I’ve Sprung (Not Sprang) Forward…

“I’m like a coiled spring of industry”. Yesterday was an atypical half work day. The bug stayed overnight at her grandparent’s house and I got to work until about 3:30 before going to pick her up. I unloaded the kiln in the morning and aside from the mystery glaze that I went back and added the cobalt to thinking that it might work… not working, everything else was fine. I put three re-fires in there and they all worked so I felt better about having those. By afternoon, I really missed the bug. It’s amazing the difference in the house when she’s not there or not on her way there. I was glad when I picked her up that she seemed to miss me as much as I her. We stopped at the brewpub on the way home and her friends that are usually there on Sunday were there on Saturday. I was hoping that they wouldn’t be there because their familiarity has resulted in being less nice and I still don’t respond well to impertinent kids and it’s gotten so I am having to parent them while their parents sit a half a room away, obliviously watching tv and playing on their laptop. So I found myself sitting with 3 kids all coloring. The odd thing to me is that they immediately sit down and ask if I brought the markers and coloring books and then go on to say that at 5:30, they had been there since lunch. Far be it from me to make suggestions to parents but if you’re gonna take your 4 and 8 year old to the brewpub for 6 hours, a pack of magic markers and a couple coloring books would go a long way to keep them occupied while they’re there. So I settled in with my new family and decided to do what I always do… give them a hard time. The eight year old got relatively upset (this is the same one that became annoyed when I told her that I owned everything) when our conversation came around to me stating that we were animals. She was adamant that she was not an animal. I said, well, food goes in one end and poop comes out the other like all animals and you’re covered with hair like all the other mammals. She argued fervently that we were not covered with hair and I said that if she went home and got a magnifying glass she could see little hairs no matter where she looked. She stated that they didn’t have a magnifying glass. Then she asked her 4 year old sister… are you an animal? Her sister immediately replied that she wasn’t and she looked at me and said… see? Who could argue with that? At least my little bug stuck up for me… I think she got irritated that the older girl started saying that I was the weirdest person she had ever met (ad hominen) and she chimed in and said… I’m an animal. Unfortunately, I’m afraid that these girls may go their whole life not realizing that they’re animals. In other news, on Friday while I was holed up in the studio with the door closed, Sofia and her cousins were outside ruining my corylus avellana contorta (contorted filbert/hazel tree). Notice that all the catkins have been removed from the height of the reach of a little girl down to the ground…

Here’s what they did with all the catkins…

I have to admit that I understand the visual appeal of their primitive catkin/rock cairns but I’ve had this tree for 20 years and it’s my favorite plant that we have. In the summer it has beautiful big crepe-like leaves and when the leaves are dropped the branches hold snow and ice in a very dramatic way and they are also all randomly squiggly like the squiggles on my pots. I have no idea if the loss of catkins will harm the plant in the long run but I hope not… (any horticulture people, please weigh in… hint hint Mark). Anyway, got some work done before all this. I’m going to see how much I can decorate by friday, then bisque, then fire and finally deliver. I must say that having the fan in the open window next to my work area is infinitely better than the months upstairs spent with respirator on in the stuffy house. Here’s the big one I got covered yesterday…

As you can see in the background, I did have the company of Dingus McDingus in an otherwise empty house. She slept next to me for most of the day. I decided yesterday was going to be a classical music day and played the 4 Rachmaninoff piano concertos straight through. The funny thing is that in several places during these concertos there is a relatively long flourish of solo piano which ultimately ends with the entire orchestra busting in with a huge loud contrast. Each time the soft tinkling was interrupted by the loud full orchestra, Dingus would be jolted from her deep sleep and jerk her head up to see where the attack was coming from. It got so I looked forward to these passages.


11 Responses to “I’ve Sprung (Not Sprang) Forward…”

  1. ron Says:

    Glad you refires came out well. Sounds like quite an adventure at the brewpub. What patience you must have. So crazy that an 8 yr old doesn’t know that she’s an animal. Wonder if you could have convinced her that shes really a robot and full of wires and circuit boards and metal parts? I hope your tree isn’t damaged. Well off to work, no plumbing today I hope! Oh yes I meant to thank you for commenting on the interview page. Yep, I do like to nap. When Sarah was here full time making jewelry we would have a 30 minute nap after lunch most days. Now I try to get one in, but I feel too guilty some days.

  2. judi tavill Says:

    Great post.
    i agree with you about the 6 hours at the brew pub… interesting.
    I think you are a really good sport.
    I wouldn’t have lasted very long.
    The parenting for other parents is a delicate situation…
    I try to remove myself when that is happening… but sometimes…
    The pot looks great!
    The dog cracks me up…
    and I AM AN ANIMAL.

  3. Patricia Griffin Says:

    The experience of watching over other parents’ kids is a familiar one for us. I guess it “takes a village” sometimes… Glad your re-fire was almost 100% successful! That always feels like such a bonus.

  4. Sarah Says:

    Dear Jim,

    Having been an education professional for a number of years I feel obligated to let you know that it has been proven detrimental to a young child to give them the idea they are in any way an animal. While your intentions were on the whole good or at least playful, it really isn’t a good idea. Sorry to post this but I think it’s important you and others don’t make this mistake. By the way, you should consider taking D3 if you don’t already. For people who need to avoid the sun for medical reasons (like me as well), it’s important to take this supplement to avoid infection.
    P.S. Just kidding about the animal thing.

  5. elfriede Says:

    Ha…your pub sounds like quite a few here in Portland….I avoid them like the plague now, and simply take the kids into the smokey, adult-only ones. Just kidding. Your work is gorgeous as ever and the middle photo makes me miss my crazy Dingus Jack….looks exactly like him curled up on the couch. I know you don’t like to hear how much I liked our problem child….but he was very sweet, as I’m sure Dingus is……right? right? hello? Jim?

  6. Gordo Says:

    Funny, it would never occur to me to take my kids to the pub for 6 hours. I’m not sure that I’d be able to handle that much time on my own.

    Your poor tree. I Hadn’t really thought about what type of bush/tree produces filberts, so that’s pretty cool to know.

    Yep, we’re all animals here too. Definitely. πŸ™‚

  7. Michael Mahan Says:

    I wonder what those kids would say if you told them eggs come from chickens, and chickens are animals.

    Sorry about the catkins. Hope the plant is not hurt. I thought of your bowls as soon as I saw the picture with them piled up.

  8. catcrazy73 Says:

    Hey, Jim…didn’t know you had a blog! I discovered it when just out of curiosity I typed “Gottuso” into Yahoo’s search engine. (It all started with a boatload of really old pictures from that side of the family.) The giveaway was the pics of Sofia that looked just like the one hanging on Mom’s fridge…. the other, of course, was the pottery! The dog’s a cutie, too! Drop me a note at that e-mail address if you’re so inclined.


  9. d Kat) Says:

    My friend’s husband who has a Ph D in physics argued that he was not an animal. It took his wife a great deal of work to make him admit that he was in fact a mammal and that mammals were animals (she really did have to lead him by the hand to get him to admit that well if he wasn’t a plant or fungus and the only other life form was animal then there really was no other option for him).

    The catkins are the flower of the plant and as long as the leaf buds were not pulled off there should not be a problem. Even then plants are pretty good at recovering from this natural pruning.

  10. d Kat) Says:

    Darn! Meant to say, really, really like that bowl (and you enjoying your daughter’s company – warms an old lady’s heart).

  11. eugene hon Says:

    Never a dull moment when there are kids around. Something single people or should I say animals have to get accustomed to. We are use to the solitariness – and I guess visiting large shopping centres and or MacDonald Restaurants is rather noisy – to be avoided. Just this weekend – we had lunch at a new upmarket Delicatessen/restaurant (four days into it). We are friends with the owner and her brother in law brought along their kids, one 3 year old and the other 7 months, needless to say, to command a normal conversation takes some doing. Especially if lunch is served and all available hands assist where possible to ensure minimum damage to crockery etc. It was very festive and I felt part of an Italian family reminiscent of the godfather movies – only thing missing was the dogs, the real animals.

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