Thursday, October 28, 2010


Tidbits are all I have right now.

More elaborate news to follow.

We celebrated a six year old birthday, star wars style.
Fun and exhausting. Photo's to follow.

I am working with a friends fixing up an old house on my days off.
Heat gun, scrappers and industrial mask.
(I need Christmas money and the whole kiln thing has depressed me too much)

Oh the kiln. Well a major wire melted today....the one between the kiln sitter and the switches. I need another new infinite switch, and maybe some switch wires. I guess when you have an old kiln that has been sitting for a while you need to just replace everything. I have not given up... just feel a bit sad and despondent.I have not worked in the studio for a couple of weeks because I it just makes me feel defeated. 
Enough of that.

We are very excited and are hoping these last few days slow down and let us enjoy October before it blows on by us.

Hmm. That's all for now. 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

i need a drink... no really, i do.

Okay, maybe I am not supposed to be a potter after all.

Fired today.
Well, at least I thought I would be.

^06 went down at 1:30.... Hooray!

I was super excited, and yes I am one of those who put cone packs in an electric kiln, I am programmed to make cone packs.

An hour ago I went to check... all the lights were glowing and the inside was that beautiful red hot every potter loves to see.


I went to check again.

Nothing. The lights on the elements were off. The breaker was not off, the plug was good,
the cone did not set it off, nothing I could see should have made the connection to the elements turn off.

I really want to cry but I am too angry and sad and frustrated. 

At this point I just want to know that I did not spend all this money on a "thing" that is not EVER going to work.

Bummed is an understatement.

I am so thankful that Monks invented beer. I need one.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

holding my breath til tuesday

Someone came today,on a Sunday, to help me with my kiln. I had super
high hopes and as the minutes turned to hours I began to think
My helper left after over 2 hours of trying to figure it out.
I was bummed.

Then, He called and said, I know what it is. It was something really simple
It is all about what wire is hooked where and what ground wire is hooked
there and how tight everything is.

When I got off the phone, I ran down to the basement and fixed it myself!

I am going to fire it on Tuesday.
I will hold my breath until cone 6 bends and the kiln shuts itself off without
me touching a thing!

the inside of the switch box

the inside of the element terminal and all the crazy wires attached properly!

a side view

my headache with hope

This morning was a complete cooperative lego event.
There were lego's everywhere. Seriously.
I was impressed at their determination and drive to work together.
I said as long as they were put away by bed time they could play all day
(except for chore time ;o))

Halloween is an exciting time at our house.
We used to begin decorating Sept. 1. I quietly did not mention
anything Halloween and was able to put it off until Sept. 31!

the boys contribution

this is our family member: Armleg
He was born with an arm for a leg and he hangs in our house all year round.
We love armleg.

Well here is to patience, determination and the dream to have a working kiln.
I hope to have photo's posted of properly fired pots by next Thursday!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

biting the bullet, proposals and camping.....

Well, I did it. 
I called someone to help me not screw up my kiln MORE.
I did not tell you what happened when I installed my ground wire.

My plug and ground wire did not come with instructions.
I guessed.
I guessed wrong.
I installed the ground wire wrong and when I turned the power on
 there where sparks and the fuse flipped off.
I said this out loud I think.

I opened the other boxes on the other parts of the kiln to se what I did wrong, a little late..... 
OH, you have to bolt it to a separate place entirely.

I feel not so smart at this point and wonder what I have fried.

Well, L. has assured me it is the infinity switch. I tell him to come any way and make sure and help me make this crazy, now seemingly foreign thing, work!!!!

So, Sunday I hope to have a working kiln or at least concrete answers as to what to do next.

Sigh and I can't wait.

the culprit 

Most of you know the story of Max and his many proposals, but for those (family members) who do not do the evil Facebook I will fill you in.

I noticed Max's allure on my first field trip. Two or three girls puckered up their lips at him waiting for something to be returned.
Max would have nothing to do with it.

Then Max kept telling me about this girl who would drive him crazy wanting to sit next to him wherever he was. "Mom, You don't know her. She is crazy. She will NOT leave me alone."

So Wednesday I am picking up the boys and Max first. His class comes out in a line.
Max runs over to me and it begins. The series of proposals.
A, oh so sweet, kiss is blown his way. And this follows,

 "Max, I'll marry you when I grow up". 

There is a slight pause.

Then a another blown kiss further on down the line and a "Me,too!"
and another and another and another.

I stood there wondering what just happened.

Then I saw Max. He grimaced, flashed his smirky smile and turned off in disgust as I busted out laughing with a feeling of OMG what just happened.

Today two new girls professed their desires for marriage.

I think we will read Where Did I Come From this weekend.

Rohan and the entire Third grade are camping tonight.
Jay and Max are there right now eating dinner, singing camp songs and eating smores.

How cool to spend the night with your class and friends in a cabin and experience life outside school with adults you call "teachers".

I will be there all day tomorrow for those of you wondering why I did not join in the fun. Besides, Rohan will have more fun with out "high expectation" Mom there to ruin it for him ;o).

WE have an amazing school with a seriously dedicated staff.

Monday, October 11, 2010

ENOUGH of this day... where is tomorrow?

I am having one of those days.

The kiln is frustrating me to no end. I have no idea what is wrong or how to fix it.
I have put new elements in, new bolts,screws,washers, wires and still the elements are not getting red hot.

I am stumped.

On top of that my controlling, demanding, expectation side has reared its ugly head.
Rohan is going through a serious stage of I want to do what I want and I do not care what you say.
He wants to do the bare minimum to get by and does not want to push himself.
And he is lying to me.

This pulls, pushes,  and stretches every button I have. 

What I know.
I should be calm, listen,  be understanding that he is shouting out for attention and acceptance.

What do I do?

Get angry, frustrated and feel the need to be apart from him.

At Drama club today, he did not want to do some of the exercises. As I spent a good hour and a half today working on Drama Club matters I felt personally accosted. Why do I take these things so personally? 

(I did begin my "cycle" today... and it is not pretty in my system ;o))

He then came home and began his homework. Great, right? Except he changed the timer, that tells him when he is done reading, while I was outside with Max doing homework. He lied about it... and lied
and lied until I told him I knew he changed it because I knew what time I put it on.

He thinks he should not have a consequence for lying.

Deep breath inserted and a REALLY?

This is a day when I am dreaming of the kids sleeping in their beds, a lovely drink in my hands,
quiet, and a new beginning tomorrow.

A new tomorrow. please.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Halloween Chinese Celebration and other tales

I had never been to a Halloween Chinese Celebration until....

Something is in the air and it makes the kids more creative and spunky.

As I was making our homemade pizza and salad for dinner,
the boys were feverishly creating an act to perform.

They gathered their props, made some tickets, set up the 
viewing area and proceeded to invite us to the first
Annual Halloween Chinese Celebration.

Puppy (a stuffed animal) and I were given tickets for row 4.
Dragon and Jay sat in row 5.

We put our tickets in the top hat, took our seats and the show began.

There was dancing and banging of drums. It was wonderful. The sun was setting,
the wind was blowing, we were sporting jackets from the chill and the kids were just plain excited to be alive.

Afterwards we fill the hat with coins and clapped profusely.

Here are a few shots of the event but none do it justice, except maybe Jay sipping a "hot" drink at intermission. (hot water from the tap ;o))

Influences and  the subconscious can rear their heads at the most unusual times.
I posted on throwing slabs and was not sure what I was going to do with them.

I have made some new cyber clay influences recently and one of them is Tracy Broome.
I love her hand built barns. The textures and detail are amazing. The layers of textures  and colors make it have the appearance of wood and that comforting, alluring quality that all barns have. She has also been super encouraging through this rediscovery of clay....

I have also enjoyed Vicki Hartman's hand-built work. The simplicity, bold colors and drawing intrigue and demand attention. 

This got me to thinking about
Chuck Chamberlain, my friend and previous professor at ECU. He made these incredible, elaborate,
organic, church like structures. I tried it once.... too many years ago and still have a result of one, 
sitting in my garden.

Well, between the three of them and my experiences in life... I decided to begin a series about sacred spaces. It is more about architecture and light and surprises so I am not quite sure how it will all turn out. Here is the first one I have been working on.
It is now finished but was not in the photos.

I started a new one today that will have a dome base... not sure how it will progress but I am excited. I like to work on the inside of pieces to so that the viewer has surprises to find... my Chagall influences I guess.

My headache:

It is still not working and still having trouble ordering the right parts.
I had spent 40 minutes in front of my kiln explaining to the person what I needed and still did not get the right parts!
I am hopeful the new shipment will be right but that makes it another week with finished work piling up and me wondering if I will ever get it firing.

HOPE. At least I have it right now and persistence.
This WILL happen. I just have to make it happen.

Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan "press on" has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sometimes bribing works

Rohan has been struggling with wanting to go to his acting class.
It is 10 -12:30 on Saturdays.

He is, by far, the youngest there. The other students sport cell phones and a different language that Rohan is not privy to yet.

"I don't fit in Mom".

So I have been questioning if I made the right decision encouraging and insisting he partake in this class. The opportunity is unbelievable but that does not make it Right.

Rohan had a homework assignment three weeks ago to take a private, memorable moment and make it into something he could share on stage. This in itself was 8 years of life experience does not always allow for powerful, private moments.

Sadly we have had some though. With Dad's help, asking pertinent questions, Rohan wrote a "scene" about the day we wrote and burned prayers for his Gigi (great-grandmother).

Here is the script:
(his idea: he begins laying down, like we are on a bed talking... he turns to talk to me)

~Mom I had an idea

~I really miss Gigi and I really want to talk to her

~Max said maybe we could write down the stuff we wanted to tell her. And
then, we could burn the notes with a candle and the smoke would take our thoughts
to Gigi in heaven. (pause)

~Like heaven mail.

~We found this candle at Gigi's house. Can you light it and I'll go get some paper?

(Rohan walks across stage to get the paper and pretending to write he reads each aloud:)

1. Things are gonna change, now that you're gone.

2. But you'll be with us, in our hearts.

3. I know we're not going to your house anymore for Halloween.... or Christmas

4. I hope you have really good food now and that you get to see all the friends you missed.

5. I hope you aren't in anymore pain, because you were before.

6. I miss you very much....I love you.

(he pretends to light the paper and watches the smoke go to up to heaven)

He worked hard on this at home. He did an amazing job. 
He DID NOT want to perform it though, in front of his class.
 He was intimidated and nervous and was not going to do it unless Michael, his teacher, asked him too.

Here is where the bride came in.... Rohan LOVES Halloween....a whole, spooky lot!
I found the coolest Halloween nutcrackers at Target last week. I am a sucker for things I KNOW my kids will love.
I told him that if he volunteered on Saturday I would give him a super cool Halloween gift.. otherwise he would get it later at Christmas.

Well, it worked. He volunteered. 
When he was finished his scene
an older girl asked him, "How old are you?" 

 ( the class is for 11-18 year olds)

She put her hands over her mouth in disbelief.

Rohan's teacher, Michael, said "Now you know why Rohan is here."

He also asked Rohan to make this little scene into a five minute one man show for the
 class finale. 

I could not have been prouder of Rohan. I cannot imagine how awkward it must be to have no other "kids" your age to hang out with for 2 1/2 hours and to have emotionally challenging assignments that would challenge any age.

He was brave. 
He was proud of himself 
and his anxiety about the class melted away.

He said, "Now they know me a little better."

It might have been the Bribe, or his decision that "today I am going to do it"...
but whatever it was.. Rohan proved to himself that hard things can bring joy and 
can make you feel really strong.

He will perform this piece on December 10th at NC Stage with the other 10 students selected for this acting intensive.

~I have to give a BIG kudos to Max also who is reading Cat in the Hat now. This is a harder Suess, if you don't remember. Max likes to push himself. He is a go getter and a determined little soul. He is my snuggle bug. 
(I love this photo... he is, unfortunately, cute when he is angry)

This fall air has energized us and has also made us want to snuggle more. 
What a lovely combination!