Thursday, March 26, 2015

Thursday's Come and Thursday's Gone

This morning, I got up a little before 6:00 a.m., fed the cats, took my medication, and packed Dave's breakfast and lunch. Today he took yogurt and berries (straw-, blue-, and rasp-), an apple, vegetables (baby carrots, slices of English cucumber, and grape tomatoes), and a quesadilla made with cheddar cheese and whole wheat tortillas. I packed some salsa and sour cream on the side for him to dip the quesadilla into.  Since I can't eat until an hour after I take my medication, I prepped my breakfast (also yogurt and berries) and some vegetables to have for lunch.

After Dave left, I tried to get a bit more sleep but failed miserably. Oh well. Instead, I played with the cats for awhile and then I spent some time online. When it was finally time to have breakfast, I added some seven grain cereal to my yogurt and berries and ate. I also had a cup of half-caf coffee with sugar in it. (We're out of milk. We've been out of milk for awhile.)  After all that, The Brain was sure that it was still hungry so I ate a banana and drank another cup of coffee.

I don't know where the morning went. Where do mornings go? I did a few dishes, enough to clear out and clean the sink, watched a few TED talk videos on Netflix, then I took a shower and got dressed. I even put on makeup today even though I wasn't planning on going anywhere. Around noon, I had lunch, the veggies I packed earlier and leftover pasta topped with a chopped up hard-boiled egg and some cheddar and Parmesan cheese. I had a caffeine-free diet Pepsi with lunch.

In the afternoon, I did a few things.

First, I called and made an appointment with a new dentist. I'm leaving my last dentist, who I used to really like. There were a lot of strange things going on in the office in the last year or two though: two of the hygienists that I really liked quit suddenly and were replaced by two substandard hygienists. And the dentist herself suddenly became very pushy with me and started telling me that I need four cleanings a year and some expensive but not strictly necessary procedure. (I don't like being told what I'm going to do. I'd rather be given a choice, especially when I'm paying for it.) So I'm switching to another dentist.

Next, I called a new therapist. It's that time again (the time of year when I sometimes start to sink). The new therapist was recommended to me by my primary care physician and I'm going to give her a try. It's stupidly expensive, but if she can help, it will be worth it. I called and spoke to her and made an appointment for next week. 

While I did all that, I also did some laundry.

I don't know if I've ever told you about our washing machine. It's very small, an apartment-sized thing that doesn't hold very much. The fill sensor malfunctioned on it, so Dave wired it up to a switch and now you have to flip a switch to tell it when to fill and when to stop filling. If you don't flip the switch it either does nothing or it keeps filling and filling until it overflows. So that's fun. It means that laundry takes a long time to do and requires even more attention than usual. (And I'm not a laundry person to begin with. If it were up to me, clothes would be disposable. We would all have a uniform, the same thing every day, and we'd wear it a few times and then burn it.)

Anyway, I'm in the middle of my third load of laundry right now and I'll try to do one more after. Four loads of laundry is enough for one day, I think.

As I was hanging laundry outside, I had a sneezing fit and ended up taking a half a benadryl. Of course that means that now I feel like a zombie. I hate the feeling; Whenever I take benadryl, I always feel like The Brain is going to get stuck in that numbed, lethargic feeling. It will never pass and I'll forever be a zombie.  How awful would it be to have that become the new normal?

It's five thirty now. Dave should be home soon and I'm thinking of ordering a pizza for dinner. Despite our Costco run last night, we are sorely lacking in anything but yogurt, vegetables and fruits. I'm as happy as the next person to have all those things, but I also feel like a proper meal is important.

Later

We did end up having pizza for dinner. Well, Dave did anyway. I had buffalo chicken wings and garlic toast with marinara sauce to dip them in. The pizza place messed up our order--the pizza didn't have any green chile on it, the wings were missing their blue cheese dressing--but I don't care. At least I didn't have to cook!

There's one last load of laundry to hang up. Dave said he'd do it though, so I might try to sneak in a little nap before bedtime.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A Long Post About Not Much

It's Wednesday morning. 

My space bar is acting up, reminding me that my computer is not new. Dave's been trying to get me to replace it for awhile, but it's still good. I mean, I can't update my browser anymore because it's so old, but it still works! And the best thing of all, whatever ad-block program I downloaded when I first got the computer has been a champ. I never, but never see advertisements on the internet, never, ever, not on any site I've ever been on. In fact, I was shocked when I first got my phone and went on the internet to find that there are ads everywhere. My internet experience has been ad-free for the last seven years or so (as long as I've had this computer).

Anyway.

Yesterday was a boring day. I don't even know why I should write about it. I didn't end up getting any more sleep. No sleep coupled with the return of the allergies and the benadryl I took meant that I wandered around like a zombie all day.  I didn't even end up going to pilates last night, I was so tired!  The good news is that I did end up sleeping through the night. That is almost unheard of around here.

Around 8:30 a.m., they started up on the construction in the front yard next door. I have no idea what they were doing, but they had some small earth movers out and were scraping the ground. As far as I was concerned, mostly what they were doing was making a fuckload of noise. The cats were not very happy about that; construction noises set them on edge.  Kelly called at some point to tell me that they are going to restucco their wall which is near where we park so I should move the car. I went out and did and saw that they were cutting up and removing the sidewalk up to the curb. (Is that even legal? I thought sidewalks were city property.) That went on all morning and most of the afternoon. Another reason I never got any more sleep.

Here's what I ate yesterday: For breakfast I had leftover BBQ brisket and some coleslaw as I was packing Dave's lunch. That was around 3:30 in the morning. In the mid-morning for my early lunch, I had some yogurt and blueberries and a grilled cheese sandwich. For my very late lunch/early dinner (around 3:30 in the afternoon), I made whole wheat pasta with a kind of avocado sauce, a vegan dish--that is, vegan until I added a ton of grated Parmesan cheese to it. I served it to Dave for dinner with some chopped tomato and he liked it. It's the first time I've tried avocado pasta (had to use up the last of the avocados that came in our CSA box awhile ago) and I have to say, I wasn't immediately enamored, but I would try it again with some variations to try to enliven it a bit.

Aside from all that, the most exciting part of my day was the episode of The Blacklist that I half-watched as I was surfing the net. See? Boring.

It's Wednesday around noon, now. 

They're still working next door, but more quietly today. Must all be hungover or something. I hope so anyway.

This morning, I spent a bit of time reading. I had a cup of coffee and yogurt with cereal, raisins, and honey for breakfast and again for a mid-morning snack. For lunch I made pasta with eggs and Parmesan cheese. Nothing exciting--and no vegetables either; We need to go for groceries.

I started watching Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. I'm about twenty minutes in and so far it's slow moving and not very interesting. Its cinematography is obvious. The music is annoying. If it doesn't get interesting in another ten minutes or so, I'll turn it off. (Meh. I turned it off. I did go and read the wiki plot summary and apparently the film was deemed somewhat incomprehensible unless you'd read the book, which I haven't. )

In the afternoon, it got a little windy and the wind blew away the workmen from next door. I went out to water the patio with the hose for the first time this year. There are lots of plants in pots that survived the winter--and lots of little volunteeers are coming up in the garden, too. I told Dave a couple of weeks ago that we were not going to let the arugula (which reseeds itself) get a foothold in the garden this year, as last year it took over one of our two beds and choked out everything we tried to plant there. This year I'm going to be ruthless and treat the arugula like a weed!

It was nice to be out in the sun for awhile, even with the wind. The cats came out and lazed around on the patio while I watered. I made sure to give their much-beloved patch of catmint a good soaking.

Dave came home a little before 5:00 and I was asking him what he wanted for dinner. He said he didn't want to go out and I told him there wasn't much in the house to make a meal with. He suggested omelets and I said we only had two eggs--and besides, I had eggs for lunch. I asked him why he didn't want to go out and he sheepishly admitted that he had gone out to lunch with a co-worker (and then had eaten the lunch I packed him). Ah-ha! I said, since I didn't go out to lunch, I'm having a burger and fries from Blake's. He offered to go and pick up my dinner. While he went out, I cooked his dinner, a quesadilla and sauteed Swiss chard. Win-win! Yay for teamwork!

Over dinner, we talked about the co-worker that he had lunch with (a guy who--surprise!--doesn't like me) and we did our usual list of five things that made each of us happy in the last twenty-four hours.

We're off in a bit to meet my brother at Costco. I can pick up some more fresh fruits and veggies and some frozen blueberries. We also need Greek yogurt and Dave wants to get another bag of walnuts.

It's Wednesday Evening

We had our pricey little Costco adventure and came home with lots of berries and yogurt, a big block of aged cheddar, tomatoes, bananas...and on and on. We also got to chat with my brother for awhile, which was nice. We made tentative plans to go to dinner early next week.

Now I'm back home, back in my pajamas, looking at celebrity gossip online.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Playing Catch Up

Monday

I was up for a few hours in the night but otherwise slept okay. I think the pilates class tired me out.

I got up with Dave a little before 6:00 a.m., took my medication, and put Dave's lunch in his lunch sack. He had portioned up everything the night before, so there was nothing for me to do besides that. After Dave left for work, I had a couple of fried eggs and a piece of toast for breakfast then I went back to bed! I was still tired and the feeling was compounded by having to take a bit of benadryl because I started sneezing as soon as we opened the front door to let the cats in and out for their morning rituals.  So I went back to bed and tried to get a little more sleep but of course I failed miserably.

Instead of sleeping, I read awhile.

I'm still reading After the Tears, the book about adult children of alcoholics. It's wrenching in some ways--many ways, actually--but it's interesting. It explains so many things about how children learn to adapt to an alcoholic/addict parent and how those adaptations stretch into adulthood. There's nothing normal about growing up with an alcoholic parent, but when we are in the situation we learn to crank up the denial until it becomes the new normal. That constant level of denial along with all the awful things that accompany acoholism can end up causing problems later in life.

In my experience, having an alcoholic father was humiliating, embarrassing, frightening, and worse. Of course there's no way to express any of those feelings as it’s happening--it's not safe or smart to anyway--so things get internalized and that causes lots of things--thought processes and beliefs and so on--to become warped. It's interesting to see the machinations, the process, explained. It’s interesting and wrenching, too. And maddening. And sorrowing. Reading this book is bringing up memories from my childhood and suggesting that I look at them as they truly are, the way they are before I stripped them of their emotions so that I didn't have to face the inherent awfulness of the situation. (I couldn't at the time.)

[Here I had put a couple of memories that came as I was writing, but I decided to move them below just in case anyone wants to skip them. They're at the end under The Memories Below heading.]

In the afternoon, I took a break from the book and watched part of a movie, The Card (1952) with Alec Guinness and Glynis Johns. Of course, I love Alec Guinness (he was such a calculating, amusing, and enormously talented actor) and I like Glynis Johns ever since I saw her play a mermaid in Miranda (1948), a charmingly strange film, and very British, too. However, The Card turned out not to be quite as charming, so I stopped it halfway through.

After I turned off the movie, I did some dishes and took a shower. We were going out to dinner with my brother and I wanted to get ready and put some makeup on. However, my skin has been so dry that it's starting to get flaky. The makeup I tried to put on stuck to the flaky bits and left me looking like I'm shedding my skin. Ugh. And this is even with a heavier moisturizer slathered on! I just go full-on reptile during allergy season I think.

When Dave got home, we sat and chatted for awhile. Saba came in and got brushed. She and Gray Kitty are like giant bumblebees in the spring, carrying pollen in from outside to deposit it on the furniture where it lays in wait for the chance to get sucked up into my sinuses and make me miserable. What we really need is a little kitty door with a built-in brush-vacuum combination that would strip the pollen and such off of them as they came through it and before they could bring it in the house.  (There's a million dollar idea. Inventors, get on that!)

For dinner, my brother had suggested BBQ and I'm always up for BBQ so we had dinner at Rudy's. Dave, who is a vegetarian, always has trouble getting enough to eat when he go there. He orders sides usually--potato salad, coleslaw, that kind of thing--but the emphasis at Rudy's is on the meat and so the sides are only so-so. This time before we left the house, I told him I was going to sneak in some vegetarian fake meat for him to douse in Rudy's BBQ sauce (which is surprisingly vegetarian). He though the idea was hilarious, so that's what we did. I cooked up the three Quorn nuggets and a vegetarian "chick'n" patty and wrapped them in foil and stuck them in my purse. When my brother and I were unwrapping smoked turkey (my brother) and brisket (me) and dousing it in BBQ sauce, Dave was unwrapping his fake meat and dousing it in BBQ sauce. Yum!

We sat and ate and chatted for a little over an hour and then parted ways, with a plan to meet up again on Wednesday night at Costco to do some shopping. (Tomorrow night we have a pilates class.)

When we came home, I felt pretty tired and so did Dave. He went to bed really early and I soon followed. I read for a bit and then put something on Netflix to fall asleep to. 

 The Memories Below

Just writing that made me remember once, when I was perhaps five years old, being beaten by my father with a broom. I was playing outside near the back door--I can't even remember if I was playing alone or if there was someone else there--and he came out of the house and started beating me with the broom. I had no idea why he did it. He kept hitting me across my shoulders and back until the broom broke. When I think about it now, I think: That was awful. What could a five year old do to deserve such an awful punishment? I have no idea. But I have to prompt myself to feel some emotion about it because in the past I have recalled that memory with complete detachment, emotionless. It was just a thing that happened. Ho hum. But--huh--it turns out that things like that, getting beaten with brooms and belts and so on, actually leave a lasting impression beyond the bruises and welts. And when you multiply those experiences...

Oh! That, too made think about talking to someone at the old studio: He told me that his family was so boring; there weren't any real scandals or criminals in their history. He guessed it was probably that way in most families; they were all boring too. So I began to list various things about my family: My teenaged cousin who was murdered in a crime that made the news. (His was the first funeral I remember attending; I was six.) My drug-dealing uncle who died on Christmas morning of a heroin overdose next to the bed where his 8-year-old son was sleeping. (I was so long inured to horror that the next night I slept in the same bed.) My grandfather who shot his girlfriend and then himself in an attempted murder-suicide. (I held a bit of his skull in the palm of my hand and felt nothing more than an interest in the object itself.) My little brother, who also died of a drug overdose. (I touched his cold, dead face as he lay in his coffin. I was so thoroughly numbed that I joked ("What the hell? You only die once.") as I bought the more expensive flower arrangement to send to the funeral home for his funeral.) The awful list went on and on. I laughed as I told that guy all these things. And I laughed again at the expression on his face when I laughed the first time.

Later, a few hours after writing those memories down, I fell asleep and woke up at 2:15 or 2:30 or so. I always seem to wake up at that hour. I lay in bed, in the dark, and I remembered why this, of all times, has long been the witching hour.

My father was a baker, so he got up long before anyone else. I will give you one guess as to what time his alarm typically went off.  When I was ten, eleven, twelve, I would stay up late, sometimes all night. I would read or sit in the living room and watch television all night. One local channel broadcast old black-and-white films all night and I would sit a few inches from the television, the volume turned way down and watch hour after hour of those films. But when I heard my father's alarm going off, I would turn off the TV and quietly sneak to my room. I had time to do this because the first thing he did when he got up was go to the bathroom and take a shower. I would turn off my bedroom light so he wouldn't see it shining under my door and I would lie there in the dark, listening. I knew the sounds of his morning routine by heart and I would wait in the dark until I heard the sound of his truck going down the street and then I would wait some more. More than once I had been caught out of my room when he forgot something and had come home to retrieve it.

The roots of my fear of encountering him in the night stretch back into the darkness of childhood, back before memory had a firm foothold, when my mother worked nights and we were left alone with him. 

Memories are seasonal, conditional. They cycle through us again and again, triggered by sounds, lights, timing. Something about spring triggers these memories in me, but I have no idea why. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Sunday

I woke up around 5:30, took my pill, and had breakfast (after a bit). I had quite a big breakfast, an avocado, two slices of toast and two fried eggs. Dave was up at 9:00 and at 10:00, we went for second breakfast at Flying Star. He had something healthy, of course, but I had a huge second breakfast, a hamburger with green chile and french fries. I also had dessert, half of an enormous chocolate eclair. I just could not stop eating!

We plotted out the rest of our day: Studio, pilates and shopping.

We went by the studio first. At the studio we unloaded the stuff we bought at the clay store yesterday then got down to work. Judi and Paul came out to chat while I worked on my sculpture, one I had almost forgotten about. It was getting a bit dry, so I wet down the parts I want to add to and started underglazing the part of the sculpture that was getting dry.

Judi hinted that she wanted me to join her for a walk. The weather was gorgeous and god knows I need the exercise, but I declined as we had limited time at the studio this week and I wanted to get some things done in that time.

After a bit Judi and Paul went off to do their thing, and I mixed up one of the bisque menders with some slip I had laying around and I repaired the pieces that had broken off my last sculpture. I can't vouch for how pretty the repair job is, but it's holding everything on--for now. We'll see if it actually makes it through a bisque firing and then a cone three firing. If that happens, we'll file the stuff in the milagro file.

We had to leave soon to come home and shower and get ready for pilates. The teacher had tried to get us to shift our class from 5:15 to 2:15--this at 1:20 or so--but I had to say no, that maybe we could come an hour earlier (but even that was pushing it). Lately, she's been flipping our class times around because she's having to drive her four children around to various extracurricular activities and she's trying to work a full time teaching schedule around that since her husband apparently doesn't drive. I have some compassion for her situation and try to be flexible, but I don't like switching things up on a dime. And especially since I end up having to okay everything with Dave and Judi since I became the de facto point of contact for scheduling everything. (Not sure how that happened since it was Judi's idea to take the class in the first place.)

At home, we both showered and changed into our pilates clothes. Dave had a healthy snack, I had the second half of my chocolate eclair from earlier (a mistake).

Our class was a good one, but my back started to act up about a third of the way through and I had to sit out a bunch of the exercises. I feel like a wimp when that happens, but it's better to do that than to risk further injuring myself.

After class, we came home via the co-op, where I had a big sugar crash. I bought some vegetable sushi to have in the car on the way home so that I could avoid passing out!

We came home and I went straight to bed. Dave stayed up, did some work on his computer, made dinner, did all these things, and I just slept and slept. I got up a couple of times to go to the bathroom, and then again around midnight to find that he had left me a note about dinner, meatballs in sauce and greens. I had a sandwich and went back to bed.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Still A Good Day

Saturday

I was up around 2:30 a.m. Got out of bed at 3:00 and took my medication. After an hour, I had breakfast, fried eggs, a piece of toast, and coffee. I read, watched Netflix, surfed online.  I've started a new book, After the Tears, about the role of childhood trauma in the lives of adult children of alcoholics. I don't usually read self help books, but this book has been a thunderbolt.

Dave was up at 7:00 or 7:30. I suggested that he might want breakfast before his clarinet lesson and so after he took a shower, he went out to Blake's and picked up a breakfast burrito for himself and an Itsaburger combo for me. Seasoned fries for second breakfast. Yum.

While Dave was at his lesson, I took a shower and got mostly ready for the day. When he came home--with a couple of lattes, yay!--we went almost immediately out again.

Our first stop was the clay supply store, where we bought clay and underglazes and a few glazes. I also picked up some commercial products that are supposed to be useful in repairing bisqued pieces (normally a worthless cause). I've never used them before, but I want to try. I imagine that they are mostly sodium silicate and soda ash, which, great. If they work, fine. If not, fine. I've already set my mind to trashing the piece if they don't work, so this is a good opportunity to test them and gain experience in using them.

After the clay store, we drove out to my aunt's house. She's been having trouble getting her new computer to connect to the internet and to her printer, so Dave spent a couple of hours helping her get that stuff set up and running. She treated us to lunch at Dion's after he finished up. I had a slice with ham and mushrooms and split a salad with Dave. She and Dave had subs.  We sat for awhile and chatted over lunch.

We didn't get home until around five in the afternoon. We discussed going by the studio, but I was so tired we ultimately decided not to. We came home and Dave practiced his clarinet for awhile while I read and watched youtube videos. I fell asleep fairly early, but got up around 11:30 really hungry. I mixed up a bowl of blueberries, yogurt, raisins, honey and some organic 7 grain cereal that is similar to Grape Nuts. I downed that and a glass of water and went back to sleep.

I was up again in the middle of the night for awhile. I picked up the book I mentioned above and started reading. While I've been reading, I've been marking places where things arise in me. For example, last night while I was reading, I got a blinding headache. I marked in the book where that happened and kept reading. Then I had a craving for a food that I haven't eaten since I was a child. I marked in the book where that happened and I kept reading. I was reading about an exercise done with adult children in trauma recovery therapy where people draw a "loss line" of events from their childhood that indicate some loss to them. While I was reading that, I started crying and I had to put the book down. Then I had this incredible flashback to something very early in my childhood. Early, early. Long before language kind of early.

By the time I pulled myself out of that, I was exhausted again. I fell asleep and slept all night.




Saturday, March 21, 2015

Fridaze

Another screwy sleep day. Up all night and through the morning only to fall asleep in the late morning and sleep until late afternoon. I'm ready for this sleep schedule to right itself.

In the night, I read and watched some youtube videos. I made Dave's lunch (a grilled cheese sandwich bento with onion and tomato salad, yogurt with blueberries, cut up vegetables, fruit). I took my meds and had a ridiculously early (3:00 a.m.) breakfast of the salad leftover from dinner and a banana with soy-nut butter. Later, I had a cup of half-caf coffee with milk.

After Dave left for work, I tried to get more sleep, but the cats were having none of that. Gray Kitty took out his toy, the one with the bell on it, and brought it into the corner near the bed to play and talk loudly to it and himself. He's become quite the noisy little communicator since we've started to play with him and give him more attention. I finally was enticed to get up and move his toy around for him to chase.

Sleep was far awy then, so I read a bit more. I'm reading a handful of books recently, including one that I got a few days ago about daughters of alcoholics. My father was (still is?) an alcoholic and I still deal everyday with the long-term ramifications of having grown up with that, even though I shut him out of my life more than two decades ago. The book is a collection of experiences from other women who had alcoholic parents, written in their own words; experiences that were once so incredibly isolating are revealed to be commonplace.

Around 9:00, I started making lunch. I was making red-wine braised spareribs and they needed at least 2 hours to simmer. I browned the spareribs, chopped onions and garlic, opened a bottle of red wine and a jar of tomato paste. I put everything in the pot to simmer away and I started watching The Producers with Gene Wilder and Zero Mostel.  I love Gene Wilder, but the movie didn't hold my interest. (There was one funny part where the character, Bialystock, is yelling at his landlord, saying something like "God, I beg you to curse this man!" and the landlord says, gesturing up to heaven, "Don't listen to him, he's crazy!")

Around an hour later, I got impatient and ate one of the spareribs. (I had only made two.) Then I turned off the heat, put the lid on the pot and tried to get more sleep. I did finally fall asleep around 11:30 and I slept until 5:00.

I had a dream about two old schoolmates, Nikki Calvert and Jason Vitela, neither of whom I've seen in years. Come to think of it, the last time I saw both of them together was at Nikki's wedding.

(There's a story! Nikki actually was married to someone else when she met the man she's married to now. When she met the future-husband, he was hardly a man as he was only fourteen years old. She was 24, and along with her then-husband, was still at university. Anyway, her then-husband went away to Germany for a year as an exchange student and while he was gone Nikki met this fourteen-year-old kid in a coffee shop. She fell in love with him and decided to divorce her husband and pursue the kid. So that's what she did. She spent an inheritance from her grandmother doing it, too, buying him things like guitars and amplifiers and skateboards. When he turned eighteen (she was 28), they got married. Of course Dave and I went to the wedding. It was...strange. The wedding party consisted of his friends, all of whom were high school students, none of them old enough to drink. All of us--Nikki's friends--were heading towards 30. The wedding had a Ren fair kind of feel to it, all the kids playing dress up. (We adults didn't.) It was kind of like chaperoning a weird high school dance.

I met the groom for the first time just before the ceremony. He was short, pale, and delicate looking, slightly built, with shoulder-length blonde hair. He still looked about fourteen. I said to him, "I hear you and Nikki wrote your own vows," and he nodded. I asked him if he were nervous and he nodded. I said jokingly, "Well, I hope you don't get up to the altar forget your vows!" and then he kind of shut in on himself, drawing in and holding his breath and clamping his eyes shut tight. Later Nikki told me that he had Asperger's syndrome, a kind of mild (?) autism that made social interactions difficult for him and so my joking statement was incredibly threatening. Oops.

They're still together, almost twenty years later. True love, folks. Or true conditioning.)

Anyway, back to my day: I got up, got dressed, did some dishes. Dave came home then and we discussed what to have for dinner. (We haven't gone for groceries this week and supplies were running low.) We eventually decided to have sandwiches. He had a quinoa burger on whole wheat toast with tomato, and avocado. I had banana, honey, and soynut butter on whole wheat toast. Yum.

After dinner, we went up to Michael's to see if we could find some fabric medium for acrylic paint. The only thing they had was Martha Stewart brand and consequently far too expensive, so I passed. I'm sure I can find it cheaper online.  We came home via Whole Foods (where we stocked up on yogurt, berries, and some other fruit) and the pharmacy.

I had some yogurt when we got home and watched a stand-up comedian on Netflix. Dave got out his clarinet to practice. That's an exciting Friday night when you get old, I suppose.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Tedium

Wednesday night I got up after about an hour sleep, waking up around 11:30 at night and then staying up all night and into the morning, finally falling asleep around 11:30 a.m. and sleeping until almost 5:00 p.m.

I hate that cycle, but it repeats itself every few weeks in my life, when everything flips around. (Tonight, for example, I fell asleep around 9:00 pm and woke up at midnight. It's not like I didn't try to go back to sleep, I just could not get The Brain to quiet down, so now I'm up.)

I did get a few things done in there though.

Thursday

Thursday began in the middle of the night. I read and watched a few youtube videos, took my medications and had a 3:00 a.m. breakfast of...what did I eat? Oh, it was a cheese sandwich made with jarlsberg, avocado, tomato and mustard on low-sodium bread.  After awhile I had some yogurt with frozen blueberries, raisins and honey and a cup of coffee.

I had forgotten that I was going to drive my mother to a doctor's appointment in the morning, but luckily Dave had left me a note to remind me. My mother drives just fine of course, but her doctor's office is at the university, so the parking situation is ridiculous. I go and drop her off and then either go for a coffee at one of the ubiquitous nearby coffee shops or I go and sit in the park and read. This time I opted to go sit at the park. I stayed in the car, though, and sketched a few ideas for sculptures into my notebook, played games on my phone, and read a bit from the novel I'm reading (The Constant Sinner by Mae West--yes, that Mae West).

We were going to meet my aunt for lunch but we got our times mixed up, so I told my mother I probably just needed to come home and sleep. Which I did. I had a bit of yogurt with raisins and honey before I went back to bed.

I woke up a few minutes to five in a panic, thinking Dave was going to be home soon and I didn't have anything prepared for dinner! Half-asleep, I texted him asking if he wanted to bring home something from Dion's and he was fine with it. Only later when I was more awake, did I realize that it's his late night and he wasn't going to be home until almost 7:00. There would have been plenty of time to rustle something up for dinner. 

I was fine with not cooking though, so we stuck to the hastily hatched plan. I ordered sandwiches (green chile and cheese with lots of veggies for Dave and a roast beef and provolone for me) and a salad online and, in a moment of weakness, added in one of their brownies for me. (I had never tried them and, having tried them, don't need to have one again. They're only okay, not worth the calories.)  While I was waiting on dinner, I did some dishes and cleaned up the kitchen a bit.

I gave the cats their dinner and went to let them out to find that it had been raining for a bit. Yay, more rain!

Dave came home with our food and we sat down to eat. After dinner we picked up a package that UPS had delivered to Kelly's house, three books for me that I ordered after reading about them in the John Bradshaw book I'm reading. Kelly also told us about a show at the museum of contemporary Albuquerque artists that i want to go see. Maybe on Saturday, while Dave's at his lesson.

I came in, looked over my new books, and then got online to check my email. I felt so sleepy that I just fell asleep even though I had only been up for about four hours! I slept about three hours and that leads us to now-ish. It's the middle of the night and I'm up. I'll be up the rest of the night, too...

So tedious.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Happy Birthday!

La Familia

I snapped that photo of my older brother very early one morning when he was leaving the apartment that he, Dave, and I shared. That was about twenty...something years ago. Twenty-four years, I think. He was on his way to work and I surprised him and saved that photo all these years so that I could post it on the internet on his birthday. Haha!

Check out that blue steel look!

This Is What Wednesday Was Like

Wednesday was a cloudy day. I stayed up all night and slept through the morning, woke up, and was just texting Dave about how gloomy it was when it started to rain. I stepped out to have a look at the rain and thought about what a very Portland, Oregon-y day we were having here in the desert southwest. It rained on and off all afternoon and into the evening. I made sure to take my 5,000 IUs of vitamin D today, boy.

As far as the cats were concerned, the reviews of the day's weather were mixed. Gray Kitty is an old street cat and isn't fazed by rain in the least. He lolls around on the patio in almost any weather. He went out and came in from time to time to roll around on my lap and dry himself on my jeans. When he was dry, he'd run back out into the rain. Like Gray Kitty, Saba also came from a very rough background--was the only kitten to survive from her litter--but she was sheltered from very early on (in a public school, no less, where a teacher let her live in a classroom and took great care of her), so she is less understanding about rain. In fact, if a single drop of water from any source touches her, she becomes very indignant and complains about it very loudly. She spent most of the day inside, cuddling up with me or curled up on her favorite crocheted afghan that she commandeered from Dave.

For me, it was a quiet day. I had a quinoa burger for breakfast and then showered and got dressed. For lunch I had some leftover asparagus, a banana with soynut butter, and an apple.

In the late afternoon, I looked through my long-neglected Nexflix queue and choose a devastating documentary called Family Affair, about a family that was torn apart by years of incest that happened only to be revealed when one of the siblings accidentally(!) shot another one with a shotgun. It was an incredible story, told simply and very honestly.

I had decided to stay home from pilates, so I held dinner until Dave had gone and returned. Dinner was rosemary and garlic linguine (whole wheat) that Dave bought at the recent Fiery Foods Show. We topped it with vegetarian meatballs and low-sodium garlic pasta sauce and lots of Parmesan cheese. I sauteed some Swiss chard in garlic and olive oil to go along with it. Honestly, it was only okay. The pasta was a bit bitter and the greens didn't come out quite right. The sauce and meatballs were tasty, though. I could use those to make a killer vegetarian meatball sub.

After dinner, Dave got out his clarinet to practice, and I shopped for bras online. My bra size is ridiculous and consequently very hard to find in stores (or online for that matter). One of the places I shop is having a 40% off sale that ends tomorrow, so I decided to see what they have left in stock. There's a lot of foolishness when it comes to shopping online for clothes--bras especially--so I usually avoid it. However, I'm willing to take the plunge when it means saving 40%.

After a bit of shopping, I put on a documentary about a man who lived along an Irish river for a year. It promptly put me to sleep. I dreamt about riding a bike along a busy country road somewhere in Australia. It was dusk. There was insanely lush vegetation growing alongside the road, like dark, cool, deep in the rainforest level lush. I knew that I was lost so I looked at the GPS on my phone to see where I was. I used my phone to call someone and that someone turned out to be an Australian actor who I like very much. He told me that he was in the next town. I looked at my phone to see that the town was called Fallout and I was 42 miles from there.

Then I woke up.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Start Where You Are

Janis Wunderlich works away in the background while I photograph one of her tiny figures:

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My attempt at...what? A figure in her style, washed over with my own style.

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Hers was finished, mine is only halfway done.  It's been underglazed and bisque fired once but I have yet to add more underglaze and/or glaze, perhaps a bit of iron oxide, and most likely some Gerstley borate to it. I won't spend a lot of time on it since it is just a little practice thing, but it is an interesting exercise for me to copy the work of a more experienced artist who works in a vastly different style.

This is more me:
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Not just the calavera, but the smooth expanses of it. But this is a little blank, even for me. I like texture to be...grainy but natural. Does that make sense? The best texture I know how to create mimics the feeling of running my hand over a stuccoed or plastered adobe wall. 

This little calavera I ran through a firing to test some new brightly hued low-fire glazes on the flowers. I laid the glazes on over bright underglazes bisqued then washed with black underglaze. I think. My firings are so infrequent these days that I need to start keeping notes again. I don't mind keeping notes (I almost never look at them again, but it is nice to have them if I need them) but I was hoping to build something of an intuitive knowledge base to work from, a fool's errand, I know.

Did I ever tell you about the time I made one of Dave's students at the old studio cry over not keeping glaze notes? She was always asking about glazes, which is good. Lots of student work went through the kilns and every once in awhile a nice piece would catch people's interest and we would try to work out what the glaze was before we could talk to the person who made the piece. Because Dave and I had been working with the glazes for a long time--hell, Dave made a bunch of them to begin with--we could usually answer questions like that accurately.

One time, this particular woman came over to me and handed me a piece of work and said, "What glaze is this?" It was a strange glaze combination, so I turned over the bowl to look at the mark to see who had made it. The signature on the bottom was hers! It was her own bowl! I said, "I don't know. Why don't we check your notes?" She said, "Oh, I don't keep notes." And I reminded her (as Dave had done numerous times before) how important it was to keep notes on the glazes you used on your pieces so that you could recreate combinations you liked. She just looked at me blankly. My suggestion went in one ear and out the other without making the slightest impression on her, same as when Dave had made it to her again and again.

A few weeks later, she did it again! She came up to me while I was sitting with some people and she handed me one of her own pieces and asked me to identify the glaze on it. I said, very loudly, "This is your piece! So let's check your glaze notes! Why don't you go get your notes so we can look and see what glaze this is! I'm sure you wrote it down, right? After we talked last time, I'm sure you started keeping notes!"

She stood there and her lip trembled and a little tear ran down her cheek. I handed the bowl back to her and walked away. And she never asked me again to identify a glaze on one of her pieces. And she never started keeping glaze notes either. So I guess it was kind of a draw.

Anyway, I'm sure it seems like I was being a total bitch to that woman, but how many times should a grown-ass adult be expected to be treated like a child and have the same things patiently explained to them? Once? Twice? Three times? Infinite times?

So that's my story of making someone at the studio cry. I'd tell you about another time that I lost my temper at the studio and yelled at some racist old white lady, but I'm sure you already think I'm a monster, so instead I'll tell you about my Tuesday.

Too's Day

As predicted, the caffeine I had with my dinner Monday night kept me awake all night. I stayed up watching garbage on Netflix and reading garbage on the internet. I also read some more of the Bradshaw book and got on Amazon and ordered a couple of books he recommends, one about grieving, one about adult daughters of alcoholics. I made Dave's lunch and packed it up for him. I finally fell asleep around nine in the morning, long after Dave had gone to work.

When I got up, it was late. I had some leftovers for lunch, caught up on my email, read a little bit. It was so late that I went ahead and prepped for dinner. I'm happiest when we have a loose plan for the week's dinners, but nothing so strict that it can't be changed at the last minute to suit what we have and what I feel is not beyond my patience to cook. Today, I prepped for felafel in pita, using a bag of prepared felafel that we picked up out of curiosity on our last trip to the co-op. I sliced up some veggies,  yellow and red heirloom tomatoes that needed to be used, cucumbers, and onions. I made two kinds of dressing for the sandwiches, one tahini-lemon-garlic, one simply crushed garlic mixed into Greek yogurt. I cut up and steamed a head of green cauliflower that Dave bought last week. I took the pita out of the freezer.  Along with all that, we had feta cheese and a container of mixed olives from Whole Foods. It's hardly a late winter/early spring dinner, but it was tasty and filling.

Dave came home and we sat down to dinner. For a few months now at dinner or on walks, we've been going over five things that have made us happy in the last 24 hours. Today, we both included the late afternoon rain. Because, yes! Rain! (Of course it was gone before we sat down to dinner, but it still counts.)

Despite the possibility of more rain, after dinner we decided to take the car to the car wash. It was the first time we've washed it since we bought it in early December. (We figured out that the old black car had been washed three times in 15 years, so we're ahead of the game already.)
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 $10 for a three minute car wash! But we got the "Super Charged Wash" (whatever that is). 
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When a driver meet a driver coming through the wash.

After vacuuming out the car and wiping down the dash and putting up a new air freshener (pine scented gigolo, smells like), we headed over to the co-op.

We picked up some fruit and toilet paper and ice cream, the trifecta of dash-in-dash-out grocery store shopping, vegetarian style.  I wanted mint chocolate chip ice cream, and we by-passed the usual brands we buy (Straus Creamery, Ben & Jerry's, Talenti) and opted to try a new brand, Three Twins. If you ever have the chance to try Three Twins ice cream, don't bother. It tastes like someone said "ice cream" in the next room. Not very good, like whipped non-fat milk, frozen. Why bother? And it was the same price as the Straus stuff, which I know is good. I'm very disappointed, obviously. Well, live and learn.

We're back home now, back to the computers.

Monday-ay-ay

Since I had slept late Sunday, I could not sleep Sunday night. Such is the way. Of course, I fell asleep after Dave went to work and slept until later in the day.

I ran the air purifier over night and throughout the morning (only turning it off in the afternoon when I opened the door to let in some fresh air and sunshine) and it did its job, I am glad to say. I woke up not sneezing, not red faced, not in the midst of an allergy attack, but almost completely fine. (I had an ever so slightly stuffy nose, which: I'll take it.) In fact, the only time I sneezed all day was when Dave opened the door to leave for work and who knows what blew into the casita and right up into my sinuses.

The new purifier has an optional ionizer function; it's supposed to release electrons which supposedly go off and bond to particulate matter, making them larger and therefore easier for the filter to catch and hold them. Dave also told me that people have reported an improvement in their mood when they are exposed to ionized air. I don't know how much of any of that I believe, but isn't it pretty to think it might be true?

In the afternoon, I prepped dinner early (we had a later than usual pilates class tonight and I wanted to make sure everything was ready to go), had a shower, and did some reading. I checked my email and watched a stand-up comedy special on Netflix by a comedian who I've never seen before, Melanie Comarcho. She was pretty funny.

I took a shower and found something to wear to pilates. (I hadn't washed my usual work-out clothes.) I put some red quinoa on to cook.

My face has been dry as a bone recently and my usual moisturizer has been causing me to have an allergic reaction (I think my system has been revved up by seasonal allergies). I've taken to slathering on pure jojoba oil for some relief. It's not quite strong enough to combat my dry skin, but it's better than nothing.  And it's not just my face, either, that's dried out. My hands and legs and hair are all dried out, too. I feel like my nose has been a faucet, draining all the liquid reserves from my body.

Dave called in the afternoon and I asked him about whether or not he was going to want dinner before pilates. He didn't, so I put away my prepped veggies for later in the evening.

Our pilates classes are normally at 6:30, but we had a 7:30 class this time. It was a pretty strenuous workout; I am definitely going to be sore. I can do more of the exercises and I'm trying to push myself a little more each time. We left class a little after 8:30.

While we were driving home, I told Dave I had a craving for a burger. I think PMS always awakens a huge protein craving in me, and this month is no exception. Even though I had a super healthy dinner planned and prepped, it was a little light on the protein, so we came home via Blake's Lotaburger where I ordered a double Lotaburger and a diet Pepsi to go. (We walked into the restaurant about 15 minutes before they closed, which I would normally never do. But we hadn't changed the clock in the car during daylight savings, so it said 7:45 and our pilates class usually gets out at that time, so I completely forgot it was actually 8:45, too near their 9:00 pm closing time.)

Anyway, I did get my burger with a side of guilt.

We came home and I made dinner. To go with the red quinoa I had made earlier, I steamed asparagus to serve with lemon-garlic butter. I sauteed kale with garlic and lemon juice. I threw together a quick broccoli and soy "beef" stir fry with onion, garlic and ginger. I had my burger and asparagus, kale, and a bit of broccoli from the stir fry. Dave had a big bowl of everything over quinoa. Then we packed up the extra for our lunches tomorrow, and I did the dishes and even took out the garbage. (The caffeine from the diet Pepsi began to take effect and I felt pretty energized.)

And that was Monday!


Monday, March 16, 2015

Sunday

This Thing

Early Sunday was relatively quiet. Both Dave and I slept very late (I fell asleep and woke up after an hour or so and was up most of the night before I went back to sleep, but Dave slept straight through, from the time his head hit the pillow). When we got up, we had coffee and a small, impromptu breakfast of yogurt and mixed berries. Then after a few hours of futzing around on our computers, it was actually time to start getting ready for dinner.

We were meeting my brother, aunt, and mother for my brother's birthday dinner (which is not actually until Thursday, but he wanted to celebrate today). My brother wanted to go to Sadie's, so that's where we went. It was pretty fun and we ate a lot, too much. Chips and salsa came to the table and we ordered a large order of guacamole to go with them. My mother and I both had flat, red chile and cheese enchiladas with a fried egg on top. I had papitas with mine. Dave had a relleno plate and I gave him my papitas. My aunt had a taco salad. My brother ordered carne adobada. The food there is good, New Mexican-style food.  While we ate, we chatted and joked around.  We were all pretty full when we left the restaurant.

It's nice to spend time with family for a happy reason.

The Other Thing

Dave and I came home at dusk and, as we were unlocking the door, I started sneezing. We had talked briefly about buying an air purifier for the casita, but we hadn't since I had been more committed to the idea of being stoic about allergens rather than doing anything about it. I finally decided that it was time, so we went out to Target. (Our other reason for going was to do a bit of shop-walking as a digestive measure.)  At Target, we picked up the air purifier, a filter specifically for allergens, and a few other things. We also wandered around the store a bit, looking at random things.

While Dave was looking at LED light bulbs, I went over to housewares to look at throw pillows. While I was over there, I kept encountering the same old guy going down the same aisles I walked down. I didn't acknowledge him at all, but he was clearly following me. I walked back to the hardware section where Dave was, and, when the old guy turned down the same aisle, I made a point of greeting Dave very loudly and talking to him about the light bulb he had chosen. The man lurked around an end cap, watching us, then wandered away. Freak.

I'm sure lots of women have stories they can tell about being followed around by strange men. I think the first time it ever freaked me out was when I was in middle school, maybe eleven or twelve years old, and this man followed me around the main library downtown. I was alone; my mother had dropped me off there. The man was probably in his late 20s or early 30s, thin, with shoulder-length dirty blond hair. He would go down the aisle one over from me and stare at me through the gaps in the books on the shelves. It went on and on and I didn't know what to do about it. No one had ever told me what to do when a strange man followed me around. Ignoring him didn't deter him. Moving to a different aisle didn't deter him. I finally went into the women's bathroom. (It was probably not the best move. I wasn't thinking about what could have happened if he followed me in there.) I sat in a stall and waited there for a long time, maybe twenty minutes or half an hour. I still remember the ugly baby blue tiles the restroom was covered in, floor and walls. I just sat there, looking at them, wondering what to do if he was still there when I came out. When I came out, he was gone.

Later, I told my mother about it and she said I should have told one of the librarians. As if. I had learned too well, as the child of an abusive alcoholic and co-dependent, to never ask anyone--especially anyone with any authority, a librarian, teacher, policeman, any adult really--for help or tell anyone about strange things that happened to me. My job from day one was keeping secrets, so that's what I did. (Besides, men who do things like that know enough to deny everything. And who would have believed a girl about something like that, especially back then?)

I'm a little stuck on the subject now. It's making me think of the other times strange men have followed me around, either on the street or, once, when I was driving.  A man followed me out of a restaurant another time, I think intending to follow me to my car, but was thwarted by the actions of another friend's husband. And it's not just strangers either. I've dated men who have stalked me after the relationship ended or joked about stalking me when we were still dating. I've had men who I haven't been involved with say that they've looked for information about me online. I mean, sure, I can understand their doing it, but what did they get out of telling me about it? Was I supposed to be flattered by their actions or frightened?

I've been reading John Bradshaw's book, Healing the Shame that Binds You. Reading his book prompted me to find interviews that he's given--there are several on youtube--and in one, he makes the statement, "The only emotion you can have in patriarchy is fear." It's all connected then, isn't it?

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Dream Descended

Saturday began just after midnight. I woke up and couldn't get back to sleep. An hour later, my allergies kicked in and I, being an idiot, did not take any benadryl immediately. I don't know why I always think it's just going to pass. It never does.

I let the cats out, took my medication, and a little before 4:00, had a ridiculously early breakfast (capellini with lots of grated parmesan) and decaf coffee with milk.  I dicked around online. I read from one of my new books, John Bradshaw's Healing the Shame that Binds You.

After a few more hours, Dave got up. Saba had to go to the vet--she's been chewing on plastic again recently and I wanted the vet to check her teeth to make sure there was no problem--and I, finally having taken some benadryl, was in no shape to take her. He got up, had some yogurt for breakfast, took a shower, got ready and took Saba to the vet.

She came home with an absolutely clean bill of health, thankfully. The vet says her teeth have a little tartar, but not enough to worry about yet. So that's good. She got a new rabies shot though, which always makes her feel puny for awhile. She crawled off to a comfortable spot to sleep off the stress of the vet visit.

By the time Dave and Saba got home, the benadryl was hitting its stride and I was on the way to zombieland. We ordered takeout sandwiches from the bakery and Dave went out to pick them up.  I asked him to pick me up a large diet Pepsi so that the caffeine might shake me awake. He did. It didn't.

We had lunch, then Dave went off to his clarinet lesson and I went back to bed. I pulled a pillow over my face to block out the light and went back to sleep.  I got up again around 4:00. The benadryl had worn off and my allergies were gone.  (I think the neighbor's trees, next to our window, release their pollen at night, so the effect wears off by the middle of the afternoon.) My sense of smell was also gone, but no matter.

When I got up, I found that Dave had finished doing the dishes from the day before, then cleaned the sink and counter. My hero! I went out to check for our CSA box, brought it in and we put it away. (This week is asparagus, lots of greens, spring onions, zucchini, cucumbers, lemons and limes, beets, and a few other things that should make for some good eating.)

After filling up our fridge with good things to eat, we decided to go to Thai Vegan for an early dinner. We shared some salad rolls and spring rolls as an appetizer, then we had red curry with tofu as a main dish. I also had a Thai iced coffee, since my hope springs ever eternal, caffeine-wise.  While we ate, we sketched out a weekly menu and grocery list.

After eating, we ran by the pet store where we dropped a chunk of change on cat food, litter, and toys. I've been playing with the cats for 20-30 minutes a day, just to give them some attention and make sure they get a little exercise, and some of their old toys are getting pretty shredded.

After unloading the cat things, we headed out to the studio where Dave threw bowls and I worked on and subsequently broke the piece I was writing about yesterday. I'm trying to decide on whether or not to try a repair job on it. I may do it, just to see how it goes. Or I may decide to write off all the work I've put into it and just trash the whole thing.  We'll see.

Judi and Paul came out and chatted for a bit. She and Paul were heading off for the evening, but they put Crunch in our care. As soon as they were gone, I fed him about ten dog biscuits and made him a happy little dog. Turns out he loves dog biscuits. Who knew? Judi always has him on starvation rations, so every time I can I thwart her efforts by feeding him lots of treats. I leave a box of biscuits in the car so that I always have some with me.

We didn't stay long at the studio as it was getting late and we wanted to do our grocery shopping and I was under the mistaken impression that Whole Foods closed at 9:00. (It closes at 10:00.) I put Crunch in the house, set the alarm, and we headed out.

Of course, I had forgotten our list. (Actually, I left it in the new car but then we decided to drive the old car to the studio.) We recreated what we could from memory, and came home with lots of berries (straw, rasp, and blue), bananas, yogurt, sour cream, cheeses, olives, almond butter for Dave and soy nut butter for me, and so on.

At home, we put the groceries away and I made toast with soy nut butter and bananas for my dinner. Dave wasn't hungry.

I got to bed at a reasonable-ish hour, around midnight, fell asleep and dreamed that I triggered the alarm at Judi and Paul's house. I was running through the house trying to make it to the box to enter the right code, but I was just a fraction too late. I remembered the false alarm password, but there was another question, one I couldn't answer because it was asked in German. After that, the dream descended into the adult nightmare of red tape and bureaucracy.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Stuck

One of the surprises in the recent kiln was that this formerly two part sculpture is now one.
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Yes, the "lid"/upper body stuck. I think it's stuck with underglaze or the clay shrunk up enough that it's holding on to the bottom, but whatever it is, it is stuck.

That is actually perfectly all right with me. As far as I'm concerned, lidded anythings are a pain in the ass, pottery-wise. I'll finish and fire it as a single piece from now on and be just as happy as if it had come through as a lidded piece.

You can see where I stopped underglazing after I broke the piece in a couple of pieces. The repair job looks fine, though, and it should be easier to underglaze now that's it's been bisque fired and is a bit sturdier. 

The (Fri)Day

I am having the worst time sleeping recently. Last night I fell asleep around 3:30-3:45 and woke up with Dave's first alarm at 5:30 or so. I got up, fed the cats, ate an apple and made a cup of decaf coffee which I didn't drink. I packed Dave's lunch, then thought I'd go back to bed so I did. Of course I couldn't get back to sleep. Dave left for work around 7:00, and I thought I'd go back to sleep. Nope. A few miserable hours later, I took some benadryl and finally crashed for a few hours, sleeping right through a text from LuAnn asking if I wanted to go out for dim sum. Shoot. I did actually want to go out for dim sum, but by the time the text alarm woke me by dinging every ten minutes and I texted back, like, ninety minutes later, she had already had lunch.

I got up, made natto spaghetti--yum--and a cup of coffee. This was my last pack of natto, so I'm thinking I'll have to go back to the Asian market to get more soon. 

(Lots of Americans are unfamiliar with natto, which is a traditional Japanese food for people who live in the eastern part of Japan (Japanese from the western part of the country are less likely to eat it). It's a fermented soybean product that has a slightly dank, ripe smell and a gooey, almost slimy texture. It's definitely an acquired taste, but it's also hellishly nutritious with lots of iron, manganese, and vitamins K, C, and B.  It's also low in sodium, something that's increasingly important to me. The usual way to eat it is mixed into a bowl of hot rice along with a raw egg, but really, I've seen it top everything from soup to steamed vegetables to pancakes. When I lived in Tokyo, I used it eat it straight out of the packaged for breakfast and that's how I came to like it. Yes, at first it's disgusting, but then you find yourself kind of craving it.)

 After I ate, I got around to a little bit of dirty work. I scrubbed down the shower (it was getting gross) and changed out the shower curtain liner. I also cleaned the kitty litter boxes, which, ugh, and I swept up the litter that they tend to track out of the box.

I got some books from Amazon today, yay! I opened the box and had a look. The animal anatomy for artists book is not quite what I was expecting. It only deals with horses, cows, and dogs--and it's more like a textbook with illustrations that an illustrated book with a bit of text. There are some useful things in it though: Foxes and dogs are very similar in terms of their shoulder, paw, and limb structure, so those parts of the book should be helpful when I go to concoct another kitsune (fox) sculpture.

In the late afternoon, I took a shower, got dressed, and started dinner. I was planning on stacked red chile and cheese enchiladas with fried eggs on top and beans on the side. The chile was already done; all I had to do was add some more Quorn to it and heat it and the beans up. I grated cheese and chopped onions and tomatoes. I got everything all ready so that I could just quickly assemble the enchiladas and fry up the eggs when Dave got home. I cleared and set the table.

Dave had to stop at the bank on his way home, but that didn't take him long. We sat down to dinner around 5:00 p.m., which is a bit early for us, but that's fine.  After dinner, we cleaned up and I took my vitamins (which I have to start remembering to take more regularly, as I feel much better when I take them). Now we're both sitting on our computers.

It's a lovely evening though. We have the front door open (it's been open most of the afternoon) and it's only just now starting to get a bit chilly since the sun set. 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Fancy!

I unwisely stayed up far too late last night watching the first two episodes of the British version of House of Cards. It's a very clever series made in 1990 (recently remade here with Kevin Spacey in the Ian Richardson role). When I got up this morning, I watched another episode and left one to watch in the afternoon. The US remake has been very popular, but I don't know that I'll watch it. I'm not remotely interested in political dramas, but this one is very clever and very well-written and held my attention from start to finish.

After , I did some things 'round the house and then sat down to have blunch (breakfast/lunch). Just as I finished eating, my mother texted to see if I wanted to go to lunch with her and my aunt. Of course. I thought about joining them for dessert, but as I hadn't showered yet, I decided not to.

After I showered, I did my hair--ugh--and dug around in the closet for some decent clothes to wear to dinner. I was going to wear a pair of black pants, but they kind of needed to be ironed and I couldn't find our iron. It was not in the place where we usually keep it. I probably haven't used it in a couple of years (I tend not to buy clothes that need to be either dry cleaned or ironed) so I have absolutely no idea where it went. Dave also looked for it when he got home and he couldn't find it either. I wonder if we got rid of it when we went through the Great De-Cluttering of 2014. I don't see why we would have, but where else could it be? It's not like the casita is so big that it could have gotten misplaced. So I don't know. It's The Great Iron Mystery of 2015.

After I couldn't find the iron, I defaulted to wearing a nice pair of dark-wash jeans and a dark gray pullover. This is definitely one of the great things about living in New Mexico: You can go to dinner to a really fancy restaurant in jeans. We don't tend to stand on ceremony here.

While I did my makeup, I watched the last episode of House of Cards. The ending was a bit too far-fetched for me, but it was still a good series.

Dave got home around 5:30 and started to practice his clarinet a bit. Kelly called to offer us some cheese from a crate of cheese we sent her as a very belated birthday present. We went out and chatted with her for a bit. Turns out she also goes to the dentist I mentioned awhile back, Al Germissen.  Soon it was time for David to change into a nicer shirt and for us to head out to dinner.

Our reservation was for 6:45 and we were a few minutes early but got seated right away. The place was pretty busy and it was quite loud inside. If the food weren't as good as it is, I might shy away from the place simply because of the noise level when it's busy. But the food is good enough to cover a multitude of atmospheric sins.

For dinner, I had a bowl of their garbanzo bean soup with braised shortribs, shared an order of chickpea fries with chipotle ketchup, then I had a huge, rare ribeye steak with tallow-roasted shiitake mushrooms. For dessert, I had lemon custard with whipped cream and blueberries and a cup of decaf coffee. Dave had the chickpeas, an arugula salad, and roasted spring vegetables with green garbanzo hummus. He had a couple of cocktails, a white port with tonic and lime. For dessert, he had bundt cake with caramel sauce and whipped cream and a glass of port. We waddled out of the restaurant quite a bit lighter in the wallet, but it was worth it.

We came home and changed immediately into pajamas and that brings us up to now.


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Are You Finished?

Work

Since this is a new way of working for me--multiple firings-wise, I mean--I am having a hard time telling when something is finished.

Take this mask for example:

This is the third firing for them, I think. Maybe? I guess I don't actually know how many firings this has been through. But is it finished?

And this one:
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 You can't see from this photo, but the multicolored halo around the skull is very matte. Should I put a clear glaze on it to shine it up and send it through again? Or is it finished now? Or should I hit it with a clear polyacrylic sealant?

And this sculpture, a pregnant Eve and the serpent:
20150309_200027.jpg

Is she finished? Or does the snake need more color and to be shinier? Should I attempt that with acrylic paints or do I put more underglaze and glaze on and send her through another firing?
20150309_200023.jpg

I don't do uncertainty very well and this level of uncertainty is new to this style of working. In my old way of working, there was a definite end, beyond which there was no doubt. It went: Build, bisque fire, glaze, fire. Done. Now it's build, underglaze, fire, underglaze/glaze, fire, underglaze/glaze, fire...done? Underglaze/glaze, fire....done? And on and on.

This mask, for example, has been in every firing I've done since last July (including a firing at Santa Fe Clay, where I took the workshop that introduced me to this technique):
20150309_200507.jpg
It's not done yet. I don't think.

Not Work

I got to bed really late last night. Kind of. In fact, I was tired enough after dinner that I got into bed early and fell asleep right away. Then about an hour later, Dave woke me up when he was practicing his clarinet. I was so infuriated at being woken up that I yelled at him. I try to be understanding about his practice time even when it overlaps my bedtime and I am usually fine with it, but last night I was exhausted and really angry at being woken up because I know it takes me hours to get back to sleep (which it did). I finally took some benadryl a little before 4 a.m. and fell asleep only to be woken up about two hours later by Dave's alarm which grows increasingly louder the longer he lets it go off. I don't think he did any of it on purpose and I'm not usually bothered by his playing at night even when I'm going to sleep (noise doesn't usually bother me, I just put my headphones on and fall asleep to something on Netflix while he practices), but last night was not a good night.

I went back to sleep though and woke up a few hours later with a headache. It's just been that kind of day.

I got up and drank a big glass of water and ate a banana. After awhile I got up and had a proper breakfast: eggs, beans, red chile, and a tortilla. I drank a big cup of regular coffee (not my usual decaf or half-caf) with real milk in it. (We never have real milk in the house--in fact, our refrigerator right now contains three types of milk, only one of them cow--but on our last trip to the co-op, I decided I needed some so I bought a half-gallon.) After that, I had a shower and did some reading.

In the late afternoon, knowing we were going to have a pilates lesson before dinner, I had a snack (more beans, sour cream, cheese, and unsalted tortilla chips).

Judi couldn't make it to pilates, so it was just me and Dave. Our teacher was in a chatty mood, so we got to listen to her talk a lot about her life. It's pretty interesting. She grew up in Argentina, came to the US as an exchange student in college, met the man she would later marry. After she returned to Argentina, he followed her there and stayed for three years until after they were married and had their first child. Then they returned to the US where she got her Ph.D in exercise physiology and they had three more children. Now she has her own studio and it sounds to me like her husband is a stay-at-home dad who homeschools their children part time.

I like it when she talks a lot because then the workouts are a little less rigorous and I can keep up a little better.

We came home from pilates via the co-op where I was intending to just pick up some vegetable sushi for my dinner, but instead we walked out with a huge bag of things including my vegetable sushi, a big dulce de leche donut for me and a bar of dark chocolate for Dave. We also picked up a loaf of low sodium bread, more cheese, Quorn, cat food, beans, corn tortillas, some prepared felafel, spaghetti, and a stick of butter. We should not shop after pilates and before we have dinner!

We came home and I had dinner. I followed up the sushi with a donut, which was maybe not the best idea as now I feel a bit queasy. Dave wasn't hungry so he went straight into his clarinet practice so he can get done before I go to bed tonight. Very thoughful.

Etc.

I've been on a bit of an online buying binge recently. Last week, I had a little Sephora spree. Yesterday I ordered a couple of gifts through one of our favorite food sites, Zingerman's. Today I bought three books from Amazon, one a kind of biographical novel by Mae West (one of my favorite classic Hollywood stars) and another large reference book of animal anatomy for artists. I had a dickens of a time trying to find images to work from when I was making my fox lady. The closest thing I could find online were websites with images for taxidermists and I thought that was kind of gross, so I didn't want to use them. (The energy and intention that goes into a piece matters, believe it or not.) I also picked up a package of fuzzy socks to wear to my pilates class.

We have a strange deal with socks in our house. I don't usually wear them if I can get away with not, so when I do have to wear them, I usually just use Dave's. Since I find sorting and pairing socks to be the most tedious and useless post-laundry task ever, over the years we've fallen into buying multiple pairs of the plainest socks possible. (Though Dave has, over the past couple of years, taken to collecting less plain socks.) Anyway, since we have to wear socks to pilates class, I wanted to have cute socks. I bought a couple of pairs here and there, but I found some nice ones on Amazon, so I ordered some. I especially like the fuzzy, brightly colored and pattered socks. They're like my reward for getting my ass to pilates class.

Oh crap, that reminds me. Tomorrow night we're having a pricey dinner out with some friends and I have to scare up something decent to wear. I'm not good at that. If I could, I would live in jeans and t-shirts. But maybe it's good to have to clean up from time to time.

Here's a funny story about that:

A few years ago, Dave and I were invited to one of his co-worker's weddings. I usually wear black when I have to dress up, but I didn't want to wear black to a wedding so I decided to find a colorful dress. I looked online and found an eggplant purple dress with spring green bands of color at the neck, elbows, and waist. I bought the dress and a pair of purple satin heels that perfectly matched the purple of the dress. I got a silver pashmina and borrowed some of Kelly's antique costume jewelry to wear.

Borrowed Finery
Look at those sparklers!

We went to the ceremony, which was outside at sunset, and then went off to find the reception. As we were walking in the door, one of the servers asked me, "Are you with the wedding party?" I was a bit confused, so I shook my head and said no, then I walked into the reception and saw why she had asked me that. The entire hall was decked out in spring green and purple, the colors the bride had picked for her wedding theme! The decorations, the flowers, the candy being handed out as wedding favors, the cake were all decorated in spring green and purple.

Wedding Cake!
Green and purple decorated wedding cake. Lovely!
Yusuf & Colleen's Wedding
Congratulations to the happy couple!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Nobody Could Sleep

Yesterday I wrote about a new low-fire glaze that I tested in the last kiln firing. Here's another piece, a bust about an inch and a half tall, with the same glaze on the face:
20150309_200158.jpg
That texture slays me. I love it.  The shoulders are white and ivory underglaze over red clay. The teeth are white underglaze and Gerstley borate mixed into water and painted on. The eyes are grayish black, a mixture of black and white underglazes.

And this sculpture is basically finished:
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That's the front. If you turn her around, you have this:
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A pair of cartoonish calavera lovers embracing, their bulbous little feet hanging down.

This closeup is a bit blurry, but you get the idea:
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All Day, No Sleep

On Monday night, no one could sleep, not me, not Dave, not the cats. It was too bad because Dave had to be up pretty early in the morning. I watched the latest episode of The Blacklist online (it was a really good episode, actually), and  finally got to sleep close to 2:00 a.m., while listening to a documentary about Prohibition. I woke up a couple of times in the night to find myself listening to some strange fact about Prohibition. Did you know that there were exceptions made for Jews who used wine in religious ceremonies? So some non-Jews declared themselves to be rabbis so that they might have wine. So there you go, Prohibition factoids.

In the morning, I packed up Dave's lunch for him since he was running a bit late. Then I went back to bed. I slept for a little while longer, then got up, showered, did some housework, and watched a documentary about the Lindbergh kidnapping. Did you know that Charles Lindbergh was a Nazi sympathizer and believer in eugenics? Lindbergh factoids!

After the kidnapping and murder of his child, Lindbergh and his wife left the US and spent years in Europe. Eventually they returned to the US, but Charles had made a few European contacts apparently: He ultimately had three secret families in Germany with three different women, one his private secretary, the others two sisters who his secretary introduced him to. He had seven children with those three women and swore them all to secrecy. The whole thing was revealed when one of the sisters died (almost 30 years after Lindbergh did) and her children found a sack of letters he had written to her. Until then, they hadn't known that their father was Charles Lindbergh. They thought he was some man named Careu Kent.

What a strange man!

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Another mask from Sunday's kiln. Finished? Hmmm.