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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.

gone off - scented sunday and some other things

Drat, a bunch of bottles of perfume have gone off.

gone off - scented sunday and some other things

The first Saturday in January, we went to my sister D's house to meet up with her and her family, and sister M and her family, for a holiday-type get-together. I decanted a bunch of perfume and brought some bottles to give away because there is no way in hell I'll ever be able to wear all of it, and given that so much went off and I had to throw away, I better share the wealth before more bites the dust. Plus it is difficult to mail perfume - the only ways you can do it is to lie or to mail it ground. And I don't want to do either. Last time I tried to ship something ground it was more expensive.

Bowie and Rickman are now off this mortal coil. I rarely get upset when celebrities die, but Bowie especially made me sad - wow did his early music affect me. And if you haven't seen Rickman in The Song of Lunch, check it out. And I need to see Die Hard - can you believe I haven't seen it yet?

Plus now I'm afraid of the age of 69. I used to be afraid of turning 43. I had my palm read when I was 20 or something like that, and the palm reader said something ominous about being 43. Well the thing that did happen at that age was that I got engaged to Robert, and that wasn't such a bad thing!

Today I threw some bowls and tested out some new ribs. And we're watching the NFL play-offs.

gone off - scented sunday and some other things

Oh and I did order those glasses!!

gone off - scented sunday and some other things


blabbing about pottery

Because my November morning hand-building class didn't fill, and because my October wheel throwing students are keen on continuing classes with me, I'll be teaching them in November, too! Yay!!! So I have two classes this month.

We were able to get another electric wheel, which means for advanced pottery classes, I can now have four in my class.

Now, the arts center does have other wheels - a treadle and three hand-made kick wheels. For beginners, I can have as many students as wheels (which until recently, we only had three electric so that means I could have seven students in the beginning wheel classes.)  You never know what type of wheel a student will love, plus it is a good thing for students to experience all three types.

In this past year and the nine? wheel classes I have taught, nearly all the students prefer the electric wheel. There have been two or three throughout the year that will throw on the treadle or the kick wheel, but in general, the vast majority of students who continue on with more classes want electric. So getting that fourth wheel is a very good thing!

I have found more time to do more of my own work - mostly because I am getting better at managing my time! I can spend hours just sgraffito-ing my pots - it is just so much fun and so relaxing. These two pieces haven't been fired or glazed yet - I'll post finished photos when that happens.

blabbing about pottery
This is a silly  thing - I threw it off the hump and it is tiny (maybe four inches tall)
and I have no idea what it could be used for!
blabbing about pottery
An ice-cream bowl, perhaps?
The kiln shelves have always been horrible, and last week when we had some glaze mishaps on some brand-new kiln shelves, I was a bit miffed. (I wasn't upset w/the students - I was upset that our brand-new shelves weren't so brand new anymore!)  So on Friday, J (a student I taught during the year, and who uses Open Studio a lot) helped me with sanding/cleaning up some kiln shelves. Some of them were so bad that I had to throw them away. Previous to getting the four new kiln shelves, loading the kiln was tricky and annoying(for you non-potters out there, if glaze drips on a kiln shelf and you cannot clean/scrape/sand it off, you have to make sure that pieces you put on the shelf don't come in contact with old drips as the piece will get stuck! You can use stilts, or just not place a piece where the old glaze spill is, which wastes space and energy).

blabbing about pottery
J sanding a kiln shelf - this was one of the brand new ones.
I am going to be throwing some more pots today, and get a lidded jar started because I'll be demo-ing those in wheel-throwing class tomorrow. There's a Premier League game, and a bunch of MLS games on TV today, and a Cleveland Browns football game, too. I am glad I got up so early, even though I am not a fan of Daylight Saving Time (though I guess now it is standard/real time) because I have a lot to do. I also have to go to a Town Hall meeting later - our City Council is up for election on Tuesday and the Town Hall will have all the candidates there - not only do I want to go for my own voting knowledge, but also as a representative of the non-profit.

Gotta scram - see you later!






autumn days

Friday was spent cleaning out the garden plots and potted annuals. I know I am supposed to scrub all the empty flower pots but we'll see if that gets done. I also need to put some old chicken litter on top of the empty garden beds (we haven't had chickens for a few years, so that litter is more than aged and will be a good addition to the putting-the-beds-to-bed process).

autumn days
To the compost pile.
autumn days
Last of the geraniums
The non-profit event was a success last Friday night, and I'm getting back to 'normal' work life. Pottery class is going well, and it looks as though the hand-building class in November is a go.

Oh, my 'scarecrow' won first prize in the category "Backyard Weeds"! I did not know that was a category when I made it.  Seriously, I didn't! (Some of you know that I worked for the nursery where the Scarecrow Fest is held, but since I didn't work there in September and October, I wasn't on top of the categories)  I have brought it home, and added some more hydrangea blossoms, and now it sits on the front porch, which was looking a little bare since the annuals are gone.

autumn days

Yesterday, I had to unload and then load a kiln at the community arts center, so I stopped by the Farmers Market to find some spinach and chat with folks I know there. I also picked up some delicious Asian pears. 

In between football and futbol games on television today, I'll be back in my downstairs art/pottery space finishing up some demos for tomorrow's pottery class that I started yesterday.

It's a beautiful fall day today - hope everyone is enjoying a relaxing Sunday!

scented super bowl sunday

Two weeks ago, while reviewing De Charmes et Feuillers, I had recommended other The Different Company perfumes, and then realized that I never did a proper review of Oriental Lounge.

TDC Oriental Lounge (2009).  Gah, after doing some research about this fragrance, the perfume world seemed a bit chatty about this when it came out, a lot of discussion about the use of synthetics and IFRA (International Fragrance Association) regulations.  Here's my short and sweet take - it's a soft oriental for those not sure about orientals and who want to dip their toes into that genre.  For those of you who love loud orientals (i.e., Shalimar) you'll probably be disappointed.  I adore Shalimar, but I do like this one. See  I Smell Therefore I Am review to get a sense of the uproar.

I also tested Tauer Le Maroc pour Elle (2005) over a couple of days. This is stunning! Moroccan bitter orange and rose and jasmine and cedarwood, French lavender, mandarin, sandalwood and patchouli.  I am a huge fan of Andy Tauer, so I say go and try this immediately!  He mentioned recently on his blog about prices going up due to exchange rates - read it here.

Serge Lutens Nuit de Cellophane (2009). For a little wispy thing, this sure does have staying power. Notes from Luckyscent:  green note, fruity note, jasmine, osmanthus, carnation, lily, muscs, almond, wood, honey. Here's a review from  Elena at Perfume Shrine. 

I had a hankering for Lutens Sa Majeste la Rose, so I wore it often when I wasn't doing any sample testing. I also wore Malle Le Parfum de Therese (2000) a lot over these past two weeks, too. LPdT is a deep rich velvety dirty fruity rose - sublime!

scented super bowl sunday
I was able to split some from this bottle w/my pal F a few years ago,
and bonus that I received the actual bottle
Super Bowl Sunday today - I'll be rooting for the Seattle Seahawks over the New England Patriots. There is just something about New England/East Coast sports teams that get under my skin, and the Patriots in particular. Oh, and I'm wearing Guerlain Shalimar today.

a few things

You know when it's the beginning of the year, and if you're like me and still like to have a calendar hanging on the wall, you dutifully write down (in red marker) everyone's birthdays for the year?  I always enjoy doing that.

a few things
My shortbread pan
Two pans of shortbread have been made - son and daugher-in-law got the first batch on New Year's. You know who is absolutely obsessed with shortbread?  Well, other than us humans?  It's Sephora! She loves that stuff.  It's crazy.

A big batch of chutney is simmering on the stove.  We're in between watching NFL wild card games (to get into the play offs) at the moment.

Oh, so I wanted to start clocking my daily steps.  Robert gave me a pedometer that he had been given at work.  It's a cheap thing, but I figured, what the heck, I'll give it a try.  You're 'supposed' to walk 10,000 steps in a day for good health.  The first day, I clock 750 (what!?!!).  The second day I clocked nearly 1,500 (sheesh). The third day (which was Saturday and the day I was at the market and walking a lot) I clocked, get this, SEVENTEEN steps!  That pedometer is a fickle fickle thing. I have no faith in it anymore.

Update:  I cannot multi-task!  I not only completely pureed the chutney (I wanted to do a  few quick pulses with the immersion blender just to speed things up, but I way over-did it) but I also scorched it a bit because I was too busy watching football and knitting.  Arghh!  Oh well, I was able to salvage a few 1/2 pints of  'chutney butter'.  Lesson learned.

Okay, time for Downton Abbey.  

mango chutney and football

Made the Mango Chutney recipe from the Women's Institute book today.  I had to add apples because I didn't have enough mangoes.  I also didn't crush the peppercorns enough, but man oh man, is this stuff amazing!

mango chutney and football

mango chutney and football
I don't remember where I got these jars, but they are not shelf stable,
so into the fridge they go!
Gotta run - kickoff time - the Cleveland Browns v. Cincinnati Bengals! Fight for the top of our division and our state. Go Browns!!

furnace, football and fermenting

This morning, Robert fixed the furnace so we had heat!  It had gone out yesterday, and after a phone call to our local HVAC fix-it guy, Robert got it running again. He can fix just about anything, and that is one of the many things I love about him.

We were just about ready to sit down and watch the Cleveland Browns game, when we heard a huge explosion!

Went out the front door to see what happened.  A guy had stopped his car and said that he saw the transformer blow and a power line was down.  Robert called the police - we wanted to make sure no one would be hurt by the down line.  They said they had already gotten calls, and the Fire Department and police would be there soon.

Since we had no power, Robert went to the store and bought some C batteries so we could load them up into a radio.  It was actually kind of fun listening to the game that way.  Robert cooked some brunch, we ate out on the back porch.  Then I started two ferments - this Brussels Sprout Kimchi (I don't like brussels sprouts very much, but I do love kimchi) and another batch of sauerkraut with radishes.

furnace, football and fermenting
Sprouts soaking in brine
furnace, football and fermenting
Cabbage, radishes and caraway seed
Power came back at the beginning of the second half of the game.  Unfortunately, we lost to a team who had never won yet this season.  Arghhh!

Now to finish up the kimchi, and think about what we want to have for dinner. All in all, it's been a really nice Sunday!

Update:  The kimchi is in jars - will ferment for three to five days.  Cannot wait!!

furnace, football and fermenting

deep thoughts: charles bonnet syndrome

I recently read a short story by Margaret Atwood in which one of the characters has Charles Bonnet Syndrome.

I had never heard of this, and after doing some light research, it made me wonder if that is why people in the past came up with fairies and brownies and pixies and imps and other little creatures?  EDIT:  Oh look - while doing more googling, I found this article about Dr. Oliver Sacks - now I have another book on my reading list.

One of my biggest fear is losing my sight.  I have very bad eyesight, and for my age, the percentage of 'floaters' in my eyes is alarming (the vitreous fluid in my eyes is not very fluid; I also get 'shocks' of light when I close my eyes strongly).  But I have to say that if I did lose my sight and was able to see shiny happy tiny people, maybe that would be a comfort somewhat.

deep thoughts:  charles bonnet syndrome
Margaret Tarrant "Snow Brownies"
I chose an illustration of her brownies because the Cleveland Browns won yesterday
I do not mean for the post to be a downer.  I was just thinking about this subject recently. And I wonder if anyone has heard of this syndrome before?  

what's happening in the kitchen

The title should read "What's happening in the kitchen, or what should be happening soon."

What happened: Yesterday, I used the dehydrator to dry six trays of apples. As I planned to watch the Cleveland Browns' game, I figured at least I would get something substantial done that day and not feel guilty. (Though I was knitting some boot cuffs, too.)

Oh, what a game!! The Browns' defense was absolutely horrible for the first half - they were losing 10-28!!! But the second half was heart-stopping, and they pulled it off and won 29-28!

what's happening in the kitchen
Lots of dried apples - Sephora likes them, too

What happened: This morning I started another batch of sauerkraut; and I added onions.
What better happen soon:  I have another head and a half of cabbage, so I'll do another quart or two, after I pick up some caraway seed at the store, and maybe add apples, too.  We have a lot of apples.

what's happening in the kitchen

What should be happening : And another project:  some pear and apple chutney. I picked up the pears at the Farmers Market on Saturday. Not sure which recipe I'm going to use.  I'm going to scour my many canning books to see what I can find.

what's happening in the kitchen
One of my favorite bowls - look, hollyhocks!
What should be happening (non-kitchen related):  More yard work and laundry.  Hahahaaa, yeah right!

EDIT:  So you all don't think I'm totally lazy, I did go out into the garden and picked everything that was ripe and then picked all the green tomatoes and tore up the plants.  I am thinking of planting some garlic.

I'm heading out to my son's house in an hour or so to help to continue helping them with their basement.
how to pass time while at the hospitalgone off - scented sunday and some other thingsblabbing about potteryautumn daysscented super bowl sundaya few thingsmango chutney and footballfurnace, football and fermentingdeep thoughts:  charles bonnet syndromewhat's happening in the kitchen

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