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the cow jumped over the moon

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Still working on videos - here is one of a bit of my bike ride downtown to the square earlier today - trying to figure out how to get it less blurry and learn editing, too. I was holding the camera in my hand, so hopefully watching this won't cause motion sickness!

As you may remember, I live in a small college town about 30 minutes southwest of Cleveland. In this video, I started filming when I went into a inner area of the college and then through to the square and downtown.

We had a huge thunderstorm last night so you can see lots of leaves and branches on the ground. Thank goodness for rain - we really really needed it.


mini-vacation

As many of you know, we haven't had a reliable vehicle in years.  So on Friday, Denise scooped me up and took me to her place, so I could have a mini-vacation!

After a trip to a bookstore and a delightful dinner, we went to a nearby town where the Big Ships were docked, but we were too late for the tour so we just enjoyed the sunset and the beach.  Yes, I actually enjoyed the beach (I have bitched about hating beaches for years and years, but made myself shut the hell up and enjoy it for a little while, until the sand flies starting biting).

mini-vacation
Yeah, it's a moody photo of Lake Erie with the Perry Nuclear Plant in the distance.
. I took a bunch of photos of the sunset
but you all have seen lake sunsets so I figured I would post this photo instead.
Next morning, I got up early so I could take the yoga class Denise was teaching. I snapped this photo of her out in her garden, while she was picking berries.

mini-vacation

We visited a salvage shop - the prices were quite steep for some things.  For instance, there was a little baggie of sewing trims, so I picked it up thinking it would be a dollar or two, but it was $10.00 and I exclaimed "What?!!" outloud and I embarrassed myself.  There was also a mason jar full of buttons and another full of pieces of ribbons and those were both $15.00 each.  What!???! But there were a lot of cool things to look at.

mini-vacation
Insulators / cool round metal display cart
Catholic church metal candle stand / tin ceiling pieces
Of course I wanted the round metal cart and the church candle stand
Driving through the countryside, we stopped at a nursery where Denise knew the owner, and picked up some things, and the owner gave us free flats of vegetable seedlings.  More seedlings for the community garden! (Did I mention that I went to a crystal shop a few weeks back and the clerk there gave me a bunch of basil starts?  Lots of generous folks around here!!)  And then we went to another small town and had some chai and walked around their town square as there was a little music festival going on.

mini-vacation

And then late Saturday afternoon, she brought me back home. Although I was only away for about 28 hours, I felt that I truly did have a real vacation - I felt quite refreshed and relaxed, and so very thankful to have such a dear friend.

what has happened...

What has happened since my last post?  Two big things happened to England* recently, and with regard to one of those things I say - go Iceland!

what has happened...

And what has happened around here since my last post, you may ask?

Well, Chalk Walk happened. I wasn't chalking this year, just enjoying!

what has happened...

And beans are growing (on a discarded futon frame):

what has happened...

And Sephora went to the vet - she has a little bump on her eyelid that we're keeping an eye on (no pun intended) to see if it is an infection or something else.

what has happened...

We had dinner with P and M (the artists) at their place (you may have seen their place before, here) Friday night. Ahhhhhhh!

what has happened...

It's summer and it has been a beautiful one so far! We have a three-day weekend here in the US as Monday is the Fourth of July.  I'm kind of happy that it might rain on Monday - the fireworks scare Sephora so a more subdued Fourth is okay with us.

*Yes, I know that Brexit affected the entire UK, not just England - and it affected much more than that, too.

I took a walk through the reservoir last week...it's just a few blocks south of our home and I don't take nearly enough advantage of it.



The moon - the night before the Summer Solstice (taken from our back yard)


Watching too much soccer - both the Euros and Copa (ughhh, US got beat by Argentina - I had hoped that they would have scored at least ONE goal...sigh.)  and not getting enough done around the house. I think it's just a way for me to zone out - been quite concerned about current events, upcoming elections and thinking about all my British friends with this upcoming Brexit vote.

A brother (Brother M) and a nephew flew in from Minnesota for the big Cavs parade in Cleveland today!  I won't be at the parade - too many people, plus Sephora needs to go to the vet (she has a stye on her eye lid that needs looking at) and I have to be at work, too - but it will be fun to see all the photos and videos and TV coverage about it!

The win by the Cavs was a HUGE thing for Cleveland - we haven't had a major championship win in ANY major sport here since 1964. (Though this year, our AHL - minor league hockey- team won their championship, and they'll be included in the parade today!)


I joined Instagram - I'm challenging myself to post a photo every day and having a blast using my new fancy phone- so if you are also over there, here's the link to me.   I'm also reacquainting myself with focusing/calming/attention techniques, using a few decks like a hand-made oracle deck that a bunch of us made about 10 years ago, my 1990s Universal Waite tarot deck and my new Lenormand deck.


The morning is flying by, so I'll post this now and get ready for the day.

bright side of life

Looking for the bright side of life these days:

Our home - it was raining while the sun was shining !
My students on their second day of learning how to throw on the wheel



I'm not sure that video above will work - but it is a short video of hollyhocks in the breeze at P and M's house (the gardeners - I'm taking care of their garden for a week), and you can hear the 17 year cicadas and birds! (Oddly, we really haven't seen any - we hear them, though. And in some parts of the town the sound is deafening!  Just the other day, I finally saw one of those cicadas, but it had expired :(   Robert thinks he saw two in our yard today.)

A honeysuckle we found in the garden!
Denise came to visit!!!
Me in P and M's garden
Some flowers in our yard




The slaughter of 50 people plus 50+ more hurt in Orlando is absolutely horrific.  Even this morning, I am still trying to understand what is going on with this world and this country.

In my viewpoint, this awful devastating act was not terrorism but hate. The guy was a hateful person, no matter what religion he proclaimed to be. You can argue with me about definitions -  you can say "hey, ISIS claimed responsibility" Yeah, I'm sure they did - they'll claim any responsible for chaos and fuel flames. That guy was a hateful person - who used religion as an excuse for what he did.

And all those Bernie supporters -  you may not be thrilled with HRC but maybe, just maybe, she can get something done about gun control if we band together.  You know that the other one won't.  His tweet after the Orlando massacre was downright narcissistic.And his continued rhetoric about this situation is disgusting.

I would be happy if all the guns in the world got melted and made into something else.  I know that won't happen - and a part of me understands that people like to hunt, have rights, etc etc etc.
Stricter gun control and enforcement needs to happen.

But since nothing happened after Sandy Hook, why would I ever think anything would happen after Orlando?

And also, dear gawd, hooligan-ism with the Euros, give it a rest, would you?



we saw...

We saw a happy horse in town last Saturday!  The Mennonites were selling their baskets in town (remember this post?), and this is a perfect shady spot for the horse to relax, in the shrubs next to the parking lot of the community arts building, where I was unloading/loading a kiln.

we saw...

We saw some of my family.  Brother D came into town from CA to visit our Mom; we went with my Brother C and his wife into Cleveland last Sunday to meet up at Mom's house. On the way home, we drove through a thunderstorm and look at the colors (no camera filters used) afterwards!  Maxfield Parrish skies.

we saw...

we saw...

We saw and are seeing some of our garden in bloom:

we saw...
Peony

we saw...
Salvia - and I see some weeds, too!
Speaking of seeing, I am reading Asimov's The Naked Sun in which people on the plant Solaria get completely grossed out by seeing people in person, and feel more comfortable viewing them (through a device like a hologram).

We will be seeing a lot of our yard this weekend - I have a ton of weeding to do!

dinner with friends / illumination

Sunday was a full day. Worked at the nursery from 10-5, and even though I was exhausted, we had been invited to dinner with friends at 8.  Dinner was at the town's new hotel (which I dislike - I may blog about it next time around), but I was really looking forward to hanging out w/my pals and walking through the town square.

Dinner itself was very fun! I got to dress up, and wear my fancy dress-up glasses. And although I'm not a big go-out-to-dinner person, it was a blast being with L and T, and P and M (the artists, not the gardeners; though this P&M also garden, but you know what I mean). The food was tasty, too, and the chef gathers as many ingredients locally as possible.

The college's commencement/reunion weekend was early this year - usually they schedule it over the Memorial Day weekend. Sunday night is Illumination, where they string lanterns all over the square, and people gather and listen to music.

So enough of my blabbing, here are some photos:
 
dinner with friends / illumination
On our way to dinner (we were recently gifted new fancy phones with lots of fun features)

dinner with friends / illumination
The town square on our way to dinner at the new (ugly) hotel
dinner with friends / illumination
Me, L and P. I had no idea Robert was taking this (hilarious) photo, especially
in light of my last post.  In case you think me a total hypocrite,
I did stash my phone away once dinner began.
dinner with friends / illumination
On our way home after dinner, through the square  - that's R in the middle, looking back.

catching up

It's been awhile since I posted!

Speaking of ketchup - Malcolm Gladwell wrote a little essay about the many varieties of mustard vs. the very few varieties of ketchup which was included his book What the Dog Saw that I read not too long ago.  It has been a few years since that article was originally published, and I can now tell you that we have found a delicious new ketchup - Wild Oats Organic Ketchup. We're not obsessed about organic, and the main reason we bought it was because it doesn't have high fructose corn syrup, and best of all, it is not expensive. (Obviously, that essay stuck with me)

The Big Parade paraded on Saturday April 30th. I missed the actual parade because I was loading and unloading a kiln at the community arts center, but here are a few photos as people hang around afterwards. I think some of you remember that when Robert and I got married on May 1st in 2004, the Big Parade was on the same day, and as we (and our family and friends) walked through the square on the way home, the excitement and spectacle and colors and happy energy added to the day.

catching up
The decorated tree in front of the community arts center
catching up
The town square
Today I'm finishing up some of my watercolor cards, and attempting to scan them, but the scanner we have is about a zillion years old and the color is way off, so I decided to just take photos but they're not great, but better than that old scanner.

Speaking of snail mail - does anyone else get confused about this?  So, I often write letters in my head, and then I think that I have actually written them. Weeks later, I'm all "oh yeah, so-and-so should have gotten my card by now!" and then I think "did I really write it or just think I wrote it?" (With one person recently, I just thought I wrote it - sheesh!)  I found a little notebook and am now writing down when I send cards to people. Unlike email where you can check to see if you actually sent a person an email, I need to document my letter-writing.

Which makes me think this - back when people only wrote letters, and wrote to many many people, how did they keep their correspondences straight? Did they repeat themselves often?  Did they make copies of their letters? (I used to do that with a few friends with whom I wrote a lot of letters to years ago, especially if I happened to work at the copy shop or an office, where I could sneak a personal copy in now and again). I have been mulling this over, and will probably do a mini-research/google search to see if I can come up with any answers.

Last night, R and I were invited to my brother C and his wife K's home for dinner.  We had a wonderful time! I'm cutting back on some social media (not blogs, though - I love blogs - it's like being in someone's kitchen, listening to them talk about their day) and making an effort to spend more time with people 'in real life' and of course also writing more letters.  (Which reminds me of an article I read about millennials and their love for the TV show Friends  - and this article too which I found very interesting, and a bit sad, given that I grew up in the pre-internet/cell phone era and am glad for that, though I can be a hermit sometimes, especially in the winter! )

dirt mud clay

We had our first work day in the community garden on Sunday. I am so happy to have a student helper this year - she will free up my time at the non-profit so I can work on grants. We also had a lot of help from members of the Track and Field team from the college.

dirt mud clay

I tended P and M's (the gardeners, not the artists P and M) garden for a week. It is so nice to be there - calming relaxing zen-like.

dirt mud clay

Have some terracotta test pots drying - I took them out of my basement art space aka studio and put them on the back porch to dry, and then brought them in last night because we had a thunderstorm.  Once they're bisqued, I'll mix up some majolica glaze and give it a go. I also want to try some old low-fire glazes I have sitting around and see how they look. I need to make more test pieces.

dirt mud clay

As I mentioned here, we have used white plates and bowls for years. Now we're using/testing some different colors and glazes on bowls/mugs/tumblers that I have made - making sure the glaze fits and the shape works well, and refining my color and glaze choices. (99% of my pieces are glazed white inside). We both have a few favorites!

dirt mud clay
we hand-wash all our dishes, not just pottery
I have a class with the at-risk youth group later this afternoon - have to do some preparation but maybe I can also sneak in a little nap beforehand!

videomini-vacationwhat has happened...bright side of lifewe saw...dinner with friends / illuminationcatching updirt mud clay

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