Sunday, June 29, 2014

MRI's, Doctors, Postponements and Dead chickens.......

My birthday is tomorrow.  Last year I was catching groundhogs and it was 
the best birthday present ever!  This year ....... OYE!  And can I just say I would like a do over for 2014?  What is up with this year?!  It started in January and just keeps rolling.  Enough already! 
Had a tooth pulled, back went out, and now a knee has revolted.  In some small way I wonder if my subconscious knew what was coming because I could have never done shows this year, or taken care of a dog or half the other stuff I usually do.  

When the back went out, an anti inflammation diet was recommended.  Great!  Toss out the grains, legumes, nuts, dairy, all sugar and move to a plant based diet with a little meat thrown in for good measure and a handful of pills, vitamins and herbs. 
I bought a vitamix although now in hindsight I could have just used the pugmill!  But that 2 1/2 hour cleaning would have done me in.  I love the vitamix and have just about smoothied myself to death. 

After too long I realized my back was great and I could touch my palms to the floor without screaming but I went back to the chiropractor because I wondered why my knee was swollen and radiating pain and I was eating too many ibuprofen.  
She ordered X-rays and we both figured it was arthritis.   X-rays back and the joint is intact and looks great!  Well that made me skipy but I fell over.  And I immediately became aware of all the four legged creatures I have ever known.  This two legged, bipedal thing is not so great if 50% or half  goes bad, it's not like I have three others to fall back on.  We just tip over.

 She ordered an MRI.

I have never had an MRI and had no idea what a treat I was in for.  When I arrived with knitting and a stack of Mother Earth News to read, I was told it would take about an hour and I would need to be very still. 
Well there's a challenge.  Ushered into a small room, fill out a form with weird questions, like do I have  a plate in my head and ordered to take off anything metal.  The woman checked me over and said..... Nope, you're wearing a belt and clean out your pockets.  Well there's a private peek into my life...... a couple hex nuts, a huge cotter pin, two quarters (making me immediately happy), two green acorns, a bluejay feather and a cool stone.  Yup, that's it!  

Then we walked to another room with giant white tube.  Hopped on the table.... WAIT!  I forgot my knitting!  Oh you can't knit.  You're going in the tube.  Oh no I'm not.....I thought just my leg was going in the tube.  And she laughed.....  just lay back and here's your panic button.  For what?  and she pressed another button and the whole flipp'n table started taking me into the tiny little tube!  I pressed the panic button!  Hey I think this is the wrong test, is this a stress test?  I signed up for the MRI.  Honestly my heart is racing just typing this out.  And then she asked...... are you claustrophobic?  No.  
and she pressed the damn button and back in the tube I went..... then I reached my arms over my head so I could grab the top of the tube and shoot myself out if I had too!  What demented person invented this thing?  I'm thinking he was a test tube baby.....   With heart racing and fighting the flight or fight thoughts running through my head.  Two tears slid down the sides of my face and into my ear canals and then the voice over the microphone said.... ok here we go..... DON'T MOVE!   I yelled out, wait a minute!  Cleared my ears, put the head phones on that were offered, tilted my head back so I could see the ceiling behind me, ignoring all neck cramps and we began.  It was like laying in a jack hammer.  When it was finally over and she asked me why I hadn't fallen asleep I just looked her and calmly said;  Get me out of this thing now.  And then she said....... Oh my did you have a panic attack because we could have blindfolded you!  my inside voice said; WTF?   I asked her if she was practicing her hostage taking skills?  She smiled and said you are lucky it was your knee and not your hip because then you would have had to go to the middle of tube!!  Nope.  
A friend later told me to take a jelly jar full of bourbon next time.  There will be no next time! 

After years of gardening, speed skating, landscaping, wedging clay on a cement floor I tore my meniscus.... I didn't even know I had one to tear.   

They cut me loose and said report to an orthopedic surgeon for surgery.  
The hunt began a week ago.  And do we all have our stuffing come out because the 
best date I could get in to see anybody is July 29th!  Then I blew a meniscus in my head somewhere.
Seriously, 6 weeks?  I called two pages of Dr.s, one was booked until the end of Sept. 
The best encounter to date:  Told receptionist I had a flap tear and needed surgery.  Receptionist says:  Oh, the Dr. only does knee replacement surgery but why don't we schedule you because if the tear is really bad we can just do a joint replacement!!!  and then my head blew off..... 
I had the feeling if you sat in his waiting room too long you were getting a knee replacement even though you really don't need one.  

And I can tell you how this is going to go down.
1. By the end of July I will have come to terms with the 
pain and swelling and learned to live with it and just forget about the busy Dr's. 
2.  I will youtube the surgery channel and fix it myself..... kinda like the kitchen project. 
3.  I will call the vet, have him fix it and get a free puppy....  they do anesthesia by the pound.

Gardening is a lot better when you can bend your knee..... 

Along another line, the business line of life: 
Next weekend should have found me moving into a new gallery space at W78th street studios.  
I have prepared, waited, put off other shows to move in.  It's a 650 square foot space, it's a lot to get ready.  It's a lot to fill.  Friday night we ran into the owner and I said I was really looking forward to moving in next week.  And he said oh the space won't be ready for another 3 months.  
And when were you going to tell me this?  
OK I know mercury is retrograde and there is just a lot of crap swirling around the heavens right now but honestly this is just bad business and bad communication and you sir have screwed with the way I earn a living.  I wrote a bridge burning letter but after talking it over with a good friend decided not to burn the bridge, get the surgery, grit my teeth and wait.  I am writing a letter concerning communication skills........ in a PC way and not my flame throwing, underpants on fire way.
I have delivered all the pots that were slated for my awesome gallery opening out to other galleries. 

Then yesterday one of the chickens died.  She had been sort of moping around and had never really recovered from last winter.  Yesterday morning she really struggled to get down from the coop and out in the yard.  I picked her up and placed her in the yard, she didn't seem to interested.  It was intensely hot yesterday and she was dead when I checked on her in the afternoon.  I walked over to the door to let the other girls out.  Usually when I open the door they bolt for the grass but today they ran over to the dead chicken and then ran back to me.  I know, she's gone, go eat bugs, I'll take care of it.  I picked her up and placed her in the fresh grass of the compost pile.  The gang of eight wandered around the compost pile while I returned with the shovel.  No, you girls go eat bugs, they finally moved along. I shoveled out a deep hole big enough for a chicken. (and had a lightbulb moment of how I screwed up my knee, digging holes!)  With the hole dug deep, I went back to the compost pile, picked up the chicken and returned to the gapping hole in the azelea bed.  All the other chickens were standing around the hole looking in.  I placed the old girl in the hole, where all eight chickens looked down in the hole for a few seconds.  I took up my shovel and the gang of eight returned to eating bugs while I filled in the hole.  You were a good chicken and you will be missed........  we are now down to eight. 

and now the garden........

We have had our share of rain this June and now the 
temperatures are soaring.  

These mushrooms appeared under the wisteria tree and in a bed of roses, one cool morning.
 I was just fascinated, there were thousands.  
By 2 pm they gone, withered and returned to the mulch...... 

I wondered if they had come to see the flush of rose blossoms.  
Is this what we look like at parade or sporting event?  
They did seem to have a community consciousness.

The elements have turned the yard into the little shop of horrors.

The way back is out of control too.
The potatoes were looking great until the rainstorms.
Now I have smashed potatoes but they're blooming.  

First blueberry! 

and so it begins......... zucchini consciousness.

Pickles soon!

Kohlrabi!  one of my all time fav's.

and yikes do I have peas!  
These are dwarf grey's, now standing well over 6 feet. 

Onions are just hurling themselves out of the ground! 

and the next blog will show just what gardening can do for you :) 

Studio stuff first......

The last couple weeks have been off the charts busy, chaotic and life altering; so for the first time in blog history I am going to break this down into a couple posts, unprecedented! 

The studio is busy!  

Finally got the beast installed, used and cleaned.
The beast pugged 800 pounds of clay in 3 hours......
cleaning:  2 1/2 hours.
Broke the whole thing down piece so I could wrap my
brain around how it works.  Simple and interesting
but I can see why going to one clay body is good choice!


The shelves are filling rapidly and I am ready to start stacking on
the floor.  It's just too darn hot to fire a kiln at the moment.
Cold front goes through on Wed.  so we wait......

Greenware shelves.....

Evolution of the square plate in this studio.....
I remember starting these years ago and I just never liked them very much
but I couldn't walk away from the idea or design.  
Over the years they have grown from a very simple puny slabs to thick slabs with 
extruded rims, impressed rims and now feet.  When they come out 
of the glaze kiln I'll let you know how currently feel about these..... 

Bisque table is waxed and waiting......  still.

 First student work waiting to be fired!

It's Sunday ....... today we mop, clean and get ready to start again on Monday morning.  

Monday, June 16, 2014

It's Here!!

The pugmill arrived today at 2:00 p.m.!  The awesome delivery driver was great!  He loaded it on a pallet jack, wheeled it down the driveway, walked around the studio, wandered the path of the garden; declared this place paradise and offered to help get it on the table!  Dude, you rock!  This guy loves his job.  

Through a vast array of miscommunication and mercury retrograde in the sign of Cancer, it was time to go underground.  Seems if it could go wrong it did this past week but after much muddling, stuff sort of got done.  And I will be staying underground until July 1st, as Mercury goes direct ..... then look out! 

Feels like I have new studio.  
If you put everything out on the driveway, build a wall and start over you get a new studio. 
There was too much and loads got tossed or reused but in reality I probably need a studio double this place.   Right now it works and everything is on wheels.   

Pretty gobsmacked at the new glaze area! 

This is the new throwing area and big news I am now teaching one day a week.  
Since I am off the road I have time and I really like it!

I have always lived trying to listen and not react with stubborn freewill and boy has that been a hard lesson.  I put it out to the universe I needed a dog, I wanted a dog and it was time for a dog!  A couple months went by and no dog.  So I figured the universe knew something I didn't and thought when the right dog comes along it will magically show up.  That's how the last three dogs got here and it worked out great.  But no dog...... heavy heart. 

Then last week I got a call from a gal who wanted to take pottery classes and could she come see the studio and talk about classes.  Sure.  She showed up on the day everything was sitting in the driveway and I was on a ladder with a nail gun in my hand and a ribbon of nails clenched in my teeth.  
She brought her dog...... a 6 week old Aussie Shepard pup.  She wanted to bring the puppy to classes.  
Sure and you might get a discount!  This morning Tag and owner showed up at 8:30 am for a 2 hour class.  I got my puppy fix and will get my puppy fix every Monday morning for 2 hours.  
He is very well behaved and naps during class.  

I guess the universe does listen...... :) 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Change is in the Air.........

The brush piles are gone and I can see the garden again!  Yeah!!  
Spent all day Saturday feeding the chipper.  
By the end of the day my arms looked like
I had been in one big cat fight, torn up!  
You're just not having fun until somebody is bleeding.
Cannot impress how happy I am this project is done!   

chip pile for chicken bedding and garden paths, should last a while!

The chickens thought they were under fire.  
They managed to 
lay a few eggs during the bombardment.

The poppies are on!  Although a rainy Sunday beat them down a bit.

This is my first year growing peas on a fence and wow I will never go 
back to floppy peas 
 They are up to my chin and hoping they don't go much higher or I'll 
need a step ladder to pick them.

Neil the Cat found the Nepeta and he's done a pretty good job laying around in it all day.

Back garden on a misty Monday morning....

First strawberry of the season!!  
the onion photo bombed....... 

Leeks are up! 

Meanwhile back in the studio...... 
After a challenging year of joint and back issues I bit the bullet last week and bought a pugmill
I have put this off for 30 years.  I have spent more on cars than this piece of machinery.

Bailey called and said it would be here Tuesday or Wed.  
Sunday I was just toast from chipping and walked around the studio looking for 
the perfect place to put this new piece of machinery.  
The studio was full up.  
Stood back, scratched my head and started moving boxes of clay, work tables and 
all the other stuff that goes in a studio.... 
Ran to the Depot to pick up lumber, dig out the air compressor, saw etc and 
the new studio was in motion.  By 10:30 pm I closed the door to the studio 
and thought how does this happen..  When I put the order for the pugmill in and considered what needed to be done to the studio I would have kept wedging, wrists be damned. 

Not sure why I need a 100 drywall ware boards..... 
oh wait that was the left over drywall from the last project! 

Wouldn't it be easier to just build a bigger studio...... 

I started my day thinking I would just unload a kiln, wax pots, move a few things to make a place..... 

 Stay tuned for more adventures with Dali Mama.........  completely unknowing and mystified.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

this is the song that never ends..........

Everyday I walk to the studio and everyday the tree mess beckons.....  I couldn't stand it one more day.
(and I really hope my chiropractor doesn't read this blog!) 

In the cool morning I trenched, through a bucket of tree roots and an old brick foundation, grrrrr..... 
After two hours of huffing and puffing, the fence was nailed in and I thought about pitching a program to HGTV called;  Projects with Mom.  
I am not sure I would attempt half the stuff around here if I had not seen the woman with a tool belt strapped to her tiny waist, long blonde hair pulled back in a cute little pony tail and usually wearing flip flops; while jumping up and down on an old brick foundation (kind of like a weasel on rabbit) .... you've seen her; The ReHab Addict.  I just called DirectTV and had our cable shut off..... I have to stop watching this stuff!  Seriously, projects like this is why they made..... GUYS!  (Well, when you're older than the dirt you're shoveling......)

Yippee, around 1 pm the calvary showed up!  
Took one look at my project and tried to make a quick get-a-way.

She missed the trenching but hung around for stacking and boy did we stack! 

and still a pile to be split and stacked..... 
(the song that will never end!)

This morning I walked around the garden, recovering..... 
The beans are up!!  Planted a bit too close and time for thinning.

but in the middle of the night the poppies bloomed!  
They have been so slow to bloom this year but the plants are loaded with buds, 
more than I can ever remember.....

The peonies are perfuming the yard, a nice transition from the lilacs.

The digitalis is up and blooming too! 

And finally....... last year after waiting a few years to get this plant the Aquilegia canadensis is blooming!  I was so happy it survived the winter and I just love it! 

Now I can get to the studio!