Monday, April 29, 2019

I can see it now!

I went to lunch with Ruth today. On the way back I went up the street behind. Take a peek:

The drive is seven feet wide and maybe forty-five feet long. The deck will be four feet wide by five or six feet long.

I already gave pig a little pot of flowers on the step.

But he needs a handsome display to tickle his nose, like last year.

I will get my flower poles fastened to the new deck and there will be mandevillas on all corners.

My new garden will be a rock garden. No flowers except in pots. 

I did puzzle mightily over the glass lady and the water lily. How to set them up on concrete.

And then it came to me. I will have all my baubles and gewgaws on display. In fact, I was elated to find I have two fifty pound bags of Delaware River stones in the shed. More will be needed, I'm sure.

The things I want to display the most are intended to be sunk into the ground, and that can't happen. They surely can be fastened into a fifty pound umbrella stand, and the whole affair buried in Delaware River stones.

Done, done and done, wouldn't you say. PS--and I'm wide open to even better solutions. 

Friday, April 26, 2019

8 day vacation

I need a vacation. The last one was to Wisconsin at Christmas, and not soothing for too many reasons. I read an article recently on the maximum days and benefits reaped before there is a substantial decrease in vacation benefit. After day eight of a vacation that began on day one, positive benefits began to decrease.

Of all the places I’ve been, one I would like to revisit is Saratoga Performing Arts Center, SPAC, in Saratoga Springs, New York. But then, I wonder if the buildings that fascinated me in my brief wanderings remain, or if ten or fifteen years has seen them renovated. 

I must have been there last before the turn of the century. A friend and I wandered in and out of buildings of the Roosevelt Baths. Everything was wide open, no security anywhere. Much of the interior was in disrepair, or in need of serious sprucing up. A tour in Google shows much improvement. I would need a scooter to get around these days. I definitely would drive, and I definitely would take a friend. This one requires more thinking on.

Another destination is a trip to South Carolina, to see my friend Carol. We visited her last spring; we drove down with her and flew home. Having gone as far as the bottom end of South Carolina, I may as well keep on to Union Point, Georgia. Another weaver pointed me to a yarn dealer there who seems to be like yarn dealers I knew in the south, years ago, and bought from. This is  Georgia Yarn Company.

Then, there always is Wisconsin, and a week immersed in Ann’s library is a vacation. Last summer we visited the Dells (the real Dells, on the Wisconsin River, between the bluffs), and Taliesin, and outside of driving through the farmlands and looking at the old towns, I’ve seen Wisconsin. It’s always good to see the dogs, which are gone and who are new.

So much hinges on moving, as it turns out. All will go well, or encounter a thousand snags.  Concrete for the driveway was to be poured yesterday, but due to rain, that didn’t happen yesterday, or today. The forecast is for rain every day for the next two weeks, excepting the weekends, of course.

I did have my audience today with the ramp powers who be, and had the first intelligent discussion of ramps. I can have a ramp, but to be zoning compliant, its configuration would be more awkward than I care to deal with.  I want a ramp in order to get heavy stuff up the porch and so into the house.  

They offered to help find a used wheel chair lift to mount in front of the deck to carry up groceries.

Suddenly someone was above and beyond the call of their job description, and I appreciate that. I didn’t mention that a wheel chair lift is way ugly, but I did get on the internet and find a cart with wheels that easily climb steps.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

The Mary Ellen Carter

If you live in a rental unit, you will immediately understand this post. If you own the home and spent years puttering it into your scheme of efficiency, or even just started, cast your mind back a few decades. You'll remember.

This adventure started last December. I went to the rental office to inquire into the availability of a one bedroom unit. "Oh, no problem, honey!" from Theresa, the site manager.  I had my heart set on a single bedroom unit like the two examples on the street behind me.

I was so excited! Could I have the bedroom door into the bathroom. Could I have a walk in shower. "Oh, sure honey." The cat could have his own room, the 14 foot square living room could hold all my weaving on one wall, with plenty of room left.

In one of my several stops in the office I learned "management" could and would put a two bedroom unit on that lot. I could chose one of the two plans and still have a walk in shower.

It was becoming an uphill battle.The rent is two hundred dollars a month higher than the one bedroom, but still two hundred dollars a month less than the current three bedroom unit.

I still felt a bit like one of my favorite folk songs, that Stan Rogers classic, The Mary Ellen Carter.

I picked a unit. They chose the other one, the cheapest unit.

It was delivered a week or so ago, and blocked the access road, to the annoyance of my neighbors. But eventually it was sited.

Dan, the maintenance man has been in, and says there is a walk in shower. He was pretty grumpy about the whole interior layout. I believe all I care about is the walk in shower. We'll see. And yes, our rent increased effective May 1st, even on this virgin unit. We must all be on the same page, you know. Honey.

I must keep my eye on the progress to be sure I get a ramp access to the door. That is the front door. With smiling bastards lying to you everywhere you go, as Stan Rogers sang, who knows what will transpire. Dan tells me there's not enough room for a ramp. Bet me!

Saturday, April 20, 2019

No change in the weather, no change in me

It has not stopped raining here since forever. Many of you had it much worse, and for that I am so sorry.  Pig, toad and lamb are taking the brunt here, but then, they have been out in all weather for the last thirty and more years.

We took a drive out to Steve and Deb's home, to deliver the sack 'o towels. Laura spent yesterday afternoon pricing and tagging the towels, a great help. 

This is Steve and Deb's fairly recently renovated home, from the doorway of the new studio, up the hill. A great view of the tin roof, circa 1860, and the glass pane, circa 1840. The second story addition, erected in the eighteen hundreds, and the bedroom of the children, remained supported only by love, according to the carpenter who undertook those renovations.

If you are an artist who loves looking around other studios, here is Elements Gallery, 360, or rather close.

The wall behind Deb's work table and some of her carved plaques.

The back edge of the table. I was waved off photographing the front, with Deb. 

More stuff that must come in handy when throwing or casting porcelain.

On the top shelf. I wonder if the vase on the left did not pass the glaze exam. On the right looks good to me.

More work area, the kiln, and I'll guess that white box involves glaze, as Steve makes theirs. 

Sophie, la gata, and the next to last side of the studio. I found a lovely small plate here, and Deb and I made a trade.

And so more errands and home. I need to go work on setting up my loom for its next project.

When I wrote the blog earlier tonight, I could not figure out how to get the purloined picture of Deb and Steve published. Someone put it out in Facebook a year ago, when they were closing Elements Gallery in Peninsula. Now you have them. I am fortunate to have them.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Slim pickin's

Things are looking up, a little. Here is the pear tree, blossoms starting.

And something in the front garden, and someone will know its name.

Our first daffodil, miniature, that is. And lots of weeds to prise up.

And I finally located where I'd tucked the flyer that came from Elements, with artists and work.

When Deb started putting the show together, last December, or earlier, she asked me to participate, and I declined. I was not at the end of my towel project. But a couple of weeks ago I realized I was at the end, and asked to be accepted, which Deb and Steve graciously did.

Of course, I missed the postcard, but so what. I would be there. Then Deb asked me for towel pictures to include on the Facebook page. I did not realize this would get me top billing:

Followed by the postcard. Though, in fairness, sometimes she just posts a collage of all the work, and my pedestrian towels. Steve and Deb are porcelain artists. Deb's porcelain plaque and Steve's vase flank the green central banner. 

Monday, April 15, 2019

What did you do today?

This is our interrogation over supper, "What did you do today?"  It generally is a long recitation of Laura's classes, and a quick overview of my pursuits.  This week, however, is AIR exams for many of her classmates. 

Laura is not required to take these tests, why I do not recall. Her day thus begins at ten and was abbreviated. When she wrapped the last class, all I said was "That's nice. This is really good tonight. How is it different?"

I was down to the last ravioli, and realized I should take its picture. In fairness, the cheese ravioli were good, but the sauce was my question. The ravioli came from the refrigerator cooler at Kreigers.  

As I was sewing and listening Laura work on dinner, I did hear the little food processor at work. So, her rundown of the sauce started with a new brand of sauce.

I know that few things from the store escape her attention, and sure enough, our sauce also included some hamburger, a handful of spinach, garlic cloves, and oregano and thyme. Don't quote me on the last two; I don't pay a lot of attention to her spice closet.

It was mighty fine.

Toby, balanced on the arm of my office chair, sulking because his girlfriend is not home!

What did I do all day? Took a shower, washed my hair, went to breakfast with Lynn. Changed my sheets, washed sheets and clothes, finished fulling, cutting and hemming the last six towels from the loom's towel warp.

I've been invited to join an art show at the end of the month. Here is my stock:

Well, I won't take up much room. I think there are forty towels there. Not going back to count. Now I need to work out the details of a folded business card printed on four sides. Being a weaver isn't easy.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

The trifecta didn't leave the gate

Laura's mother, her father, her stepfather and her custodial grandmother all signed a petition to the court to return Laura to her mother at the end of this school year, May 24th. The hearing was set for Wednesday at one in the afternoon.

We all went, of course. Actually, the court told us to show up.

Perhaps the magistrate read our documentation. Probably not. She said she would appoint a guardian ad litem, who would interview Laura and her mother and step father and report findings to the court. The magistrate set the next hearing as a trial, for June 11 at 9 a.m. I don't get out of bed until 8 a.m. The alarm clock better work!

No question, I was grumpy the rest of Wednesday. And Thursday. Then, on Friday, I had a statement from the attorney. The court appearance close to obliterated the rest of my retainer. There was an invoice for a new retainer, of the same amount.

To say I lost it is a gross understatement.

I effing lost it.

My friend Lynn emailed, So What Happened? I gave a brief recap. She responded, Getting My Coat; Meet Me in the Driveway!

She took me for a hot fudge sundae. I ordered chocolate fudge/raspberry truffle hot fudge, and I am no fan of chocolate. We sat in her car (it's still cold here!), eating death by chocolate and talking.

And look who filled my field of vision! I wonder if it was his mother's shirt. Fuck the magistrate and the court. There's hope for this world.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

A good week, and it's only Tuesday, going on Wednesday

The weather has been beyond reproach this week, and scheduled to remain very nice here, in spite of a potentially historic winter storm in the middle of this country forecast for tomorrow. On Sunday, the little front garden was cleaned up and looking good.

My job on Monday was to get up and get to the dentist. I meandered all the rustic old back roads to go to the other side of the valley, and still arrived half an hour early. I could have stopped at the heron rookery and watched with all the people craning up and looking at activity in the nests up in the tree tops.

The benefit of arriving at Dr. O's early was leaving his office a happy person about the time my appointment was scheduled to begin. He could not believe an implant he set had gone belly up, and he was right.

The pain is from an infection under the gum line. I left with two prescriptions and an appointment to come back in ten days. The best news of all, an office visit does not come close in cost to a new implant.

So far I've cited the weather, the front garden and the dental visit outcome to support my good week thesis. I completely skipped over the need to detour out of the park. At the end of my road, with my google voice instructing me to turn left, I sat and stared.

A new unit, with my new house number. I know it's not the unit I wanted, and was told about last December. As my neighbor and I remind ourselves, we live in a trailer park. We reel in our expectations frequently.  I am sorry management is not upfront with us. On the other hand, it's not my company, and neither the park manager nor I expected this unit before May.

Of all the things I was promised in December, the unit has only the walk in shower.  As that was the only deal breaker, I can't complain much. Well, I could complain, but I won't. I turned right and took another exit from the park.

This unit  is two bedrooms, a kitchen, a living room and a laundry area. I know the pathetic size of that second bedroom. However, I am not the New Jersey owner of this trailer park who has the necessary footage to place this size trailer and will.  If he personally had to use that second bedroom, he would not be a happy person. 

Dan, the maintenance man, has been inside, and confirms my bathroom has a walk in shower unit. All I need to know. He also informs me after the drive is poured, there will be no room for a ramp to the porch, as well as stairs.

I sent him a mental rejoinder. I will buy a wagon anyway, because I will pull my groceries up my ramp in my new wagon.

Oh, I forgot. Nancy and I beat the guys today, by about thirty points. Our score overcame their two double pinochles in the same game!

Finally, tomorrow is the first custody hearing. My attorney tells me, if the hearing goes perfectly, the magistrate could give custody back to my daughter tomorrow. Let's hope.

All the paper narcissus coming up. Nothing is in bloom yet.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

First day of spring

It was a beautiful, beautiful day. Began a bit cool. Jan and Tom came over to clear the garden tools from the shed. If the wheelbarrow and spade and shovel are gone, so is the temptation to make a big garden. Tom and Laura disengaged the rain barrel from the downspout, and when the truck was all loaded, they spread the big fishnet over top of all, and Tom and Jan went home.

My new unit will go on the concrete pads up to the right of the shed. My sandstone step will be moved over to my new shed. I haven't asked the maintenance guys about that yet. It may take more than cookies!

Laura began clearing last year's vegetation debris from the garden. After she told me she can do it herself, I came in to weave. I chuckled at her laptop on the bench. Friends and social media!

I took annual pictures of toad and pig. Another tough winter for them. Not bad shape for the shape they're in. All of them are thirty odd years of age. We were gifted a hedgehog in resin. I've left him in my will.

Here's hedgehog, and a couple of rock friends of his. 

After lunch we went grocery shopping. Here are pictures of Laura's gardening work. One more year the Solomon's Seal did not overwinter. For such an invasive plant, I guess I hear it doesn't like this garden! All the ornaments in glass are still overwintering on top of the kitchen cupboards.

There are twenty or thirty pounds of brook pebbles left from the watercourse project. You can see them in the bottom picture up there, guiding the water from the gutter to the road. Without the rain barrel this year, there will be more water than ever. Oh, well!

I will take the remaining stones to the new house and pour a bonafide rock garden and place all my  garden ornaments in it.

Of course, it isn't spring until pig has flowers. This year it's all Irish, with shamrock and the little green plant whose name I cannot remember. Happy first day of spring, faithful little piggy.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Loose ends

I had no idea what to title this post. I tossed a couple of ideas, and was just ruminating, you know, like a goat, on what is coming up, and there it was: Loose Ends.

I have one dental implant tooth, from back in the day when I could afford this sort of thing. Now I feel it loosening. I've noticed it the last year or so. I've made an appointment with the specialist for next Monday. I'll get a quote.

Laura is going back to her mother at the end of the school year, as you probably know. Despite her mother's firm opinion you can just toss children to whomever may or may not catch them, there is a process, even if we do live in a trailer park. The first time her mother's medical person would call for a record, dead end. Her mother is not her legal guardian.

The first hearing to relinquish custody is next week. Shelly's new husband will accompany her, and I think that is excellent. I don't know him, but when Laura's father had to drop health insurance and this man picked it up, my gratitude literally knew no bounds. I sent a him thank you note.

And a grumpy thing. It's trash day. It's raining. Our collector uses automated trucks that lift, dump the bin, return it to the ground, lid closed. As I was weaving this morning, my recyclables  were picked up. On returning, the bin tumbled over backwards, into my garden. To my surprise, a fellow jumped from the truck and righted it.  He returned to his truck without closing the lid. It's still raining.

This next is an example. I've had no correspondence with Blake in the three years since delivery to college, until last year I sent an email. It must have been an email; I am too slow at texts. I asked us to attempt to work out our differences. Months went by, with no answer, until a couple of weeks ago.

First, an unhappy message that my name on the incoming message had caused a panic attack. Then a long and rambling plea for not meeting, but an alternate information exchange. In the time it took me to text and send "Don't worry about it any more," another text flashed onto my screen, to the effect, if you ever mention me again in your blog, I will call Google to take it down.

Speaking of Google, I've been in a very interesting email exchange with a reader I didn't know of. Actually, of late so many new readers have appeared, more than a few saying they have read anonymously for years, and even gone back to the beginning.

Now, I've done that, gone back to the beginning of some blogs I follow, just to understand the present. As strange as it may sound, this is something I relate to. More time than the average, I say.

One calls herself a former Buckeye and now lives in Oregon. I tell people my last name is like Oregon with an N. I've also been informed by a former Oregonian, I don't know how to pronounce his state's name.

My former Buckeye has indeed read my epistle, and told me she was too intimidated to comment. And I responded exactly as I was told ten years ago, Come for the read, stay for the chat. There you have it.

Except the brave former Buckeye is stymied at the comment section. Her comments do not post. I wonder if it is because her browser is Safari, though I see on my statistics page that people come in on Safari. I know a lot of you have sort of dummy blog accounts. When I click on your name, there is nothing associated with it, except the number of times someone has come for a view.

Maybe a Hotmail account, or a Google account. Any ideas?

My blossoming rock garden. When I move, hopefully in June, it will move with me.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Hold the line

I began the new weft color today, pale orange. It’s over the breast beam, but short of the cloth beam. When I begin a new tie on, I prefer to get that nasty tie on rod over the breast beam before I first leave. But I’ve been weaving for enough years now that it’s safe to stop and indulge writing a new thought.

What I like about weaving: watching it happen. Some very basic mechanical occurrences are advancing the work over the cloth beam the first time, getting that tie up bar out of action and relatively incapable of snagging a weft thread, undetected. Grrrr… 

Other mechanical happenings are the emptying of bobbins, the take up of weaving, filling the cloth beam until there is no more room for knees. Occasionally pushing the cloth take up so far the weaving is brushing the loom frame, but just one more advance, please weaving fairies, and the warp will be gone.

The best part of watching it happen is watching the warp become cloth; watching each row fill in a pattern. It once came to me, it’s like the time my brothers didn’t return to school after lunch. This is the way olden days when we walked home for tomato soup and grilled cheese, and walked back to school. My brothers were first and fourth graders.

The principal called home and mom left, driving along the route to school. There they were, at the corner of Damon and Hollibaugh, watching a city crew make a repair to a sewer. Watching it happen, brick by brick.

Speaking of mom, thanks to my sister we have the missing word, though Jan mulled for half a day to get it. Mine was cup board. Mom’s is even better: mislead. Say my-zuld. She said she was an employed adult before she was corrected.

I bet we have thousands of such words among us. I’d love to hear them, if you’re inclined.

And back to weaving, here are two inexcusable customer service errors. Normally I would mention them in placing my next order. In this case, I will switch suppliers.

All the bobbins I've wound and woven for the last, huge warp I wound on, have been full of factory knots, as we came to call them. There is a tool workers in thread factories use to tie ends of thread together. The tool ties and tightens an overhand knot. Overhand knots must be cut out and replaced with a weaver's knot, which basically is a square knot. It leaves two ends parallel with the original threads. These ends we leave long enough to work into the weaving, the knitting, whatever needlework we have at hand. 

That is a factory knot from the current creamsicle. I've cut hundreds from the thread I bought for towels I've woven since I came back from breaking my leg. Literally hundreds. It came to me today, as I wound the bobbins for the last of the towels, what so many factory knots mean. 

My supplier, The Woolery, in Kentucky, purchased thread on ten or more pound cones from the manufacturer, Maurice Brassard, in Canada. The Woolery has a set up for downsizing. Our rug warp supplier made half pound tubes from large rug warp put ups. They used to overwind cones, and we could not put them on the spool rack. Oh, the problems of entrepreneurs.

In my current instance, an inexperienced operator is having difficulty learning the machines and breaking a lot of thread. Oh, no problem! They just tie that nasty knot with their handy knot tier and carry on. A bobbin of thread weaves about a towel, and since I weave continuous yardage, there may or may not be one knot in a towel. However, there is at least one knot and perhaps two or three in every towel I've woven since December.

But today, the offensive inexcusable. A grease mark on the thread. I get it that equipment may leave dirt on the operator, who then is honor bound to get it off their hands before returning to the job. So, not only will I report to The Wollery why I am placing all future orders with The Yarn Barn in Kansas, I will call Brassard et Fils and tell them, too.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Tuesday Sunshine!

Sunday was a lovely birthday, snow notwithstanding. My sister came over and presented me a beautiful quilt as a birthday present.

The pattern is Flying Geese, and the batt is wool. Perfect for winter.

Purrfect for cats, too. Toby misses no opportunity to snuggle with wool.

Jan helped me lay out a color sequence for my next warp. It will be cool blues and purples, with that big cone of cotton slub there on the bottom.

And here we are, up to today, blue skies from horizon to horizon. 

The red towels are finished, and ready to wing away. The blue and green are finished, too. Ha, ha! Down to a pair apiece, there.

I haven't tied the warp back to the breast beam yet. There probably are a dozen and a half towels left on the warp beam.

They will be one or the other of these oranges. I'm leaning heavily to the lighter one. Orange cremesicle, I'd call it. Then the boucle warp from above for light summer shrugs or the like. I'll have to flip the yardage in the air and see how it lands. (Boucle is French for bump, I used to tell my customers.)

These last dozen plus towels will be the end of my towel flags. The little project has been a blessing to me. Before you get all snotty nosed and have soggy tissues in your pockets, here is an old poem, by A.W. Meek, who died in Australia, in 1988. I have a framed copy over my desk.

Something to do is a wonderful thing.
Keep up your stride. Stay in the ring.
Labor is blessing. A bright one and true.
Be thankful, be happy, for
Something to do.

I believe everyone likes the towels; they've all gone to good homes, in pairs and some to spare. I am just short of 200, so it's not over from that standpoint. Like swinging for the bleachers, bottom of the nineth, score tied, no one on base.

One of you suggested a map with pins for destinations. I may do a brief, anonymous survey of states and countries. Too many of us are missing, for one reason or another. Who remembers Graham, One Stoned Crow, the incredible photographer from anywhere in Africa, mostly South Africa?

Or Tom, Hippo on the Lawn? I believe his address was anywhere in the world. 

I do wish the best for all of us who have thrown hats into the blogger ring. And fishing lines. And flags. And words. We all are blessed.