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!