Monday, September 30, 2013

The Life I Want.....

Rising Meadow Farm in Liberty NC held their annual farm fest on Sunday. They must have done some serious praying to the Gods, because the weather could not have been more perfect. Gerry and Wes and I drove down mid morning and got there before the crowds showed up. We got a nice parking spot in the field under a shady tree and walked down the gravel road to the farm.
We got there just before the field dog demos. They had border collies demonstrating their skills at rustling up sheep, and in a flash, our lives were changed! This is how we want to live. We want a farm, some sheep, some smart working dogs and throw in a llama or two for me. Give us a garden and a couple of fruit trees, maybe a fishing pond. That's how I want to live out the rest of my life.... BLISS!
Now if we can just figure out how to make it happen!

There were just enough vendors there to make it fun and interesting. There was a nice mix of pottery, wood, fiber, and baked goods, give me  a show to do like this any day!

The dogs were almost impossible to photograph, they zoomed past my lens faster than I could find them. This is the only shot I got with a dog in it, haha!

This guy was such a pro, been working dogs a long time. He was so much fun to watch. And he raises border collies, and yes I got his name. When we are ready he might just be the one to get our next puppy from.

And can I please have an alpaca for Christmas? There might not be a more adorable creature on this planet!

I packed us a lunch since they were serving grilled lamb, and I don't think any of us were ready to eat a baby lamb after hanging our with their cousins all morning!

My only purchases for myself this weekend, a crock from the antique festival, I now have four of these and will continue to buy them when I find a bargain like this one, I think they are so useful and I like to buy useful things. I also bought two skeins of brown llama fiber, sooooo soft and so beautiful although you can't tell it from my pitiful photograph that I shot this morning, sorry. There will be more photos of this fiber when I get my loom set up, don't worry.

What a great weekend and so different from my first fall weekends for the past few years. Those weekends have been spent stressing over getting ready for fall shows, and busting my ass to get enough work made. I like this pace much better. TIme to enjoy the fruits of other's labor. It's much more fun being a spectator instead of being the spectacle! It gives you time to think about what you love and how you want your life to be. In a perfect world, I would be waking up on my fiber farm this morning, grabbing some canned preserves from the shelf, making some biscuits and heading out to the porch to great the day with a cup of fresh ground coffee and a home made biscuit with strawberry preserves. Then I would grab my staff, head out to the field to watch Gerry work the dogs, gather in the llamas, go pick some veggies in the garden, while Wesley and the grandkids sat in the swing reading a good book.
How is that for a nice dreamy morning...........

Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Mother Ship landed

Twice a year this 100 acre farm in Liberty NC hosts the Liberty Antiques festival. Every year I can't get there for some reason or another. The last time I was there, I was 9 months pregnant with Wesley, and had her a week later. This year I was determined to get there, and I had good reason, I need Civil War props.

Girl Child surprised us with a visit home this weekend, so I drug her along to shop, I bought a red wooden bucket and some whiskey bottles for the play, and a crock for myself. I could have done a lot more damage had I been there alone. The voice of reason was with me. I saw a Civil War era gun that would have been perfect but it was exactly the same amount as my entire prop budget, dang!

Here are some photos to enjoy:

I loved these vintage photos with the witches hats. 
How many of you are going to copy this one for Halloween!?

The smell of Kettle Corn hung thick in the air

Jugs for you potters out there

Blue and White, sigh..... is there anything better?
I bought a set of Currier and Ives Blue and White mill plates at the thrift store last week for $10
Saw the very same set with cups today for $275!!!! I would say I got a deal!

I love this baby's cracked open head, some days I feel just like this...

Well, that was fun, overwhelming and mind blowing. I want to be an antiques dealer, anybody want to set me up in business? lol

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Thanks to everyone

Thanks Gerry and Wesley for a fantastic birthday and thanks to all of you for your kind emails and comments on the last post. Feeling much love!!!!!
Happy week to all of you, on I go into my year of being 53!


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Fifty Three

Tomorrow, September 23rd, I will be fifty three. Last year on the day before my birthday I was having serious pity party, for some reason. I couldn't quite put my finger on it, and I felt really sorry for those around me, because they got to suffer through it with me. Today, one year later, I feel so different. To borrow from the Eagles, I have a "peaceful easy feeling", haha! I feel really good, I am more healthy, I am calmer and I have a very clear mind, although I am still wandering aimlessly trying to figure out what if anything I want to do with clay and craft in general. Right now its all about feeling good about my physical and mental state.

On Friday, I had my weekly weigh in at Weight Watchers. I was up one pound. I expected that. I went into some serious post Tyler comfort food eating, Budweiser and Mac and Cheese, uh huh! Quite a bit of it. Friday, getting on the scale at the meeting got me back on track, that's why I go to these meetings. They get me focused on my goals. So when I got home I sat down for a minute, alone in the house. I ate a good lunch and I put on my walking shoes. I loaded up my backpack with ten pounds and headed out the door. Just as I stepped out, a light rain started to fall. Great! I thought about going back in and having a warm cup of tea, but instead I grabbed my raincoat and went for my four miles anyway. It was a gentle rain, it was warm, and it was beautiful. I had a long chat with myself as the rain fell and I splashed through the standing water on the road. It felt good walking in the rain, it felt good to do something healthy for my body and my mind. I still have ten pounds to go, but I have the tools to make this happen and it will, with time and determination.

Wesley is home this weekend for my birthday. Today we went for the four miles together, it felt so great to have her by my side. She is out shopping with her dad now, and I just finished some yoga and lunch out on the porch. I am so happy to be alive these days. The sky is blue, the weather cool, the days are beautiful and I have this amazing family. There is no reason for a pity party today!
It's a good day to be alive!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Whipping Man

I am working on one of the most amazing plays right now. We started production meetings this week at The Artscenter for Whipping Man. It is set during the Civil War, only three characters. A deserter from the war and two of his former slaves, now free men. The script is powerful and unsettling, there is a leg amputation in the first act, can't wait to see how we pull that one off (so to speak haha!), there is a seder because the slave owners were Jewish and the slaves were brought up to be Jewish as well. There is an interracial pregnancy and then at the end the slave and the owner find out they are brothers! Lots of issues addressed in this play and the actors address them brilliantly. These are three of the most professional actors I have ever worked with. It's going to be a great show!

Now begins my search for Antebellum props and furnishings, heaven! I am also going to watch again Ken Burns documentary on the war. I remember some of it from when it first came out, but now I am looking at it from a design perspective. It's on Netflix, so that will be my TV watching for this week.

I've had a week of long wonderful conversations on the phone with Wesley, my happy college girl. Gerry is working nights now, so we have been walking in the mornings. We are also purging like people possessed. Yesterday was under the house day. We seem to have dumped all kinds of crap "we might need" under there and we haven't needed it in nine years, so off it all went to the recycling center.
It feels so good to be getting rid of all the junk we have accumulated. Cleansing and clearing going on all over the place!

If you have a Civil War rifle, a chandelier or a horse saddle, I'm in the market for them and a few other things :-)

Saturday, September 14, 2013

That Girl, This Girl

Before I start with a long purging session of thoughts, I wanted to take a moment and thank all of you for your very kind comments on my last post and all of the very sweet emails. It was a long and lonely week here without my dog, and I have gone back and re read all of your comments several times, they were most comforting! Thanks to all of you for your sympathy, I know too many of you have had the same experience. It has been a week of introspection and quiet thinking and melancholia, that's for sure.

I have been browsing through my hard drive looking at old photos of Tyler and Wesley and finding photos of me and of Gerry that I had forgotten about. This first photo was taken at Randolph Community College in Asheboro where I first met Gerry. I was modeling for one of the photography students. The one perk to modeling for them was that they gave me nice prints. In this photo,  I am the same age as my daughter is right now. Wow, 20 years old, where does the time go?!
I looked at this photo this morning and wondered,  where is that person? Where did she go?

Look at that skinny girl! That girl knew who she was and what she wanted. I was there to get a design degree and get out as soon as I could and find a job in the furniture industry. That was the only thing on my mind. That and a cute boy I saw walking through campus :)
The furniture industry is long gone, design work gone, skinny girl that knew what she wanted....gone. The boy is still around!

I would like to find that girl again. She washed her hair, bought cute clothes, ate everything in sight without gaining an ounce, worked her ass off, traveled. She was defiant and self confident, and she knew exactly who she was. Somewhere along the way, she got lost.......

me and Gerry on our 24th anniversary

That girl got married, became a mom, left the furniture industry, got obsessed with clay, gained 40 pounds, and became this girl. A very happy girl, but different. All of it has been wonderful (except the weight gain) and has enriched my life greatly, but I feel like I lost touch with who I used to be. Life changes us, makes us better, or stronger, or in some cases weaker, or smarter. My journey has been rewarding and fun and interesting, but I feel like I am looking for myself all over again. Is this something people go through after turning 50 I wonder? I turn 53 next week, time to start the second half of my life I suppose. This girl needs to figure out who the hell she is.....

I had lunch with my very wise friend Meredith last week and I told her I feel like I have been wandering around aimlessly this past year, like I am lost or something. Its not a bad feeling and I don't mind it, but I feel like something needs to happen. Her comment to me was that perhaps I'm not lost but I am finding myself. Hmmmm.......... maybe so.......

Losing Tyler this week has been the last episode in my empty nest experience. It feels like maybe it's ME time again. Time to figure out what I really want. Gerry has been smart and stayed the course with a strong and successful career. I have followed him on that journey, raised Wesley to be the best person she could grow to be and fed and walked the dog. I learned how to make pretty objects out of clay.
 I learned to weave. But recently I have gone back to what I first truly loved, styling sets. I am good at it, I love doing it. I'm so bored with clay right now, and can't really afford the yarn I want to weave with. But I stood on the stage at the Artscenter the other night, and that smell, those purple gels on the lights, the curtains, the props, the actors, the script.......

food for my soul, man! If only I could fall in love with a craft that I could actually make a living with! Nothing I love to do pays worth a damn.

The first big step on my apparent new journey has been reclaiming my body. Friday was weigh in at WW. Since July 5, I have now officially lost 10 1/2 pounds!!!! Whoop!!!!  We went hiking at Pilot Mountain on Monday and for the first time in several years, I didn't feel like my heart was going to explode and my legs weren't shaking weakly on the downhill and I felt strong for the first time in a very long while. It felt amazing to see how much progress I have made in just two months. I have been working my ass off and the payoff was sweeeet. Last fall, we went to Pilot Mt. and I didn't even walk down to the lower trail, because I knew how difficult the climb out would be. I didn't think I could make it. I have climbed this rock and yet I had reached a point where I couldn't feel confident just walking on the damn trail!

I still have ten pounds to go, but I have no worries, it's been easy on this program and I feel a glimmer of that girl in the first photo coming back. Maybe that's why I found that photo this morning........

maybe she's back!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


It's been a long and weary weekend for us. We woke up to a very sick dog on Friday. Tyler had cancer and was growing steadily weaker all last week, but Friday he finally decided he was done with it. We called the vet at 10am and discussed our euthanasia options and made an appointment for 2pm. 

So began the last four hours I would spend with my fourteen year old dog. Watching a clock tick away the hours of your pet's life is not a fun thing.

I brought his blanket out onto the porch, made myself a pot of tea, and sat there with him, holding his paw, rubbing his head, and helping him begin his passage from this world. The day was beautiful, Carolina blue sky, cool breeze, stillness in the air and we sat together for those last hours. He was refusing food, I needed something, and decided a peanut butter and jelly sandwich was about the only thing I could choke down. I brought it out on the porch, sat on the blanket, Tyler lifted his head, took a sniff. Oh yeah, bread crust from my mom, yum. I gave him a bite, then another, then another, he ate my whole sandwich :-)  and so my last memory of Tyler will be sitting on the front porch sharing a PB&J with my sweet dog.

The drive to the vet in Pittsboro was long, long, long. I put on the classical music radio station, rolled down the windows and cried all the way there. By the time I got to the vet I was composing myself and the sweetest girls on the planet came out to get him. We went in to the room with him and Dr. Shama met us. She is an angel sent from heaven. I have never felt so much peace and kindness come from one person. She sat on the floor with Tyler, he put his head in her lap and she told us how she would help him go peacefully and he was comforted and not scared at all. 

I could not imagine a more gentle and peaceful death for an animal than Tyler had. Trying hard not to grieve his passing, we chose to celebrate the life he had, and what a great life it was. He enriched our lives so much and shared with us his complete and total bliss for living. 

Tyler and Wesley having breakfast in my soon to be new studio

And then we had to break the news to Wesley. Tell her the dog she has had with her since she was seven years old, was gone. On Monday we drove to Winston Salem, picked her up at her house and drove up to Pilot Mountain for a picnic and a hike. We had such a great walk, laughed a lot, caught up on all the school news and had a great afternoon. We stopped along the trail, and told her. We cried, we laughed and we said goodbye to our sweet best friend.

Tyler was born the day after Dale Earnhardt was killed in Daytona. Gerry was rushing around getting things together to go to Charlotte to cover the news of his death and Tyler's mom decided right then to go into labor. My best friend Lisa went and got our kids from school, helped Gerry get his shit together and then stayed by my side to laugh and cry with me and our kids as we watched little puppies come into the world. Cassie managed to push out 8 puppies but by then she was exhausted and could not push enough to get the last one out. The last one was Tyler and I helped pull him out. What an amazing experience. Wesley was seven and was there to see the puppies being born. For eight weeks we had nine puppy fur balls and one really obsessive mama dog in our garage. What a party! Our neighbors were constantly over to visit and play with the puppies, we had kids and puppies and moms and dads around all the time it seemed.  What a fun time! One by one we found homes for them and got Gerry used to the idea that we would be keeping one of them. There was no way Tyler was leaving us!

This year we stayed around here for our vacation, because Tyler was old, we didn't want to board him or have someone else looking after him while we were gone. So we rented a cabin and took him along for his last vacation.

He couldn't go hiking with us like he used to and he slept a lot. He got sick during the night and I was afraid we would lose him that week, but he rallied and got better. I'm so glad we made the choice to take us with him that week, we made good memories.

Here is the letter we got from the Dr. Shama yesterday. God bless this girl! The staff at Hill Creek Veterinary Hospital in Pittsboro is beyond exceptional!

So, we say goodbye to the sweetest dog I have ever owned. He wasn't my dog, or Gerry's dog, or Wesley's dog. He was OUR dog. He loved each of us equally and unconditionally and we are all hurting so much right now from his death.

We are waiting on his ashes. I thought about making an urn for him, I have clay after all, and then we thought about taking the ashes to the beach, or the mountains. But we have decided that we will take them to the river where the monks released the sand mandala this past summer and leave his ashes there where the monks blessed the water and the sand. Since Wesley spent so much time with the mandala this sumer, it seemed like a fitting place. The vet is also making us a clay paw print, I wish I had thought of that, but I am so glad they offered it.

Our house is quiet with the ghost of Tyler very present. I still hear his toe nails tapping on the hardwood floor, still hear his collar jingling, hear his tongue lapping up water from his bowl. I open the door to let him out, I look for him under Gerry's desk, under our kitchen table. He is everywhere, and he is nowhere.

I miss him so much...............

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Re-purposed rooms

I have posted views of this room several times on my blog over the years. It began as my clay room, I had a wheel in here and tried in vain to make pottery in here, carrying ware boards full of pottery down two flights of stairs to my kiln. It makes me groan just to think about those days, ugh.... I suppose when you are desperately in love with clay you will do anything, not these days! It was also the art room for awhile and I still have all of my art supplies in a closet, just pared down quite a bit, now that I no longer have school projects to do (help with!)
This past weekend, I moved everything out and made it my weaving room. It is upstairs, tucked in quietly, the sun comes in the window most of the day and it is a quiet space, a good place to weave. The panels hanging in the windows are bed sheets my friend Maureen gave me. I have dyed them with rusty bits of things, thinking one day I would make strips and weave them, but they look so tranquil in the sunlight, I may just have to keep them like this.

I brought up some favorite art pieces from friends. Chicken by Shannon Bueker, cow, Laura Farrow, felted pig Gerry gave me for my birthday, felted sheep (tiny one on the shelf), Cindy Shake.

Moose hair also from Cindy via Alaska, little house pendant, Trish via Alberta, little baby bird bones from Hillsborough.

It appears that I like blue yarn as well as blue pottery. Hey, I live in Chapel Hill, Carolina Blue country, so it only seems right, don't you think?!

This is the best this room has looked. What a different craft weaving is from clay. For one thing, no DIRT! and everything weighs less.  I think I am going to enjoy this space this winter when it's all cold outside and the sun is warming this room up nicely. Everything is organized and clean and ready for creating.

And down below, I have a view of my clay studio. Not to be forgotten, but I need a rest from it.

I spent the past three days going through closets, drawers, and rooms, purging, purging. We got rid of an old uncomfortable leather sofa, a very heavy black steel desk that I could not move at all, lots of old kitchen stuff, art supplies and junk. It feels so good to be getting rid of unnecessary clutter. So metaphorical and cleansing. Ridding myself of excess weight and baggage all around!

Time to get creative!