Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Have Clay will Travel (and teach.)

I going to teach until August 20th with limited access to internet.

I really want to go.

I will be back and continue with good stories about you and creativity.

I am about to embark on a new adventure. I have been invited to teach for a month in a camp in the Poconos. It will be fun, exciting and intense as I work quickly to teach 7th grade and above to throw on the potter's wheel and take home a lovely pot in about 3 tries. I hope I can teach them to have great confidence in their creativity and to enjoy the process as well.

So, as much as I want to write every day I am there, I don't think I will be posting anything except for on my phone and that is difficult. I am sure to have wonderful experiences to write about, not mentioning names or where I really am for privacy sake as I agreed by contract. But, I will relay eventually the joy of learning and other enlightening and positive experiences.

I will keep a journal and write more later, asap. This will give me time to work on book, write creatively, eat a lot of salad and exercise. My new diet plan, go to camp.

It should be lovely. I know I will enjoy it once I get there. I am cramming a month of stuff in my suitcases and leave early in the morning. I will be there until Aug 20th. So please if you regularly read me, come back and don't forget me.

I am a traveling pottery teacher and enjoying each adventure. What a great experience. Travel, teach and write. Kind of reminds me of the "go west" days when teachers used to come to the students for limited periods of time.

And, this could be an interesting new career. I can teach in new positive environments, after looking closely to see that we have the same attitude and goals. Have clay will travel! Why not? And what a great way to teach. Learn clay in your own studio with a private teacher with 35 years of experience. I love to teach and inspire and show others how to find their own creative spirit.

Back as soon as possible.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Art of Barbeque Tulsa

America and meat! It is a man's world cooking Barbeque overnight.

Vera, Jim and their newest Grand baby brave the heat at Tulsa's Art of Barbeque.

No one on Friday night left hungry. Every kind of barbeque was devoured.

The smokin' machines were spotless and beautiful pieces of equipment.

Grandpa Jim feeds his little Grand baby who dances while she eats.

A fun cause, Tulsa Arts and Humanities Council and great barbeque. My dear sweet student and her husband invited me and John to join them Friday night to a great taste treat the night before the big competition. So, it sounded like a great idea to me to jump off the Weight Watchers band wagon. Two competitors joined forces and food and we were invited to eat and sample with them. It was delicious and I did not need to eat for 2 days after that.
After going through the food line I looked down at my bulging plate, realizing I just took a small bite of each meat and wow. The plate had as much meat on it as I eat in a few weeks. Yes, dear God, I ate it all. The clean plate strikes again. There was a lot of walking around the event and to and from the car. I confess, I would have to walk for a week to make up the difference and of course with my sweet tooth, I had dessert as well. Tomorrow is a new day for the diet department and actually, after stuffing myself it was not so difficult to return to my diet.
There were 75 contestants and my friends came out number 13 in chicken and I think 17 overall. They were proud! And they made great food. And, it helps support the arts council and there many wonderful projects. I enjoyed making unique pottery trophies for this event for several years.
Good food and good art! What could be better?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Change may not be what I think it is

The Art Garden in the making. It still needs work but I am slowly getting there. We will have various art gatherings here, in this wild woman flower garden. It is amazing what good food and a decent bottle of wine and great company will add. I have to learn to grow flowers and dig holes for fence posts. Just don't rush me and I will get there. Fall will be great and cool.

My new front door. Well, we are missing windows but it has character. I will paint the door soon but Venture won't let me paint the building, even stripes. Just glad to be here.
I look down this dusty alley every day and try to remember Taos looked like this in the 70's. Just think Taos and non-corporate super-store and it will be fun.

Watching Nora Ephron's "You've Got Mail." I just heard the line,"Change is when something awful happens and nobody can do anything about it to help you." A small bookstore owner is closing her shop because of the big guys. I jumped off my bed and have to respond to this idea.

And another part of the movie declared,"It is all personal. It starts personal and that is why it should be personal. It is personal.

More wise words from Nora got me thinking. All my writing about change, people places and things and of course my pottery shop changing, was this just a desperate attempt to go with the flow? Is the truth "change is when something happens and nobody can do anything about it to help you?" Yikes.

Well, you must help yourself and certainly lots and lots of my friends tried and did help me. But, the truth is I am now in the alley, facing my old bright yellow bright door with the name stripped off and I have no heat or air or much walk in biz. Nobody could save me or do anything about it. Unless I could get a MacArther grant, noone could save me and pay my doubled ( now tripled) rent. And I wrote and wrote about how normal change is and how I can take it and appreciate it.
If that is not going with the flow what is? But, for better or worse maybe the line from Nora is very very correct, again. But, change happens and happens.

And then there is that personal thing. "
It is all personal. It starts Personal and that is why it should be personal. It is personal." When I write this blog, I sometimes wonder if it is too personal. But then I would not enjoy writing it if it were not personal.

There seems to be men blogs and lady blogs. Men do not want to be personal, generally, politics. It is all business and facts and women like to ramble and dream or philosophize.

Every now and then I get an interesting response saying, "I know what you mean, what you really mean and now I feel better too." That is when I know I not wasting time writing and someone out there is listening. Are these words just zooming around in the air until someone finds them?

Meanwhile my husband tosses me an article in The New Yorker, July 2009 to read about Nora who is 68 and looks maybe 40 or so. Good grief. The article is Nora Knows What To Do.

I was in Santa Fe a year ago or so at Garcia Street Books and picked up I Feel Bad About my Neck. I started reading it and could not put it down. I read most of it all the way home out loud to my husband in the car. Here is a woman after my heart. Neurotic enough to understand and sane enough to survive. Who else could understand the eternal search for the perfect purse?

I'll admit I would never spend half the money she would buying a purse but I do pour over them everywhere and I have a box of perfect purse attempts in my away at college daughters closet, still clinging to each one hoping one is perfect. I have an incredibly talented friend from Wales who is a leather seamstress and has tried to help me find this purse. I find a pattern or get an idea and she sews it. Still,I keep looking.

Having enough meat on my bones to shop in the second helpings department of women's clothing, I have never worried about my neck or about hiding it, another chapter in her book. Padding fills the gaps and wrinkles. It is that extra supply of padding below the boobs that I worry about.
And then, trying to please my Mother in law I read her the last chapter in the book thinking she might relate and or enjoy it. I had not read it in advance and guess what? Wrong chapter to read out loud. It is about the end of life and decision making times which were too direct and honest to be reading for humor, out loud, in the car on a journey to an old hometown. It is always best to never assume not reading the chapter first is ok. Whoops.

And, how many times have friends repeated the line, "I'll have what she is having." from When Harry met Sally via Nora Ephron. I am still reading "Heartburn."

Even when I have a hard time sitting down to read because of this ridiculously busy life I create for myself, I try and make time for Nora knowing we are on the same page.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

I am so rich, I just ain't got no money honey!

Sometimes I just wish we could trade all the time for things we need and everyone would play fair and we would all get what we want in a fun way. My friends all know I still suffer from that 60's thing and have a hard time asking a good price for my pots, taking it too personally. If someone likes it I would love to just be able to give it to them. I gotta get over it someday. Maybe it also because I like my job, artist-potter and maybe I am a hopeless romantic.

A friend wrote me the other day and told me a former classmate said how interesting my life is and she likes reading my posts. I consider that a real compliment. Hmm. I told my husband and he said, "See there!"
Of course I try and keep life hopping. I would not have it any other way. My kids know almost they worst thing they can say to me to irritate me is, "I'm bored!" It is all I can do to not say back, "Well then it is your own damn fault. Grab a piece of paper and write or draw." Good Moms set good examples and say it another way so I refrain.

When I teach little kids and talk about being a potter lots of times I get the question, "Are you rich?" I always say,"Yes, I just don't have any extra money. But my life is very rich."

When I was little, I knew life could be special if you make it that way. I always thought you could have whatever you want if you work hard enough. Then, I decided that was wrong. And then my friends convinced me that was right. They told me, being a lawyer and having a big house was not what I wanted. I got what I want and was not willing to pay the price to be a lawyer because I did not want to be a lawyer or anything else that requires panty hose on a regular basis. I have art and travel and a lot of freedom. But I do stay in cheap hotels.

My zest for life and adventure started early. My friend and I started the Rimsey theatre in our backyards. We put on plays, charged admission, gathered every willing kid in the neighborhood. I advertised bike races I organized on bulletin boards at school, we had great restaurants in my back yard with great service growing up. I even wrongly thought at one point growing up that I wanted to be an airline stewardess so I could fly everywhere. That idea dissappeared when I realized it would be similar to being a waitress in the sky.

I made secret paths in long grass in a field next to the Ohio river. Every empty shed on my Uncle's farm became a studio, a house or something special. I loved jumping into the wheat wagons as well and building tunnels with hay in the barn.

Bored, never. Rich well yes and no. Happy and entertained, yes.

A son of a palm reader, and that is not a curse word, once read my palm and said, "You will never be rich but you will always have enough." Not bad.

Monday, July 6, 2009

I knew it! Happiest place on earth...

How great to see both ends of a rainbow from their deck of the B&B

Vistavalverde is high above the peninsula just outside San Ramon near San Jose

Tom has a great gift for music, both playing and singing and if you are lucky he will sing for you too. That is just one of his many talents and what kind and gentle spirit as well.

Susan in the Farmer's Market in San Ramon choosing flowers for the B&B. She is so intelligent and talented. She can do anything! And she is a fantastic cook as well! Perfect for the B & B!

Yes I heard this on the radio the other day, the happiest place on earth is Costa Rica. And I would have to say my visit there verifies that. A friend sent out this reminder of the story that hit the news recently but I already knew it.

"The happiest place on earth is ...

Costa Rica is the happiest place on earth, and one of the most environmentally friendly, according to a new survey by a British non-governmental group.

The New Economics Foundation looked at 143 countries that are home to 99 per cent of the world's population and devised an equation that weighs life expectancy and people's happiness against their environmental impact.

By that formula, Costa Rica is the happiest, greenest country in the world, just ahead of the Dominican Republic.

Latin American countries did well in the survey, occupying nine of the top 10 spots.

Many major Western nations did poorly, with Britain coming in at 74th place, Australia at 102nd and the United States at 114th." Source:

I had a great time visiting with my friends Tom and Susan at "Vistavalverde" in Costa Rica. I highly recommend their Bed and Breakfast as a great place to stay when you first get there. It is on the way to the beach and is a wonderful place to start because it is not in a tourist area. They can help in so many ways with a comfortable place to stay, great food and plenty of helpful advice on how to get around, what to see and can even help hook you up with a tour guide for the rain forest, volcano and beach. They have friends in real estate who can fill you in on how to move there as well. And don't worry, you won't starve or lack really good company as well when you first arrive. Just read past events on my blog about what a great stay I had there and you will see what I mean.

Their B&B is in a beautiful location where you can see for miles to the peninsula and has a fantastic sunset everyday. Rainbows, great company, incredible food. What a lovely vacation starting spot and you may want to spend a few days at the end of your trip there as well to just veg out and recoup before you come home.

Their B&B is off the beaten path in a small gringo community in a non-tourist area so if you want to get away and just be in the happiest place on earth visit their web site, get a plane ticket and get going to the land of happiness. Tom and Susan will lead your way. I cannot wait to go back!

Visit their web site here.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Don't Get to Used to Anything

Life is always changing and if you don't like it, well. Too bad, you better just change your attitude.

I thought it felt different to visiting my daughter in her first apartment. Somehow, when we visited her dorm room last year, it felt more normal. That is just a room. This is a declared home for her. It is good. Just different.

And oh what a great little nest maker she is. She and her sweet boyfriend painted as they moved in and chose contemporary colors and made the time to do it immediately, unlike me and her Dad who are still trying to choose a color for our bedroom after about 15 years. No use rushing it.

She is living in an old apartment close to the journalism building and has a job a the Alumni Magazine that fits her well. She is finding her way and I am very proud of her.

And, I just realized she will only be a teenager for one more year. Seems impossible and possible.

Change. I like it. It is exciting whether it is your kids, moving, and doing or traveling or even your career. The unknown can scare us a little.
And the "what ifs" are even worse. The "what ifs" are a large tribe that hides in the back of your head and points to possible disasters that could happen, likely or not. They keep us from experimenting and doing new things. They are alarmists as well.
And then there is the getting lost thing. Heaven forbid if it is true that as we grow older our present fears increase. Lost. Maps. Where?
I am always getting lost in my dreams. I am usually in a foreign land getting ready to leave for another place and I am not packed and cannot find my way. Maybe there is some unconscious level of being afraid of change as well. And of course, I always have too much "baggage" to take with me.

I think I like change and I don't want to be afraid to "get out there and try it."

Every time we have moved for my husband's professor job, not that often recently, we have made a conscious effort to look closely at the job and community. We choose carefully and then guess what? It changes. The neighborhood changes, the neighbors change, the faculty changes. So, I just get used to it.
I heard several years ago the average American moves every 4 years. It is probably a good idea so we don't accumulate too much stuff because of America's favorite pastime, shopping. Too late, I have not moved in about 15 years. I'm doomed.

I find it very scary when I look around my 16 years of accumulated stuff in my house. Will I ever be able to move again? Will I have to pick all these items up one at a time and decide if I still want them and what to do with them? I did it at my pottery shop and survived and need to do it again. But, I would rather just make more pots. Oh the luxury of having too much stuff. Can that keep us from changing too?

I look around Rachel's new apartment. So far, so good. Not too much stuff. She will be OK.

Adaptable, flexible, disposable, mobile, immobile, changeable. Those are words that might make life easier. And, of course, those could change any time.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

I Sit in the Dentists Chair, a poem about my dental fears

I sit in the dentist's chair wondering why me?
What have I done?
I flossed, I brushed, I get my check ups when they tell me.
And here I am.
Forced to listen to bad Christian music.
begging for forgiveness.

And still,
They crown me again.
Decay under an old crown,
Gotta be yanked off and drilled under.

They stare in there white suits down into the black hole of my mouth.
I feel stirring, grinding, mashing and maybe a small matchbox bulldozer driving around.
I see birds out side feeding at a bird feeder,
wondering if they will hit the window when he starts drilling again.
And then they put a hummingbird feeder in my mouth and suck the extra saliva out so it does not fall on my new white blouse.
Drooling sucking spitting little silver pieces of shrapnel out of my mouth into the humming bird nozzle.
I grip the hand rest and they talk chit chat about what is for lunch and I sit with my mouth spread eagle and they dig some more.
I want to run out the door with my little white bib with the dime store chain around my neck.
Just let me go.
Oh, they look a little deeper.
The sweet little deer poster on the ceiling offers me no comfort nor does the poster of bright yellow daisies.
Yikes. Just let me out of here.
I remember my first dental experience in the dark room with his breath wreaking with alcohol and he pulled my tooth and grunted and left a space in my mouth for years.
They fill my mouth with bubble gum goop and nearly gag me and I count for a long time and drool some more.
The Christian music rings louder in my ears.
I look at my shoes wondering why they look so old and dusty.
They put in a wad of glue and cover it with little rough aluminum foil tooth cover
And hand me a large invoice with eager eyes looking at my checkbook.
I rip it out and know I will be back for the smooth gold tooth that comes in the mail in only two weeks and I try to be grateful.