Tuesday, February 23, 2010


This is our first "together" vacation in 20 years.  We don't travel well together.
I am not posting anymore stories until I return from the south.  I think I will be 
writing long into the night on my return trip.  This trip could be quite interesting.
Why we think this is a good idea is beyond, it was a weak moment on my part.

This should explain why we do not travel well together.

This is not a plant!  I think it was a poinsetta but I can't remember.  He brings
these things home every Christmas.  He cannot go to the grocery store and come
home empty handed any given day after Thanksgiving.
They are in every room in the house, along with Christmas
trees. When I was a kid, one tree was enough.  One tree was all Santa needed.
Not Butch, each kid had a tree in their room and one in the dining room & one in the back room.
Live balled and burlaped trees with root balls and real dirt.  
He dragged them up the stairs, he dragged them down the stairs, he dragged them 
through the house, he dragged them through dust bunnies, he made sure there was one 
next to the dogs bed.  The dog thought he died and went to heaven with trees in every room. 
The only thing better might have been fire hydrants.
He decorated all the trees and dismantled.  GREAT!
The kids friends thought this was the greatest house ever!
My job, slap a wreath on the door, blow the dust off baby jesus until the dog ate him and 
bake, shop, wrap and whine about pine needles in my socks.

Back to the poinsettas, I am not a fan of the poinsetta.  They are great for a few weeks but then
they really need to go.  The man I married believes otherwise and thinks we
can keep them going until next Christmas.  THESE ARE NOT AN INVESTMENT!
and we can't eat them.
Every week I inch them closer to the trash can.  The next morning I notice they
are back to their regimented place on the kitchen counters.  He waters, picks off
dead leaves and admires them.
Once or twice a week I feel it's my duty to point out they're not doing very well.
Don't you think they are loosing leaves? I ask.  
No!  They look great!
This is what he said about the specimen pictured above.  It's clear, I married
Charlie Brown.

The "Merry Christmas" spelled out in neon roping still hangs over
our front porch. 
We came home tonight and he said:  "Oh look at that Merry Christmas sign."
"C'mon, Sandy I did pretty well this year, I got everything else down".

Mental check;  Nope, I'm pretty sure each and every door still has a wreath on it and
hey what about those big gold bells that freak the dog out?  The entire month of December
every time the wind blows the big giant bells Butch yells...... I BELIEVE!  
I burned the Polar Express.
He retorts; Those don't count, they are on the back door.  
Every year he puts up the decorations
and I just know something red and green will be hanging until the Easter Bunny shows up!
I win again!

This does not make me feel good about wedging myself in the tiny Nissan Versa for 16 hours.  
Abby is staying home to watch the dog.....
If any of my neighbors are reading this and you happen to see smoke coming from this end of town
could you do a drive by and make sure my house hasn't gone up in flames. 

Abby and the dog, home alone for a week.  
So help me if the dog has a tattoo when I get home there
will be hell to pay! 

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sunday Night Dinner with Dad

Dear Rachael, 
I know you are rolling around catching pollack in the Arctic Circle but missed you 
at dinner tonight so thought I would catch you up on dinner.  Your chair is here and 
we think you would have loved this dinner.

Banging away on the computer and hear your Dad attempting to cook in the kitchen.
My heart skips a beat but I really want to finish what I am working on and yell;

He pokes his head around the corner and asks questions, frequently.
I answer from the vacuum of my brain as the keys
are pounding away, to nice beat.  
Right now my mind is whirring with creativity induced by lack of sleep. 
It's cooking, I do it everyday and could do in my sleep
or standing on my head.  
His questions are white noise, gnats, somewhat annoying but tolerable.

I type faster as my brain is starting to process;  He is in the kitchen alone with a bottle of wine and
sharp objects.

Out of the corner of my eye I catch the scurrying back and forth from the grill to the kitchen.
Type faster I command my fingers as I hear the whosh of the gas flames ignite.

Calm down he is lighting the grill and chopping something so I assume he is happy.
I ask, are you sure there is enough propane in the tank?  
I have been saying for the last
two weeks; "Do you smell propane?  I smell propane, I think it's the grill."  
He declares; No, I shut if off last October, can't be.  
Hey, what do I know I just fire raku kilns off three, 100 pound tanks periodically.
After two weeks I didn't smell the propane anymore and figured we were safe.

He runs out, slaps the steak on the grill and scurrys back in the kitchen. 
Out of the corner of my eye I notice the steak still on the plate.
I ask; Is it done already?  very quietly I hear......... "you might be right about that propane."
I smile and keep typing.....

Logging my work I run to check the kitchen.

There are perfectly cut potatoes that look like they came out of a bag!
We are talking precision cut hash browns.  Sprinkled with herbs and on a sprayed cookie sheet,
to make clean up a breeze.  I ask in astonishment; "Did you do that?  You know I have a machine to do that."
He very smuggly smiles and answers; " We don't need no stinking machine."

There is fresh salmon sitting on a cookie sheet and I say........ why don't you put a
marinade on those, they look naked.
He whips around and lifts the lid off a sauce pan, smiling; "I made special sauce!
Me and Francis Ford Coppola" ........ Hmmmmm, how much did you drink?

He made a "Denver cut" steak, what the hell is a Denver cut steak? 
I had to google that one.

and then he announced;  Dinner is at eight o'clock,  I just love a European dinner don't you?
by now I am laughing hysterically........ I LOVE weekends!

He calls Abby down for dinner.  Before even looking at the menu she is popping aspirin and declaring;
I have a headache!  I think ......... WOW! you're not even married!

The plates are dished, the candles lite, the napkins placed.

We sit and he asks questions like;  Is the fish flaky?  do you love the special sauce?  did you get any bones? is it done enough?  Abby, how is your steak?  Do you love these potatoes?
How come I cook every day and not once have we been this excited about the food?

Yes, yes, yes, everything is amazing and Wow this special sauce is wonderful.  Abby chimes in; my steak tastes like fish.  You cooked my steak in the salmon pan?  You know how I feel about fish.
I kick Abby under the table, miss and hit the dog. I silently mouth...... Tell him you LOVE dinner!
The dog surfaces thinking he has been summoned from the depths of the dinner table.

Abby and I realize this marks a National Holiday........DAD MAKES DINNER DAY!   I soooooo need a card for this!

I ask:  Are you going to have wine?  
 He replies; "Francis Coppala and I used it all in the special sauce."  
There is an eyedropper full of sauce on my salmon, 
I'm thinking Butch and Francis are pretty good friends since there isn't a thimble left.

Thinking we are done and we gush with accolades.  
He scurrys out on the screened porch and produces a
Key Lime Pie!  Whoa!  
He grates lime rind over the top and I wonder if it might be parsley.  
Wow, it's pretty good!

We offer to clean the kitchen and everyone pitches in!

Seriously, this would make a much better holiday than dead presidents day!

who is counting the days to lift off..........

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Gift of an Ordinary Day, yeah right......

There are very few rules here in Paine Falls.
I can remember three:
1.  Don't mess with my dog or truck.
2.  If you take tools from the studio, PUT THEM BACK, EXACTLY WHERE YOU GOT THEM!
3. Don't waste food.

I know rules are made to be broken and every single rule has been broken, several 
times and we all get over it and move on.....

like the time Rachael drove my brand new truck through the week old shed........ 
I can still hear the gravel flying when she popped the clutch and shortly there after 
I heard the big bang.  

The Dawn of the Big Bang Theory:
That is the bang when I knew flushing a .99 bottle of nail polish 
down the brand new sink was child's play.  
As their ages increased so would the 
expenses and I wasn't even thinking of college at this point.
I had no idea ......... but I still cannot close the shed door to this day.

in the continuing saga of Abby Miller............

while clearing off the mail table today I found a postcard from the
city of Bedford.......... 
Abbigail Miller you must appear in court on March 3rd, 2010.

ABBY!!!!!!!!!............ back up, go with theinside voice,  
"What is this for?"

"Ummmm a traffic ticket on my way home from Kent."

"Like back from Kent, the weekend of the giant arm tattooing?


"What did you get stopped for?"

"Ummmmm having a headlight out on the truck......"

Immediately, I feel like the biggest piece of poop in the world because it's my truck and I knew the
headlight was out.  But just in case, I asked, where is the ticket, I want to see it.

She went to work, came home.  Hey, where's the ticket.  
Runs upstairs, doesn't come back, HEY WHERE IS THE TICKET.......
I go upstairs, bang on the door, hear furious paper shuffling over head bangers ball music........ Hey, where's the ticket?

The door cracks open; Relax, I'm looking for it.

I go back down stairs.

I hear a jubilant:  "I FOUND IT!" 30 minutes later.

Great, just show it to Dad, he reads these all the time.
I used to write these things daily but they have gone to a print out that looks nothing 
like the 3 part citations I wrote at the dawn of time.

On the computer I don't hear any yelling, screaming or Mia Copa's so I poke my head up & out of the
fox hole.  Butch sticks the ticket in my face........ READ this!

Put my two pairs of glasses on preparing to say I'll pay for the ticket cause it's the headlight.

Then my eyes bug out of my head and it says......... 80 mph in a 60....and a headlight.
$125 for the speeding, nothing for the headlight.  I am soooo not paying for this!

The truck isn't even back from the body shop with $1600.00 bill yet.  Not sure how you get 
"a blowout" and do $1600.00 damage but rule #2 is just going up in flames along with the 
insurance premiums.
and she asks......... Why would they raise the insurance?
Because you are sooooooo cute & they just love that new tatoo they decided not to raise our rates.

if you buy a vowel I will give a clue, many clues!  
In fact you need to buy so many vowels there aren't anymore left in the alphabet!

going out to the studio to breath kiln fumes.........

and if one more person sends me the YouTube  "The Gift of an Ordinary Day".  
I am sending Abby to live with you for a week, consider it my ordinary gift to you.

for every tear jerking line in this video I said to myself........ I can top that! 


peace out campers......... 

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Descending into chaos........

Spent the last week preparing to glaze, the closer glaze day gets the more anxious I become.  The only reason I glaze pots is to make room on the shelves for freshly thrown pots.  There is nothing better than walking into the studio first thing in the morning looking at full shelves of freshly trimmed new pots.  
There are pots everywhere, I am one step away from stacking them on the floor and you see who is on the floor! 

Today I realized there is nothing more I can do to put this part of the process off.  Everything has been washed, waxed and given the once over.  As a last minute reprieve, one of my galleries called for an emergency mug order......... bless you.  Yesterday, I sat down in the morning, threw 16 mugs and by evening trimmed and handles were put on.  These are new mugs for me, really big and new forms...... I played!

The porcelain bisque kiln is cooling, 214 F.  But I cannot unload until there is room, so I simply must glaze.  Feeling a bit under the gun as Butch and I decided at the stroke of midnight to make a run south.  
Blast off day, next Wednesday or Tuesday night if all goes well.  The mugs need to be in the truck for delivery as well as camping stuff, a kayak and a bike.  

We get back on the 28th, March 1st I need to have pots delivered to Juma Gallery for an opening March 5th.  3-4 kiln loads need to be fired before we leave......... I can do this!!  I need to see the sun! 
But for now I need to glaze..........
Gosh, I hate to glaze.......... 
besides what am I going to do with place setting for 24?  

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Yup it's that time of the year again!

The snow is piled high, the dog naps between scratching, licking and chewing, OH and taxes are due soon.  

February.  The air is so dry, my cherry tomatoes dehydrated on the counter over night and I got dust bunnies up my nose the size of watermelons. 

We are all itchy and a little bitchy. 
 I can wake from a sound sleep in utter darkness and mutter... STOP LICKING!  (to the dog who sleeps at the foot of the bed, not Butch.)  Butch snores away, how is it he can sleep though the disgusting slurpy sounds in the still quiet darkness?!  Then there is the stealth licking I really abhor! 
  I am yaking and he is snoring, life is so unfair!  But now I am up at O'dark-thirty.

Every morning I jump out of bed,  slam into the wall,  my ankles just don't work like they used to too &  wander to the coffee pot.   Sometimes there's coffee sometimes there's not.  Today I score a half cup luke warm Italian Roast that is wonderful.  Flip on the tube, check the weather; snow, snow and more snow.  Followed by high winds and oh look an ODOT salt truck flipped over last night.  

I motor upstairs and jumped in a hot shower.  Since I keep the house around 60 degrees F. steam is immediate!  Gripping my hot coffee and leaning against the cold tile,  I am in heaven for a brief 10-15 minutes as steam swirls up my nose and coffee rolls down my throat.  
Get dressed, roll open the door and this is what I see every morning.......

It never occurred to me he wants a shower ......... until today.  We usually go to the Paw Wash but it's snowing, cold and 20 minutes away on a good day. We LOVE the Paw Wash, you plunk down $15, they give you fresh towels, suds,  a super duper blow dryer, ear wipes, treats and other dog butts to sniff!  Who wouldn't like that?  Also the mess stays at the Paw Wash and you get a clean dog and a clean house. He lays with his paws crossed over staring me down, just like the Sphinx but in reality he is the Stinks!  Dude I have Almond Apricot body wash you are going to love!  I didn't have to ask twice!  Apparently he has done this before!  

He was perky and his puppy mind jumped in the tub but his 11 year old hind end got dragged in... Ouch!   Turning on the warm shower massage he groaned, went weak in the knees and had a moment.  
Hmmmm...... on second thought, maybe tomorrow.

Are you kidding?  Apricots and Almonds?


I discovered the best part about tossing him in the tub is the shower door!  When the water shuts off 
and he starts shaking water off I simply close the door until the mess stops!  BRILLIANT! 

UMMMM...  I believe I am done.

He rolls out of the tub, into a fresh towel and we both roll around on the floor for a few minutes.  
For him this is the spa, for me ...... I am going to need another shower for sure!  Now I am the Stinks and he is fruity fresh.

As I type he is napping.  I am on my way back to the bathroom for a quick napalm treatment! 
Because if Butch finds out I gave the dog a bath in the people tub he will pack his bags and move to the YMCA!   Doggie towels and rugs are in the people washer and now I think it's me who smells.  Yardley Lavender Soap can only do so much!

Well after that I am on to my next adventure.......... 
Taxes and my desk! 
great just noticed the book on my desk:
Steering by Starlight
if that doesn't say it all......... 

Sunday, February 7, 2010

A good day in studio & the kitchen!

After a week of running around I hit the studio early this morning.  
Went for the stoneware first followed by porcelain.  
God, I love to throw........ 
Dinnerware for 6, but threw 7 just in case. 

Worked through the noodle bowls and went onto the big serving bowls; moved to the porcelain dinner plates and so it goes.  Got the big kiln loaded; she's going up tonight.  Don't think I could squeeze another mug in there if I had too.  

Looking at the week coming up I wonder if I should break away from the studio and run off to Edinboro to see Jennifer Allen or mid week run down to UK to see Tom Zwierlein, both workshops are free.  Will probably be happy working in the studio this week. 

Always looking for great food to put on the plates Butch thought he would brine a couple turkey legs for the Super Bowl!  YUM!  A tad on the salty side but Wow are these good.  We tried a bourboun/maple syrup brine this year and it's going into the recipe book! 

Maple Bourbon Brined Turkey Legs


  • 2 1/2 pints water
  • 3/4 cup salt
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup bourbon
  • 2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 2 teaspoons red chili flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 turkey drumsticks


In a medium pot, over low heat, add all the ingredients, except the turkey. Cook stirring to combine and dissolve the salt. When salt has dissolved, remove from the heat and let cool. Add the turkey drumsticks to a large resealable plastic bag, and pour in the brine. Seal the bag well, and put into a bowl (in case of leaks). Refrigerate for 24 hours.
After 24 hours, remove the turkey, discard the brine and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a roasting pan, fitted with a rack, add the turkey drumsticks, making sure there is room between each for even cooking. Roast for 90 minutes. Remove from the oven to a serving platter and serve hot or cold.
The fans loved them!! 

Friday, February 5, 2010

There are days and then there are weeks.......

having a week!
Pictured the shelves filled with pots and happily glazing away.
Somebody whack me with a 2" x 4" and get back to reality!

The shelves are empty but the kilns are full and the floor is mopped!
There is a yard chicken cooking in the pressure cooker and I have
exactly to 12 minutes to update the blog while the shuttlecock bubbles away!

This week out to break down shows, brainstorm with gallery owners,
sketch out new ideas for pots, load up on books on tape from the library.
Can't wait to tear into the life story of Warren Buffett and will try to
apply all insights to the pottery business, yeah right, where's that 2x4?
finally tossed the Northern Ohio Clay blog together!

Looked at the calendar this morning and realized I have a few short weeks
before pots need to be delivered to Juma Gallery for an opening on March 5th!
Set that wheel to warp speed!

Ran down to Geode Gallery in Tremont and brainstormed with Gillian.
May 7th she was on board for a dinnerware show!  I have to say I am
very excited about this show.  We are inviting artists to submit one
dinner place setting to be displayed on a very large dinning table!
Tremont is the gallery/restaurant haven to the west side of Cleveland.
Geode is looking to pair with a restaurant in the area to match food and
So happy Marci Selsor & Heidi Brown Heugen will be joining the show!!!
Todd Leech & Theresa Yondo are in the mix too!

Then there have been life's little trials and tribulations....... how does the
Ab-i-nator drive out for pizza, have a tire "blow-out" and do $1600.00
damage to a truck.  Yup, there's that learning curve again!  and looking
for the 2x4 .........

Rachael is back out too sea testing salmon nets and on a second bout of
sea sickness.  Drink your ginger tea!!!

ok yard chicken has been reduced to soup and I am off to the races!

brining those turkey legs in bourbon!!

Monday, February 1, 2010

robert middaugh

my favorite piece in the show.......

finely constructed boxes of an imaginary world........

I found very little written on line about his boxes. His paintings are many but the boxes he constructs are wonderful
little glimpses into a fantastic world. He has created written language and maps to go along.