Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Wasn't Groundhog Day the First of February?

Ever had one of those weeks where it felt simultaneously like you were running in quicksand and doing a remake of "Groundhog Day" with you in the starring role instead of Bill Murray? It's only Tuesday, it feels like it's been days since the week started, and I keep doing the same things over and over again. If I go back to my post on Sunday, I was gleefully defiant about not getting to the taxes or packing up glass orders to go out the door. But then I washed, rinsed, and repeated the not-getting-to's yesterday, and again today. For glass, it's not that I'm not firing, I just can't complete. I still haven't been able to get the orders I planned to ship the middle of last week shipped. Between pieces needing to be redone, kilns erroring out and not firing, and new orders coming in which need to be added to the glass I'm sending to Todd, it feels like I'm never going to get it all in the mail and out of the studio. I'm not even going to get to ship the glass to Todd tomorrow because I still have one more firing to do in the sequence before it's ready. At least I should be able to get an order out that's going straight to a gallery instead of via Todd.

Tonight after dinner I finally got all my business accounts reconciled from last year. I still haven't done the personal accounts so I don't know if there are transactions I put on the personal credit card or paid for out of the personal checking that I should be deducting for the business, but at this point it's hard to care. Personal taxes next. God help me.

While I am having completion anxiety, the guys working in the garden are kicking butt. They brought in the chipper/shredder today, and with one more day at it, they'll have three piles of mulch and a pile of cedar logs for me. Then it'll be time to build the beds. In an interesting turn of events, it turns out to be cheaper, more durable, faster, and less maintenance--as well as better looking--to do the bed walls in stone (decorative concrete block) rather than wood.

Some day soon I hope to be able to get to choosing plants, checking on bee delivery dates, putting together the flow hive, and building/buying a Top Bar hive. Then maybe washing fleece and starting my homework for the Master Spinner level 1 class, putting up the new studio website, contacting all my galleries about this spring's orders, and a dozen other projects that I have in mid-flow.

I really am trying to be okay with not getting everything done Now! Now! Now!, but I am struggling.

Monday, February 27, 2017

All About the [Fill In the Blank]

Way too soon in the evening I am finding myself with droopy eyelids and an inability to stay awake. It's only 9:44 pm for pity's sake! But exhaustion is as exhaustion does, and I can't seem to do anything about it. So I quickly post, and then I toddle off to bed before 10:00... Man, am I getting old!

Today was supposed (again) to be all about the taxes... and again, I failed. I did get another glass order and loaded about half of it in the kiln. I even worked out the price increase for work this year to cover Bullseye's glass price increase and my new shipping costs because I have to ship all the glass for the work I do with Todd to Atlanta so Todd can do his thing with it and ship it on to the customer. I also got the new website to the brink of being done (enough) and up, and I have every confidence I will scale that summit tomorrow.

Today was also all about the new garden and finishing the last clearing of the undergrowth. Tomorrow the chipper shredder arrives and then we're really going to have some fun! Well, I'm not as I'm not going to be anywhere near the chipper shredder. But I am very much looking forward to turning an enormous brush pile into an enormous mulch pile. Then we spec out the place for the pond with it's built-in bog pond, and bee hives, and begin building beds! I decided against doing a plan. I'm not really a plan kind of gal. I'm going to let the land tell me what it wants and what's appropriate, rather than imposing a layout determined by a drawing on paper. It'll be much easier to take a list of everything I want to fit into that space out there and start staking it off based on the trees, shrubs, cactus, and rocky outcroppings that are left, rather than try to put it all down on paper. If I had a flat field in Iowa, paper would be find. But the Texas Hill Country resists paper plans.

Now I'm going to take my droopy little self off to bed and, like the phoenix, rise anew tomorrow to take on my day.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Off to the Oscars!

In a bit of ridiculousness, I find myself blogging in the car on the way to see the Oscars on the big screen at the Alamo Drafthouse. The mechanics of the post reflect my scattered processes all day. I managed (with Dave's help) to get the Christmas lights down today. I managed to get the cotton carpet warp I ordered some months ago unpacked, inventoried and arranged. I spent far too much time making a Word doc with all the colors of cotton carpet warp available through Great Northern weaving. It ended up being a fruitless endeavor as the printouts--which I was trying to use to reconcile the inventory--didn't have nearly the color quality necessary to distinguish red from cranberry, pear from tan, or a host of other color distinctions. It's better to just load their webpage on the laptop and work from it. Anyway, it's pretty, it's functional, and it's not in direct sunlight ever so it won't fade. It's also carpet warp so it doesn't really matter is it does fade.

The rest of the day? Not so productive. At this point I could continue on with all the things I meant to do today and didn't get to, but who cares? I am certainly not going to be bothered by it. I made progress, and that's enough. Tonight I get to drink white wine, eat chicken tenders, and watch the Oscars on the same screen where I saw some of the nominated movies. If that doesn't mark a successful day, I don't know what does.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

I SHALL Pass!

Lord of the Rings, Stansborough Farms, Gotland Sheep Wool Cloaks

As I was reminded yesterday, I have other things to do than just play with the garden. Today reinforced this reality with another glass order coming in, and the arrival of the box of raw sheep fleece and other miscellany from my spinning class in Wisconsin the week before last. I haven't opened it yet as I'm not quite sure where to put all the stinky fleece! Guess I'll have to wash it all next week and then I can store it with the rest of my clean fiber (all 200+ lbs of it--the rest of the clean fiber, not the new...). In addition to the wool I got from my class and the additional raw samples I bought, I also have some raw Gotland (real Lord of the Rings fleece from the same farm that raised the sheep whose wool was used in the middle earth cloaks) coming from a friend in Atlanta, and a whole, fresh, raw BFL (Blue-Faced Leicester)/ Cormo cross coming from a friend outside Atlanta. She just sheared the sheep, and I am using just about the whole thing for my homework.

Today, in preparation for doing things, I organized! Most of my time was spent in the textile studio (I found my sewing machine foot pedal and power cord so I can make Dave shirts again), but I also worked on my desk and a bit in the wood shop under the master bedroom. I even took time to go down to San Marcos to pick up the child from an art competition (she got a gold medal) and then we went to see the Lego Batman movie. Tomorrow will be more of the same with some time in the glass studio to make the new order and play around with the whorls for the spindles I am going to be doing with Scott. I do need to do a bit of housework--floors and bathrooms--and I promised myself time planning the plants for the garden... Sounds like I am already out of time so I might as well not think of anything more. It's a good life.

Friday, February 24, 2017

The Garden Gets Cleared

Right front of new garden area
We are now three days into clearing the thicket from the area that will be the garden. It's about half and acre and is composed of a big gravel area in the middle where a greenhouse used to be, a poured aggregate driveway, a well house, and a bunch of scrub land. It's bounded by the main street, our neighbor's driveway, our driveway, and the shared driveway for us and our other neighbors. I thought it would be a lot more open after clearing everything out, but I'm not going to take healthy oaks, and there were more of them than I thought there were. But that's okay: the oaks provide shady areas in which to put benches, bits of art, sculpture, fountains, etc.

Left front of new garden area
The only bad thing is that I was planning on putting 4 ft by 8 ft vertical panels made of 4-gauge wire staggered across the front of the property on the main road to serve as privacy screens and supports for the espaliered fruit trees and passionfruit vines. But there are so many oaks left out there that the trees won't grow on the south side of the panels--too shady. I could put them on the street side, but that would be facing north which is bad for light in summer and winds and cold in winter. I'll figure it out. Maybe I'll put up a fence along the front similar to the one that fronts our main yard along the private drive. It's the same wire either way, just put horizontally instead of vertically. Then I could save the vertical panels for screening in the middle of the garden--make it so you have to walk all the way in to see everything. Yeah, I like that.

Fence by the front lawn
I ordered several books earlier this week on growing plants for natural dyes. Many of them can be sown directly into the garden and will yield a good dye crop the first year. I didn't get much more than a quick glance through one of them during lunch today, but it was enough to make me drool. Tomorrow, a longer perusal leading into a shopping list and actually ordering seeds so I'll be ready to plant when the beds go in week after next.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Keeping My Sanity

Breakfast--cheddar cheese pasty, sausage roll, and chai latte--at the Brentwood Social House, my Austin favorite morning hangout for the days I take J to school. Today I need to work on financial administration and taxes, and this is a great distraction-free place to do it... though I guess posting counts as a distraction. But I'm waiting for transactions to download so I have a couple of minutes.

It's the end of February, close enough to March that I can say I made my prediction for the year just about perfectly. Back in December, during the sleeping months, I made grand plans for all the things I was going to do this year--restart the Master's program in ikebana; start the master's program in handspinning; revamp my business model and website; spin for 15 minutes a day; set-up my new glass studio; continue remodeling the new house; put in major gardens, a pond and bees; do a knit-along; take a drawing class; pick-up a pottery class again; renovate the apartment above the garage and set it up for renting through Homeaway or AirBnB; blog every day; and do the 365 project and submit a picture every day. Now I sit in the BSH listening to Wagonwheel performed by the Old Crow Medicine Show, and I laugh at myself. As expected, the train rattled out of the station in January, and now it's hurtling toward certain destruction if it keeps going as it is. Normally this would be the point where I would throw my hands up in the air and just give up on a bunch of stuff (and that was my prediction for the year: hurtling into fiery oblivion). Or I would try to make unrealistic life changes to keep everything.

In past years about this time, instead of giving up on activities, I have vowed to give up on sleep--if I started earlier in the day and finished later at night I could get everything done. But there are two flaws with that idea. First, it doesn't take into account the need for family downtime, and second, it's stupid. This year I'm going to try something else. I'm going to keep all the activities, but I'm not going to keep the amount of them I have to do--in fact the concept of _have_ to do for any of them . Drawing and pottery (which starts in a month) have set times each week and I know from past experience I can manage two classes a week. The knit-along ends just as pottery begins so that will take care of that one. I might not finish the homework for the Master Spinner's class in time to take the second class in April as a distance learning class and the third class at Old's College in Alberta in June (there is anywhere from 150-250 hours of homework for each). It might actually take me six years to complete, and that's okay. I can continue ikebana if I set a day for it, like Sunday, when J and I can do it together, and we each do one arrangement. For the rest, they won't get done in one pass. It'll take as long as it takes to get them done.

Yesterday I spent enough time in the studio to clean up and organize three working areas and get a kiln load in. I left those areas still clean when I finished so next time I can work on another area. I don't need to get the studio or the apartment set up in one balls-out day. I don't need to get anything done in one pass. Pick it up, work on it for awhile, put it down without guilt, and move on. The hardest thing, as I was reminded anew yesterday, is just starting. Take away the balk at the beginning, the inertia, and the tasks themselves are easy. Take away the need for a deadline and the stress and guilt are gone with just the joy remaining.

Now my accounts have updated and it's time to reconcile shit. Rock me mama. (PS--Just found out the great music this morning is from the Jason Isbell station on Spotify: Townes Van Zandt "Dollar Bill Blues", Jason Isbell "24 Frames", Old Cow Medicine Show "Wagonwheel". It just made my favorite stations list!)


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Goodnight Moon...

Today was spent, for the most part, in the glass studio. I managed to clear off two main work areas and Bettina (the biggest kiln) before making a load of work that I'll ship tomorrow. Before the studio was a piano lesson and a lot of garden clearing, after the studio was a trip to the dog park. I'd like to go on about the studio, but I'm just too tired. Tomorrow is the solar system inspection by the City of Austin (finally) and we hope to be solar-powered (for the most part) by this time next week. But for tonight, after all of the excitement of the day (and sushi and sake tonight), I am unable to keep my eyes open a minute longer. Goodnight all, sweet dreams.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Home Again, Home Again


Travel wears me out anymore (how do you like the use of the "positive anymore"?) When I touched base with the contractors this morning and found out they wouldn't be coming today, I'll admit I was giddily relieved. I was less sanguine at 8:30 when I remembered that I had a drawing class at 9:30 and I was barely out of bed. But I made it to class and had my first lesson in shading. It was a beautiful day today, and when I arrived on campus for class I looked up to see all of the peafowl roosting in the live oak outside of my classroom. No one had noticed them before I spotted them and stopped to take pictures. Just goes to show, people don't look up.

After class I headed to Jerry's Artarama to pick up a new sketchbook (mine went missing in the the last studio move from Atlanta) and some other supplies. On the way I stopped and picked up Jessie from school and took her for a quick McDonald's lunch. Amazingly enough I was able to meet her in the office at school, go through the McD drive-through, shop at Jerry's, and have her back at school in time for her next class 30 minutes later. It was some quality mother-daughter time, McNuggets and all.

When I got home I tackled organizing the gardening books. I have loosely grouped them before, but I never separated them and shelved them by categories. It was a good exercise for finding duplicates, of which there were a handful, and it helps me gear up for the upcoming garden creation marathon. Although I am having doubts about starting it. This may very well be the last really big garden project I undertake. So do I just continue with my current plan of raised beds, trellis, pond, benches and beehives, and scattered benches and places for sculpture, or do I hold off for another year? I could put just the beehives in now--they can always be moved. Then I could spend the rest of the year going through all the garden design books I have been collected and creating a design based on all the things I've always wanted to do.

I know that gardens change over time, but the fundamental architecture, the bones that you initially lay out provide the framework for the growth of the garden. If you don't get the bones right, you can stunt it with a bad design. Of course that's not the end of the world as nothing living and growing is permanent, but I feel a bout of cold feet coming on. And I need to consider the needs of the peacocks in the design too (I am hoping that was some quality husband-scaring). Whether I go forward with the full thing now or wait, tomorrow the guys will be here to clear out overgrown brush and thin out scruffy juniper cedar and low thicket. Then I'll be able to see what I have in order to better make a decision.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Leaving Wisconsin

What a tightly packed slice of life a five-day event like the Master Spinner class is! You laugh, you cry, you get frustrated when you don't get it, you get exhilarated when the lightbulb goes off. If you're lucky, you make new best friends. At worst, there are people you are glad to be well shot of, and because it's only five days you get to do that fairly quickly. We had three strong alpha personalities in our class, and at time there was friction. But I think we all got out with goodwill intact. Out of the rest of the class, nine are definitely taking the level two class together again next spring, one is definitely not, and two are on the fence. I am one of the on-the-fence ones as I wasn't planning to wait that long to take it, and, besides, Wisconsin in February isn't always 70 degree days...

But that's the next level. For this level I have a full fleece to process. After it's processed (skirted, soaked, scoured and dried), I have to spin woolen and worsted skeins from the legs, shoulders, sides, back, britch and belly, make a finished (woven, crocheted or knitted) sample from each skein (12 in all), and write a detailed description of the look and feel of each part of the fleece indicating what it would be good for.

The other big portion of the homework is the breed study. We are to collect raw fleece samples from ten different breeds of sheep (and the instructor and some local members of the class mostly supplied those), scour them, prepare them for spinning (card, flick, or tease), spin both woolen and worsted skeins from them, and prepare a finished sample (crocheted, knit, or woven). The physical spinning and prep is one thing, but because this is a college-level course, there is also a lot of writing. We need to write descriptions of the sheep, the fleece, and an evaluation of the yarn this particular fiber would be appropriate for.

There are also natural dyeing exercises, blending wool with tussah and bombyx silk, the usage of different spinning equipment, alternative fiber prep methods, and more on alternative spinning techniques. And of course write-ups on all of it. At the end of the level is the final project. It begins with pairing an appropriate type of fleece with a pattern or design, and then executing every step of the project all the way through the finish. The fleece is scoured, prepared for spinning, and spun. At some point, either the fiber, the yarn or the finished piece is dyed in natural dyes (which we are to source--maybe collect--ourselves), and the yarn is crocheted, knitted or woven into a finished piece. Of course there is a written report that needs to accompany the project with a justification for all of the choices made and --pluses and minuses. I'm thinking I'll use my sock knitter to make a pair of hand-dyed, handspun wool socks.

All of these projects required a bunch of material, and I am very grateful to Ingrid of Spry Whimsy for shipping my great, big, bow of stuff to me tomorrow. I love you Ingrid!!

For tonight, I sit at O'Hare airport waiting to board my flight to Austin. Taxes and glass await me there. And sleep. In my own bed. With my spouse. Heaven.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Stayin' In Tonight

I did go ahead and stop at Fosdal's Bakery for donuts for the class this morning. My heavens. All I could think of was the Kliban cartoon, Never Eat Anything Bigger Than Your Head. They were all kinds of ooey, gooey delicious, and I'm both astonished and not at all surprised that  there were still a couple left at the end of the day. I wish I'd put something into the box to show scale. but that dollop of Bavarian cream in the one on the top is a about the size of a quarter. 

Besides the great pastry, we have also been enjoying unseasonably warm weather here in lovely Northern Wisconsin. I'm so glad I missed cold and snow on this trip! I'm also glad, at the end of the day, that I am not doing the Philadelphia show this year. It has not been a wasted trip for business either--Scott Snyder of Snyder Spindles is in my class, and we are going to make some spindles together out of glass and wood. I have a new collaboration partner! Scott works in both wood and 3-D printed material, and we are going to do some fused glass whorls from my cut circles, and I am also going to cast some of his 3-D-printed whorls in glass. The cast glass will have a better weight and feel than the plastic will, and by doing both styles we each get to do some design work.

 Now for all of you anxiously waiting to hear: I aced my test- with 100%. I think most of us got 100%--it really wasn't a difficult test. Even the people who missed answers did it more out of misunderstanding the question rather than not knowing the correct answer.

But the test wasn't the big part of the day. Nope, the highlight of the day was collecting our wool samples from the natural dye day yesterday. As I sat down to write this tonight I realized that I don't even know all the dyes we used! There are twelve of us in the class, and we paired up to do a total of six dyes. Char and I did madder root (shown on the bottom row of the rack), Scott and Suzanne did cochineal, but I have no idea what everyone else did. I'll find out tomorrow. What I do know is that we didn't just use the dye plant, we also played around with mordants which changed the resulting colors of our dyes. We did one batch of the straight color, one set of yarn that had been soaked in alum (and water), a batch that was not soaked in alum but which had iron added to the dye bath at the end, and a batch that had been soaked in alum and also had iron added to it at the end. Can you see how complicated it was and why it got so crazy yesterday? Each of the 12 of us had 24 skeins to be dyed--four skeins from each person to dye four different ways. 

We are all sharing our recipes (what we used, how we used it, at what temperature, and for how long) with Ingrid (the owner of the shop and our host who is also finishing up the sixth level project project for her master's), and she will type it all up and distribute it to us. For now l am enjoying just fondling the different colors. I can see how dyeing is bad for a craft-addictive personality (know anyone like that?). One more day and tomorrow night I sleep in my own bed.


Saturday, February 18, 2017

Getting Ready For the Test

Name the two styles of spinning wheels and list their parts. What are the characteristics of wool? Label the parts of a fleece. How do you roll a fleece? What is the difference between washing and scouring a fleece? What is the melting point of lanolin? What is the function of a mordant in dyeing? Name two common mordants. How do you determine the drive ratio(s) of your spinning wheel? What does the drive ratio correspond to in the spun yarn? How long has it been since I've taken a test? Do you think my brain is about to explode?

Today was a challenging day in our Master Spinning class, and I am glad our instructor had the wisdom to put the most challenging day in the middle of the program: we had enough time behind us to somewhat bond as a group, then we had the drama llamas of today, and now we have two more days to mend bridges and bond anew. Had this day been at the end, we probably would have all gone home hating each other and swearing we would NEVER do another class together. Had it been at the beginning, we never would have come back after the first day. I won't go into detail on what made it difficult, but it boiled down to a need for extreme detail and organization in process from a herd of cats (not the most data-driven animals).

Tomorrow we start the day with a test on all the material we have covered so far. I think I'll take donuts to class. There is an incredible bakery just down the street from Spry Whimsy (the shop where our class is being held). Fortunately the test is only 4.2% of our grade for Level One (20 points out of a possible 473), and we only need to get a 70% (331 points) on everything to pass the class. I say fortunately, because I just read the book for the first time tonight, and I am still so tired I'm not sure how much I absorbed. Tonight, the same as every night, we went out for dinner. Tonight's location was the Viking Brew Pub (which comes complete with a viking longship in the middle of the room). When we got back to the hotel, I sat on the side of the hot tub with a glass of wine and quizzed one of my classmates (who was in the hot tub--I didn't bring a suit) on the material in the book. I wish we'd had a hot tub when I was in grad school--phonetics might have made more sense then. Now for a decent night's sleep and no test anxiety...

Friday, February 17, 2017

Almost Too Tired To Post

Day Two of the Master Spinner Class Level One, and my brain is FULL! Today we didn't spin at all, but we reviewed the terminology we learned yesterday, we finished preparing our skeins for dyeing tomorrow, and we divided up the raw fleece for our breed study... It was like sale day at Filene's Basement. The fleece would hit the table, we would pretend to care about laying it out again, but really we were just waiting for the "go" signal to grab our chunks for the breed study. Most of the fleeces were cleaned off the table faster than a cheetah goes through a gazelle carcass.

For the breed study we are to prepare (wash and card) enough fleece to spin two ten-yard samples--one spun woolen and one spun worsted--for ten different breeds of sheep. Mary, our instructor, brought enough different breed fleeces (supplemented by some of the class participants) that we don't have to go looking for other fleeces to complete this part of the homework. We also had some lovely fleece we could purchase and I ended up with 1/2 of a lovely dark Coopworth fleece, some Rambouillet and either some Icelandic or some Finn.

Tonight after class we took a field trip to Susan's Fiber Shop run by Sue McFarland. It was so funny because when we walked in I knew it was Susan's shop, but I didn't know it was Susan McFarland. For the past few years, whenever I open YouTube it loads on the video below. I was very excited to meet her in person and to see her incredible Teeswater sheep. I didn't buy a fleece from her (yet), but it was a close-run thing. I probably got 1/2 a fleece worth as I bought two lbs of raw for my breed study and fun, and another 12 oz of washed locks. This sheep has lustrous curly locks from 6-9" long. I have wanted to do a jacket or a vest with a collar and border of longwool locks for awhile, and Sue's Teeswater is just gorgeous. I still would like a Wensleydale fleece, but I have enough room in my favorites for Teeswater too. The scarf shown at left is from a Wensleydale, the Teeswater sheep are white (shown on the hoof above). They remind me of Suri alpaca---which I haven't worked with at all.




Thursday, February 16, 2017

First Day of Master Spinning Class

Homework. I can't remember the last time I had homework! But I'm taking a college level course now (Master Spinning, Level 1 through Olds College in Alberta, Canada) for college credit, and not only do I have physical work to do (like the skeins wound at right), but I also have research and papers with citations in specified formats to write. I even have tests with the first one on Sunday! It's very exciting. It's also somewhat exhausting--and a good part of that is because the women in my class, the host and the teacher are all party animals and I'm having trouble keeping up. There are men in the class too, but they haven't partied with us yet.

Today was the first day of the five-day classroom portion of the course, and we spent a good bit of time looking at sheep fleeces and learning about the characteristics of wool from different kinds of sheep. We looked at fleeces from both purebreds and crosses, light, dark, fine, medium, long locks, tight crimp, primitive, and everything in between. We also spun and plied yarn, learning about balance and the directions of the twist in yarn and how to correct the twist in our spun yarn. We even analyzed our wheels to figure out the ratios we get using them--one treadle with the band on this drive wheel is 11 revolutions (11 times the yarn twists) of the flyer. We will use this knowledge to put specific amounts of twist in the yarn we make... that's the theory at least. I'll write more later (probably more than anyone else wants to read), but tonight I'm pooped and heading off to sleep. G'Night!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Going To the Show... Not

Following a pattern established over the past 12 years, it's mid-winter and I'm at the airport waiting to travel. Oh some years I've driven and one year I took the train, but lucky years I flew. Dee is also at the airport--Atlanta, not Austin--as she is also flying today. But this year is the first time she is flying to Phillie for The Show, and I am not. Do I miss it? Not now. Not yet. Maybe by Friday night or Saturday I would if I were home in Austin reading about everyone's adventures, great sales, fabulous meals, fun reunions, and scrumptious food from the Reading Market. But come Saturday, I will be in mid Master Spinning Level One class spinning and dyeing and making new friends.

I'm also looking forward to trying something new to replace shows--repping. If I pay 15% commission to have a rep who will make sales on my behalf, my break even point for cost of shows versus cost of rep is about $45,000. That's more than I've ever made from a show. Additionally I don't have to travel, I have no exhausting set-up and breakdown, and I don't lose 2-3 weeks of studio time getting ready for the show, doing the show, and recovering from the show. I don't see my show friends, but at almost 56 years old, I am willing to give up some shared time if it means not having my body beat to sugar physically and being mentally and emotionally burned out from the show.

Of course success with the rep model requires a good rep, and I have found one--if she follows through with her idea to do it. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. In the meantime I am still working on my website (it and taxes feel like never-ending tasks) and planning to email my current customers today to let them know I won't be at the show, but that Todd and I do have new work so to save a spot in their orders.

Now it's time to board. Off to a new adventure in life, and a new chapter in glass.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

On the Road Again!

Today the peacocks were all over the campus of Laguna Gloria Art School where I take my drawing class. I am sorely tempted to adopt peafowl, but I haven't run it past the spouse yet...

Tomorrow I head up to Wisconsin for the first of the Master Spinning classes I am taking through Olds College in Alberta Canada. The first few sessions are taught both on Olds campus in June during Fiber Week and also as distance learning at various times of the year and parts of the country. I was hoping for Palm Beach in February, but luck of the draw got me Wisconsin. If all goes as planned I will not wait till next year for the second class, but will take it in Alberta in June. There are six classes in all with 30 hours of in-class work and another 125-175 hours of homework (sent in for grading upon completion) for each one.

I have not yet packed, but it's Valentines Day and I have better things to do. One of those better things was the dinner the spouse made as my Valentines present: caviar on sour cream and Ritz crackers with Perrier Jouet champagne for an appetizer, followed by sous vided double lobster tails served in shell, and sous vided and seared beef filet with Bernaise sauce accompanied by cheese grits. We ended with chocolate cake and I am stuffed!!

Now it's late, and tomorrow will come too soon so I'm signing off. Besides, there is still more Valentines Day to celebrate.

Monday, February 13, 2017

'Twas the Night Before Valentine's Day...

I think I mentioned earlier in the school year that parents were asked to adopt a teacher and be his or her secret pal for the year. I started with one, then two, then five... and ended up with eight secret pals. Tomorrow being Valentine's Day, I made up little goodie bags for my teachers which I will drop off at school tomorrow morning when I take J in. I have drawing class tomorrow so I'll give her a ride to school, and then after class I am going in to get TSA approved flight status so I can always go through the TSA Pre-check line. The last three times I have had to go through security in Austin I have practically been cavity searched--even when I wasn't flying and was just walking J to her gate. I have been _thoroughly_ patted down several times while the entire line behind me was held up, and that's more excitement than I need at this point in my life.

Also tomorrow, the crew comes to start clearing the brush and weeds out of the the area where the beehives, raised beds, espaliered fruit trees, benches, pond, passionfruit pergola, and new water storage tank are going. It'll probably take till June to get it all done, but we'll have a good bit done by the end of March. The water storage tank is part of the revamped rainwater collection system with grey water addition. I'm very excited to add grey water processing to to the systems of the house. Right now we have two 30 year-old 1,000 gallon rainwater tanks that collect from all the rain gutters. However a rough calculation today tells me that we get about 2,400 gallons of water off the roof every time we get an inch of water. Austin gets an average of 35 inches of rain per year. It would sure be nice to be able to use all that collected rainwater to water the new gardens and top off the pond... Enter the new storage tank. I am looking at a 10,000 gallon tank that will go up by our well house. The location means we will need to pump the water uphill from the current collection tanks, but then it will be accessible for gravity feed to anywhere in the yard and the new garden. I need to figure out the costs associated with the pumping, filtering, and storage in the large tank, but I think it only makes sense to keep as much water as we can for irrigation and other non-potable needs.

The grey water system will only come off of the master bathroom as the rest of the plumbing is already in the concrete foundation and would be too much of a hassle to change. But we are already remodeling the master bath this year, and part of the project will be to jackhammer up parts of the floor to move some of the plumbing. It will be an excellent time to divert all the water from the sinks, tub and shower from the septic field to a grey water system. The first stage will be for the water coming out of the bathroom (through a pipe straight through the wall) to flow through a basket of mulch. Then it will flow through a series of contained wetlands where the water will be filtered--much like in the bog pond at our Atlanta house. When the water comes out after filtration, it will be stored in a tank before being used for more garden irrigation.

I can feel myself rambling tonight so I'm going to cut this post short and come back to the garden plan at a later date.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Once More Into the Organizational Breach!

Another day spent bringing the house to heel. I started with the utility room again because I just couldn't let it beat me another day. Three separate times I thought of something that tried to pull me away, but I stayed strong. Well, I stayed strong for the first two. By the third I decided I had better act upon them or I would forget them because I couldn't keep three things in the front of my mind. Distractions notwithstanding, I did get the gift wrap area done today (shown at right), if not the rest of the counters (shown below).

We also tried a housecleaning system today that brought to mind one of my grandmother Jessie's stories about her early married life. She and Grampa Pete (Cecil, but everyone called him Pete but me--I called him Grampa or Grumpy, which he wasn't) lived in Alexandria Virginia, and they both worked for the government in Washington DC. It was the late 1930's, and on Friday night when they got off work they would go home and quickly clean their house together before having friends over or going out for the evening. I have a wonderful series of pictures of them with another couple on one such evening in their house. The pictures are simple: two happy couples talking, posing, drinking, laughing, enjoying their evening. It's hard to believe they were taken 80 years ago.

But back to the system. Today we tried working through the house together in series: First I went through picking things up off all the surfaces and putting them away, Jessie followed behind me with the Swiffer hand duster and dusted all the surfaces. Then Dave followed her with the vacuum--cleverly getting up everything she dusted onto the floor--and moving all the furniture out of the way to vacuum underneath it. I fell into the back of the line and finished with mopping the floor--including under the furniture Dave moved out--and putting the furniture back in place. It was a great and highly efficient system--even with a slightly balky teenager at the head of the line.

Now my spouse and I sip well-deserved glasses of sauvignon blanc in reward (a toast!) and listen to "All That We Let In" by the Indigo Girls. He is making chicken biryani, raita and nan for dinner, and we have two slices of lilikoi (if you're in Hawaii it's lilikoi, if you're mainland it's passionfruit) cheesecake for dessert. Two slices is okay because it's not Jessie's thing and it was a gift--thank you Lenny the Fish! Haven't decided what we'll watch tonight. I'm in the mood for Kill Bill, and Jessie doesn't like Tarantino's films. Come to think of it, Pulp Fiction would be a good choice too...

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Dinner and he movie are long over. Cheesecake was YUMMY! The Sprout's tender sensibilities were not up for anything dark and grim so we rewatched Grosse Pointe Blank. It's been 21 years since it came out and it has held up incredibly well from the direction to the acting to the music. I spent the movie knitting a cotton dishcloth for Dave with a cat in my lap. Got it half done (the dishcloth, not the cat), and will finish it tomorrow. My mother and MIL both made these dishcloths for us in the past, and they're so great that they're the only ones we use. But time has passed, we have lost a few to the garbage disposal, and the rest are pretty uniformly grey and ratty. Fortunately I have my mom's stash of spooled cotton for knitting them, and everything (including the pattern for them) is available on the Internet so I decided it was time to learn to make them myself.

Now it's time to go to bed to join my dulcetly snoring spouse. I leave you with the Violent Femmes (from the aforementioned movie).



Saturday, February 11, 2017

Saturday, But Not In the Park

Another Saturday winds down and I am left wondering what the evening holds. Jessie is holed up in her room eating McDonald's, Dave is plugged into his laptop, and I am in between cleaning tasks. I made good progress today on the laundry and straightening the utility room but there is always more to be done.

Earlier, while in ├╝ber organization mode, I came upon this little gem of an idea on the web--a wall shelf with cutouts to hold dog dishes! Gallifrey has an elevated feeding station, but I have never set anything up for the other dogs because they're short. They can eat on the floor. But they scatter food and water that turns into muck all over the floor, and it's more difficult to clean up because the dishes are sitting in it. With this ingenious shelf, the dishes can be at any custom height, and off the floor at the same time. The page I found the idea on had lots of other ideas for hanging pet stations including the one below on an Elfa shelf--perfect for the growing dog (would be excellent for a wolfhound puppy!). Jessie doesn't like the dishes all the way down flush with the top of the shelf as it's harder for her to get them out so I might put in a little platform on the underside of the shelf to hold the rims of the dishes up about a half an inch from the top of the shelf. Alternatively I could use some of the boatload of Elfa I moved from Atlanta.

Besides cleaning today, the spouse and I took in a matinee of "XXX: The Return of Xander Cage". I undestand it was not popular and I can see why many people wouldn't like it, but I loved it! I really, really liked the supporting cast of characters they assembled for this one. Yeah, the dialog wasn't so great. Yeah, the direction and the acting in many of the spoken scenes was not good. But, hey, great action scenes! Lots of gratuitous stupid stunts, and a little bit of Samuel L. What more can you ask for?

Then we hit up the Container Store for some wire baskets to hold dirty laundry on the utility cart shelves in the utility/laundry room. Saturday afternoon in the Container Store at the end of the annual Elfa sale... Yeah, nowhere you want to be. Dave fled to the car to wait while I finished having a hanging rod for a closet cut down (they gave me a pager to shop while I waited...) and then I joined one of two excruciatingly long lines at checkout. Seriously, two lines!

Now I end the post with another YouTube classic from _1973_ (and just think, I might get to see them live on June 18!).

Friday, February 10, 2017

On My Soapbox...

I have honestly never lived in a place with as poor a government system as Atlanta on the city level and Georgia on the state level. I am so glad I (almost) no longer have to deal with them that I could dance for joy. My interactions with their business licensing division, their water and sewer department, and their department of labor have been frankly horrific. The latest--and I hope last--in a long string of brain-dead workers slogging through painfully inefficient, out-dated, and blatantly corrupt processes told me today that in order to get the credit I have on our house water bill refunded to me, I not only have to request it, but I also have to show proof of payment. Um, it's my account, in my name, it's closed, and there is a credit. Why would you need proof of the specific payment that caused the credit? Isn't the fact that the credit exists proof enough that a payment was made? No, no it's not. The gentleman on the phone couldn't tell me why I needed to provide a copy of the front and back of the cancelled check other than they needed "proof of payment", "it's the city's policy". Since the overpayment was caused by the title company overwithholding funds to pay the water bill at closing, I don't have a cancelled check and have to get the title company to provide me with a copy of their check. I hope they have one, though in these days of electronic payments I am not overly confident.

Not that Austin is perfect. I am still waiting on the inspection of my solar installation that was supposed to happen a week ago so we can go live (which rhymes with hive) on the system and soak up the sun (literally). But the city has a backlog of inspections to do and they're short-staffed. I swear the older I get, the more time I need to spend on home management. In June of last year Bank of America had a data breach, and Dave's name and social security number in conjunction with the studio address were compromised. Someone took out a merchant account with Bank of America card services for the business of Griffith Plumbing owned by Dave Griffith at the studio address and racked up $1,443 of fraudulent charges against two people's credit cards. By the time I found out about it, Bank of America security had already marked the account as fraudulent and closed it, and they let me know we were not responsible for the chargebacks that resulted from the fraudulent charges. That's great, but then last week I got a form 1099-k from them showing the $1,443 as income for us that they reported to the IRS... WTF. We're not now paying TAXES on the money someone else got from stealing Dave's identity!

But at least I did a couple of fun things today: I had lunch with the spouse, played on the Oculus Rift system in data.world's office for 45 minutes, and mermaided my hair again. And now it's time to down tools for the day!

Thursday, February 09, 2017

A Post Over the Course Of the Day

Do I post this morning to avoid doing taxes, or do I really have something to say? Whatever the case, I enjoy a chai latte and a cheddar cheese pasty at the Brentwood Social House and gather myself for the next great adventure(s). As I sat collapsed on the sectional last night, Dave brought up the subject of the bathroom remodel--the Last Great (indoor) Endeavor on the house. He thought it might be a good idea to have it done while we're in Montana this summer. Hah. Even with contractors I love (and I adore Jay and his crew), I am never leaving a remodeling project to be done without me present again. The kitchen taught me my lesson, and even though Dave is happy with it and everything is (mostly) okay, it would have been a lot easier if I had been here riding herd on it. There would have been less damage, the schedule would have been followed better, and I would have seen problems as they were installed, not later as I stumbled upon them.

Fortunately for Dave's sanity and my OCD, we have an apartment to sleep in while the master bedroom and bathroom are being torn up and recreated from scratch. Nothing major is actually happening in the bedroom--just replacing the carpet with a hardwood floor, but you have to go through the bedroom to get to the bathroom and the construction debris and chaos tromped through would wear on both of us. By sleeping up in the apartment we can just pretend the area of the house under remodel doesn't exist.
Of course that means I have to get on Jay's schedule...

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And now, many hours later, the day is over! I'm on Jay's schedule for Monday, I cancelled all of the utilities and insurance for the studio and closed some loose ends on the house. Then I took my daughter to lunch at her favorite restaurant (McDonald's), and after I dropped her back at school, I headed to my knit along up in Jonestown. The evening was rounded out by date night--John Wick 2 at the Alamo Drafthouse in Lakeline. Ah, a day of sitting. Pure bliss!

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Everything That Goes In the Studio is In the Studio

I am now 39 days into the 365 Project and have discovered a truth: When all else fails, take a picture towards Austin from the back deck. My goal with the project is to take pictures that capture the essence of the day--a pictorial journal of the year. Though the focus of today was getting the studio set up more (not totally, not for a good while), and while I could have taken another picture of the progress there, I ended the day with sunset over Austin from the back deck. That view was the essence of my day. I am so happy with our location now that it's hard to find words--and the completion of the parade of boxes into the studio and the return of the U-Haul on the studio was the catalyst for my giddy (exhausted) joy this evening.

After seven months I finally have a studio again--not all set-up, not even any clear workspaces on which to, well, work, but I can *see* the studio. It's no longer a repository for everything we haven't gotten around to organizing for the house, or a stand-in for the garden shed, or a maze in which to lose the cats. No, Now when I survey it from the door to the house I see a studio from one side to the other. Using the garage as a garden shed is actually funny because one thing we don't have at this house is any kind of garden or tool shed. We have a weird room under the master bedroom only accessible from outside under the deck, and for now that's a wood shop/garden shed. It doesn't have any windows, but it does have a hole cut out of the wall with a window ac unit in it. It has three sets of fluorescent light tubes, finished drywall walls, a cement floor, and big double steel doors. Oh, and it has a little wine closet in it with racks for bottles built in.

That last paragraph rambled a bit, but I can be excused as I am beyond rode hard and put away wet. The point I'm trying to make is that I finally feel moved in. The greenhouse (where I set up for ikebana, soap-making, jewelry making and, oh yes, growing flats of plants for the garden) is a total disaster with the new stuff that got moved into it from the garage/studio. The wood shop/shed (little room under the bedroom--I think I'll start calling it the bunker) is packed higgledy-piggledy with stuff from the garage. The utility room I was organizing and setting up before heading off to Florida a lifetime (two weeks) ago is still not finished. The textile studio hasn't been touched in months. And the studio will take weeks to finish setting up--but I don't care. In spite of all that's left to do, I feel more settled in than unsettled.

Tomorrow I will need to clear off a couple of work areas as I have a couple of orders to do, but that's going to be the extent of my physical efforts. The day for me will consist of the ubiquitous, iniquitous taxes and other administrivia which I must conquer before heading off to Wisconsin next week for my Master Spinner's class. It will feel good to sit in the comfy chair sipping tea and working on the laptop--perhaps even without a cat in my lap!

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

One More Day

I sit on the sectional with my laptop precariously perched on my left knee and the armrest. Normally I would have it, well, on my lap, it being a laptop and all. But right now I have two cats in my lap. This situation might not last long as the big one is licking the little one's head and she is sure to lose patience with him soon and draw blood. I just hope it's not mine. At least her ears will be clean.

The U-Haul is empty. I haven't returned it yet--I'll do that tomorrow. There is still a good amount of stuff in the driveway that needs to be moved into the studio proper, but I have faith that by the end of the day tomorrow, all will be sorted. I have three guys helping me again tomorrow, and they are going to start unloading the cases, standing them up and refilling them. Moving cases of glass is a bitch--especially with three tons of it. I put away 2/3 of the 5 oz frit jars today, and tomorrow morning I will do the 1/2 sheets and the 10X10's. The studio is coming together.  I am still not quite sure _how_ everything is going to fit, and yet I am sure it will. And gracefully.

I'm going to be graceful too. I am gracefully going to lower myself into a tub full of warm water and Epson sats. I am going to soak and relax, and then take an Aleve (wait, maybe I'll do that before the bath), and go to bed. One more day. I mostly just have to get through one more day. Photos at the end.

Monday, February 06, 2017

100 boxes of glass in the truck, 100 boxes of glass...

... take one out and put it away, 99 boxes of glass in the truck.

Today has been a good day. Admittedly I am now drinking champagne, listening to "Kryptonite" by Three Doors Down, and eating Girl Scout cookies (formerly samoas, now called caramel deLites... Who do they think they're kidding? There's nothing "lite" about these babies!) so how bad could it be? But the sale of the studio finally funded at 5:00 pm today, and the last U-Haul from our long move from Atlanta is unloaded down to the (11) cases of sheet glass. Tomorrow I have three guys hired to unload the rest and then help me unpack and set-up. With their help I can get that three tons (really--6,600 lbs) of sheet glass unpacked and re-stored in the crates after they have been stood on end. Today we got the cases of half sheets, the 10X10's, and the scrap glass unloaded, I'll put it away tomorrow too. Then I sent everyone home so I could just sit in the space and plan the layout. Again. More.

And as I sat in the studio tonight, I felt joy about it for the first time since moving here. I knew this studio could be a Good Place (and if you haven't watched that show with Ted Danson and Kristen Bell you are missing something great), but with all the stuff that got shoved in there with every U-Haul load, and the lack of the bones (glass crates, classroom table, wire shelving up the wazoo) to delineate the space, it just never sang to me. But today the first thing we did was pull everything out onto the driveway so that we could set up the newly-arrived bones, and now when I sit in there I can see the possibilities, revel in the light from the new glass doors, and admire the lines of the built-out kiln room. They make me happy. All the crap that doesn't belong there has been moved to another temporary holding area (most of it to the wood shop/garden tools room under the master bedroom--doesn't everyone have a secret cement room only accessible from outside under the deck where they can store their tools and toys?), and what goes back in tomorrow will be pertinent to Siyeh Studio.

The garage is divided into three bays, a kiln room  and a wet area. My challenge tomorrow is fitting areas for finished work, packing and shipping, the last of my retail materials, stained glass materials and tools, molds and other kiln accoutrements, in around the cutting table, work composition table, and massive frit storage I already have set up. Let's face it, I am moving from a 1500 sq ft studio with two hotshops and two storage sheds to an 1100 sq ft garage. Even with everything I sold, gave away, threw away, there is still an enormous number of boxes out in the driveway. And, hey, cardboard boxes--when they're empty, I am going to use them to fill the bottoms of all of the raised beds we're putting in next month. Waste not, want not.

Tomorrow is going to come far earlier than I would like so I finish my wine (red now, finished the champagne) and head off to bed. 'Night all!

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Tomorrow, Tomorrow, All Things Tomorrow

Back home, and though I meant to accomplish much today--including the final layout for the new studio which I must begin putting together tomorrow--I ended up resting and sleeping most of the day. The other moves have been hard, but this one broke me. I'm mending, but I am definitely broken. Thank everything holy that it's The Last Time (knock on wood, salt over shoulder) that I'll have to move the studio. Dave had the worst of it last night coming into Austin in the fog and wet on I-35 with concrete construction barricades tightly bounding both lanes. It was harrowing watching him drive it, I can only imagine how tense he was doing it. Tomorrow we will find out if the buyers for the studio funded and wired their money or if I have to start the sale process all over again. I do have one buyer still waiting in the wings, but I am not even going to think about it--much less worry--for now.

Though it is only 10:00 and I napped this afternoon, I am exhausted and going to bed. I feel like a avery old woman tonight, creaking in every bone and joint. Let's hope tomorrow I get some bounce back in my bungee or it's going to be a long, hard week.

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Home At Last

I cannot adequately express how happy I am never to have to drive a load from Atlanta to Austin again. I think when all the counting is done, I only drove one of the U-Hauls, but I drove every trip except the one in June after school got out. Now we are home... well, we were home, but Dave and Jessie are off getting pizza, wine, and McDonald's right now. It's been a hard couple of days for all of the Griffiths and we each need our own comfort food. It was also difficult for the pets--keeping Gallifrey from knocking me over in his on-going excitement at seeing me was almost impossible, and even Baxter seemed glad I was home. Tonight, pizza and a glass of red (or two) followed by a hot shower and bed sounds like heaven. I am not in the least bit tempted to read Facebook, or email, or the news. I can just wait till tomorrow to find out whatever idiocy has been perpetrated by our government in the past couple of days.

My last view of the studio came last night when Dave and I picked up the U-Haul from where it had been parked next door. I didn't go in, but I don't guess there was much to see. It was being picked pretty clean when I left on Wednesday. I did salvage a few sentimental things on Thursday like the old wine crates that I used to store smaller pieces of glass when I started working with it. I gave all the glass in them away--no way to carry them full in the mini-van--but I am glad to have the 1985 Lynch-Bages Pauillac crate, as well as some of my other favorites from the late '80's. The things that mattered to me which were important to keep make me chuckle. I had no problem giving away two 6-ft X 2-ft sheets of white Tekta and several molds, but when I thought someone had taken the old wine crates I was really upset. I left Elfa shelving, 6-ft white folding tables, sample pieces from the second book (if I teach any classes on those techniques I'll need to make new samples), and a slew of other things. I felt bad about sloughing them like old skin, but at the same time it was very freeing. I still have no idea how I'm going to get everything I did bring into my new, smaller, studio space, but I'm finally looking forward to trying. Just not tomorrow. Monday is soon enough!

Friday, February 03, 2017

Good Night Moon

For those anxiously waiting on news of the closing, the arrival of the money from the sale of the studio has not happened yet. I have signed documents, the buyer has signed documents, and the money should be transferred on Monday. Boy am I glad Stacy pushed me to insist on using my own closing attorney! Tomorrow morning bright and early Dave gets behind the wheel of the U-Haul--packed as full as full can be (he was grumbling tonight about having to share the front seat with a wire shelving rack)--and I get behind the wheel of the mini-van, which is equally full. By this time tomorrow night we will be home. It has been a very good visit for me, though I didn't get to see even half of the people I wanted to. Dave didn't see anyone, and tonight we are only going to see the inside of our eyelids. Would that I could be more eloquent, but I'm exhausted. Good Night Atlanta!

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Counting Snores Instead Of Sheep

Life wouldn't be life if there wasn't a last minute hitch in the giddy-up, and so it goes with the last stage of leaving the Atlanta studio. There is a financial snafu with closing, but I remain confident that everything will turn out tomorrow morning at 10:00 when we all show up to sign papers and go our separate ways.

The chickens went home with Mel and Kyla today, the molds, glass, furniture, packing material, test tubes, jewelry boxes and LOADS of other things I couldn't take with me mostly found new homes as friends dropped in to say good-bye and help me clear things out. I loaded the last of the mini-van--there is room for Dave tomorrow when he flies in from Austin, but maybe not room for Dave and my suitcase at the same time.

I have one more day in Atlanta after a week filled with friends, laughs, reminisces, hugs, tears, and not nearly enough time. But maybe it's better this way--rip the band-aid off, make a clean break, and be gone. Tonight I sleep on flannel sheets covered with happy sheep in the guest bedroom of very dear friends in Marietta. I'm so tired I won't even need to count them (the sheep, not the friends).

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

We've Only Just Begun


The U-Haul is packed. The mini-van is (mostly) packed. You could not fit a box of kleenex in the back of the U-Haul. I have *never* seen such a great loading job! Of course it weighs like sin. I don't even want to estimate how many thousands of pounds of glass we have in there--not to mention the last of the furniture and a big-assed ceramics kiln (because, hey, everyone needs an art school-sized ceramic kiln...). I'll do a bit more loading of the mini-van tomorrow--there is a smidge of space left in my van and the front seat of the U-Haul. Maybe. Becky, Dan, Linda, Brian, Fawn, Lori, Licha were happy to take things I couldn't, and I am happy that everything I left that I cared about has gone to people I love.The chickens have a new home with Mel, Kay, and Kyla--they want to keep them to remember us--and the Honda sold to Dan. All of the molds and the two big sheets of white Tekta that I left have been claimed by Brian and Linda. Lori took the portable sandblaster. There are still some white Elfa shelves and a couple of 6-ft white folding tables that need homes, but all in all the studio's pretty empty.

Tomorrow I'm going to take an easy day and maybe have breakfast with Keith, have a pedicure and lunch with Becky, meet Mel to get the chickens sorted in the afternoon, and then head out to Anya's for dinner and to spend the night. We close Friday and someone else gets to dream big dreams about the possibilities of that wonderful, quirky little 1920's Craftsman bungalow. I'm glad it's not being torn down. Dave comes in early afternoon now, and Saturday we drive. Sunday we rest. Monday we re-jigger the studio, and Tuesday we unload the U-Haul and return it. Once that is done, our last physical tie with Atlanta will be severed. 

Oh we'll still have emotional ties galore, but there will be no more property, no more pets, no more house and no more studio there. Much as I love Austin and our wonderful house, I definitely have to console myself leaving here with the knowledge that we have an apartment in Austin, and friends WILL visit. Glass friends will come and take glass classes at Helios with some of Paul Tarlow's incredible guest teachers. We'll have our own little spinning retreat in the hill country. Friends will come for food, and music, and weekends with us. We have been so fortunate to build the relationships we have here. I used to wish everyone I cared about would move with us--and I advocated strenuously with them for it. But now I'm glad that I have visits to look forward to, and I'm not afraid this will be the end. If I were up for a cheesy song ending this post tonight, it would be the Carpenters "We've Only Just Begun"... Heck, who am I kidding. I AM up for it!