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the cow jumped over the moon

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happy holidays!

I celebrated the Winter Solstice with Denise and a bunch of her friends. Women only. It was fabulous. I got there early (hurrah for a reliable vehicle!) so I could spend some time with Denise, and we talked and talked while she was cooking, and then her friends started to show up around 6:30, with lots and lots of good food. We ate and talked.  Made our head wreaths and then wrote our New Year's wishes on small pieces of paper, and then burned them as offerings in her wood stove.

A pottery student gave me a selfie stick on our last class (when we took that photo of us all with our Empty Bowls, I had joked that we needed one to take a good photo of all of us) so I was playing around with it, and finally got a good photo of us all!

happy holidays!
oops!

happy holidays!
That's better - but now I have to figure out how to take a good photo in low light on my phone.
Here's Sephora on Christmas Eve Eve:

happy holidays!

Christmas morning, I picked up my Mom from Mass. She was staying with my Brother C and his wife for the weekend, and since they were at their church, I was able to pick Mom up and take her back to their home.  Again, thank goodness for this reliable vehicle!

happy holidays!

Before we painted our bedroom, there was a built-in cabinet on one wall. When we tore it out, we found some old wallpaper still on the back wall.  So we saved the best square of it.  For my holiday present this year, Robert found a frame, and without the glass, attached it to the wall.  Then he mounted a cross-stitch portrait of Clara Bow that a friend had made years ago.  I love it!

happy holidays!

We keep our holiday decorations up until the Feast of the Magi.  Today, I am doing laundry, putting away paperwork, and we watched the Liverpool/Stoke game on TV. Here's a view from my chair.

happy holidays!


Wishing you all the best during this
holiday season!

happy holidays!
Dried tangerines for stained-glass-ish decorations


car and bowls

Wow, two posts in one week!

Here's the promised photo of me in our new-to-us car, with our cool peace sign seat covers that were part of the deal!

car and bowls


Today, a bunch of my former and current students (some of them made the bowls last Saturday) came to the studio in the morning to help glaze the Empty Bowls bowls. I loaded them into the kiln for the glaze firing; will unload on Monday and get them to the community services center for their Tuesday event.

car and bowls
Some of the bowls getting ready to be put in the kiln.
Afterwards, I came back home, and Robert made us grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup, and we have been watching soccer all day long.  I did do a load of laundry.  The MLS Cup starts in about 45 minutes - I'm not sure who to cheer for, so I think I'll just sit back and enjoy the game.

I really need to finish painting the woodwork around the windows.  Sheesh! Seriously, it's been five days just to paint this one window!  I'm hopeless.  My excuse is that I can only paint when it's light, because it's hard to see at night even with the lamp on.  (hahahaHAHAHAHAhahahaa) I only need to do touch-ups!  Okay maybe I'll finish tonight when I'm watching the game.

car and bowls
The top photo shows the light-green color of the woodwork;
we, or I should say I am painting it off-white instead.

good things

Although it has only been a month since election day, it seems likes years.  I try to post here, and when I'm about to hit 'publish' something else happens to talk about; I make changes/additions and then it all starts again, and I got so frustrated I just took my blog down because I was just, well, so frustrated!

He'll never be my president. He continues to be a disgrace, a danger, and an embarrassment.

But onto good things:

A few weeks ago, someone hit me from behind while I was driving to meet a friend for coffee in our little town. I was okay for the most part.  The car was totaled.

Well that ended up a good thing, because one of the students I am currently teaching was selling her car, and with the insurance money from the guy who hit me, it nearly covered the cost of buying her car!! And it is in great shape so I can actually go visit Denise, and my sister M in Pittsburgh (M and I are doing to the protest in Washington DC the day after inauguration day) and other family and friends now!! I can drive out of our little town without worrying that the vehicle will break down!  WHOOT!!!

Darn, I meant to take a photo of the cute little thing.  It's a Ford Focus, and it reminds me of my beloved Honda Civic hatchback.

Other good things:  Some former and current students of mine got together last Saturday and we made a bunch of bowls for the community services center here.  The Empty Bowls project!  This Saturday we'll glaze them all. We made a total of 22+!

good things
Sara, Swapna, Becky, Mary, Kristi and me!
Oh and one last thing - please feel free to follow me on Instagram or on my art page on Facebook.  I post there a lot more than on my blog. (Links are in the side column, I think)

Hope everyone is doing well.  It's currently 22 degrees here! And I'm off to teach a pottery class - so I better get off the computer.


microbursts

Two Saturdays ago, our town was hit by a microburst.

Fortunately no one was injured.  From what I have read and seen, hundreds of trees were knocked down or damaged. A few houses and cars were damaged. Nearly the entire town had no power. Oddly, and fortunately, we weren't hit at all and had power. We offered our electricity to those who needed to charge their phones.

microbursts
The top photo is representative of the kind of damage that happened all around us.
The bottom photo is one of two branches in our yard from the storm.

Not sure why the photo is blurry...hmmmmmm
And then another microburst:  On Robert's birthday last Wednesday - he turned 61, and Wednesdays are his usual day off -  we (with a borrowed car - our car cannot be trusted to make it that far) drove into Cleveland to celebrate his birthday and to visit my Mom in the hospital (she is doing much better, and is back home).  His cell phone rang - his work - but he didn't get to it in time and because he had never set up his voice mail, there was no way to know what they were calling about.  I joked that they were calling him to with him a happy birthday!

We first stopped into the West Side Market as he had a hankering for Moroccan olives. We picked up some other goodies too - enchiladas, blueberries for Mom, and we got a flat of strawberries for $5 because it was the end of the day!

microbursts

We visited Mom and she was doing so much better, and we had a great time, and sang Happy Birthday to Robert.

The next day, Robert goes to work, and comes back home 45 minutes later.  He, along with nearly 30 other people at the warehouse, were laid off.

We were (and sometimes even now) in complete shock. So what did we do?  We made jam with those strawberries. When life gives you ______...well you know the old saying

microbursts

Sunday, we went back into Cleveland to visit Mom again (at home) and were there with my brother C and his wife, and my sister M!  Happy early 86th birthday, Mom!

So, yeah, that is that. We'll get through this - but it is a tough thing to have your life changed around. Especially at our age. And especially that many people in and around our small college town now without work, too.

Of course, sometimes when we are blue, we think "just when things were finally looking up for us, then this happens!?!?!" And other times, we are strong in hope and us together being able to face this huge change in our life. The roller coaster of emotions these past days!  But it could be worse, right? We didn't get hit by the weather microburst, for one.

What is weird about all of this is that we usually don't really make huge plans for the future. But recently we had been talking about the next five years or so. We were quite happy with the way things are and that things were looking up, and thinking that perhaps we could put down a down payment for a better vehicle soon. Then BAM!

I don't usually like to write about negative stuff in this blog, but oh well.

Here is a happy photo of breakfast (actually the photo was taken yesterday, but we're having the same thing today) Robert made the bread and that's the jam we made.

microbursts



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.

visiting denise

On my way to visit Denise yesterday, I had to stop to get my driver's license renewed.  Had a nice talk with the gentleman who was sitting next to me in the BMV (Bureau of Motor Vehicles)  - he told me that he had been homeless, and is now working six days a week, and life couldn't be better.  My driver's license photo turned out okay, too.

Then I stopped into a gas station, and the clerk was absolutely delightful.  I asked him if he had American Spirits, and he told me with a huge grin that he has wonderful American spirit, and I couldn't stop laughing and then he added "oh we have that brand of cigarettes, too."   

Popped in next door to the Taco Bell because I was treating myself to a 7-layer burrito, and the clerk there gave me a free pop!!

Then onto Denise's.  I hadn't been to her home in months and months, so I am super happy that our car is fixed. She has the most wonderful garden - I kick myself for not being able to stop by during the summer to see it all in its full glory.

visiting denise
Denise in front of her polyhouse - she had just gotten back from teaching yoga
visiting denise
The camera on my phone doesn't do her garden justice

visiting denise
Another section of her garden
It was a slightly chilly but beautiful afternoon.  After walking around the garden, in which I was oohing and ahhing at everything, Denise made huge mug-fulls of tea (seriously the mugs were huge!), and we sat on her back porch and talked, sipped tea and snacked on tabbouleh she had made. What a fabulous afternoon!

The only downside of the entire day was coming home - I was stuck in Cleveland traffic for forty-five minutes. The upside of this was that I was able to figure out how to program radio stations in the car.

I think one of the reasons all this good stuff happened because I was wearing a stripe-y outfit (I was also wearing black and purple striped tights).

visiting denise


cars in my life

Tomorrow evening, my son is coming over so I can start to teach him how to drive. Which made me think of the few cars I have had in my life.  I just asked my husband how many vehicles he has owned  (and he was born and raised in California)  The answer:  six.  We must be anomalies.

I have owned only four vehicles in my entire life though I did learn how to drive when I was 16.*   Didn't get my first car until six months or so after I had my son in 1988, and that car was a four-door Chevy Impala a friend was selling. My parents bought it for me.  The front doors were wonky.  I couldn't get in the car through the front doors - I could get out though, so I would put my son in the back in his car seat, then climb over to the front to drive. I often had to change the fuel filter, so I stashed a bunch of extra ones in the glove compartment.

The next car that I bought (well, with help from my Dad who had to co-sign for me) was a red 1990 Hyundai Excel hatchback. I had just landed a new full-time job and bought a new car because I didn't know a good mechanic so I figured it was cheaper and better for my mental health in the long run to buy an inexpensive new vehicle.  One of my son's earliest memories was of me getting a speeding ticket while driving that car. I think that was the last speeding ticket I ever got.
cars in my life
I don't think this photo was taken right after the speeding ticket,
but it could have been given the look on my son's face!
The third car was another brand new car - a  dark purple basic 1997 Honda Civic hatchback (I love hatchbacks - they hold a lot of stuff) which had a stick.  I had only driven a stick back in high school.  I had worked a few summers at a golf course at a private club, in their 'drink house' which was a little shack off the 9th hole, where we made sandwiches and cooked burgers and fries, and sold snacks, and made non- and alcoholic drinks for the members of the club. The little truck that I drove from the main club house to the drink house with all the supplies had a stick, and that was all the practice I had.

I'm driving my brand-spanking-new car out of the car lot, and there is the ONE ridge in the entire Cleveland area in front of me.  Of course, the light turned red at the top of the street.  Dear lord!  My son, who was not quite nine years old at the time, was in the back seat saying "You're freaking me out.  You're FREAKING me out!" as I was probably cursing very loudly at the time. We made it.  Phewww. I didn't roll back down and hit anyone.

This past summer, my beloved Honda finally gave up the ghost after 15+ years.  We sold it to some guy who wanted parts. I was heartbroken.  But then we bought our used truck (1997 Toyota T-100), and I was a little happier, but I do miss that Honda. And I don't have to worry about not trusting someone to help me fix it because my husband can repair almost anything.

* I mostly got around by bus, the "Rapid" or my bike, but at times I would get rides from people, or would borrow my parents or a boyfriend's car. There was a car I really wanted - it must have been in 1982 or so, and a friend of a friend was selling an old Volkswagen Type 3 (not sure which style - the early 80s are kind of fuzzy in my memory). At the time I really didn't have the money for insurance, and I lived downtown and really didn't need a car. I still think of it though, and if I ever get a ton of money, I want to buy one of those for the hell of it.

I also want a turquoise Ford Falcon, like my Dad used to drive.
cars in my life
My two sisters D and M in front of the Ford Falcon, mid-1960s

happy holidays!car and bowlsgood thingsmicroburstsmini-vacationvisiting denisethree good thingscars in my life

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