Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Facility

Yesterday at The Glass Factory we listened to screaming goats and laughter loops, one laugh spilling into the next, superimposed by our own explosive, falling-down, tears-rolling laughter. I like to think that we're a funny (as in ha-ha) bunch but then, maybe I need to get out more often.

Ha ha.

Lest you think it's all fun and games, well, it mostly is.

A sales rep from one of our suppliers called today, and he'll be in town next week from California, and wanted to know if he could stop by to view our "facility". HAHAHA. He said that we used so much of his company's masking material, it would be nice to see exactly what it is we do with it.

M. politely told him that the "facility" is a house and garage-studio, and that he'd be most welcome to come by, but to expect the unexpected.

I think that without the constant, ever-rolling humor, most of life would be fairly unbearable. We work damn hard, long days which spill into weeks. I could probably trade this job up for a management position somewhere corporate, for better pay and benefits, but I think that would kill me. (I spent 15 years working for a corporation, and it did indeed nearly do me in.)

It's all a gamble, really, isn't it? And trade-offs. I'll most likely work 'til I drop dead. Retirement isn't a word in my vocabulary, at this stage of my game. (The cruel facts of economics in an expensive town.)

I do hem and haw, now and again.

But here I am, and intend to stay. Painting out my life, one color at a time.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Excessive, Spectacular Pink

My front yard is like an over-lit neon sign at the moment, shamelessly and incessantly shouting out "pollinate me! Pollinate me!"

Honestly. I want to move in to the pink dogwood tree. I want to live there, among those flat-petaled blossoms. I want to feel them on my face, my arms, all over and at all times of the day and night.  And when the wind picks up, like it did today, a fierce April wind with a razor-chill to it, I want to hang on like everything hinges on the hanging-on, because in a way, everything really does hinge on this.

I'm hanging on.
It's pink, and I'm hanging on.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Easter Penance: Costco

A day of sharp rain squalls, this Easter Saturday, and I was out in it on my weekly urban grocery foraging. Ha.

I mostly try to avoid Costco, but go there for prescriptions because the price doesn't bleed my wallet out. I didn't need much other than the Rx's, so I didn't get a shopping cart, which was a mistake. I realized, as I dodged and swayed quickly left or right to avoid getting side-swiped by rolling metal tank-like carts that they serve not only the purpose of holding one's mega-whatever packs but they are also a kind of personal armor. I'm telling you, it was dangerous, and I kept having to do funny little dance steps and do-si-do's just to avoid injury. I could swear that there's a low constant humming in that warehouse, the sound of commerce grinding it's way inexorably into the next sale. And why is there no express checkout?! Five items or less? All I had in my arms was a giant bottle of Tabasco and a giant bottle of vanilla, and for the privilege of paying a reasonably low price for them I had to stand vigil behind flat-bed carts tipping with 48-packs of toilet paper (each roll individually-wrapped: what waste!), cases of Progresso soup, and floppy giant bags of white flabby dinner rolls.

My mother used to do an Easter Saturday vigil at St. Anthony's church every year, alternating shifts with her fellow Altar Society members, until midnight. Me? Today I meditated in line at the Costco Cathedral of Our Lady of Capitalism, contemplated the apparent need all around me for excess upon excess (the sales clerk didn't even take the time to make eye contact).

A kind of penance, I suppose, for which there is no need for confession. The only thing missing was the organ.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Insurance Rant

My insurance broker who handles my homeowners insurance emailed me last week, saying that there is a new company they're dealing with who offers significantly lower rates, and if I wanted a quote I could get one after sending photos of both the front and back of my house.

So today I heard back from the broker, who said, "Your house is so cute! REALLY CUTE!!" And that I could get a quote if I scraped and painted all the "exposed wood" on the house (it's stained), if I scraped and painted the garage to match the house (it's a falling-down garage that isn't worth even a quart of paint), and if I cut back all the "shrubbery" to allow easy access to the house (the "shrubbery" is a clematis, a rhododendron and a climbing rose that have been painstakingly trained to frame my front steps and front porch and in no way prohibit access to anything.)

Bottom line: shell out $3k+ and we'll cut your homeowner's policy by $20 a month. 

Gee. What a deal.

What a scam. I wouldn't put it past them to supply me with a list of "suggested contractors" who'll do the job at bargain prices.

Looks like I'm staying with my current company.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Excuse me while I meditate —

It's a gritty place. There's glass everywhere, paint tubes, containers of brushes, stacks of cut-up paper towels. Water cups. Linseed oil. Rubbing alcohol. Parchment. Sticky blue photo-resist. Packing peanuts, bubble wrap, shipping boxes, sharpies, tape dispensers. On the kitchen floor is a box with half a dozen hand-blown (and very $$$) blank vessels. Razor knives. A cat. Everything in a different stage, all of it somehow ending in a gallery in Martha's Vineyard, or Beverly Hills. Or Brooklyn.


This week chaos has reigned, a discovery of flaws in way too many pieces. One of my jobs is to troubleshoot, to make a defective piece into a first-quality piece. There's some masquerade that happens, some sleight of hand: make the defect look intentional, embellish it with some irridescent paint, a garnish of maroon. (Works like a charm.) Sometimes I feel like a dentist with my diamond-tipped drills and sharp pokey tools as I gouge-out embedded stones the size of pinheads.  There's UV sensitive glue and a diamond wheel grinder: my bag of tricks.

Today the credit card processing device repeatedly refused to function. Credit cards were declined, gallery owners didn't answer their phones.


(A bit like me, at the end of the day.)

I keep about ten orders in my head at any given time, all in various degrees of completion, with infinite variations of pattern, color, shape. And then there are next week's orders, spilling from their file, with their attendant pre-planning, and early staging. And finding space in an already packed production calendar to fit in yet another thousand dollar order. (Such problems!)

Amidst all this hullabahubbub this afternoon, I suddenly had a vision, a revelation, an aha moment of where I could go for respite, for sanctuary: I could go to the new website, where everything is perfectly finished and perfectly arranged, neat cleaned-up rows of glass minus fingerprints and all the detritus left over from this thunderous production.

I know it sounds kind of wacky, but visualizing the site — without actually getting out of my chair and going over to the computer, but just imagining it — well, my frizzled synapses actually calmed a tiny bit. It's like there's this clean and quiet room, a meditation temple that I can visit any time desired, and all the chaos smooths out.

And seventeen boxes later, it was time for a nap:
photo by M. Wellsandt

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Mary-Melinda Website! Live!

At long last, the glass-factory website is up and fully-functioning. Check out the full product range *here*.

It's been a long time coming!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Leaning into the Year

Yesterday was one of those early spring days when the temperature rises to an astonishingly ambient degree, so much that it's almost too much to believe — seems impossible — that there is indeed an end to the persistent grey and waterfalling skies.

It lingered into this morning as I walked to work, petals spilling from cherry trees with nearly every step. But there were clouds lining up in the west, impending.

And now here we are again, hunkered down against the rain.

I want summer to hurry itself up, but then that means that it will be closer to ending. Better, in my eyes, to linger in this anticipation, in these possibilities. Everything seems more possible in the spring, creatures that we are of regeneration, of rebirth. The older I get, the more deeply I slide into winter's chasm, into the darkness whose only respite is the moon on clear nights. But without the contrast of winter, what use would spring be? If I inhabited a more equatorial landscape, I do believe I'd long for the longer winter nights, and then the stretched out dusky midnight hours of June.


Even the trees with nearly imperceptible blossoms are exquisitely beautiful.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

One Tulip, and Peeling Paint

Only one, because I never dug them up in the fall and separated them.
And peeling paint that will not get repainted, because the garage is falling down.

That's how it is.
And it's okay.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


I don't seem to be able to write much in this space lately, seized with an atypical silence that is coming from a place deeply embedded in my cells. Or something like that.

The job today was overspilling with April Fool's jokes, starting with a faked bloody hand photo (my hand, perylene maroon paint as blood) on facebook: "On the way to get stitches".

We removed all but one of the "8.2" candy from the tin where it's stashed, sending M. into a minor tizzy.

I taped the toilet seat down with an "OUT OF ORDER" sign.

And lastly, I spun a fictional story to G. about an intimate relationship with a police detective we all know, and had him fooled for a good thirty minutes. G. even gave me relationship advice! I hadn't realized how adept I seem to be at, ahem, lying.

In case there's any question: yes, we also worked! Hard and diligently! Laughing!