Friday, December 31, 2010

Hope Lutheran Christmas Concert 2010 Part One

My Dad is the music director at this church. He is the thin man in black who is conducting.
Ugh. I am working through a sweet, happy time in the storyline of the other blog, and it sucks, because I just don't have the heart for it right now. I know what's going to happen to that innocent seventeen year old girl and all her silly dreams. She's going to hit the pavement hard like roadkill, like Humpty Dumpty, and isn't ever going to be the same again. Those few happy weeks will haunt her for years like a mirage, driving her almost out of her mind, taunting her, making her cynical, except for those rare times...She will pay for that in spades, even though she did nothing at all wrong.

And yet, I can't say that I'd go back and skip out on those weeks to avoid the two decades of subsequent pain. What spot of sunshine would have kept me alive through the darkness otherwise, until I came to a brighter place?

But still, it sucks. It hurts. And it's a little too close to home for comfort.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Things are better now. Well, at least I hope so.

My friend (I guess she is my friend??) tells me that I need to get over my thing of thinking that feelings are icky and embarrassing. Suppose they seem that way to me because they aren't entirely rational, predictable, and often scare the hell out of me. Also, I don't like to be or feel weak, and nothing makes me feel weaker than (ugh, I can hardly stand to write it!) stuff like crying.

I've always felt that crying is for girls, and everyone knows that girls are weak, frail things who wear impractical shoes and clothes you can't climb trees in and who can turn on the tears like a faucet. Girls are prey. Girls can be hurt. They can be hit...and intimidated...and forced to do things they don't want to do...and raped...and treated like property. So naturally, I've spent most of my life trying not to be a girl, not in the sense of wanting a sex change, but more along the lines of being in denial.

It hasn't worked so well. Because I'm naturally sort of obsessive and anxious, things bother me a lot more than they should. If I were the faucet type, I'd be crying a lot. I'm like this machine where you put just one small input into it, and it generates a whole lot of output, except most of that output just stays in the machine churning around until a gear of something breaks. When other women talk about "having a good cry", I don't know what the fuck they're talking about. As far as I'm concerned, crying is a truly gut wrenching experience, occasionally accompanied by lovely stuff like migraines, chest pain, stomach cramps, and vomiting. Oh, and it's, like, the most embarrassing thing on earth short of being publicly incontinent.

So (trying really hard to make this coherent) naturally anything that has the potential to lead to that kind of pain becomes sort of frightening. You know what, I totally lost where I was trying to go with this. I am so sorry. I guess that to resolve this kind of stuff better, I am going to have to keep writing on the other blog, because what happens before too long there is the shittiest thing that ever happened to me, and honestly, it still reverberates through my life today.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Jen's X-rated thought of the day...

Just so you all know, this blog is not child safe.

Now having said that, I want to know: Whose brilliant fucking idea was it to decide that having buzzing, vibrating things anywhere near one's delicate genitals was a good idea?

Let's see here, things that buzz and vibrate in nature:
  • Bumblebees
  • Rattlesnakes
  • Wasps and hornets
  • Horseflies
  • Mosquitoes
  • Various other insects
Now maybe it's just me, but if I'm out walking around and feel something buzzing and vibrating in my pants, those pants are coming off in a hurry, and not because I want to ease right into that bee, wasp, whatever! Or, I'll find that area of clothing and carefully pinch the hell out of it before it gets me first. It most definitely is not a turn on. And to be honest, if I ever found myself with a man who possessed a buzzing, vibrating penis, I think I'd have to love him a lot to uh...well, you know. So I'm not really getting why adult stores are making so much money off this type of product. I don't even like for my cell phone to vibrate, because my very first thought is, what the hell is crawling around in my pocket?!

So back to my original question, what weirdo looked at a bumblebee and thought, "Hey, that makes me feel horny, I think I'll go replicate that concept for my bedroom"?

Monday, December 27, 2010

I have officially been corrupted: am not only eating meat now, but looking forward to steak eagerly....and gravitate towards the petite sirloin every time I pass the meat section. Of course my kids are happy about this.

If we ever live in the country again and have animals, I want to have a beef calf, raise it on goat's milk. Or hey, we could just buy a side of beef from a friend who has those Scottish Highlander cattle. Or talk to Fish and Game about snagging the next moose that has (fatefully) charged a train. I need to get a crew together for that last thing though, and frankly, a fourth of a moose is enough to last a very long time. Moooose...MMMMMMmmmmmm....

See what I mean? lol.....

As long as I don't start drooling over the fresh cuts of pork.....
I made the coolest sea bass last night! In clay of course....and a little tiny minnow type fish with a rather dismayed expression on its is so cute!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Twas a good day. I am eating too much though, don't want to gain weight back right after I fit into my favorite (size 3!) jeans. Anyway, on to other topics:

I get a lot of guff from people who want me to shut up. I used to be really good at shutting up and keeping secrets. Over time, I have come to realize that as a general rule, when people want you to shut up, it is often for their own benefit and to your own detriment to do so. Which is why they threaten. People threaten when they're afraid. So here's my take on what people take me to task for, namely, talking openly about abuse and general bad treatment. And just so we're clear here, I blab just as openly if I see other people being hurt.

Surviving abuse doesn't make you a victim. Having PTSD, anxiety, phobias, panic attacks, etc as a result of abuse doesn't make you a victim. What makes a person a victim is continuing to cover for the abuser. Keeping quiet about things a person has done to hurt you is cooperating with their abuse and playing into their little game, and dammit, I won't do it anymore. When people who have been abused don't talk about it, it disenfranchises others who are in the same boat. A person who is being maltreated might think that they're all alone, because they have never heard of anyone else going through this sort of stuff, and that's a very lonely feeling, and so, so untrue. Also, wounds that aren't dressed fester and hurt, sometimes to a disproportionate degree. I refuse to continue to experience any kind of pain simply because someone else will feel "uncomfortable" if I acknowledge that yes, shitty things have in fact been done to me. Their discomfort is their problem, not mine. Any shame associated with such events belong entirely to the perpetrator, not the subject of the abuse. It is not weak to admit that bad things have happened, it is strong, because inherent in this admission is the knowledge that this turn of events was unacceptable and has to change. It is the first step to growing out of a toxic, self destructive position into one that is empowered.

Whenever I hear people say that they don't want to hear about (insert child abuse, rape, sexual harassment on the job, discrimination, whatever), my first instinct is to suspect that the person condones that act and has quite possibly perpetrated it themselves. They are too gutless to say that they approve of, say, burning disobedient kids with cigarette butts, so they just target whoever wants to talk about it and say crap like, "Well, I think that's really the parent's business and should be handled in the home, don't you? Before government got involved in the family life nobody thought anything about parents spanking (severe beatings actually) their kids". Which is to say, they beat their own kids and resent that anyone has the balls to criticize that.

I'm not saying that people who are private and have gone through this stuff can't be healthy....but I do question in some cases, whether they have internalized the stuff that happened to them. What I can say is that this is what works for me, and why.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

These little animals are really underappreciated. I have never seen anything that kills mice as effectively as a good weasel. We were once lucky enough to have one that moved into the house for a while, wiped out the rodent infestation, and promptly left once the problem was handled. It was so alert and intelligent!
I'm looking out the window; the snow covered mountain behind us is ringed with fog/cloud and the sunlight is hitting the mist. And the sky is blue behind it. So beautiful. It's a good day.

And I sitting here wondering what I'll do for the winter holiday when my kids are all grown. Suppose that at some point I'll have grandchildren (that seems like a long way away...I hope). My youngest is 5, so by the time he's grown in 13 years...yeah, I should have grandchildren by then. Sometimes I think about the possibility of adopting once Charlie's older....especially if the child in question was not an infant. People always look at me like I'm crazy when I say that, and I suppose that they have a point....

And speaking of household responsibilities, I am never having another indoor cat after Uno dies (this is the ancient, blind, corona virus infected cat we adopted). I love her and everything, but cat box in the house.....blech! I don't really care to have an outdoor cat either, because they kill weasels and birds and I love weasels. Oh, and bats! Bats are cool, too. Besides, with a Rat Terrier around, I don't need a cat. And cats have a nasty way of leaving disgusting surprises in the garden. It isn't that I don't like cats- I do- but I can love them just as well when they belong to someone else!
The kids are having a great X-mas and I am happy. :-)

Friday, December 24, 2010

Have to get myself through the next part on my other blog. I've never been able to write that part down before; I always get right to the point where I am now and then stop. I guess sometimes you have to break a bone in order to set it correctly though.

I am not a big fan of holidays. This year is turning out better than most, but still....I always feel terribly alone during these things, and I hate having to pretend to be in some kind of festive mood (grump grump). Alright alright....I'll try......

I need to get out of the house though. Thinking.....Hike? (where, in this weather????) Ski? (no more skis).....Drive? (Where?)....Finch Arboretum? Hmmmmm........have never seen it in the winter. Meh. Maybe after the first of the year. Then I can hit the Oriental food stores and buy weird produce and other stuff. Maybe get some summer roll wrappers that are reliable. What else could I do......Firewood? (Yes!!! Feeling suddenly cheerful at the thought! Yeah, I know, I am so weird, lol). Help fix goat fence? Yeah, I could go for that too. Haul a truckload of manure? (Ya know, I am not *that* bored....splitting and stacking, OK....shoveling shit, not quite desperate enough yet....). Hmmmm. I need to find some places where I can walk around here in the winter....yeah. In the meantime, I can clean the house
Thinking about pottery again, although I haven't made any new stuff since the fall semester ended. I did drop off everything I'm going to sell at Monarch Mountain. None of it is as good as it could be if I were more experienced, so I tried to price it accordingly. Anyway, now that the old stuff is out of my hair and sight, I can start thinking about making more.
  • Making a school of little fish. These could be small enough that they wouldn't have to be hollow, and they could even be bisque fired individually or in smaller groups. When I glaze them, I can lay them adjacent to one another or overlapping. When the glazed piece gets fired, the clay and glaze vitrify, and so they will wind up joined by the glaze. Loading such a piece in the kiln would be a pain. I would have to do it myself probably. The beauty of this is that the entire piece would not be at risk during the greenware or bisqueware stages. I've had several pieces broken already, and it pisses me off. With smaller groups of fish or individual fish that are assembled at the last possible minute, if one fish or one small group gets broken, it isn't such a devastating loss, and I can still readjust pretty easily to compensate, or make extras with the expectation that not all of them will come out intact.

  • I also want to make fish that can be positioned away from a wall, swimming in midair above a base. (No, not mobiles, although that would be interesting too). I could make stones by throwing bowls, deforming them into stone-like shapes, texturing them to obliterate the throwing lines, and notching them to accept the fish.

  • Also, I want to start making small groups of fish , like 2-4 small trout sized fish.

And I had other ideas, but now my older kids are being a pain, so I have to go and bring the household into order.....

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

By the way, the tapioca stll hasn't turned out right. The scones, however, are unerringly good.

Gluten- Free scones
2 cups of gluten free flour (I use half cocnut and half quinoa or teff with some tapioca starch)
1/3 cup sucanat or dark brown sugar or whatever
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (this is *not* optional)

stir all that together in a mixing bowl.

Then--> use a cheese grater to grate 6 Tablespoons of butter (most of a stick) into the flour mixture, and stir that up and try to break the butter up more if you can. The butter needs to be cold in order to grate well.

Stir in 1/2 cup chocolate chips or currants or nuts or berries or whatever if you feel like it.

Whisk together in another bowl:

3/4 cup unsweetened coconut cream/coconut milk
1 egg

and add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir them until it clumps together. Then make a cohesive mass of it using your hands, sort of like kneading. If you need to, add more coconut milk to get it to stick together. It's okay if the dough is kind of sticky.

The oven should be preheated to 425 degrees F

Now pat the dough out on a clean surface, into a disk about an inch high and cut it into pie shaped wedges. Arrange these on a cookie sheet or baking sheet (doesn't need to be greased) with an inch of space between them, more space if you like them crunchier. Bake them for 10-12 minutes.

I like to use the coconut flour, chocolate chips, and the coconut cream (you can use dairy cream if you want to, but I always have coconut milk and never have cream, sooo). I keep meaning to try the almond flour but the coconut flour tastes so right that I just haven't tried any other yet!
Replay of yesterday, except that I spent more time cleaning and the hosue isn't totally trashed (yet). The kitchen area actually looks OK. to say it......sometimes I feel like such a fool. I hate being vulnerable, but am realizing that you can't open yourself up to happiness if you aren't willing to take the risk of the pain. And do I want to feel numb and cold and robotic again? No, I do not. Instead I feel as tender as a newly opened blossom in the face of an impending hail storm, hoping to goodness that that hail is going to fall somewhere else. And I've got this bitchy little know it all weatherman who keeps blathering on about the fucking hailstorm headed my way, and I just want him to shut UP already!!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Spent half the day cleaning, the house looked nice for an hour or two, and now the kids have messed it up again. I suppose that is it hadn't been cleaned this morning, it'd be an absolute pit by now. Besides, the tree is up and decorated, and we made a bucnh of refrigerator magnets. I need to find a good source of bottlecaps to make more magnets with. Usually this would be a good excuse to go and buy some nice hard cider or oatmeal stout....but cannot in the here and now, alas.

Thinking: is it possible that a person could be so messed up and overcome with guilt over an event that their subconscious would cause anything else to get messed up and sabotaged? I am thinking it is possible.

I don't know, I just read back through the part in my other blog where my stepdad killed our cat and how guilty I felt over it, even though there was nothing I did to cause its death and virtually nothing I could have done to avert it.....and realized that it has been pretty much the same thing with Daniel Haugen's death. I didn't make him die, and doctors who know about melanoma have already told me he was probably past saving when I met him, so there wasn't anything I could have done to keep it from happening, either.

Now, aside from the fact that he was a 35 year old man and I was a horrifically innocent 17 year old girl that he more or less jilted without even giving a good reason, and aside from the fact that he'd gone to jail for beating his first wife, let's say that it would have been ideal anyway, if things had been different. Still, it isn't my fault he died, and punishing myself for that for the rest of my life is plain silliness.
I think this is the most beautiful song in the world. My dad plays it too, but of the versions online, this is the best in my opinion. If I were forced to narrow my music down to only one song, it would be this.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Been writing a lot on my other blog. It is my way of working through my past and resolving the issues which stem from all that crap. Since....let's see, when was it...I suppose when I switched counselors...I realized that counselors are only there to *help*. They cannot do the actual work of therapy for me. Unfortunately, that is for me to do. They're there for moral support, perspective, and to help keep me from losing my mind. And then, in the past several months, I realized that unless I work on the issues that haunt me, not only am I going to eventually lose it altogether, nothing nice is going to happen, because I'll be so afraid and paranoid and whatnot that even if it did, I would somehow manage to lose it.

Which doesn't make it any easier....but there it is. So with that in mind, I've been devoting a lot more time to the other blog (and in between posts, here, to take a break now and then). And while there is still a lot of work yet to do, I can honestly say that the nightmares have stopped.

And---(related somehow, don't ask me how, but it is), this verse from a Melissa Etheridge song, the full lyrics of which can be found here:
"And when you make the choice to believe in your existence"...

And see, that has been my biggest issue. I don't know how many times I've wanted to kill myself, thinking that because I was an accidental pregnancy, an almost abortion, that I was less of a person, had less of a place in this world, was an imposition upon it. And the awful thing of it is that when you act that way, people begin to treat you that way, too, which reinforces that belief. But now, I am thinking that a: I don't believe in predestination any more and haven't for a very long time and b: Even when a child is planned, nobody knows exactlt which sperm is going to get which egg, so in a sense, it's always sort of haphazard and accidental anyway and c: This is shit! People are people, and I'm not any less of a person and besides which, d: This is a ploy by certain parent/authority figures to transfer the consequences of their mistakes on to me. Do I treat any of my kids that way? No! Therefore, they should not do so either. Good parents don't make kids feel guilty for being born, for crying out loud.....

Anyway, back to the other blog....trying out the tapioca experiment again, by the way....hoping not to get glue this time.

Actually, forget it. I am going to bed. I just logged my 100th post there and I need a little time to think (sleep) before I write more, because things are about to get interesting and messy in that tale.
Ha!!!!! My oldest son decided to sample my prized tin of King Oscar's kippered herring and ate the whole thing! Seems he hadn't tried it before....

Just like I haven't tried seafood or several other things on my dislike list.....hmmm. But, sorry, no way, no how am I going to try the goat testicles!
Strangeness: I am absolutely phobic of snakes. Spiders, bugs, anything else...blood, etc, is fine, but no snakes. I have been known to jump and scream over garden hoses and sticks, to have a panic attack from inadvertently seeing a picture of a snake in a book, and to be rendered absolutely non-functional over seeing a snake, especially if it was unexpected.

And Charlie just brought a book to me, open to a page with about ten pictures and photographs of snakes, and it didn't scare me at all! I found the shapes slightly interesting, but I was not afraid. Not even a little bit. I haven't done any 'work' on this issue lately at all, had given up trying to change it. I am really hoping that this is going to be a permanent thing. I have honestly never seen a picture of a snake without freaking out before.

LOL, so I am a dork.... :-P
Today's bright idea: Combining a cemetery and an arboretum as a green alternative to conventional burial grounds and practices.
Supporting reasons:
  • Ecologically, conventional cemeteries are a nightmare because they require lawn to be fertilized, trimmed and watered and provide almost no wildlife habitat at all.
  • Also, they aren't very pleasant places
  • Conventional caskets are a wasteful and silly expenditure.
  • Planting a tree over a dead body is greener.
  • The idea of one's body being converted into a towering, beautiful tree that people will walk under is a lot more appealing than being a rotting corpse encased in metal or concrete under a skin of lawn.
  • Such a cemetery would give a more positive spin to the life--->death-->life cycle
  • The trees would provide wildlife habitat and could be longer lived than gravestones.
  • They're also more interesting than a gravestone.
  • The cemetery would have more than one function since it would also be a place where people would stroll, kiss, relax, read, meditate, etc.
  • For couples or families, the idea of having two trees planted nearby, knowing that their roots and branches will intertwine is a lot more romantic and less depressing than having two corpses rotting together side by side.
  • People could select particular trees (within reason for the climate/region) that would reflect their personality or identity.
  • There could be memorial plaques on the trees instead of gravestones. Or, there could be very small stones at the base of the tree. The grave markers would therefore never be lost, because it's pretty damned hard to lose a big tree.

I think this is what I want to happen to my shell when I die. Plant an apple tree over me.

Chnaged my mind. I want a Stewartia pseudocamelia instead... or possibly a hazelnut...

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Found the phone. Just in time, too....
Great. I left my cellphone somewhere, probably at the library. It wasn't good for much anyway, but I could still text on it....and listen to people, lol......I guess they were usually frustrated people since they couldn't hear me, but still, it was some sort of a phone....sigh...

Kleber: Mom, can I buy this? So and so drinks it and says it is good.

Now, he happens to get away with this shit because he knows I have a high opinion of so and so. I do not, however, have a high opinion of being manipulated and so I call him on it and tell him he is full of shit. He tries, unsuccessfully, to text so and so, and I giggle at his frustration at being unable to attain his hoped-for endorsement of the product. Meanwhile, he has put two different such products into the cart. I mean, I already got duped into buying bacon yesterday. Bacon!!! And today I bought petite sirloin steak (I guess I cannot fairly call myself a vegetarian anymore). So.....

Mom: Look, I'm feeling manipulated here. I bought bacon yesterday and steak today. What is happening to me??? You say that so and so likes everything you want to buy.

Kleber: So and so is an expert on nutrition, Mom. (still checking I pod for a response to his text!)

Mom: (Rolls eyes at this blatant attempt, walks off laughing.)

Long story short, he gets one of the energy drinks. It is supposedly better for being sugarfree, however, I have my doubts about artificial sweeteners. At any rate, making me laugh is definitely a good way to soften me up, and he did that. So, we're in the truck now.

Kleber: Thank you for buying that, Mom

Mom: (rolls eyes and starts truck.)

Kleber: No, so and so really did say that this is the kind they buy, that it's good. (opens can, takes a sip) OH MY GOD!!!! THIS STUFF IS VILE! How can they drink this?!!

Mom: is still giggling........

Friday, December 17, 2010

A Case of You - k.d. lang - Hymms of the 49th Parallel

More about food, inspired by the shocking fact that neither of my sons will eat kippered herring, not even the King Oscar's brand!

Things I won't eat at all, ever:
  • Liver
  • Goat testicles (haven't tried, won't try)
  • caviar
  • Intestines
  • Gjetost cheese
  • Pork rinds
Things I don't eat, or don't eat much of:
  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Pork
  • Oily, fishy tasting fish
  • seafood (haven't tried most of it actually)
  • Cucumbers
  • White bread
  • Iceberg lettuce (would rather have spinach or leaf lettuce)
  • Ice Cream (sorbet instead- no milk)
  • High fructose Corn Syrup
  • White sugar
  • Cake, cookies, things with frosting...
  • Fried foods...except for fried okra!
  • Potatoes (occasionally eat new potatoes)
Foods that are (almost!) as good as sex:
  • Ciao Bella's Blackberry Cabernet Sorbet
  • Certain brands of hard cider
  • a freshly picked, fully ripe peach
  • My Grandma Amy's sticky rice cake dessert
  • Certain artisanal cheeses which I cannot find here anymore...
  • Concord grapes
  • Prime rib or Scottish Highlander beef....if I am in the right mood for it...or moose meat..(yes, the veggie treehugger really said that!!)
Feeling better....I think I am going to have to continue exorcising the "demons" of my youth though....

And, am listening to a k.d.lang CD I haven't heard before: Live by Request. I love just about anything by her, but my favorite has got to be "Case of You", which, unfortunately, is not on any of the CDs that I own or borrow. "Barefoot" is a close second.

Still trying to replicate the tapioca pudding recipe. Asked the ladies at the health food store if they'd give me a hint on how to make it and they just laughed at me! They did tell me to search online and I found enough to try again. It seems that tapioca has to be soaked overnight, a crucial step that was neglected on my first attempt. That stuff was so disgusting that I threw it away! It was like glue!!
(Food Inventory resumed)

Flours, meals and flour-like substances
  • Buckwheat (which is from polygonaceae and is not a grain at all)
  • Blue cornmeal
  • Masa Harina
  • All-purpose white flour
  • Sorghum flour
  • Milled flax seed
  • coconut flour
  • Teff flour
  • Xanthan gum (not flour at all but necessary if you use non-wheat flours)
  • Almond Meal
  • Amaranth flour
  • Quinoa flour
  • Tapioca starch
  • Hemp seed protein powder
  • Potato flour
  • Chickpea flour (somewhere I have a recipe that requires this

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Beginning to notice a pattern: I get depressed after being with or near my son. After I have been away from him for a while, I begin to feel better. Not blaming him for my feelings, but I do think he has figured out exactly how to hurt me and is now flipping switches and pushing buttons and enjoying the show. And he's so good at it. I feel like shit, like curling up in a ball and crying all day long. Bleh.

Probably should work with the clay; that always seems to help. And right about then, he'll come home with some new remark to stab me with. I would really rather be slapped around.

Anyway, the pottery is *still* pinging!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Heh. I'm sitting here in the kitchen listening to the sound of my freshly fired pottery pinging on the counter behind me. It's still cooling, even though it came out of the kiln at 8 AM. Overall, I am not as happy with the work as I could be, but it is first semester work, and it's good motivation to keep striving for improvement. Where am I going to put all this stuff???

And, have been blogging on the other blog, and realized, life is really not bad at all compared to what it used to be, lol. Actually, things are pretty darned nice. My orchid just started blooming, some of the pottery is satisfying, I got at least 100 lbs of clay for free, and gas in my gas tank, food in the cupboards, and hot running water. And yeah, just got out of a HOT full, tub of water washing that smelly stuff off (bleah!), as opposed to a sponge bath in a frozen bathtub with a couple of gallons of water in a room with a smelly bucket of sewage. So life is actually good.

It's just that I get scared sometimes.
But I am still sort of depressed in spite of myself. I did make some more things today and brought home a lot more clay that other students were throwing away. One of the things was supposed to be sort of squash-like, but wound up as a head of garlic. I meant for it to be a lid+ body piece but I am not going to be back when it is leather hard in order to cut the top off. Mostly I just got my hands into the clay.

And they were offering free chair massages (which sounds kind of funny now that I am writing it, a chair getting a massage, hahahaha...) and my shoulders, neck, etc have been sort of sore so I thought, what the heck, having never gotten a professional massage before. She did a good job, but she used some kind of oil that reeks like AXE and I hate it! I hate smelling this way! She said it was tea tree oil, but I know tea tree oil when I smell it, and if it's on me, there isn't much of it. Yuck. Will have to take a bath when I get home. I have no idea what I usually smell like, but the idea of running around smelling unlike myself bothers me.

Anyway, now I have several school-free weeks with with to clean house, cook from scratch (which I already did, but not intensively) and make pottery stuff....probably more fish and botanical/sea life inspired forms.
The fish came out really nicely, except for some glaze dripping on the back side of it, which is a fairly minor issue. It is RED!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Bleh. Depressed again. Listening to this.

I know that I am a worthy person with a lot of nice qualities. But damn, sometimes I feel like such a discard when I look back upon the history of life and feel like any more of that sort of thing will be one time too many. Ugh..... :-(

Monday, December 13, 2010

OK, that is a lot more than 50 lbs!! I know because I had to carry it, and I left about half of it at the studio to get next time, too! :smile: It will give me something to keep busy with.

And I didn't make a lot of money at the pottery sale, only $24, but it was enough to help.
Happy and having a good day, despite the curve balls life throws at us. I just finished my final evaluation for the ceramics class, and most of my remaining work will be out of the glaze firing by Wednesday. The teacher asked if I had prior experience with sculpture, based on my work. At first I said not really....then remembered that I've been sewing and working with fabric, including three dimensional fabric forms, for most of my life. So see, all those years of sewing weren't wasted! He said I have a knack for clay and a willingness to allow the clay to express itself. :-)

And, I have about 50-60 lbs of clay to bring home to play with over the winter break. I want to make more fish, like maybe some of the weird ones that live in the deepest parts of the ocean, but am leery of transporting them because of breakage. Hmmmm. If I can drive them in, they'd get here in one piece.

And, I have a lot of pottery that I don't need. I am wondering if I can give it away.....

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sigh..There is a movie where a guy is trying to kill the baby and the baby's crying, except the baby is made of a tree stump. And the woman is trying to defend the baby.

And, believe it or not, I got freaked out over this scene. I mean, first of all, it's a frigging movie. Secondly, it isn't a baby. Who else freaks out over crap like this??!
So I have been doing an inventory of my cupboards to ascertain what I have enough of and what isn't there or is there in insufficient quantities, because I keep finding that I thought I had things, starting a recipe, and then find that some key item is missing. For entertainment's sake, I'll post the lists here. :-P Ummm....keep in mind that I have this fear of running out of food, ok?

Grains and Cereals
  • White cornmeal grits
  • Yellow corn polenta
  • Red quinoa
  • White quinoa
  • Oatmeal, rolled (a lot!)
  • Oatmeal, scotch steel cut
  • popcorn, multicolored
  • Amaranth
  • Wheat, whole berries
  • bulgur wheat
  • Kasha (buckwheat groats)
  • Rice, jasmine white (a LOT, because this is my favorite!)
  • Rice, sweet white
  • Rice, brown basmati
  • Rice, wild (which is not real rice at all, but whatever...)
  • Rice, Lundberg's wild blend
  • Rice, arborio, white
  • Rice, Calrose brown
  • Oh! almost forgot the purple barley, but that's for planting
Beans and Legumes
  • Lentils, red (a lot)
  • Lentils, french green
  • Lentils, plain old brown
  • Green Split peas
  • Peanuts, wild jungle
  • Chickpeas
  • Beans, aduki
  • Beans, black turtle
  • Beans, lima
  • Dried refried beans
  • Beans, kidney

And while writing this list, I realized that I have no yellow split peas at all, with which to make dahl. This list is not including the canned beans, by the way, only dried beans. Most of the canned beans are white cannelini. Hey, I don't have any plain barley, either, with which to make mushroom barley soup! I wonder if I can use quinoa instead.....I mean, it isn't like barley has much of a flavor.
At Safeway accessing wifi again, and this time, the eating area is free of racists and bigots. Tell me please: why do so many men walk around looking threatening? I can't imagine that women find that attractive, but on the other hand, my taste usually isn't the same as the average woman, and vice versa. I see these scowling men everywhere, and it just makes me feel nervous. Really overweight men, though, tend not to scowl, but to be friendly. I am shallow enough to find this almost as threatening as the scowly guys, lmao.....

And see, there I am, doing it again, going through life feeling like some kind of a prey animal alert and watchful for predators. I got picked up by one of those the last time I went hitchhiking. Don't ask me how, but I just knew that guy was not quite safe. He was acting weird. So I remembered that a good strategy is to remind such men that you are a fellow human instead of a sex object, and I starting asking him about his family and telling him that I had kids, etc. That seemed to work for the very short distance he drove me. I was really, really glad he didn't take me to Coeur d'Alene. I haven't gone hitchhiking since that day.

And...I'm tired of Safeway, so that's all I have to say for now.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Spazzing out. Not doing very well.
The health food store has some fantastic tapioca pudding that they make there, and it has neither eggs nor milk. I buy way too much of it, but the last few times, they didn't have any. It only has four ingredients, so it can't be too terribly hard to make. I am going to give it a try, and if it turns out well, will post the recipe for my imitation of their product (lol). I love tapioca...especially the large pearl kind that looks like fish eyes....could only find the small pearl at a reasonable price though...

I was looking for a picture of Shahena'ko S Kamikaze, one of the two Alpine does that inspired me to work the Alpine breed of dairy goats, rather than Saanens, which were definitely my first love in goats. I didn't find Kamikaze, but I did find an old, old image of Sodium Oaks Kiwi Mallow, who was the other inspiring doe (edited to add- Mallow was also Kamikaze's grandmother). More than twenty years of breeding and advancements later, Kiwi Mallow is still a striking testament to her breed:

The image is from The Buck Bank semen website, a good place to buy dairy goat semen from. The Sodium Oaks and Shahena'ko lines were the ones I used almost exclsuively in my own herd, because Kiwi Mallow and Kamikaze were what I wanted to see walking aorund in my pasture (and through the show ring)!

Footnote: I forgot how to write html to post images and had to look it up!!!! I feel so stupid! Need to start writing a new website, lol....
Still trying to figure out what to do in terms of a major and long term education plan. Things that interest me enough to consider working in them and associated factors, pros and cons:
  • Permaculture, sustainable agriculture: I could farm or develop plant or livestock varieities or strains or progressive agricultural systems or techniques for the rest of my life and feel thoroughly happy and fulfilled. Problems: Chemistry and advanced math required (wtf, I don't want to formulate new pesticides!!!), and my hips don't allow for the heavy manual labor I used to enjoy so well. Could work in the dairy goat industry, but there just is not enough of a demand. If it weren't for the Chem, I would find a way to do this, but having failed the last chem class in spite of extreme effort and memorization.....will have to find something else and possibly raise stuff as a hobby or independently.
  • Fine Art: It is definitely within my ability to do this, and I would be happy working in this field. Problems: getting a 4 year degree without abandoning children, and finding a job in this field in our challenging local job market.
  • Psych: I've wanted to work this area for years, particularly if it has anything to do with autism or exploring differences in thought, i.e. neurodiversity. Temple Grandin is one of my heroes! Problems: Statistics, worries that they might not want me in the field to begin with because I'm sort of atypical, frustration with what I perceive as subjectivity and biased viewpoint in the field, compared to some of the other sciences. Still, I would totally do this if I could get through the Stats class.
  • Somehow combining art and psych: Ah...this seems like a nice combination. Something like art therapy or OT. Having experienced first hand the difference that immersing oneself in oneself in clay can have on my psyche, I know that art is therapeutic and calming and cathartic, just as getting my hands into a garden or spending time with animals is therapeutic. (animal therapy?). Problem: research is needed to determine what kind of a degree I need. Can I actually find work in this field? I know for a fact that there have been times when art has literally saved my life, and it isn't even so much about the results. It's the creative process and the sensory experience of the stuff.
  • Physical anthropology: very, very interesting stuff, and forensic anthropology is not too far removed from pathology. Cons: I already tend towards depression. Combing over the bones of dead children or infants might be a bit much for me. Also, having smelled decomp a number of times.....I could do it, but......still, a possibility to keep on the list
  • Art education: That isn't the right word for it. Main drawback here is that I really do not like working with large groups of kids. One on one is soooo much better.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Other than being cold (blogging outside, brrrr!) and having issues with my eldest son, life is good. I don't even mind the cold, because (sacrilege!!) I actually prefer winter to the bright sun and smothery heat of summer. Especially when big snowflakes are falling in slo-mo like flower petals, or when it's really cold and you shine a flashlight on the snow and it sparkles like diamonds, and the flakes skitter with a crystalline sound as you walk. It's slushy and drippy right now, but it'll be nice again before long.

I know this is so wrong, but I honestly think I could spend most of the summer in some pleasantly overcast and foggy coastal area and be very happy about that. lmao....
Some horrible woman with small (less than 2 years old) twin boys just walked her kids into the bathroom and started smacking one of them. I could actually hear her hitting him. Of course he was crying and wailing pitifully while she bitched him out. I went and told one of the librarians, but by the time she came out, the woman was leaving. The whole scene just sort of freaked me out. It should not be legal for people to do that to their kids, especially really small ones. And now I feel sort of ashamed because I didn't have the balls to go and confront her about it. Those poor kids. It's been years and years since I was hit like that, and I still feel all unsettled and upset seeing it happen to someone else.

You know what though, I think it is normal to be upset by this sort of thing. It should never, ever be acceptable in any society to treat a child that way. :-(

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Got some reference books for doing pottery over the winter break. Well, sort of. They aren't pottery books, they're books about turtles, whales, and coelocanths, all things I wnt to depict in clay.

And for some reason, I've been really food oriented even though I am not really eating any more than usual. Oh! I found teff flour! They don't have whole grain teff (snarl) but I am happy to be able to get this. Also found amaranth flour, another hard to find item. :happy dance:

And I tried to make summer rolls tonight, but the stupid spring roll wrappers aren't working right. Will but a new batch of them tomorrow and use the filling with those. :-)

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Three pieces had sold by the time I left. I got one of the raku pieces and brought it home; the other weren't done yet. The raku firing was cool and invigorating, even though there was a lot of smoke. So, here's how the raku process and firing works (I don't know enough yet to be highly technical or accurate but will do my best!):

The raku pieces need be be sturdy, with simple shapes and preferably no projecting parts, because they're going to have to undergo very stressful and sudden temperature changes. So we made plates, tea bowls, vases, tumblers. These were bisqued (think of it as a pre-firing with no glaze), and then we had to use special raku glazes. There's a white, and a copper glaze that turns shiny green and metallic, and others...I didn't know about the others so didn't use those. These were then put back into the electric kiln to force any remaining moisture out of them, because otherwise, they might explode and ruin other pieces when they go through the firing. Meanwhile, our teacher fired up the top hat kiln outside. This is a kiln such that the top lifts off the base via use of counterweights. It is propane fueled. The pre-warmed and dried pieces are then loaded into the top hat kiln, which looks like a flat base with a cup turned upside down over the base. Flames and heat sometimes come out of the top of the kiln. The temperature in this kiln has to go up to 1900 degrees Fahrenheit, after which helpers stand by with gloves and tongs and others (like me) stand next to metal trashcans holding armfuls of straw. The red hot pieces are carefully dropped into the trashcans onto a bed of straw, and then more straw is thrown onto them (which promptly ignites) and the lids are put on quickly. Meanwhile, the top hat kiln is filled again with more pieces. After a while (like 20 minutes) the pots in the trashcans are pulled out and laid onto pieces of kiln shelving. They're all covered in blackened straw, but when you brush the straw off, the colors are intense and stunning, even gaudy if you use only the copper green. As they cool, they make small pinging sounds and the glaze cracks, because the temperature changes have been extreme. So if you use white, which I used a lot of, you get this network of fine cracks, and the smoke and soot from the straw turns the clay body black between the cracks.

The neat thing about all this is that it's very fast, you're directly involved and you watch all these cool things happen right in front of you, not behind the solid door of a kiln. It's almost magical. Also there's this element of instant gratification; compared to waiting a couple of days for a glaze firing from a regular kiln, the raku glaze firing gives you a finished piece in your hands within an hour. I think it would be too stressful to go through every day, but it is a refreshing change from the routine of the usual way.
At the pottery sale (finally) and none of my stuff has sold yet (uh-oh, gotta buy gas next week...) but who knows, it still might. People keep wanting to buy the stuff I'm keeping!

I got a lot of newly glaze fired stuff:
  • the colander's glaze is all washed out and flat; going to try to reglaze and refire it.
  • The baking dish is sort of underwhelming. I mean, it's good enough to use, but it isn't special. I might sell it.
  • The paddled lidded box was glazed in shino and it looks great! So do several other shino glazed items.
  • One of these is a coffee cup which was paddled from a slab cylinder (see note below) and glazed in shino, finger wiped down to the body, and the interior was glazed in iron red, which dribbled in s few streaks on the exterior as well. My mentality is to let accidents happen in pottery, because they're often fortuitous.
  • The goat teapot is bisqued, but every time I look at it, I feel sad about the horns it used to have. :-( I need to get over that, lol....
  • Made an elephant for Charlie, and it's also bisqued.
  • Bisqued and glazed my second fish, a kokanee salmon, with Rose's Red. This is risky because Rose's Red isn't terribly predictable. I asked the lab assistant to do everything possible to put it in a place where it'll get reduced so it'll be red, not off white or gray or light green.
  • Also, we are doing the raku firing today! I am so psyched for that!
  • Paddled- you take a form or a piece of clay and use an object to pat it into shape. Such pieces are stronger because the particles of clay are compressed more tightly, and the piece has a different character than one which has been thrown or handbuilt.
  • Slab cylinder (or whatever)- The clay is rolled out into a thin sheet and then shaped. Slab cylinders usually have a seam unless you're good at hiding it. Paddling hides the seam and makes it more personable instead of looking banal...and makes it stronger, too.
  • Finger wiping- pretty much what it sounds like. You dip the piece in glaze, and then quickly make marks through the glaze as if you were finger painting. These areas look different. In shino, they're darker, like a dark apricot color, whic contrasts very nicely with the rest of the piece.

OK, I'm gonna run back to the ceramics studio....the raku firing will be beginning soon. :-)

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Hmmmm. I am in that "tired but alert" state of mind. I should be in bed so that I can sell my work in at least one day of the pottery sale. But, I'm not tired yet (yawn). And my body is hungry even though the rest of me is not.

Made some gluten free scones today, chocolate chip flavored. This was fun because: it was a challenge. Making stuff with other-than-standard flour is always challenging. Also, I found some of the coolest flours to use: quinoa, coconut (who knew you could buy coconut flour??), almond, tapioca and....hmmm. Seems like there was another. I only used the coconut, quinoa, and tapioca flour for these scones, with the addition of xanthan gum (because non-gluten flours tend to crumble a lot and the xanthan gum helps with that). And, although there was an egg, and butter, I was also able to make it with coconut milk instead of cream, which I never buy, whereas coconut milk is pretty much a staple item in our cupboard (it's good for curries and Filipino desserts). I had to use sugar and didn't want to use honey or agave syrup, etc because they are liquid and I was messing with things enough as it was. So, I settled for dark brown organic sugar. There wasn't a lot of it, only a third of a cup for the entire batch. The verdict? They're pretty good! I can taste the quinoa and a hint of coconut (goes well with the chocolate chips) but these actually make the finished product mroe interesting. The standards are pretty bland and uninspiring by comparison. Next time I want to try it with the almond flour! :-) If you folks want a recipe, I can post it.

Oh! Forgot! Why would I want to make this weird recipe to begin with? Well, because. Quinoa is cool: see? It has a protein level of 12-18% and the protein has all 8 amino acids, which is uncommom in the plant kingdom. Since I don't often eat meat, this is really good to know. Also, I like weird foods and uncommon agricultural crops that we hardly ever hear about. It annoys me that most of our food comes from just 5 or 6 crops. It seems to me that relying very heavily on such a narrow array of food is:
  • boring
  • not smart from a crop failure scenario viewpoint
  • not smart from a biodiversity angle
  • predisposes people to allergies and makes them a lot more vulnerable in the event of contamination of the food supply
  • Probably doesn't supply a balanced array of nutrient or minerals.
  • and besides, why is it that we can make thousands and thousands of dishes from meat, and yet we don't even try to do that with plant foods? With a few exceptions, such as soybeans, corn, potatoes, wheat, rice and peanuts, we eat most of our plant foods in just a few forms, often cooked just as they are. Only freaky people like me carry it to the next level.
What I really want to get my hands on: some teff. This is such a cool crop! You can plant an entire field from a single handful of the stuff! I found teff wraps today, but some seed or flour would be nice. And when spring comes, I would like to grow some quinoa and amaranth.
I feel so fragile sometimes, like my soul is naked and vulnerable to the world around me. People sometimes say stuff like: "You hold your cards very close to your chest", or "I can't tell what you're feeling or thinking" or "You don't have feelings (or empathy)".

This always surprises me, because from my point of view, I am utterly at their mercy.

Monday, December 06, 2010

By the way: for the celebratory goblet assignment, I finally found something worth celebrating- getting into the advanced ceramics class! Yes! I just used a lot of various techniques that we have learned or might learn in class, such as trimming, paddling, modeling, texture, etc. When it comes to the glazes, I will use more techniques there too.

The goat teapot: I started making another horn, and while putting it on, managed to break off the other one. Arrrgh! So instead, whittled the remaining stubs of horns into short spike type horns, which are more typical for a female goat anyway. It looks acceptable now. Not fabulous, like it used to, but still good. The only thing is, it now has no handle, because the long, curling horns were the handle. Grrrr.... I guess I could drill holes into the sides near the central opening and insert a wire bail?

And the sgraffito casserole with a goat handle perched atop the lid is sort of questionable. Specifically, the handle and lid are very nice. They are also very poorly matched to the casserole. They don't fit at all.

From such frustrations come experience.......
My son says that I am a horrible mother. I don't think he has any idea how horrible a parent can be. He says that I'm manipulative; I think I'm not good enough at predicting human reactions to be manipulative. Besides, I tend to just spill whatever's on my mind, whether that's a good idea or not. How can a person with such a loose mouth be sneaky and close lipped enough to be manipulative???

Guess I'm feeling defensive. Or maybe my own childhood was so incredibly messed up that I actually am a bad mom and don't even realize it, because his life seems like utter paradise compared to what my siblings and I went through. If you are curious about that, you can go to my other blog.

You know, I am going to start writing down what he says to me. Things look different on paper than they do floating around in my ears and head...which, by the way, is why I blog so much.... :-P
OK, now I'm just crabby. Every clock in our house, including the one in my truck, has a slightly different time, and I missed the goddamn bus by 30 seconds!!!! It is the day to set up for the pottery sale. I'm pissed!

Sunday, December 05, 2010

It's no good. I can't focus. It's cold here and there are so many people and soooo much noise.
So, I am at Safeway taking advantage of the free wireless to work on my math homework. My phone apparently doesn't work well anymore; I can hear people, but they can't hear me. I suppose I should be upset by this, but given that I am hating the thing right now, I don't really care.

Oh. Well, the server for the math website is not working. Oh well. Suppose it can't hurt to sit around and see if it works in an hour or two.

Sigh....what to do about that stupid phone???
OMFG, what a crazy, messed up weekend....

I mean, sometimes you just cannot win no matter what you do. :-(

Please, please tell me that the rest of my kids are not going to be this difficult to get through their teens.

And I am going to leave that stupid phone alone. I hate phones. I to put it....well, I don't have a good way to put it except that I have a hard time dealing with conflict over the phone. I mean, first of all, if you call someone, you never know if it's a good time to call them or not. They could be in the middle of something and highly upset to be interrupted, and most of them will not say so. Was it a good time to call? You don't know whether they'll be annoyed or not...until you get them on the phone, and probably not even then. Ugh! And then, there's the (wholly verbal) conversation, with no visual cues at all. And the potentialty for a barrage of words faster than I can take them in or sort them out, and the threat of being hung up on, or worse, for the other person politely continuing but wishing I would hang the F up. And then, when you get off the phone, there's the relentless replay of any unpleasant feeling parts of the conversation, over and over and over again. Arghhhh!!!!!!!

LOL...I guess I feel a little better for having vented.........

Friday, December 03, 2010

I don't have any words, only analogies.

My empty womb sliced up in a jar, awaiting further dissection and scrutiny, being searched for signs of cancer......This loss of which organ makes me even less desirable than I had been before, although less mercurial and far safer.

The huge standing, hollow cedar trunks, some of which had a few living, struggling branches, over in Hannah Flats. Their emptiness was big enough for me to stand in, their living flesh stretched to hold the decay and void within.

The blue gleam of a robin's egg shell among the grasses, smeared and fouled on the white side of the shell.

Your eyes, so honest looking, so unreadable, haunting me, haunting me, in my mind. I can't escape and the axe is poised and I am frozen with fear. I would prefer almost any other wound; but he knows my weaknesses too well for that and I am, quite simply, screwed.
What do you do when the horizon is gone and your compass is broken and you're tired of limping along?

Wednesday, December 01, 2010