Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Happy Halloween My Deer

My daughter loves Halloween. When she was a little girl, we had the hugest neighborhood Halloween parties at our house in Greensboro, they could beat Martha Stewart hands down. I was a seriously over achieving mom back in the day. Invitations went out in the form of treat bags in everyone's mail box, sometimes with a scavenger hunt attached, or a riddle book, over the top, really. We had a hay ride courtesy of the Foster's wagon, we had a haunted trail thanks to Gerry and Rusty and John, superdads. The moms hung out at my house drinking wine while the dads took the kids out and scared the crap out of them, sometimes literally haha. Lisa and Lisa, my pals. I made pizzas, Lisa F. brought popcorn balls and sweets, Lisa W. brought the alcohol! In later years, we all went for the hay ride and brought the alcohol along with us. 

The party got bigger and bigger every year, people started inviting themselves, the more the merrier. The last one we had was the last day in our house in Greensboro. The furniture was in the moving truck, the house was empty, perfect for a haunting! We sat in the living room on the floor, ate pizza, cried, laughed, said goodbye. Those parties spoiled my child. Every year I get emails from my pals reminding me that their kids still long for those parties too. Wesley still wants a Halloween like that every year and sometimes it just doesn't happen. This year she had a great costume idea, she wanted to be Bambi, after seeing the movie at school. Great! Where is she going to go to be Bambi at school!?

I was so worried about her holiday this year, a new year in her own house, at college, how was that going to work out? Apparently just fine. I got this text  and pic the other night around 11:30.
" Hi mom, going to a party, my costume worked out great!" I brought her some tree branches from Linville for her antlers since she has no trees in her yard. She wore a brown velvet dress and did her makeup.  I love this child! 

Wesley would always disappear into her room the day before Halloween and come out with some amazing outfit. No store bought costumes for us. When we moved to Charlotte we had the luxury of the costume shop at the Charlotte Rep. That first year on our own without our friends Wes came up with a Pirates of the Caribbean costume ala Johnny Depp and won a look alike contest at a local store. 
We were still sad, missing our friends. so we got in the car and drove to Greensboro. We did this for a few years until Wesley could find her way in a new place.

Tomorrow is Halloween and Gerry will be shooting some sporting event, basketball or hockey, I forget. Our neighborhood is not of the trick or treat variety, so I plan to turn out all the lights and watch a good movie. What I would like to do is get in my car and go see my Lisas. I sure do miss those pals of mine the most around this time of year. We raised out kids together and gave them an enchanted childhood on Hunter's Glen. I can only hope for the same for Wesley and her own family one day.....

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

From one extreme to another

On Saturday we left behind the quiet memories of the woods, the mountain streams, the beautiful fall colors, the snow falling gently on Grandfather Mountain, the Blue Ridge Mts., and we got on Interstate 40, or as I think of it, Death Hwy., and we headed over to Raleigh to the State Fair.

I have fond memories of this fair. It's the first place I saw a pottery wheel demo and my addiction with clay began. I have memories of the prize winning canned goods, the quilts, the farm animals the 4H kids raised, the smell of funnel cakes and roasted corn, the crisp fall air, the sounds from the midway.....

What I don't remember is feeling like I was shoved into a sardine can with the rest of the human population on this planet. When did this fair get so crowded!? There were literally times when we could not move an inch for the crowds. It was the most people I have ever seen gathered in once place and it was kinda scary. I did not like it, not one little bit! Most of those people were eating anything fried. Including me.

Oh look, says I, Pottery!!! A safe haven!! I will like this place.

Oh, but how wrong I was. I didn't like this either. There was sooooo much pottery and about 1% of it was good. The rest of it looked like the shelves at the local community clay studio for beginner classes. It made my stomach hurt to look at all of that pottery and not enjoy the experience. Have I really lost my love of pottery or is there just too much of it?!  I got out of there pretty quickly, something that seems odd for me. Usually I linger for a very long time if there is pottery to be seen.....

What I did like was the Funnel Cake. It you are a reader of my blog and you have a good memory, you will remember a post where I bitched about the funnel cake vendor making all the money at a festival I did, and how sad it was that people will spend their last dollars on a brief encounter with food, when they could buy a handmade craft that will last and last. Well, I was one of those that gorged on funnel cake and left the pottery where it was. I also ate a falafel pita and some ribbon fries, basically I could have just brought along a pint of grease and sipped on that! But when you are at a fair, the smell is unreal, your mouth just waters for that grease.

Remember when the State Fair was all about the cows and pigs and sheep, and the strawberry preserves and the blue ribbon apple pie? This is the fair I longed for. We did get into the arena where the cows were, and saw some bunnies, and a few pigs, but mostly what we saw were people eating anything fried.

It's hard to find healthy food at the fair, but the corn roasters had it going on. Of course we didn't choose the healthy food exactly, although the falafel did have some veggies on it to soak up the grease.My weight watchers program took a backseat for the day!

This is how Gerry spent his birthday. His cake was deep fried and he wandered aimlessly for a few hours among way too many of the human population, 80% of which were overweight and gaining more as they walked along chewing on their turkey legs and fried twinkies.

We really did have fun, but we kept a good mental head and just went with the flow. It's not something I look forward to doing again, and I worry about this overcrowded unhealthy planet we are living on. Now if all of those people that we walked amongst could come together and do something positive and good it would be some awesome power, but they won't, they will just eat... in blissful ignorance.

Leaving was also an interesting experience. There were cars coming in and going out for miles and miles, backed up onto the interstate, traffic cops everywhere, not being paid to protect our cities and towns, but being paid to show stupid drivers the way to the fair so they could get a corndog!

Mercy! I'm ready to head back to the hills and never come out

peace ya'll

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Girl plans, God laughs

We have been planning a backpack trip in the mountains with our friend Corky and his brother Tim for weeks and weeks. I trained for this trip! Last weekend while Wesley was home, I got my pack all packed up and went for a trial run in the neighborhood to make sure I could still carry a 30 pound pack. It just so happens that walking hills four miles a day for three months will indeed get you in shape to carry a pack! I was really happy with myself, I felt strong and ready for this trip. Here I am 14 pounds lighter with a heavy pack, yeah! I had even prepared my head mentally for a cold trip and I was good to go.

Then, Tuesday just before we were to leave for our week in the woods, I woke up at 5am with a fever, vomiting, aches, and that other vile stuff that comes along with a bug. WTF! I was so ready for this trip. We had spent the prior week planning and packing and getting ready. There was nothing else to do but cancel our trip. Tim and Corky went on without us......

Tuesday night around 10:30 my fever broke, and like a light switch, I felt better instantly. I have no idea what I had, but all of a sudden I was fine. We got up Wednesday, I felt really good and Gerry wasn't sick, so we decided that since we were all packed up, we should go somewhere and camp. We were hesitant to go into the backcountry in case I had a relapse or Gerry got sick, so we headed to our favorite place to camp, Julian Price park. Since the temps were in the low 30's there were very few people there and we had the back camp area to ourselves. We had down sleeping bags that were cozy and warm and we (this is pitiful) had an iphone and my ipad with Gerry's verizon wireless thingy, so we crawled into our bags, listening to the sleet hit the tent, and we watched Weeds on Netflix while we texted Wesley instagram photos of us. I scorn this type of behavior most days, but it kept my mind off of the sleet and the 30 mile an hour winds and the fact that I might throw up again at anytime, so I went with it!

We woke to a very cold morning, but the sunrise we saw was magnificent and the wind had calmed long enough for us to have some coffee and pack our camp up. We heard snow was coming and Gerry had a voucher for a free night at a Marriott, so a room in Boone was looking pretty good for the second night out.

We hiked around Price Lake, we hiked around Linvile Falls, we hiked and we hiked. We rode around on dirt roads back in the hills, we drove down to Linville Gorge, we ate well, we laid down on the ground in the sun, we dreamed about a house on a piece of land we found for sale.... we hid from the world.

The fall colors were beautiful. We saw the snow fall on Grandfather Mt., we breathed cold mountain air. We were well.

While riding around on some of the back roads, we came across this piece of land for sale near the parkway. It is remote but convenient to towns and backs up to National park land. Now, let me see how we can make this dream a reality!

The right technical gear can make a cold weather camping trip much more manageable. We have down jackets, down sleeping bags, a good tent, and a jet boil stove that has a french press attachment for coffee! There is nothing like a cold sunrise in the mountains with a cup of fresh pressed coffee. All was right with the world at that moment. The light on the yellow leaves was golden against the snow clouds that were forming in the sky. The air was fresh and clean, the leaves crunched under our feet. A perfect morning.

The night at the Marriott paid off. We woke up to an inch of snow on the ground and a very cold early winter morning in Boone. We spent the day in Boone shopping and eating chili and then drove back through Winston Salem just in time to take Wesley out to dinner and catch up with her.
Life is good!

Corky and Tim went on with their trip and had a fine time as well. We missed them and worried about them, hoping they were getting better weather than we were. They were a few miles back in the woods without a car and hotel close by like we had.
We are already planning a spring trip. Hopefully without snow and vomit!

ps: my camera batteries died early on, so I shot some of these pics with my ipad and then emailed them to myself the wrong way, so yes, some of the photos are shite! sorry! Gerry did an instagram documentary of our trip, maybe I can get that posted at some time.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Then and Now

Happy Birthday Gerry!!
We have been backpacking in the mountains all week for Gerry's birthday.
I'll post more pics later. Trying to get unpacked and have a nice day with the birthday boy.

Lots to tell.... stay tuned!
Here we are at Price Lake on the Blue Ridge Parkway this past week at 53 years old. This is the first place we ever camped together and we keep going back. What a beautiful spot this is for camping.

I shudder to post this, but I'm so damn proud of how much better we look now at 53 than we looked at 23. Young and stupid! What were we thinking with this Indiana Jones look, haha! We was goin' fishin'

We travel much lighter too. Backpack, sleeping bag, tent and a small bag of food and warm fleece. That's about all we had this time. Back then we brought the kitchen sink and about ten coolers. Love being older and wiser!
I'll be back soon......

Friday, October 18, 2013

Do you look down or do you look up?

I'm still trying to get in a four mile walk every day, although we have had a lot of rain again, and I have been less than motivated to get up and out on these gloomy days. Plus, I have been putting in some late nights at the theater in tech this week. Gerry and I at least got in a nice hike in the mts. and we got in a couple of shorter walks this week. Today I went for a long one after my weight watchers meeting. I weighed in at 148 today, whoop! 13 pounds lost since July!!! I have two more pounds to go to reach my 10% goal and then I will slowly creep back down to my happy weight at 138 or so. It took a few years to get these pounds on, it's gonna take a little longer to get them off, but it's happening. 

Today on my walk I had a metaphor moment. There are six pretty steep hills that I walk and it is a slog up them on some days. When I first started walking them, I could barely make it up the first one. I would keep my head down and just trudge on, thinking that if I didn't look up it wouldn't seem so daunting. But I never could keep my head down the whole way, I would eventually look up and see that I wasn't even halfway there, ugh!

Then one day, on the first hill, I picked a mailbox at the top of the hill, and focused on that. I just kept looking up and and heading for that mailbox, and somehow the climb didn't seem as bad. Today, I tackled the last really awful hill that I have been avoiding, it is soooo steep. But I felt good and  I'm getting ready for a backpack trip, so I figured I would go for it. I kept my head up, looked towards the top of the hill, and it really wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.

Then it occurred to me, I have been going through the same thing in my life. For the past ten years, I have had my head down, learning all I could cram in to my head about clay. I didn't look up, just kept on and on working at this craft. Then one day I looked up and I wasn't even halfway there. Still so far to go, so much to learn, to accomplish. And then my head sort of wanted to explode. So now I am moving forward with my head up, looking around, seeing what else is out there, and the world does not exist only for clay, like I thought it did. There is some more really fun stuff to do out there, and I don't have to just focus on clay if I don't want to. I'm loving being back in the theater, really truly feel like that is where my heart is, I have been building props, so fun, and I have signed up for a jewelry workshop in November. I started knitting a scarf, I made some clay beads, my hands must stay busy, but they don't have to be stuck in the mud all the time. I have finally got my head around my clay funk and it's all good.

Tonight is the opening of Whipping Man. I hope if you are in the area you can come see this very powerful play. It is one of the best productions I have been involved with. I've been looking for a Haggadah and unable to find one for the Seder scene so yesterday I just sucked it up and made one. It was fun to make and I thought, damn, why didn't I just do this to begin with. It's much more enjoyable to make a prop, duh! It turned out pretty cool except I forgot the hebrew is read back to front, so it's backwards, but so what.... it looks good, ha! The actors worked it out, as good actors will.

Wesley is home for a few days working on a screenplay for several competitions she has been nominated for. When she lets me tell you about them, I will. This is huge for her, fingers crossed!
It's nice to have her home, fingers tapping away on the keyboard. And she will be back at the theater with me tonight. I love when she can go to a show with me. She spent many long hours at the theater when we lived in Charlotte, doing her homework in the green room or out in the audience. Many late nights helping me pack up props or paint them or glue them, or whatever I needed help with. Some nights Gerry would come get her and take her to the newspaper with him, which was just down the street. Is it any wonder she is in film school? She has a good background for it!

Hope you all have a beautiful fall weekend. I'll be a mom for a few days.......ahhhh!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Props and properties

 It's been a busy month filled with prop shopping and set building and prop making. My blog is suffering a bit, there is no time to sit down and write, it seems.

I spent all last week looking for an old straw broom for this play. I suppose they weren't made that well back then and they didn't last, I never found one. So I sucked it up and just made the damn thing. should have done that in the first place. It turned out pretty great. I had an old handle around here that I was thinking of using one day for a sculpture, but it has a new use now. I got the straw at Michael's craft store and it's a mighty fine broom now.

I have been in my little world of prop shopping for days and days, my favorite thing ever, spending time in antique stores.......ahhh.............

The play that was in the theater before us left this spinning wheel, which had fallen apart. I glued it back together and it's a perfect prop for this show. Sorry for the photo, it's dark in there! Looks like the spinning wheel's a spinning, haha!  This one might come home with me, I would like to learn to spin, like I need another craft project, ha!

We are in tech this week and construction on the set is underway. I put in a long 13 hour day on Sunday but loved every second of it.

Yesterday Gerry and I took the day off and drove up to Stokes County. A friend of ours told us about this property for sale. This ten acres backs up to Hanging Rock State Park and it could be ours. Those rocks up there are Gerry's major distraction and they could be in his backyard.
Only one small problem. We would buy this land tomorrow, but there is a shale deposit with natural gas running right through this area, and you know what that means? Yep, they are proposing to Frack this land!!!!!!!!

You know.......... I feel like I am slipping down a dark deep hole living in this country, with no hope in sight for a government that has any sense whatsoever. We could buy this property, build our dream home and retire up here one day, never to be seen again. But will the fracking cause earthquakes here? Will the ground water get contaminated? Will the trucks hauling out the poison chemicals run by our house night and day? Will I have to look at wells and storage ponds in these beautiful pastures?

This spill happened recently in North Dakota, did you hear anything at all about it?

This is our college mate's new house, not bad, right? I hope they don't want to drill here, he has about 60 acres just waiting for some oil company to rape it.

So that's it for me right now. Busy busy with the theater. We open Friday night and maybe I can get back to some clay business after that. I really need to at least make some ornaments for the holidays!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Whipping Man

The Whipping Man presented by ArtsCenter Stage
from The ArtsCenter on Vimeo.

I am so proud and excited to be a part of this production. It's mostly what has been keeping me away from blogs and friends these past few weeks, but I'm having a good time!
Brilliant cast, crew and script. I have been having so much fun gathering props and set pieces and the people I am working with are so fantastic. Isn't life great when you work with amazing people!? Even this clip they put together is fabulous.

I hope if you are in the area you can come see this play, it's wonderful!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Back to my roots

 My poor mom. Every year she sends me a check for my birthday and the note always says, go by something pretty. And every year I buy something I need and want, and it usually doesn't fit the description of "pretty". This year, same thing. I needed some new hiking boots. We are planning a backpack trip for later in the month and I really don't have the shoes for it, they have all been abused by pottery. So I went to REI yesterday and got me some new Keens. Love them, and I am grateful for the money my mom sent, I'll just pretend they are pretty shoes, haha!

Gerry and Wesley gave me a new Camelback water bladder and some hiking poles, so I am good to go! We went up to Hanging Rock earlier this week, back to the crags we have climbed for years. These poles are so great, where were they twenty years ago when I was bitching about the descent on that miserable trail!? And no more taking my pack off and fumbling for my water bottle. Wish I had thought about these things years ago. It's not like they didn't exist....

Gerry got a little Stokes County rock fix, we had a great hike, had some lunch and then went to check out the new house of our old college mate that just bought land and built up there.

While we were talking to the builder at our friend's house, I mentioned that my grandmother (dad's mother) was buried up that way and asked if he knew where Palmyra church was. Turns out we were less than ten minutes away! Our friend bought land in the same location my "people" came from. Small world, isn't it?! My grandmother died in childbirth when my dad was twelve years old. Look at those dates, she was only forty years old... It's a sad tale, his life was pretty hard up there in Stokes County. His grandfather had a farm somewhere close by and this is where the family went to church. I found out that my grandmother Emma also lived on a farm nearby in Madison. Now here is some weird shit. Wesley's middle name is Madison and I bought that llama fiber from a farm in Madison. (Hum the Twilight Zone theme here while you read...)

I love the pastor's name, sort of perfect, wonder if he made that up, haha!

I am a Smith, with people in Stokes County, as they say in the south "Who are your people?"
Apparently a lot of them get buried here in this cemetery, there was a bunch of them!

It's really odd. Gerry and I have always felt a pull from this area. We love it up there, have rock climbed there for years at Saurtown, Moore's Wall and Pilot Mt. The funny thing is, from this cemetery you can see all three mountains. Maybe that's where we should be buried..... we have talked about buying land up there and now we even know someone living up there. Maybe one day we will and then we'll get some llamas :-)

Friday, October 4, 2013

Still saying goodbye

I received the most beautiful card from my friend Shannon Bueker this week (Not Now Kato blog here). This painting looks just like Tyler as a puppy. Gerry and I were both so touched by this card and Shannon's kind words. Shannon's work is extraordinary and I am pleased to have two of her pieces. One is a watercolor we gave Wesley for her birthday and one is a chicken painting I got for my birthday. Most of her work is out of my budget, but thankfully she is a smart artist and creates affordable pieces so we can all have a Shannon painting. One of these days I would love to buy a certain llama painting she has.....
I am so very lucky to be surrounded by artist friends. Artists are just some kind of special, aren't they!?

The cremation is finally over and I brought Tyler home in this beautiful little box. Carrying that box into this house was one of the most surreal experiences I have ever had. The vet also made a clay tile with his paw print for us. It isn't fired, so I worry that it will get broken. It is in a tin, but still, very fragile. I may try and find out what sort of clay they used and see if I can fire it in my kiln....

I seem to be creating little alters all over the place these days. One for his box with my beautiful Avalanche Looms weaving, one with his card and his paw print, and his food bowl with little heart rocks and a piece of his leach I cut and saved. This was one of the first bowls I ever made at Clayworks in Charlotte. That was a great glaze....

Little stripey rocks on the kitchen table from Elizabeth Bunsen, and a new page in the art journal Wes and I are sharing. She wrote this for my birthday. In all the years of celebrating my birthday, I never considered that it was the beginning of a new year. We always base "a new year" on January 1, but really each of us has our own "new year" don't we? This does feel like a fresh new year, full of promise and new beginnings. I am looking forward to 53. I just don't look forward to coming through the door each day when I get home. Tyler is no longer standing at the door, blocking my way so that I have to push past him. It is a feeling I have not moved past yet, that anticipation of him being there. Time will take care of these memories but they are still so fresh....

Thanks Shannon for the card, it will be long treasured!

PS: thanks for all the comments yesterday, Gerry and I were up in the hills so I didn't check in until late. Love your comments!!!!!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Long overdue cleaning

 For the past two days, me and my studio have been getting to know each other again. Lord have mercy, the spiders of the world came to live in this place over the summer while I had my little break up with clay. I have never seen so many cobwebs and dead curled up spiders in one place, and those little spider egg pod things..... ick!!!!

There was also quite a bit of mildew on the walls thanks to the very wet summer we had. So I took everything out and washed the walls, washed EVERYTHING. My body is aching, yes it is!

It feels great to have a clean studio,and I want to get back in there and get creative now. I forgot what a great space it is and how much I like being there. It has really good energy, and I'm ready to get back to work. It's so nice and clean. I just need to burn some sage or something to give it that extra special good energy.....

Seriously, how much crap do you need for pottery? This much?

A girl's gotta have a toolbox! All of these were my dad's except the blue one in the back. The one on the far right even has his name engraved on the top. Treasures.... must be where I got my love for hardware stores.

Not sure how many blocks of wood I really need, but I washed them all, I seem to use these all the time for stuff.

Ahhhh...... there's that afternoon light I love so much..........

I even cleaned the windows, nice and shiny and letting that beautiful light in. I might have mentioned before, the sign is a prop from Pump Boys and Dinettes, the most fun show I have ever done. I really miss those days.....

I think I will start with a few stars. It's getting about that time and I have sold all but this one.
It feels good to be thinking about clay, but I just got my loom all set up for the llama fiber and I have two plays to finish. I wish my mind could be more still, but it is what it is.
No work tomorrow though, Gerry is off and he wants to go hiking, so we are heading for the trails. I might get around to completing something one of these days....,,,