Thursday, March 8, 2018

My Big Phat Phab Life........

Not sure I have anything to blame this on except two full moons in March, a blue moon, mercury hit my garage, Kirby gave me the stink eye, post Olympic depression, Chaos rising? 

My latest text to kids.....

"Hey, I'm sitting in a random parking lot waiting for a guy named Brian to show up with his ex-wife's brand spank'n new Kitchen Aid food processor.  If your Dad texts looking for me just tell him I'm on a secret mission.  I have my blind attack dog, so no worries ..... oh and I'm sitting under a street light."

So many questions from this text...... like WHY?

The down hill slide started early last week when two show applications showed up as "rejected".  
I read it 10 or maybe 20 times because my master plan was; close the gallery, buy a van, trick it out for shows and turn the radio up on the headbangers ball channel while making a shit ton of pots.  So now I have a van and no shows..... kind of gobsmacked by this shift in the paradigm of my business plan; still got the headbangers ball channel on loud though.  

Then I realized I had all this time on my hands and I really didn't need to go to the studio and what does every body in a state of panic do.... stock the pantry Ethel!!  We're not gonna starve!  

I started cooking down those chickens in the freezer and made 20 quarts of stock! 
So those chickens paid off in spades!  9 chickens produced 20 quarts of stock, endless piles of eggs for three years, compost I'm still spreading, a liter of golden schmaltz and hours of entertainment. 
The chickens kind of paid for themselves as the eggs were sold for $3 a dozen.  Oh and did I mention they also work as a garbage disposal and bug eradicator.  And helped Rufus, the neighborhood badass cat, kill countless voles and moles around the garden.  So the chickens are clearly winning...... no wait they are in the pot, maybe not so much for them.

and then I made pasta in the food processor...... 
I have had a Cuisinart for 30 years; gone through two now.  The motors are fine but the plastic bowls fall apart and you can't engage the motor without the locking bowl and lid.  Replacing those parts run around $60-$80 depending on the model.  Argh, not now!  I pried the lid off with screwdriver to release my trapped pasta dough and realized it had just whizzed it's last batch of pasta dough.  
So while the noodles dried, I jumped on Craigslist...... 

and I made pasta and then started wondering if Cuisinart was still a good product because I was noticing a lot of grumbling on food processor chat panels.  Food processor users were in full on revolt with everything from customer service to exploding blades.  Yikes! 


and by Tuesday morning I was pretty sure I was going for something other than a new Cuisinart and found a listing for a Kitchen Aid 12 cup for $80.00; touting BRAND NEW, still in box.  
So I went for it. 
Brian emailed back right away and I called him and heard the wayward story about how his ex-wife had just left it behind.  OK after 2 minutes on the phone with Brian I was kind of thinking I would probably like Brians ex-wife .  
But I really needed a food processor and this was pretty nice so I proceeded onward.  OK if you read the last blog about my wood stove guy I cannot believe one of you blog readers didn't run up here and clobber me with the kraut mallet! 


read his thought bubble.....  

Soooooo off we went to a busy parking lot, with the plan to meet at 6:30 - 6:45 pm.  Brian had texted me to contact him around 2 or 3 pm to make sure I was still in.  I emailed Brian at 2:20 pm.  See you there I am in an empty white box van with my killer dog.  Brian emailed back, Kewl.  (red flag the kewl) 

Sitting under the light; I caught up on emails, talked to the dog and sang along to Carol King.... loudly!  6:45 pm; no Brian, no food processor.  Call Brian..... no answer, leave message.  Two seconds later he calls back; Are you there?  Ummm, you were supposed to call me. BRIAN!  This is food processor, I emailed you, are you secret squirrel?  And Brian says, I live 20 minutes away, can you wait?  YES BRIAN I CAN WAIT!  and my inside voice is like...... Brian you're an idiot and this is why you have an ex-wife.  And then thinking this was kind of a weird interaction I started wondering if he was just selling this out from under his real wife and she would show up and kill all of us.  Gawd, I hate Craigslist!  Maybe I can sell a couple more mugs and buy one from a real store.... with a coupon of course! 

By now Butch had called numerous times and offered to go to Bed Bath and Beyond with his 20% coupon (he gets me)  and buy a new food processor because he really likes homemade pasta and chopped veggies and pie.  I will call you the minute I have the contraband in my van and headed home, over and out!  

7:42 pm Brian plowed into the parking lot, alone thank you soooo much.  As suspected Brian was different.  He rolled out of his low rider (not really, just a car with no shocks) and said; Wow, nice van!  Whadda ya do with a van like that, oh wait I bet you work for Amazon or something.  Ok Brian made me laugh!  No Brian I'm a potter.  Whoa, what's that?  OMG BRIAN DO YOU HAVE A FOOD PROCESSOR?  Ummmm, yes I do.  And thank the food prep gods on high he pulled a shiny new food processor out of his car complete with accessories!  
While he handed it over he kept asking me if I ate a lot of healthy food and healthy food is really good for you.  So asked him why he didn't keep it?  Nope too scary for him..... kind of like me in this parking lot with Killer snoring in the van?  Here's $80.00, gotta go!  Thanks.  

Home and TA-DA! 

and it works like a charm and it still had the styrofoam between the blades! 
It really is brand new, although older.  The bowl is significantly heavier than the Cuisinart and it has a great little inner bowl for small stuff!  With my Cuisinart I had to buy yet another appliance and I did, I bought a $10 slap chopper that I love! 

During all this food processing I've had time to peruse Craigslist and have found all kinds of stuff I really need!
On Saturday I am meeting a woman in yet another parking lot and picking up a ramp for my van!  No more picking up a 91 pound usually wet dog to go for a ride.  He will be able to walk in the van! 
 $25 is one third the price of visit to the chiropractor!  This purchase is a 2-pher; Kirby and me! 
Found a guy named Bob who made a couple chairs for his daughter and seems he couldn't stop so now he sells a few on Craigslist.  He lives out in the middle of no mans land and he's retired.  So I bought two chairs for my fire pit and this time I'm taking Butch and Kirby with me on Saturday. 
Oh and I don't think Bob is making any money as they are $60 which is more than the wood and screws would have cost me!  And it keeps an old guy busy with power tools and off the streets! 

I have time to perfect my moscow mules and sit in one of these chairs,
drink a Moscow Mule and watch a few chickens this year!  


sometimes stuff like craigslist works and sometimes it's scary ..... just like my business plan.

And as to the politics in the country at the moment

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Another project at happy acres.......

While watching the US Women's hockey team beat the Russian Women's hockey team at O-dark-thirty this morning; I flipped to the local weather report during the second period.   Sun this morning and temperatures rising to 55F.   
I tripped over the dog running to the door!  We have a window!!  Rain would be moving in by 4 pm and stay until Thursday night, and then turning to snow.  YES, YES, YES, to the heavens above, and all the weather gods; Jack Frost, Old Man Winter, Auril the frost maiden, all who have rained down ice, snow and wind for the last two months THANK YOU for taking a coffee break today! 

Shower, slap on the new tennies, grab the leash and head out with the Kirbs for a warm up lap.... HA!  NO hat today!  We walked down the driveway and the sun was shining! 
I walked home and this has greeted me since last August; see that pipe?

Time to fix one of my bigger mistakes last year.  Uninstalling the studio wood stove!  
I bought a wood stove over three years ago and moved it around the studio more times than I can count.  It's a small studio and it was a small stove but when you need 36" clearance on all four sides it suddenly takes up a lot of room.  I had lofty illusions of me curled in my chair, in front of a crackling toasty fire and weaving or carving all winter; my partner in crime snoring on his bed next to the fire. 

  I had these illusions for three years and they are delusions as Kirby doesn't even know how to bed.

I bought the "Through the Roof" kit from Home Depot last July and promptly realized this would be a PROJECT and I was super busy.   So I did something I rarely do.....  I hired a guy off Thumbtack.  He had great reviews and his shop was called Dave's Wood Stoves; what could go wrong?   I contacted him and he agreed to do it for $450.  On a hot August Saturday morning Dave showed up with a helper and no tools.  Let's just cut to the chase and say the helper knew more than Dave and had more tools than Dave.   In hindsight I should have clobbered Dave after the second hour and before he cut a hole in the roof but I'd been delusional for three years.  
Besides it's August and there is lots of time before the snow flies.  Right after Dave declared the project complete and I paid him and we had a drought.  Weeks went by with no rain.  I would walk in the studio each morning and couldn't wait to fire up that little stove.  By the end of September the monsoon season hit and roof leaked like an open window on the Titanic.  Now I was tripping over a wood stove and 4 buckets and kitty litter pan (unused).  I called Dave immediately and he came out the next sunny day and spent 4 hours on the roof, declaring it fixed.  A week later the storms rolled through and the buckets came out again.  How could it be leaking worse than before Dave got on the roof for the second time?  I thought; fine I'll fix it myself!  I crawled up on the roof and could not find the leak.  Hauled Mr. Madpotter up on the roof........ why?  I don't know, shear desperation.   "Looks fine to me" he said.  
I really just couldn't face Dave one more time and I pulled the pipe down inside the studio and water poured in from the four corners of the box.  Dammit@!  The cold winds blew Winter came and stayed, so did the buckets and the heat poured through pipe to the outside world.  The gallery got dumped in the studio and I couldn't even see the hole. 

By this time all illusions of me ever weaving or carving a pot in front of the freak'n stove had gone right up the chimney with all the warm air in the studio!  I was so over the stove and sold it on craigslist for what I paid for it.  The last month I had been staring at a hole in the roof on the coldest days in January and February and cursing the wood stove. 

Today was the day!  I pulled all the tools out, wrestled the pipe from the jaws of putty, caulk, silicon, roofing nails, metal collars and tar paper while teetering on the roof at what felt like a death defying angle but it's really not.  It was a glorious day to be on the roof!  Sunny and 55F. for 4 whole hours!  
I cut the plywood in the driveway, sanded outside and played the radio.  There was sawdust flying for miles!  
Spent enough time on the roof to get foot cramps using my toes as grippers.  And after 4 hours of ladder running I had a good case of shaky leg and then there was Henry's black tar caulk.  We have all read my tales of tub caulking but roof caulking is tub caulking to the tenth power!  I caulked my own butt to roof, and one foot.  My gloves got sticky so I tossed those aside and then realized my sticky black hands are attached to my wrists.  I couldn't put the hammer down.  My pants pockets were loaded down with a pry bar, a putty knife, a box cutter, a screw driver, a pair of fiskar scissors and a pair of pliers.  I had the proverbial pencil stuck behind my ear and a box of roofing nail precariously kept sliding down the roof but I ever so nimbly caught the box with a foot, knee or the hammer.  I got so frustrated I caulked the box to the roof.  Perfect until I had to get the box off the roof.   Thus my favorite sweatshirt now had a fresh coat of Henry's black roof caulk....... I only realized this while eating dinner and my elbow became stuck to the table.  
But it's done!!!  

by 5 pm the window closed as the wind shifted, the rain started and the sun was gone but the roof is fixed. 

I will probably never use Thumbtack again or Daves Wood Stoves and I'm not feeling too warm and fuzzy about men in general right now because as we know........
Chicks with Tools Rule and guys drool! 

Cheers ladies and Happy Valentine's Day!  
Buy yourself a few flowers and new caulk gun!! 

Monday, February 12, 2018

The joys of winter..........

We are now into deep February and cabin fever is taking hold.  I am in the grippers of cabin fever, some years seem better than others but this year has me on full on winter wedgie!  So much snow, ice and wind it's been a bit of a challenge walking, hiking or just taking the trash out.  10 minutes to bundle your nether regions and 10 minutes to unbundle those nether regions.  If you take the dog out 4 times a day that is 80 minutes or an hour and 20 minutes of protecting nether regions I never really give much thought to, until a brisk wind curls more than your nose hair!  Sheesh!  

I do live for the little glimpses into life that would otherwise breeze past while I was watching the grass grow and yelling at that pesky house wren to shut up.  The silence of winter is like no other time of the year.  The insulation of snow, the depth of the darkness, the intensity of the cold; even through the bundling there is nothing like it.  Spring, Summer and Fall, nature is pretty raucous!  Sirens from police and fire seem to float on the luminous silence.  The roaring Arctic Clippers barreling across Lake Erie like a freight train are all to frequent and yet in the interim it's amazingly placid and serene.  Standing under a twinkling starlight sky in subzero temperatures, staring at Orion's belt, one never hears the coyotes sneaking up behind you..... in the unflinching stillness of the night I feel the dog bump my leg and start whining.  "STOP IT!"; I whisper as I look down.... we both break the steely silence with a blood curdling scream "HOLY SHIT" and the coyotes run away while we trip over each other trying to get to a streetlight. Yup, time to go.......... everybody is hungry and we are not lunch! 

I watch Mr Madpotter pickup the last copy of Architectural Digest. Hoping he will see something inspiring to start a new project in our house, that needs a bit of an overhaul.   Slowly, painstakingly he turns each page as I study his face to see which mansion floats his boat as I make dinner across the counter and then, YES, here it comes........ "Did you know Ricky Martin was gay?"  News Flash? .......  Also overheard last week while talking to Daughter #1;  Wow, they made a movie on the Black Panthers, they were pretty revolutionary...... and I'm thinking I bet she's going to the movie.  He hangs up and says;  That was kind of a weird conversation.  Later in the day I email the movie trailer to his phone...... I see his brain explode in the car in the driveway.  These are things I totally miss in the summer.  

And I am thankful for driving in my bubble; windows rolled up tight so no one can hear my corrective suggestions for their driving habits during winter months!  I feel it is my job, my duty from the comfort and safety of my sound proof vehicle to point out the deficiencies of drivers around me; also a few pedestrians who are so bundled they don't realize they stepped off the curb.  Summer,  I manage to contain myself most of the time. 

Each year I completely forget how much static electricity is in the air.  Kirby is never far away, never. 

Watching the dog hair; jump, fly and migrate from yellow dog, across space to anything made of black micro-fleece.  I have taken to pinning dryer sheets to my knees, hips and middle.... winter fashion you won't see on Project Runway! 

AND sadly, I have time to watch our country erode into ........ well I don't even have words anymore.  Every time I think I have become comfortably numb I get a slap upside the head by BREAKING NEWS...  I mean really, how much breaking news can there be and while there is twid-iot in the White House creating chaos and division?  Shouldn't we all be coming together and figuring out how to get an oxygen tank to the planet that is gasping for breath. Or feed the 7,632,819,325 currently living on the planet?  And that national debt isn't going to amount to hill of beans unless we can actually do math and learn from science.  New storybook problem:  If guns magazine holds 500 bullets and box of bullets from Walmart contains 32 bullets how many immigrants do we need to deport to build a damn wall........ really people?  Excuse me for a moment, I need to go punch my wife in the face.  It's like watching the flash bang across the street while the termites ate your house.  But thankfully we have the Olympics ......... go USA Women's Hockey team!!  And who doesn't love a Dutch speed skater or an Austrian luger....... OMG just hold onto those nether regions! 

Deep winter and it's fermenting time!

Temperatures are supposed to rise midweek and I can't wait!  My pruners are sharpened and I'm ready to roll....... 
Hang in there winter dwellers........ 

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Deep Space....... no wait Winter

Not sure where this cat lives other than cyberspace but it pretty well sums up winter in northeastern Ohio.

Alas not cold enough to freeze the secret society of Punxsutawney Phil worshippers off Gobblers Knob deep in the hollows of PA.  Phil used to wander out of his hole and look for the nearest Super Bowl party.

 Meanwhile; Phyllis, Phils devoted wife climbed to the edge of her hole and could be heard yelling:  Phil you idiot get back in here, my feet are cold and it looks like 6 more weeks of hell in a hole!

Nope, now Phil gets jerked out of his hole by an old chubby white guy in a top hat while crowds cheer and cameras from around the world record his shock and awe.  It's his big day leaving the other 364 days to do groundhog things like terrorizing the local gardeners, make new groundhogs and get fat..... hmmmmm....kind of like the guy that jerks you out of that hole.  

In other winter news and all things under the heading of catastrophic...... my espresso maker crapped out!  I loaded it up with filtered water, freshly ground beans that were perfectly tamped down, pushed the cute little red button and anticipated my little shot of heaven.  A horrible noise and nothing.  Noooooo, not today any day but not today.  The wood stove was humming along and a howling snow storm beat at the window.  I jiggled, I pounded, I pulled all known parts apart.  I lite a candle to the coffee Gods on high and I got out the pink screwdriver, pliers and needle nose pliers......... the heating element and pump were la morte'.  

I am knee deep in a weaving marathon with deadlines beating down my door.  I have a lot of pots from the gallery but I have two shows coming up and both shows have said; Please send us new pots. 
No espresso?  Are you kidding me?  I thought about slogging out but instead went for a pour over, not an espresso but pretty darn good and I am saving a few hundred dollars for show fees and passing on the super duper deluxe espresso maker I lust after.  It's the: 

            Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine

I see this machine and my eyes get teary and I spend 3 hours googling and watching YouTubes of every Barista on the web showing me how wonderful this machine really is and it had a 5 star rating!  Yes, a 5 star rating......   It's coffee porn pure and simple. 
This is part of my fabulous pottery life I thought would be changing in 2018, apparently not.  I have spent 9 days in this chair.  My noble steed (bike) is draped with uncoiling cane hanks and the seat is dusty!  My brain just can't handle doing more than one thing at a time.  These are times I eat a diet of plain toast, bread, bread and jelly, toast with honey and on a good day a pack of ramen noodles with a handful of frozen broccoli tossed in.  I can't seem to find my way to the grocery store and personal hygiene is questionable.  When your teeth get fuzzy it's time to drag yourself to the shower for a quick hose down.   I am ....... in the zone?   Kirby gets two walks a day, no matter what so I manage to get out the door and as my Dad used say; get the stink blown off.   Thankfully I am bundled up like the Michelin Tire man and try not to inflict my lack of personal hygiene on the free world and Kirby doesn't care ..... why I love dogs! 

But I am getting there......

two more pots to weave and a glaze kiln to get up and I can shower again......  

and stay tuned as we are contemplating a YUGE trip to nowhere.  We are loading Kirby in the van and driving until we are warm..... right after the deadlines and I will try my best not to leave Mr Potter in the driveway...... it's gonna be rough be we are going to give it a whirl.  OH and we're camping!!!!  

See how excited Kirby is! 

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Been awhile........

Welcome to another fab year at Paine Falls........... buckle up!

As some know, I have closed the gallery at 78th Street Studios.  LOADS of reasons but the best reason; quality of life!  Since being catapulted into the densest plane of reality 63 years ago I've had DTFSO  (difficult time figuring shit out)  I suppose I could blame it on OCD, ADD and a host of other labels but it's just life and in my life, well this is the densest plane!  I've had no problem entertaining myself during all phases of this journey.  One thing I have learned; if it's not working change it!  Stop doing the something over and over, I believe the buddhists call this  Dukkha....... or "Life is Suffering" and there have been moments I have been in deep Dukkha.  Take what you have learned and move along........  2017 was a deep Dukkha kind of year, I needed to get out the Dukkha.

In pottery terms, the gallery had me in mug Dukkha.  I rocked the mug world in a little under 3 years I sold hundreds if not a thousand of mugs.  Yup, I do love making mugs and will always make mugs but there are so many other things I wanted to make/do and became increasingly frustrated at the time constraints of trying to ......... well do just about anything else including; gardening, kayaking, hiking, fishing etc VS......... mugs.

My gallery was on the second floor of the old American Greeting Building.  I did not make enough at the gallery to sustain my studio and gallery so ended up do three large shows a year.  Lugging stuff up and down three flights of steps was time consuming and at times painful.  Yes, the building had an elevator but only a handful of people could run the elevator and you'd need to call them and I suppose I could have planned all that out but back to DTFSO.  It also had an alarm system with a keypad that I never once figured out and set off more than a few times and four keys to get into my space after hours.  But in reality I loved the other artists and being in a great community so I stayed.  I even had incredible sales the month of Dec.  Sales were so good I sat down and did my taxes January 2nd to make sure I was making the right decision.  One great month could not support the other 11 so I stayed on track with my original decision, leave.

Tearing down three years of accumulation was kind of nuts, the stuff I had carried up those stairs!  It took me the better part of a week; shocking, as I thought it would take me two days.  Dumped everything in the home studio.  There is always tear down and chaos before the rebuilding can begin.  Time is also under the DTFSO heading; I've never grasped the constraints of time and I quite hate it.  It's kind of malleable and moveable and something thats not quite real so why put up with it?  I get up about an hour before the sun comes up, true in summer and winter and go bed a couple hours after the sun goes down...... summer and winter.  Yup, I am a squirrel!

It's January 19th and my taxes are done, the gallery is closed, my home gallery is open, the studio is clean and fresh pots are thrown,  applications have been submitted to a few shows,  a studio sale is planned, NCECA looms on the horizon, delivered long overdue pots to Gingko Gallery out in Oberlin,  I plotted out the new garden, my bills are paid; so let the games begin!  It's January 19th and I am already behind in the throwing department due to DTFSO!

 now to get the website updated and launched........and elements replaced in the old kiln..... it's always something!

and somebody is really happy about this move home........