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the cow jumped over the moon

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summer so far


summer so far
Rose of Sharon in our back yard/garden
It has been hot! And we need more rain. We may have a thunderstorm soon - I sure hope so.

And I have been distracted.  Mostly by politics and negativity and hate - oh, a shout out to Cleveland for shining during last week's RNC  - but also by other things.

I am also incredibly lazy these past two or three days. Haven't had much energy to do anything but read books (The Miss Peregrine series) with the A/C blasting, and watch You Tube videos of people talking about tarot.

Yes, I'm seriously studying the tarot these days, and I am fascinated! In 1990 I bought a tarot deck but didn't do much with it until recently, being spurred on by an on-line friend of mine that I have known from the old ATC (artist trading cards) and mail art days.  She has a YouTube channel, and that's how I (gladly) fell down the rabbit hole!

summer so far

Other things?

Had coffee with Evelyn, then visited her pet rescue pig.

summer so far
Oliver is a movie star - but I keep forgetting the name of the movie he was in!
Then later in the week she let us borrow her truck so we could get some fencing home. Free fencing! Yes! We have plans for the back yard. We had to cut the fence pieces in half because they were too long for the truck.
summer so far
At the community garden. 
As you can see, Robert is doing very well after his surgery in February!
I am not teaching pottery for a few weeks, so I have time to do some pottery things for myself. Though my majolica glaze experiment was a flop - but I'll try try try again.

summer so far
Top photo of glazed test piece before firing.
Bottom is of after firing - the glaze was either mixed wrong or
not fired to the optimal temperature
Another fail - tried using rubber cement as a resist for my watercolor greeting cards but while taking the glue off, the paper ripped. In the past, I used masking tape. Will try try try again.

Here's me off to buy that darned rubber cement.  See how hopeful I was:

summer so far
Empty chicken coop in the background - we need a new flock

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!

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! )

what's the buzz...

Weather: It's been a chilly April so far - we had snow over the weekend, and yesterday the powers-that-be cancelled the Cleveland Indians (baseball) Opening Day.Windchill of 18 degrees and snow/rain.  Not that I was planning on going to the game.  Baseball isn't my favorite sport to view (same with basketball), though if I have to watch any baseball, I prefer minor league, or folks at a pick-up game.

Television: Over the weekend, there are so many soccer and hockey games on television, esp. now that we have access to NBC Sports Network. By Saturday evening, after watching a ton of soccer, we started watching a hockey game, and I was fed up with myself. See, usually I knit while watching TV but I'm in between knitting ideas, and I had to do something, so I started making some very simple watercolor greeting cards, using masking tape, round stickers, and micron pen. I felt better about myself.

what's the buzz...

I enjoy sending and receiving cards in the mail, so I'll continue to play around with this idea.

Oh, and regarding television shows - I'm still not happy with the season finale of The Walking Dead- I am this close to being done with it, but I have to say I'm a bit interested in The Kingdom. Hinterland season 2 is on Netflix, so we'll be watching that at some point. Happy about Grantchester (season 2) and another season of Call the Midwife. And I'm still enjoying some sitcoms.

Pottery: I'm teaching some at-risk high school students on Tuesday afternoons for six weeks, and starting Wednesday night I have a new four week hand-building class.

I splurged on a new book - 500 Cups! I was able to find it for $10.00. I really want 500 Bowls, but cannot find that one cheap (yet).

what's the buzz...
My favorite mug at the moment.
Reading: Just finished a Mrs. Pollifax - enjoying these cozy mysteries these days.  Still reading The Art of Eating - I started it in August of last year. I'm on page 687 and I'm only now warming up to the author.

Garden: I'm using the weather and other (stressful) things as excuses, but truly, I should have started seeds weeks ago. Maybe this weekend.

Politics:  Don't even get me started.

first week in march

We recently watched Double Indemnity and The Postman Always Rings Twice, and all I have to say is - what? (apologies to anyone out there who is a huge fan), though there was something about them that I did enjoy. I'm reading an Inspector Gently book now - to see if I'm just 21st century jaded. I'm also getting annoyed with television shows recently - for instance, I cannot wait until we are done with the last episode of Downton Abbey (we DVRed it) - I think it jumped the shark years ago. EDIT:  We just watched the final episode - very well done! And The Walking Dead, which I normally enjoy, is bugging me too. In case you all think I'm a total curmudgeon (I'm only partly curmudgeon!), there are some television shows I find enjoyable. Like Life in Pieces and Brooklyn Nine Nine. Guess I need some light-hearted laughs.

And speaking of TV, we found out that we now get NBC Sports Network and oh dear - we watched soooo many soccer games this weekend. But that's really okay for now as you know I knit while I'm watching TV, and it is nice to sit and relax a bit with Robert. What else?  Oh, we went to the hospital again on Wednesday because Robert is having severe muscle/neck/head pains probably due to how he's holding himself since his surgery. The PA (physicians assistant) told me to stop following him around all the time - that there is really nothing I would be able to do if he fell, anyway. I'm in such fear of R falling down and splitting open his sternum, and I would trail along after him in the house.  He had a few tests done at the hospital, and I waited in a pretty waiting room at that hospital.  Another good thing about his check-up on Wednesday - now that he has been given the go-ahead to walk around freely, he can also cook a little.  Whoot!

first week in march
See, the hospital can do nice-looking waiting rooms.
The PA gave him the go-ahead to have massages, so we went on Friday (our pal Scott has his office in a building overlooking the square) and while R was getting his massage, I took this photo of the square, and then went to the post office. I don't think I have posted any photos of the so-called winter we have had this year. In fact, I think we had the most snow this winter on Friday, and by Sunday all of this snow was melted away. Hey, I'm not complaining.

first week in march
Friday: early March snow in the town square
I was asked to teach a one-hour-and-fifteen-minute once-a-week for six weeks pottery class to some high school students from Cleveland. Now to figure out what high school students like. I haven't taught that age group in a long time. This class starts in two weeks - better get researching.

Went back to work (at the non-profit) on Tuesday after some vacation time/being with the husband, so I took some photos in the bathroom there. Linked to Patti's Not Dead Yet Style blog for her Visible Monday post.
first week in march
Second-hand top (long-sleeved shirt and vest) and very very old scarf from somewhere, 
and matching brown specs.I had a good hair day and had to document it.

smash!

Stupid me - I was wrapping up some of my pots to take home (I fire at the pottery classroom) and somehow I knocked this one over :(  Arghhhh!

smash!

Still working out what glazes to use. Below is a mosaic of a handful of recent pots/mugs glazed with Spectrum Shino glazes I have been playing around with - some I really like, others I'm having trouble with.  I really need to make my own glazes one of these day-zes.

smash!

I made some citrus marmalade/jam on Sunday (blood oranges, regular oranges, and key limes), and I just winged it. I simmered everything together for about a half hour, then scooped out a lot of the rind so that it wasn't too bitter, and then added the sugar. Turned out pretty good (that is, I didn't cook it too long and turn it into fruit leather!) Whoot!

smash!

Robert had a dental appointment yesterday outside of our town - two teeth were extracted. Ouch!!Hopefully now his heart surgery will be scheduled. In the waiting room, there were some annoying people talking about how President Obama has ruined our country.  I was reading Wodehouse's Leave it to Psmith, but I could hear them talking and I wanted to say something, but I'm not as clever as Wodehouse so I kept my mouth shut.

how to pass time while at the hospital

Robert had a heart catheterization (and a bunch of other tests) on Friday. To keep calm, I loaded up a bag full of stuff to do while I was waiting for him. I felt like I was 'mommy-ing' myself (remembering when I would pack up things to keep my son occupied when we were on a road trip or visiting). The bag included a book, my knitting (I'm knitting more caps for monks), and my old school Nintendo DS.

how to pass time while at the hospital


We arrived at 11:00 a.m. This is pretty much what I did while waiting and trying not to stress too much...
  • knitted - while he was in pre-op, I finished a cap but didn't cast on another because I wanted to...
  • play my DS, until I was called by the nurse to see Robert off to his heart cath and I went back to the waiting room and then I... 
  • started to read - until a smelly woman (I feel bad writing this out as I don't want to be mean or disrespectful) was sitting near me in the waiting room and I had to leave, so I...
  • walked the halls and tried to find a spot to get cell phone reception, and then I... 
  • walked the halls some more, and went into the bathroom, where I took out the scissors from my knitting bag and cut my bangs.
  • Going back to the waiting room, I was able to read and also play my DS for a bit more, but I was...
  • a little hungry so I went to the cafeteria and was surprised at how cheap everything was, so I purchased a brat with grilled onions and peppers, topped with mustard. They didn't have Coke Zero but they had the Pepsi (boo hiss) equivalent, so I had that instead, and while I was just finished eating...
  • the buzzer went off so I went to see how Robert was doing. Hospitals now give you those buzzers like they give you in chain restaurants, to tell you when your table is ready, or in this case when your loved one is out of surgery. 
He had a few more tests and we left the hospital around 4:30.  All the tests that had immediate results looked good. On Monday, we're going to see one of his doctors to hear about the other results, and on Tuesday he has a dental appointment for surgery clearance. Then they'll schedule his open heart/aortic value replacement surgery.

In other news, since I was able to extend both the bisque and glaze firings, this test bowl looks pretty good - only a few tiny tiny pinholes, and no blistering or pitting!

how to pass time while at the hospital

how to pass time while at the hospital

It's Super Bowl Sunday!! I'll probably be rooting for the Denver Broncos - mostly because I had a fondness for them back in the day. But honestly, we'll just enjoy watching the game and be happy with whichever team wins.

the elephant in the room

I just have to say that it's difficult for me to write about every day things when there is so much crap happening in the world and specifically in my country. I rarely write about politics and current events on my blog but I have been quite upset with racism and fear-mongering and shootings and and and that it is hard not to.

I try very hard not to have knee-jerk reactions to things. I have a long way to go, I know, as I still blurt out things when I should hold my tongue, calm down, and get all the pertinent information. But you would think that the 'media' and some bigwigs would try just as hard.

Okay - now onto trivial things:

I stopped in the library yesterday and picked up a few books. (Here's the link to get to my Goodreads profile if you're interested).  Even though I have been reading The Art of Eating and What the Dog Saw, I wanted something else. I like to read fiction and then a bit of non-fiction, kind of like palette cleansing. Sometimes I think I read too much too fast - and that I should savor more. Remember back when you would buy an album and play it over and over and over again, and really live with it? With the various ways of consuming music nowadays, does anyone really live with a piece of music anymore?

the elephant in the room

Gosh I am navel-gazing this morning. Maybe the fog has something to do with that.  And maybe I should stop reading murder mysteries.

the elephant in the room

I can smell Robert cooking our late breakfast!!! so I'll finish up this post. Plus a soccer game is on so I'm signing off for now. 

tubes and chutes

tubes and chutes


I usually go inside the bank when I make a deposit, but yesterday I drove up to the ATM but it was not in service, so I used the drive-through/pneumatic tube (aka pneumatic capsule transportation). I am such a sucker for pneumatic tubes - nearly 180 years after William Murdoch came up with this idea, they're still in use, though you don't see them that often.

tubes and chutes
The pneumatic tube at the bank - looks like it needs
a little cleaning or it may just be the shadows
Am I the only one who automatically thinks of the film Brazil? And when doing a little research about these tubes, I stumbled upon a photo from the TV series Lost - I had forgotten about that.  It would be great to have these in your house - you could send notes back and forth - it would be better than texting someone in the next room, I think.

And this all reminds me of milk, coal and laundry chutes - we had all three in the house I grew up in. We had a milkman when I was a kid, and we would climb through the empty milk chute for fun or when we got locked out of the house, though when our parents had aluminum siding put on the house, they covered it up. We opened up the rusty coal chute from a dank dark room in the basement (which was and still is only used for storage) to the outside and climbed through that at least once.  And the laundry chute - it goes from the second floor bathroom to the basement; we dropped one of our younger siblings through it. Since a large laundry basket is under the chute, he wasn't in any danger - or so we figured. Boy did we catch hell for that!  I also always wanted a dumbwaiter, especially after reading Harriet the Spy.

Yep, just a bunch of random thoughts and memories today.

brussels sprout kimchi

Sun asked me the other day how the kimchi turned out. Last night, we opened up a jar.

WOWZA - delicious!  We'll be making lots of kimchi from now on.  I'm looking forward to finding more kimchi recipes with other vegetables to add to the mix, too.

brussels sprout kimchi
Big chucks but still delicious
The only change we would make to that recipe is to cut up the Brussels sprouts into smaller pieces.

brussels sprout kimchi
Sliced up the sprouts into a more manageable size
Fermenting can be a little scary at first.  I threw out a couple of my earlier ferments - ones I did with open vessels or without weights. It wasn't until I read about the airlock system that I figured I could do ferments without freaking out. People have fermented for eons in crocks and other containers, but there is something about mold that makes me nervous which is why the airlock system is the way I do ferments now.

If anyone out there is interested in getting started with fermentation, I recommend Sandor Katz' The Art of Fermentation.  And the Facebook groups Wild Fermentation and Fermenters Kitchen.

summer so far we saw...catching upwhat's the buzz...first week in marchsmash!how to pass time while at the hospitalthe elephant in the roomtubes and chutesbrussels sprout kimchi

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