Thursday, February 26, 2015

Abaddon All Hope

20141219_162331.jpg

Detail from Abaddon (Land of the Lost) by Carlos Quinto Kemm. There is a lot going on here. I picked that photo at random from my flickr site and then went to look up Abaddon, a word I had never heard before, I don't think. Turns out it's ancient Greek originally, then used in the Bible. A kind of place/being equivalent to Perses or Shiva.  Who knew?

The Week So Far

We last left off on Monday, was it? Man, the allergies are eating my memory. I really feel like a zombie these days. It's worse when I take Benadryl, which I have been doing recently when things get bad, nose-wise. That was Monday.

Same day, we got some snow, a very small amount that was gone by mid-morning. It's been a freaky run, weather-wise. First there was Monday's snow, then Tuesday it was cold, gloomy, and gray all day.  Today started out beautifully, was warm and sunny enough to have the door open all morning. By mid-afternoon, the wind kicked up and the temperature dropped. I shut the door and turned on the heater. I also had a pot of beans boiling away on the stove all morning, which helped warm up the place.

Dinner tonight--post-pilates class, which I'm skipping for various reasons--will be those beans and either nachos or stacked red chile cheese enchiladas with fried eggs on top.

Last night we had dinner with my brother, sharing a large pizza (half meat, half vegetarian).  We chatted for awhile before I got so sleepy that I could barely keep my eyes open. I seriously thought I was going to fall asleep at the table. Allergies again, I think.

We came home and I put on my pajamas and put some beans on to soak overnight. Then I got into bed, put on an episode of MASH, and fell asleep. Of course that meant that I got up in the middle of the night and couldn't get back to sleep again. I got up, I put the beans on the burner and watched a few more episodes of MASH. I'm pretty much done with the five seasons that are available on Netflix.

The rest of the week is supposed to be cold, rainy, and snowy.  All the plants that are blooming--the daffodils and the plum tree--are going to freeze. It's springtime in New Mexico!

So what else is new?

The food find of the week is a quinoa veggie burger from a company called Qrunch that we picked up at the co-op.  I was looking for a lower sodium version of the veggie burgers that we normally eat, and these fit the bill. They're very tasty, so I've been eating them for lunch recently.

The book of the week is Bill Bryson's One Summer: America, 1927, a non-fiction look at what was happening in the summer of 1927. It's very interesting in a way that I don't usually find history to be interesting. The whole first part is mostly about the history of aviation leading up to Charles Lindbergh's flight across the Atlantic which took place in May '27.

Seems so strange, doesn't it, that the first flight across the Atlantic was not quite 88 years ago, but now you can catch any number of flights from New York to Paris on a given Wednesday. I just did a Priceline search. On May 20 (the anniversary of Lindbergh's flight), I can get from New York to Paris in 7 hours and 15 minutes (versus his 33 hours and 30 minutes) for $492 dollars. (I could even save $100 if I waited a week or so.)


Monday, February 23, 2015

A Little Color

Bare clay:
20150117_165037.jpg
A little color before it goes into the first firing:
20150221_200052.jpg
When it comes out of the first firing, I'll add some more color and some Gerstley borate to shine up certain parts. Maybe I'll put on a bit of low-fire glaze as well. We'll see.

Here's a couple more pics of the newest sculpture. Yesterday, I painted the roses, teeth, and the whites of the eyes.
20150221_182043.jpg
 This is her with the lid removed:
20150221_182057.jpg
You can stash your treasures!

She's coming along.

Friday

On Friday evening, we were waiting for the plumber to come unplug our drains. I used the backed up drains as an excuse to order a pizza and wings for dinner. That was about the highlight of my day.

Saturday

On Saturday, we had dim sum for lunch with Chris and Lu Ann. I ate way too much at lunch. I'm not supposed to have salt and dim sum I'm convinced is mostly salt. Anyway, it was nice to catch up with them and to hand over a set of sauerkraut crocks that Dave threw and trimmed and that we both glazed. We've been driving those crocks around for weeks, waiting to hand them over.

In the afternoon we went to the studio. I worked a bit, mostly underglazing. Dave took apart one of his clarinets to oil it. Judi and Paul came out to chat awhile.

Dave showed Judi a website online that lists houses for sale along with interior and exterior photos and we spent some time looking at the houses for sale in their neighborhood. All this was prompted by us talking about a house in our neighborhood that is for sale with an asking price of $1.2 million, which is ridiculous.  The houses in Judi and Paul's neighborhood, a much nicer neighborhood than ours in many ways, top out at just under $500,000. We looked at a couple in that range. They were hideous, built in the 1970s and 1980s and never updated.

When it was time to take Crunch for a walk, we went by a couple of the houses that we had looked at online. I introduced Judi to a Spanish word that I use to describe Dave all the time: mitotero, which is like a busy body, someone who has to go around getting the latest gossip and peeking in windows, that kind of thing.

After our walk, we worked for awhile longer then headed out to dinner with Judi and Paul, to a local hamburger diner type place. I had a salad and a veggie sandwich (I wanted a cheeseburger, but realized that I hadn't had a single vegetable all day) and I shared a basket of sweet potato fries with everyone and split a vanilla malt with Paul. 

Sunday

On Sunday, the weather took a turn for the worse and it was windy, cloudy and gloomy all day, so Dave and I stayed in. He went out at lunchtime to pick up a burger and diet soda for me (I stayed home in my pajamas and made him Quorn nuggets and broccoli). Mostly I read the internet and watched more episodes of MASH.

I've been sneezing pretty continuously for the last week and a half. I always forget, in the middle of winter when I'm dreaming of spring, that spring means pollen and pollen means allergies. I'm always conflicted about taking antihistamines to help ease the symptoms, so on Friday I didn't take anything. On Saturday I tried a mask. It worked, but only so much. On Sunday morning I finally took some Benadryl. It worked--until it wore off and I went back to sneezing. I hate the dopey feeling I get when I take it though.

In the early evening, we had a pilates lesson. After, we stopped by Whole Foods for some groceries. At home, we put together a quick dinner of whole wheat pasta, jarred sauce, and sauteed bok choi.

I got online to check the Oscar results. Not that I care so much about the Oscars, but I did want to see Michael Keaton win. Oh well.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Art Thou?

Art?
20141219_155950.jpg
No, an early foray into liquid-fueled rockets, currently on display in Roswell, NM.

Art?
20141226_130446.jpg
Yes, currently on display at the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe.

Art?
20141220_115255.jpg
No, a photograph (rotated 90 degrees) taken in the King's Room in Carlsbad Caverns, NM.

Art?
Details, Details
I don't know. Yes? Probably. Detail of a mural painted by pre-school children on a wall in Tokyo.

Today

Neither Dave nor I could sleep last night. We were both up for several hours in the middle of the night. Even after he managed to drop off, I could not. Of course, I ended up falling asleep late in the morning sleeping until very late in the day. I got up, had blunch (red chile cheese enchiladas topped with fried eggs) and sat down to have a cup of coffee and read the internet for awhile. It was so late in the day that I soon had to start dinner! 

Dinner was kale and bean soup from a Martha Stewart recipe (out of a magazine passed on to me by my aunt), a green salad, and a grilled cheese with caramelized onions for Dave. I opted to have just soup and salad since I had such a large, late lunch.

After dinner, we had to step out to the co-op to pick up yogurt, frozen berries, a few fruits and veg. I also picked up a box of four ice cream bars. I should know not to do that, because the first thing I did when we got home was eat two of them. So much sugar! So good.

 


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Very, Very Long Weekend...and Wednesday

The newest sculpture (wearing a sling made of white toweling to support her newly constructed arm in a certain position):
20150216_142255.jpg
Aside from the forearms and hands, one of the last things to go on is the head. I usually construct the head last, put on the face, and then decide on how the head is going to sit. This time I called Dave over to give me his opinion of several different positions. This is the one that made him laugh repeatedly, so that's the one I went with. His laughter is often the deciding factor in my calavera sculptures. I want them to be strange but funny to other people, too.

In this picture, she is finished except for a trio of flowers I added at the temple of the skull. I had originally planned an elaborate hairstyle to go with the elaborate dress, but in the end, I like the shock of the mostly bare skull at the top of this voluptuous figure in a wild dress, so I left it.

I've painted in the center panel white, so the detail of it won't be apparent until after it's fired and it gets a wash of dark underglaze. But here you can get a general sense of the size and overall shape:
20150216_142303.jpg
This is a view of the back:
20150216_142322.jpg
A little more detail of the skirt:
20150216_142319.jpg 
A little closer, still:
20150216_142329.jpg
The bottom part is built on a vase that Dave threw. The flounces of the skirt are added as coils and the folds carved in. The flowers and skulls go on last, of course.

Once the arm sets up, I'll get a better photograph of the top, which lifts off completely. Why, I have no idea, except that I built it that way.

After the arm sets up a bit, I'll take off the sling and start painting. I haven't decided on a color scheme yet, but I think the dress might go into the blue-green territory with pink and/or reddish flowers. I want it to be a bit gaudy. I'll consult my Godey's Lady's Book to look at some color schemes maybe.

The Long Weekend: Sunday

On Sunday, I don't remember what we did. I think it was a lot of lazing around and doing nothing. It was a beautiful day, though. The weather has been lovely.  In the evening, we had a pilates class. I ended up doing something stupid and inflaming my tendonitis though. I should have come home and put ice on it, but I always forget about the ice thing. I have it taped up now. So that's been a downer.


The Long Weekend: Monday

Dave had Monday off for President's Day, so we slept in and then had lunch at Garcia's with my mother and older brother. I had menudo and chicharrones, my favorite meal from there.

After that, we went to the studio and worked for awhile. Dave took apart and oiled his clarinet and I worked on the sculpture above.

We took Crunch for a walk and after went to dinner with Judi and Paul, to a pizza place where they serve gelato. We all split an order of garlic bread with marinara sauce. Then Dave and I each had a salad and we split an okay-ish pizza (a"Greek pizza" with spinach puree, feta, kalamata olives, and mozarella on a wheat crust). Dave didn't have dessert, but I had vanilla and chocolate cake gelato. The vanilla was worth eating, but the chocolate cake was not very good at all, so I left it.

We came home after and vegged for hours. I watched a few episodes of MASH, which is new to Netflix.

The Long Weekend: Tuesday

Dave took an extra day off, but ended up staying in bed most of the day because he felt crappy, sore throat and so on. I hope he's not getting sick, but if he does, I hope he doesn't pass it on to me!

We made a quick run to the grocery store in the early evening and came home to make BLTs (with fake bacon) and salads for dinner. I also picked up a huge apple fritter for myself for dessert, since I've been craving sugar.

...and Wednesday

Dave went back to work today, despite not feeling well. I slept in, having packed his lunch the night before. It was a beautiful day though, so I spent some time outside, sitting out on the patio having coffee and then watering the plants that are sprouting in the pots outdoors.

I decided to make red chile enchiladas for dinner, so I ran to the store for some corn tortillas and cheese. I bought a new kind of corn tortilla, but it was too thin and basically turned to mush in the enchiladas. Oh well. It still tasted good. We topped our enchies with an egg and had beans and sour cream on the side. I also sauteed some Swiss chard to serve on the side, so we could have a vegetable.

After dinner, I packed up Dave's lunch for tomorrow and sat down to watch some more old episodes of MASH. It's amazing how well that show has held up. I find myself laughing out loud at some things, even though I know the plots of each episode like the back of my hand, as it was one of my favorite shows when I was in middle school.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Fox

Thursday

Thursday evening I had dinner with my mom and aunt, a quick BBQ dinner ("moist" brisket and coleslaw). It was my salt-intake limit plus. I ended up drinking about half a gallon of water after, but it was worth it.

I was going to do some shopping after dinner but I decided against it, so I came home and watched an episode of The Blacklist online. It was the first of a two-parter with one of my favorite actors Ron Perlman.

I had had a soda with dinner, and the caffeine ended up keeping me awake long past my bed time. I finally got to sleep just before 2:00 a.m., got up around 5:00 to take my meds, then went back to sleep until around 10:00. So it was a full night's sleep, just shifted and broken up some.

Friday

I had some bits and pieces of things for breakfast, a banana, the last two bites of my rotisserie chicken, a bit of cheese, a handful of tortilla chips, coffee. I just grazed on what was at hand because I didn't feel like cooking anything.

In the afternoon I braved the cross-town traffic to go to Target for some things we've been needing around the house. I bought aluminum foil, paper bowls, kitty litter, garbage bags, toothpaste and so on. It was mostly fine, even if the traffic sucked. After Target, I stopped by the co-op. Dave was coming home from Toronto and I promised him red chile for dinner so I picked up tortillas and cheese and some Quorn to go in the chile.  I also picked up some vegetable sushi (avocado and brown rice) for my lunch, which was very tasty if not particularly filling.

At home, I did a bit of work on the patio, wiping down the patio furniture and setting up the patio umbrella. It will be nice when it gets to be warm enough to have dinner out there. Even though the days are climbing into the mid-60s, the temperature begins to fall rapidly at sunset. Dave will often sit out and read on his phone or laptop after dark, but I am not cold-hearty in late winter and I am a mosquito magnet (and have a strong reaction to being bit) in the spring and summer, so I usually come indoors a lot sooner than he does.

Dave's plane was a bit late, but only a bit. I got to the airport early and sat in the cell phone waiting lot and read celebrity gossip on my phone while I waited for him to call me.  We got home a bit after 9:00, had dinner, and then both crashed.

Saturday

I slept until about 5:45 and woke with heartburn. I reached for an antacid and was chewing it up when I realized that I hadn't had my meds yet and I'm not supposed to take antacids within 4 hours of taking them. Sigh. I figured I'd just wait until 9:45 and take them a few hours late, so I went back to bed. I fell asleep again and didn't wake up until noon. I got up, took my meds, and sat down to read a bit of the new Bill Bryson book that Dave brought for me.

We had brunch, a quick huevos rancheros without potatoes (just eggs, chile, beans, cheese, and tortilla) and coffee. Then we both sat around keeping our computers company. It was such a beautiful day that we kept the door open. The cats went out and sat on the patio, soaking up some sun.

After a few hours, we went to the studio. I checked my fox lady and was sad to see that she had cracked along one inner elbow. I set about fixing the crack (a time-consuming and often ultimately ineffective task) and putting a bit of underglaze on her. The further along I get with the piece, the less satisfied I am. But that is a problem I have almost continuously, not just with this but with everything. I have to fight against it.

20150214_153152.jpg

This is after a bit of underglaze. You can see that she's wearing gloves over her fox paws. I had thought to make them like real fox paws, but I wanted to add gloves and I also didn't like the way the transition from skin to fur looked on the head and so didn't want to repeat it for the paws.

The gloves will be black and satiny. She has a preliminary coat of white on the skin and fur. I'll continue to add to that until she is completely white, then I'll decide whether or not to paint on tattoos. In either case, she'll get a wash of black underglaze after the initial firing. That will settle in the textured areas and add some grittiness to her overall look. Her inner ears will be either pink or red, I haven't decided, and her eyes a greenish yellow or a celadon green. The corset is a bit of a worry. I'm not sure if I want to paint some kind of pattern on it or leave it plain and top it with a satiny red glaze. It might be interesting to leave it matte red and then stencil a pattern using gold acrylic paint over the top after it's fired. We'll see.

The elbow that cracked is the one on the right. You can't see the crack in this photo. I repaired it once and it cracked again, slightly smaller, after sitting for an hour. I repeated the process and the same thing happened. Repairing cracks sucks. I'll add more slip tomorrow and work it into the crack and see what happens. Sometimes--about 30% of the time--it works.  If she cracks again in the firing, I'll probably repair it with a bit of epoxy and then put her out on the patio to keep an eye on things.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Baching It

Baching It

Here I was in Blake's Lotaburger with my diet Pepsi, waiting for my food:

20150210_140332.jpg

Whenever Dave leaves town, my go-to meal is almost always a Blake's Lota combo (a Lotaburger with cheese and green chile added, seasoned fries, and a large diet Pepsi). That's where I had lunch on Tuesday, of course.

I got up very early on Wednesday morning, around 2:30 or so. I took my meds and waited awhile, as usual, then I had a couple of fried eggs and a piece of toast for breakfast. I debated on whether or not to start in on the coffee or to try to get some more sleep. The coffee won out.

 It was still dark out when the wind kicked up, banging the front gate. I got up to check and it was raining. The whole morning was like that--cloudy, rainy, windy, gloomy--so I stayed in bed reading and looking at garbage on the internet. It stayed cold all day, nothing like the 70 degree day we had Tuesday.

For lunch, I tried to turn the lentils from the day before into soup by adding bouillon and spices and blending it with the immersion blender. It was terrible. But as there was really nothing else in the house and I didn't want to have fried eggs for two meals in a row, so I ate some of it over leftover quinoa. Later in the afternoon, a few hours before pilates, I had a sandwich with the last of the Tofurkey, tomato, and mustard. I wanted mayo, but we are out and I didn't feel like going to the store for any.

It was just Judi and me in pilates class. We worked pretty hard, though not as hard as Dave and I had worked before, when it was just us.  I strained my lower back a little bit during the warm up, so I was probably being a little more careful during the rest of class to really work hard.

I had joked with Dave earlier that I was going to have another Lotaburger after pilates, but instead of doing that, I decided to go to the co-op and pick up some vegetable sushi. Of course they were out of everything--wah, wah--so I ended up buying salad greens, cucumber, and half a cold rotisserie chicken. I also picked up some cheddar cheese and unsalted tortilla chips to go with some beans I have in the freezer. Dinner was a salad with chicken and a bit of yogurt with frozen blueberries for dessert.

I was so exhausted from class that after dinner and a phone call to Dave, I put on my pajamas and went straight to bed.  I think that's what I need to tire myself out enough to fall asleep: a pilates class every night.

I got up around 3:00 a.m., took my meds and went back to sleep until 8:30. Breakfast was beans with cheese, sour cream, and tortilla chips. I had a cup of coffee, too, of course.

When it warmed up a bit, I went out and brought the garbage cans in from the street and did some yard work. I raked up the leaves that have been sitting all winter and swept off the patio. I didn't pick up the leaves because we're out of big garbage bags to hold them, but I raked them into a pile so that they'll be easier to pick up when I get more bags. I want to do a lot of rearranging out there before we start planting and I need to wipe down all the patio furniture, but that can wait until tomorrow since I got a bit much sun while I was out.

I just got out of the shower and got back into bed, warm and cozy in my fluffy robe. There's lots to do around the house, but I'm not feeling it. I want to be like the cats and snooze the afternoon away. They're so zonked out that they didn't even start at the mailman banging the cover to the mailbox, something they usually don't like.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Sunday & Monday, Tuesday So Far

Sunday & Monday

We had another pilates class Sunday night. Judi had to cancel, so it was just Dave and me. It was a fun, intense workout. I'm kind of sore today.

I was looking up pilates online, looking for videos to review. Turns out that pilates is used by a lot of ballet dancers, I suspect as strength training that doesn't carry the same risk of injury that weight lifting does. The moves are very dance-like, an alien concept to me. Sometimes I don't even recognize what muscles the moves are supposed to work.

Anyway, we came home from our class and had a quick pasta dinner (whole wheat fusilli and rigatoni mixed together since they were the tag ends of two bags, soy-based "meat" balls, salt-free jarred pasta sauce, Parmesan cheese, and frozen broccoli).  I was so tired that I changed into my pajamas and went to bed right after dinner.

I slept until about 1:30, woke up, and couldn't get back to sleep. I sat up and watched youtube videos and read gossipy garbage on the internet about the Grammy and Bafta award shows.

Later in the early morning hours, I made Dave's lunch (leftover pasta, yogurt with strawberries and blueberries, crudite) and made my own breakfast (banana with soy-nut butter, yogurt, and plain leftover pasta with an egg on top).  Finally, I got in a nap.

I did some household chores and make dinner (lentil salad, quinoa, and a mix of roasted Brussels sprouts, onions, carnivale squash, and potatoes) which was prep-intensive, but which can all be served at room temperature. I'm don't normally like lentils, but I want to learn to like them, so we ordered some organic French green lentils in our CSA box awhile ago, and I've been trying to use them up. I'm still meh on them though. Anyway, one cup of dry lentils expands to fill an entire punch bowl it seems, so we'll be eating lentils for many, many days. Good thing they're healthy, otherwise they'd have nothing much else to recommend them.

After I prepped dinner, I sat down to watch last night's episode of "Better Call Saul" on Amazon prime. I'm in the middle of that now, watching on and off as I do other things. It's an interesting show so far and I like the character of Saul and I like the actor, Bob Odenkirk, who plays him. So we'll see.

Tuesday So Far

I fell asleep last night listening to an episode of Jazz, the Ken Burns documentary that I've been watching on Netflix. I dreamed that Dave and I were in a jazz club, getting ready to perform. Dave was playing his clarinet and I was supposed to sing. When it came time to sing, I couldn't.  There was more to the dream, but that's what I remember most strongly about it.

I'm baching it again, so I went to Lotaburger for my linner (late lunch/early dinner) and had an itsaburger with double meat and cheese, seasoned fries, and a big diet Pepsi. While I ate, I read gossip on the internet and got into a comment dust-up over the representation of women in films. I need to learn to stay out of internet comment sections, but it's so fun to argue! People get really worked up which makes me laugh.

Earlier in the day, I did a little bit of work outside on the patio, pulling up dead plants and starting to empty pots from last year so that we can start prepping for this year's plants. We were at the hardware store this past weekend and they already have pansies for sale! Can you believe it? I think I may have to go pick some up. While I was pulling up dead bits of plants, I uncovered some new growth on the potted catnip. Saba was thrilled! She ran over and had a good munch on some green stuff. That reminds me, though, that I need to do a bit of watering out there.

There's still lots of clean up to get done on the patio, but at least I got started. I filled up a whole large black plastic garbage bag with detritus. I'm sure I'll easily fill up a couple more at least.

All late morning and afternoon, I could hear flocks of sandhill cranes calling to each other as they went overhead on their way back up north. They know the drill.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Allergies, Foodstuff, Sculpture

Allergies

I've been feeling like a spaced-out zombie. I thought it was the effects of more no-sleep or even PMS, but today Dave came home and remarked on the smell of the Christmas wreath that's still on the door. I told him that I didn't want to get too close because it's got juniper on it, which I'm allergic to. He said he could smell it from where he was standing and that made me realize that my nose isn't working right. It's allergies. I'm a histamine-laden zombie.

It's only going to get worse as we go on into spring.

Yes, it's February, but it's been in the 60s all week and likely to climb to 70 this weekend. We'll have one more snowstorm around April 1st--we always do--but otherwise it's spring. Spring means allergies and misery.

Foodstuff


Friday night I was going to put together some kind of dinner from the odds and ends in the fridge, leftovers and such, but in the end I decided that I wanted a hamburger. While Dave went out to fetch one for me, I made him a sandwich (the burger place near the house doesn't have a vegetarian option). He brought back my burger and an order each of fries and onion rings for us to share.

We had a big shopping trip last Monday, but already the veggies are down to the last bits. (We've been eating a lot of vegetables around here lately!) Now that we're not eating out three nights a week and Dave is taking a homemade lunch everyday, we run through groceries pretty quickly.

Last night we had Thai vegan for dinner then stopped at Whole Foods for a few things (strawberries, blueberries, bananas, yogurt, some fake meat products, soy-nut butter, ) to get us through the weekend. We didn't load up because the co-op that we belong to has a members-only discount shopping coupon this month. We get about a one-time 30% off our bill, so in addition to our regular grocery shopping, we are making a list of things that we need to stock up on (coffee, pasta, canned goods, and so on) and on expensive things that we need rarely (like the $60 filter for our water filtering device).  We'll have one great big shopping trip either today or tomorrow.

I got up this morning, took my meds and waited the requisite hour to have breakfast. Breakfast was the last couple of forkfuls of the garbanzo bean salad I made day before yesterday, a banana with soy-nut butter, and some yogurt mixed with strawberries and blueberries. Then I had two cups of coffee. I don't like having to wait an hour after taking my meds to eat breakfast as I've gotten used to eating something right after waking up. When I have to wait, I tend to get a little too hungry and then I overeat, as I did this morning. That's hard for me to turn off my appetite.

Sculpture

I finished the fox woman last night, adding paws in gloves to go with the corset. One arm was too long when I was done, so I ended up having to perform a bit of last-minute surgery to shorten it. Part of the reason that the dimensions were fucked up was because everyone was sitting around me chatting while I worked and I was distracted.  (I try hard not to be a bitch about those things, but it can be frustrating.) Anyway, it's done--the building part of it anyway.

I had let it sit for so long waiting to finish it that it was starting to get little spots of white mold all over it. I brushed some of it off and started to put a coat of underglaze on. I didn't get very far, but I wrapped it all up again and will let it sit for a long time under plastic to equalize the moisture throughout so it doesn't crack while it's drying.

I would like to finish up the other things I've been working on and then fire a kiln. The only problem being that the drying process takes so long. It's been a couple of months since I fired a kiln of my own stuff and, with the rate I build, it may be at least a month more before I get a kiln fired.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Sleep, Move, Eat

Sleep

Every night I put a documentary on Netflix to listen to while I fall asleep. Sometimes it distracts The Brain enough that I can fall asleep, sometimes The Brain refuses to play along and instead I end up listening to a documentary. Recently, I've been listening Jazz: A Film by Ken Burns, which is a 10 part, 17 hour long documentary about jazz. It's really interesting and incredibly well done. I think I may have to stop listening at bedtime because it's keeping me up!

But to be honest, I haven't been sleeping well lately. I can fall asleep around 10:00 or 10:30, but then I wake up anywhere from 11:30 p.m. to 3:00 a.m. and I can't get back to sleep. Last night was one of the 11:30 nights. I fell asleep for about an hour around 3:00 a.m., but otherwise I got about two and a half hours of sleep total. I feel like a zombie today.

Move

We had our fourth pilates class last night. I was less shaky after, but I'm starting to feel sore already. We really worked our core muscles, which is great. 

I'm really liking pilates, actually. I didn't think I would, but I joined in because I desperately need to get some exercise. I like our teacher and our tiny little class. I like the exercise (it's more like strength training than cardio, which suits me fine). I even like that it's just beyond my abilities, so I have something to work toward.

Eat

When Dave got home from his recent business trip, the cupboards were pretty bare! While he was gone, I lived on eggs on toast, bean nachos, and green chile cheeseburgers and onion rings. Not a vegetable in sight! We also hadn't gotten the previous week's CSA box, so the veggie situation was getting dire. We run quickly through the veggies we do get because, since the new year, we've been trying to cook more at home and eat out less which helps us with our other goals of eating less salt (for my blood pressure) and fewer starches/sugars for Dave.

We decided on Monday night as our big shopping night. We went up to the farther-away but much bigger Whole foods in town and loaded up. We came home carting five big bags of groceries, lots of fruits and veggies and beans and yogurt. So healthy (ugh).

By the time we came home it was getting pretty late, so while Dave put away the groceries, I made us a couple of quick sandwiches. Dave had cheese, avocado, tomato, and red onion on his. I had salt-free rotisserie chicken, avocado, tomato, and red onion on mine. We've been eating low-sodium, sprouted whole grain bread from Ezekiel 4:9. They call it low sodium, but it's actually no sodium/salt free. It's very filling and quite good once you get over the shock of the taste of bread that lacks of salt.

Night before last we had veggie hash (a recreation of a recipe from Nosh, the Jewish deli we like) which was a mix of butternut squash, purple yam, potato, Brussels sprouts, carrot, orange cauliflower, onion, and garlic. We topped it with eggs (over-medium for Dave and very over-easy for me). To go with it, I sauteed black kale in olive oil with garlic and lemon juice. Dave also had a whole wheat tortilla and I had a slice of the Ezekiel bread, toasted.

Last night I made dinner before pilates, a garbanzo bean salad that is a vegetarian variation of a vegan imitation of tuna salad. (What?) It's basically garbanzo beans, mayo, mustard, relish, onions, garlic, and various spices (light on the salt) all mashed up together so that it resembles tuna salad (if you haven't eaten tuna salad in, like, twenty years). Piled on toast with tomato and avocado, it's a very filling sandwich.

Today I'm planning on making vegetarian or vegan minestrone soup with lots of vegetables, beans, and pasta. I'll probably have that with toast, but I expect Dave will want something else with it, like a grilled cheese sandwich.

Monday, February 2, 2015

The Week's End

1. On Saturday, I went by the studio (which is closer to the airport than the casita) to work a little on the new sculpture and to wait for Dave to call me to come pick him up. He called a little after 10:00 a.m. We came home, I had an egg on toast for lunch (he had eaten on his layover in Denver) while we made out a to-do list for the day, and then, since neither of us had gotten much sleep, we decided to have a fifteen minute power nap before heading out.

Six hours later, we woke up, made pasta and Swiss chard for dinner, changed into our pajamas and went back to bed. I woke up sometime in the middle of the night (and watched the last of the first season of Broad City), but Dave slept all the way through until 9:00 a.m. Sunday morning.

2. Sunday we got up, had Lotaburger for breakfast (Dave had a breakfast burrito and I had a Lotaburger and seasoned fries), and went to the studio.  I worked more on the new sculpture, building the torso and neck and laying out plans for the head and arm placement (which is a little tricky since the top of the sculpture comes off completely). Dave glazed. Judi came out with Crunch and we chatted and made plans to go to our pilates class at 3:15.

3. This is our third pilates class and the hardest so far. The three of us do a private lesson with a local teacher (an Argentinian former dancer with a PhD in exercise physiology) at her studio, so it is an hour of no distraction pilates. I don't know if you've ever done pilates, but it is really difficult. The focus is on the core/abdominal muscles, but while working the core, you also work the butt, legs, shoulders and arms.

The first night--the least difficult night--I walked out on shaky legs. The second night, I just tried to hang on through the lesson. (It was the day of my great aunt's funeral and my only goal was just not to cancel the lesson, to get myself there, which I did.) Today's lesson though! Oof.  At the end, I was so tired that I could barely lift my arms and, by the time we were halfway through dinner, my glutes were really complaining.

Our next lesson is Wednesday, so I can't wait to see what kind of torturous time we'll have.

4. After pilates, we came back to Judi's and took Crunch out for a walk. Poor guy, he would walk for hours and hours if we let him, but my butt and hips were starting to hurt, so we only took him to two different nearby parks before bringing him home.

5. Dave and I had dinner with Judi and Paul at our local favorite Chinese restaurant, Chopstix. The place was deserted because everyone was home watching the Super Bowl. We ordered a feast, ginger chicken, sauteed baby bok choi, Mongolian beef, vinegar and sugar ribs, their house tofu dish, vegetarian egg rolls, and rice. That was for four people! It was way too much food and since Judi and Paul won't eat leftovers, Dave and I came home with three big take-out boxes. (I just had some of the Mongolian beef, ginger chicken and rice for breakfast.)

As we boxed up our left-overs, the taciturn young Chinese man who works there overheard us talking about ramen and became immediately and unexpectedly loquacious about the subject. There aren't many ramen places in town--just two that are any good--and we had all been to both. One of the places is owned by a (I think former US military) guy who is married to a woman from Japan. They have great service and okay ramen. (They also serve curry and a handful of other dishes like takoyaki and such.) The other, much better ramen place is owned by a Japanese woman who runs the tiny restaurant with her American husband and half-Japanese son.

The man we were talking to said that the second place had good ramen and curry, but commented on how they closed at 8:00 pm. "I guess they are lazy," he said. "Don't want to work."

5. On the way home, we had to stop at the co-op to buy some things for Dave's lunch tomorrow. We picked up some frozen berries, yogurt, Ak-mak crackers, hummus, and a small bag of chocolate-covered pretzels for me. We both wandered around the store in a bit of a daze, from the combined effect of pilates and Chinese food overload.

6. The cats were happy to see us. They got to go outside for a bit then have their dinner. Dave practiced his clarinet, but I changed into my pajamas, brushed my teeth, and went straight to bed.

7. And that was our weekend.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Morning, So Far

1. We have been at the receiving end of rain, freezing rain, and snow for the last few days, so I've spent my time indoors, cuddling with cats, eating nachos, getting into fights in online celebrity gossip site comment sections, and binge watching the second season of Inside Amy Schumer and the first season of Broad City.

2. Dave was due back last night but, lucky him, got to spend an extra night in Minneapolis because his plane had a flat tire and he couldn't get another flight out. (Of course, his checked bags did make it back last night.) He got on a flight very early this morning--he texted around 5:00 a.m. to let me know he was at the airport--and I'll go pick him up in a couple of hours.

3. I got a parcel of books yesterday from Amazon, most of them big illustrated reference books about Victorian fashion. I have never been the least bit interested in fashion, but looking through these books made me realize that I would trade about half my belongings for a late-Victorian era silk taffeta day dress with a huge bustle. Like this:
But in darker, midnight blue silk. Because look at that! I would even give up my daily uniform of jeans and a long-sleeved t-shirt for one of those. (Okay, no I wouldn't, but I think that would be pretty sweet to wear for just hanging out around the casita.)

Just so you know, the bustles were sometimes made of steel and sometimes made like big pillows, stuffed with down or horsehair. One design had a kind of scaffolding that folded up and sprung out again as the wearer sat and stood up. Also, just so you're perfectly correct, in the Victorian era the word "bustle" was considered vulgar, so they called it a "tounure" or "dress improver."

I'm fascinated by that. Can you imagine wearing one of those things every day?

I went down the rabbit hole of the online resources for the Victoria and Albert Museum in London looking for information about bustles and corsets and found, of course, that little girls wore both from a very early age and, hilariously, that their dolls also had tiny bustles and tiny corsets.

4. I was going to get up and go to the studio last night while I waited for Dave, but then there was the flat tire and then it started spitting freezing rain, so I changed into my pajamas and made another plate of nachos and watched two more episodes of Broad City.

 I texted my mother to find out if she bought a new phone and she said she was also in her pajamas in bed watching a movie. So it's genetic probably.

5. I was going to get up and go to the studio this morning while I waited for Dave, but then I went out earlier to put the return CSA cooler out (they exchange it for a filled box) and it was snowing large, wet clumped flakes of snow, so I came in, took a hot shower, and got back into bed with my robe on and put on another episode of Broad City.


Friday, January 30, 2015

The Now, The Past: Good Things


The Now: Good Things

A book that I pre-ordered back in August 2014 arrived on Monday! (It was due out last October but I read in the New York Times that the publisher--a small academic press--underestimated the demand and only printed 15,000 copies. Those sold out on the day it was published and before Amazon put in its request for the 30,000 pre-ordered copies.)

Anyway, it's here!

20150129_173754.jpg
Laura Ingalls Wilder: Pioneer Girl

I am a huge fan of Laura Ingalls Wilder's books for children, have been since I was six or seven years old. I still read the whole set of them from cover to cover every year or two. This book goes back to the beginning, to the penciled journals that Laura wrote that eventually became those children's books. She originally intended it for adults, but failed to find a publisher until it had been reworked to appeal to children. The original is definitely more straightforward than the children's books and, with the annotations, there is a lot of historical background that would be of little interest to children.

Anyway it's a big, heavy book, almost like a textbook, which does not make for good bedtime reading, so I've been reading it at mealtimes. It's marvelous, a new way to know Laura Ingalls Wilder.

And it has been welcome company: My meals have been rather solitary since Dave has been on a business trip this week. (He comes back tomorrow.) Since he's been gone, I've simplified my diet quite a bit, eating yogurt and fruit for breakfast, eggs on toast for lunch, and a variety of dinners including a couple of nights of cheese and green chile Lotaburgers and onion rings. Tonight I had bean nachos with lots of cheese and sour cream and a kind of impromptu calabacitas made with the zucchini from our last CSA box. (We get another one this Saturday.)

Dave calls every night when he gets back to his hotel. Last night when he called Saba and I had just settled into bed, so I took this picture of us to text to Dave while we chatted:
20150128_193707.jpg
(That is my new red bathrobe, which Saba loves. I sometimes wear it to bed when I'm cold and when I do, she thinks it's Christmas. She runs over and kneads and kneads and kneads at it, tugging and pulling it into a little bed to settle down onto as she has here, pulling it up off my shoulder.)

When Dave calls, I usually put him on speakerphone and Saba is very curious about this. I don't know if she recognizes his voice or if she just wonders why I'm talking to this little box that answers me back. She is a smart cat though, she actually understands a lot of commands and questions and such, so I think she knows who is on the other end. Anyway, she likes to listen in on our conversations for whatever reason.

The Past: Good Things

I was craving a diet soda this afternoon, so I went out to the local non-co-op grocery store to pick up some soda and things for nachos. I walked into the store, saw this headline on the newspaper, and had to buy a copy (something I haven't done in a decade or more).
20150129_173730.jpg
Why this?

When I was in high school, this man and three accomplices abducted Linda Daniels, a local college student, as she was unloading groceries from her car. They kept her for several days, raping and torturing her, and finally murdering her and dumping her body. The youngest (17 at the time) eventually turned himself into the police and received immunity for his testimony against the others. (Four years later that young man hung himself. When I heard, I thought: Good.)

At the time all this happened, I was fourteen years old. I remember hearing about the crime (she was missing for several days and there were several articles in the paper about it) and being terrified. It has stayed with me all these years, too; I probably don't go a week without thinking of Linda Daniels. I think about her whenever I am unloading groceries from my car by myself. I think hearing about her murder made me hyper vigilant about personal safety in many ways, even when--especially when--I am close to home, as this happened on this woman's doorstep.

After I unloaded my groceries today, but before I even put them away, I read the article in the paper and then suddenly started crying. It was not out of grief but instead a kind of overwhelming relief that some evil had passed from this world.

Tonight, as I was thinking whether or not to write about this, I suddenly remembered when I was nineteen and reading Dante's Inferno for the first time. I wondered what level of hell this rapist and murderer would be in now, so I went and looked it up.

In the Inferno murderers are sent to the seventh level of hell. There they spend eternity submerged to various depths in a river of blood. When they try to move out of their level, the centaurs that patrol the banks of the river shoot them back into place with bows and arrows. There is no escape.
But fix thine eyes beneath: the river of blood
Approaches, in the which all those are steep’d,
Who have by violence injured.” O blind lust!
O foolish wrath! who so dost goad us on
In the brief like, and in the eternal then
Thus miserably o’erwhelm us. I beheld
An ample foss, that in a bow was bent,       
As circling all the plain; for so my guide
Had told. Between it and the rampart’s base,
On trail ran Centaurs, with keen arrows arm’d,
As to the chase they on the earth were wont.
[...]Around
The foss these go by thousands, aiming shafts      
At whatsoever spirit dares emerge
From out the blood, more than his guilt allows
When I read this, I thought: Good.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Catrina Calavera-ish

A new piece, started on a base that Dave threw for me. The base is going to be the skirt of a new Catrina calavera piece, so I added the parts along the side that are meant to resemble gathered fabric. The flowers are just perched there, not attached yet.

20150127_154937.jpg

Today I went back and took out the innermost bit of "fabric" so that I could have room to do a carving on the petticoat. The figure is in the style of Posada's calaveras, the one riding a bicycle, done as a papel picado.
20150127_164357.jpg

I then reattached the flowers, and--not shown--added gatherings to the back of the dress.

Last night, as I was thinking about this piece, I went and googled Godey's Lady's Book, a book that included things like hairstyles and fashions for the modern woman ca. 1863. I don't know a lot about fashion--have never really cared, actually--but I did want to see some details so that I might add some interest to the pieces that wear these ornate dresses.

I mean, look at that! I want some of that detail and complexity.

The last catrina-style calavera I made:
 20141223_161254.jpg
was inspired by La Muerte from The Book of Life:

But this one is going to be a bit more Victorian.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Kitsune (Foxes) Like to Wear Red

This is the new sculpture, in progress:
20150124_201728.jpg
I spoke about her earlier, this fox-headed woman.

I worked on her for a couple of hours tonight, putting on the head and ruff of fur around her neck and extending her arms to the elbow. Tomorrow, I'll take another look and decide whether or not to extend the fur onto her shoulders and pad out the cheeks (to take away from of the deer-ish look to her jawline).  I'll also start on the forearms and paws, one of which will be resting on her hip.

She is corseted into this extreme hourglass shape, as you can see here:
20150124_201624.jpg
This is all based on the foxes (kitsune) in Japan. Japanese kitsune are shape shifters, often adopt the form of women, like this one has.
20150124_201602.jpg
Kitsune are also a kind of diety; they guard the gates of the shrines to Inari, the goddess of the rice harvest. In Japan, the stone kitsune who are employed this way often wear red bibs, like this:

In honor of that tradition, this is the color I've gone with for the corset:
20150124_203501.jpg
Like her Japanese cousins, she herself will be white. I'm also considering adding Japanese-style tattoos to her arms and back. (Since I neglected to add a tail, I might have one "tattooed" on.) I like the idea of it more than I like anticipating the work that will have to go into such an undertaking.  So we'll see.

The Week

It was kind of a sad week this week. Earlier in the week, my great Aunt Alice died and her funeral services and burial were held yesterday.  She was almost 87 years old, which is pretty long-lived for my family.

I don't deal very well with grief, so I've been feeling pretty sad and really drained of energy. I spent most of today in bed, only getting up to go and have dinner with Dave, my mother, and older brother. Dave and I went to the studio after that, and now we're home and I'm back in bed. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Tuesday's Done For

20141219_155345.jpg

1. I was awake this morning when Dave left for work. I got up, put his lunch together (which was easy, as he had done most of the prep the night before), then went back to bed and fell asleep soon after he left. I had only gotten about three hours of sleep the night before and was still pretty tired.

A couple of hours after I fell asleep, I half woke from a dream and, as I considered whether to get up or go back to sleep again, I heard Dave's voice very clearly say my name.

That woke me up.

I looked at my phone. It was 9:21. I texted Dave, fully prepared to find out that he was in some hospital somewhere, having gotten mangled in a car accident on the way to work.

Is it just me, or does everyone's brain work that way?

Dave was fine, was at work, in a meeting.

Sandhill Cranes
Sandhill cranes


2. I got up, checked my email while I made a cup of coffee, had a banana and some cheese and crackers for breakfast. I took a shower and got dressed.

3.  I did some chores around the house, dishes, sweeping, that kind of thing. The day was perfect, so I had the front door open while I did my chores. It wasn't until the sun started to go down around 5:00 that I had to close it.
20140815_155314.jpg

4. I sent some emails.

Judi wants to take a pilates class, so I emailed the potential teacher to set up a class. I had tried emailing but got no reply, so I tried calling. I left a message and, several hours later, had not yet received an answer.

20150111_115555.jpg
Judi's Fiat

I also emailed my brother. After texting with my mother, I sent him an email to try to set up dinner for this weekend.

5. I had lunch, the last of the short ribs with the rest of the wine-braising sauce that they were in and a couple of small potatoes, microwaved. It was delicious. I thoroughly enjoyed my foray into meatland via the steak and short ribs. It doesn't happen often.

6. I futzed around online, visited some gossipy websites, looked at the headlines, looked for some recipes for the French lentils we got a few weeks ago in our CSA box.

7. I prepped dinner: kabocha nimono (Japanese pumpkin simmered in soy sauce and sake), a warm French lentil salad, chopped tomatoes, red quinoa, and kale sauteed in garlic and olive oil.  Very fiber-laden, low-fat, and full of veggies. I'll be hungry in an hour, probably.

Co-Op Green Bananas
Green co-op bananas

8.. After dinner, we went by the co-op to pick up a few things. Dave wanted a snack for work tomorrow, so we got some hummus. We bought bananas, yogurt, some cheddar cheese, and tofurkey lunch meat for sandwiches. We got some cat food, too, and more tomatoes and a jalapeno. I want to make some pico de gallo to go on tacos tomorrow night.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Sunday & Blue Monday

Sunday

1. Had a panic attack last night that left me feeling exhausted. Felt crappy again in the morning, so I loaded up on B-12, which sometimes helps quell the aftershocks.

2. In the afternoon, I went for a drive out along Rio Grande, and saw eleven cranes in a field on the side of the road. They're already on their way back home, heading north now that it's warming up. It's too early, I think.

3. Dave brought me a Lotaburger, fries and a diet Pepsi in the afternoon and, after I ate, I had a long nap.

4. I woke up craving a steak, so we went to Whole Foods and I bought a New York strip steak and a couple of pounds of short ribs.

5. My dinner was a steak, baked potato, and salad. Dave had the same thing, but instead of steak he had some meat substitute in the shape of steak tips. We shared some dark chocolate with dried cherries for dessert.

Blue Monday

1. I got up around 8:00, put the short ribs to braise in some red wine for lunch. I've been wanting nothing but red meat to eat these days.

2. Dave went out for breakfast burritos from Blake's. My usual is a bacon, egg, and potato burrito with red chile and a diet Pepsi. He has an egg and potato burrito with red and green chile, though since he's watching his carb intake these days, he asked for his without the potato and he only ate half his tortilla.

3. I spent most of the day doing nothing much. I got online and read some garbage-y stuff, had short ribs and nothing but short ribs for lunch. Dave went out to lunch with his mother and brought back a couple of slices of cake--one raspberry-dark chocolate, one flourless dark chocolate--that we split. We've been kind of laying off the sugar recently, so we both made ourselves a little sick.

4. We went out in the afternoon to run a few errands and came home via Rio Grande so that we could look out for the migrating cranes. We saw ten cranes today, feeding in the fields on the side of the road.

5. Dinner was short ribs and a baked potato and salad for me. Dave had a wrap with Quorn nuggets, salad, half a baked potato, and a frozen zucchini and corn tamale that we bought at Whole Foods yesterday.

6. We watched Chef John make Sriracha chicken wings and Dijon mustard on youtube while we had dinner.

7. Today was a beautiful day, clear and warm.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Kitsune (Foxes) Always Keep Their Promises

20150117_165037.jpg

I got a few hours of work in at the studio Friday afternoon. I worked on the new piece, a torso, and finished the shoulders and neck and started building the arms. I'm coil-building the arms downward, which is a new thing for me and which turns out is quite difficult in the beginning. I'm sort of getting the hang of it now, though.

The piece is very va-va-voom, a torso corsetted into an extreme hourglass shape with a tiny wasp waist and very large breasts. I wavered for awhile between making it into another calavera piece and putting a skull on or making it into a fox-headed woman, an homage to the Japanese shape-shifting foxes of legend.

One of my favorite Japanese fox stories is about Kuzunoha, a fox who disguises herself as a woman so that she can marry the man who saves her from a hunter.  In the prints I've seen of her, she's always a woman who casts the shadow of a fox.
The story goes that Kazunoha and her husband have a child, Doji, who is brilliant and strange. (He catches insects and small animals and eats them, which understandably worries his mother as she thinks she's passed on her animal nature to him.) One day Doji catches sight of his mother's fox tail, revealing her true nature and forcing her to leave him and his father. Kazunoha writes a poem on the sliding paper door of their home, beginning by holding the calligraphy brush in her hand but, as her hands change back into paws, finishing the poem with the brush in her mouth. She cannot be persuaded to return to her human family in the end, but she does bestow upon Doji a book that allows him to communicate with animals.
The calavera vs. fox decision was dependent on whether or not I could sculpt a fox head. Before I started building the new piece, I tried to sculpt a fox head and failed. I went and looked at a bunch of pictures of foxes online and printed out six or seven of them and studied them for awhile. I tried again and failed. I tried to "sketch" a small one in clay (to get the proportions right) and failed at that, so I pinned the fox pictures up on my corkboard and started the new piece from the hips up.

After working for a bit, David and I met up with some friends, Kahori, Aki, and Kai, and had dinner at Thai Vegan. Kahori and Aki are living in Boston now, but they decided to visit Albuquerque this week and so we had a chance to meet up. We sat for three hours over a huge dinner and chatted about travel and such. Very fun.
20150117_165126.jpg

On Saturday, we got up a bit early and got ready to leave the house by 9:30. Dave had a clarinet lesson at 10:00 and I wanted him to drop me off at the studio on the way, but I wanted to stop for coffee first. Starbucks was so busy that I ended up having to take Dave to his lesson. I dropped him off and then drove around for a bit drinking my half-caf soy mocha and listening to Fleetwood Mac. I finally headed to the studio where I chatted with Paul and worked on the sculpture a bit, adding to the arms.

After I picked up Dave, we went by Nosh for blunch (breakfast/lunch). I had a sandwich, roast beef with coleslaw on rye, and a side of onion rings. Dave had a tempeh ruben (only in Nob Hill) with coleslaw. Then we went back to the studio and I went back to working on my piece.

When it came time to decide, I thought I'd attempt one more fox head and, if it failed, I would default to the calavera. I spent several hours on the attempt, only pausing to take a walk with Dave, Judi, and Crunch in the morning, then to help Dave while he threw a base for a future sculpture for me, then to take Crunch for his evening walk. I made the muzzle three times. I put on ears and tore them off, put them on and tore them off again, put them on again.

Judi came out and sat and she and Dave made fun of my chaotic workspace, so I took a picture to document it:
20150117_165113.jpg

Doesn't seem that bad to me--? The sculpture is wrapped in white plastic in the center of the photo. On the right is the bag of red clay I'm working from and my coffee. On the left are pictures of foxes and a Vogue magazine open to the picture of a model that I was using to gauge relative arm length. Scattered all around are the tools I'm using as I work, brushes, my spray bottle, a cup filled with water that I use to dip my sponges in, a container of slip, and so on.  I mean, there is a method to my madness, I swear!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Wednesday-ish and Thursday-ish

We woke up to snow again yesterday--Wednesday--morning. It was, of course, gone by noon. Ah, well. 

Last night for dinner, I threw together some polenta with marinara sauce and Parmesan cheese and sauteed kale in a ton of garlic.  After dinner I was craving ice cream, so Dave and I went to the Co-op and picked up a pint of Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia frozen yogurt. I haven't had it in a long time and I love cherry-ful ice cream. We came home and I had a bowl. (Dave abstained because he's trying to watch his sugar intake.)

I got to bed early and miraculously got nearly a full night's sleep. I often fall asleep with my headphones on (Dave likes to practice his clarinet after I'm in bed), and last night, I listened to a documentary by a fish paleontologist. If you get the chance to see Your Inner Fish, it's worth it. I'll have to circle back to see the last bit since I fell asleep, but the first bit is very interesting.

I got up this morning quite early, 4:30. I made Dave's lunch (leftover polenta, the last of the cauliflower and cheddar soup from a few nights ago, yogurt and berries, veggies, fruit). It was healthy compared to my breakfast of a banana, wheat crackers, and cheddar cheese. I also had a coffee, though caffeine has started to cease to work on me again.

At 5:30, I watched the Oscar nomination announcements online while Dave was in the shower. I don't know why I bothered, since the only Oscary-y movie I've seen this year is Birdman.

I planned on going to the studio today to work on the bigger piece I've got going, but I futzed around doing small chores until about 11:00 before getting out of the house.

At the studio, I finished up a tiny piece I started last Sunday, a little ape looking creature sitting on its bottom. I added the arms and legs and put a tiny bird in a party hat on its head.  (And, shit, I just remembered as I was typing that that I forgot to put holes in the hollow legs to let the air escape in the firing. I'll have to do that next time.) When I finished that, I worked on the upper chest and shoulders to the larger piece, which had stiffened enough to support the addition. I also added a couple of seams to the corset that the piece is wearing, contemplated adding more, then decided against it. 

The Brain likes coil building--something about the rotation and the smell of the clay funneled up through the rising piece--even though I sometimes get impatient with the slow progress.

After finishing the chest and shoulders, I had to cover the piece and put it away to let the moisture equalize all over the piece and let the whole thing stiffen enough to support the arms and head to come.

I stopped by Whole Foods on the way home to buy more strawberries and blueberries, soba (which I've been craving), canned beans, and more kale. I also picked up a bag of unsalted potato chips because they're potato chips and I love potato chips. They made up my lunch, along with a cheese sandwich and a green salad.

I have a list of things I need to do right now and I'm not doing any of them. Instead, I'm reading comments online about the Great White Oscar Nominations. Sigh. Sometimes I read this stuff and I'm glad I never had children. I would hate to have to bring up a non-white kid in this racist world. How do people manage it?

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Soup Weather

I woke up around 2:30 a.m. last night. The cats wanted to go out, so I opened the door to find that it was snowing big, fat snowflakes.  I told the cats it was snowing, but they didn't care--they never listen to me anyway. They went out and stayed out for awhile.  I stayed up and watched youtube videos.

After a few more hours, Dave woke up and wondered if it was still snowing. He had heard me tell the cats that it was snowing earlier. It wasn't, but by the time he left for work, it was again.

It's been soup weather, hasn't it? Dave made green chile stew over the weekend and we ate that pretty continuously for several days.  And for dinner last night, I made a cauliflower and cheddar soup. Dave really liked the soup, but I thought it was a little too thin. (I skipped making a roux to thicken it up.)  I only had a small bowl because I was still pretty full from having menudo and chicharones for lunch with my mom and aunt earlier.

I actually hadn't planned on going out at all yesterday, but I'm glad I did. I did a bunch of stuff that needed doing. I put gas in the car, had lunch, then went grocery shopping. I went to Whole Foods and, even in the middle of the afternoon, it was crowded and loud. I'm not good with crowded and loud, so I was trying to hurry through without running anyone over with my cart. I had a good laugh though when a Dire Straits song (Walk of Life:

Here comes Johnny singing oldies, goldies
Be-bop-a-lula, baby, what I say
Here comes Johnny singing I gotta woman
Down in the tunnels, trying to make it pay)

came on and I passed four different people either whistling, singing, or dancing along to it.

I came home with three packed bags of groceries, kale, bananas, apples, tomatoes, mayo, salad dressing, cat food, cheese, cream, coconut creamer, strawberries and blueberries, pasta, pasta sauce, veggie burgers, on and on and on. I put everything away, took out the trash and recycling, did the dishes, scrubbed the toilet. All the little chores that I normally avoid.

After doing that stuff, I sat down and read over some gossip websites, looking at snarky articles about the Golden Globes (I haven't seen any of the movies except Birdman, which I really liked and am glad to see Michael Keaton getting lots of attention for) and waited until Dave texted to say he was on the way home to start dinner.

By the time he got home, I was about a third of the way done. We sat down to eat (soup and salad) and then I put everything away and brushed my teeth and lay down and fell asleep pretty quickly. I've been having some strange and intense dreams recently. I don't remember last night's dream; it was one of those where it is so strange and so intense that you think that surely you remember it, but then after about five minutes, you can't recall even a single detail.

Today much of the snow is melted, though it's been gray and cold all day long. I'm staying in, snuggling up with the cats in front of the heater. I'm thinking about dinner. Soup again?

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Friday Night, Saturday, Saturday Night

Yesterday was kind of a strange day, not for any good reason though, really.

I haven't been sleeping well recently. I fall asleep at bedtime, then get up a couple of hours later and can't go back to sleep. Night before last that happened. I fell asleep, dreamed that I was in Tokyo helping a group of American college students navigate the city.  (I dream about the city sometimes, but it's never familiar in the dream. It's always a place where I've never been.) 

When I woke up, I had a strange disjointed feeling and I couldn't go back to sleep. I watched buzzfeed videos on youtube and read comments on a gossip website that I frequent. Angelina Jolie met the Pope. Jennifer Aniston wants an Oscar. Harry Styles has a new model/beard. That kind of thing.

Dave got up early because he had a clarinet lesson scheduled. When it was cancelled, we decided to go to Target to pick up a few things. A few things turned into about eight bags worth of things (paper towels, paper bowls, four kinds of gum, blueberries, yogurt, toothpaste, floss, cheese, and on and on). On the way out, we stopped at the Starbucks inside the store. While we waited for our lattes, we looked out the window at the Starbucks across the street.

I felt overheated and slightly feverish while we were shopping, but I thought it might be low blood sugar and too little sleep. I had pulled a muscle in my back the day before and I thought that might also have something to do with it.

We came home, put away the things, and had egg sandwiches for lunch. I thought I'd take a nap, so I did. I woke up six hours later. Dave made green chile stew for dinner and I ate two big bowls with beans and sour cream mixed in and a tortilla. I had a diet Pepsi, thinking the caffeine would keep me awake.

I fell asleep again almost immediately after finishing dinner and slept for several hours.

When I woke up, it was 2:00 a.m.

I had been dreaming of looking out the front door of the casita. There was a roadrunner on the patio but it was injured. I looked more closely at it and saw that its top beak was shattered, shoved up onto it's head so that it couldn't bring both the top and bottom parts together. I knew that the injury meant that it couldn't hunt. I knew that it was going to starve to death so I thought I would try to feed it something.  The dream was longer than that, but that's the part that made an impression on me, seeing that roadrunner with the smashed up beak.

I woke up and got out of bed to let Gray Kitty in. When I opened the door, an unfamiliar cat ran away from the door and up onto the wall. It paused there to turn and look at me, his eyes glittering in the dark. I asked him, "Who are you?" and he jumped down the other side of the wall and ran away. Gray Kitty came to the door, tail bushed out, freaked out, and wouldn't come in until he had searched the patio for the intruder.

I stayed up, fed the cats their breakfast, watched buzzfeed videos on youtube, read comments on a celebrity gossip website.