Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Dr. Shmoo & Stew

I had an early morning out of the house.

First, I had my doctor's appointment with the new primary care doctor (for both Dave and me) that I've seen only once before. I made Dave laugh a few days ago by calling the doctor, Dr. Shmoo. He really does have a Shmoo-like appearance. Anyway, he's mostly harmless--I hope.

So now there is a new prescription for my ear. We'll see how that works. I went ahead and made a follow-up appointment with the doctor during the appointment so that I don't have to go through the usual rigamarole of arguing my way into a follow-up appointment before December.

After I left the doctor's office, I went by Whole Foods and picked up some things--frozen roasted green chile, onions, and potatoes (for a batch of green chile stew), lots of--too much--dark chocolate, some berries and bananas, chicken nugget type things for my lunch, and, as a reward for yesterday's tough therapy session, some new Mineral Fusion makeup (a medium-coverage foundation and a 3-in-1 color stick for eyes, lips, and cheeks).

It was raining slightly when I left Whole Foods and I thought I might drive out along Rio Grande on the way home, but in the end I decided not to.

I came home, put away the groceries, ate about half a bar of chocolate and my chicken bits (which I shared with Saba, since she came around to beg once she realized that I had chicken in the house), then I went back to my book.

I've been reading graphic novels recently, spurred on by a trio that I got Dave for his birthday (This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki, Through the Woods by Emily Carrol, and the devastating Beautiful Darkness by Fabien Vehlmann).

Yesterday I received Allison Bechdel's (she of the long-running alt comic strip "Dykes to Watch Out For") two graphic novels, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic and Are You My Mother? A Comic Drama.  I stayed up late to finish Fun Home (the title comes from the funeral home that her father ran part time), and then started Are You My Mother? after that. You'd imagine graphic novels to be easy reads, but no. These two books have been wrenching in some ways. Fun House is about Bechdel's relationship with her father, a deeply closeted gay man who (perhaps) committed suicide four months after Bechdel wrote a coming out letter to her parents. And Are You My Mother? about her own experiences in therapy and her problematic relationship with her mother. The book is filled with excerpts from works by Freud, Jung, Alice Miller, and Donald Winnicott as well as Bechdel's notes about her mother's experience surviving WWII in and out of London.

They're amazing. I can hardly put them down and I already went to Amazon to put The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For in my cart. (I've read the comic from time to time, mostly online, but I'm curious to read more Bechdel now.)

I did put my book aside in the afternoon to throw together the green chile stew (green chile, lots of onions and garlic, tomatoes, potatoes, and the two wild cards, carrots and sweet potato). Then I came to do a little online surfing and check my email.

After spending the afternoon making green chile stew, I decided instead to serve caprese salad for dinner, so I started getting everything out to prep that. Unfortunately, the basil had gone bad, so I made a grilled salad instead. I grilled zucchini, onions, an ear of corn, and cherry and pear tomatoes. When everything was cool enough to handle, I cut everything into pieces and squeezed lime juice all over it (there was already olive oil on it from the grill) and put a bit of salt and pepper on. I heated up a can of beans to add to the stew. Then I made Dave a quesadilla with some cheddar cheese and whole wheat tortillas. Oh, and I also grilled some peaches! So I just kept cooking and cooking all afternoon.

(While I was cooking, my mother and I texted back and forth about a photo I came across recently. I'll write more about this another time.)

When Dave got home, we sat down to dinner and, when we were finished, went out. First we stopped by the pharmacy to pick up my new prescription. Then we went to the studio so that Dave could trim some pots he threw a last week.

That done, we came home and settled in for the night.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

All Types of Hunger

Last night Dave and I went to dinner with my mother, aunt, and brother. We went to Rudy's BBQ and I ate way, way, way too much. I had a half pound of their fatty brisket, new potatoes and potato salad, and coleslaw. After, we went out for frozen yogurt and I had a big serving of a mix of peach, white chocolate, and cheesecake yogurt with a few toppings thrown on for good measure. Then I came home and exploded.

Actually, I didn't explode, but I was pretty full.

I've been sleeping relatively well recently, a miracle in itself, so I slept most of the night. I've been having the craziest dreams, though, almost none of which I remember.

This morning, I put in a call to my doctor's office trying to get my still aching ear looked at. I hate dealing with this new doctor's office. I had tried calling on Monday about eight times and I spent probably half an hour waiting for someone to pick up the phone, which no one ever did. Today they actually were answering the phone, but no one had any appointments open until early next month. Seriously, they acted like they were doing me a fucking favor by even giving me that appointment. I raised a bit of hell--only a small bit, but still--and got a call back for an appointment tomorrow.  Though that I have to raise hell to get an appointment is infuriating.

And after that bit of frustration, I had therapy. It was a rough session and I cried most of the way home. I'm glad, though, ultimately.

I did a few chores at home in the afternoon, set Roomba to work, then made red chile and veggie enchiladas with what we had in the house. I have no idea how they'll turn out, but they're in the toaster oven now, heating up and getting all nice and brown on top.

I'm hungry!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Ah, The Headache

There's a storm sitting over Albuquerque. I don't have to go outside to know it, I can tell from the massive headache that I have right now. It feels like my whole head and neck are in a vise, being squeezed.

Sunday was a mediocre day in many ways. While Dave went off to have lunch with his mother, I went to the studio. I did a few piddly things and then realized that since I had been dropped off, I couldn't leave. I had several hours of dead time. I didn't want to start a new big piece when we're getting ready to leave town, especially since things are going moldy and/or drying out so quickly in this weather. I did a few sketches for some new pieces (a mermaid, maybe?), reorganized a few of the reference books I keep around the studio, and then I read several newspapers from last January and played solitaire on my phone.

Judi had come out early on to chat and she brought Crunch with her. He settled down for the afternoon with me while Judi went out grocery shopping. About fifteen minutes after she left, Paul rushed out to the studio looking for Crunch. Judi hadn't told him that I was there and when he noticed that Crunch was not in the house, he had gone up and down the street looking for him before realizing that he must be in the studio with me. Ay yi yi! Crunch followed Paul back in the house, got a dog biscuit (Paul's a soft touch like I am), and then came back out to the studio with me.

Judi came back and, at her request, I showed her how to receive, download, and send photos from her phone. Dave came back while we were in the middle of doing that.

Judi went back inside, leaving Crunch with us and I started to give Crunch a handful of dog biscuits (we keep them in the car, so Dave brought some in with him). I'm not supposed to feed Crunch anything since Judi keeps him on a strict diet, so I have to slip him biscuits on the sly when Judi's not around.

He had just finished one biscuit and I was about to give him another, when Judi came in the door. Thankfully, she was distracted by something on her phone, because she didn't notice that Crunch was rooting around for the crumbs of his last biscuit--and that I was also holding the smoking gun--another dog biscuit.

I quickly slipped that into my pocket and made like I had been petting Crunch. I showed Judi how to use her contacts list to send photos, and then she went back out and of course I gave Crunch more biscuits.

We left the studio soon after and came home to put drops in my ear (stupid earache), then we went out to dinner at Chopstix. We were both pretty hungry, so we ordered way too much food, spicy green beans, sauteed baby bok choi, their house tofu dish, and sugar and vinegar ribs for me. We ate lots, but came home with lots, too.

I was pretty wiped out by the time we got home, so I did a few chores and then changed into my pajamas. Dave did some laundry and he had just finished hanging it out to dry when it started raining.

I fell asleep to the sound of rain.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Week End

Dave and I had a massive dim sum dinner last night with Chris, Lu Ann, Kai and Megan (Meghan?). It was great fun. After, we took Lu Ann home and then ran a few quick errands--one to the Apple store to look at the possibilities for my new birthday computer, one to LUSH to pick up some lotion and Ultrabalm, one to Target for cat food. Then we came home and that was it--crash time.

I woke up this morning around 3:00 a.m., hungry, which always seems unthinkable after such a huge dinner, but there it is.

Dave got up around 9:00 and, after I took a shower and got ready, we went to brunch at NOSH, the Jewish deli in Nob Hill. Dave ordered veggie hash with eggs and rye toast and I had chopped liver with rye toast and a black-and-white cookie (that was way too much sugar for so early in the day). We both had decaf coffee, too.

After breakfast, we walked around the Nob Hill Shopping Center. The shoe store there was having a sale and we stepped in to take a look. Turns out they no longer carry my size--11--so we turned around and walked right back out again. We stopped at the store that sells only olive oil and balsamic vinegar and bought a bottle of aged balsamic (which is probably actually just a balsamic reduction, but it still tastes pretty good).  Then we went next door to the Herb Store and bought a travel candle that smells like oranges and cloves. We apparently weren't done shopping yet, so we stopped in Beeps and looked at cards and gifts. Dave bought some oddly flavored gum there.

After all that, it was studio time! I worked on a few sculptures that came out of the last kiln.

The changes are incremental--and doubt-filled--at this stage. The worst part about it is that the crack in the arm of this kitsune makes her essentially a garden piece.
Still, it's good practice to work on her if only to see where things can go.

I did a wash of grays and black underglazes, wiped off, and I deepened the color in the eyes and I added eyeliner.

Just by way of comparison, here is the face before:
See? Incremental changes.

I also worked on this bit of greenware, adding a few more underglazes. Bugs's mouth has a bit of a gaping maw look to it but that will all change when I paint the inside. 

While I worked on these (and one other piece), Dave threw some bowls and a new form for me to build on.

Judi and Crunch came out to chat and we talked about trying one of Chris's cross-fit classes since I don't think my tendonitis is up to doing yoga in a serious way. I'll have to ask Chris if there are work-arounds in cross-fit. Judi and I will probably go to check out Chris's class tomorrow--if I get up in time.

After the studio, we came home for a bit, then went out for giant fizzy drinks, then came home again and had veggie cheeseburgers for dinner.

I'm pretty tired now though it's only a few minutes after 6:00 p.m. It might be bedtime!

Friday, July 24, 2015

A Day Makes

After yesterday's frustrations, I woke up to a better day. I got up and, just because, made an elaborate lunch for Dave to take to work (a quesadilla filled with cheddar, veggie sausage, and a mix of sauteed onions, garlic, zucchini, red pepper, and shishito peppers--the same mix I used in an egg white omelet for my own breakfast).  I made a small amount of salsa fresca for him to take as an accompaniment to the quesadilla and I chopped up a bag of veggies (cucumber, peppers, celery and carrots) also. (I made a salad, too, for myself out of the same veggies.)

I make lunch for Dave to take to work most days. Sometimes it's leftovers from dinner, sometimes I made a grilled cheese or cheese sandwich or quesadilla. He also takes breakfast to work (yogurt and blueberries, strawberries, and sometimes raspberries), so I put that together, and there's always a small baggie of veggies and maybe another piece of fruit and sometimes a snack or some dark chocolate.

Sometimes I put together a lunch or some berries for myself at the same time to have later. Sometimes I don't. It just depends on what I feel like doing.

I had been up since a little before 3:00 a.m., so I made this elaborate lunch and my own breakfast, then I sat down to eat around 4:00 a.m.--and then realized that I needed to get online and register.

The online registration system at CNM requires people who register for classes to pay within 24 hours or they get booted from the class. Every night at 10:00 p.m., the system shuts down and kicks out anyone who hasn't paid, then it reopens at midnight. I learned over the years that if I couldn't get into a class, to wait and try again at 12:01 a.m. This way, I have almost always slid into seemingly filled classes in the past.

Even though I left it until almost 4:00 a.m., when I got on I pretty much had my pick of sections of the class I need to take--an anatomy course--so I registered for a 7:30 a.m. lecture (my preference) and a late lab (also my preference).  (I may not need the lab though, so we'll see. If I don't, I'll probably drop it after meeting the instructor and seeing if s/he is any good or not.) Anyway, I registered, pulled out my credit card and paid--just like that, I am a student again--and sat down to eat my by-then cold breakfast.

I was up and feeling pretty energetic, so I left the house with Dave around 7:30 and went out and did some grocery shopping. I went up to Whole Foods and then to the Co-op. After that, I came home and put everything away and had a very, very early lunch (a breakfast burrito from the co-op).

I cleaned and refilled the hummingbird feeder, did a bit of decluttering in the freezer, and started cold brewing some decaf iced tea for later. Now I'm checking out a few blogs before I start some 'round the house chores.


Dinner tonight was very summery, a caprese salad made with tomatoes from our garden and basil from the CSA harvest box. To go with, I grilled slices of a whole wheat boule and then, just because, I grilled some peaches also.

I had planned on making vegetarian enchiladas for dinner tomorrow, but I forgot that a group of us are meeting up for dim sum. That should be fun.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

That Kind of Day

Tuesday morning I went to therapy--a usual Tuesday morning thing now. I got home around 11:15 or so, texted Dave, then lay down for a nap. I got up several hours later and realized that it pretty much was time to start dinner.

Dinner was a kind of modified bubble and squeak (potato, sweet potato, carrot, cabbage, onion, and garlic) topped with eggs and served with a salad. Dave picked up a dozen jumbo-sized eggs a few days ago and so far I've run into two double-yolked eggs. Very lucky, right?

After dinner, we ran out to put gas in the car and stop by Sonic to get some giant, icy drinks and a vanilla cone for me, then we came home and vegged a bit. Dave practiced his clarinet and I watched a bit more of a documentary on Netflix, Alexandria: The Greatest City. It's interesting, if not particularly well done.

I fell asleep relatively early--then got up at 2:00 a.m., of course. I have another early appointment today, with an academic advisor at CNM. I have no idea what the parking situation is going to be like and I have to do several things like get my student I.D. and figure out why I haven't been able to sign into my email account. That should all be fun, right? Hopefully it won't take all day.

Later, Much Later

It has been a good day and a frustrating day.

I did speak to the academic advisor and it turns out that my previous degree puts me almost two semesters ahead of the game, since they'll accept most of my lower level biology courses.

I also got a snafu with my student email account mostly sorted. I can access it on campus and on Dave's computer, but for some reason (probably because I've never updated my ancient computer), I can't access it from my computer. The only problem with not being able to open my email from home is that I was wait-listed for a class (a system I despise) and the way they contact you is to tell you that have a space in the class is via your student email account. So I'll have to use Dave's computer for the time being.

What else did I get done? In addition to the waitlisted class, I registered for one class, a fakakte intro class, just to get my foot in the door (since you get an earlier registration slot if you're already taking classes). 

I have to go back up to campus to get my student ID since you can only get one when you can show them a class schedule, which is more than a little bit ridiculous.

Anyway, who cares? The first semester back after a long absence is almost always a wash, seems like.

That was the (mostly) good part.

The frustrating part was trying to get one of my prescriptions refilled. I've been trying since Monday to get a refill of a medication I have to take every day. 

Monday I called and put in a request with pharmacy #1, the place with the original Rx. I never heard back from them. Tuesday, I called them and they claimed, after leaving two messages, that they couldn't get hold of the doctor to get a new Rx. This morning, I called the doctor's office and they claimed they had never heard from the pharmacy. I left a message for the doctor and, a few hours later, got a call back from the pharmacy saying that they called the old doctor directly and the old doctor refused to refill the Rx.

So I called my new doctor and left a message asking him to refill the Rx and send it to pharmacy #2. I never heard back from the new doctor's office and when called pharmacy #2 a few hours later, they said they hadn't received a new Rx--but they had received was an Rx for a medication that I didn't need a refill of.

I called the doctor's office again and left another message and when I heard nothing and pharmacy #2 claimed that they had heard nothing, I called a third doctor through an online service offered by my insurance company. He spoke with me and sent an Rx to pharmacy #2.

When I called pharmacy #2, they claimed they hadn't received it. I called the third doctor's office again and they said they sent the request an hour before, but they would send another request. An hour later, pharmacy #2 claimed they hadn't received it. I called the third doctor's office again and they had someone call and speak directly to the pharmacist and an hour later when I called pharmacy #2 again, they said, "Ooooohhhhh, well, we actually got the request early this morning from the new doctor, but your insurance company claims it was filled until September and they wouldn't pay for it, so we just didn't fill it. Do you want us to go ahead and fill it?"

Yes, that's right. They claimed that my insurance company was blocking the refill and, rather telling me that or calling to ask if I wanted to pay for the medication myself, they just claimed they had never received the prescription the four times I called them.

I was beyond pissed, so I called pharmacy #1 to find out why they had made a claim on my insurance for a prescription they hadn't filled and they said, "Oh, no, we got a call from your old doctor this morning and we filled the prescription, it's right here."

Yes, that's right. In spite of my three calls to them, they claimed the doctor had refused to refill the Rx--this after they had heard from the doctor and filled the Rx--and that there was nothing they could do. After they refilled the Rx, they never called me to let me know that they had filled it.

I called pharmacy #2 and cancelled the Rx. When I went to pharmacy #1, about fifteen minutes after talking to them and they said, "We don't have any prescription for you. What number did you call?" Turns out the idiot pharmacy tech was either typing my birthdate in wrong or just had his head up his ass. Either way.

Yes, that's right: it took me three days and fifteen calls to three different doctors (none of which returned my call) and two pharmacies (only one of which returned my call, both of which gave me false information) to get a simple Rx refill for a medication I've been on for over a year. I can't imagine what other people, sicker than I am, would have done. Given up and gone without medication? Just kept getting the run around? Had to have had a fucking meltdown at the doctor or the pharmacy?

This is why I had a beyond fucking frustrating day. The whole thing is a joke.

In between all that bullshit, I had a nap, a Lotaburger, and Dave and I went to Costco.

So it's been a full day.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Happy Birthday Doings

Yesterday was my aunt's birthday and she, my mother and I spent a little time hanging out.
La Familia
The Birthday Girl!
We started out planning on getting pedicures, but the place where they wanted to go had a two hour wait, so we went for an early lunch instead. We went to Garcia's and my aunt had green chile chicken enchiladas a la carte, my mother ordered huevos rancheros with red chile, and I had my favorite, menudo and chicharrones. My aunt and I also split an a la carte order of beef tacos. We all walked out pretty stuffed.

We decided to go to another nail salon and there was no wait. The service was good--I like my dark grayish-mauve polish with white and blue flowers--but the place was poorly ventilated and I think we all walked out of there a bit high on the fumes.
Since it was still early in the day, we decided to go see a movie. My aunt chose Minions and we found a 3D showing that fit our time schedule. I was a bit sceptical about it since it's a kids' movie, but it turned out to be hilarious, full of the kind of madcap pratfall-y humor that I, raised on old-school Looney Toons, enjoy. It also featured a lot of unexpected voice talent, like Jennifer Saunders and Jon Hamm. We all really liked it.

 After the movie, we made a quick trip to the mall, to Macy's, picked up some towels my aunt had ordered and then cruised the sales racks. Then we parted ways.

I came home and was completely unwilling to cook dinner or to have Dave cook either, so we ordered subs and a salad to share online from Dion's. We were going to bring them home, but decided instead to eat there and then make a quick stop at the grocery store. Dave has been on a watermelon kick recently, so we've been eating about three watermelons (small ones, but still) a week.

I was completely exhausted by the end of the day since I had gotten a little less than four hours of sleep the night before, so after we got home, I changed into my pajamas, brushed my teeth, spent a tiny minute online, then went to bed and sacked out. Of course that meant that I was up at about 2:30 in the morning--up for good since I have a 10:00 a.m. appointment to get to.

It's going to be a long day!

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Happs

We managed to get a few things done today, including a run up to the studio where Dave trimmed and glazed, and I started painting this wack-a-doodle thing.
Bugs is very simple: the same shade of pink on his ears and nose (which I spaced painting here), a darker pink for his tongue, and an even darker reddish-pink on the inside of his mouth.  Black, white, and gray for everything else. It's coming along now.

The calavera has her base layers going (though ultimately there will be more, lots more, added). I went with green eyes this time, to mirror the greens on the carrot in her fascinator (which also has pink and gray elements that mirror Bugs's ears.  The dress had to be orange, of course.

This gives you some idea of the scale of the piece (it's not large--just under 11 inches from the base to the tip of the ears) and the messy table that I work at. (It gets cleared and messed up and cleared again constantly, depending on what stage of what piece I'm working on.)

I'm enjoying this piece. I'm looking forward to seeing how it turns out, actually.

In Other News

Dave and I are going on another little jaunt soon, this time to Moab, Utah, to see Arches National Park (I've been, Dave hasn't) and take a boat tour of the Colorado River from Moab up to the Canyonlands National Park. Then we're going to Durango, Colorado, to ride the Durango-Silverton Railroad (Dave has been, I haven't). I made all the necessary reservations this evening (except for a hotel in Durango, since those are easy to come by on the fly). So exciting!

We also, this evening, put together the two room dividers/bookshelves that we got last weekend at Costco. They are pretty big and basically divide the casita in two and have lots more room for books (especially since I also did a preliminary purge of some books I haven't touched in years and years, and I hope to get rid of even more). We dusted and moved all the books from the smaller shelves, but I want to do some more rearranging before I'll call the job done.

Tomorrow I'm going with my mother and aunt to get a pedicure, something I haven't done in awhile. Then maybe I'll go and pick up a new pair of sandals since I don't have a decent pair anymore. I have been hiding my un-pedicured toes away so far this summer, if you can believe it.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Friday and Saturday

It's been a busy weekend so far.

Friday night we went out for dim sum with Chris and Lu Ann, who we haven't gone to dinner with in quite a while. While we caught up on the latest, we ate our weight in potstickers--I did anyway--and finished up with fried sesame balls filled with red bean paste. Yum!

We came home via the grocery store (yes, grocery shopping on Friday night is what all the cool kids are doing these days). We came home and, as we were putting everything away, Kelly called to have us come over and look at her garden full of blooming four o' clocks. They really are amazing flowers and transient, too. The dogs were ecstatic to see us, so they went a little nuts, jumping around like little fools. They're so used to my being the treat fairy, that they always run up and start licking my hands looking for treats. This time they had to wait until our visit was over.

After admiring the flowers, we checked out their new RV which came standard with two TVs--Kelly's favorite part!--but sadly, no dishwasher. We joked about going out into nature just to park and watch TV.  Why do RVs need TVs, I wonder.

We came back home and cut open a watermelon for dessert and then I brushed my teeth and went to bed. A few hours later, around 3:30 a.m., I got up to go to the toilet and saw that Dave, who had made the mistake of having tea late in the day, was still awake.  He did go to bed soon after and slept until 11:30 or so. Maybe later. I don't remember, because I also went back to sleep and got up even later than that!

When I woke up, Dave was in the middle of making red chile to put on huevos rancheros, just a little light afternoon meal to tide us over until dinner.

Dinner was my aunt's birthday dinner. She choose Outback Steakhouse, so we went there and ate way too much. We had to start out with a blooming onion, of course, then Dave had pasta Alfredo (one of the very few vegetarian dishes on the menu), my aunt and mother had ribeye steaks, and I had baby back ribs. We went without dessert because we were planning on going to a street festival afterward, and I heard that they were serving shaved ice.

The festival was held on a mile-long stretch of Route 66 (Central Avenue) and parking was, of course, a nightmare. In fact, we ended up parking my mother and aunt's car at the casita then all driving back in Dave and my car. We dropped my mother and aunt off and then went off to find parking. When we met up again, I was ready for my shaved ice!

I got a medium size, half peach and half watermelon. My mother got a small lemon. And Dave got a medium, half lemon and half watermelon. Then we walked up along Central, looking at some of the arts and crafts booths.

We passed the shop where I had my nose pierced so long ago and then this happened:
My aunt went in and had her nose pierced!

It was kind of a spur-of-the-moment thing--I almost succumbed as well--but it was a $40 investment in the new.
It's very tiny--you can't even really see it in that picture--a little stud for now that may or may not get switched out later, I'm sure.

Then we walked out into the street festival. There were so many people there! We got caught up watching a kind of classic car parade down Central then we walked up a little ways more. My mom was getting tired, so Dave offered to go get the car and take her back to her car so she could go home and rest. My aunt and I stayed and walked up Central, all the way to where the stage playing Latin music was set up.

We got there just after dark and just as the last band was finishing up its last song. Grrr! So then we walked back down a little ways and met up with Dave.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Charles M. Jones and Bugs Bunny, Esq.

I needed a laugh this morning and Chuck Jones drawing Bugs Bunny did it.

This is my favorite line in the video: "If you are going to draw Bugs, the best way is to learn how to draw a carrot and then you can hook a rabbit onto it. Simplicity itself."

And Tony Zhou's recent homage to Chuck Jones is the best of the best:

Amazing. (All of Tony Zhou's videos are amazing, but this one is the amazingest.)

In other news:

I've got an earache that sent me to the doctor's yesterday. It seems like an earache would be a minor thing, but the lymph nodes behind the affected ear swelled up so much that it hurt and for two days I did nothing but sleep, my body's usual response to fighting off an infection of any kind. Anyway, I have to pick up some ear drops from the pharmacy this morning--yay--so that should help.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Like Teenagers

Both Dave and I slept in like teenagers today, not waking up until way past noon. Then we decided to go out for dim sum for lunch (meh) and follow that up with an Italian ice (peach and pineapple for me, watermelon for Dave). I love Italian ice. It's like a grown up sno-cone. (Though I also love sno-cones.)

After that, we went by the studio. We unpacked our order from to find out that one of the underglazes I ordered was missing. (Grrr!) After that, I packed up a few finished pieces to make room for the things that came out of the kiln this past week. (I had piled up everything on Dave's workspace and needed to get them into my workspace, which was already piled high with the detritus from the Bugs Bunny sculpture.) I packed and shifted and then finished up the Bugs Bunny sculpture. Then I started underglazing one of the newer sculptures from the last firing.

Judi came out to chat and that led to a field trip to check out a gym (where Dave and I used to go but where Judi has never been) and then a new yoga studio. (We stopped going to our old pilates studio a couple of weeks ago over some shenanigans that the teacher pulled.) We decided to start with a yoga class on Wednesday, although Dave and I are probably going to go join the gym this coming week so that we can introduce some strength training into our routine.

After the field trip, we came back to the studio and worked awhile longer. I spent most of the time underglazing but Dave threw a couple of bowls and then a new base for a future one of my calavera lady sculptures. To decorate it, I want to try out the piping bag and tips I bought for use with clay--though I'll have to make some more clay slip since my old stuff got a little too dried out to use.

We came home then and did a little housekeeping, ran Roomita around a couple of times, did the dishes, scrubbed the toilet, made the bed, took out the trash, dusted, that kind of thing. The cats wisely stayed out of it and opted instead to go sit in the garden.

That has been my day. Here are five things I am grateful for or happy about today:

1. Italian ice is very nice. I'll have to remember that next time the temperatures climb above 100.

2. We had a fine dinner of homemade red chile enchiladas, stacked, with fried eggs on top and a big serving of calabacitas on the side. Dessert, which we'll tuck into in a bit, is watermelon. Yummy!

3. I finally unpacked my suitcase from our trip. I don't usually let packed suitcases sit around, but this last time I shoved it into a corner and promptly forgot about it. Well, I finally unpacked today!

4. It was a relatively cool day, yay!

5. I got some quality studio time in and, hopefully, will get more time tomorrow.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Michael Rennie Was Ill...

It turned out to be kind of an oddly busy day.

 I woke up to a text from my buddy LuAnn asking if I wanted to have lunch. I hadn't slept well the night before and didn't wake up until my phone--set to buzz every ten minutes when I have a text I haven't looked at--had been grousing at me for about an hour. I texted back a yes and then got in the shower to get ready.

We had lunch at a sort-of aryuvedic restaurant which has a lot of vegetarian and vegan food. I had a grilled cheese and masala fries and LuAnn had a masala dosa and idli sambhar with some other stuff on the plate.

We sat and caught up on things since I haven't seen her in a couple of months, what with life continuously getting in the way.

I got home a bit after 1:00 p.m. and did the cat revolving door thing, letting them out, then in, then out, then in again. They have these new treats that they love and, since they get a treat whenever they come in, they've been going in and out about thirty times a day. When I got tired of doing that, I shut the front door for good and they jumped up on the bed and went to sleep.

I also wanted a nap, but too bad because it was time for UPS to come by--twice, two different UPS deliveries--and FedEx, too. (We got a box with a rug I had ordered and two boxes of rags for the studio and a box of glazes and underglazes.)

After that, I finally got a nap! I woke up about 90 minutes later when Dave texted that he was going to be home early. When he walked in the door, I realized that I had just completely spaced that there was this meal called dinner that I was supposed to make. I said, "I completely forgot to make dinner!" and he said sadly, "I noticed," because he was hungry. (His lunch was a bowl of vegetable soup and some quinoa with stir fried vegetables, so not very filling.)

We went out for a couple of slices of pizza and a salad.

Then we did something we haven't done in awhile:
We went to see a movie! There was a movie showing at the KiMo theater downtown at 6:00, so we went down, bought our tickets and some popcorn, and went to sit up in the balcony, first row of course.
The KiMo is kind of awesome. It was built in the late 1920s in a very southwest style, a mix of Native American motifs and art deco designs, sometimes called "Pueblo Deco."
The theater was quite empty, so I took several pictures. You can see some of the detail--the cow skulls and the clouds and the swastikas (an ancient symbol that, of course, predates the Nazi use). This is isn't a very good pic, but my camera doesn't much like the dark.
And how could I pass up the chance at a duo "selfie"?
What movie did we see?
The Day the Earth Stood Still. I had never seen it but Dave had. (My only familiarity with the film is from the opening lines of The Rocky Horror Picture Show's first song, Science Fiction/Double Feature, "Michael Rennie was ill the day the earth stood still / But he told us where we stand.") I really liked it! The story was good and it kept me engaged. I really had no idea what to expect and no idea how it would end. I also thought Michael Rennie did a terrific job as the alien from outer space (who apparently learned English from listening to BBC broadcasts).

Good job, Klaatu!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

This Crazy Thing

Yesterday afternoon, I got up to let the cats out and saw that the sky was doing this crazy thing:
The clouds were roiling about in this remotely threatening manner, so I went to sit outside and watch it for awhile. Then this happened and the cats and I came inside.
That was an intense rain and hail storm. It went with the rainstorm that happened the night before. It is monsoon season here in the desert, which means a week of cooler temperatures and lots of rain. (Well, lots for us, which is an inch or two.)

Anyway, it was all cleared up by the time we went for dinner.

Dave and I met my mother and brother at the awesome, spicy broccoli restaurant, China Express. It's nice to get together from time to time and chat over good, cheap Chinese food. My brother told us about some crazy anime series he's been watching recently, which led us to talking about The Twilight Zone. (That was an amazing show, wasn't it?)

After, my brother, Dave and I went to Costco, where we bought a bunch of berries and yogurt and a few other things. Of course, when we got home, we realized that we had three containers of blueberries already in the fridge to go along with the two huge ones we had just bought from Costco, so Dave called Kelly to see if she could take some blueberries off our hands.

When she came over to get the blueberries, we pushed some of the apricots and peaches that Dave's mother had sent from her overloaded trees--and then we topped that off with a couple of grapefruits that we got in our CSA box. (We got, like, five of them, but since I don't eat grapefruit and Dave is happy with one grapefruit a month, max, we were happy to pass them on.)

Today was another lazy, cloudy day and in honor of such days, I made soup. (Mostly I was just trying to use up some of the CSA veggies in the fridge.) I made a big pot of vegetable soup and a plate of deviled eggs and that was dinner. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Me and Bugs

I started this piece last Friday. That day I got the base done up to the necks.  Saturday I got the bunny head and the skull mostly finished, but didn't attach either of them. Sunday I attached the heads, carved the teeth on the skull and then added the ears.
It's a little freaky right now without the irises on the eyes. I mean, I know that's not the only reason it's kind of freaky. After all, it is a two headed sculpture with one skull head and one old-school Bugs Bunny head.
Me n buggs
I have to finish the eyes yet and then I want to add a carrot-themed fascinator to the skull head. After that, I'll underglaze it before the first firing.

Those damn wire whiskers are going to be the death of me, I'm sure of it. They're embedded in the clay, but the slightest knock to them makes them pop out and tear up the clay around them. Next time I'll just put holes in and glue the whiskers in after its fired. (In fact, thinking about it now, I may pull them out while the piece is still wet and glue them in later.)

As part of my reference material, I used this series of images from the first "official" Bugs Bunny cartoon, Tex Avery's "A Wild Hare." (This cartoon was nominated for an Oscar, believe it or not.)
Just looking at that series of pictures cracks me up.

Here's a story about me and Bugs Bunny:

When I was in elementary school in the mid- to late-1970s, I used to come home every day and watch Looney Toons and Merrie Melody cartoons on TV. (They were on at 3:30 in the afternoon and I would never, ever miss them.) I so loved Bugs Bunny that when I was about eight years old and found out that he was voiced by Mel Blanc, I told my grandmother that I wanted to marry Mel Blanc. She said, "Who is Mel Blanc?" And when I told her that he did Bugs Bunny's voice, she said, "Those cartoons are so old! He's probably at least in his 80s by now."

Up until then I had no idea that I was watching cartoons made in the '40s! But it didn't matter. I still wanted to marry Mel Blanc.

So I guess this sculpture is a little bit about the idea of being married to Bugs Bunny and a little bit about the idea of keeping close the spirit of Bugs Bunny and embracing what he often represented: a kind of boundless joy mixed with humor and the absolute disregard for decorum except as an object of mockery.

Bugs was a big influence on me, now that I think about it.

The Latest Kiln

We fired a cone 3 kiln on the 5th and cracked and unloaded it the next day. It's all the usual suspects:
As per usual, I am more focused on the flaws rather than any successes. For example, the crack in the crook of the fox's arm got worse in this firing. (It's a garden piece anyway at this point.)
And the skin on this piece turned a sickly brownish green color, rather than the soft fawn brown it was supposed to be.
This calavera is close to being done. I want to put one more wash of dark underglaze on her to bring out the white of the bones and push back the hollows of her cheeks. But otherwise, she's finished.
Anyway, it's getting to be time to move on to some new work!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Happy Birthday, d!!

La Familia
I tried to find an embarrassing pic of Dave to post on his birthday, but I don't really have one. He usually takes a pretty good picture. (Unlike me, he never looks like a frog squashed in the road in pictures.) I mean, I have this picture that was taken at the dentist just after he got his braces taken off, which was, what, thirty years ago or so (the year after I met him), but that's a pretty good picture, don't you think?
January 1987

After telling Dave that I was going to post an embarrassing picture of him on his birthday, he picked out that one, taken in 1987. We were in high school then and were getting ready to go out for the night so Dave put up his bangs, as all us new waver kids used to do, and of course he painted his nails black and put on some of my blood red lipstick. The black spiky hair on the upper right corner of the picture was our friend Robert's hair, spiked up with copious amounts of Aquanet hairspray.

Ugh, that was so long ago! That picture was taken with a 110 camera, that's how long ago that was.

Anyway, today is Dave's birthday and it's going to be a quiet one with the usual birthday dinner (macaroni and cheese, broccoli, and a whole banquet of sweetie cakes).

Happy birthday, d!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Pot Heads

The tenugui (hand towel) is from Japan (bought in a shop in Asakusa in Tokyo), but the pottery is pure Minnesota (bought in Minneapolis and Eagan on our recent trip):

Grand hand gallery

The photo doesn't do this piece justice. It's a gorgeous, small, wood-fired tumbler by Richard Bresnahan, the director of the pottery program at St. John's University.
We found this bowl by Tara Wilson in the Northern Clay Center gallery and brought it home along with this pair of earrings by Tricia Schmidt.
At Dock 6 Pottery, we picked up these four pieces. The mug and octopus plate had the mark "MAIA" on them and the plates are from an unnamed artist. (The plates are my favorite pieces that we picked up on this trip.)
Maia mug dock 6

Octopus plate

Dock 6

Dock 6
That last plate in particular, I had to have. I knew that if I walked out of there without it, I would still be thinking about it ten years later, so I just went ahead and bought it.
That bowl came from Evla gallery and we bought it because of the glaze. It's orange gold and goes a very deep gray in some places. The photo definitely doesn't capture it's appeal.
Arts and crafts mug

That mug we picked up from a youngish potter at the arts and crafts fair in Eagan. I can't recall his name, but he had a small selection of wood-fired things, very nice some of it, and this was the piece we brought home.

We also picked up one other piece, a small pendant that used a mocha diffusion techniques that is not very common these days. (Mocha diffusion uses a highly concentrated solution of tobacco juice (or another acidic liquid) that diffuses in very interesting ways when applied to wet clay slip.) The potter we bought the pendant from had pieces other than pendants, but they weren't particularly skillfully crafted, so I didn't want to invest in a larger piece.

So that was it. It seemed like we should have brought back more, but we were worried about having to carry it home on the plane. As it was, we ended up having to buy another carry-on bag to pack it into. Next time, we'll pick up a few more pieces, I'm sure.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

May the 4th Be With You, Always

It's Independence Day!  And we all know what that means!
So that was our haul (there at the bottom), a bag full of sparklers and snakes and fountains and smoke bombs and things that jump up and spin around and spit out sparks.

To be honest, we haven't had fireworks in years. Decades, probably. But for some reason, this year Dave wanted fireworks. So we went to this place in the K-mart parking lot and bought a bunch of stuff and, because this place didn't have snakes, we went to a second place--Gemini Fireworks--for snakes. (We had to have snakes, of course. Snakes were my favorites when I was a kid--along with bottle rockets and black cats. I remember running around for weeks before the 4th of July with packets of those three things, lighting them off in the yard and in the empty lot next to the house and in the street. My brothers and I spent every penny we could get our hands on on fireworks and we could never get enough of them.)

Tonight Dave and I had our version of an Independence Day celebration, complete with fireworks, burgers (so they were kale and quinoa vegan burgers on sprouted grain toast, but they're still burgers!) and coleslaw (with a low-fat yogurt dressing, but still!) and watermelon. We didn't have lemonade, darn it, but we did swing by Sonic and get large, icy, fizzy drinks to slurp on while we lit our snakes and sparklers on the patio.

The minute we lit our first snakes, the smell of it shot me straight back into my childhood. I don't know how I had any brain cells left after inhaling all that awful smelling smoke.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

On the Banks of Plum Creek, Literally (Day Three!)

Woke up to this view outside the hotel window. It was about 4:30 or 5:00 in the morning, and the light was very soft, the kind of sky you almost never see in New Mexico.  The day would prove to be hazy and hot.
We checked out of the hotel and went off for breakfast. There was a nearby Perkins, so we went there. Perkins is similar to IHOP but since we don't have Perkins in New Mexico, it seems somewhat novel though it's just another chain restaurant.
On the way in we picked up a copy of the local newspaper, the Independent, which covers Southwestern Minnesota, and a copy of The Star Tribune, which covers the entire state.  We had our (terrible) coffee and read through the news while we waited for our breakfasts.
We had both opted for something called The Garden of Eatin' Smasher, which was a pile of smashed tater tots covered with vegetables (broccoli!--the first we encountered on our trip--onions, peppers, and mushrooms), a couple of eggs, and a ladleful of completely unnecessary Hollandaise sauce. Dave also wanted some lemon blueberry pie pancakes (three blueberry pancakes stuck together with lemon pie filling and topped with whipped cream), so we ordered those. They had the strangest blueberries in them; they were a little like blueberry-shaped and -flavored pumice stones.

Anyway, it was a huge breakfast. It was like we were preparing for a day of hard labor rather than sitting in the car for a few hours.

We drove back to Walnut Grove, which was our ultimate destination for the day (well, mine anyway). Walnut Grove is a tiny town with no accommodations (which is why we had continued on past it and into Marshall the day before). The only reason Walnut Grove seems to exist these days is as a tourist and/or pilgrimage spot for Laura Ingalls Wilder fans.

That's why I was there, anyway.

We stopped at the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum, of course, which is actually a little thin on Wilder things and very heavily into the history of Walnut Grove and the Little House on the Prairie television show (which I never watched because even as a child I recognized it as the sappy dreck it was).
The museum is a nice little compound of buildings that are meant to represent aspects of life in Walnut Grove around the time Laura lived near there. (She was a fairly young child at the time, seven to nine years old in the books, and though she went to school in what would ultimately become Walnut Grove, she never mentions the town by name in the book.) There is a small chapel, a tiny schoolhouse, a building full of frontier-era antiques, and a house called something like "Grandma's House" that is a bunch of old-timey things, washboards and dolls and toys and such. There was also a display of Rose Wilder Lane's books and articles. (Rose was Laura and Almanzo's only child and she was a professional writer all her life. She was also quite a feminist in her time, which was nice to see.)

One of the small buildings had a display of a few things owned by Laura.
Turns out she liked to crochet.
She sewed, of course.
And she read, which you probably could have guessed. (The book has the name that Laura went by most of her adult life, Bessie Wilder, which Almanzo started calling her when they got engaged (he actually called her Beth at first, then it got changed to Bess over time) partly because her middle name was Elizabeth and partly because he had a sister named Laura whom he apparently disliked.)

After seeing the museum, we looked around the gift shop. I picked up a book of articles by Rose Wilder Lane and Dave picked up a book of frontier songs and ditties that I imagine I'll be hearing on the clarinet sometime soon.  I also picked up a little cookie cutter in a Holly Hobbie shape to put on the altar that I have to my grandmother in the garden. (She sometimes used to decorate her sewn pieces with a Holly Hobbie motif.)

After we left the museum, we drove out to this place, which every Laura Ingalls Wilder fan will recognize if not by sight then by name.
"This must be the place," Pa said. "It's half a mile up the creek from Nelson's. We've come a good half-mile, and there's the creek."
Laura could not see a creek. She saw a grassy bank, and beyond it a line of willowtree tops, waving in the gentle wind. Everywhere else the prairie grasses were rippling far away to the sky's straight edge.
"Seems to be some kind of stable over there," said Pa, looking around the edge of the canvas wagon-cover. "But where's the house?"
Laura jumped inside her skin. A man was standing beside the horses. No one had been in sight anywhere, but suddenly that man was there. His hair was pale yellow, his round face was as red as an Indian's, and his eyes were so pale that they looked like a mistake. Jack growled.
This is Plum Creek, the very same, from Laura's book On the Banks of Plum Creek. There Pa trades what he has for the bit of land along the creek.
Pa boosted Mary and Laura into the wagon and drove out on the prairie. He told Ma that he had traded Pet and Patty for Mr. Hanson's land. He had traded Bunny, the mule-colt, and the wagon-cover for Mr. Hanson's crops and his oxen.
He unhitched Pet and Patty and led them to the creek to drink. He put them on their picket-lines and helped Ma make camp for the night. Laura was quiet. She did not want to play and she was not hungry when they all sat eating supper by the camp fire.
"The last night out," said Pa. "Tomorrow we'll be settled again. The house is in the creek bank, Caroline."
"Oh, Charles!" said Ma. "A dugout. We've never had to live in a dugout yet."
The dugout is long gone now, of course, and the land is privately owned by another family. There are plum trees there, but no willows, as Laura remembered. The land had been cleared to grow corn, but part of the land around the creek near the dugout site has been planted with grasses and flowers in an attempt to somewhat replicate what it looked like in Laura's time.

We walked around the site and took some pictures. When the mosquitoes became a bit to inquisitive, I picked a couple of small flowers and a bit of grass to press into the copy of On the Banks of Plum Creek that I've had since I was a little girl, and then we headed out.

We wanted to make it back to Minneapolis that day.

And, after many more miles of looking at corn and soybeans and grain silos, we did. We stopped for lunch at a random Subway in some random picturesque small town and then just kept going.

We decided, instead of going into Minneapolis, to stay at a place in Eagan. We checked in and carried our bags up and then turned around and went right back out to drive into Minneapolis to have dinner at a restaurant David likes called Everest on Grand.

They serve Nepali, Tibetan, and Indian food. We shared an awesome samosa chaat as an appetizer. (It's a samosa, chopped up and covered with raita and chutney. It looks like someone vomited on a plate, but it tastes heavenly.) Then we ordered a couple of curries to share, one kauli (cauliflower with peas) and one kabuli-chaana (chickpea). We ordered everything medium spicy and when the waitress looked skeptical, I wanted to tell her, "We're not from here. We come from a place where people eat chile. We can take it!" But I didn't. (However, just to be on the safe side, I ordered some raita to go with our dinner.)
And again, this is why I will never be a food blogger, because by the time I think to get a picture, it's all but over.

While we were having dinner, the clouds rolled in and turned black. The wind kicked up and it began to rain. It wasn't bad just yet--luckily so, since I had left my specially purchased and carefully packed raincoat back at the hotel. But by the time we got to our next destination, it was raining pretty heavily.


Our next destination was, of course, Target (yet again!) so that we could finally pick out a bag to pack our pottery in. (We opted for a diaper bag because it was the sturdiest and had the most structure--and a changing pad to use as extra packing material.)

After that, I was starting to feel pretty dead on my feet. It had been a long day, so we went back to the hotel, shared a dark-chocolate-covered macaroon we had bought at the arts and crafts fair in Eagan the day before, and wrapped and packed all the pottery. I got about halfway through repacking my suitcase before I started to feel like I was about to fall over. So I asked Dave to set up the ironing board so that I could iron my clothes in the morning and then I changed into my pajamas, brushed my teeth, and fell into bed.