Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Everybody is somebody's dinner or "No more prime-rib flavored soap"

Sunday evening was a lovely time with a couple friends of ours.  Mrs.D is in Cricket's pottery class where they became fast friends - what a pair!  So, when she and Mr.D invite us for drinks, dinner or an evening with friends, we always go.  He's a great cook and she pours a mean glass of wine.

Well, this past Sunday was a lot of things: it was post-exam for me; it was post-tax season for Mr.D; it was an art show at a local charity for Mrs.D - and Cricket is always up for some fun...  We went together to the art show and perused the stuff that was being sold.  Some of it was very good and some of it was student work.  Mr.D asked me about a few pieces of pottery and whether I thought they were any good.  I tried to be discreet when I answered because I learned a long time ago that if you don't know who the artist is and you make a negative comment about the piece then the odds are very good that the person standing beside you is going to turn out to be the artist.  (I'm having a t-shirt made up for my pottery show that reads, "I'm the artist, please wait until I walk away to insult my work.")

Mrs.D, well, she picked up a few pieces and exclaimed, "I could make this with my eyes closed!"  Mr.D cringed, but to her credit, she actually could have made those pieces with her eyes closed...

...and dinner was lovely...

Mr.D taught me how to make risotto.  I've grown very leery of it because Gordon Ramsey is so very picky about it.  I've figured that it must be hard; it's not. 

Dinner was rotisserie chicken with a pancetta risotto and steamed spinach...  we started with a great bruschetta that had a drizzled balsamic reduction and a very nice Riesling...

...and their dog started licking my leg...

...and she licked my leg...

and she licked my leg...  it tickled something fierce and I couldn't keep myself from laughing.

They were mortified, but every effort to keep her from me was futile.  They got her a prime rib bone that she carried across the deck and left in the corner, only to come back to my leg.  they gave her squeaky toys and rubber balls to roll around the floor that were all taken back to their appropriate places after which she would come back and start licking my leg...  I didn't know if I should be flattered or whether I should expect her to take a bite out of my shin (which she never did.)

They picked her up and held her on their laps while they ate only to have her wriggle down and come back to "her dinner".  Attempts to put her inside only lead to her whining inside the patio door and scratching at the floor and glass...   ...all the while I was howling with laughter.  You see, I knew that at some point it would stop; at some point whatever flavor I had managed to get on my leg would be used up - I was right...  to the relief of our hosts she disappeared...  only to come back and start to work on my other leg.

After dinner we moved inside and had a flourless chocolate cake I'd made (there is a very simple recipe on epicurious.com that never fails)...  we stood around the island in the kitchen while Cricket and Mrs.D picked out colors for a new garage door.  (I don't get involved in picking colors - I was TOLD that I had to help pick colors a while ago and when anyone actually comments that they like the color of the one room that I chose they get a look from Cricket as if they have no taste whatsoever...  

...and speaking of taste...

Still! inside, the dog continued to wear away the hair on my leg... 

As always, we had a nice time.

As expected, I came home and showered.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Off-Line for a few days

Hi folks, just so you know, I'll be off-line this week as a prepare to take the Praxis exam on Saturday...

I'll be back after that...


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Here she is boys!!!

So I got my pieces from the studio on Thursday and spent yesterday getting some photos of them to use on the gallery web-site and for some promotional material for my show in May.  It was quite a site to see me outside with my i-phone and a huge piece of blue taffeta draped over the picnic table trying to get some decent shots.  I even had a raccoon that came to see what I was doing.

Cricket got a good laugh at my technique, but photographer or not, I'm pretty satisfied with the results... here are some photos of my work.

Parade of mugs...

Parade of mugs: Behind the scenes

scalloped rimmed bowl

teapot:short dark and handsome

teapots at odds
the Casseroles have a guest for dinner

large bowl with crawling

some jugs

some jugs: behind the scenes
bowl of fire

the pieces have some really good effects on them...  

I'm very happy!~


Friday, April 17, 2009

All fired up...

What an exciting day I had yesterday!  I had the opportunity to open the kiln with Francine and unload my work from the past year!  Attached are the photos I took as we worked; they don't really do justice to the pieces and I will most likely take some individual shots of some of my favorite pieces.  Remember, not all of the work is mine... there are a quite a few pieces that Wolf hand-built, many tea bowls that were made by Francine and M&M and some bowls/pieces of AmySu's...

These two large bowls are mine...  Cricket thinks they look like leather...
These two large bowls are also mine, and the globe-shape mug in the middle (that's my mug shape - you'll see 8 of them...

Back left is a planter of mine, back right is my first tea pot and a small jar next to it, and a mug...

three of my bowls and a mug...
two large bowls and my large casserole dish...

The full back half of the kiln...

(now you have to look in the foreground) a flat bowl of mine, small casserole and two small bowls

a couple of the small bowls are mine...
this is the full kiln when we opened the door...

It was such a great experience!  Hope you enjoy...


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Wolf Games (a three for Thursdays)

Wolf complained last week that there was no Three for Thursday post, so in his honor...  Wolf Games...

Wolf and I have been friends for many years now, we first met when I was playing the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz, but didn't really get to know each other until one night a few years back when a group of us were all going to meet up and only he and I showed...  we spent the evening drinking vodka and cranberry and laughing about the madness involved in keeping the friends that we keep...  I had vacationed with these friends (you know the type, the ones that have to do everything en-masse and as prescribed by the most passive-aggressive member of the party) and convinced Wolf to come along.  Thereafter he and I vacationed sans drama and with some other friends from Chicago...  on these long trips we came up with a few games...

The first was: Jewish Mother - Protestant Mother...  This game has certain rules, foremost is that you must always respect your opponent's mother.  With that said, one's own mother is fair game and the competition is to simply prove that your own mother is more adept at doling out guilt, neurosis, over-care etc than your opponent's mother.  We are pretty evenly matched.  

The second game is:  Axis...  In this game one must demonstrate, beyond any doubt, that they are the Axis and that the world does (in fact) revolve around them.  Wolf is a master of this game and has been playing it longer than we have been friends, but has perfected his strategy in our time together - holding his left index finger stationary he says "this is me" he then orbits his right index finger around it saying "this is the world... it's just that simple"...  When he gets there, I know I'm beaten.

The last game is:  Pet the dog - pet the owner...  a very fun game to play when on vacation because people always have dogs...  it's played like this.  As a dog and owner approach one player calls out "Dog" or "Owner".  Then you engage in conversation and the person who ended up with dog has to pet the dog and the person who ended up with owner has to (somehow) pet the owner...  of course, either player can beg out of the competition depending on just how ferocious the dog is and the body odor of the owner.  I have to admit that Wolf has been a fierce competitor; we've met some nasty dogs and some seedy owners...

Ok, so they're not games that Milton Bradley could market, but you get to a point where you know your friends just so well that one word or two will engage them in what can become a hilarious interchange...


"Yup, ME!"


"My mother..."


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Ya-Wanna??? or "Full Nest Syndrome"

I was probably about 10 years old and had gone next door for a birthday party.  When Mrs Rossi asked if I wanted a piece of cake, I responded, "Sure!"

"What's the magic word?" was her response...

I was confused; first she asked if I wanted a piece of cake and now there was a magic word.  This was not a game that I had learned to play...

"Abracadabra?" I guessed...

Everyone chuckled.  She was not amused.

Freddy (who was 4) whispered to me, "it's 'yes, please'..."

Now I was really confused.  Why did she want me to say "please" when she had asked me about the cake?  I remember thinking that (if this was how the game was played) my initial response to her should have been,

"Mrs Rossi, don't you mean to say, 'would you please like a piece of cake' "?

This response would have gotten me a one-way ticket home, it would have pleased my mother to no end tho she would have had to proceed with the obligatory chastising and (the worst part) I'm certain that it would have meant no-cake.

Whether or not it is appropriate to teach another mother's children manners through deceit is still in question.  I was taught manners by a 2x4; something my oldest sister had decorated for Mom.  She painted "Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child" on a 2 foot piece of 2x4, drilled a hole in it for a leather strap and presented it to Mom as a Mother's Day gift; Mom hung it in the kitchen for years until it was broken on one of us (I don't recall who, but I think it was my brother).  

I do think of myself as being well-mannered (you would be too), but on Easter Sunday I realized something that had never occurred to me before; my family does not know how to say "Please".  It is completely outside of the vocabulary.  "Please" has been replaced by the phrase "Ya-Wanna".

It sounds like this:

Ya-Wanna grab me a platter.
Ya-Wanna slice the ham.
Ya-Wanna get a different chair.
Ya-Wanna pass me the pickled eggs (that's a whole other story).
Ya-Wanna clear the table...

I'd put a question mark, but it's never a question; it's directive...

A question mark would imply a question (I'm a smart one) and a question would require an answer...  and the answer would most likely be... "No, I don't wanna..."  However, my response has become, "I will..."  which is the short version, of "Well, I don't necessarily want to, but yes, I will do that for you".

I can't explain to you why it bothered me so much.

Perhaps it was because Friday night had been drama-free.  Yup, we had been together Friday night to celebrate mom's birthday and the drama hadn't come to the party...  I think it was off somewhere recruiting other drama to come for Easter dinner.  ..and sure enough, drama found some friends and came for lunch...  ugh and yuck!

The most likely reason for my short fuse on Sunday was "the nest".  When the household whittled down to fewer people the family decided to quit making Easter baskets and start making what they refer to as "the nest".  Now, you've pictured a robin's nest that is the size of your hands if you cup them together, right?!   Wrong.  Think more in terms of a pterodactyl nest, enough chocolate to supply a small town in Switzerland.   ...and since we weren't planning to eat lunch until 3ish (complicated by the fact that I had skipped breakfast) I decided to raid the nest.  Sugar in any guise will have horrible results when I consume it on an empty stomach.  In fact, if you met me for the first time when I was "on-chocolate" you would seriously question that I was the person who referred to himself as "Silly"...  Cricket gives me an easter basket, but fills it with "Stuff", not with sugar (This was a very valuable lesson to have learned)...

Maybe the distaste for the phrase has just been brewing for so very long...

...whatever the reason, who knows...

Beestro, on the other hand, says neither "Please" nor "Ya-Wanna"...  

His approach is simple; "Food or death, I will remain here, under your feet, until such a time as either a) you feed me or b) you trip over me and break your neck.

Oddly enough, in all of life, the only people who seem to say "please" any more are telemarketers, and I hang up on them.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Stacked and ready, but not quite fired...

Many of you have asked for pictures of my work so I took some shots yesterday while working with Francine... we had a great time...

It was a bright, sunny spring day and we moved piece after piece from the studio to the kiln outside.  You had to be an observer to catch where I found the humor of the day, but there was plenty...  

This is the back of the kiln half full.
This is the back of the kiln full to the ceiling.

This is the kiln full, front and back...

I learned a lot! 

Loading a kiln is not unlike working a puzzle or loading a moving van (which is also like working a giant 3-D puzzle).

As you might guess, I'm very excited to see how it all turns out...  Not all of the work in the kiln is mine; Wolf, Louie, Francine, M&M and AmySu all have a number of pieces firing...

I'm hopeful (smile) that the next photos I have to share will be of some really cool pots!


Saturday, April 11, 2009

An Uncle's Advice or "You've got to be Carefully taught"

I've said before that I have never wanted children of my own and every once in a while I am reminded the reasons why I should not be a parent...

Yesterday was mom's 75th birthday and her first to spend without dad after 55 years of marriage.  Lil'sis decided to make the trek with her kids for the occasion, both to celebrate and console.

As you could guess from all my earlier posts, family gatherings include food of mythical proportions.  You never know when 100 uninvited guests might show and you simply have to have food for all of them.    

I made two cakes for the event:  a walnut torte with  maple whipped cream icing and a lemon poppy seed cake that got 4 forks on Epicurious.com.  I'm a big fan of epicurious.com for a number of reasons; you can find so many recipes on there, the recipes are rated and you can read reviews of the recipes, some of which give you tips on improving the recipe.  

I find myself laughing at the tips, especially when they seem to take the recipe off into a tangental direction.  While a recipe for a cheesecake might tell you that they cut the sugar from 1c to 3/4c, another recipe for lo-fat chicken in lemon sauce will suggest that you replace the chicken with beef - saute it in butter first - and replace the lemons with habanero peppers...  

I usually just look to make sure that the recipe has more than 10 reviews and more than 3 forks...  as far as I'm concerned - you can't go wrong with these recipes.  

And so it is that I showed up with two cakes - one that was made with two sticks of butter and another that used a full dozen eggs and was slathered in whipped cream...  If I could make desserts for a living and know that people would buy them and that I'd be able to pay the bills, I'd actually consider it...  but it's a hobby...

For the occasion, Louie bought 20lbs of cold cuts (mom asked for something low-brow given Easter is Sunday and two sit-down meals back to back seemed over the top) and we made all the fixin's for picnic food to go with the sandwiches...  

...to add to it all, Noop brought a plate of veggies and Magoo's girlfriend brought platter of sliced fruit.

There was a lot of food.

I spent much of the afternoon with Sparrow trying to figure out how a boy of his age could look at a little furry creature and pull a trigger to pop it full of lead; he seems so normal otherwise.  

Too much time with a child and I start to feel parental, but I'm not good at it.

I think it happens to all of us.  We see a child heading for an electrical outlet and we want to tell them "No".  A child starts to run around the pool and we say, "No running..."  "Be careful...  watch out...  stay in your seat..."  It's ingrained in us.  I'm not the person who could look at a child who was learning to ride a bike and say, "If you peddle a little harder you might get down that hill faster..." or "I bet the big old pit bull would love to play tug of war with that bone...", but I lack where others excel.

So here I am, hanging with Sparrow, tossing bean bags in the back yard, bowling on the Wii (his Wii hates me too) and suddenly it's time to eat...  
we move into the kitchen, 
everyone grabs a plate, 
we pray together, 
as I begin to load my plate he starts to nibble,
I make a sandwich,
Sparrow pops a little carrot in his mouth,
load up the mac salad on my plate,
takes a piece of cucumber,
grab a few deviled eggs,
he grabs some mellon and celery,
Jello salad,
Red pepper slices,

And then, the wisdom of the ages kicks in and showing all of the wonderful parenting skills I have developed over the years in watching other people, I say to him,

"Don't fill up on the vegetables..."

Now, I could very easily have said, "Don't eat from the platter" or "put some on a plate and come sit down...", but , well...  that was not at all what I meant...

In some sick way I was actually concerned that he'd eat too many veggies, too much fruit... 

...spoil his dinner with fiber and nutrients and forego the four basic food groups:
With those three magic words lil'sis proved that she's a better parent than I could ever be, "GET A PLATE!"...  ...and then shot me a look; one that I have come to refer to as "the Kevork" because of its power to put you out of her misery.

...but you see, I don't need to work on my parenting skills...  I need to perfect my uncling skills...  As far as I'm concerned, who better to teach you bad habits than those who love you most...

On the eighth day God created Uncles and while they weren't necessarily "good" they weren't necessarily bad either...  ...and they sure were a whole lot more fun.


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Baloney Wednesdays (the day we met) or "Don't think of me as a stalker just because I'm thoughtful"

Holy Cow!  Can it have really been 5 years ago that I met Baloney?  I guess it can. 

For some reason, all day today, I've been thinking that it's been about that long.  She is the one who challenged me to regularly blog here; you have her to thank...

...and this is how our friendship was forged...

Our Mutual Friend (not the Dickens novel), the yoga clown, came to my desk one day and let me know that there was a new person in the group.

"We should go meet her..." she insisted.


"Because she's new.  We could be the welcome committee."

"Doesn't she have work to do?"

"Probably not yet."

"Don't you have work to do?"


"Yeah, lots...  well, I have work to do."

...and yet I went along...

She was nice, although, like me, confused as to why the yoga clown had dragged me up there to meet her.  They had met earlier in the day, (which I did not know) so this was purely an introduction which would be followed by a "what do you think" session.  

Her most distinguishing characteristic was this; she held her hand in front of her face... the whole time we talked.  

I've been told I have a stunning smile, but this was going overboard.

I checked my breath to be sure that it wasn't stale from lunch and then noticed that she had a cold-sore.  I assured her that I get them all the time and that she need not worry that I'd think anything about it whatsoever.  

The conversation went like any one of those between you and someone you'd just been forced to meet and consisted much of the insidious drive she had to make each morning to get to work.

I liked her.
I felt sorry for her (cold sores hurt and long drives to work hurt even more)

What happened that night put me on her list of "The Strangest People I know who are still considered friends".  I went to the A&P to pick up a rotisserie chicken for dinner - half for me and half for Fernando who could smell it from a mile away and who would turn his nose up at the Fancy Feast if I was picking apart a chicken - I gave in to him just so he didn't trip me up, causing me to break my neck.  As I passed the pharma aisle I thought about Baloney and decided to pick her up a tube of Herpecin DL (it's this cold sore med I use).

So, right now you're thinking, "Gee guy, what you don't know about women could fill a 200 terabyte server."

I sat with Tony that next morning (her cube was right next to his) and when she arrived I paraded into her cube,

"I picked this up for you!"


"It's great!"


"I use it all the time!"

"Umm, gee, thanks..."

You know, nothing says "Let's be friends" quite like a tube of cold-sore salve.

Sometimes in life you have those "What was I thinking" moments (I have enough for me and a whole Roman Catholic family)...  and those moments are what color our lives and serve as a reminder to the people with whom we share our time on Earth that locks were created for a reason...

I still get teased about it and when I do, I simply hold my hand up in front of my face like Gloria Swanson and we laugh until the Diet Pepsi comes out our noses...


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

On Kutner's death or "a better yesterday"

So, I don't like to write too much on TV shows.  Yeah, I'll mention Top Chef and Big Fat Loser from time to time, but they serve as fodder...  What's funny is that I didn't even have a TV for a VERY long time...

I'm a big "House" fan.  The characters, the story lines, the thoughts about life...  House himself is a terrific portrayal of "man without filter"...  blah, blah, blah...  And last night's episode came as such a shock to me - the suicide of one of the characters.  Completely unforeshadowed, out of the blue and not unlike the way it happens when we lose someone...  week after week the man is in the show and then he's gone...

Most of you know, I lost my dad in January.  He was in the hospital for a month and I am thankful for being unemployed because it gave me the freedom to spend more time with him than I would have been able to spend had I been working.  When I left him on his birthday, I kissed him goodbye, he told me he loved me and said, "I'll see ya..."  The next morning he was gone...

When I was writing scripts I wrote a short one about a guy working to get his girl back.  The language was rough and I never really worked the script into much of anything.  He went on and on to her about everything he would do if she would come back to him, promise after promise...  she finally spoke and said that there was only one thing she wanted from him...  "anything..." he answered...  it would be hard...  "anything" he answered...  she wanted this,

"I want you to change the past."

In movies, you can do that...  in life, you can't...

You can't re-choose.
You can't un-say.
You can't...

Without beginning to expound on faith and afterlife I can only boil it down like this... 

I want today to be the best yesterday that it can be when tomorrow comes.


Monday, April 6, 2009

Tweet Season on my Mind or "Polly's ghost wants a cracker"

Cricket and I are prone to collecting.  I've mentioned before that I have a love for Royal Doulton character jugs and for Wally birds...  for the most part these are pieces I've picked up here and there and on-line, at one point I pretty much depleted my life-savings on Ebay.  (I assure you that it never was a lot of money)... it's been a fun hobby...

Cricket on the other hand has been collecting bird cages.

Now, for those of you that don't know, there is a substantial difference between the size of a bird cage and that of a character jug.  Most of the cages stand taller than I do and, while they are lovely, take up a fair amount of space.  

"Why is the china cabinet out on the porch?"

"Oh, I got a new bird cage."

"Umm, the fridge is on the front lawn..."

"Oh, I got a new bird cage."

"Where's the piano?"

"Oh, I got a new bird cage."

It works like this because we keep our addictions private... When a small box shows up, I check that it's mine and off I go to a private place where I can open it and check the item.  Once I've determined that it's what I ordered, I find a place for it in "the cabinets".  (The cabinets are two 9', floor to ceiling, shelving units that house my collection)...  I've been unemployed so the collection has been relatively stagnant these past few months...

Of course, when a bird cage shows up it is a different story altogether.  These things have stands and bases and are simply enormous...  Several have shown up and had to be lowered into the house by crane.

But a week or so ago a small box showed up... just the right size for a toby.  It wasn't addressed to me; I didn't open it.  (I hoped that it was a present for my birthday or something)

Two days later, as I'm pouring a cup of coffee, I see it; a cookie jar shaped like a simple bird cage with parakeets...  it's pretty...

"Oh, this is what was in that box that came..."

"Yeah, it's a cookie jar."

"I see that.  Does this mean I have to make some cookies?"

"If you want to," lifting the cookie jar.


"It's also a music box."

...the music plays...

...and the music is, well... it's creepy.

I agree that a good many music boxes are creepy.  As they age it only gets worse; the music plays slower and slower.  I had one that my grandparents gave me that played the "Little Drummer Boy"; in reality it played the first phrase of "Little Drummer Boy".  You know:

"Come, they told me, Pah Rum Pah Pum Pum" over and over...and over.  

When you're a child you don't long for the resolution of the whole song, so, the one phrase doesn't drive you up the wall.  I would wind it up and let it play and play and play and play.  I enjoyed it so much that Mom decided that it should be put away with all the other "Christmas stuff"...  years later I found it buried in the linen cabinet...

Bean once bought my little sis a Christmas nutcracker that played (of all things) "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes".  Like I say, "There are some things that should never be made; there some things that are made that should never be bought; those things that should never have been made and never have been bought should never, ever, be given to your wife for Christmas."

Enough deeply nested tangent...

I expected the bird cage cookie jar to play any of various tunes that music boxes play such as "The Happy Wanderer", "Over the Rainbow", "Feed the Birds" even...  but not a funeral march...  the slow plinking music in a minor key is haunting and disturbing.  

If Uncle Fester from the Addams Family had an ice cream truck... 
If all the children in "Oliver Twist" went back to the work house at the end of the movie...
If Tim Burton were to recreate the Sound of Music in claymation...

...this is what the music would sound like...

...and so, there it sits on the counter; the haunted cookie jar.  It is old, old, old and remembers all the times it's been wound in the past and plays a stray note just when you've recovered from the last time it played.

My guess is that when the cookie jar is filled the weight of the cookies keeps the music from playing.  As each cookie is taken from the jar the weight decreases until it is light enough for the funeral march to start playing...  

The more I thought about this, the more it made sense to me.

I'm having a music box installed on the fridge door later in the week...  I should be ready for my swimsuit in no time...


Friday, April 3, 2009

Poetry Challenge: The Problem with Lipstick

The problem with lipstick
By G. David Post

“The problem with lipstick
Mascara and blush,”
Dad, brutally truthful, would say,

“The trouble with hairspray,
high heels and tight skirts?
They cannot take ugly away.”

Donuts are easier or "Dip and cross your fingers"


I guess it's time for an entry about the creative process again... it's been a while and I don't want to lose you all as I immerse myself in the POETRY challenge... so let's just take those little letters E O P R T Y ; we'll add another T. And with a little magic we get P O T T E R Y... Yea... I love word games...

Last Night was pottery class; sans M&M... Francine announced that she'd be firing soon. Of course, I was in the middle of doing something and this announcement made my heart skip a beat (in a bad way)... You see, if all my pieces aren't glazed when she fires then they won't make it into the kiln...  that's a bad thing...  I have a show coming up in May and if I don't have my pots glazed there's no show...

So there I was, elbows deep in clay, doing something else (trimming my one pound pieces - I challenged myself to working with only a pound of clay to see what I could produce and just how thin I could throw the porcelain) time to shift gears (insert terrible grinding noise)... so much for creative process...  

Time to glaze...

I've opted to have all of my work for the past year (nearly 60 pieces) glazed in a Malcolm Davis (some famous contemporary potter) shino glaze.  Shinos [pronounced (She - No) (or however you want to - I'm not the boss of you)] are this cool family of glazes that do weird things and can achieve some fabulous results.  They will pool, they will crawl, they will pit, they will trap carbon and sometimes they just look like snot...  yup...  gross...  

Let's review my track record.  While I was on the cruise last winter I got a free chip and used it on the craps table.  Since I had never played craps, I asked for a little help and the next thing I knew I had a few more chips...   ...before long, I had none.  And so it is with shino and me...

I've been trying this glaze on various pieces over the course of time that I've been doing pottery.  The first attempt was OK, but I was a beginner who wasn't very adept at throwing, so a fabulous glaze would have done little.  The next attempt was better...

Flash forward...

Well, HotDiana asked me to make her something for Christmas and I did.  I threw this wonderful jug with a clunky handle and even inscribed the bottom...  After she had unloaded the kiln, Francine called and asked me to come to the studio.  When I got there, she was sitting at the table with Diana's jug on a turntable.  I cannot adequately describe what the glaze had done.  Francine does not make comments or compliments frivolously...  So, when she turned the piece around on the turntable and said,

"This is a museum quality piece." I was in shock and she added,

"This will always be a prize in your collection of the pieces you've made."

"Except that I made it for someone else."

"Oh, you can't possibly give this away."  Such a quandary was mine, but the piece had, afterall, been made for HotDiana...

Subsequent attempts with this glaze have produced just as many different results, but never the same thing twice...

And so it is that I have rolled the craps dice of shino glazes and come out a winner; once...

Yet (and I add, undeterred) I spent last night glazing mugs and bowls hoping that one or two will reproduce that effect...  ...and hoping, beyond hope, that they will not look like they are coated in mucus or Elmer's Glue.  

Louie's rule number one is "Don't get attached to anything"...  alas...  I should have asked if that applies to a whole year's worth of work or just that one fave piece...

Maybe I'll produce stuff so pathetic that my friends will feel obligated to buy it at the gallery and maybe I'll have a kiln load of oddities...  I'm hoping for the best and at least one piece that I can put in the cabinet...

...right next to the jug that reads, "For my HotDiana".


Thursday, April 2, 2009

Poetry Challenge: Lark in April Showers

Lark in April Showers
By G. David Post

“Secret party – Afternoon”
“The special day approaches!”
First date
First kiss
Stories of the labor room,
Of hurry when the time came.
First child
First word
Photos of the diaper pail.
And tales of Dora, Elmo.
First tooth
First step
Pigeons all around the crumbs,
That bobbing mass of feathers.
And, one lark,
With no coo.
Questions, questions, pigeons ask
Of the one she never met.
“Some guy?”
“Must be!”
Smile, laugh and shoulders shrug;
So the pigeons turn for crumbs.
First ball
First day
No tales to tell of colic,
Nor the tales of sleepless nights.
First play
First catch
Photos, none, of Halloween
Nor shots of the Christmas play
“My dog!”
All the bows of opened gifts;
Paper strewn, uneaten cake.
"Best luck!"
"Thanks, so."
That lark among the pigeons
All the cooing, all the crumbs.
First note…
First song…

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Poetry Challenge: Eden Snow

Baloney challenged me to participate in the April Poem a Day contest at the Poetic Asides Blog.  Nothing to win, really, but looks like fun and work for the brain.  I will post what I write for each day and in the comments leave the Topic as assigned by the folks over there.

Eden Snow
By G. David Post

A chilly morning this,
In the garden.
More than frost and falling from the sky.

Under foot, soft and cold,
(Adam’s bare foot)
Dancing on the wind with Eve’s long hair.

As, from mud, his form made
So, from snow, this.
Two hands work a shape, so round, a ball.

“Duck, Creator”. A smile.
Angels protest.
Heaven’s host, to His defense, arrives.

Creator’s aim is true
And Eve’s not bad.
Adam runs, but laughter stings, not cold.

No work this snow day has,
but wage of war,
Now that play is born and snowball fights…

Does anyone have a recipe for??? or "the purpose driven toothpick"

Mom has been giving me a subscription to Taste of Home magazine for several years now.  I won't ask her to renew it for next year; as far as I'm concerned, it doesn't exist any longer.  It's dead to me...

TOH was one of those fun little magazines that was dreamed up by two grandmas sitting in front of their mobile home looking for a way to preserve what can only be considered the origins of Paula Deen style cookin'.  It was a place where little old ladies could talk about their best Easter dinner (Ham, ham and ham - who doesn't love ham), where "Men Who Run the Range" was a regular submission ("Imagine, Flo, men that actually cook...  what's this worl' comin' tuh?"), and the editor gave advice to those cooks who wrote in with questions (Q: When I shell my hard boiled eggs the shells don't come off, what can I do?  A: Buy your eggs more often than once a year.)

With the revamping and updating so much of the charm and "quaint" appeal of the magazine has been lost.  What this really means is that they have lost that thing which people (like me) enjoy poking fun at, but it sold subscriptions.

Gone is the section: "Does anyone have a recipe for..."  I miss this section so very much; it was classic!  Such letters as: When Elmer and I were at a friend's for dinner over 25 years ago, she made this tasty dish using catfish and pimento cheese, but I lost the recipe.  ...or... When my dad was growing up in Slobovia his mom made a special Christmas turkey that was stuffed with black jelly beans, I can't find the recipe anywhere.  AND ONE TIME... I was at a church potluck and Velma made a jello mold using circus peanuts.  She won't share her recipe, will you?

Here is where I have to add that I'm the person that actually eats circus peanuts (not the ones in a shell) those orangish flavored marshmallow candies.  (When I tear open the bag Cricket has to leave the room.)  Out of a bag, I eat about 6 of them and then, I'm done for a while - six months.  (Not too long ago, my family showed up at the door and held an "intervention", but I digress.)

So, you won't find it unusual that I actually had a bag of circus peanuts (tho you may still find it unusual)...   ...and what should be on the backside of the bag, but a recipe for orange jello mold with circus peanuts...  As I stared at the recipe all the other requests began dancing around in my brain; violent nausea overwhelmed me when the realization became crystal clear... THEY WERE REAL...  all those requests were for food that people had actually eaten...

Also gone from TOH is Ned's toothpick.  While, in reality, this referred to a sketch of a toothpick that was cleverly hidden in the pages (the finder of which could receive some type of prize), there was an intro line of how Ned had lost his trusty toothpick and it was somewhere in the pages of the magazine.  In my book, the word "trusty" can only mean that it had been used on more than one occasion.  Gross...

Alas, the "In Our Family" section is also gone.  This is where people share their own family traditions, prayers and customs... ...quaint.  Mom never got to send her entry; she'd have sent it on a lark.  She and Dad had had dinner at the home of friends from their church.  When dinner was over the host announced that it was "Time for toothpicks."  Out came the little canister of toothpicks that was passed around the table.  The hosts and other guests sat at the table picking their teeth until the hostess passed around "the bowl".  Into the bowl went all the toothpicks.  This was revolting to my mom, but she was too polite to have ever said anything.

My mother's telling of this story was not as funny when she told it the first time.  It was only after the second dinner they attended ,when new guests looked with horror at the other guests picking their teeth and at the bowl of used picks passed around after the meal, that Mom's story came into full bloom.  I love to mention those old friends to Mom and hear that story and how it morphs depending on her mood...

...and so it goes, that Taste of Home has morphed into a cooking magazine; like all the others...

Gone is the quaint.
Gone is the absurd.
Gone are the toothpicks and grandmas.
Gone are the things that turn your stomach and strike your funny-bone.

It's odd, really, because those are the things, that are "Home".