Sunday, November 19, 2017

Friends Around the Table

There are few things as satisfying as welcoming friends into your home who have traveled a long way, feeding them, and providing them a cozy place to stay. Tonight we were so privileged as to have four wonderful people from Atlanta arrive at our door on their way west to the Grand Canyon for Thanksgiving. It has been so long since we've had such a lively crew sitting around the table laughing and sharing stories and wine over a good meal. Tomorrow morning they are off for a 10 am showing of Justice League at the Alamo Drafthouse, and I leave for Las Vegas before they get back. But I'll see them for breakfast. Jessie is going with them to the movie even though she's already seen it.

So Las Vegas! I have been invited by Zaga to join a small, eclectic, dynamic, opinionated group of women on their annual Las Vegas Thanksgiving revelry. I'm only staying till Thanksgiving morning and then coming home for the rest of the holiday with the family, but I have a feeling the three days I'm there are going to be a wild ride.

For Thanksgiving my spouse asked me to curate a cheese and charcuterie plate to take over to some friends' house for dinner. I may have gone a bit over board. I have 19 kinds of cheese, three kinds of thinly sliced smoked meat, two kinds of sausage--duck and wild boar, two pâtés, three fruit spreads, three kinds of pears, two kinds of apples, four kinds of olives, three preparations of almonds (including marcone almonds in honey), three kinds of crackers, pumpkin seeds, ginormous grapes, and a pomegranate. I think there are six adults and four kids. We'll be having another games night/party (or five) (or ten) with the leftovers.

As I think of how to layout this marvelous spread of munchies, I picture a 7 feet long 2 X 12 plank of some interesting wood (maybe blue pine!) that runs the length of a dining room table and has a beautiful inlay pattern in it. Everything would be laid out on the plank and would meander the length of the table. Oh that would be so cool! But not this time. At least not for the inlay...

Saturday, November 18, 2017

I Was So Tired I Forgot a Title!

What a beautiful, windy, fall day! I have lots of windows open, and I wish I could have the door in the jewelry studio (greenhouse) open, but the cats are hanging here with me and I don't want Pavlova to develop a hankering for outside.

For those of you who have heard and been curious about my neighbor/friend Zaga, now you can see her for yourself! She was interviewed on ABC this morning about her customizable children's book "The Adventures of Princess Insert-Name-Here" That's me and Gallifrey on the right. (Okay, "I". "That is I". Ultimately though it may be grammatically correct, it still sounds pompous. However "That's Gallifrey and I sounds fine--and is also grammatically correct so I guess I should have just used that construction instead of meandering down this obscure path.)

After a quiet evening at home playing Five Tribes again, then watching a really good movie (Predestination with Ethan Hawke) and eating an incredible cheese and meat platter (again) for dinner, it's time to go to bed. I actually just dozed off for a second sitting up on the couch with a cat in my lap, and when I woke up there was a line of periods (like this: ............................................)  after the word "Bed". Must. Close. Eyelids.

Friday, November 17, 2017

The Oppressive Weight of the Holidays

The week has ended. Today is truly a TGIF day. I love Saturday because it's an everybody's-home day and it feels like we start with a blank slate. For me Saturday is both the end of the week (because you feel like you get to enjoy yourself after finishing a hard week) and the beginning of it (because the hard week is in the past and it's all green grass and high tides forever in front of you).

Next week is not a normal week. It's Thanksgiving week. The week of giving thanks for all our many blessings. It's also a time when we make too much food that we couldn't possibly eat in a week of Sundays, some of us shop till we drop, and others of us begin the Christmas decorating. It is the beginning of the most stressful season of the year. It's a season full of excess--in fact it epitomizes excess: Excess in eating, drinking, spending, decorating, and celebrating. This year I dread it. I don't feel physically well enough for the ordained whirlwind--especially with all the restrictions I am discovering I have with eating and drinking. And yet I also don't want to give up the traditions I have held onto from my family--many of which involve excess. It's a conundrum.

Tomorrow the family needs to sit down and put together a plan for what we're going to do... no, that's wrong. The family is not the problem--I am. So here's my plan. Here's what I'm going to do. We have been invited by friends for Thanksgiving. Dave will cook a little, but we'll keep it low-key, and our fridge (and ourselves) will not be overstuffed at the end of the day. We'll get our Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving, and trim it and decorate the house on Saturday. What we get done Saturday is what all we'll do and the boxes will be put away until it's time to take it all down. There will not be what seems to be unending decorating for Christmas. I will pick a thoughtful gift or two for those I love over the next couple of weeks, and then I will stop. I won't keep frenziedly buying right up through Christmas Eve. None of us need more STUFF. I'm not going to try to make everyone something from my hands.

I don't have to make this stressful for me or anyone else. Let's see if I can stick to that resolution.

P.S.--The workout wth the trainer went GREAT today! I'll see her again next Friday. After getting the Christmas tree.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Bacon Ice Cream and Turducken Burger

We come down to the last day of the work week heading in to the weekend before Thanksgiving and a week-long holiday (9 days with the weekends) for the J. Today was a day with many moving parts. It started with dropping the J at school and going to ceramics class at the Art School at the Contemporary. Then I managed to get home for 15 minutes for a quick bite, and off with Zaga for a haircut.

Zaga took me to the person who cuts her hair, and when we arrived the first thing I noticed was that all the signs on the wall were in Korean. The second thing I noticed was that everyone in there was Korean--customers and staff. The guy who cut my hair did not speak any English. Zaga said she used Google translate to communicate with him, but the receptionist came and interpreted for me. Eugene, the stylist, did not wash my hair or even wet it--he dry cut it. Zaga compares him to a hummingbird lighting on your hair for a snip here and a trim there. It took him an hour, and at the end I had a third less hair without losing any length! He was pretty amazing--and never said a word to me. I like the cut  and am looking forward to seeing what it does after I wash it. There are so many different length layers that it might go all curly on me.

After the haircut was a full leg wax. It may sound silly, but because I'm starting to work out tomorrow and want to go in the pool and/or the hot tub at the gym, (I know, TMI!) I had to have the hairs on my legs ripped out from the roots. I probably wouldn't have even mentioned it here, but I spent almost the entire time on the table processing a UPS shipment of work from Atlanta to Texas for the upcoming A Fair of the Art. First I had to talk to Todd (I didn't scream at all). Then I was on-line on my phone entering the shipment. Then I had to call UPS to arrange for a pickup. I'm afraid I let loose a bit of a shriek squeak in the ear of the UPS representative when my esthetician was over enthusiastic about how much she could take from one (very tender) spot at once.

As parts were moving, Zaga dropped me off at the waxing salon and drove my car home for me. Dave picked Jessie up after school (a couple of blocks away from the salon) and they then came and got me so we could go see Justice League. Both in between haircut and wax, and wax and movie, I could've made it home, but then I would have just had to turn around ten minutes later and go back to the same area of town so it made more sense to do it the way we did. However it meant I/we had an hour between activities to hang out. Zaga took me for ice cream after the haircut at Lick and I had a scoop of the roasted beets and fresh mint (Clean, crisp garden mint flawlessly complements the slightly sweet, earthy flavor of roasted Johnson's Backyard Garden beets), and a scoop of breakfast bacon (Maple syrup adds a sweet contrast to the smoky delicious pepper bacon from our friends at Salt and Time). I kid you not; those were the flavors and the were INCREDIBLE!

After the wax Dave, J and I went to HopDoddy Burger Bar for dinner. I had to have the special burger: a turducken burger on a stuffing roll with cranberry sauce, tempura green beans, and fried onions, with a side of gravy. Apparently HopDoddy is also in California and this burger was featured on a local tv channel there. This was definitely the day of weird food for me! After dinner we strolled a couple of doors down to Dragon's Lair comics and games and payed a couple of games of Tsuro--they have a couple of demo-the-games tables. Dave and J each did a bit of shopping comic and book shopping too, and then it was time to head to the next parking lot down for Justice League at the Alamo Drafthouse Anderson Lane.

When we got to the theater and I got out my phone for the electronic tickets I discovered that the cherry on top of a really surreal day was that I had managed to buy tickets for two different movies at two different Alamo Drafthouses for the same time tonight. We saw Justice League--and really loved it--and we got rain checks for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri. What a day!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017


Ah it is good to have friends! Friends near, friends far, friends never met but greatly, gently supportive! Dee, I hope you are coming out SOON. Bill, it is the busiest time of the year for a handcrafter (gifts to make, doncha know) so I'm not sure if I can devote a whole week to the glass studio--but I bet I can dedicate two more days to the jewelry studio and get it done in that time. Ellen, I haven't even managed to divest myself of the baby sweaters (four of them) I started for Jessie before she was born. I don't think I have a chance of getting rid of crafts yet untested. Alex and Lynne, I don't know if I can do things one at a time, but it's worth a try.

‘Shifting Sands’ (Detail) – 2012 by Steve Royston Brown
My biggest problem is that I have a large passion* for EVERYTHING I do--why else would I do it? I still thrill to the feel of thick, rough paper and the vision of it cut, ripped, punched, and stitched into books. I avidly watch woodworking and jewelry videos and dream of the pieces I want to make using the techniques I learned. I itch (no pun--really) to spin my own fiber into my own yarn, to knit into a sweater or coat of my own design.

There are still several batik fabrics I have to sew into shirts for Dave, scraps from them to make into a quilt, and worn out shirts I made him years ago to weave into rugs. A corner of the jewelry studio has been set aside for enameling, and a corner of the glass studio has been set aside (in theory it's there, under mounds of boxes) for ceramics--including a studio pottery kiln. Isn't it sad that the only passion I don't really have anymore is fused glass? I am over glass blowing too--too hot, too heavy, too steep a learning curve. I am still interested in doing some casting, some 3D screen-printing ( à la Steve Royston Brown above right), and some stained glass pieces, but sadly I don't have new directions driving me in fusing.

And then there are the combined media--wood with steel and copper, wood with glass and enamel, fiber with glass, silver and copper with glass, glass with stone...

Lucky for me I haven't taken on anything new in the last 24 hours that's going to take up more of my ever-dwindling time. Oh wait... Because of health and weight issues and the urging (nagging--mostly because of yesterday's post) of Zaga next door, I joined a gym today. Costco had a 50% off membership for the 24-Hour Fitness near me, Zaga belongs, and (yet more theory) we're going to work out together a couple (three?) times a week. Oh yes, and because I went by myself instead of with Zaga, I got talked into some sessions with a personal trainer to get me jump-started. Working out starts Friday...

But in spite of all the tearing of hair, rending of garments and salting of fields--no, wait, that was something else (and we haven't even talked gardening or BEES lately!)--I am feeling better today about my journey and actually living long enough to fully enjoy all of it. Really, we're talking weeks of dedicated work--not years--to get all my spaces set-up. It just feels like years right now. Today I was happier--even though I still didn't make anything--because I went through two on-line jewelry video classes. Maker porn always gets my engine going and makes me happy. Tomorrow is pottery in the morning so I will make tomorrow, and Friday morning Becky and I are going to do a virtual craft morning. We used to get together one day a week (when we could manage it) in Atlanta to do some craft activity, and Friday we're going to FaceTime it. I'll be in the jewelry studio.

Franzeska, if you're reading this, you should come visit for a long weekend so we can play in the studio. I do still have a passion for teaching and sharing glass, and maybe helping someone else down that road will reignite my spark.

*or at least a medium passion.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Closer to Death

It was a good day and a good evening, but without even having to squint I can see myself dying before my work spaces are all set up and fully operational. What a depressing vision. Up until today when I thought about the future I'd see myself strolling into a studio in the morning with a mug of coffee, steam from it dancing with the dust motes in the sunlight coming in through the windows. I'd sit down at a fully-equipped and organized bench with all my tools and materials in place and ready for me to make something. At the end of a long artistic day, I'd put away my tools and leave the room clean and ready for next time. I wouldn't have to clean, straighten, unpack, organize and set-up for hours before I could get to the creativity part. I wouldn't have to wend my way through stacks of boxes and unsituated shelving racks to get to my work table, sewing machine, pottery wheel, table saw, jewelry bench, loom, etc. The only pick-up-and-do-ready things I have going right now are spinning and knitting--and that last one is iffy. Everything else can be done in the middle of a chaotic mess or not at all.

As I was driving back from dropping Jessie off at school this morning (she finished shooting her film, Yay!), I thought about what I had planned to do each day for the past few weeks, and what I actually had done. There was a remarkable pattern to the data, but the pattern was not in what I had planned matching up what I had done. No, the pattern was that each day I had planned to do some studio/workspace set up so I could then do some creative activity in said studio/workspace, and each day I had put off doing the set-up in favor of something else so consequently I never did any creating either.Even in Atlanta, I never had my studio completely set up the way I wanted.

Now I have four studios and one tool space to unpack, organize and optimize. At this point it's more likely that I will quit doing an activity before I have the area and all the tools and materials I've collected ready. That's especially true in the glass studio. Even after selling off huge swathes of hoarded materials, I still have far more than I could use in a lifetime. I need to continue to sell the excess off--yet one more thing between me and actual creating.

I have reached a special place in life (a new special hell): the place where you see that the stash you've accumulated for special projects is measurably greater than the time you have left in your life. Every crafter faces that moment, but not every crafter has to face it for glass (for stained, fused, and torch-worked projects); spinning fiber; knitting and crocheting yarn; book-making papers and cords; weaving yarn; jewelry findings, stones, and metals; scrapbooking supplies; rubber stamping and card-making supplies; wood; sewing/quilting fabric; Kumihimo thread; clay and pottery tools; and soap/bath product ingredients and packaging.

Dave said a few months ago (and I think I wrote about it here) that it's time for me to divest myself of all my moribund hobbies. But I hadn't thought of them as anything approaching moribund until today. (Heck, when he said it, I didn't even know what moribund meant.) Now I see that they are moribund in part from the inertia caused by their individual masses. I have to find the tools before I can use them, and it seems I spend all my time looking for them and then deciding where to store them.

Good thing we had cheese for dinner tonight (really) (we had a cheese plate) cause I have obviously still got a lot of whine to go with it. Wish I could think of a way to get through the inertia.

Monday, November 13, 2017

The Film, Like the Beat, Goes On

I spent so much time tonight on other things (playing a board game with my spouse, tucking my daughter into bed--that one takes a LONG time, and answering A Fair of the Art email) that I don't have time or energy to write the latest update on the film saga. Suffice it to say that no filming happened after school today in spite of my having picked J up from school so she wouldn't have to wait through a long bus ride to get home before she could film. Now we're at the point where I am keeping her home tomorrow morning for first period (which happens to be her AV class) so she can film. The reason she couldn't film today was that she didn't have the light. Tomorrow she is going to start from scratch (I believe even with a new script) (!), and it will be all done. Then I will take her and all the equipment (lights, sound, camera, etc.) back to school. Whew! I hope tomorrow's post is interesting and can report the end of the film.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Filming, Pizza, and a Hot Tub

Kaiju by Jessie
The big question of the day is, "Is the filming done?". And the answer is, "No. Of course not!". We're not even on the same script anymore (though the falling-backward-into-water-scene from an early iteration of the original script is back in). I'd say about half of a 2-3 minute movie is filmed, and it took all day. Tomorrow or Tuesday night the last half (including the falling-back-into-the-pond-while-wearing-the-camera shot) will happen.

Jessie and Jig selfie
The biggest thing to come out of the filming is Zaga and Dave's reaction to Jessie's reset of the hosue. She left a few knick-knacks, but she was pretty ruthless in doing away with clutter. Almost every surface is empty, and to me that's just wrong. Zaga and Dave, on the other hand, thought it was incredible and wanted to know if we were going to keep it that way. Snort. The only reason to have surfaces is so you can put something on them. What use is an empty table I ask you? Besides, now I don't know where half of my small stuff is. Jessie said she'd put it all back, but I can see that job is squarely in my future.

The evening ended with familial pizza-making (mine had alfredo sauce, mozzarella, thin pear slices sauteed in butter and turbinado, prosciutto, roasted pistachios, cream cheese, and a drizzle of reduced balsamic vinegar. Mine was the clear winner for perfection of flavors. After dinner (and an episode of Stranger Things), I went over and hot tubbed with Zaga for an hour. What a perfect way to end a day!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

It's All About the Film

Today is a cinematic day, and it has been filled with hard lessons. I left my day kind of fluid and unstructured so I could help the J if she needed it. She told us at breakfast that she wasn't going to shoot during the day because she wanted it to be dark outside for all the indoor shots, and she needed access to the neighbors' Porsche for the outdoor shots. They weren't home today so she was planning to do the outdoor shots tomorrow. I asked her to please go through her shot list and her plan for filming to make sure she had everything she needed and to maybe do some test filming during the day to avoid last minute snafus as much as possible. She got rather exasperated with me and defensive when I pushed her for details. I tried and failed, to convey to her (with my decades of hard-won experience) that she needed to not leave everything till the last minute thinking it would work out and she had everything covered. So I too my friend Mike's advice, I stepped back, I breathed through the impulse to push (more) and I left the room.

I spent my day cleaning and unpacking in the studio. We have owned this house for 25 months, I have lived here for 16 months, and I am still not even close to unpacked! There is still a substantial number of things I have been looking for and can't find. A friend told me once that I would never make it as a military wife as you have to be able to unpack and get settled quickly. I'd still be putzing around unpacking when it was time to pack up and move again. Of course if I were a military wife I wouldn't have so much STUFF. Tomorrow I plan to keep working out there and, though I don't have a specific stopping point goal in mind, I hope to get a LOT done. I also have to stay out of the J's way. Her father has that one down: Every time I start to talk to her about her film or her homework, he "leaves us to it" and goes into the bedroom. Right now we're both hiding out in there while she does a bit more filming tonight.

At Jessie's suggestion, Dave and I went on a date night tonight so she could film in peace and privacy. She said she doesn't even like us in the next room when she's practicing piano or having a lesson so she really didn't want us around while she was filming. The plan was a movie, then dinner, then pick Zaga up at the airport at 10:00. As with Jessie's plans, ours went a little wonky too. I picked the movie: The Square, a Swedish film, this yea'r winner of the Palme d'Or at Cannes. I didn't pick it because it was an artsy fartsy foreign film, I picked it because of the trailer. I didn't realize it would be in Swedish (as it didn't really sink in when I watched the trailer that it was a Swedish film and artsy fartsy. I also didn't realize it was two hours and 20 minutes long which completely screwed up our plans for dinner and getting Zaga from the airport--we managed neither. Luckily there were Twizzlers and Uber (one for us and one for her).

But about the movie... I LOVED it. It was beautifully shot, witty, articulate, funny, poignant, and completely non-Hollywood. The characters were oddly real and believable--oddly because they were, well, odd. I hadn't realized how many of the movies I look forward to seeing at the cinema are from Marvel or wish they were. Had it come from Hollywood, this film would have been pared down to under two hours. Maybe an hour and a half. But it was better for the slow, thoughtful pace. It didn't feel pretentious or full of itself in any way, and the lead actor gave one of the most amazing performances I have seen in a long time. It doesn't hurt that he is also 6'4" and handsome à la Pierce Brosnan in the Thomas Crowne Affair. As is often the case with life and European art films, the end wasn't so much an ending as a stopping point, but that's a statement too, isn't it?

I'm not going to write any more about Jessie's film and filming process tonight because it's still a journey. I don't know if it will ever be a destination, but she will get through the journey and I hope there will be lessons learned and wisdom acquired. That's all I can ask for as a parent.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Would You Like Some Cheese and Crackers with that Whine?

Apparently I was more than just carsick last night. Today has been a waste of time--and I didn't even enjoy it! If you know up front that you're going to feel crappy all day, you can snuggle into bed in your jammies with some hot tea and ice water, and read, sleep, and knit as feels best. The problem comes when you get up in the morning, get dressed, and try to get things done--all the while hoping you'll feel better soon, but you never really do. Now I'm hoping that today was a one-off day and tomorrow I'm going to be back to my perky, energetic, not-nauseated self. If not, maybe I'll at least be less whiny.

Tomorrow is Saturday and J is filming her noir film for class. It's already a couple of weeks overdue, and I am worried that she's going to run into problems that she won't be able to solve quickly enough to get it all filmed in two days. But I'll try to stay optimistic. I think it's also better if I don't plan to work on anything of my own because I can see having to do set arrangement for her all day--including moving all the furniture out of the great room for one scene. I have a feeling this is going to be quite a lot of effort for a 2-4 minute film.

As today was a blur of bleh, I don't have much to say tonight. I only spoke to three people outside of my family in person today, and those exchanges took a total of 10 minutes. Oh yes, I also gave an order to the clerk at the McDonald's drive-through for the J after school. If I were Cynthia Morgan I would have a long and fascinating story about one of those three people, but they barely impinged on my consciousness. I blame the nausea.

Continuing the 365 Project on Tookapic is also dragging me down. There has been a rumor flying around that the site is going to close down because there isn't enough money to keep it going even for the rest of the year. Just reading that news took the wind out of my sails for my project. How disheartening would it be to have them shut down before the end of the year, before I had a chance to do anything (like make a book) with my project? I don't even have an accurate list of the photos I've used each day as there were last minute substitutions and photos posted from my phone that didn't make it into the folder on my hard drive. I was counting on Tookapic being there. Ooh, listen to that whine! Time to pack it in and go to bed. Sleep (and time) cures all ills (and whines).

Thursday, November 09, 2017


Uggghhhh. I don't feel well. I let the child sit in the front seat on the way home from the movies because the front seats are heated, she was cold, and I am a good mother. But right now I am so carsick I can't post. I know it's wimpy, but I'm going to bed. I'll try to post in the middle of the day tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Cold as a Supernatural's Mammary in a Metal Holder

A cold rainy night means a lap full of cats
If last night was a good night for the hot tub, tonight is PERFECT for the down comforter. Every fall when the weather starts to change there is one day when you just freeze. Your hands are cold, your feet are cold, your nose runs, and you can't help but think you'll never make it through the winter if you're this cold and it's only down to 50 or 60 degrees. Well today was that day for me (and Jessie too). I have fuzzy black pants on along with a sweater and sheepskin slippers, and I'm still cold! Every time I turned around tonight Jessie was putting her (freezing) hands on my neck or up under my sweater on my back or my tummy. So I am not much longer for this verticality: it's time to get horizontal under the Mr. Big down comforter from Three Dog Down. Their comforters are hands down (hah! pun!) the best I have ever used with lots of loft and they're extra wide and long. No cover-stealing spouse is going to freeze me out.

So that's the night. But what about the day? Today started with all the dewy promise in the world, but by 4:00 I was wondering where the time had gone, and why I hadn't accomplished anything on any creative projects. Or bills. Or cleaning. I gave good website, that's about all I can say. Oh and I drove Jessie back and forth to school and to the camera store.

The evening was moderately better as we had a family games night and played Dr. Who Clue. I was River Song, Jessie was Clara, and Dave was Strax. There is no Dr. character, and all of the objects used are not weapons. In fact only a couple of them are lethal. I'm not sure what the backstory behind the game is, but Jessie was very happy we got it, and she even won the first game. Now I'm primed to start playing games in the evening with Dave again--Settlers of Catan (if it can be played with two), San Juan (the two-player version of Puerto Rico), and the newly acquired Five Tribes, just to name a few.

The rain is coming down harder. Time to get under the covers. Maybe a hot shower first...

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Hot Tubs are Good

Today I successfully shipped the USPS package I failed at yesterday, and I went out to lunch first with my husband and then with my daughter: I was having lunch with Dave when Jessie texted me to see if I had shipped my package and might be interested in having lunch with her in conjunction with shipping it. I didn't have the heart to tell her no so after Dave and I were done, I picked her up from school and we went through the Wendy's drive-through (which is coincidentally right across the street from the post office).

Today was a much calmer day--and I DID get some housework done: I vacuumed and mopped the floors. I also got the first nibbles from the parents of prospective emerging artists after putting out a Call for Young Artists on Next Door.

The afternoon ended with creating the back of the postcard for A Fair of the Art--Meredith, our wonderful graphic designer-parent did the front--and getting the postcard in for printing and delivery Thursday. Zaga came over for dinner (Dave made adobo chicken, yum) and then she and I sat in their hot tub drinking wine and talking for a couple of hours. A hot tub is a wonderful, marvelous thing, and I am wondering why we don't have one. We might need to work on that. We're at the point now in our marriage that we could easily buy a hot tub as our anniversary and Christmas gifts to ourselves. Maybe next year.

Now some more spouse time and off to, you guessed it, bed!

Monday, November 06, 2017

Blogging from the Future!

I won't call this a cheat (though it is) because I already have had one of those. No, this is me coming back from the future to post for yesterday, er, today! Honestly I would've posted today but I broke my fingers on A Fair of the Art. First I did all of the acceptance letters for the first round of jurying for the established artists. Then I updated the website with all of their photos and artist bios. by the time I was done with that I not cleaned a bit of my house, nor had I put away Halloween decorations. I had shipped a package UPS by flagging down a driver on the road and handing him--no, to be fair, he hopped out of his truck and came over to my minivan and unloaded the package himself--a glass shipment for Todd. I had also failed to ship a package to Hawaii USPS because I found I didn't have my wallet after getting all the way to the end of the shipping process at the counter. I diddled around for another 15 minutes trying to make Apple pay work (the postal clerk thought it did) or get my husband on the phone to see if he was close enough to get to the post office to pay for my package before they closed (he never answered--his phone was dead).

After the pressures of the day (not getting the house cleaned at all was actually very stressful--it is a pit) I was very glad that the spouse suggested playing Five Tribes after dinner, even though it kept me from posting. He and I sat at the kitchen table and played this wonderful board game for almost two hours and it was PERFECT. No tv--no media of any kind. I didn't have the heart at the end to say, hey, I have to post. I figured I'd just go to bed with my wonderful spouse and post from the future. The way he puts it is, "It's not lying, it's telling a truth from the future."

Sunday, November 05, 2017

And Now, Thanksgiving

Jessie's birthday flowers from her father
This weekend marked the end of the birthday, Halloween, and anniversary season and the beginning of the countdown to Thanksgiving and Christmas. Tomorrow I'll pack up the Halloween decorations and try to find some place to store them for the year--all except for the tyrannosaurus. We've decided she needs to stay up and be decorated for the season--whatever the season may be. For Christmas she'll get a little Santa Claus hat. For Valentine's she can be holding a big (bleeding) heart. For St Patrick's Day she can be eating a leprechaun. For Easter she can carry a basket full of eggs and wear bunny ears. Oh the fun I can have with this one!

Today we spent all day (Jessie and I did) on a film shoot for one of the girls in her cinematic arts program. We started at 8:00 this morning and got home just after 9:00 tonight. I mostly hung out on the couch and worked on my laptop, but it was exhausting even for me. Or maybe it was exhausting giving Thor back. At 3:00 this afternoon we returned him to the rental car lot. Jessie likened it to sending a foster puppy on to his forever home: It breaks your heart a little bit. I told her Thor did not follow us home, and we cannot keep him. (Thor was the red Corvette Stingray convertible I rented for her birthday weekend.)

Now it's time (again? already?) for bed. Dave made and incredible fesenjan for dinner tonight with rice pudding with rose water and cardamon for dessert. Sadly he didn't like it so I'm not going to get it regularly. More's the pity: It was so yummy I am stuffed to sleeping!

Saturday, November 04, 2017

Little Red Corvette

It was a wonderful 16th birthday for a truly wonderful girl. She celebrated all of it with just her parents--not friends, no party--but I think it was just about perfect for her. We went out for breakfast this morning (she and I were in the Corvette and Dave led in the Leaf), and then we went to Dragon's Lair (the comic book and game shop) where she found some good manga books and Dr. Who Clue. Next we just drove around a bit. In circles. In a parking lot. Wink, wink. Then we came home for a wee rest before heading out again to Thor Ragnarok. Now she's chatting with Uncle Ed and Aunt Susan, and when she's done she'll blow out the candles on her cake while we sing to her. I don't know if anyone will eat any cake tonight as we're all still pretty stuffed from the movies (dinner AND a movie at the Alamo Drafthouse).

Tomorrow she is is crewing a movie for one of her cinematic program compatriots, and I have to return the Corvette. It's going to break my heart. I love that car! Zaga and I took it out for a ride this afternoon while Dave and Jessie went to get her cake. I asked him if he wanted me to call and have him put on as a driver and then he could take her to get the cake in it, but he said no it's not his thing... How can a perfect, luscious, sexy, new red convertible Corvette Stingray NOT be someone's thing?!? But, whatever. Zaga and I drove out to the Oasis on the lake for a drink (diet coke for me), and we had fun valet parking the car. When we came back out, the valet had put it right in front at the end of a line of three cars: a Porsche, and *two* new red Corvette convertibles. I must admit it felt pretty cool to hand the ticket to a different, bored looking valet (who was clearly expecting to fetch a minivan or SUV for me), and to point to the line of cool cars and say "It's the one at the end with the top down".


Cake is finished and it's time for bed. Hugs, smiles, and kisses made their rounds, and now we're all heading off to collapse into our eyelids. I can't you how glad I am daylight savings time ends tonight! My daughter's birthday was on my favorite day of the year this year.

Friday, November 03, 2017

Fresh and Powerful

I was sure I had already folded this song into a post as I often think of it at this time of day--especially after a week like this past one--but I haven't so I'm going to put it here as accompaniment for the rest of the post. For tonight I chose the fresh, powerful version performed in Hyde Park in London on June 7, 1969 when the song was new instead of the more mellow, polished version from the Crossroads Guitar Festival in 2007.

The week was just PACKED with activities and deadlines and responsibilities, but I made it through. And it officially ended when I picked Jessie up from school in a 2017 red Corvette Stingray convertible (rented for one day for her birthday tomorrow). Talk about fresh and powerful. Jessie was over the moon excited, and I have to admit I was pretty jazzed too. When I was her age I also loved Corvettes--though today was my first time in one--and driving on 2222 in it with the top down, the sun shining, and the tunes playing was magical. It might have triggered a mid-life something in me. It's not a crisis as I don't feel like I have missed out on anything and thus have to change my life drastically before it's too late, but there was definitely a feeling of having automotively settled over the past 18 years. I am on my third Honda minivan for criminey sake!

Thank you Zaga for the photo...
That Corvette... It rumbles. It roars. It doesn't screech or whine. It's low, and throaty-sounding, and more enjoyable overall than any car I've ever ridden in. I was a little intimidated when I first drove it thinking it would be drive differently than other cars and I would have to be careful not to accelerate too fast or turn too sharply. I guess I was expecting it to be a lot more responsive than it is. Maybe the rental place has some kind of child safety device on it dumbing it down so that renters don't do anything stupid. In any case, it wasn't tiring to drive (as a super responsive car could be), and it fit me like a glove--once I was able to get into it. It's about 6" off the ground, the seat has a deep recessed bucket surrounded by door and console, and let's face it I have old knees and a less-than-trim silhouette. Getting out is even more... fun. And yet, in spite of the difficulties getting in and out, it's a dream car. Once you're in, you never want to leave. You don't even have to go fast in it to feel a thrill. Because you're so close to the ground, going from zero to 21 gets your blood pumping, accelerating to 35 miles an hour feels like flying, and taking it from there to 50 will have your passengers white-knuckling the dash. Sixty was my top speed today. Tomorrow I might get out onto the freeway where the speed limit is 75 to see what it feels like.

So here I am over the mid fifties hill and lusting after a red muscle car that doesn't have a place to tuck my purse, which holds either my daughter OR my husband but not both, and in which Gallifrey absolutely will not fit. It has about 1/3 the interior room of the Mini Cooper convertible. As Dave says, sexy as hell for a car you can't even imagine having sex in. It's ours till 3:00 pm tomorrow. Guess I better live the fantasy now or resign myself to getting a full-time well-paying job to pay for my car habit. Heck, it could be clothes, it could be shoes, it could be jewelry! But no. Like daughter, like mother. I have a car problem.

Thursday, November 02, 2017

A Day of Perfection

It's late, I'm pooped. I am in full getting-emerging-artists mode right now with all the fervor that goes with convincing some poor young person that a life as an independent artist doing festivals and self-promoting might be a reasonable idea. I actually wrote to the visual art teachers at McCallum tonight and offered doing after school workshops to help students fill out their applications and put together a good body of work to sell. We'll see what comes of it.

Today was an extraordinary day on other fronts too. I had ceramics class this morning, and for the first time EVER, everything I threw turned out beautifully. Each piece was better than the one before it. After ceramics I took the cats to the vet, then came home and got Todd's airline ticket to come out and do A Fair of the Art with me (as an artist, not as a promoter). Next accomplishment was getting in a kiln load. On the rental front, we got another review today and then we got an inquiry from a potential full-time renter. Sweet!

I ended the evening with website updates for A Fair of the Art (we have contracted with all the food trucks) and an email to all the parent volunteers. Now it's time to go to sleep. Thank you Meredith Efken for another incredible poster!

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

We Are Proud, We Are Amish

Not really Amish, but tonight it almost feels like it. The Internet has been out for the past few hours which means that our Smart Things hub doesn't work, which means Alexa won't turn our lights on and off on command. You'd think that wouldn't be a problem, but I can't remember where many of the light switches are. Really. So we sit in the dark (or the light, depending where we were when we lost network). This is a seriously first world problem. It did keep me from firing in the studio tonight however, as I really DON'T know where the light switches are out there and I just didn't feel like futzing around to find out. Spectrum says it's a statewide problem, but Dan and Zaga next door are streaming a movie (and laughing at me) just fine. Dave just sits in the dark looking at his phone.

Today I met a friend for open studio at Creative Side Jewelry Academy and almost finished the locket I started in my 201 class. I did get all the soldering done, now I just have to clean up the silver and tube-set the sapphires and the topaz. The sapphires are stones I sifted from gravel from the mine in Montana this past summer and had cut. Now I want to make pieces with prong setting for the two large sapphires. However carving out time for to work on jewelry in the next couple of months is going to be tough. I have A Fair of the Art, my own glass orders, J's birthday, Christmas (yes, I'm thinking that far ahead already), and a couple of trips coming up.

Tomorrow it's ceramics, glass, and the vet--this time with the cats. Another crazy day when I don't have time to breathe and end up exhausted and slightly grumbly (like today). Guess I'll take my grumpy self off to bed so I can get up early to go pick up styrofoam peanuts and bubble wrap before going to ceramics.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Raining Cats and Dogs

Pavlova happy to cuddle on the couch
I'm glad it's raining. It sucks it started pouring before I could get the Halloween decorations in. At least one, maybe two or three are completely ruined. Hope I have time to get them in tomorrow before they get totally washed away. The kitties are glad they are not out in the rain and the dogs... god forbid they should get their feet wet by going outside to pee!

Today was an odd transitional day. I got a few things of the list, but there were no big, satisfying accomplishments. Tomorrow morning I have piano and then a woman from my jewelry class asked me if I want to meet to do open studio (finish up our last projects) and then have lunch. I said yes, but probably should have said no. I have glass orders to work on and ship, shipping supplies to receive, and of course the persistent A Fair of the Art to wrangle. I hope I feel more settled and driven in--if not one direction, then at least one direction at a time!

Now the down comforter and the spouse snuggled under it call and I must answer.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Physician, Heal Thyself!

Sacked out spaniel--going to the vet wore him out!
I am not a physician, nor do I play one on tv. So today was my day to deal with health issues--both mine and the dogs. The cats get their turn on Thursday. It's a good thing I hold in my mind that I only have to do three things a day and everything after that is gravy, because today it took everything I had to get in three: I spent a long time at the doctor have my glucose levels (not really glucose--the other thing like glucose they check the level of for diabetes) checked. They were a tad higher than they were before I went on medication. To help me see what's going on, they prescribed a glucose meter thingie for me so I can stick my finger and read my blood sugar levels. They also changed my blood pressure meds because I have the strange cough symptom that is a side effect of Lisinopril... And now I am truly old, prattling on like a geriatric about my various medications.

After I escaped from the doctor's office--without having seen a doctor in the hour+ I was there, ah modern medicine!--I checked in with Todd and made the decision NOT to do ACRE next year. I am going to stick to my guns and try to make the business work with primarily a web interface between me and the galleries I serve. We shall see.

The afternoon was spent at the vet with all three dogs. What possesses me to schedule their appointments like that? I always think it will be easier to take them all at once and get it over with, but who am I kidding? An old slow spaniel at one and and a bouncy Irish wolfhound at the other. Oh, and the shepherd-basset hound who hides under my chair (and my skirt) trying to escape the vet tech's notice. It felt like we were there hours because, well, we were! But they are all fine--even Baxter--and I get to do it again on Thursday with the cats!

Tonight the call went out for emerging artists (students 18 and under) to apply for A Fair of the Art. We just reached a midpoint in the established artist section. I really hope we get a big push before the end of the week.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Sunday is a Rest Day

I lied, again! This is becoming a habit. Even though I said there would be, there are no pictures of the garden from today, nor video. I have to fix the Grim Reaper who fell over at the waist (poorly soldered thin metal), and I still have lighting issues. I just didn't have the spunk today to fix the lanterns, but I need to so something. It's almost tempting to break out one of the four panes of glass so I can reach in on that side to turn the little candles on and off (getting in through the top is nogh on impossible). Of course then I couldn't use real candles in them as it would be too dangerous. I did find some wonderful solar landscape lights on Amazon that got rave reviews (over 3,000 of them--reviews, not lights I purchased...) and were only $12 apiece so I picked up a few. I have been wanting landscape lights of the garden and the trees so these will be perfect for now for Halloween lighting, and after Halloween they will be good for lighting trees and the front of the house--with solar!

Getting the lights and a few other things on my shopping list was all the work I did today. The rest was relaxation: I took the dogs to the dog park with Zaga this morning, I read and watched woodworking YouTube videos this afternoon, and then I napped (well, read some more in bed). Now I'm in another sugar coma from Dave's spice cake and ready to head off to bed. But I'm not truly tired and it is only 9:00. Maybe I'll read a bit more or play some more solitaire. Tomorrow is time enough to work.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Too Tired to Really Post

I lounge in almost a sugar stupor from the wonderful four layer spice cake the spouse made today. Honestly, I could go to sleep right now. Part of my fatigue comes from having spent six hours in the garden today putting up the penultimate Halloween Decorations. All I have left are the lanterns I bought to highlight the vignettes I've set up at various points in the garden. I am annoyed with how difficult they are to light so I'm thinking of cutting a hole in the bottom of each of the floor plates and siliconing in the battery-operated lights (the switch is in the bottom of the candle so if I cut a hole in the base of the lantern, I'll be able to turn the light on from outside). But honestly, I am so tired right now that I am going to go straight to bed. We just finished watching the wonderful movie Cabin in the Woods, and it was a perfect post Halloween decoration and pre Halloween movie. Tomorrow pics--and maybe even a video--of the Path of Terror.

Friday, October 27, 2017

No Post Tonight In My Coffee, No Post Tonight In My Tea

Name the band and the song from which I mangled my post title! Tonight is another night when I am going to skate a bit on the post. I have an obsessive, compulsive personality which resulted in my obsessing over choosing food trucks and compulsively trying to get more artists signed up for A Fair of the Art. Unfortunately I should have taken a day off as it felt like I mostly spun my wheels. So I  accomplished very little today--other than taking the child to school and getting more big Halloween decorations as Home Depot FINALLY put them on 50% off.

I am very much looking forward to getting everything Halloween up tomorrow (I have given up on the styrofoam tombstones as the wind up here makes frisbees out of them no matter how I weight them down). Then I'm going to invite the Jacob kids over to walk The Path of Terror (with candy and what have you at the end). I wonder if they like caramel apples? Dave knows how much I love them so he's going to make them tomorrow--with scratch caramel. Yum. Yes, that's just what I need for tomorrow. Something ELSE to obsess about.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Kicking Ass and Taking Names

I didn't think any more about doing the Philly show in February today--it didn't even come close to the top of the day's list. Neither did laundry, but I could die happy if all I left undone was folding laundry (not that I'm planning to die anytime soon). I repotted a couple of orchids to flex my fingers and warm up for the day, and then I got right to organizing A Fair of the Art and sending out the next round of tasks and requests. When I was about 3/4 of the way through, I accidentally deleted my message and almost lost it. Fortunately there is thing called the Internet that holds the sum total of all human knowledge (and tons of cute cat pictures), and on it I found how to recover the deleted draft email. Whew! Then I decided that, if everything went well, there would probably be a LOT of responses to my email and I didn't want to flood everyone's mailboxes and annoy them unnecessarily so I created a Google Group for the project and added everyone to it. Screw inviting people: I don't have time to wait for people to make up their minds if they want to hear from me or not. I just added them, welcomed them, explained why I set up the group, and got on with the important email. Wheee!

In the midst of My Fair Frenzy, I took some time to talk to one of my NextDoor neighbors about how to work with food trucks. He is a life-long carnie who has recently retired to Austin and is now in the concessions business--mostly with non-profits. His advice confirmed all of my hopes and suspicions, and allayed my fears. Yes, we are right to ask for a percentage of the profits--25-40% is standard and for a new festival 25% is a good place to start (everybody wins). In order to determine what 25% is, we sell $.50 tickets that are used to pay for food, and the food trucks don't actually take cash. At the end of the festival we pay them for the tickets they turn in minus 25%. Three trucks is a good number for our event. Three is actually a bit difficult to me as we have had twice that many trucks apply, and I hate turning anyone down. But I don't personally have to turn anyone down! There are a lot of other people involved and we can decide on the food vendors by vote, not fiat.

After the A Fair of the Art communication, I cleaned our apartment for this evening's renters. It was a very satisfying activity. Thirty-five years ago I cleaned houses and condos in a ski resort for a living. Today cleaning the apartment took me back to those times and the satisfaction of doing a menial job really well. After we finished rehabbing the apartment and when we started renting it, I had it cleaned by a cleaning service a couple of times. Today was the first day I went in and did all the cleaning myself, and I approached it from the ground up; I cleaned things that had obviously been passed over by the cleaning people (the back 1/4" of the wooden blinds on all the windows), and at the end the whole apartment was so clean it gleamed. As I worked I kept picturing my grandmother as the prospective guest, and I made sure it would be clean enough for her. My grandmother used to make me strip off my clothes down to my underwear inside the back door after I had been playing in the backyard. then I had to go straight to the sink and thoroughly wash my hands. When I came in and put on clean clothes, I wasn't allowed to sit on the couch--only the floor. My gramma cleaned her house professionally and religiously, and if I could please her, I could please anyone. Our guests tonight: Three guys in for a couple of days of mountain biking. Sexism aside, the chance that they actually appreciate the cleaning I did: 2%. That's okay. I did it for me, not for them.

The night finished with a family movie night to see Shaun of the Dead at the Alamo Drafthouse. A perfect end to a really kicking day.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Raining? It's POURING!

Today was one for the record books! I had my last Wednesday morning ceramics class after my last 8:00 am piano lesson with a trip to McCallum to take Jessie to school in between. But those were the easy things. For big things, I finished up the web site for A Fair of the Art tonight including creating both an on-line emerging artist application and one for download. I also took in two more applications from established artists and two more from food trucks. Just as I was finishing up, I got a request from someone on HomeAway to rent our apartment... tomorrow through Saturday. Of course I haven't cleaned it since the last guests last weekend! Guess what I'll be doing tomorrow morning  (along with folding the laundry I didn't get to today, putting up the tombstones and the last of the Halloween skeletons in the garden)?

In a weird bit of déjà vu, I also have to decide--or at least think about--whether I want to do the replacement show for the Buyer's Market in Philly next February. Now that Nancy Vince isn't running it anymore, I am willing to consider it. I talked to another artist today who does it and he said he had a better show there last year than he did at the last winter American Made Show in DC. That show was pretty decent for me so I'm betting Philly would be pretty good too. It's not going to be a big show--500 exhibitors max--but it might be the right thing to do. My thinking is something along the lines of make money instead of spend money. But do I really want to get back into the big show thing again? Todd said he's game for anything so it's pretty much on me. There would be no chance of driving: I'd have to fly from Austin. Work would have to be shipped out and back--and I don't have a crate for it anymore. The display crate is still in storage out on the east coast, but I was just contemplating getting it shipped back here so I could have the display materials to use for the show the beginning of December.

Right now I'm signed up for the second level in the Master Spinning program through Olds College the same weekend as the Philly show. It's being held at Spry Whimsy in Wisconsin again (where I did the first level last year). If I did the show I'd have to cancel my class and change to an independent study course--which is possible for the first and second levels. I even know an instructor who I think would be willing to take me on. So I could have my cake and show it too.

So tomorrow I have much thinking and doing to do, and I also have to get with the marketing team for A Fair of the Art to do a big push on announcing that we're accepting applications from emerging (student) artists and to get the poster made up. I also need to follow up on musicians with the person in charge of that and get back to the food tracks that have asked to do the festival.

We are going on a little vacation right before Christmas and I am already thinking that I am really going to need it!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Shoe, Meet Other Foot

As the workday wore down I started keeping an eye out for Dave. I watched, and ket working, and watched some more (and worked some more). Finally at 6:30 when I was starting to get worried I remembered that he had a work movie night tonight to see Bladerunner. And I got a taste of what it's like to be home alone in the evening (alone as in in the same house with a teenager who hides in her room all night with only a brief foray out to make herself rice and beans for dinner) while the spouse is out having fun (taking a class, seeing a movie, you know: fun). It was lonely, but I got a lot done--I can see the top of my desk again and all the mail for the past month has been opened and dealt with (though sometimes dealt with meant putting in a pile to do tomorrow or Thursday). I also got all the clean laundry put in baskets and moved to the bedroom to fold or hang up (also tomorrow). I even took the child out for lunch today because I thought she forgot her sandwich and didn't have any food. Turns out she made herself tortellini and put it in her cute little Bento box, but I took her to McDonald's anyway.

I love Tuesday. It's one of the days when I have absolutely nothing scheduled but checking things off my list. Tomorrow is my last double-duty Wednesday (piano and ceramics all before noon-thirty), and starting next week I go to piano on Wednesday and ceramics on Thursday. But Tuesday is safely past the mound of tasks dumped onto Monday after a weekend of businesses being closed, and it's typically a day when I get a lot done. While I really only accomplished household manager stuff today I did take time to fantasize about setting up an enameling area in the jewelry studio. Maybe I'll actually have time to do that Thursday. Then I can finish the pieces I have left undone form the Arrowmont workshop.

I love Wednesday too because it's a designated creative day. I haven't practiced piano in three weeks, but I know I'll be back on track after my lesson tomorrow. Ceramics has been difficult this quarter as I throw a lot of pieces each week, but I'm lucky if even one turns out. Tomorrow I might not even throw. I have a mug and a bowl to glaze and might just stick to that. Though I really haven't been having luck with the glazes either. Last week I got back two bowls I threw last spring and glazed a couple of weeks ago, and they were... beige. Actually more cream than beige. Just... meh. I was very disappointed. I have some underglazes that fire to cone 5 that I could use at home. Maybe I could use a couple of them and then cover them with a clear glaze. The bowl is a beautiful little piece that I made as a rice bowl for Jessie last spring. I am planning to give it to her for her birthday next week so I do not want to mess it up!

The spouse should be home any minute now, time for me to curl up with a book and a glass of Viognier to wait for him.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Monday Floated Away

Wow! Monday passed very fast and with not very much action. I exchanged email with a friend of my mother's who knew her from high school, and that, combined with my fatigue from yesterday and the digestive malaise I've had since last Friday pretty, much did me in for the day. Friday, if she were alive, my mom would be 77 years old. This is the first year since her death that I have thought of her so much in the week before her birthday. Usually it's a sharp, sudden pain on the day as I remember, but not this year. This year missing her is a constant ache. Over the past two years I have managed to let go almost all of my anger at her for giving up on life and leaving us. Me. Now when I think of her, I remember her in her prime with zest and spark and life. And a wicked sense of humor. I miss her.

Tonight was the last steel and wood class, and I used it to clean up the welds on my couch table frame. I didn't do anything with the top as I have a plunge router at home and will use it to level the top and bottom and to route out a river that I can fill with the black inlace resin. I just didn't feel well enough to stay for all of class tonight, and Zaga had other things she wanted to do too. So, steel. I welded! Not well, not elegantly. But I welded! at the beginning of class I thought I'd be all hot and acetylene torch weld. But no, I used a mig welder and was perfectly happy with it.

Tomorrow I am going to try to catch up a bit on the projects I let languish today. Honestly I can't believe I am so relaxed and casual given that I am both putting on and participating in an art fair in under six weeks. I have a feeling things are going to get more frantic in the weeks to come. But tomorrow I do three things. I can only do three things in a day, and tomorrow I will do three: create a student application for A Fair of the Art, put up the tombstones and last skeletons in the garden, and clean the kitchen and put away the laundry. There. I have some domestic goals. Now I have an eyelids-closed goal as I so often do at this hour of the night.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Formula One at Circuit of the Americas

Lewis Hamilton wins his 4th Austin F1 in five years.
I am sooo sunburned! It was cloudy this morning, but I meant to put on sunscreen anyway because I knew the sun would come out, and we would be sitting on the grass at Turn 19 of Circuit of the Americas watching the Formula One cars go round and round the track all afternoon. I forgot, it did, and we did. Now I'm lobsterfied. So how was the race? I'm glad you asked. It was a social scientist's wet dream. There was the golf crowd, east side Hispanics, tech folk, yuppie families, women standing and breast feeding two-year-olds*, hippies, middle aged British women**, rednecks and the hunting crowd***, and foreign nationals (including pasty white Chinese students who probably qualified in both the geek and foreign groups). It was, in short, the perfect steamy, packed, boisterous, jubilant blend of Austin society.

The prices were higher than Cirque du Soleil and _everyone_ was buying merch! The cheapest tickets--the one-day lawn seats (bring your own seat)--were $109 each. Corn dogs were $10 each. lemonade was $6, water was $4. Budweiser was $9, French fries were $7 and the lines went on forever. Baseball caps were $30 as were the cheapest t-shirts--and they sold out of EVERYTHING! Jessie talked me into trying to buy her a Lewis Hamilton t-shirt (he won) but they were sold out of all sizes but XXL. And it wasn't just because he won. Everyone was running out of everything by the end of the day. As we were squished on the shuttle bus back to the parking lot, Dave had a $1,250 Gucci bag pressed up against his face belonging to the woman standing in front of him (we had seats--go us). It's no wonder Justin Timberlake played the concert last night and Stevie Wonder played tonight (the concerts were included in the day's tickets).

It was Spectacular Spectacular, and once was enough for me. I can't help but think of all the tools and materials for one of my various hobbies that I could buy for $1,250 and some woman spent that on a bag whose material looked like cheap vinyl. Unbelievable. But the important thing was that Jessie enjoyed herself immensely. As we rode the shuttle past the various expensive-ticket parking lots she pointed out the cars to me: Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche. It was amazing how she could identify them so quickly and confidently from a quick glance out the shuttle bus window. She also said she would like to be a race driver--or a stunt driver--but she still has no interest in driving a regular car on regular roads. Too boring. She also wonders how the drivers can bear to drive normally after racing.

For me, I'm glad I'm home. I'm glad Dan and Zaga are home (I gave them a tour of the haunted botanical garden in the dark when we got back from the race). I'm glad tomorrow night is my last wood and steel class and I will finish my table. I'm glad the week ahead has fewer deadlines and lots of fun projects on tap (more on A Fair of the Art, and McCallum Secret Pal Gifts to name two). And I'm glad for my post-race Negroni. And I'm not even going to bed now! I'm going to curl up with a new friend's good book (Meredith Rose is a steampunk young adult novelist and she's also the designer of the poster for A Fair of the Art and her daughter is in the Cinematic Arts program with Jessie). This new friend thing is very cool and unexpected.

Goodnight from the Formula One Capital of America!

*okay, only one of these.
**okay, only one of these too.
***we didn't actually see any of these that we know of, but we heard about them attending from our horrible contractor (who was in the redneck hunting group).

Saturday, October 21, 2017

A Day (Sort of) Off

Today I had every intention of finishing the installation of the Halloween decorations, but instead I worked on the documentation for our HomeAway rental all day. Dave and I both wanted to sleep in this morning, but between the dogs wanting out to pee and the cats wanting fed (and all five animals roaming the bedroom making their wants known--cats on top of the bed and dogs squiggling around it), there was no way. It was a normal 8:00 am day. So I worked on docs until my eyes (almost) bled, and then I napped.

Tomorrow is the Formula One United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas, and for my sins, I am apparently spending the day there. Jessie's birthday is in a couple of weeks and all she wanted for it was to go to the race. So tomorrow morning we load up the folding chairs, lots of battery-powered devices, and my knitting and we go off to watch cars go round and round in circles for several hours. Stevie Wonder is putting on a concert at the end of the race and I hope we have enough energy left to stay and watch it.

I am definitely dragging and feel the need for a day of doing nothing but curling up and reading. Maybe next Thursday...

Friday, October 20, 2017

Halloween Has Come to Stone's Throw

The ghostly woman in the garden
Today is our first day renting the apartment and I spent all day getting ready. I discovered at 1:30 that I had dropped the ball on replacing the toilet so I quick called our handyman, and he zipped out and put in the new toilet I bought at Home Depot between calling him and his arrival. I put together the crib I borrowed from Bryon and Vanessa, and I set out a cute little arrangement of Tassimo coffees and teas, and a vase of flowers from the garden. I turned two twin beds into a king, and fluffed freshly laundered towels. I hope they enjoy their stay and write us a good review.

Today is also the first major push getting the Halloween decorations put up. There is a ghostly woman, a grim reaper, three large human skeletons, the tyrannosaurus rex skeleton from a previous post, and a bunch of bat, cat, rat, crow, vulture, and snake skeletons--even an alligator skull floating in the pond. There are also a bunch of gravestones and some cool lanterns to turn the botanical garden into a ghostly fright-land. I really like the rat skeletons.

Jessie helped and put almost everything into place for me, I just have to install it all (anchor it to keep it from blowing away in the wind) and put up the lanterns. Too bad I can't set them up to turn on and off automatically. Tomorrow we'll finish out there, and I'll have two more big things off my list (Halloween and cleaning/mailing).

And now I lay me down to sleep...

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Does There Need To Be a Title?

I thought I'd do a longer post tonight, but I'm too sated. It was a good day, almost a great day. I'm behind in what I need to get done this week and totally over extended, but it's fall. The days are cooler and the nights are downright nippy. The weather alone makes me happier than anyone has any right to be. I was able to examine all the beehives today without sweating more than, oh, a quart or so. And it looks like I'll even end up with honey from one of the hives. I wasn't anticipating getting any honey at all this year so that will be pretty cool.

I didn't get the Halloween decorations up today--have to do them tomorrow. Also didn't get to put the finishing touches on the apartment (like take the cardboard off the stairs leading up to it or pick up the loaner crib from Vanessa) so those will also be tomorrow. The highlight of today was a wonderful lunch at Asti Trattoria with my longtime friend Lize. I don't see her enough since we moved back to Austin an I'm making an early new year's resolution to change that.

I also floated at Liquid Floats this afternoon as I had two floats expiring tomorrow. It is a sensory deprivation tank where you float in heavily salinated water two degrees above your body temperature in the dark with no sound. Well, no sound except for my snoring. I kept falling asleep and either twitching or snoring myself awake.

And now the husband calls and I must go. I leave you with a little ee cummings:

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
                                                      i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Nothing. Just, Nothing.

I have done so much typing on the computer over the past few days that I can feel a tingle in my right arm tendon indicating a strain. Good thing I'm not going to work on the computer at all tomorrow! Concomitantly with working longer on the computer, my posts are getting shorter. I guess after a day of website and Facebook and even Twitter, I don't have much energy left for Blogger. Well, tomorrow I will have more interesting things to post!!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Organizing a Juried Art and Craft Festival

I have been spending more time that I planned on organizing A Fair of the Art, the holiday art and craft market sponsored by Students Making Films and the Cinematic Arts Program at McCallum Fine Arts Academy (where Jessie goes to school). But fortunately tonight at the meeting, the five other people who came took up the mantles of many of the jobs that need to be done, and I will be assigning others in email tonight. Tomorrow. Dave has an off-site tomorrow and I have a piano lesson followed by ceramics. It's time to get back into life. I think I said that a day or two ago. But, wow. Two weeks to wrangle over 40 artists into applying for a first-year festival during the holiday season. Sure, we're the only game in town that weekend, but artists are worried about having enough inventory for multiple shows so are hesitant to apply. So tomorrow I'll assign a bunch of stuff and then step back. Really.

Oh, and as if my plate isn't full enough, the neighborhood is talking about resurrecting the Homeowner's Association and covenants to block potential (not even proposed) development. Over my dead body.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Another Penultimate

The camera angle was weird as I was rushed taking the pic,
but here's my couch table!
Tonight was my penultimate wood and steel class at The Contemporary Art School and I managed to finish welding my couch table! I still have to clean up my welds next week and to decide how to finish the metal (it's raw steel so if I leave it as it is, it will rust). I've already cleaned up my previous welds a lot so they are all bright, shiny silver color--not the dark grey of the surrounding unpolished steel--so I don't think a clear coat would look nice with the contrast of the surfaces. However I'm not thrilled about painting it black either. But maybe I can find a a dark greyish brown that would look nice.

I also haven't decided how to finish the wood. I have a bit more sanding to do, but first I think I'll fill in the holes with the black resin. I also have to decide whether I want to route a design into the top and fill it with glass, steel, resin, or wood inlay. I most likely won't have time to do any of that in class next week, but that's okay as I have my own router and orbital sander to finish it up at home.

I spent today inviting artists to apply to A Fair of the Art and contacting guilds and art groups to share our application with their members. Tomorrow night is our meeting to assign tasks and I am really looking forward to handing the marketing--including twitter and Facebook--off to other people. I hope the posters are finished as I would like to distribute them tomorrow night too so other people can deliver them.

Tomorrow day I want to be outdoors a good part of the day. I have the Halloween decorations to install in the botanical garden. The tyrannosaurus rex will be joined by a bunch of other skeletons and a graveyard full of tombstones--I am going to try to get Zaga to help. We should also look at our bees. It was so beautiful out today (high of 72  or so and breezy) that it was a sin to stay indoors working on the computer. Tomorrow outside for sure!

Yesterday Zaga and I took most of our dogs to the dog park (Baxter stayed home) and at the end she bathed Jig and I bathed Gallifrey. They have the coolest stands for washing your dogs at the dog park! The dog walks up a ramp, you tie its leash to a post, and then you wash your dog without having to bend way over. I want to build one on the side of our house so Gallifrey can stay a clean, sweet boy.

Enough chatter, off to bed. I'm pooped!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Let a Fair of the Art Begin!

Today was a day spent almost entirely on the holiday art and craft festival I am spearheading for the Cinematic Arts Program at McCallum. I finished the website, created the facebook and twitter accounts, sent out a mass email to the artists who did a similar festival close to ours last year that is not happening this year, and sent out an email with the agenda for the meeting Tuesday night to the other parent volunteers. Spreadsheets are filling with tabs and data, and the web is full of our presence. I spent two hours easily manually optimizing our site for search engines. I'm not sure how much it's working as I couldn't find our webpage on Google with a flashlight and both hands on it. I hope our ranking improves as more people go to the site.

On the plus side, we've already had two applications from people who are not me (I also applied) today with photos, and payment and everything. Woot Woot! Tomorrow I get to focus on my own work with an order to ship and stands to track down. Tomorrow night it's back to the Wood and Steel class and I'm planning to weld the rest of my table frame. If I get it all done with time to spare, I might go ahead and put the finish on the wood--though I can just as easily do that at home.

I am lucky enough that such is the case every night, and tonight the time has arrived where my sweetie awaits and I must go.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Another Year, Another Anniversary

Everyone needs a Tyrannosaurus rex in their front yard.
Thank you for 22 wonderful years my heart. It was a great day today, and I can't tell you how happy I am that I came home from Gatlinburg last night.

So how did the old people celebrate 22 years of marriage? Well it started with Torchy's Tacos for breakfast after stopping to pick up the blood pressure meds at the pharmacy after a couple of rounds of wild monkey sex. Then came assembling the tyrannosaurus rex in the front yard followed by a small rest and more monkey sex. The evening ended with Blade Runner 2049 at the Alamo Drafthouse. It's hard to believe that the first Blade Runner came out 13 years before we met. Now it's time to get these old bones to bed for some more wild monkey sex. You think I'm kidding...

Friday, October 13, 2017

Homeward Bound!

The more time passes, the more plans change. I was going to go home tomorrow starting at the god-awful hour of 4:00 am. But at noon I thought I'd just check to see of there was a flight tonight I could feasibly catch and a shuttle to the airport that would get me to it. There was, and there was! I couldn't change my ticket with an agent because Delta's hold time was *over two hours* to speak to a representative. I put in for a call-back when my place in the queue came up and went ahead and booked a ticket with my miles to get in at midnight tonight. When the agent called me back two hours later he cancelled my new ticket, changed the departure time of my old ticket to today's flight, got me Delta Comfort seats (which I had been unable to do), refunded the $6 charge I paid for the ticket, AND GAVE ME BACK 2500 MILES FROM THE ORIGINAL TICKET!

So now I am packed and waiting for the shuttle to take me on the first leg of my journey back to my sweeties. It's a beautiful warm fall day, and I'm listening to Bob Dylan playing from the speakers belonging to the University of Tennessee art student sitting next to me working on the chalk drawing for the dinner menu board. We're discussing American music from Johnny Cash to Roy Orbison and the Traveling Wilburys to Townes Van Zandt.

I am exhausted and brain dead (and NOT [entirely] because of last night's drinking!), and ready to be home. I met some people I would like to stay in touch with and see again, and I met some people I could do without. "Yes". "Right". "Okay". "Uh huh", like every comment the instructor made was to her personally. And maybe she thought it was as she had already taken several classes with him. I was okay until 2:55 pm when I was working on my big piece and asked if anyone still have blue glue out as everyone (else) had been cleaning up and putting tools and things away since 2:00. The talker said, "You shouldn't be doing that because the instructor wants to turn the kilns off at 3:00"... Our class was scheduled until 5:00, and the instructor said this morning that we could work until 4:00 then clean up from 4-5. I communicated that information to her, but by then I was so rattled by her admonishment and the bustling cleaning of everyone around me that I lost track of what I was doing and messed up my magnum opus for the week. Yes, my fatigue certainly contributed, but I felt rushed and pressured to finish because everyone else wanted to be done, and I let myself get caught up in their drama. After my firing failure (overfired and fallen wires), instead of doing anything more--even grinding or polishing--I just packed everything up and left.Whatever, shake it off. I'll remember the good parts of the week and let the rest go. 

Now it's time to go home and wake up tomorrow morning with my honey on our 22nd wedding anniversary. I do love me that man.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Penultimate Day At Arrowmont

I skipped dinner tonight. I had a big lunch, and by 4:30 I was absolutely punchy from lack of sleep so I decided to forego the meal, have a couple of glasses of wine, and go straight to bed. It's 11:50 pm EST and I am just now posting so clearly the evening took a different turn. Let me explain.

There was an opening reception for an artist in the main building at Arrowmont tonight. I meant to drop in, but I was busy working. However one of the Arrowmont staff came through our studio towards the end of the show carrying three bottles of wine that were clearly surplus to requirements for the show, and he offhandedly asked if any of us wanted a glass of wine. When some of us said yes, he replied to go to the opening. I asked him if instead I could buy one of the bottles of wine from him. Emily and I already had plans to run out for a bottle of wine right after we finished in the studio before dinner (instead of dinner for me), and scoring a bottle from him would be even better! He replied that if we wouldn't drink it in the studio (against the rules) he would give me one. I agreed, and he gave me a very decent bottle of cabernet sauvignon. Woot!

I ended up staying in the studio till about 8:30 when Emily and I left and came back to the lounge of my dorm to drink the wine. We polished it off over stories of old boyfriends and life, and then Judy joined us. She brought out her bottle of applejack, and we just kept right on going. What a wonderful night! I could have been 20 something, I could have been 30 something, (I couldn't have been 40 something because there was clearly something wrong with me when I was in my forties--I blame Atlanta), but I am 50 something and the experience was timeless.

Now it's almost midnight on the night before the last day (a short day) of class. It has been a good experience: I have learned a lot as Ricky Frank is (after 40 years of honing his craft) a font of knowledge. I'm not ready to go home yet, but I will be after tomorrow. I'll finish up my last few projects (I've already shopped for tools and materials), and have one more evening with my new friends, and then after far too little sleep, I'll be catching the 4 am shuttle on Saturday morning to head home to my sweeties. Tomorrow will be the recap post with the final photos. Now I need some sleep!