Friday, May 30, 2014

Oddities today

I was in need of an Asheboro fix this week, so Wes and I went today and had lunch at The Table, one of my favorite restaurants around these parts (as they say in the south). We met one of Seagorves finest potters, Meredith Heywood and caught up on what we have all been up to, such a great day!
It's never dull for Wesley when she comes along somewhere with me,my friends are so fun and oddities seem to pop up everywhere,like a monkey riding a banana. We saw this on Asheboro's little main street and I had to park the car so we could both get an Instagram pic.pitiful isn't it, the things we find to amuse ourselves with! 

Some ot the other things from our day: The sad melancholy Christian music in Hobby Lobby, I was looking for candle wax, but couldn't get out of that store fast enough, I find it a really depressing environment, they have waaaay too much pink stuff and the lights are too too bright. We had a great lunch with Meredith after running from that store, then went to an antique mall that has acres of Nascar memorabilia,Wesley is slightly obsessed right now. We bought a box set DVD Dale Earnhardt documentary, watched it tonight, actually a really well done film. This store also had sad Christian music playing,I find it difficult to shop to this genre of music, I have childhood flashbacks. Anyway the store owner was very nice, a true and getting more rare, southern gentleman. We told him that Wes had been to her first big nascar race and was a fan now, he said "yur  rurent, aren't cha? "  (you are ruined now aren't you). He told us to have a blessed day and we left, loving the fact that we live in the south and we actually understand what people say!

We stopped at a roadside flea market on the way home. There was meemaw, a man with one arm and a man with no teeth and a long pony tail. I can talk to these people, these are our southern kin. I had seen an iron kettle on a tripod when we drove by before lunch so I went back to see how much it was. I have a vision of me with a kettle,some beeswax and candle dipping going on. It's going to happen,I see it in my mind.  The kettle was gone when we came back, but there was another iron kettle without a tripod. I asked the man with no teeth how much, he held up one finger, I said "one dollar?" He said, "one hundredt of um". Well no thanks. While I was talking to him the man with one arm was putting together a miniature wooden swing and Wesely found a scorpion encased in resin and made into a belt buckle. It was one of the oddest things I think I have ever seen, I almost bought it since I am married to a Scorpio.

We drove on,we stopped on the other side of the median for a school bus, debating on whether or not this was the rule,but glad we stopped because we saw a boy with a chicken head hat get off and then another little boy with a bear head behind him. It was a really odd sight, you had to be there but we laughed pretty damn hard:-) it was a day of strange,but that's what I love about the south! And I am also so glad my daughter gets this weirdness and embraces it as her culture. One month she is with monks, the next month she is meditating in a Buddhist temple, then cheering on Rowdy Busch at Charlotte Motor Speedway, that's my girl! 

The farmers market in Carrboro was beyond beautiful on Wednesay and I came home with way more food than I meant to, there was just so much abundance and the farmers were smiling and nice and I was so thankful for their efforts to grow this amazing food. Thank you farmers!

Gerry and I will celebrate our 29th anniversary this weekend and it all started right there in Asheboro, sort of fitting I spent the day there today with our 21 year old daughter.....
who would have ever thought it?!
The chickens are foolish teenagers now and crack me up, it's better than TV, watching them. I am mesmerized. 

Monday, May 26, 2014

The to do list

I have been checking off my to do list this weekend, one thing at a time. It's a long long list. Gerry and Wesley have been in Charlotte all weekend covering the Nascar race and are coming home today, so there has been little distraction. They have been sending me photos, the one above I swiped from Gerry's instagram. I went to a race with Gerry years ago and it is definitely something you don't soon forget. What a crazy sport!

Gerry shoots from the roof, they have quite a nice view up there.

He bought Wes a Rowdy Bush hat. Perfect  race car driver's name, right? Gerry never goes to the infield and looks around, he seriously hates covering this sport, but yesterday he showed Wesley around all the merchandise tents. Check out the car parts in the background. honestly.... the things people will spend money on!

I can't seem to get a decent chick pic, they won't be still for one second. Look how long their little legs are getting! Yesterday morning their feathers were so ruffled, they looked like they had been doing acid all night, haha!  I will stop at their cage for a minute to see how they are and next thing I know, it's thirty minutes later, and I have been standing there just watching them. They are the sweetest things ever. Everybody ought to have some chicks in their living room :)
Yesterday, I was sitting on the ground in their coop, stapling chicken wire over the screen door for extra security, and the three of them crawled up in my lap and watched me work. I wish someone had been here to get a photo. I just love these little things!

My cat has showed a mild interest in the chicks,  but somehow she knows these are not for her. She doesn't go into that stalking cat mode when they are out in the yard, she just watches them from a distance, and seems a bit annoyed that she can't bite their heads off and leave them at the back door for me. I worry about the predators we do have though. Two nights ago I heard another murder in the back woods, I'm pretty sure it was the fox again. I can't tell you what a horrible thing it is to be awakened at 3am by the sound of an animal screaming as something is killing it. Very unsettling.... I wonder, is it my cat? and now, I'll be wondering if it's my chickens. Ugh, wish animals were vegetarians.

While I was working in the yard yesterday, I saw two huge vultures down by the creek eating what I suppose was the murder victim. It looked like an opossum, but I wasn't really into going down there and getting a closer look at whatever was being shredded. Maybe when they get the bones cleaned off, I'll go collect them.....

The neighbors chickens came over yesterday to see the new coop, even though you might recall we have asked them to please keep their hole digging chickens in their yard, apparently they have short term memory loss. I don't have the heart to run them off, they are so sweet and so pretty, and Gerry isn't here to fuss about them, hee hee :)  shhhh, don't tell.

While Gerry and Wesley have been gone I have been trying to catch up on some projects long overdue. Our back deck railing has been looking dated and ugly for a long time, but I had pottery to make and sell, so attempting to paint all of those little railings was way down on the list of things to do. I tackled it yesterday. The weather has been great for outdoor projects and I had no distractions, so I began. Ran out of paint about half way through, got bored really fast, painting white over a dark green has proven to be a pain in the ass, three coats for each rail, so maybe I'll finish up later this week. My hands are still sore from coop building. My right index finger has a puncture from drilling a screw in it, and yesterday I cut the tip of my left index finger, so my hands are toast right now.

Because I don't already have enough to do, I made some candles too. I have this interest in making candles all of a sudden, no idea where this came from, other than I have a brain that is in overdrive in the wanting to make a craft department.  I'm still wanting to make soap, there was a soap making class this past weekend around here, but it slipped my mind, so I made candles. Gerry and Wesley gave me this candle making book from Old Salem for Mother's Day. These are my first attempt at bees wax  votives. Sounds easy enough, right? Well, it's not that simple. I can't get the tops all pretty and even, my wax was either too hot or too cold, don't know which. They smell great though and the glow from the golden bees wax illuminated is so pretty and golden. Maybe one of these days, I will make candle holders and offer candles to go with them...... one of these days.......

I should be out in my studio making pottery and trying to sell some of it, but the labor involved in making pottery right now is not that appealing to my tired sore body, after all the construction and house repair projects I have been taking care of. When you ignore a house for ten years and obsess over clay instead, you pay for it down the road. Gerry has enough on his plate working for the AP and keeping up the yard, so I am trying to do as much as I can around here, but it really takes away from clay time. If we ever find that piece of land and have a garden, I don't know if there will be any time at all for clay. Right now, there are lots of other things to take care of, so I'm just checking off the to do list, one by one......

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


 I like a lot of alone time. I like to work alone, I like to be in my car alone, I like doing things alone. I suppose that comes from being an only child and living in my own little world for so many years.
Don't get me wrong, I do like being with people as well. I like being with friends and family, but I crave aloneness. So does Wesley and lucky for me I live with people that understand this about me.
I guess, in a way, it is my own form of meditation.

There are some things you just can't do alone though. In between doing the play, moving Wesley back home, Gerry shooting Nascar and coping with new baby chicks in the house, the three of us managed to build a chicken coop together. This was a monumental task, considering that my carpentry skills are minimal at best, I can build theater stuff, but I have never built anything that had to stand for very long.
And as Gerry repeated over and over in the days that we built this, "I shoot pictures for a living".
There was a fair amount of swearing, but we didn't fight, which was a proper achievement, and Wesley pitched in to help, which rarely happens. So all in all, I would say the chicken coop construction was a big success. It is sturdy, it is almost level, just a hair off, and it will keep the chicks safe and dry once they are ready to move in. We measured wrong and it is about a foot too tall, but that's ok, I can live with it. We chose not to do the egg box thing, because our skills are limited and that would have been a challenge, and I was sort of over being challenged after putting the coop door on by myself. I have some old apple crates and we will use those until we see if they really want to have a box to lay eggs in.
The coop is roomy and cozy, they should be fine with popping eggs out in there. I only have one concern and that is predators. We have a fox that screams in the night several times a week and I know he is going to be the first visitor. I am planning to just put them up for the night inside the coop and hope we have made it snug enough that unwanted visitors can't get in. I like the look of chicken wire, although I understand it can be chewed through. We'll see how this goes..... so many things want to eat chickens, poor things!

I think the coop is just perfect, and I am proud of the three of us for taking this on and gittin er done. Wes and I picked up the quilt painting at a roadside farm stand the other day in Pittsboro. We were passing by after breakfast and Wesley spotted them. $10 for this one, I love it. The star was made from tobacco sticks, I got it at the Liberty Antiques Festival before I even knew I was going to have chicks. Because I have a design background and a maddening aesthetic, I planned the colors around having black, white and red hens. Don't you think the yellow of the door and the white of the coop will accent them nicely? I know...... but still......

We postponed the hanging of the door until the last thing, because our last door hanging project on my studio was a complicated effort. I seem to have hinge dyslexia, I can't for the life of me understand how a hinge goes on. This went really well though, the door fits perfectly and was on in a matter of minutes. What was wrong with us last time I wonder?!

The chicks are growing so fast. They are really funny to watch and their little personalities are becoming more apparent each day. We take them out for awhile every day for some worm consumption, they slurp them up like spaghetti noodles. So ick!

They like to pretend I am a tree and they roost on me. That is paint not poop on my shirt, by the way :)

Wesley talked me into going to the Won Buddhism temple for meditation last Sunday. I have only meditated with the monks for a very short time and getting me to be still for an hour seemed nearly impossible. I was almost able to sit through the hour meditation, my leg fell asleep at one point and I got preoccupied with that, then a man started snoring and I got preoccupied at the wonder of someone being able to sleep while a group of people sat all around him meditating, was he really that tired or so comfortable with all of us and his environment that he just had a peaceful rest? I also spent some time thinking about the bathroom there and how beautiful it was and how I really like it when there are nice smells around me and beautiful objects to look at. I started thinking about soap making again, and aromatherapy, and, and, and...... still mind? nope....
Wesley had a pretty intense experience with her meditation and Laura who went with us, seemed to benefit from the stillness, but I don't think I did it right. My mind was racing a million miles a minute like it always does. I was just still in body only, unlike most of the day when I am in constant motion, mind and body. I suppose meditation will be good for me, I don't have stress, but I do have the can't sit stills.

It is a lovely place and I really enjoyed the experience, but I still have suspicions about organized religions, even Buddhism. I always feel like I am in a brain washing session. I know, shame on me, but I have had many years of run ins with church stuff. I might just have to meditate with the chickens and leave it with that!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Time flies.....

The week has flown by. Theater, chicks, building a coop, moving Wesley home, preparing meals. My studio has become a base for building the coop, my upstairs weaving and jewelry space is storing all of Welsey's things from her college house, my office space holds her mattress, desk and dresser. There is no space for making right now, no time for making. Only family and animals are getting my attention right now. One day there will be time for making, now is not it. 

Our power went off yesterday, the chicks got scared. I made a little nest with a blanket in my lap and they slept there until their heat lamp came back on. They have to be in 95 degree warmth right now, so  my body heat had to do until we got the power back. It was a nice time to be still. The rain fell hard all day, Wesley napped, the chicks napped, I read. It's good to have a stillness day.......

This was my great grandmother's lamp. Every time I use it, I think about the times she must have sat by this lamp to sew or read or just rock a baby, she had 10 of them. More work than three chicks and a grown up daughter, that's for sure!

Wesley Broome instagram

Monday, May 12, 2014

With These Hands

I hope everyone had a great weekend and if you were involved with mom activities, I hope they were very special! My mom activities certainly were, especially now that I have my child home and three new babies in the house. The cat is not pleased with any of this however. She was numero uno this winter and she is being a bit snobby right now.

We had a lovely Mothers Day around here. Wesley and I cooked a big lunch inspired by a new Indian cookbook I picked up. We made a vegetable stew with all sorts of flavors of India and a tumeric/cinnamon/cardamon rice, potato samosas and naan. I made some brownies for dessert and we feasted.

Cups, in case you wondered: left to right: Susan Wells, Joseph Sand (from Mark Hewitt days), and Ronan Peterson. All so great to drink from.

We took the chicks outside, laid in the yard with them, Wesley and Gerry played music, we read, we watched them dig up their very first worm and fight over it. I just kept saying  I bet no one was having a better Mothers Day than me!

So many handmade things in my house. The soup tureen here was made by my mom when I was a little girl. When we first moved to Myrtle Beach she took a slip casting ceramics class so she could meet people. The class was in the basement of Chapin Library. Funny how I did the same thing when I first moved here. It's a great community to seek out friends, don't you think? Some of those people I met are still my friends today.

The vase came from a gallery that used to be in Sanford. Gerry stopped by there on the way home from the U.S. Open last time it was in Pinehurst and bought it for me to thank me for helping him at the tournament. The handmade wooden bowl, a Christmas gift from Wes and Gerry, cups and tray handmade. I love using these items and they are a part of our day, every day. I just think somehow it makes everything a little more special when you know someone used their hands to create something.

The wine was a gift from a neighbor. Gerry was out walking the other day and found an iphone with a smashed screen but still working. It was password protected so we waited to see if anyone would call to locate it. Three days later a neighbor at the end of our street called. He came to pick it up and said, oh hey, my wife buys your art. That was fun! He wanted to pay me and of course I refused, but the next day I found this bottle of wine on the front porch. How nice, karma is good.

Speaking of karma, I got a sweet email from both Tashi and Jamphel for Mothers Day. Jamphel's note said:  " I give you special gift, That's compassion and prayer for you, long life and happiness. 
Be happy and enjoy the mother day's party,
I miss all you and see you again,

Some of you have asked about the monks. They are in Louisville Ky. this week and leave to go back to India on the 14th. We get emails every week, sometimes every day and they have sent of photos of their travels. Every email wishes for us to come to India to see them. We hope to do just that one of these days.......

ps: I tried leaving comments on several of your blogs last night with my ipad, but they vanished. I don't know why, but I enjoyed everyone's postings last week and have caught up with all the blogs I read, just can't always leave a comment unless I am on my laptop.... grrr. 

Sunday, May 11, 2014


Twenty one years ago, I had been a mom for 15 days on Mothers Day. I was sick from dehydration, Gerry and I were both exhausted, and my dad was dying from cancer. We had to drive to Charlotte on that Sunday because Gerry's dad had a church then and he dedicated babies on Mothers Day. So I had to put on a dress and heels (I shudder just thinking about what I wore) and get in the car with a tired husband and a new baby and go to Antioch Baptist Church so my daughter could be dedicated to the lord (except she is more dedicated to Buddha I think.) It was wonderful and awful all at the same time. My father in law stood in front of his congregation, holding up his new granddaughter, the proudest man in the church that day, and all was right with the world. I get teary even now thinking about that day.

Today, I am in my own church. Wesley and Gerry are sitting on the front porch, Gerry with his guitar and Wesley with her banjo. We just had blueberry pancakes and we are going to do nothing today but rest. We packed Wesley up this weekend and brought her and three carloads of stuff home for the summer. I'm tired from tech week, Gerry is tired from basketball season and Wes is completely worn out from a rough year of film school. Today begins our summer resting....

See the little yellow felt chicken in the first photo? Wesley sewed that for me when she was in second grade I believe. I wanted chickens, I obsessed over them, but I couldn't wrap my head around having them at the time with our busy lives. I knew I wanted to have some one day. My little girl knew this and somehow, on her own she cut out and sewed this little chicken for me for Mothers Day. It is one of the most special gifts I have ever gotten. Until Friday....

Friday, I was standing at the kitchen sink, holding something and Gerry walked in with a box. There was chirping sounds coming from inside the box and he had a very suspicious grin on his face. I dropped whatever I was holding as I worked it out in my brain that he had brought me some chickens...
I was stunned, speechless, and then I cried.
I am a new mom again.
I have three little barred rock chicks. The cutest little peeping, shitting things I have ever seen!!!

We got my tired little girl home, brought a quilt out on the front lawn and laid there, playing with our new babies.
We wore them out.
I have named them Sybil (my grandmother) Etta (Gerry's grandmother who taught me to make biscuits)
and Dora (Gerry's other grandmother who he loved dearly). Three of the sassiest and most influential women in our lives who are sadly no longer with us. I know these little babies will grow up to be sassy hens and I wanted them to have old fashioned names, because to me the barred rock hens are sort of old fashioned looking. They already seem to be taking on the characteristics of their namesakes. Maybe they are reincarnations, haha!

Best of days to all of you moms out there today. Even if you don't have a child yourself, you still count as a mom to me. You care for your friends, your pets, your families. If you give your love and care to someone and you are a female, YOU are a mom!
Love to all,

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Skill Set... not what they're looking for

I have been putting in some long hours at the theater lately. We are in tech this week for Gem of the Ocean. It's a production that has had a few bumps, there was a sick child so we lost the stage manager, sick mother, lost an actor, family death so actor missed some rehearsal. We have a new stage manager who has never done this before, our assistant stage managers are 14 year old girls, new actor learning his lines two weeks before the show, one actor still reading her lines from the book. The list goes on. The props are endless and hard to find. There was living room furniture to find, kitchen furniture, a table that has to hold a 6'2" man that has died, a cast iron wood stove-heavy! They eat, they drink, they need guns- so hard to find. But this is my wheel house, I am good at this.

Through all of it, the director keeps chanting his mantra: adapt and overcome. This phrase has stuck in my head. The kindness and understanding of the monks has stayed in my head. And so I am trying to practice these things. I have had my moments, immature and negative comments, the producer was unhappy with me for a minute because I have no filter anymore, my thoughts pour out of my mouth and my eyes before I know it.  I'm tired.

Mostly I am extremely frustrated with my situation. I LOVE doing theater. I love making art. Neither of them pay me for the hours I put in. I mean, it is beyond reason how little money I make for the labor and hard work involved. Yesterday, I went and bought collard greens, apple juice for the whiskey bottles, because the actors didn't want the tea I brought the day before, searched for a fountain pen and a proper ink well, gathered things in my house, made a penal code book, typed a letter to Solomon, made an arrest warrant. Then I went to the theater, unloaded all the props, helped paint the set, helped move wall flats, set up the prop table, set all the props, dressed the set, painted more, swept the floor, plugged in the lamps, washed out the paint brushes and rollers, organized all of that for the volunteers for today. Forgot to eat all day. Came home, drank a beer, ate some pasta and went to bed at 7:30. Tonight is dress rehearsal. More painting today, more props......

I cried a lot yesterday. If I want to make art, I have to spend money. I don't have any. If I want to work in the theater, I have to take the tiny little checks they give me and listen to Gerry complain about how hard I work and how he pays a freelancer in one day what I make for working a couple of months on a show.

The worst part is, if I even wanted to get a "real" job, I have the most unusable skill set there is for "real" work. Here is what I can do well:

I can paint a room in about a second, I can find a rubber frog and make it look real, make a corn cob pipe smoke, create old love letters, create bloody rags from gunshot wounds, find amazing period props and furniture with only $400 to spend, make fake food..... I can make things look really damn good, I can do a lot of things that no one really needs done in a 9-5 job.

I can make pretty nice pottery. I can weave. I can knit. I can make jewelry.
I can nourish a family. I can clean a house, wash clothes, garden, cook three meals a day, wash dishes, shop for groceries, write thank you notes, help mend broken hearts, listen to job woes, solve problems other than my own, help friends when they need me, help family when they need me.

So how does a woman over fifty find her way in a world that doesn't pay an artist for their worth and doesn't hire a woman based on the skills she has developed in twenty years of taking care of a family.
I was just curiously looking at job postings and there was actually a job that said, "sexy young barista wanted". Of fuck! are you kidding me? how is this still going on! I did see one job for food prep that looked interesting, I can prep food. I could work for a maid service, I can do all that. How is it, I am smart and talented but I don't qualify for one damn job posting on the internet?

So the quandry. I have either got to suck it up and bust my ass for little pay, or apply to be a food prepper. My skill set does not fit any job description I have seen out there.........

My view most nights this week, the set is coming along......

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Live Splendidly

 Daughter: "I am soooo ready to come home, it's been a rough week."
Mom: "Do you want me to come visit on Saturday? Bring a picnic? Go over to Old Salem for the day?"
Daughter: "YES!"

So that's just what a good mom does. Pack up a beautiful lunch on a cool Saturday morning in May and go see her homesick daughter at college. Lucky for me she is just over an hour away!
Old Salem is one of my favorite places in North Carolina and Wesley lives just a few blocks away from it. We arrived just in time for the Saturday farmer's market. We got the most incredible croissant I think I have ever had from Atelier del Valle. Almonds, butter, a slight hint of apple and flaky melt in your mouth goodness.

I bought some soap from Lavender Annes- jade hops, eucalyptus and fir. I showered with it last night, smelled like I was rubbing a Christmas tree all over me! Really nice. I love homemade soaps, thinking about trying to make some myself one of these days. I looked at the label on a soap I was getting ready to buy the other day and put it right back. I shudder to think how many chemicals I have been putting on my body in the past years without even considering. Funny how aging makes you more aware of things that can kill you!

Wesley brought along her new best friend and played while we sat in the community garden and ate and talked. The sun was warm, the breeze was cool and life was pretty damn great at that moment!
I got a coffee on the way to Winston and on the cup it said, "live splendidly." I think that it really great advise, trying my best to do just that! I am very blessed.

Here are some pretty pictures from around Old Salem. If you haven't been, I strongly urge you to go. This is a perfect time of year for a visit, it's not too hot and everything is starting to bloom. The workers are in the gardens and its just such a calm and peaceful place to enjoy the day.
Today we load in Gem of the Ocean, promises to be a very long day/night. The set is complicated, lots of props..... good I had a restful Saturday!