Monday, December 19, 2016

Maybe we are all just a little blind........

This dog I have studied and studied and allowed myself to love unabashedly has again surprised me!   

Doesn't he look angelic?  This is his diabolical look, he's plotting.  

The last week, B. Miller walked in the room (twice) and announced: YOUR dog is upstairs, you forgot to lock the baby gate..... again.  I got him down for you.  First off, I'm pretty sure I locked the baby gate because I heard the click!  But then I did laundry and ran up and down the stairs a couple hundred times and maybe I forgot to lock the gate, it's totally possible but the second time I thought; No, the dog is just a wizard.  Then yesterday B. Miller was sitting in his office and we all heard a clap of thunder and he watched the dog wedge his paw in the bottom of the gate and spring it open heading up the the stairs.  B. Miller announced; "Wow OUR dog is smarter than a toddler!"  Yeah, now he's brilliant and OUR dog.  I wondered when the MENSA certificate would show up.  Kirby was on the landing shaking like a leaf.  I opened the window and let the cold December wind blow in and rain hit his face.  He sniffed the air and calmed down enough to let me get him down the stairs.  One step at a time, slowly.  Got him through the gate, took him outside and we stood in the rain.  He is fine if he can be in the weather, yeah, me too.  The thunder and lightening passed with one clap and the rain set in, so we walked and he calmed down.  Back in the house I toweled him down and as he settled in to clean his feet and fall asleep snoring,  I bungee-d the baby gate.  Now we can't get upstairs without swearing. We bend over, un-bungee the gate, go through the gate, pick up laundry or supplies that need to be hauled to the second floor, turn around in the tiny landing area, bend over, re-bungee the gate; while saying; STAY, stay, stay, stay....... stay!  I'll be right back.  I'm pretty sure he's laughing on the inside.  

It's winter here in Ohio.  Well only on Fridays.  The Friday for Bizarre Bazzar, I packed up 6 boxes of pots and hit the road for the first big show and storm.  2 hours to get to Cleveland.  Snow blind!  

And for those idiots with giant trucks outfitted with plows or 19 year old girls in Honda's who are crash test dummies, slow down and get in line.  AND excuse me but does blowing that horn make anybody a better driver?  NO!  And for the people who are terrified to drive, moving down the road slower than a paralyzed turtle with their flashers.  Yup, we all know exactly how bad it is and yup we can see you doing the beep and creep, gripping your steering wheel at 10 and 2 while peering through the steering wheel and peeing your pants.  Can we all just sanely get to where we are going?  

and for the record...... Bizarre Bazzar reported 5,000 people coming through the door!  
We are Cleveland and we drive in snow! 

Made it home and drove back to Cleveland for the B. Miller Christmas Party.  4 hours in a car.  
We made it in time for dessert, no drinks except espresso because I need to be just a little more wired.  I logged more hours in the car on Friday than a trip to Key West!  And stop saying; JUST STAY HOME!   He has to attend because it's his job and we were shocked to see so many at the party, nobody stayed home.  Home by midnight and back on the road in the morning.  I unlocked the gallery at 9:58 am, the show opened at 10 am.  The show closed at 9 pm, drive back home, sleep and re-opened at 10 am Sunday morning.  The show closed at 6 pm and I was toast.  And people brought their dogs to this festivity!  Neighbor Alan came over at the end of the day to announce a dog had pooped in his space during the height of the shopping day.  Seriously, if you are going to bring a dog to a party maybe you should take Fifi or Fido for a long walk first.

No recovery day!  Monday morning time to get a last minute order out; place setting for 4, due on Dec. 23rd.  

Third Friday rolled around 6 days later and we got belted again.   I guess that's why they call it the snow belt. I'm driving around with 300 pounds of sand bags in the bed of my truck.  It works great! 
But I could be killed by sand if the load shifts.  

I love people who show up at a gathering announcing the weather forecast.  "Wow did you hear what's coming?"  "Freezing rain by 10 pm!"  "What time do you close?"  "10 pm".  A cheerful soul looking at mugs says just loud enough for the entire gallery to hear; "Yup, people are going to die tonight".  
Merry Christmas sir and keep shopping!  

Then yesterday the temperature shot to almost 50 degrees after a week of subzero weather, 40 mph winds and snow.  I cleared the driveway.  Chipping the last few feet of ice off the driveway, the rain started.  It rained hard.  The 30 inches of snow melted fast!  Then the wind shifted to the North and temperature dropped to 19 degrees and we have a skating rink.  I blew the dust of my yak trax and took the dog out.  The deer were sliding around, the squirrels were fainting and the dog was lucky he had 4 legs.  

Speaking of blindness....... we have lived in our home for 30+ years now.  The house has taken on many many transformations.  6 years ago we tossed a large couch that.... well how do I put this, had become sticky.  The kids had moved out and the couch needed to go.  B. Miller had staked out the old front room as his new office.  Even though he primarily uses the kitchen table for all "office work".  I chalked it up to a midlife crisis and gave up on ever using it as a living room again.  The old dinning room where I fed up to 15 people at a large round table was gutted and turned into a weird room that housed a blueprint table and plants. 

Then we Face-timed our kids last Spring and they said:  Are you sitting in the house on lawn chairs?   We had looked for furniture and could not find anything we liked or could agree on or fit in the tiny rooms of an old Victorian house.  We had become blind to the interior of the house..... for 6 years, the children informed us.   We work a lot!  I live in the studio and yard and B. Miller lives in his car.  We sleep here, occasionally eat here and try to catch PBS once in awhile.  We need a few chairs, computers and a good coffee pot.  We have exactly that!  No other furniture was really needed.  You get a couch, you fall asleep and become lazy.  B. Miller and I decided; no couch!  Nothing soft to sit on in any room.  Apparently a bit too Spartan for the children.  So when the holidays rolled around and after my declaration of not leaving home this Christmas, the children gave us the ultimatum.  Buy furniture or we are not coming home.  So we started the hunt, once again for unnecessary furniture.  I ordered a lovely couch from Macy's, paid for it, cleaned the house, took a day out of the studio waiting with unbridled anticipation for a delivery truck that never showed up.  Oh sorry we never called to tell you; IT'S OUT OF STOCK!  Then we went to LazyBoy and loved the piece on the floor but had to be built in Tenn. and there was an 8 week wait.  And then we found another one but it was in Chicago and they couldn't guarantee when it would be delivered.  How hard can this be I thought, I am waving money at you!  

We sat on so many couches and love seats, my butt was tired and I lost count. Too big, too low, too soft and can you help me out of this one?  And we live in the land of giant furniture.  Furniture today is HUGE!  Why?  How much padding do we need in this country?  And a couch with cup holders?  Wondering if I pulled the seat cushion up, could there be a port-a-potty?
But here is the couch that just put me over the edge and I had to go home immediately!  This primo, top of the line couch has a refrigerator, cup holders, motorized recliner and optional massage feature.  
Imagine the change you could find in this thing after a year of lounging!  I could park at meters for a year with the quarters wedged in those rolls!  And I bet there would be enough popcorn, crumbs and silverware to feed a third world country!  B. Millers eyes rolled back in his head and we were in a downward trajectory.  "If we get this we have to get a bigger TV!"  Who buys this stuff?  And that is a lot of STUFF-ing! 

  How about a treadmill instead of a giant piece of ass cuddling fabric?   And then a local giant furniture store had a Black Friday sale and guaranteed delivery before Christmas.  So I ventured out..... again!  I found three models that would work, tracked down a salesman and waved my checkbook at him.  Choice #1.... out of stock.  Choice #2 only available in teal.  Choice #3 is available.  I almost kissed him!   We cleaned, ordered a new rug, got an old chair recovered because it's the first thing we ever bought over 30 years ago.  And why does recovering a chair cost more than a brand new couch?    

And do you want to know how happy I was when the salesman told me the couch should last 30 years if we take care of it and my first thought..... oh thank God, in 30 years I should be dead!  
So this is it and I can never do this again.  And dear children you are not allowed to eat in this room, not one cookie, not one beer and keep your feet off the furniture! 

We're so happy!!! 

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Just Rolling In It.........

There are days when you walk the earth with toilet paper stuck to your shoe and never know it..... it usually happens right after Thanksgiving because we are waddling around in a food coma.  B. Miller has worked too many hours, I have skid marks on my face from falling asleep at the wheel, potters wheel, Kirby is making crap circles on the lawn ..... because it's his job and he is a professional!  

We had a very different Thanksgiving this year, we volunteered at our local kitchen for and with fellow humans who need a hot meal or just need to eat in the company of other humans.   We walked through the back door of the kitchen and were met with more volunteers than I could count.  In deed, once we got rolling there were more volunteers than folks who showed up for the turkey dinner.  How great is that!?  The cook roasted off 21 turkeys, all donated, everything was donated from the applesauce to the pumpkin pie!  We cleared tables, washed dishes, talked with just about everybody including people who were not so chatty.  I was ready to hit the road about two hours into the dinner and suggested we head out to our slam'n salmon dinner at home.  Nope, B. Miller tossed me the keys and said; go ahead I'm having a great time; I can walk home later.  And I was worried about him!  We stayed to stack chairs, and dishes and get ready for the kitchen to lay out a spread again on Monday at 5 pm.  We were some of the last volunteers to leave.  One of my kids asked if it made us feel better?  Well, we weren't home by ourselves, eating quietly and staring at the dog.  We were with people who truly did enjoy being together, end of story.  The people served also chatted and wished the volunteers  Happy Thanksgiving.  If we were tired of standing on our feet we were invited to sit down and have a meal with the guy who sits on the local corner, with a wagon of his worldly goods and knits a mean hat!  I might end up taking classes from him.  He's a pretty nice guy and he needs more yarn, I can help with that as I am a closet knitter.  Alas after 4 hours, our dinner waited for us at home.

We don't eat like this very often.  
Today is Wednesday and time for $5 sushi at the local Giant Eagle Supermarket!  Woo Hoo bring it on!  And we each get a fortune cookie!  

Friday we got up and went to work ...... again.  We had the Black Friday sale at the gallery.  It was great!  I participated in a barn sale up the road with my pal and garden buddy, Maggie.   Maggie owns and runs Wood Road Salad Farm. (doing that one again this weekend!)   Made it over to Todd Leech and Stephanie Craig's studio sale, chatted and ran into more friends.  Picked up a lovely tea bowl to add to my collection!  Beautiful work!!

Ran down to the gallery and packed up for the Lakeland Show on Monday and Tuesday.  OMG!  I love Lakeland!  It was so great to see old friends, new friends, catch up on lives and new adventures!
Probably could have used one day instead of two but it was great.  The tribe of which I am a satellite, lives!!

The studio is busy and I love that!  Kilns going up and down, one right after the other.  Lots of carving these days.

new combinations discovered .....

Kirby Update

Kirby has discovered geese and leaves.   This guy still delights and stuns me!  
The first big leaf blow down was about 2 weeks ago.  With the wind whistling and leaf devils turning; I rattled his collar and he danced.  Hitting the driveway, littered with crunchy, dead, dry leaves, he turned to go back to the house.  He walked around looking for pavement which seems to be his security blanket and that pavement was no where to be found...... thanks I'll pee on the patio today.  Nope, leaves are fun buddy, let's go!  I hooked him on the leash and off we went.  The leash is also his security blanket, it calms him down.  We found a big pile, I jumped in!  He freaked at the noise!  I tossed leaves on him and buried him.  He exploded and realized it was a game.  I stood back and tried to get pictures.  
He was a whirling furball!  Spinning in circles, popping up, diving in and just playing.  

Another fall activity..... we have huge flocks of geese in the cemetery and he can hear them. He starts pacing in the house or studio and I know it's time to collar up and head outside. I can see the flock and he can smell the flock.  He charges into the middle of the flock and he stands proud as they take to flight.  With his nose in the air, eyes closed, amidst the cacophony, he smiles his big dopey smile as they take off.  He looks to the sky every time..... I wonder if he can feel the wind on his face.  He seems to delight in the sensory overload!  It is a wonder to watch and feel the wind on my face I cannot imagine how it feels on his.  
These are all new things for him and he is thriving.  He's not as clingy some days, he's no longer racing me to the door.  If I pick up my keys he heads to his favorite spot on the carpet in B Miller's office.  I can't imagine my life without this guy. He makes me slow down, play, see the world a little different...... yup, it's a love affair. 

and yet somethings will never change.......  
That bed is still pretty clean..... :) 

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Politics just because......... argh.

Well it's been a week and we are still here.  Shocking as the election results may have been we will survive, maybe not the way a lot of us expected to survive but we will endure.  I have had too many emails this week saying; I can't respond I'm still in mourning or still stunned or I still can't get out of bed.  I wallowed for 12 hours, caught up on the sleep I missed for 3 days heading into the election and election night and then went to the studio.  

Why...... #1 as a working potter, this time of the year I don't have the luxury of being stunned.  If I am in the studio I'm generally pretty happy.  Why the hell would I make pots to sell or give to friends, family or customers that were full of anger,  angst or just plain old lack luster energy.  Believe me, your attitude shows up in your work!  This pottery thing is not my therapy it's my chosen vocation.  You want lifeless lack luster pots go buy shit from China at your local big box store. 

Ok that said, I have never taken a handout from the government in the form of subsidies, insurance, bail outs, social security or food stamps.  Nope not even when Butch was laid off for way too long and I had little kids and we did a lot of hand wringing and sweating.  There wasn't a net, there just wasn't.  By the grace of whatever you believe in, we made it and we dug out.  There is a part of me that feels very accountable.  To whom?  To everyone and everything...... my family, myself, the planet, the human race and great scheme of all that keeps things spinning.  We always had a big garden, freezer and a couple ways to bring money into the house even though neither of us had a college education.  (Yeah, we are the working white, blue collar workers who didn't vote for Trump.)  I remember, vividly the stories my Mother and Grandparents told about the depression and what you did to make it through.  My Mom could not eat oatmeal and had squirreled away over 300 pounds of sugar in 5# bags...... all over the house.  And white cotton sheets and canning jars and bottle caps and coupons and how much butter and sausage did we count in both freezers?  Yup, Mom was a hoarder!  My Dad got a deer and turkey every year too.  Now my yard is overrun with deer and I'm not eating the fish out of Lake Erie due to toxicity.  Local communities had to hire sharp shooters to cull the deer herd they were so out of control. In my 62 trips around the sun stuff has been turned on it's head quite rapidly, maybe too rapidly.  People are afraid to use public bathrooms ...... and that is sooooo not what this is about, pee freely people, I support you!  
That sanity pendulum is swinging wildly these days! 

So what happened last Tuesday?  My 2 cents.........  

as I watched the last 15 month shit show unfold I was pissed.... it's the only word I can think of at the moment.  We had a stage full of candidates on both sides but who were the odds on favorites;  Jeb Bush, another Bush!  But then everybody got it wrong and Trump go it, Wow!  Then I watched the democrats and I loved Bernie but thought he was so far left he would end up being a lame duck president so I voted for Hillary but LOVED Bernie and everything Bernie stood for!  And he was passionate and deserving and vetted and he was giving Hillary a run for her money.  
And then the RNC came to my hometown of Cleveland and backers with boat loads of cash pulled out.  Like Motorola, JP Morgan, Wells Fargo, UPS, Ford, Walgreens, Microsoft  and low and behold CocaCola!  Hey these are the big guys and they must know something I don't know but then we all know what a complete jack ass Trump was.  Cleveland did make money on the RNC but for local businesses it was a bust, a big bust!  It's being reported that local business fared much better with the World Series than the RNC, and we didn't even win the World Series! 

Then the DNC happened and the Debbie Wasserman-Shultz story broke so Donna Brazile stepped in. Then the debates happened and the Donna Brazile story broke and then the emails happened again and again and again......... and that's when I got really irritated and I couldn't even get a "do over" and vote for Bernie.  So there the country sat with another omnipotent Clinton, who I have to say wasn't very great in the speech department but she had a super fantastic resume' and she had worked her entire life for what seemed to be the good of humanity and she was vetted.  Ok I'm in but she still had that guy named Bill standing behind her and she had hitched herself to a very loyal staff member Huma Abedin who was married to the jack ass Anthony Wiener.  Huma was pretty impressive after I read up and did my homework on her background but I cringed at knowing Bill and Anthony would be close to the White House and had cell phones and a box of cigars.  But the alternative, insert noun, pronoun or verb of your choice here, Trump was not even possible to wrap my brain around and he had hooked his wagon to Steve Bannon and Roger Ailes.  I was slogging through the cesspool of election madness.

Another way this plays into my psyche?  I have watched our local community college hire a President who double dips and possibly triple dips.  He retired and within a month the board hired him back!  So here is a guy who made $280,000 a year, retired.  Was rehired a month later for $256,500 a year because he gets a pension.  And he gets 35 days of vacation and numerous other benefits and he collects Social Security next year.  This is also true for our own town.  What happened to mentorship?  When do we make room for the next up and comers?  No we keep hiring assholes who should be put out to pasture with their more than adequate retirement funds.  We ran two geezers on the National ticket; a billionaire and multimillionaire!  What's a commoner to do?  

So am I pissed that Trump is in the White House, you bet.  Am I pissed at Hillary, you bet.  Am I pissed at my country; you bet. Am I pissed at the media, so pissed I have almost run out of words. Honest to God, I think we are just a bunch of hairless lemmings being lead around by Jake Tapper or Anderson Cooper. Am I pissed at the RNC and the DNC, OMG my hair is on fire! 

 Am I pissed at myself?  No, not really. Why?  Because I go to city council meetings, school board meetings, try to get through my day so I can sleep at night and I'm accountable to me.  So by Thursday I was able to go to the studio, walk the dog, and sleep at night.  And yes I have a lot of neighbors who voted for Trump and I'm not moving either.  

When I got up Wednesday morning and I said; Holy Fuck and I think I have said the "F" work more in 48 hours than in my entire life, my roommate with fringe benefits and all around good guy said; Wow but I think we're gonna be ok.  And then my hair caught on fire again and I had to take the dog for a walk so Kirby didn't burst into flames too.  Later in the day, over dinner we went to the same conservation.  He works in construction management and the construction stocks were starting to rally.  He said over salad;  I think Trump is gonna go after infrastructure and my teeny little company wants that and will do well with that policy; we might have a chance to grow.  It's November and we have been lucky the weather has held because I can keep more guys on the payroll which means they will have Christmas.  When winter hits early, those guys and their families don't get Christmas.  Construction technology has changed so much that some jobs can keep working 12 months and that keeps people working and that flows back into the local economy.   It was the first positive spin I had heard.  Ok, let me chew on that for a minute.  Second point; there are 319 million people here and he didn't win the popular vote.  
Young voters primarily went for Hillary. 

Oh my hair is still on fire about the women's rights, the environment, global warming, HEALTH CARE and sooooo many other issues.   He couldn't go there, he would only let himself go to building and repairing infrastructure..... whatever gets you through, I'm still stuck on the environment and women's rights. We have a bigoted misogynist in the White House that just gave permission for every closet bigot, racist and misogynist to come out of the closet.  It's getting ugly, we already see it in the schools and public forums.  Buckle up folks but we did this!  Yes WE!  

Then I went to YouTube and started watching old Carl Sagan interviews and I thought;  YES!  Science trumps assholes and blackholes!  And Carl was spot on as to where we stood in the universe and this place in history.  A speck, nothing more than a speck.  Thank you Carl Sagan!  And sure enough the sun came up on Wednesday!  

So for the immediate future I'm going to stay pretty involved with my community, although not in a political way.  Plant a bigger garden, say hello to my neighbor and be accountable for myself here on the planet.  

and can I remind everybody...... you don't live in Syria!    

Carl Sagan I want you to know I'm going to the lab now......... 

and the shit show continues as the naysayers and slime slingers are lining up to the kiss the ring that back handed them.  So gross, so utterly and completely gross........ on both sides.  We as a nation have an awful lot of soul searching to do

this is my last blog on politics for a super long time....... and I don't think I am going to answer comments on this blog post.  Regular programing will resume in a week or so....... 
Everyone..... helmets and pads! 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016


Well it finally happened, the noble steed and faithful clown car bit the dust.  I’m still doing cartwheels and secretly cheered as the little car made it’s final journey to the boneyard of all things living out their prime. 

2006 Nissan Versa - 294,000 miles……….. a moment of silence please.

Over the last two months I would grab the keys hanging on the hook next to the coffee pot, sigh heavily and say prayers out the door and all the way to the grocery store or doggy food palace. 
It always made it. Unless Mercury was retrograde then all bets were off and I would rather ride a bike, donkey, walk or take the bus. Every time I returned, Butch would laugh and ask; Don’t you just love this car?  The shocks were gone, the seat conformed to his butt and not mine, the rubber stuff on the steering wheel was in shreds (from me gripping it so hard while praying), the seats are thread bare (just on his side) but the darn thing kept running and looked great.  I needed a jar of grease and crowbar to get out of this car.  I drove with my cell phone in hand and my chiropractor on speed dial. He paid $78.00 for new plastic hubcaps every time the beast threw a shoe on a construction site or hit a pot hole.  He ran it through the car wash every week and paid for the high gloss wax.  The oil was religiously changed every 3,000 miles.  

When the heater quit last winter, he drove that car like he was touring the arctic.  He would have to undress to get out of the car!  Hats, double gloves, double sweaters.  In the winter the car had an aroma of hot coffee or chocolate with a hint of donuts and overtones of fish sandwiches.  Oh the drive through windows this car had been through.  When fall arrived this year he gleefully annouced; I’m getting an electric space heater! I can plug it into the converter and then into the cigarette lighter (yes we are that old).  The thought of lighting this car on fire pleased me immensely but then I just looked at him and said the best wife words I could come up with:  Are you nuts?!     

On the last voyage to (appropriately) Walmart we hit the big speed bump.  I can’t even remember why we're going to Walmart…….. fashion trends, Christmas decorations, pallet of toilet paper……. not important.  It was early evening and the temperatures were low 50’s after a balmy unseasonably warm day.  The fog began to rise and the condensation clouded the windows before we backed out of the driveway.  Noticing when we jumped in the car Butch had draped a towel across his lap.  I started to say something but my butt bounced off the floor sending shockwaves to my brain.  (dammit this car will never die, my inside voice said). And after 34 years of marriage you just learn not to ask about some things.  The little clear hole on the windshield was starting to close and my tunnel vision narrowed, this is ridiculous!  I leaned over and flipped the defroster on high and noticed a distinct stench of engine coolant.  B. Miller leaned over, flipped the switch off, whipped the towel off his lap and furiously started wiping the window……. while driving!  I flipped it back on while he wiped and once the stench hit me, I got a fine spray of engine coolant…… through the vents of the car!  I don’t know a lot but I know that’s just not right! 

Me: Are you really planning on driving this thing all winter?  
Him:  Yeah, I really have to get 300,000 miles on this car!
Me:  Is your insurance paid up? 
and then the conversation went south and you know you’re talking to someone who has lost touch with sanity.
Him:  I think I’ll put it in storage for the winter, it will be great next summer because the air conditioner still works great.  Your truck over heats in the summer so I can drive that this winter. 
Me:  ……… my truck?
Him: I’m taking it in to the dealer on Wednesday, they can fix it.  
and as we turned into Walmart I heard a distinctive clunk from the front end…. What’s that? 
Him: Don’t worry it only makes that noise when I turn right, it’s fine when I turn left. 
Me:……… You know this car is a death trap.

Wednesday the dealer called; Mr. Miller, you have a cracked blocked (no kidding!) and the coolant was really low (because I just had a facial!)  total to fix it; $7200.00.  I drove him to the dealership to pick it up.  It was a quiet ride for him, not so much for me.   He went in to pick it up and the mechanics all came out to express their condolences on the loss of this great car.  OMG, get over it guys, it's a car.  And then the service manager whipped the long diagnostic report over the counter so Butch could see all the reasons to put this car out of it's misery.  Then the final straw and snapped Butch to his senses.  The service manger said.  That will be $21.99; we changed the oil for you and washed it.  I had to walk away!  Butch grabbed the keys and said: You changed the oil?  and he paid the $21.99.  The final insult to injury. 

He donated the car to public radio for the car auction. 

Friday morning arrived, he stayed home from work.  Kirby was nervous too.

As the tow truck pulled up to the curb on a rainy Friday morning, I thought thank God we live in 2016 and this wasn’t a horse!  

So sad the car that he had spent so many miles in was dragged away.  How American! They get the money and we get a deduction….. we are waiting to see what this car goes for.  That $5.00 deduction will really help this year! 


Thursday, October 20, 2016

Shows...... what not to do...... again!

After the show in July, I thought I got this show thing nailed.  So when I started packing for this show my inside voice kept saying EDIT; but my hands kept packing!  Why? 

Because I have not done this show since they required costumes and had port-a-potties I really didn't know what the market would be.  I have memories or rather nightmares of wearing skirts, jerkins, leggings and clogs, I sold pottery and was the best damn pottery wench you could behold.  Clipping my truck keys to the skirt waistband, out of sight of fair goers because what respectable pottery wench in days of yore drove a truck?  At the end of the day it was inevitable, one had to use the big blue box.  I backed in, as the frontal approach was just not happening, hoisted my enormous skirt and heard my truck keys hit the rim of the toilet seat and splash to the neither regions below.  My reaction, spin on my heels to what...... try and catch them?  Whence forth my glasses flew off my head and dropped next to my keys.... I could almost see them, it was all a blur.  The magic of adrenalin and shear panic meant I no longer had to pee. I burst from the port-a-potty pulling up my drawers and yanking down my stupid bellowing skirt and sputtering the words; Holy Shit!  As the line of people waiting to use the port-a-potty gasped and laughed. I called for the backup keys 2 hours away.  The office asked me to fill out an envelope and my glasses and keys would be mailed back to me.  Ewww, eww, eww.... they promised they would be sanitized as this happens all the time.  

So when they asked me to submit my application to the show I said; Are kidding me, I cannot costume up anymore.  They assured me no more port-a-potties and no more costumes!  Ok, I'm in....... see what a push over I am?  That's how I got a dog ......  

The last time I attended I had very different work.  Painted holly berries and wisteria and I was just dabbling in raku..... it was a long time ago.  So what is the market now?  It's a big 4 day show.  It used to be a great crowd.  It's $10 to get in the door and $5 to park on the lawn or free to take a shuttle in.  
The committee of red shirted ladies is amazing and take care of their artists.  Bravo ladies!  One of the red shirted ladies said they were expecting 10,000 people if the weather stayed sunny.  What kind of pottery would 10,000 people like?  So I packed it all.  

They had moved the show from the huge flat field under big circus tents.  I was assured we were still under a big circus tent but I should bring a white canopy too.  Great I just sold my white canopy after the last show of vowing never to do shows again.  I called Sam's Club on Thursday and they had 4 in stock.  Awesome.  The weekend came and the weekend went.  Monday morning I jumped in the truck and dashed to Sam's club...... what tents, it's Christmas!  Christmas trees greeted me at the door and there was candy cane poop everywhere.  Hey it's September!  The Christmas Crap arrived on Saturday morning and we reloaded the truck with summer fun crap.  Seriously?! 
I ran to Lowe's,  I ran to Costco, I ran to Home Depot, I ran to Petities Garden Center...... Christmas had arrived over night and if one more Cindy Lou Who told me it was now officially Christmas I was going to choke the tinsel out of her.  The last very nice Cindy Lou Who told me to order it online.  I order from CostCo.  I paid the extra bucks to guarantee delivery for the day needed.  It's basically a Sleezy-Up but lined with silver, not white, oh no, shiny silver.  It will have to work and maybe the shiny force field will save me.  It's a four day show, I'm sure I will need saving from something...... like myself! 

The big day arrived, check in 11:00 a.m. Awesome, time to walk the dog, shower and find my keys.  I blasted Megan Trainer all the way down because it really is all about the base.  Arriving with minutes to spare the place was calm and orderly.  I was ordered to park in a specific spot and a lawn tractor with little trailer pulled up to tailgate, helped unload and off we went to find Birch Ally, site #51.  Is there a craft fair Illuminati that determines where potters should be placed in the landscape?  They pour over the applicants and wringing their hands say; Oh a potter..... place the potters on the highest bluff, across the gravel parking lot and sandstone chunks (THAT ARE NOT PAVERS!) across a thick grassy field and there will be your booth.  And off we went; past the patchwork fabric pumpkins, toofa mushrooms, soap makers, floral bouquets and baskets, boxes of giant candied apples oozing caramel and nuts sliding off the cellophane in the hot morning sun, sunflowers and bird feeders, the train whistle guy (please don't let me be next to the train whistle guy because I'm gonna need that force field and a set of ear plugs or he's gonna be eating one) By the time we found my booth I had a cinnamon spice headache. 

My plan of a Hell-a-Simple booth took two trips and a trip to Lowe's for two more extension cords and many more 5,000K Led lights.  By the time I was done I felt like I was sitting on Broadway!
Behold the pottery booth....... key the angelic singing!  What a cluster fuck......

Behold, carved porcelain in sea of blue and green...... 

Black and white carved slipware with chartreuse liner.

New work I'm calling decal madness and transfer slip

and lest we forget the woven work and dustables.... 

I'm changing the name of my pottery to SQUIRREL!  Thursday morning, 10 a.m. we opened to sunny skies and a full parking lot.  Let the games begin! 

The judges came around twice and they were fun to talk with although I didn't know any of them.  I was so bored I would have talked to a camel so when they asked questions I was happy to engage.  After they left the booth I grabbed the packet and riffled through wondering whom I had just engaged with..... Kristina Malcolm: artist, silversmith, instructor, writer, lecturer; Arnold Tunstall: Akron Art Museum, worked in various curatorial positions and has served as collections manager, on the board of SPACES and Akron Soul Train and Amy Mothersbaugh Akron Soul Train Creative Conductor and Knight Grant Winner and her badge read: Queen of the Judges!  Who doesn't love a queen?

  Fair go-ers stood in the aisle pointing at work to their friends.  They were intimidated to walk into my booth.  Smiling, I beckoned them in.  They walked away.  The booth was confusing! 
And finally someone bucked up the courage to enter the cluster fuck..... Hi, ummm do you have a colander?  OMG!  No, I most certainly do not have a colander but I do at the gallery.  Yup, the one thing I left on the shelf...... colanders.  Thursday we closed at 5 pm and I had sold 2 mugs for a total of $40.00.  Friday has got to pick up........ 

Friday, up early to walk the dog, feed the dog, sit on the floor with the dog and tell him I would be back soon.  Off to the show Hi Ho Hi Ho.... I passed the bill board of a local church declaring; "BODY PIERCING SAVED YOUR LIFE...... LOVE JESUS.   10 a.m. and the sun was out again, the parking lot was full and the buses were rolling.  The gingerbread was being passed out and the red shirt ladies were happy.  Good Morning.  The golf carts filled with committee ladies were buzzing the grounds, I waved and then they stopped at my booth.  Awarded Best in Show.... shut up!  I got kind of choked up because so far I was a Fine Art Girl in a Pumpkin Spice World.  Grand Prize..... a free booth next year.  And I just want to say how much I love the Mid West.... big ass ribbons, church bill boards and kettle corn!  Who doesn't need a bigger ribbon, I'm hanging that thing right over my wheel when I get home!  The crafter next to me asked me what I won, "a free booth next year".... she whispered in my ear, "Oh the irony".  Took me a minute but yes so far this had been a lot of work for $40 and a free booth and 6 days out of the studio.   Honestly, I was truly grateful for the award! 

Friday sales did pick up, Saturday the front gate ran out of gingerbread and sales slumped.  As we walked to the parking lot the mitten lady said; tomorrow will be family day, they come for the gingerbread.  Oh great the gate ran out so there will be angry people.  The gate set records and it was the 2nd time in 50 years the show had 4 sunny days in a row.  The red shirted ladies were giddy!  Me........ I sold mugs like it was my job.  I sold two slipware pieces and two dustables but both of those had to be shipped, the fun never ends.  I ended up selling very close to $2,000.  Guess what I'm taking next year........ lots more mugs!   I will take a few dustables,  and the booth will have a banging mug display, sprinkled with a few other things like colanders and tiny ring bowls.  Small things people can tuck in a bag........ like a mug with a bird, bunny or bee. 

My neighbors did well; eternity scarves that I just could not figure out for love or money.  But she brought 125 scarves and sold all but 9 for $65 each.  Yeah, do the math.  She pointed out the scarf costs her $18 and the leaf prints were about $2.  A tidy profit and the booth was super simple and she was gone before I had the stuff off my pedestals.  The beach glass lady sold out...... beach glass glued on craft lamps..... or glued on a pendant hung on a chain, who knew?  Also gone before my stuff was off the pedestals.  The floral lady...... sold out and gone before I turned my lights out.  I'm still picking sweet annie out of my nose.  Yup, I got schooled in craft fair 101.   

My award for best story of the show....... 
A young couple walked around the booth the last day of the show.  Finally said; we love your work and were opening a gallery, would you be interested in putting work in our gallery?  My inside voice said; nope.  But not wanting to be rude I asked them what type of gallery they were opening and what they were going to carry.  Well they had been taking glass blowing classes for two years and just started pottery so they want to make it a teaching gallery.  I started doing the math in my head; equipment for pottery and glass blowing, gallery fixtures, just the set for book keeping and tracking sales, deposit on building etc my head was spinning.  They were going to teach all the classes but you just started taking pottery classes.  Oh the young with trust funds and encouraging parents.  As they walked away I said: Hey, whats the name of your gallery??  wait for it ....... Throw'n and Blow'n  and with that I said; wow am I busy, I can't possibly think of putting work in another gallery.  

I honestly don't know what the hell I'm doing anymore....... 

I've been off the blog for a while but buckle up everyone because while I've been away I've been keeping notes and will be updating my adventures weekly until I'm caught up.  
The adventures of Kirby the wonder dog continue next....... 

Friday, August 26, 2016

A Month of Kirby..........

A Month has passed since a beat up, scabby, shaky dog walked through the door.  My oh my, what 30 days can do for the forlorn and downtrodden.  30 days of treats and attention you get your wag back!  

Since last posting, Kirby made it to the beach, gone for three car rides and made it onto his bed.  Although the bed seems to be more of hurdle than the beach or the car!  Clearly, he has never seen furniture before.  Two days ago I sat on the floor and sprinkled a peanut butter treat at each corner of the very expensive orthopedic dog bed, we have been walking around for a month.  He walked around to each corner, ate the treat and asked for more!  No, you need to get on the bed to get the treats!  2 treats placed in the middle of the bed and wow can this dog lean into get treats, his paws never left the floor.  I gave up and told him I'd try again tomorrow.  This guy has scabs on one hind elbow and a healing scab on a front elbow.  I'm pretty sure he spent a lot of time on concrete.  Trust me the bed is better than the floor, you're gonna love it.  

Next morning.  I get on the floor with a bag of treats and tapped on the bed with my hand.  Oh God, he dropped to his belly quivering and I got the flickering squinty eyes like he was waiting to be beat.  Well my heart turned to goo.  Here have a treat, no wait have the whole bag of treats, no wait give me a couple treats.  And while I was dolling out treats I got on the bed and talked pretty to the dog who was gobbling down treats.  Everybody calmed down, took a breath, lots of praise and then he figured out there was a full grown person on the floor playing with him and giving him treats.  In the heat of fun time he jumped on the bed, immediately jumped off the bed and dropped to the floor.  When he jumped on the bed I exploded with delight!  What a good boy!!  Yes, do it again and he did!  And I exploded, clapping and carrying on and if a dog could laugh I think he did. And if the neighbors saw me I'll be in the loony bin.  After all that we went for a long walk. 

We tried again later and with a lot of coaxing, he made it onto the bed.  As I backed away, he got off the bed.  Thats OK, we can try again later...... 

The next morning I went for my run and decided it was time for us to hit the beach.  He's a lab for pete sakes, he has to love the water.  First trick, get him in the truck!  He had not been in the truck since he arrived.  I put his life jacket on because it has a handle and I hoisted him in the truck.  He hooked his front feet under the jump seats and dug in.  I had to put him down and try again.  By the time I got 90 pounds of dog in the backseat of the truck we were both shaking and panting.  Rolled the windows down, started the truck and off we went, both breathing hard.  The beach is about 2 miles away and we made it!  I opened the door, his tail was wagging and the ears were on full alert, all good signs.  I grabbed the handle and hoisted him out.  His feet touched the sand and he froze.  Hmmmm never been in sand Kirby?  Cool, we'll just hang out until you're comfortable........ and we hung out in the parking lot for 15 minutes.  He was velcro-ed to my knees.  We spent 3 hours at the beach.  And just for the record, you can't poop in a life jacket.  He attempted twice and the third time I took the life jacket of and the relief on his face.......well you can only imagine.  Poop time over, life jacket back on.  We made it to the water.  Lake?  Wave Action?  You're kidding right..... 

We spent a good hour wading around and then I walked in a bit deeper, up to my knees.  He kept up brilliantly, it was like wearing another pair of pants!  I finally walked to where his feet no longer touched the bottom.  The life jacket held him up but he flipped over!  He was like a bobber at end of the leash. Then panic set in.  Shit was all I could say.  The last dog loved the life jacket.  While in the deep end I unbuckled him and took it off and he did great!  He knows how to swim but is not happy about swimming.  We waded back to shore and we happy danced.

Life is pretty sweet at the beach.  His third trip to the beach and he was much easier to get in the truck.  On the return trip, I said: well Kirb, lets go home.  We got to the truck and he hopped in; BY HIMSELF!!  Phew!  

We got home and we were both pretty exhausted.  When we walk in the door I always get the peanut butter treats and tell him to sit.  After 3 weeks, we walk in the door and he automatically sits, patiently waiting for a treat. He is eager to please and I'm just easy. 

Your bed awaits........

He was so tired there was no problem getting him on the bed....... 

on alert.....

but soooooo tired........

And it's sooooo cushy........

Every night I make sure he starts off on his bed.  I turn the lights out, say good night and in the morning he's on floor. 

Speaking of on the floor......... 
guess who just couldn't stay away....... 

See this floor dog?  Well it's all mine....... 

Now seriously guys, we gotta talk...... a dog?  You're keeping it?  
I just don't know what to say...... 

So can he do impersonations?
Look, I'm the Sphinx! (more like the Stinks)
You're still keep'n him? 

Hey Rufus, I got this....... 

and I'm not getting anything else done...... no pottery updates this week! 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

A Not So Quick Up Date........

A quick catch up before I lace my shoes up and head out to wrangle the day into some sort of order...... 

The best phrase to sum up this summer: Drag and Drop (thank you Apple).  
Still hot, still humid, still trying get my underwear on in less than 30 minutes.  Seriously why isn't this an Olympic sport?  Anybody can row a canoe or take a dip in the pool but Michael Phelps until you can get a sports bra on in less than 10 minutes in 100% humidity are you really an athlete?  The judges deduct points for dropping to the floor, crying, screaming, excessive sweating, writhing on the bed, giving up and just telling everyone you're wearing a turtleneck; you just have not been in a competition because the sports bra wins.... every time!  Hey Iowa, cut the corn already, we need the corn sweats to stop!  Honestly if one more person from the midwest posts a picture of cornfields with the caption; The corn is just beautiful this year...... I'm sending them my underwear!  I have lost count of how many times I've run to the bathroom, tried to get my underwear up or down and discovered I put on tear away underpants.  Of course I should not get dressed in the dark either because I had wiggled myself into a leg hole instead of the waistband.  Half way through my morning I wondered why my underwear kept riding up to a thong on one butt cheek one........ because it was your waist hole.  I figured this out by the time the temperatures were over 90, another pair of tear aways.....  

The rain has arrived, thankfully!  The river is up, the steelhead will spawn, and the gardens will grow.... like little shop of horrors! Yikes! 

Tuesday I walked from the studio to the kitchen for a cup of coffee and make the mistake of bending over to see whats going.  4 hours later I'm headed to the kitchen with an arm load of cukes, excited I have more pumpkins than I can count and pockets full of peppers and tomatoes.  I always know it's August when I see this on the counter because I have cukes up the kazoo!  
and how cute are baby pumpkins?

Kirby has these same issues.  I have learned soooooo much in a month of Kirby!  Butch was standing in the kitchen yesterday saying he thinks Kirby can really see and is just faking it.  Kirby will sit there and watch him eat a hot dog, begging with those doggy eyes and Butch just melts.  Butch declares;  He can see me eating this hot dog, look at him!  No he smells you eating a hot dog!  I think he's faking it........ and then Kirby walks away, into his water dish.  Yep, totally faking it and you're such a guy! 

This dog!  We walk everyday, in the morning, evening and right before bed.  Everyday he grows more comfortable in this new house and neighborhood.  Everyday I ask a little more of him.  I walked  everyday before Kirby arrived but it has occurred to me how blind I had become.  This big yellow dog with the polka dot tongue has made me slow down, be patient and quietly observe.  He might not have sight but his nose makes up for his eyes!  I am realizing his world is so much bigger than I ever thought it could be.  My expectations were limited, his are not!  This week he made me look at small tiny mushrooms, caterpillars, a pile of downy goose feathers, many piles of random poop and a pink condom.   Yeah we walk in a cemetery and it made me laugh.  I thought, how interesting this is a place where we honor the end of life and yet I wondered how many lives had started in the back of this old cemetery?  It's been here over 150 years ........  I run in the cemetery I find it to be great incentive to keep going!  All this stuff has been there since before Kirby but now I am seeing it. 
He found the skunk in the middle of the night before I did!  Thanks buddy!  Really! 

He is teaching me no matter how many times you run into a wall, you eventually find the door!  
And when you find the door, wag that tail and be so happy! 

Yesterday I asked a lot of him.  I asked him to run with me.  I asked him to trust me enough to run along side, not timidly picking your way down the sidewalk but on the road.  We started with a walk, then a little faster then we dropped into a nice cadence.  He matched my steps and fell in behind me.  Early morning, the day was still cool and we had a gentle breeze.  It was perfect!  We got to the big open field and took him off the leash to explore.  I could hear and see a huge flock of geese that had spent the night in the field.  They seem unflustered when we arrived.  Kirby didn't seem to care either.  Then the wind shifted and he got a snoot full of goose.  The tail went up, the nose hit the air, the ears perked up, and he was on red alert.  The honking did nothing for him but the scent!  Very methodically he worked the field.  The geese never took off but just kept moving and honking.  He never broke into a run because that would be crazy!  But the tail was on full wag!  It was amazing to watch and I loved it, he loved it!  The heat was building and I decided it was time to head for home.   He will not jog with me in the grass but prefers pavement.  He dropped into a nice rhythm.  The last 200 yards we walked to cool down.  He was spent.  He slept the rest of the day. 
He's still getting used to new things.  Bed: $50, Floor free......

 I am excited to be back in the studio these days.  I'm loving all the carving these warm summer days.  And high fire porcelain has won my heart too. 

"The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper."
W.B. Yeats