Friday, December 31, 2010

Heather and Teej

Love you two!

I Love My Family

May your holiday have provided the same kind of love and strength that mine did.

Not to mention the incredible food. Food is such a comfort - and when it's THIS good it's an art form.
It may not be such a good thing that we love to eat so much.

Mother's secret homemade rolls, stuffed tenderloin of pork, the best potatoes gratin ever, roasted carrots, fennel, and parsnips, mac and cheese (gratuitous next the the taters - really), apple, cranberry, walnut jelled mold, praline pound cake, apple cranberry pie, cookies and ice cream and fabulous wine and munchies. 

Kenny takes after his namesake - my father - and sleeps it off.

Sara and I shoot each other simultaneously while Lexi looks on.

Harley kisses Heather. "Just a leetle one my pretty! Your breath - it is delectabuhls!"

My girl loves her aunt.

And thanks for all the therapy and love Mom. I will see you soon. May 2011 bring you and yours love, balance, grace, challenges and joy. Mine will probably involve lots of cardboard. Again. If it brings me much closer to this bunch, I'll suck it up and deal.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Weary But Moving

Leaving for Floriday soon - not as soon as I planned, as usual.

Oh Mom - I can't wait for your hug!

Monday, December 13, 2010


I MUST stop starting the day with a smoothie after a long walk in below 30 degrees. Teens tonight.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

No Whining

In a family of foodies, picking just one tale to tell is a daunting task in itself. Family gatherings often take on the aura of competition like Iron or Top Chef. My sister married a musician whose culinary exploits with grills and turkey fryers are as legendary as his ability with anything with strings. But no matter how skilled any of us are in the kitchen or on the deck or lanai, eating out is always a much loved adventure.

One Valentine’s, TJ decided to take the light of his life to a favorite Italian place not too far from their home. This wonderful restaurant has a little bit of highbrow elegance and drama along with much more affordable wood-stove cooked pizzas and pressed sandwiches. To accompany the delightful food, the wine list and microbrews are equally democratic in scope. In spite of the selection of dramatic veal and fish dishes with fabulous sauces on handmade pasta they decided to keep this outing affordable and selected pizzas and salads. After all, it was his treat and he was a musician.

Since they were celebrating the feast of lover’s TJ suggested that they forgo their normal beer with their pizza and get a bottle of modest red. After squinting at the list, he’d left his reading glasses at home since they adding nothing to the romantic occasion, he made his selection and handed the menu back to the effusively complimentary sommelier.

“Extremely bold choice, sir! Excellent vintage. I am positive you will have no regrets with this selection!”

My sister and brother-in-law were puzzled at the over-the-top treatment they immediately began to get from their always excellent staff that seemed to have been triggered by the sommelier. Their salads were fabulous and the individual pizzas were perfection and the wine was awesome, fruity and bold and smoother than they were expecting. The staff never let their glasses empty, both the wine and water seemed endless. They could have existed for several months on the selection of homemade breads and rolls that were instantly replenished.

It began to occur to my sister that the service was beyond anything they’d experienced at this neighborhood eatery. She shrugged and blamed it on Valentine’s Day and the romantic souls that lover’s of good food everywhere seem to share. After all, the passionate spirit has a way of touching every aspect of life.

While they lingered over coffee, too replete to consider the tiramisu or homemade gelato, unusual in our family, their waiter brought TJ the bill. He blanched. My sister says she watched the color actually drain from his face. She was afraid he was ill. He handed her the slip of paper. The total price for their meal was close to $400. Without his reading glasses he’d selected a wine that cost over $300: he hadn’t noticed the final zero. He was under the mistaken impression that he’d selected a $35 bottle of wine.

Suddenly the coddling of the staff, despite my sister and her husband’s casual attire of shorts and t-shirts, was disturbingly clear. My sister whipped out her credit card and paid the bill. TJ left the tip. She gave him a nice case for his reading glasses so he remembers to take them when they go out. She also assures him to this day that the absurdity of the situation and the pleasure they both get from telling the story, make it worth every penny.           

Friday, December 10, 2010

Saturday, December 4, 2010


It's been harder to get my butt out of bed and on the course in the morning lately. It's a combination of a month off for sickness and how dang cold it's gotten lately. It's aggravating to have to spend so long getting dressed - and dressing the hounds (they hate coats more than cold weather, but they have no fur so it's not negotiable).

Plus we have to start really early to be done and off the course when we're supposed to be because goodness knows I am not fond of walking on the streets and sidewalks. It's boring. And I don't walk just for my physical health and for the dogs ablutions (potty!).

We start on the 13th green - where we live - and then go 14, 15, a street stretch that equals another full fairway, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 then the clubhouse and development entry then 10, 11, 12, and all of 13 again. The course is just over 6.33 miles so we're probably doing 3+ miles - and that makes sense since when I'm moving at a good clip it still takes over an hour - usually an hour twenty. And my most comfortable speed seems to be around 2.5-2.8mph. When it's cold, I'm sure I'm pushing 3. When the dogs are togged I often feel like I'm dragging them at least the first mile. There are 6 foot bridges (OK, golf cart bridges) over streams and lakes (big pond in one instance), and on mornings like this the soles of my Teva's stick to the frosty wood. I feel for the pups.

All this is meant to give you some background - or a point (or many) of reference when I describe what we see (or hear since a good bit of the walk is before dawn).

On 14 for several mornings lately it's been sounding like there was a parrot in the top of a pine - I assumed it was a hawk of some sort until this morning. Who knew. Owls squawk.

The dogs and I stood (they sat - it's their job when we're not walking) in the middle of the fairway instead of on the cart path and listened. There was squawking. Lots of squawking at regular intervals. And finally hooting.

After googling owl calls it appears we have a Common Barn Owl (they screech and squawk and these mp3s sound most likely) or perhaps a Great Horned Owl - more likely to perch in the top of a pine tree. I haven't seen the culprit yet. And I haven't found a Great Horned squawking like a parrot.

Just over and behind a small hill before the tee on 15 was a large buck - not twenty yards from us and the cart path. We had a short convo - I did all the talking while he just stared - then he took flight. It's a good thing the hounds are small or Boris could have pulled me onto my face. He gets great pleasure from chasing the deer but he doesn't get to be off lead until the top of 11, and daylight, so mom can see where he is.

No sign today of our buddy, Bubba, a handsome gray tabby who lives at the top of 11 today. Like most smart felines he was probably inside on the upholstered furniture instead of vole hunting. If he is out, he always comes running for a good petting session when I call him. He's even so used to the dogs that he's lost himself and rubbed up against Boris - who ignores him. Now Lexi wants to be his friend. She really wants a kitty of her own and my bunch will have nothing to do with her. Bubba feels the same way. poor Lexi.

At some point I'll make room in my pocket for the camera - I'd love to get some footage of Boris and the "get this coat offa my butt" dance.

One more thought - steel cut has ruined me for instant oatmeal.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Great Day at the Studio

I started another lovely large handbuilt bowl - and am leaving on the mold overnight so it doesn't get wonky! I glazed another large coil and got these out of the glaze firing. Nom. Canister - salt cellar - tile.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Monday, November 22, 2010

It Suits Me

My father bought me a Disney villaness (Maleficent?) mug once that had the legend, "I look good in black, it matches my mood."

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Almost Back to Full Strength and Fiesty

Honestly I don't believe I've been that sick since childhood and comments from old or very sick people are suddenly something with which I can empathize. The "Why have I outlived my friends? Why won't God take me," kind of comment. I haven't quite gotten there but I sure felt like I'd outlived my tolerance for teh sick. I didn't really start to feel better until I told the boss on Thursday morning that he should NOT count on me until Monday.

And then Sunday the water heater burst. Sheesh. At least I was home! Builders who think the attic is a good place for this appliance should face a firing squad. Too Harsh? : ) server:

It was wonderful to get back to Sertoma and clay yesterday. I handformed a bowl and spent a large amount of time in the glaze room. Then I went to Bloom Skin Spa and had an aeromatherapy massage (at a bargain rate - you gotta love coupons).

I almost feel human this morning.

Here's Jillian's bowl and a crudite server:

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Terrible Awful Horrible Bad Day

After a fairly terrible, awful, horrible, bad, couple of weeks!

I came home from Tarjay - my first outing since I came home from work on Monday, early, got into bed and stayed there until... well, yesterday; I took a bath. I had some awful flu that had me feeling like a truck ran over me, backed up, and repeated the process just for good measure. For four days. From 103.9 at one point I pretty much hovered at 101 until Friday morning when I got a couple of hours of 100 before it spiked again.

So the pantry was pretty much depleted. At least there are no more cans of soup that I should have eaten months or years ago. ; )

I went to Target and sternly reminded myself I didn't need more cheap clothing and stocked up on broth, soup, cat litter, teepee, and other staples (saving $21 in coupons!! WOOOOT. I humbly beg forgiveness from the three people who were asked to go to other lines as they were scanned.), and came home. Record time for a good haul. About an hour door-to-door.

The grocery stashing was taking place and I was fixing pot roast (a huge chuck roast was $5.33 - no way I could pass up this chance at the soul of comfort food cheap on a cold November night while still fluish) when I felt a cold chill down my spine.

It was the fracking ceiling dripping down the back of my neck

I had told Mom that the water heater was looking iffy lately with moisture in the drip pan. But do I call someone in right away? Hell, no. It has a drip pan and an outflow hose! It'll be fine. I'm sick. It can wait.

It didn't. It was gushing. The amount of sturm und drang in this house today! Did you know sticking a paring knife through wet drywall is harder than you think? Do you know they make a patch for that abomination? Why patch something hideous that shouldn't exist in the first place?

Thank goodness for RotoRooter. Out of all the plumbing outfits I have used as a homeowner (this is house #3), they have NEVER failed me.

More as my strength returns. I must now swoon into the recliner and listen to the small hero in my attic drop things.

He's been here since before noon. Bless his heart. Bless his mama.

May his children grow up to make him very proud.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


So we not only had frost last night (two weeks ago it was mid to upper 80's) it froze! Yesterday morning I spent almost 4 hours in the freezing drizzle at the Free to Breathe 5k wondering if they were going to put me in the hospital for an entirely different lung condition. The fish are very slow in the pond and the dogs keep looking at me like "are we going to go now?" The look I get when we don't walk our three miles in the morning.

I will go to Sertoma today if only to get out of the house and get some grocery shopping done.

And after more than two years - it may even be three - bluebirds are finally checking out the bluebird house. A titmouse had a clutch in there the Spring before last but I've cleaned it out since then. I will have to get some seed and try again for a picture. I'll mix in some dried mealworms - they prefer bugs.

They are so shy and so fast and the camera batteries are charging as I watch them check out the nest box right now. 

Friday, November 5, 2010

I LOVE Buddy

You know this - he knows this.
Here's another reason why. I felt SO bad last night I figured he could sleep with me because he gets stressed when I am sick and he doesn't get to be nurse.
His bed manners were perfect all night - next to hip, purring, an occasional adjustment, but otherwise still, warm and comforting. Until 5a. When I normally start to stir and prepare to get up. Well, not happening. I am SICK. Feel like I'll fall over when I bend over. At least the cold will be over for this year.
Anyway, he starts the "whisper-meowing" around five and I figure he can wait until 5:30a and I'll let him out when I go downstairs to let the dogs out - bless them too this week with their prompt elimination - and after a few more quiet meows he settles down. Nothing is more endearing than a Siamese who goes "meow."
Then: "yak yak yak." For some reason the sound of vomit rouses me and I open the door and let him out. Just a bit of fluid, NO food. Drop a rag and step on it... Hmmm. I smell poo.
Crap, the dogs haven't made it. Put on the slippers, go downstairs, let them out, clean litter boxes, feed cats, let dogs back in, feed them, open computer and answer emails and send one to Chris saying "coming in later, feel like death." Heh. But I do! Let the dogs out again after their breakfast and it occurs to me that they haven't messed their crates. Hmmm. Why did I smell poo?
Batten the hatches and prepare to crawl back into bed until 11a (last possible moment to still be on-air in Raleigh at 2p - that is if I want to be clean, dressed and made-up) plus I have Albany Saturday night to track, "live" spots to produce for Monday morning's Live appearance in Apex (am), which will mean I have to leave the house no later than 6:15a. Sucks to be me right now (moneymoneymoneymoney).
Have arrived back in the boudoir and yes, the smell of poo is still in the air - and pretty strong too. Step on the yak rag once more for good measure and follow my nose into the walk-in closet with dread in my heart. Things have not been put away with German housewife like efficiency lately (HELLO! I HAVE BEEN SICK IN CASE YOU'RE NOT PAYING ATTENTION), so I am concerned at what I will find - poo-smeared velvet or silk? Please let it be a lowly t-shirt.
Way more better. My most excellent Buddy has crapped on a clear plastic Clinique Beach tote. Nowhere else. Very loose, obviously not something he could have "held." But on the closest thing to a litterbox he could find.
And now I know who else needs a sulfa drug for the outbreak of coccidia we've been dealing with since Mini moved in. I'm guessing we now know she's the carrier too.
Crap. ; )

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Earrings - Piece(ez?) 3

I am going to miss this class. I have fairy opals coming which will involve wrapping and beading and I bought a beautiful cabbed labradorite that I will make a setting by riveting wire to hold it to a fine silver frame and suspend from its points (it's a triangle - the one that's not equilateral - isosoleze? stoopid math) from a chain. I love making pretty things.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

I Haz a Sick

And I don't have a voice. I have let the dogs out, contacted work (if you are a radio person with no voice, you don't go to work), and cancelled the chiro/acu appointment. I will DRAG myself to the polls with a hoodie over my peejays and come home to the soup I've started.

Last night was the last metal class - I finished my earrings and came home early. You'll just have to wait for the picture.

Sunday, October 31, 2010


Not, not the dreaded computer sort, this one is creeping up on ME. For the last two days I've been holding it at bay with ColdEze and Zicam. If it were a workday, I'd be going back to bed. But clay waits.

Friday, October 29, 2010

My Second Piece

And now I am looking at torches. There is a freestanding butane that gets to 2500 degrees, that is not very expensive, that I am going to purchase and try out - even if it's too small for metal to metal, it should do for small welds and jump rings.

This is MINE and I adore it. It feels fabulous.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Fig Visitor

The Raku Crew

Raku is firing bisqueware to 2000 plus degrees until it glows red and then literally smoking the glazed pots in sawdust, newspaper, leaves (flamable material) while reducing the oxygen. That's why you see the potters working in teams here to cover, completely, the red hot, flaming pots. It can result in cracks and burns and all sorts of excitement. It can also result in some of the most metallic and interesting results. It's decorative and not food safe. But it sure it fun. Here you see an unsuccessful result:

Janice at Sertoma didn't think so - even the blown out wall looked good to her, so it has a happy home!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Thanks Mom!

A particularly lovely birthday present - the hollyhocks are beautiful. And the orchid in my office STILL has blooms.