A year ago, Robert had his heart valve replacement surgery.
Here he is, about a month ago, at the local record store (owned by our pal Aaron).
A carefully placed album :)
Thank goodness all went well, and is well! I don't know what I would do without him. Thank goodness for ACA/Obamacare - if we didn't have it, he wouldn't have gone for a regular check-up (he had no real symptoms; but we had insurance and a low co-pay), and when his valve would have failed, it would have been catastrophic! We'll see what the powers-that-be replace ACA with - but I'm not feeling very hopeful. Thanks to everyone for being supportive, esp Denise who was with me all day long that very very long emotional stressful day.
And look! The crocuses are popping up in our front yard. It's been oddly warm for the past week.
And a pretty sunset last week at the old reservoir in town:
Hello everyone: I had to take a little break from some social media. And I'm back, with a few good things as of late:
Denise and I went to see Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks at the Cleveland Museum of Art two Sundays ago. It was absolutely fantastic. I never got to see his work in person back in the '80s. Gosh he was (we were) so young then!
I stopped by the Rockefeller Park Greenhouse on the way - what a serene and sweet place:
A few years ago, I promised myself that I would either use up a bunch of fabric I have sitting around, or donate it. So I started my first scrap quilt. I am going to make a few minor changes to the layout, and I am a bit nervous about sewing it - I am not at all precise so we'll see how it turns out. I also promised myself that I wouldn't buy any new fabric, and I did keep that promise. All I bought was spray basting and batting. Once it's done, I'll post the finished quilt. It's quite small - only 9 - 5" blocks by 10 - 5" blocks - it (will hopefully) fit on a piece of fabric I have had for years that I'm using as backing:
Another thing I have wanted to learn for a long time was fair isle/color work/stranded knitting. So I am knitting this hat - the pattern is here and yarn by Candice at The Farmers Daughter Fibers who I happen to follow on Instagram. It's quite fun and I'm happy how it's turning out! Since it's my first time, I am really twisting my yarn a lot so I'm knitting very slow. Between the quilt and the knitting, I am checking the news less often, which is good for my mental health. (I'm still making phone calls, writing letter, etc, though)
And last but not least!! Happy Valentine's Day (early) to us!! A darling new flock of chicks!!! It's so good to have chicks again - been too long (I think it's been over two years since we have had chickens Robert reminded me that it has been three and a half years since we have had chickens! Wow). We named them (and this is not in the order of the photo) Bettie, Hettie, Lettie, Nettie - and Myrtle! (I cannot stop laughing when I say "...and Myrtle!"). Beware that I'll be boring the pants off of you all by posting lots of photos of them in upcoming blog entries :)
EDIT: If you have never seen a baby chick fall over falling asleep - well, you have to!! When we first had chickens, and saw that happening, I thought the chick had died. Now I am laughing all the time when I see them do it. Ahhh good things :)
Let's see - we saw Rogue One and enjoyed it. It's always nice going to our town's theater. Plus you cannot beat the $4 tickets.
I knitted mittens and a kind of matching headband. The pattern for the headband didn't have cables so I changed the pattern, adding some.
I was sick for a few days- better now, but now Robert is ill :(
We bought a cheap electric yogurt making machine. Man, why did we wait so long to buy one of these!? It's wonderful! And I am trying out herbal infusions. My first is nettle. It tastes like spinach water and actually isn't bad at all. All part of trying to see the small beautiful good things in life every day. And being healthier.
I'm going to the March on Washington. I have to shout out thanks to some of you blogging friends - I'm able to take the bus from my town and back! Your help is awesome in every sense of that word! If you're on Facebook or Instagram, I hope to be posting while I'm at the March. I won't be able to blog about it until I'm back, and have slept.
Why march? Read the Mission statement here. Pretty much sums up what I would say. This POS, and this government, this WORLD, have to see that we won't stand by when we and our fellow humans are treated as less than, who are bullied, ridiculed, demonized, and marginalized. That those officials who emboldened racism, hatred, xenophobia and prejudice in their followers will not be respected, but will be challenged.
The other night, a bunch of us got together for dinner. It was really wonderful. Being with friends these days is truly nourishing and important.
Oh and I would like to recommend again watching Deutchland 83 if you haven't seen it yet.
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!
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:
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!
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!
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.
Wishing you all the best during this
Dried tangerines for stained-glass-ish decorations
Last week, we had dinner with our friend M and what a fabulous time we had!! I was wearing a new-to-me outfit, and before we left for M's house, I tried to take a photo without a full-length mirror and without falling off the trunk! I didn't fall off, so that was a win.
I was finally successful in fermenting sauerkraut - boy is this stuff good. I'll start another batch soon.
Pottery classes are going well - I have two sessions of beginning wheel throwing this time around, in the a.m. and then again in the p.m. I usually nap in the afternoon - gosh I'm getting old. At my other job (the non-profit), cover crops are being sowed and winter greens are planted in the community garden. We're also gearing up for a community clean-up day that we're hosting.
We had the most beautiful mist/fog Monday morning - I took a walk in the old reservoir in town before work. It was enchanting! Ahhh, October, my favorite month!
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!
Had coffee with Evelyn, then visited her pet rescue pig.
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.
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.
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:
Empty chicken coop in the background - we need a new flock
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).
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.
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.
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.
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 since my last post? Two big things happened to England* recently, and with regard to one of those things I say - go Iceland!
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!
And beans are growing (on a discarded futon frame):
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.
We had dinner with P and M (the artists) at their place (you may have seen their place before,here) Friday night. Ahhhhhhh!
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.
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
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:
On our way to dinner (we were recently gifted new fancy phones with lots of fun features)
The town square on our way to dinner at the new (ugly) hotel
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.
On our way home after dinner, through the square - that's R in the middle, looking back.