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the cow jumped over the moon

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a year ago

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 year ago
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.

a year ago


And a pretty sunset last week at the old reservoir in town:

a year ago


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.


early october

Well hello there!

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.

early october

I was finally successful in fermenting sauerkraut - boy is this stuff good. I'll start another batch soon.

early october

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.

early october

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!

early october


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



white shoes after labor day

The unofficial end of summer! And as far as I'm concerned, you can wear any color of shoe whenever you want.

Last summer, I talked about activities that mean summer to me; this year, we did get soft-serve ice cream, and go to the fair. We love the fair!  Edit:  Does this video work for you all?



Farm machinery mosaic
But we didn't see any block-buster films in the movie theater, because there was so much sports to watch on TV - soccer and the Olympics. Shout out to Team USA! Did you know that the US is one of the few countries where there is no government support for the athletes?

I have been busy with the non-profit, and with teaching pottery.  I only worked at the nursery in May because my schedule just didn't mesh. I must admit though that of all the years I am glad it was this one - it would have been very hard to be working there with the intense weather this summer.

At the community garden (one of the programs of the non-profit), we now have a pergola at the entrance, and soon the solar-powered wash station will be completed. Over 300 lbs of garden produce has been donated to our local food bank so far this season, and we still have much more to harvest.

My boss at the community garden.
At the community garden.
Our garden at home has been a bust, other than kale and chard.  Maybe it was because we planted late, but I think it has more to do with the super hot and dry weather we had for so long. And the lack of pollination. We had flowers on the bean plants but no beans.  We had two tiny melons - one was ripe and it was quite tasty.  The husband's corn was a sad thing indeed - a handful of ears but they didn't grow well at all. We'll try again next year.


Makes me think that it is a good thing that I live in the times and place where I do - not having to be reliant on a good harvest to support ourselves.

For all those of you who have a holiday today, enjoy!!!


august

I cannot believe it is August already. Actually, I guess I can - it has been so dry and hot it has been like a typical August 'dog days' since, well, for awhile now.

I am really glad we didn't plant a large vegetable garden this year. Our water bill would be huge! We planted late - corn, beans and melon, and I also planted a few kale, chard and Brussels sprouts. Robert recently cleaned out our rain barrels - they were clogged at the bottom.  He was able to siphon the water out so we got two days of  'free' water for the garden.

We have one baby melon so far!

august

Here's a sweet photo of Sephora. As you can see, we still haven't put up that fence. You can also see Robert's corn growing in the enclosed little garden bed.

august

With regard to pottery, I am still making my sgraffito things - tumblers and tea cups this time around. They go into the kiln for their first firing tomorrow.  Then I'll glaze them. I'm also teaching a few private lessons. My next class offering is in a few weeks, and then more in late September.

august

This was breakfast this morning (I posted this bowl a long while ago, I think).  The tumblers above will be glazed with this celadon glaze:

august

The part-time job at the non-profit is going very well. We have a wonderful student garden manager this year, so I do not have to be at the community garden all the time, and can focus more on reports/grant writing/fundraising, etc.  Plus the office is air-conditioned ;)

I think that is about it for now. Hope everyone is having a great summer (or winter, for you down-unders!).  I'm looking forward to the county fair in a few weeks!! Whooot!!!

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

video

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.


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!

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!

a year agogood thingsearly octobermicroburstswhite shoes after labor dayaugustsummer so far videowe saw...dirt mud clay

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