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!

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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:
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(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).
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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.

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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.
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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:
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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:
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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:
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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.
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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:
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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

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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.
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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.

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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

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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.
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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:
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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.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Horned Demon

Dave took this picture of this deformed little baby that I made while I was waiting for the kiln to fire.
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Yes, we fired a kiln on Saturday (babysitting it all day except when we went out to have dinner with Paul and Judi at the 66 Malt Shop where Judi and I split a Kansas City breaded pork sandwich and a green chile cheeseburger--yum!) and we unloaded on Sunday. There was some good stuff in there, all of it Dave's. (Though I did glaze four of his pieces, three of which made it into the kiln.)
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While I waited for the kiln, I also put the preliminary coat of underglaze on that piece. (She was supposed to be a fox, but turned out to be a horned demon instead.) I also started a new sculpture that I worked on on Saturday and a bit on it on Sunday. It's another hollow, coil-built piece, probably thinner and likely to be larger than any of the other pieces I've made. (No pictures yet, since it doesn't look like much yet, just a base with a figure from hip to ribcage with no real features to distinguish it.)

On Monday, Dave returned to work after having a couple of weeks off, poor thing. Yesterday, I spent part of the morning with my mother and aunt, had breakfast with them at Weck's, then I came home and got in a nap. I haven't been sleeping well; had about three hours of sleep a night for the last week or so, supplemented with an hour or two nap during the day (which seems like enough sleep but is really not).  Dave and I met up with my brother for dinner at the local Japanese restaurant that is mostly a lunch spot but serves ramen for dinner four nights a week. I had tonkontsu ramen, which was really tasty. Dave had miso ramen with tofu. My brother had shio lemon ramen, which sounded strange to me but which he really liked.

After dinner, I came home and did some laundry and watched part of Four Weddings and A Funeral on Netflix. I adore that movie (despite the presence of Andie McDowell); hard to believe it's over 20 years old. I love the part where Matthew reads W.H. Auden poem "Funeral Blues" at Gareth's memorial. I start always start sobbing in anticipation of that scene from about the middle of the wedding just prior.
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crêpe bows round the white necks of the public
    doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.
That's rough, isn't it?

As far as NY's resolutions go: I've finished the London novel and started on Roxanne Gay's book of essays called Bad Feminist. (I'm liking it so far. She's got a very direct, plain-spoken style that appeals to me very much.)  I have also worn red lipstick every day, but at seven days and counting, I haven't made the slightest dent in my collection.

20141226_170114.jpgThat's about five swatches short of my entire collection, but you get the idea of what I'm up against.

And I started plotting out my etsy account information, which involves dealing with Paypal (ugh.)

But things are mainly on track(?).

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Start As You Mean to Go On

Happy New Year!

My resolutions are few and strange this year:

Read a book a week. Yes, a few years ago I tried three books a week and I made it about five months in before giving out. This year, I'm going for a book a week . I've signed up to do the Cannonball Read--though only a "half-cannonball," 26 books in a year, instead of a full Cannonball, 52 books--which raises money for the American Cancer Society, mostly through Amazon affiliate links. (I heard about it from a website, Pajiba, that I read regularly.) Already I'm halfway through my first book, a Jack London novel called Before Adam.

Wear red lipstick every day. I went through my makeup stash and found fifteen red lipsticks (not including duplicates). I love red lipsticks and buy them frequently, but I never wear them. So this year I'm going to wear red lipstick every single day.  I'm going to wear red lipstick whether I leave the house or not. I'm going to wear red lipstick if I'm wearing sweats to go to the grocery store or whether I'm dressing up to go out to a fancy dinner. I'm going to wear red lipstick to weed the garden. I'm going to wear my red lipstick.  Today I wore my new Hourglass Icon lipstick.

Open an Etsy or other online shop to start selling my work. I'm going to have to start selling pieces so that I can make more, so that's my goal this year, to sell work online.

That's about it, really.

New Year's Eve and New Year's Day

Dave and I were up at midnight on New Year's eve. The fireworks and gunshots started about nine p.m. or so, and continued sporadically until midnight, when they went on continuously for nearly an hour. (It always reminds me of a New Year's eve, when I was four or five, and my uncle took me out into my grandmother's yard to fire off his rifle into the air at midnight.) We had a simple midnight supper of soba, briny black-eyed peas, and greens. It was tasty and all very good luck.

We slept in, woke up to snow on the ground!, then got up, had breakfast (leftover Moroccan stew from a few nights ago), showered, and headed over to the studio.

When we got there, Judi was just taking Crunch out for a walk, so we joined her before heading back to the studio. We glazed a bit and then loaded a kiln to be fired tomorrow or on the weekend.  I built a new piece, a hanging wall vase, and then it was time to come home.

We came home via the Co-op, where we bought lemons and crackers to go with our dinner. (We also bought cat food, chips to snack on, beans, bananas, and chocolate.)

For dinner, we made vegetarian posole, another New Year's good luck food. I wish it were menudo, or that we had pigs feet for it, but those aren't really vegetarian options. I had two big bowls with saltines (the way my grandmother always ate it) and Dave had two big bowls with a tortilla (probably the more traditional way).

Now I'm laying in bed while Dave does the dishes. Saba is curled up beside me and we've got the heater going full tilt. It's cold!

Happy New Year.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Sunday and Monday

Sunday

We slept in again.

I stayed up through most of the night binge watching Broadchurch. I was a little exasperated with the pacing though, so I ended up Googling the episode re-caps to find out who the murderer was. (I still watched through the end of the series though. I just wanted to get the insult of the inept suspense out of the way.) The series was hit or miss for me in the end. I mean, the murderer was only a surprise because they hadn't really fleshed out his character at all; He was so very minor right up to the point that he became the murderer and his motive for murder was so weak that it just left a bad taste behind. Such a disappointment.

Anyway we had slept through breakfast, but for lunch Dave made his famous eight-minute cheese sandwiches. Though because I helped by retrieving the condiments and because he didn't have any tomatoes to slice and add, he shaved about a minute and a half off, so they were actually six-and-a-half minute cheese sandwiches. We had those with coleslaw left over from yesterday.

After lunch, we lounged around for a while longer. Then it was time for second lunch, so we went to Panera. We each had a half-sandwich (Mediterranean veggie on whole wheat) and soup (Dave had black bean, I had tomato).

After second lunch, we went to the studio and worked awhile.  We took Crunch for a walk as the sun was setting, then came back and worked for a little while longer.

We stopped for groceries on the way home, a hugely expensive trip to Whole Foods. (Is there any other kind of trip to Whole Foods?)

Dinner was Quorne adobada (using the chile my aunt brought to Christmas dinner) and beans with fried eggs on top and tortillas. It was really good. Dave went back for 4ths on the chile.

Monday

I was up kind of early, 6:30, had a large-ish breakfast of Quorne adovada, eggs, a tortilla, and coffee.

I had a doctor's appointment in the early afternoon and, after waiting forty-five minutes, found out nothing really.

Dave had come with me to my doctor's appointment, so we stopped after at Flying Star. I should have had something healthy for lunch (trying to get a jump start on those inevitable New Year's resolutions), but I had a sugar cookie while I waited for my cheeseburger and onion rings. (I had a diet soda though, so I'm sure that balanced everything out.)  Everyone in the place was being super annoying. I made Dave change tables to get away from a woman who WAS TALKING TOO LOUDLY ON HER CELL PHONE, which was a mistake because the loud talker had kept me from noticing that even people's haircuts were being annoying. And don't get me started on people's table manners. I mean, I can shovel it in with the best of them, but there was no excuse for some of the mouth-breathing bottom feeders in that place. (Though I'll admit, I was probably just in a bad move after my crappy doctor's appointment.)

On the way home we stopped at the clay store to pick up some new glazes.

After lunch, we came home for a bit--Dave had a coffee and I read some internet celebrity gossip--before heading to the studio. There, I finished a new piece (a calavera bust with large horns) and Dave glazed. We're hoping to fire a kiln soon, as in tomorrow soon.

We walked Crunch around the neighborhood for awhile and came back and worked a little longer.

Dinner was a fiber fest: Bean and winter wheat berry salad along with a pseudo-Russian cabbage dish (onion, garlic, cabbage, cauliflower, tomato, and sour cream) that I took from the Bittman vegetarian cookbook.


Sunday, December 28, 2014

Saturday

Saturday was kind of a slow-roll day. We got up and going kind of late.

Dave made his famous eight-minute cheese sandwiches for brunch and then made coleslaw. We stopped for a coffee on the way to the studio. At the studio, Dave glazed and I worked on some bisqued pieces, painting them, then started a new piece, intending it to be a fox. We chatted with Paul and Judi and then Dave and I took Crunch out for a walk. It was really very cold out, too cold to stay out for very long. On the way back, Crunch found the tiniest patch of days old snow and stood licking it up. After the walk, we all went for Chinese food. We came back to the studio and I continued to work on the new piece. Dave continued to glaze. We worked for another ninety minutes and then came home.

At home, we made tea and Dave practiced his clarinet. I piled blankets on the bed and cranked the heater up as high as it will go. The temperature dropped even further. It's twenty-one degrees now. It wants to snow, I can tell, but won't. The sky is perfectly, perfectly clear and all the stars are out. We might get snow next weekend, according to the forecast.

I curled up in bed, first with kitties then without kitties, and had tea then a decaf coffee. I started watching Broadchurch, the original series, which is heartrending (but fascinating).

Friday, December 26, 2014

Boxing Day

We had a good, quiet Christmas.

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On Christmas eve, Dave and I went to my mother's to have dinner with her, my aunt Char, and older brother. We took a salad to add to my mother's bean empanadas and chile con queso. My aunt brought red chile and carne adovada and loaded mashed potatoes. My brother brought biscochitos. We all ate until we were ready to burst and then sat around chatting. (This year we had decided, group-wise, to forgo exchanging gifts, so the only presents were for my cousin's young children.)

My aunt had brought the makings for a dozen luminarias, so after dinner we set those up on my mother's balcony and lit them just as it was beginning to get dark.
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On the way home, Dave and I took a quick detour through one of the neighborhoods here in the North Valley to drive around and look at the luminarias. I think they're so beautiful all lit up, the perfect New Mexican symbol of Christmas.

On Christmas day, Dave went to visit his mother and after we went to Judi and Paul's to work a bit at the studio and drop off the gifts we had for them.

In the evening, we walked Crunch around the neighborhood.
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This was the sky on Christmas day, just at sunset.

Our Christmas dinner was an over-the-top one, definitely. We made a very traditional cheese fondue with emmentaler and gruyere and ate the whole batch with toasted baguette while we polished off the rest of the bottle of wine. (I was pretty tipsy.) We had a simple tomato and cucumber salad. Then we whipped up some cream and crushed some meringues and made Eton mess for dessert. Along with the dessert, we had a kind of perry (which is much like a pear cider, but sweeter). I was stuffed after several spoonfuls of the Eton mess, but Dave persevered and finished the whole bowl.

After dinner, we both lay around groaning.

This morning, we slept in a bit, then got up and headed to Santa Fe, to the Folk Art Museum to see a traveling exhibit of pottery from the Southern US.
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There was also a new-ish exhibit of New Mexican wood carvings.

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After looking at the exhibits, we looked around the gift shop. We bought a small travel candle and a pair of socks.

It was snowing in Santa Fe and the tiny road up to Museum Hill was slippery. (In fact, on the way back, we slid a bit off the road, which was kind of scary.)

We stopped for a very late lunch at Harry's Roadhouse. I had a smoked chicken quesadilla and Dave had a beet and pistachio orecchiette pasta and we shared a chopped salad. Again, we had way too much food.

We're home again now. Gray Kitty has gone out to enjoy the sunset from his perch on the wall near the gate. Dave is practicing scales on the clarinet. Saba is kneading a spot on my shoulder to settle into and licking my hands and patting at my face with one paw, entreating me to take my hands off the keyboard and pet her.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas Preparations and Etc.

While Dave went to the dentist, I spent a couple of quiet hours at the studio today, mostly painting this new piece and several other pieces that came out of the last bisque kiln.
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I decided to go for marigold-ish flowers instead of a hat.
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The dress is red (a mix of Amaco's matte velvet underglazes in red, bright red, rose, and radiant red), the flowers yellow (intense yellow, bright orange, and flame orange) the gloves are yellow (with a bit of chartreuse at the elbows). Her eyes are leaf green, I think. Maybe they're chartreuse. I still have to paint the hollows of her eyes and nose.

It will take a couple of weeks for her to dry, then she'll go into a bisque (or cone 3) kiln and get a rubdown with some velour black underglazes.
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I don't think it's a bad first attempt at a classic Catrina sculpture with a bit of La Muerte (from The Book of Life) thrown in.  The next one will have a hat (which I made and abandoned for this piece). I'll also correct all the twisted bits on the next one and add more detail to the dress bodice.

Judi came out and chatted for awhile. They have a houseguest at the moment, a man they met at a concert who works as a producer for, I think, CNN. (They always have strange houseguests. Once the guy who played Charlie in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory stayed with them. And they often have various agents from various federal agencies lurking about.) Crunch came out to say hello and napped by the front door before Judi had to leave for a hair appointment.

After the dentist, Dave brought lunch from Whole Foods (which is next door to the dentist's office), bean burritos and small chocolate bars. We still had errands to run, so I wrapped up my work and we left and tried to go to Trader Joe's. There was no parking there because of the pre-Christmas crazy rush going on right now and rather than circling the parking lot waiting for a space to open up, we decided to try back later. We stopped at Walgreen's on the way home to buy some wrapping things, and, while checking out in the cosmetics department (to bypass the crazy line up front), the cashier told us about the car accident she was in before coming to work. (People are nuts on the road right now and traffic has been insane for the last couple of days.)

We came home and wrapped the few gifts we're giving this year and then headed back out to Target (for cat food and a few other necessary odds and ends) and then we went to Trader Joe's on the other side of town. (TJ's is the one place that we know of that sells meringues, which I am loathe to make but which we need for our Christmas Day dinner.) It was not busy there--we got front row parking--so we picked up our meringues, some chocolate, tomatoes, croutons, and something else--oh, right--a loaf of bread.

We had our dinner (omelets with cheddar cheese, vegetarian sausages, Swiss chard, toast, and for dessert, baked acorn squash and meringues).

Christmas plans are very low key this year. We're going to my mother's for dinner on Christmas eve. Dave will visit his mother on Christmas day. Our Christmas day dinner is going to be fondue and Eton mess (hence the need for meringues).


Sunday, December 21, 2014

We Went on A Tiny, Little Adventure


On Friday we went off on a little road trip in our new car; we headed for Carlsbad Caverns.

Two strange things happened before we left. One was that we tried to book tours at the caverns and found that most of them were sold out. Sold-out tours in an out of the way national park a couple of days before Christmas? Strange. We managed to get two tickets for a 50 person tour on Saturday morning, and we were lucky to get them.

And then the night before we left, I was looking online at hotel and motel rooms in Carlsbad and found The Trinity Hotel, a little boutique hotel in a refurbished 1892 bank. The rooms were $249 a night, which: Ouch. That's a bit pricey for a two-bit, out-of-the-way town in south-eastern New Mexico. Still, I thought, nice place, maybe someday, and went to look at cheaper places like Motel 8's and La Quinta Inns. Those places turned out to be charging $279 per night. For a motel room! The absolute cheapest places (the ones with review that included mentions of roaches and mold and surly front desk clerks) were going for $99 per night.

What the heck is happening down in Carlsbad, New Mexico?

I googled around to find that there is a fracking/oil boom going on around Carlsbad, so the motel rooms are at a premium. Can you believe it? Fracking is the devil's work, and it's being done right here in our little old state.

So we thought we'd stay in Artesia (which is an ugly, smelly little town) or Roswell (which used to be an ugly, smelly little town but which is growing exponentially).  When it came time to choose--after stopping for lunch at a restaurant called Peppers--we chose Roswell.

After lunch, we saw that we were about a half-mile from the Roswell visitors' center, so we decided to walk there and back to stretch our legs. The visitors' center turned out to be not much--a bunch of brochures for places other than Roswell--so, not expecting much, we went next door to the tiny art museum.
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Bird Bride, Carlos Quinto Kemm, 2014 (detail)

Turns out that Roswell has one heck of a museum, small but impressive. We spent an hour or so looking around the museum (they were about to close), bought a small souvenir in the gift shop, and headed back to the car to find a motel.

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We stayed the night in a La Quinta Inn and the next morning headed out bright and early for the 90 minute drive to Carlsbad Caverns.  Just outside of Artesia, we ran into this:

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Fog! We never have fog in New Mexico, but conditions were just right. It slowed us down for a bit, until it burned off.

We did make it in time for our scheduled tour of the King's Palace.
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That photo was taken without the flash. You can make out the ranger's distinctive hat in the distance there.
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That photo was taken with the flash.

They've started to include a part in the tour where they have everyone sit down on the trail and then they turn out the light. It's kind of insane to be in an environment where there is absolutely no trace of natural light, none. You can't see your hand in front of your face. It's so dark that the darkness seems to dampen the sound, even. Then the ranger lights a lantern or a match and talks about one of the earliest explorers of the cave whose lantern went out and, after a half-hour, he was on his last match before he got his lantern lit again.

I love Carlsbad Caverns. I've been there four or five times before and it never ceases to amaze me that I am walking around 800+ feet below ground. Amazing.

The bats were gone to their winter digs, of course, but we'll go back sometime in the summer to watch them. I love bats.

After our tour, we had lunch in the visitor's center and headed back to Roswell. We had an early dinner in the hotel (salads, steamed veggies, and chocolate) and went to bed.

Sunday we slept in, had an on-the-road Starbucks breakfast and took the long way home through Carrizozo, Lincoln, Capitan, and so on. We stopped briefly at the Gran Quivira ruins and then came home via Mountainair.

The cats were glad to see us! (We haven't told them that we're planning another trip in a couple of days.)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Usual Suspects

1. A peek down into the bisque kiln just after we opened it.
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All the usual suspects. About 2/3 of them are finally finished enough that they won't go through any more firings. From now, I think I'll try different finishes on them, wax and such. I don't want them shiny the way a fired clear coat would make them, but I don't want them so matte and thirsty-surfaced either.

2. We woke up to a slight dusting of snow which burned off by 7:30. It was gray gray and rained on and off all day. It was also cold all day. The cats snuggled up in front of the heater and napped most of the day.

3. I spent most of my day cleaning and organizing things 'round the casita. My arm wasn't feeling great from all the activity yesterday, so I focused on smaller projects, dusting and rearranging bookshelves, decluttering and reorganizing the baskets on the bathroom shelves, dusting off the shoe rack near the front door and sweeping, and so on. Just little projects like that.

4. When Dave came home, I asked him to help me hang a bunch of things that I framed at the beginning of the summer and then put in a pile to be hung eventually. Now six months later, they're finally up on the walls! They're mostly a collection of prints and such because I'm not one for hanging family photographs. (I don't like the feeling of being watched all the time by people I know.) I also don't have any Dia de Los Muertos art either. Dave asked if I wanted to hang a calavera print up and I said no. Even though I work the calavera angle pretty hard in my own work, I don't like hanging calavera prints for the same reason I don't have family photographs up.

5. For dinner, we went out for pizza with my older brother and sat and chatted about movies. He just rented Guardians of the Galaxy (which I really liked), but hasn't watched it yet. That reminds me that I need to return his copy of Pacific Rim to him. I've only had that for about eight months. Ay yi yi.

6. When I got home, there was a message on my phone that a package for me had been delivered to the wrong address. (My phone number was on the label, so the woman down the street called to let me know her husband would drop it off while he was out walking the dog.) The package was from Sephora. Yay! Sephora sent me a gift card for being such a good customer, so I used it to pick up a lip brush and lip liner for my mother as well as a NARS lipstick for myself.

8. I am kind of a lipstick addict. I love blood red lipstick, the darker the better--but I almost never wear lipstick and I almost never--as in really, never--wear red lipstick. I was telling Dave this and he laughed because I buy a new red lipstick every few weeks probably. I have bought three in the past two weeks and I own at least a dozen right now. (I'm afraid to count them though; it's probably more than that.)  Anyway, the point of the story is that my frivolous New Year's resolution is to run myself out of red lipstick by wearing it all day, every day.

9. Here are five things that made me happy today:
  • My new NARS lipstick in "Scarlet Empress" (Sephora says it's "a semi-matte blue red")
  • Pizza for dinner with Dave and my brother.
  • Snow! And rain!
  • Reorganizing our bookshelves and realizing that there's five or six books that I want to read.
  • Art! Framed art! On the walls! Finally!

 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Them

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1. This little mask came out of the kiln yesterday. I want to go and work on some of the stuff that came out of the kiln, but today I am cleaning house. Sort of.

2. Yesterday I was supposed to wrap the presents for the giving tree kids, but I realized that we had no wrapping paper. I made do with some white tissue paper and ribbons that we had, but it was a pretty janky job at the end of the day.  After I finished, I realized that we have the extra car now and that I could have just gone to the store to pick up some wrapping paper. Silly me. I'm not used to having a car.

3. And today we went back to one car because the old girl is in the shop. She's been having some trouble with the clutch recently so we took her in to get looked at. I really like the mechanic we have now. They're painstakingly honest and do excellent work. I would recommend them to anyone for any reason--so long as that person has a German car, because our guys only work on German cars.  One of the great pleasures of taking our old car there (if there is any pleasure in taking a car to the mechanic) is parking our little scratched and dented and duct-taped baby VW next to the BMWs and Mercedes.

4. After we dropped off our gifts in the afternoon, we did a little shopping for dinner. We ended up having grilled cheese sandwiches yet again. I wanted some tomato soup, so we got a low-sodium version that turned out to be not very good. That was dinner.

5. Like I said, today I'm cleaning house. I scrubbed down the bathroom, counter, sink, and toilet. I replaced the shower curtain and swept and mopped the floors. I changed the kitty litter boxes, filled up the dish drain with washed dishes (only about half of what needs to be done!), scrubbed the stove, and wiped down the appliances on the counter. I've been decluttering as I go, getting rid of things that I know we haven't used in a long, long time. Now I'm taking a break from dusting the bookshelves and sweeping and mopping the front room. I skipped spring cleaning this year (and fall cleaning, too), so I'm way behind. Maybe by New Year's we'll have a pristine environment. Ha-ha-ha.

6. I made a dent in the New Year's cleaning and then took a shower and a nap. My reward for doing my chores was getting to watch several episodes of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.

7. Dinner was eggs and vegetarian sausages with red chard and tortillas. Dave cooked--I wanted to order a pizza--and did the dishes after.  Maybe we'll get a pizza tomorrow.

8. Here are five things that I was happy about today: Getting some cleaning done. An overcast day that smelled like snow (though there was no actual snow). Having a nap in the afternoon. Stopping for a coffee this morning on the way to dropping off the car at the mechanic. Little Saba sitting with her little face about four inches from the blasting heater. She refuses to move from that spot until she's good and ready.




Monday, December 15, 2014

Weekenders, We

A new sculpture, a collaboration between Dave and me:

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The skirt is a closed, hollow form that Dave threw about a week or so ago. It's probably about twelve inches tall.  On Saturday, I carved the bottom and began building the form on top. I adding the first skulls and flowers. That took most of the afternoon.

On the way home from the studio, we stopped at the Co-op to pick up something for dinner (which ended up being grilled cheese sandwiches, with sliced tomato and steamed broccoli on the side). They had a giving tree there so we grabbed a couple of ornaments from the tree; Dave selected one for an 11-year-old girl and I took one for a 16-year-old boy. The girl wanted a piano (which we took t mean a keyboard) and the boy wanted a Game Stop or Wal-Mart gift certificate (which I would guess is probably why his ornament was still on the tree, as the hippy-dippy co-op shoppers tend to be above that sort of thing).  We noted that--yikes--the gifts were due back in the store on Monday, which mean that Sunday was going to have to be devoted to shopping.

We were planning on firing a kiln on Sunday, and we like to be there to babysit the kiln pretty much throughout the entire firing. Dave programmed the kiln for a 200 degree, four-hour long pre-heat to begin at 6:00 a.m.  We planned on getting to the studio a bit after 8:00 a.m. to stop the pre-heat and start the kiln firing.

On the way in, we stopped for breakfast at Flying Star ("power hash" with kale, sweet potatoes, quinoa, mushrooms, and a basted egg, and decaf coffee) and then went and started the kiln.  While it was still in the very early stages, we went out to do our shopping.

The first place we went to was Target, where they had exactly zero things we needed. (We did pick up a box of candy for one of the kids and a trash can for Gray Car.)  From Target, we went to Toys R Us, where we found a keyboard for Dave's pick. We also picked up some candy for her.  After that we stopped at Game Stop and got a gift certificate for my pick. Then we stopped at Staples to look at office chairs since the one I use at the studio is not great and my back ends up killing me after sitting for too long. We didn't find an office chair, but we did pick up a printer for the studio and some paper for the printer.

Our shopping done, we headed back to the studio to do some work. (Well, I worked on studio stuff while Dave worked on his legit job works stuff.)

The following run of work took about seven hours total. I finished the flowers on the skirt and began painting. I added to the rest of the figure on top.
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The arms and head are covered to keep them from drying out while I worked on the rest of the figure.  

Dave went out to pick up lunch and we paused to eat (Panera: 1/2 Mediterranean veggie sandwich and creamy tomato soup for me and a 1/2 Mediterranean veggie sandwich and 1/2 grilled cheese sandwich for Dave).

Then I went back to work:

I added the flowers to the top of the bodice, front and back, and added the head.  I had originally intended to add either boning or seaming to the bodice of the dress, but I decided that the narrow waist was enough. (You can't really tell from this piece, but I fight against detailing work. To me, it seems very daunting or complicated to add a lot of detail, even though I like the look when other artists do it. I guess it's because I catastrophize a lot of things and each detail I add to a piece is another opportunity to do that. Each detail has the potential to wreck the piece rather than making it better. So I fight with that a lot in my head while I'm working.)
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The flowers are done primarily with five-petal punches. I have three of them in different sizes. I roll out the clay, punch out the flowers, flatten the petals with my fingers, shape the petals around various tools, put together two sizes to make one flower, carve into the petals to add some texture, then apply the flower to the piece. It's time consuming, but meditative.

In the afternoon, I added the sternum, clavicles, a few ribs and vertebrae.
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She's a happy creature, even without hair. (Which I am as of yet undecided about. I also made her a hat with a wide brim, decorated with more flowers, but I'm not sure about the hat either.)
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Looking at this photograph of the face, I think her teeth need a bit more definition and the eyebrows need to be taken down a bit so that they're more suggestion than actual brow. I also want to carve into her face, some flourishes and flowers and such.  Then I'll have to decide what to do with and how to build the rest of the arms and hands. Then I'll have to finish painting her. There's still a lot of work to be done, but I think she'll be finished enough for a first firing by the end of next weekend. (Of course, it will take another week or two beyond that to dry.)

In the evening, we took Crunch for his walk and then had pizza for dinner with Judi and Paul.  Dave stopped the kiln and buttoned it up. We headed home and started to bring back our stuff from Kelly and Kevin's where we've been house- and dog-sitting. Dave stayed next door to practice his clarinet for a bit, but my back was killing me from sitting and working for so long, so I changed into my pajamas and got into bed. I made it through half an episode of Weeds on Netflix before I was out like a light.

Tomorrow I'll wrap the gifts and we'll drop them off on the way to the studio to open the kiln.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

She's Ours Now

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We decided to call her Gray Car so as to distinguish her from Car (which is black and fourteen years old and a two door, but otherwise the same make and model).