Saturday, March 21, 2015

I'm very lucky

I love this photo Gerry put on his instagram today of my studio. I have not spent time in there in a year now, I miss it, but I/m having a lot of fun doing new things. I'll be back there one day......

This is my new place. I'm working 4-5 days a week now, learning more and more every day. This is our greenhouse. I have always known a good bit about house plants, but I know soooo much more now. I am cloning african violets successfully which is a thrill. Today I found a little rogue violet that had somehow cloned itself in a large fern. I have repotted it and brought it home to be with my other ones.

I'm doing most of the merchandising and being given more and more responsibilities. Its so fun to have all this cool stuff to play with!

I got to source some new note cards for the store, and I started at the top, with one of my favorite artists, Shannon Bueker. Shannon was gracious enough to let me come to her studio and pick out some cards, and put them in the store for review. The first day out in the store, we sold four of them, and everyone was very complimentary. I knew they would be a hit! Baby steps. Buyer one day? maybe........

Here's Gerry's favorite space in the store, the hydroponics and soil grow room. Tomatoes getting bigger every day. One day we would like to have a space like this to start plants indoors. Its amazing to see what light and nutrients will do for plants!

Another hydro display. Simple and efficient. Last Saturday I sold my first hydro set up to a couple without having to run to a manger asking for help. I actually knew what I was talking about and had a $500 sale, all by myself. I felt like the training wheels were off. The first month I worked at the store, I felt like a complete idiot about a hundred times a day. I didn't know how the computer worked, didn't know where anything was, didn't know what half the stuff we sold was for. And now they are asking me where things are! And I can get through most of the day without needing help. What a great feeling. Its like when I finally learned how to mix a glaze on my own.

Poor Gerry. He's used to being the one to get home late at night and I have dinner for him. I have been working until 8pm a few nights a week, he is shooting basketball tournaments. Not much time for home cooked meals. But I did come home the other night to a wonderful plate of pasta.  Gerry has never been one to cook a lot of meals, but this was a great one and most appreciated, as tired as I was. Spring time in a garden shop is unreal! I come home exhausted.Wesley and Gerry have both been great getting meals together for me, and I love them for it!

I feel so lucky that this job practically fell into my lap. I work with the most fun group of people. We all get along, we are all somewhat dysfunctional in our own adorable ways, we laugh a lot, we support and help each other, there is just a great feeling of working for a common goal. I have never worked at a place with an energy like this store. And I feel very blessed......

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Treat yourself

Can I just say, the Lodge Sportsman cast iron hibachi grill is the cutest thing ever!! My mom sent me some money for the usual, "go buy yourself a cute outfit". And if you have read my blog for awhile you know where that money goes. NOT to buy a cute outfit. I have clothes. What I have wanted for the LONGEST time, is this grill. So I got one. Sometimes you just have to give yourself a treat. I was due for one. I am tickled to death! It conveniently sits on top of an iron table I bought once for a play I did. Never could find a good use for it until now. Its perfect. Can't wait to grill a pizza or some veggie kabobs. Too bad I can't eat red meat anymore, a burger sure would be good.... sigh.  I love cast iron.

I also treated myself to a night out last night. Wesley and Lazarus have been here for a few days, left last night and there was a book reading I wanted to attend. It was a drizzly evening, we went out to dinner together, they headed back to school and I went to see David Joy read from his first novel. It was quite good, he is a young mountain boy, just flew on his first plane recently to go to NY to sign a book deal. I had heard him on NPR and it was just a spur of the moment decision to go see him. Glad  I did. He was very entertaining, and I read half the book last night, curled up alone, listening to the rain, and reading a good book. Sigh again. It was quite decadent and rare.

At work, we have a mouse problem. We are finding tiny babies who still have their eyes closed and no mom to take care of them, all nested up in bags of soil. One of the guys at work is animal obsessed and is taking them home to care for them. Ironically, my cat left a little mouse gift at the back door this morning. First of the season for her. Ick.

 I worked Tuesday unpacking lots and lots of planters and cast iron garden stuff. By the end of the day, I could hardly walk I was so tired. Came home, popped open a can of Budweiser (I know) and ate one of the best bowls of curry I have ever had, prepared by Wesley (Lazarus helped). Gerry has also been helping get meals together on the evenings that I work late. It sure feels good to walk into the house smelling all delicious and know there is a good meal waiting. Thanks family for helping out! It means more than you know, xoxo!

These two cuties have been home all week on spring break, writing grants for their trip to India and not really doing what most college kids do on spring break. No beer bongs and late night partying for them. They have grander plans! Very proud of both of them. It was good so see them, even if it was just tiny snippets of time. Seems spending time with mom is not as fun as it once was..... but I'll take what I can get :)
one more sigh......

Peace y'all

Monday, March 9, 2015

Losing, loss, lost.....

Sometimes melancholia sweeps in at the most unexpected moments. Just two days ago, I wrote in my journal about how happy I was and that I could even see that light reflected when I looked in the mirror. And just like that, poof, sadness comes a calling. Don't get me wrong, I am still pretty happy. Just got sad news today and it reminded me of so much loss.....

My mom called to tell me that one of my favorite aunts, "Tootsie" as family called her (Margaret for everyone else) had breast cancer and it was in her lymph nodes. Having lost my dad to cancer after the progression to the lymph nodes, I know what's ahead. Its not good. She will be the last of my dads family to go. His little sister. I look just like her, more and more as I get older. She laughed at everything. I never saw her sad or upset, only laughing all the time. And coughing after her laughing, while chain smoking and drinking pot after pot of coffee. Her and my dad, just alike. I couldn't go see her for the longest time after he died. They looked like twins, it was too painful to look at her. I wish I had visited more often and had her tell me about my dad when he was a little boy. Too late now, she has dementia and is angry and curses at everyone.

Gerry's mom is lost. I miss her so much. We would call each other and talk for hours. We would sit up late into the night and talk. She would listen. She had wise words. Gerry is much like his grandfather. I wish his grandmother was still alive. I would like to talk to her and tell her how much like Josh he is. We could compare notes.

My daughter is growing up and away from me. It is the most difficult struggle I have had with her since she was four years old and wanting to pick out her own clothes. We can't find a good place. Losing my little girl, watching this young woman emerge.......  I miss my little girl.

My grandmother has been gone for years. We were so close. I loved her african violets. She was so proud of them. My mom told me today that Sybil would travel to her uncles farm where he raised rabbits and she would bring home the rabbit poop for her violets. She once went with my grandfather to Georgia and all she brought home was a bag of cow manure from his brothers farm for her flowers. I never heard this about her before. Now I know why I love dirt under my nails. My violets are thriving. I have cloned seven violet leaves, four are now tiny little plants. Sybil's blood courses through my veins. I miss her so much.

A friend told me this week he is becoming a woman. Do I lose one friend and gain another or will she be the same friend? I don't know yet. I worry for this persons future, what their life will be like in this world of judgement and hatred and bullying. I know this is a great person, man or woman, and they will still be my friend and I will help any way I can. But I will be sad to lose the male version....

As I was on the theme of loss, I wandered around with it a bit. Losing my 20/20 vision has sucked, although I am liking the contacts very much. Losing my strong thin body has sucked, but I'm mostly healthy and not overweight, just soft.....  My left arm aches all the time, it is very weak. My knees don't like to help me up so much when I squat down, I feel like I have to pry my hands apart in the mornings they are so stiff at the joints. I am getting shorter.

But damn, I like where I am right now. If I don't want to do something, I don't do it. I know things. I like learning new things. I like me. Not the body part so much, but the inside part is pretty much ok. I have my moments but mostly its all good. I still feel like I'm about 12 years old inside.

I just miss folks that have left my life and wish I could have one more day to talk with them, to laugh, to hear their stories. But I have lost them, gone forever. And that has weighed heavy on my heart today.....

Monday, March 2, 2015

I've been buried....

Finding your passion isn’t just about careers and money. It’s about finding your authentic self. The one you’ve buried beneath other people’s needs.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Our snow day

I used to have this sweet little girl that loved going out in the snow. We would get our warm clothes on as soon as the snow started falling and wouldn't come in until we were frozen popsicles. We had inner tubes, sleds, snowboards. We lived near a golf course and had a neighborhood full of kids that were friends. We would stay out until midnight sledding on those hills with all those kids and parents.  What a time that was.

My little girl is in college now, enjoying the snow with others, Gerry has been out all day shooting news, and here I am with three chickens that are not having it. Check out that look on Sybil's face. She said to me, "Oh hell no, you are not taking me back out in that cold ass snow"!

So I came in and sat at the window with my Audubon bird book and discovered all the new birds that showed up today. I bought a new bird feed and somehow every bird in the area came on over for dinner. How do they know where to find this food? Do they tweet each other, haha?!  We had red bellied woodpecker, red headed woodpecker, thrasher, titmouse, song swallow, cardinal, bluejay, wren, a yellow finch and a few others I couldn't quite identify. I have never seen this variety of birds before. We have never had a red headed woodpecker, although we do get the ladder back ones and the red bellied ones. The red head was amazing. There were two of them.

As I sat there, I thought how lucky I was that all I had to do in the world was to sit at a window and watch beautiful birds eat and fly around. There's a lot to be said for being over fifty. Worries are different and priorities change. You slow things down.......

The girls came out of the coop just long enough to peck around under the bird feeder, but they are really not amused by all this snow. Poor things, we got about 6 inches, and its so light and fluffy they just sink up to their bellies.

I made a pot of vegetable soup for supper and a french baguette that might just be the best loaf of bread I have ever made. I love baking bread on snowy days. I made some banana bread this morning. I woke up to an empty house, so I thought I would just bake in the quiet of the morning.

 Gerry called me while he was out looking for utility crews to photograph and asked if I would make some eggs and grits and bacon if he came by the house. Well, how could I say no to that when he was out in the snowmageddon working?! So we had a late breakfast and then he went back out looking for more news photos. Although, now he competes for play with all of the fools that are tweeting in their own photos at the request of the local news stations.

I swear journalism in this country has gone straight to hell. Can we just let the pros make the beautiful photos so we don't  have to filter through all the crap!? We can save our own pretty pictures for Facebook and twitter and our blogs, but please on a news website I would like to know that professional and talented journalists are doing what they do best. If there even is such a thing anymore.......
gone to hell, I tell ya!

Stay warm if you are out there in it!
peace y'all

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

I can see clearly now

I'm sitting here this morning having coffee with Gerry, the sun is out, the snow is still powdery and glistening in the sunlight, birds are all over the bird feeder and one little bird is chirping away. Gerry just commented that it sounds like its saying "stupid, stupid, stupid". He's right, it does, haha!  It must be talking to all of the fools that have left their cars half in the road up and down our street. People in the south, stay out of your cars when it snows!

We had a beautiful snowfall yesterday. The light fluffy powdery stuff that is so beautiful falling and nice to take a walk in. Not the usual southern snow that is mostly ice and creates havoc on the roads. Except this one caused its own havoc on the interstate, road crews didn't see it coming and when the south gets an inch of snow, it is apocalyptic according to the local news channels. I40 was a parking lot. You guys up north must get the biggest laugh watching us down here trying to deal with our tiny snows.  I went to work in my Subaru, not a problem. It was fun being in the store with my pals, watching the snow and talking with the few people that ventured out to shop. Carrboro is a walking town so its much easier to get out in snowy weather.

In other news, I got contact lenses on Monday. I have been thinking about it for awhile, and Gerry finally has decent vision care insurance that is available to spouses also, so I went for it.  I think I'm going to like wearing them once I get used to them and get the prescription right. I wore them to work yesterday, big mistake. I have multi focal lenses and I don't have the small print reading part adjusted quite right and I couldn't see the totals on the register or prices on items so thank God we only had a few customers, and those were used to me being inept at the register anyway, haha! (We have such a complicated computer system. At least its a Mac! ) I had them looking at the register telling me how much they owed, also thankful they are honest :-)

Its nice to have peripheral vision again and not be seeing the world through a frame. It was easy enough to figure out how to take the contacts in and out, although I got my right eye irritated on the first day, so it was just a bit uncomfortable. Here is the best part of it all though. The insurance covers eye exams and regular lenses or glasses. But I wanted the multi focal lenses and of course it didn't cover the evaluation and fitting for those. So I had to pay for that out of pocket. The cost? The exact number on the check I got for my barns on Saturday! I love when that happens. It happens a lot to me. Whenever I get a little extra cash for my work, something comes up that will be the exact same amount. Thank you Universe for looking out for artists!

We have more snow coming tonight, so there will be more mass hysteria to come. I'm probably not going to turn on the TV anymore. It just gets too ridiculous watching the news reporters out with their rulers measuring the snow on a busy highway and what is up with all of them now getting in their News Two Mobile Weather vehicles, riding around with a camera in their face and telling us to stay home, if we must go out make sure we clean off our windshields, (duh?! ).

Go get your bread and milk for those milk sandwiches tomorrow!!!!
Stay warm, think SPRING!!!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Back home, but not for long

I picked up these three barns from the gallery I mentioned in my previous post. The one that has had these pieces for over a year, tucked away somewhere,  even I couldn't find them when I went in over the holidays, although I sent people there when they emailed asking to buy my work.....

Well, I had them here for a few days, set them out, loved them all over again. I forgot how great they are. I polished them and set them out to admire and decided I would just keep them for myself.

And then a dear sweet email came. Would I send photos, would I want to sell them? I have almost lost count now of how many of my pieces this person has, but she wants these three as well. There is a certain person that likes my work. I could always sense them when they came into my booth or my studio. I could tell who was going to buy and what piece they wanted.

This particular person came up to me in Saxapahaw at the summer music festival awhile back. She had contacted me earlier and I brought pieces for her to see. I had not met her, but when she walked up to my booth, her eyes were sparkling and I knew her. I knew she loved my work. These are the people that kept me making for so long. Not the galleries that don't even know my name, but the people that read my blog and email as soon as I put something up that I am selling. These are the people that breathe the very life into artists.  I feel very blessed to have them as wonderful customers and I am grateful to all of those people for their support of my work over the years. It makes me think that I might even be getting back into the studio in the spring. I have several requests for commissions, but they will have to wait until it is more than 7 degrees outside!

I have been asked at work to teach a kids gardening class. Of course there will have to be an art component, but I think it will be so fun and something new and different for the store. When I first took this job, I felt like maybe I was letting myself down in some way, not pursuing my art, my pottery. Like I had given up. But now I don't really see it that way.

My studio has not gone anywhere, its there for me, waiting. I'm not rushing for a deadline, rolling out slabs like a machine. I am still and calm and content, and if I feel like going out and making some new work, maybe I will. When its warmer, haha! But, the thing is, it's nice to get a steady paycheck. It's nice to work with really cool people. Its nice to do something and have someone truly appreciate my effort. I like not having to take the money I make for work I create and giving it to a show or a festival or a contest entry fee or dues or membership fees. I like not having people come into my studio asking me if I know Mark Hewitt. gaaaahhh.

I feel like I have been so ripped off and if I had it to do over, I don't think I would travel that road again. But getting accepted in shows and contests and galleries is such a lift to the fragile artist ego and it helped validate my work for awhile. But my true validation as an artist is when I get a sweet email like the one I got today, and I hand my work that I love to another person for their keeping and for them to love. That my dears is the real paycheck for an artist! It doesn't pay the bills, but I get the best of both worlds this way.  Go to work, get paid, make art, get immeasurable rewards.

peace y'all