Dee, Becky, Tadashi, Todd, Brian and Domenick. The house, chickens, bunnies and pond are being cared for by Stacy and my cousins Andrew and Rachel who just moved here from Tucson--as well as Judy and Dee (eggs ahoy!). I have shed my southern skin and settled into my northern roots--at least for awhile.

A lot has happened since I last posted--so much that I didn't even have time to write about it. Fast forward to the first week in June. While Dave went to Austin for his regular work trip in the beginning of June, I moved the rest of the family (sans the aforementioned chickens and bunnies) to my mom's house in Polson for a summer up at Flathead Lake. On the way, we stopped in Florence Kentucky for a weekend so I could take a two-day enameling workshop in nearby Newport at the WW Carpenter Enamel Foundation--part of Thompson Enamels. It was an intense, amazing experience, and I look forward to adding enameling and cloisonne to the studio's class offerings and my personal work in the fall. In the meantime, the workshop will provide material for The Book.

The Monday morning after the workshop we left Kentucky in the fully (and I mean to the ceiling fully) loaded minivan. In the way back was our luggage for the summer, everything I need to set up a small studio--including a medium-sized kiln on a stand. On top of the kiln and stretched across the rest of the boxes nestled up to the roof was Jessie's cello. It's going to be a summer for Jessie too--but more on that in a minute. In the middle if the car in the passenger seats were Jessie, her luggage, some more glass studio supplies, and the dogs with all their food and gear. Mom and I and her bird shared the front (the bird was in his travel cage between the front seats). The drive from Florence to Polson took two days and covered almost 2,000 miles, crossing three major rivers and winding through the massive mountain range that is the Rockies before finally traversing the continental divide into western Montana.

The next couple of days after our arrival were not spent resting up. Instead we cleaned out the big family room downstairs preparatory to making it our main living space for the summer. We hauled out trash, recycling, stuff for the second-hand store, and stuff to store at the lake (there's a big metal building on our property there for storage and workshop). Dave flew into Missoula from Austin on Thursday, and I went and got him and brought him up to Polson.

In the last couple of days we acquired the last things we need to make this house a complete home-away-from-home and put together Jessie's summer study schedule. Our acquisitions include a comfy couch, a big tv (we brought the Apple tv and all our movies on hard drives with us), an outdoor table and chair set, and a gas grill. I also upgraded the house wireless--turns out we still had a 256k pipe. As of tomorrow it will be 8Mb--and finally adequate for Dave to work form the house and us to rent movies on-line from Netflix.

Jessie's summer study packet is a magnum opus all on its own. She has math worksheets, flashcards, timed worksheets and quizzes. She has over 2400 pages to read in eight books, weekly spelling lists, cello review and new songs, eye exercises (to strengthen her eye muscles), daily journaling (for writing), a photography course, and a programming class with her father. All the materials--including worksheets for extra credit (points she can use to buy things or get special treats)--are in a binder with these pages for guidance/reference. I now have a sense what homeschooling would entail, and I know that if push came to shove, I could definitely do it.

This morning started at 6:30 with a four-mile walk with Dave. Now I'm posting, and in a few minutes I will roust Jessie to being her day, and I'll head into the new studio to set-up and begin working on the book again! Dave is off to the coffee shop for better bandwidth. This is truly the life.