Archive for November, 2009

And Miles To Go Before I Sleep (Thanksgiving pt. 1)…

November 30, 2009

Back from Thanksgiving and it wasn’t the most auspicious beginning at the outset of the trip last Monday. I think in the future I will just cancel trips if I’m sick because it’s difficult to enjoy yourself and if you’re not bedridden it feels like you’re being the party pooper all the time (btw… this thing is still holding on but I’m about 90% now.) Anyway Sunday evening before leaving the next morning, I put the bug to bed and got a bowl of pasta to eat before loading up the car. I walked with pasta in left hand and grabbed the tv remote with the right as I entered the dark living room and figured I’d just eat with the light of the stupidbox. We have a coffee table that rolls around on casters that is square with square edges that’s been up against the wall in the dining room for years because we didn’t want Sofia to fall and hurt herself on it. Lately Mom has been painting the trim in the dining room and the table has been rolled out into the middle of the living room… you can see where this is going. I walked rather briskly into the table and hit both my shins halfway between my feet and knees and toppled over the table landing on the rug between the table and the couch. After writhing in the intense pain for a minute or so I got up and was pleased with myself for somehow not spilling my pasta on the floor. Here’s the culprit…

About halfway through my pasta, I felt something strange and rolled up my pantleg to find the horror of a sack that had formed on my shin which was filled with blood and about the diameter of a plum and protruded from my leg by a little over an inch. I should have taken a picture because after telling the story a couple times, I think it seems like I’m exaggerating but I’m not… it was like a tumor. Anyway, I must have popped or severed the blood vessel that’s on the front of the shin and I didn’t know how serious this is (or if it even is) and started contemplating whether to cancel the trip or not. It was too late to go to an immediate care center and I can’t afford the emergency room so I elevated and iced it but was not thrilled about a half a cup of blood that wasn’t in the vein (or artery). (By the way, I arrived home last night and got some popcorn and went to sit on the couch in the same room and took a step into the unlit room and stopped. I looked down to where the table was and could not see a thing. I took a couple tentative steps forward before making it out… there’s apparently something about the color of the table that makes it disappear against the color of the rug. This at least made me feel like it wasn’t because I’m an oblivious klutz that doesn’t watch where he’s going.) The swelling went down to a large bump by morning (and is still the same as I type this) and I decided to go forward with the trip. So we get up the next morning, pack the car, get everyone in and put Sunglasses in the front seat for a 12 hour drive and I turn the ignition and… clickety, clickety, click, won’t start. We eventually jump it with my car but I’m unsure if it’s a dead battery or the alternator or the starter and not wanting to be stranded in some town in Ohio with a starter that’s kaput I decide that we cannot shut the car off until we arrive which means no lunch break and leave the car running while we’re getting gas (it turned out to be a dead battery that my brother and I replaced Tuesday morning). So… on the road again, we get about 30 miles out of town and Sunglasses, riding shotgun with me up front, vomits her breakfast on her bed that I placed on the floor in front of her seat. Driving along with the vomit soaking into her bed, I decided to wait until we get to the next rest area to clean it up a bit and about 10 minutes later she wretches again and throws up a second load onto a different area of her bed. By now I’m thinking that maybe we are not meant to take this trip but we soldier forward and after cleaning up the mess, the rest of the trip was relatively uneventful. Here’s the demon dog riding shotgun…

And here’s her partner in crime who weathered the long drives quite well…

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Don’t Ya Just Love The Holidays?…

November 21, 2009

Well, it’s bug day and then it’s Thanksgiving week so this is probably my last post before we go off the grid again. Those pilgrims were so thankful weren’t they? My favorite story was of the Jamestown “pilgrims” who actually were there before the Mayflower and after ingesting datura stramonium were said to have appeared coming out of the woods days later completely naked and a bit worse for wear (later after the effects were known, it was apparently used to poison the British soldiers). Jamestown weed became one of the common names along with thorn apple, devil’s weed and devil’s apple which after time was mispronounced into the current common name… Jimson weed. So how about a new holiday?… ThanksJimson Day? Sorry, still not quite myself, I managed to get a bit of work done yesterday and now another week before I get back in the studio again. Here’s a glamour shot in black and white…

I had lots of company again yesterday and we got out some colored slips for Sofia to continue “painting” her vase. I think it’s turning out a bit deKooning-esque…

Here’s a shot of the dynamic duo, Sunglasses has since had a bath to wash away the markers but there’s still a bit of yellow in places that makes her look like she’s might be coming down with a bit of jaundice…

So by the next post I should be well again (famous last words) and then only 3 weeks til more dreaded holidays… my favorite time of year, said the curmudge sarcastically. We watched “Food, Inc.” last night and although I attempt to stay apolitical here in blogtown, this movie is very disturbing. It is clearly not propaganda and although I believe everyone ought to see it, I know that mostly only the people who are already convinced will. It is absolutely deplorable in every way what these companies are doing to farmers, laborers and the public… if you intend to see it, you may want to wait until after the holidays because it will definitely ruin your dinner. Hasta luego.

Keep Me Hangin’ On…

November 20, 2009

Well Wednesday I thought I was better, actually I was better. Hit the studio with my helper and tried to get back up on the horse (the spinning horse). It wasn’t the most productive day but felt good to get back in the clay. That night went and had a couple beers and woke up the next day with either a relapse or a whole new cold. It doesn’t feel the same. I was super pissed and tried to work yesterday regardless but just didn’t have the energy to make a good go of it… had to cancel my big scrabble game last night. Anyway, I don’t want these posts to sound like I’m complaining because I’m not… merely reporting the facts. My helper, on the other hand, was quite productive. The cleaning of the studio and putting the love seat in there has somehow turned the space into Sofia’s favorite place in the house. She’s been there for days and I love the company. Two nights ago, while putting her to bed, she said… dad, I love your studio. Here’s how she showed up for “work” yesterday…

We’ve been having tea each day about the same time and she has all her markers on my work table. She started making cards and once she gets going, the production goes into high gear…

Then she moved on to decorating an old vase I had around that was bisqued but not glazed…

I’m looking forward to firing it. Then apparently when I went upstairs for a bit, she ran out of paper to make more cards and, ever resourceful, decided to mark up the nearest white thing she could find…

And of course, here’s the toenails… I have no idea how she got Sunglasses to sit still to paint her toenails. I could barely get her to allow me to take these pictures which I took a day later (as you can tell by the toenail polish already starting to wear off).

Linguistics…

November 18, 2009

If you have a child you are probably already aware of this and I’m sure in some deep distant neuron lost in my brain is the memory of myself doing this (Mom, if you’re reading, feel free to pipe in), but Sofia seems literally obsessed with certain words… the most fascinating one being poop. I do remember as I retold in this post getting my grandfather to tell me the Italian word for poop and also remember saying it for years but in my mind the frequency of it correlated to the novelty of saying it in another language that, in my mind, not everyone knew. Well, remember George Carlin’s act “The Seven Words You Can Never Say On TV”… the funny part to me aside from the words themselves was the manner in which he rattled them off in one long string. Apparently Sofia has her own seven words and has been reciting them in much the same way over and over and over. The 7 words are as follows: poop, pee, throwup, diarrhea, blast, butt and… my favorite, trashcan. This string of seven really started out as 2, then quickly became the first 4 which she has said incessantly for months as well as inserted into the lyrics of songs. I guess I should point out that blast was my fault as I taught her this in place of the baby word poot because I imagined how funny it would be when she casually said it in front of the grandparents, it wouldn’t be vulgar but still much more powerful than poot. Then Sofia and her cousins must have tried to add others to the string and could only come up with butt and trashcan. Trashcan gives me a bit of insight into how their little brains are working, you know, what else is gross?… oh I know, trashcan! Oh well, on to other things… these are two of my favorite pots that my friend Ig has in his house along with dragon closeups. They are approximately 35” tall….

There are quite a few of these at Ig’s house including some that I didn’t get any pictures of and they are all dreamy. I will post more later.

Cleanliness Is Next To, er, Something…

November 17, 2009

Whatever, my studio is usually bedlam probably because I never finished the construction all the way before I moved my clay stuff back in and started working… nah, it’s because I’m sloppy and maybe secretly because I cherish the idea that something beautiful might emerge from the chaos. Anyway Sofia and I decided to get some cleaning done and in a classic amateur blogger sort of way, I didn’t take a before picture. First I moved everything that was on the one half of the studio to the other half

and had to leave room for the real reason that I am doing this now… to move the loveseat that our neighbor gave us into the studio from the foyer. I accepted the loveseat because I thought it would be great to do my decorating on something with cushions as opposed to the lawn chair that I use now that cuts the circulation off in my legs. But the wee couch is not something I could just move in and while I’ve been “a’gittin around to it”, Sunglasses has not only claimed it as hers, she’s gone ahead and eaten about half of it. Next we swabbed the deck and got up all the glaze that’s been spilled, Sofia is at this wonderful age where she actually wants to help do everything and she was very helpful throughout the afternoon.

After that dried, we spread the thick plastic that was left over from winterizing the windows upstairs over the newly claimed and cleaned floorspace. This will make future cleanups so much easier…

Right about then, Sofia decided that the floor was a perfect dance floor and I had to let her dance around for a couple of songs on the CD player before we could resume…

Here’s the love seat in place with an old blanket covering the lacerations. I couldn’t get Sofia to not have her tongue sticking out so here’s the pic, she loved it so much when we got it in place that we both had a cup of chamomile tea on it where she insisted on clinking our cups together before every sip and saying “slainte”. I think she was so excited about having a new look to the room that she would have slept there if we had let her…

Hopefully I can get the other half of the room to a workable state today but, as always, I have to find a place for a bunch of stuff that’s in the way and there simply isn’t any place to put it. When I take the dog out, I stand under our sweet gum tree while she finds the perfect square centimeter to pee on. In the fall most of the tree turns a beautiful gold and yellow but some of the leaves go to an almost black…

Get Back To Where You Once Belonged…

November 16, 2009

Get back Loretta. It’s 55 degrees and sunny and going to 66 today, what a November. Sometimes though, what you want to wear doesn’t match the weather or anything else for that matter. Sometimes it’s snowing out and you feel like putting on a swimsuit. Anyway, here’s Sofia’s outfit that she put together… “tres bien ensemble” just jumps off my tongue…

sofia_tresbien

The most frustrating things about being sick and not being in the studio, second only to not being in the studio and making work is that this blog is a ceramics blog and most of its content is about making pots. I haven’t made anything in 2 weeks (that will change today) and it pisses me off to no end that this has even lasted that long. I find it interesting when people ask… what is the purpose of your blog? In other words, why are you taking the time? I usually stumble through the obvious reasons… to get my work in front of more people, to connect with other people doing similar things, to make friends and acquaintances, to learn about how other potters do what they do, to hopefully sell pots and by extension be able to continue making pots, etc. One thing that I never say but that has somehow become obvious in the past 2 weeks of inactivity is that the blog is additional motivation to get things done. I don’t mean to say that I need motivation but more accurately I feel obligated to have progress so I can report that progress on the blog. Michael Kline’s idea which I may steal in the near future is to take pictures of the same pots from different angles and in black and white but that just gets you through a day or two dry spell. Anyway, this will probably continue because the dreaded holidays are imminent and notorious for lack of productivity. Thanks for all the well wishes on the previous post… don’t feel bad about thinking it was funny, I really intended it to be plus who can deny that from very early on in life the pain of others is always a great source of laughter (I mean pain in the 3 Stooges slapstick sort of way).

Desperate Times Call For Desperate Measures…

November 15, 2009

February of this year marked the onset of my plantar fasciitis (PF) which has been referred to many times on this blog and along with that started my relatively sedentary lifestyle (aside from ceramics) that doesn’t include running, walking or really anything that requires being on my feet. This condition is marked by pain in both heels from rising in the morn till retiring at night. Activities that are particularly excruciating are standing in one place for any length of time like doing the dishes, preparing dinner, going to a ceramics opening and squatting to rinse out glaze buckets and such. I have taken the normal route to a certain point that includes special shoes, expensive orthotic inserts and steroid injections into my heels as referred to on this post. I’ve pretty much given up as I’ve heard it all and the only thing left for the podiatrist to do is surgery which I will not do because I believe that post surgery will just be a different kind of chronic foot problem. Anyway that leads me to these…

nightsplints

When I switched doctors and went to my first appointment last Monday, we went through the gamut of personal medical concerns and since he was a general practitioner and I had mostly given up on professional solutions to my PF, I fully planned on not even mentioning my feet. But after he remarked that we had covered a lot of ground, I blurted out… now if I could only fix my plantar fasciitis. He immediately replied… oh, I can take care of that for you. I diplomatically said… well, I’ll listen to your spiel but I’ve heard them all at this point. He interrupted and mumbled what sounded like “nicemints” and after I requested he repeat himself it turned out to be night splints. Although I have seen the commercial version of these (which he adamantly maintained do not work), I had never heard them called that. I was about to dismiss the whole thing (even though he claims an 85% success rate) when he appealed to one of my weak spots… he provided a plausible mental image of why they would work. According to him the tendons/muscles that are injured hurt because they have microscopic tears where they connect to the bone and when you sleep these tendons/muscles are in the relaxed (unstretched) state. While sleeping the healing begins but as soon as your feet hit the floor in the morning that healing is immediately undone because standing up stretches the tendons/muscles out again re-tearing them and the endless loop starts all over. His solution… mold a strip of “air activated” fiberglass that’s inside of a soft cotton sleeve onto the bottom of the foot all the way round to the back of the calf while these muscles/tendons are in their most stretched position. At bedtime put your feet inside of them and wrap the “cast” against the foot and lower leg with ace bandages. So I got them made on Friday and after curing decided to try them last night. An added caveat to the process which the doctor says will or will not work in 2 1/2 to 3 weeks every night is that you cannot put your weight on them (the fiberglass will break) so getting up to go to the bathroom is not an option. I mentioned this to Mom who is also a nurse and she brought home one of those devices that allows you to stay in bed. I wasn’t sure I would actually use it but maybe just unwrap and rewrap the works but when I wrapped them up and found out how long it took, I realized that that wasn’t a viable option either. So here’s what the mummy looked like right before bed…

nightsplints

nightsplints

Since Mom had to get up early and go to work (it’s bug day here and I’m writing this in a hurry), I decided I would go solo downstairs on the couch so if my tossing and turning made a big commotion it wouldn’t wake her. Here’s where the fun starts. The next door neighbors decided to have a party and were on their porch in the balmy 58 degree evening jabbering loudly til who knows how late so this was inhibiting my falling asleep. After an hour or so that seemed like about 6 hours, both my feet were numb and I decided I had wrapped them too tight and I was probably risking a blood clot if they weren’t redone plus the wrapping smooshed my toes together on the left foot forcing the edge of a toenail into the side of the adjacent toe. I finally just undid everything and started over. I settled in, really sleepy now, and felt like the re-wrap was pretty good. I was trying to ignore the cacophony from the porch next door and then… I hear another damn mouse and it’s trying to get into some kind of plastic bag. So dammit now what? Well I decided since the re-wrapping session took so long and I thought I had it done correctly this time that I would crawl to the kitchen and find a mouse trap and set it and crawl back to the couch. It started ok because there’s a rug in front of the couch but when I hit the wood floors, my patellae hurt like hell. So there I crawled and froze at the portal to the kitchen to echo-locate the mouse but just as I stopped, it stopped. Did you ever look up from something you’re doing as if noticing it for the first time and wonder how it ever happened and if you could go back in time a year (or in this case, a week) and tell your younger self that it was what the future held, your younger self simply would not believe it? This was one of those times. After being totally motionless on my hands and knees for about a minute, my kneecaps insisted a return to the couch. My feet went numb again an hour or so later and when I finally drifted off, Mom came down to stick her head out on the porch to tell the neighbors to be quiet. Do my feet feel better this morning… well, no but the grand experiment has about 3 weeks to go and if last night is a litmus, it’s gonna be a fun ride.

Crawlin’ King Snake…

November 13, 2009

No, not referring to John Lee’s song. You know after a long 9 or 10 days of the flu or whatever it is, it’s nice to get back on your feet again. I could tell the night before last that I wouldn’t be completely better yesterday but well enough where I could go into the studio and start putzing around, wedging clay, straightening up to start throwing, cleaning the glaze off the floor. Well, instead of telling you what happened, what does this picture elicit in your mind… my reward for toughing it out,

snake

This is the snake in question although it’s official name is the Electric Eel. You may remember this post where I describe one of the most awful things a homeowner has to do… well, not sure if it’s because we had so much rain that the roots grew back extra fast or that 3 months ago I didn’t quite get it done sufficiently but either way I have endured my punishment and I’ll do everyone the favor of not having any pictures of myself drenched. Uuuuugh! I’m starting to develop a complex as the ceramics blogger with the most and most disgusting plumbing problems. When the realization set in that that’s what I was going to have to do yesterday, I just thought… go ahead and shoot me now. I’m still not quite better but good enough to start getting some work done today. Michael Kline over at Sawdust and Dirt blog commented about a folk flu remedy and instead of me paraphrasing, I’m just gonna paste it in here…

The Power of the Old Remedies of days Gone By;

A friend of mine told me a story about how when he was a kid he was in the hospital & near dying. His Italian grandmother came to the hospital & told a family member to go buy her a large onion & a new pair of white cotton socks. She sliced the onion open then put a slice on the bottom of each of his feet & put the white cotton socks on him. In the morning when he awoke they removed the socks. The slices of onion were black & his fever was gone. The following story that someone sent to me might have some truth in it & we are going to try it this winter.

In 1919 when the flu killed 40 million people there was this Doctor that visited the many farmers to see if he could help them combat the flu. Many of the farmers and their family had contracted it and many died. The doctor came upon this one farmer and to his surprise, everyone was very healthy. When the doctor asked what the farmer was doing that was different the wife replied that she had placed an unpeeled onion in a dish in the rooms of the home, (probably only two rooms back then). The doctor couldn’t believe it and asked if he could have one of the onions and place it under the microscope. She gave him one and when he did this, he did find the flu virus in the onion. It obviously absorbed the bacteria, therefore, keeping the family healthy.

Now, I heard this story from my hairdresser in AZ. She said that several years ago many of her employees were coming down with the flu and so were many of her customers. The next year she placed several bowls with onions around in her shop. To her surprise, none of her staff got sick. It must work.. (And no, she is not in the onion business.) The moral of the story is, buy some onions and place them in bowls around your home. If you work at a desk, place one or two in your office or under your desk or even on top somewhere. Try it and see what happens. We did it last year and we never got the flu.

If this helps you and your loved ones from getting sick, all the better. If you do get the flu, it just might be a mild case. Whatever, what have you to lose? Just a few bucks on onions!!!!!!

Michael, next time I’m going to try this thing with the socks… sounds a bit squishy and icky but after you fall asleep what does it matter? I also really like any suggestion that calls for bowls in every room of the house and if you’re gonna put a bowl of onions in every room the bowls should probably be decorative, don’t you think?

Here’s the vase I posted to Etsy last, first click to Etsy and the other enlarges…

vase

vase

Fighting Vainly That Old Ennui…

November 11, 2009

Gotta love Cole Porter. My biggest problem with being ill aside from the being ill is the absolute boredom. I’ve always been reduced to a total wimp… I can’t read, work, watch TV, certainly not play with the dog or the bug. My energy gets completely sapped. I suspect that this is not the case with others as I see other bloggers blogging away or Facebooking away when they’re sick and I can’t even bring myself to sit in front of the computer. Sofia actually said that she wished had “powers” (not sure where that came from) and that if she did, she would make it so I never got sick. My certainty about how wimpy I am when I get sick has been cemented by and always makes me think of Michael Jordan playing in a game 5 against Utah while he was sick. I’m not a big sports person anymore but I always loved watching Jordan and just happened to catch this game. He was so sick that he had to be helped off the court (way sicker than I’ve been) and still he somehow willed himself to outplay his opponents. It made me physically drained just watching it. That being said I must be on the mend because blogging has resumed but still yesterday I was unable to make it into the studio and it’s been calling me for a week now. The weather has been unbelievably pleasant for November and it would have been a productive and wonderfully comfortable week to have worked in the studio and I fear that once I get back to it I’ll be facing that winter clay phase with cold air, cold water and cold clay. So anyway, a whole day of boredom is equal to nothing but the boredom itself to acknowledge. I designed a new business card and signed up for Netflix and although I think I’m finally coming out of this thing, I’m not sure I will get to the studio today. There was one interesting thing that falls under the heading, “Things I Never Thought Would Be A Problem Even With A Child”… I have a relatively strong little magnet that’s in the shape of a disc that I’ve used for years (especially when I was remodeling all the time) to find studs in the old plaster walls of the house. I would just slide the magnet around on the surface of the wall until it stopped and that’s where a nail head would be just under the layer of plaster. Anyway, Sofia found the magnet and a screw and she’s been experimenting with them for a couple days, putting the screw on one side of a board or tabletop or rug, etc. and the magnet on the other side and making the screw move by moving the magnet. So after putting her to bed, going back downstairs and finally going back up to retire for the evening I saw a glint of shiny metal at the top of the stairs in the middle of the pathway from our bedroom to the bathroom (a path used at least once a night). Here’s what it was (photographed in daylight)…

magnet

Is this or is this not a plantar fasciitis sufferer’s worst booby trap nightmare? As Kurtz said… “the horror”. Here’s the latest cups posted to Etsy, first click to Etsy, the others enlarge…

cup

cup

cup

cup

Speak No Evil…

November 10, 2009

I guess judging by my last post, one might think that I had recovered from my “cold” but I felt worse Friday, much worse Saturday and by Sunday I was completely exhausted and could speak no evil nor anything else for that matter as my laryngitis had reduced me to a mere whisper. Friday I figured it would be gone and felt in a terrible funk all day and that night went to the “One Of A Kind” exhibit of the Louisville Clay Club over across the river in Southern Indiana. The next day my niece (Leeann) and nephew (PJ) arrived from Lexington and DC respectively. I was really bummed out that my ability to be a host was compromised by feeling like dog doo. Anyway because of typical college student life (locking keys in the trunk) they did not arrived until around Sofia’s bedtime. This pushed back our pizza plans and we ended up having pizza, beer and conversation until well after midnight. The weather was in the 70’s and it was really beautiful so we ate out on the sidewalk in front of this pizza joint where all the colorful people of Louisville walk and drive by in a constant parade. The conversation was very good and I feel like I probably talked more to Leeann than I ever have in my life and was very proud of the young woman she’s become. PJ is in graduate school in DC and I haven’t had a good long talk with him in some time too. All in all, it was a very good outing save my ignoring that I was sick. As I’m sure they both felt I talked too much… the proof was in the tasting as my throat hurt terribly and I was barreling toward laryngitis. So out too late, up at 7 with the dog, then an over excited kid and dog until PJ’s friend Maria met us and we went to the Vietnam Kitchen for lunch. Here’s the gang wearing out the dog (thank you)…

cousins

I tried to get a picture of everyone but Sofia was so wound up that she wouldn’t cooperate and my picture taking tenacity was severely compromised. Consequently, all I have are blurry pics but this is actually how it all felt to me anyway…

cousins

They finally were able to control her enough to get a picture with her head not blurred or eyes not closed but they practically had to hogtie her to do it.

cousins

Anyway, it was really great to see them and to meet Maria and I hope they had a good time and they didn’t catch my H1N1 (just kidding). They all left about 3:30 or so and I crashed and burned. Went to the dr. this morning and still not feeling all that hot. I’m in the process of changing my dr. from my old general practitioner to my new one and this was my first visit today. It’s a coincidence that I’m ill because I made the appointment before I got sick. The reasons that I’m leaving my old doctor are way to long to try to explain here… maybe I should start a series called, “The Healthcare Crisis: A Poor Potter’s Perspective”? Not sure many would be interested except other poor potters… suffice to say (or suffice it to say) when I get chest pain, I have to bet whether I’m gonna pay 10,000 for an ER visit because my heartburn is acting up or if I’m actually dying. So far, I guessed right every time. I would also like to thank Charan Sachar over at Creative With Clay blog for featuring one of my cups on his “color of the week” feature. Please give the link a click and check out Charan’s blog… he makes beautifully slip-decorated ceramics that are Bollywood inspired,

charan

He does this once a week and gets quite a bit of traffic to peoples’ Etsy stores. It’s difficult with my limited palette to have a color come around that I actually have a piece in and lucked out this week with olive green.

Memorie Italiane (part 2)…

November 6, 2009

I loved my stay in Firenze back in 1999 and you know how hedonistic everyone became because of the Y2K meltdown that was gonna be the end of economies all over the world and of course the mandatory jumping off of roofs because of the certainty the world would end… yada yada yada. We were just rompin’ around Firenze eating good food, drinking cappuccino, walking miles and miles, looking at beautiful frescoes and slowly wishing there was someone that spoke our language. The initial isolation of not being able to communicate was refreshing because you can’t understand what you overhear other people saying. So whilst enjoying my 3rd coffee of the morning, instead of overhearing the 18 year old seminary student from down the road pontificate about his certainty of all things holy to his companion or the clutch of young women at a nearby table dishing the dirt on their coworkers, all I could ascertain was an endless stream of Italian babble that could have been espousing the meaning of life or the intricate details of their cel phone plan… who knows? The apartment that we rented was upstairs and directly below was a coffee shop. Angelo was the proprietor and I started the day every day with coffee there… of course the Italians weren’t much for sitting at a table and drinking like us Americanos, they just pop in, order an espresso, chat for about a minute, down the espresso in one swig and leave. I would sit at the only table nursing my coffees and reading. There was a young girl that worked for Angelo and eventually she revealed to me that she was American and she had come over on a summer art program and went native. I had already been there for weeks when I found this out and she went on to tell me that Angelo was a communist (oh dear! just like Obama) and that he thought Ig and I were gay… so I guess this rampant homophobia is not restricted to the good ol’ USA. Anyway, I started thinking of my past attempts at conversations with Angelo, who I had figured out was from Sicily originally (like my grandfather), and I tried to relate in my broken Italian that my grandfather was from Palermo. Later on I got out my dictionary and it seems I may have used the word for boyfriend instead of grandfather (not sure) but even so Ig is Chinese and it was very unlikely he was from Palermo. I found out that what I did have in common with Angelo was Van Morrison. He loved Van more than anyone I had ever met and he had a few cassette tapes that he would play over and over but he seemed to be limited in where/how he could get more. I managed one day to get out of him that he had the ability to record a tape from a CD and the next day loaned him about a half dozen Van CD’s that he didn’t have. From then on we were tight and his demeanor toward me changed. Of course if he had seen me around town with my teeth he might have changed his mind back…

italy

Here’s some mugs I posted to Etsy yesterday, first click to Etsy, the other enlarges…

cup

cup

Tattoo You…

November 5, 2009

There comes a time in everyone’s life now where they face the conclusion that they can’t just go through life without a tattoo. This decision has had me agonizing for many years because of the permanency (relative permanency now) and because I like to look at tattoos and there are some really bad ones. I always imagine myself as an old man with white hair and sagging wrinkled skin (this part is getting easier to imagine by the day) trying to explain to my grandchildren why I have a stretched out portrait of Van Morrison on my spare tire with his mouth right where my belly button is or whether I should tell them that the large iguana on my shoulder just happened to be the best thing to cover my ex-wife’s name. I know that when scientists found one of those frozen icemen on some mountain years ago they were fascinated by the tattoo on his lower back that was merely 3 sets of vertical lines about 2 inches long and I thought that’s more up my alley…

iceman

Of course a copy of a Kandinsky or Matta painting on my whole back still beckons after a few beers. That being said I’ve been under the weather and am on the mend (maybe some beers would help) but yesterday I actually went to bed during the day. I really cannot remember ever doing this in my life as I have always loved the idea of a siesta but can never fall asleep. Sofia came to visit me and decided that coloring my fingernails and giving me a tattoo would make me feel better. Fingernails are brown and the tattoo is a narrative of pots that from wrist to elbow that goes thus… her making a bowl, then a teapot, then a coffee mug, and last me making one of my bowls with the squiggles on it. Too bad it’s in washable markers…

tattoo

I posted a couple more mugs yesterday (first click to Etsy, the other enlarges)…

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cup

Black Beauties…

November 4, 2009

I believe these are 10th century black beauties. They’re all from China and I snapped pics on my trip to my friend Ig’s house in Iowa. Sorry about the last pic but I shot it twice without my glasses on and it’s a bit blurry. The first one is the tallest one, probably around 30-32 inches tall and the rest are maybe an inch or two shorter but they’re large pots all the same. My fave of these is the first one because the black glaze is either matte or has had something happen in the past 1000 years to make it matte.

10th century black

10th century

10th century

10th century

Apparently the collectors of these pots refer to the ones that have a rounder, fuller form as the females and pair them up with the less rounder, fuller ones that are supposedly males. I’m sick and pretty pissed about it… I haven’t been sick since last November and was just starting to get uppity about going over a year without getting sick. Anyway, not sure how long it’s gonna last… it’s not as bad as I’ve been on other occasions but I’m not sure it’s full on yet. Here’s a couple fat mugs I posted to Etsy yesterday, first click goes to Etsy… the other enlarges.

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Rode Hard And Put Up Wet…

November 3, 2009

I guess I should’ve been prepared for the whirlwind couple of days that is Halloween followed two days later by the birthday hullabaloo but it must have been easier when Sofia was younger. It was all fun for her but too many “special” events packed into 3 days, plus candy, plus presents, cake, parties… it all wore her little butt out and of course I was worn out before it even happened. Thankfully today we resume our ordinary existence until the Thanksgiving rigmarole… there’s still the sorting of the booty, candy and presents but we don’t have to be anywhere or do anything. Well, I have to get some work done. Here’s the dynamic duo… Gwyneth is her twin bat on Halloween. They’re eating pistachios…

sofia_gwyneth

Here’s last night’s birthday party with her cousins. Trying to corral these three for a picture is where the expression “herding cats” comes from…

sofia_birthday

And check this out, days after returning from my Iowa adventure where I discovered the new sculpture park, this appeared in the NYTimes with many of the details I forgot. Here’s some cups I posted to Etsy yesterday… the first one goes to Etsy and the others enlarge…

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It’s All Over But The Sugar Mania…

November 1, 2009

It didn’t rain last night like they said it would which was good… low 50’s, clear and crisp with a not quite full moon. Sofia was on pins and needles all day and her and her neighbor friend had the exact same bat costume so they went out together and raced from house to house screaming, we’re twin bats! As pleasant as the weather was, Halloween was not designed for the sufferers of plantar fasciitis… by time it was over my feet felt as though I was one of those skeletons hanging from the tree, all bone and no flesh. Here’s the bat who insisted on getting an upside down picture for authenticity’s sake…

halloween

And of course I had to get a shot of Sofia’s proper bat footwear, fortunately she didn’t try to wear these out on our sortie last night…

halloween