Thursday, April 30, 2015

And it goes some more —

Dinosauric-machinery has taken up residence on my street for a week or so of sewer work. Because they do their business while I'm away at work, I come home to their somnolence, parked for the night, tucked neatly side of the street, the sharp-toothed digger positioned chin-down, hemmed in by those saw-horse things that announce No Parking (for the time-being). They appear so harmless, so placid, as if they couldn't, in a million years, make quick shredding work of just about anything.. As I said before, it goes and it goes, in spite of Stephen Hawking's dire warnings re: our extinction. Still we go about the daily business of breathing, and digging.

Today I endured major excavations of the dental variety, and my non-boutique dentist reassured me the tooth can be saved. He's doing some fancy sleight-of-hand, combining two crowns into one to hold my mouth together. O glory be. I imagine my teeth will outlive me.

The best part, thought, was that I walked to my dentist appointment, from work, then back to work, then back home again, through our rapidly-gentrifying neighborhood, over sidewalks heaved and broken, past million-dollar new homes, past houses boarded-up and overrun by decades of blackberry vines. Past urban chickens clucking up a racket. Every other person being led by a dog on a leash. The pug craze seems to be fading; the bulldog craze seems to be heating up. A few years ago I read that there were more dogs in Seattle than children, but I think that statistic has been tipped the other way, evidenced by an abundance of Cadillac strollers and precocious (and undoubtdly gifted) toddlers. Honestly, it almost makes me miss the crack houses.

Peering into the deeply-furred centers of irises brought me a curious kind of joy today, and the three miles of walking allowed irises with countless variations, and scents. The fact that winter is past (and it was mild here) makes me gasp with relief. The light has returned, and it's in every leaf and petal, every bee's wing, every water-sodden cloud, lighting the horizon from dawn to dusk. Time to inhale deeply, and store it all up.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Many days. No words.

Feels like it's all been said. So many people all over the media screaming their stories, their accomplishments. I admit a certain addiction to facebook, but with it comes a loathing for it and the edited versions of lives that people lay out for viewing: The Braggarts' Museum.

I did I do I sang I published I read I wrote I painted I sculpted I grew I raised I earned I cooked I confabulated I imagined I completely made-up.

(Vocab stolen from former Jewish boyfriend.)

And in the interim, it all goes, and goes, and goes.
In the interim, there's a dentist appointment for Major Work for which I've finally saved enough $$$.
In the interim, there's betrayal and disappointment ( the opposite of appointment? A "dental disappointment?! Gawd I hope not.)
There are earthquakes and riots and seizures and cancers and even hernias being sewn neatly back up into one's interior regions (fancy that).
Seeds I planted a week ago sprout up from the soil, amazingly. I tell you, it's a fucking miracle: a tiny brown husk-of-a-thing pressed into some dirt — dirt, for god's sake! — and with a little water, a little sunshine and patience, it transforms itself into a thin spindly green thing wavering in the afternoon breeze. I bow down to my tray of thin spindly green things! Sing praise!

And in the interim: a desire for invisibility. To not have my name known as anything. We're facing our own extinction, folks, so why all this huffing and puffing to self-promote? (Speaking here of so many writers I know. Alas.)

And what is it we'll leave in our wakes?
—a ripple in the surface of a still lake, if we're lucky.
—dust that rustles up in a quick sidelong breeze.
—effluvia, vapor, will-o'-the-wisp.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

I walked home from work through great swarms of gnats, illuminated in the early evening sun. Interesting that they hover right about face level, which makes for curious hopping and odd, most undance-like movements down the sidewalk as I attempt to disengage myself from their thousands. It's been alarmingly mild — dare I say warm — and while others are rejoicing in our "early spring", my doomsday alarms, ie, climate change, are sounding at deafening volumes.

But to find joy in the present — that's the goal, is it not? The dogwoods are in full-on petticoat-bloom and, as is usual, I want to set up housekeeping up within the pinkage. Do you think anyone would notice a bed, a table (I'd keep it small), a chair? Moonlight would suffice for a lamp. And rain, well, skin is waterproof.

Monday, April 13, 2015

My Ceiling Has Been Edited

A VERY strange thing happened today. On my phone, I was trying to upload some photos onto blogger (from my phone, which has very few photos on it) and the photo below appeared as one of two options, even before I'd been given the option to select a photo.

Two things are odd about this: a)this photo is not stored on my phone, and b)I've never turned this into an animation. In 2013 I posted a photo of this branch with only the lights — no ornaments. So while this is indeed my photo, the only place it has appeared is on my facebook page, and my privacy settings limit viewing to friends. But oh silly me, here I was assuming that privacy actually means something.

I have to admit, it does look cool, but who did this? And where did they get it? Possibly my facebook page was hacked, but why this photo? There are hundred of "branches on ceilings" photos online (on google) but this one doesn't show up. I am sooooooo curious.
I guess I'll file this under Wonders of the Internet and enjoy my twinkling branch. (Funnier still in that the actual lights [which are still up] do not twinkle.)

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

A Crack in the Glass, in the Order of Things

We heard the CRACK! while it was in the kitchen kiln. God almighty a broken piece of glass, and an oven full of work. Always feels like a curse, and I have to reach in there to take everything out, not knowing whether it's still in one piece or whether it will fall to pieces in my hands. Gives me the heebie jeebies.

I found it — a larger piece that E. and I labored over yesterday afternoon. I'm teaching him a new technique, and the lesson was slow and plodding, lots of re-dos, lots of "let's strip this layer off." Or rather, "let's strip all these layers off and start from the beginning."

Seems to be the best way to teach — and learn — a new task here in the Glass Factory. Do it, feel your way through it with the basic instructions, then do it again, always refining and re-defining the details and brush strokes. Some have the touch and some don't. Some are teachable, and others aren't. I enjoy the teaching to a point — there's always a deadline at my back. Between M. and I, we could probably teach a two-year course in what we do here. (Might be a better way to make $$, come to think of it.)


A cracked vessel. Which let out a second loud SNAP after I took it out to inspect, completely cooled.

When E. returned from sand-blasting, I showed him the piece. He's 26, and studied glass art in college, and has a physics-level understanding of how the molecules move about in glass, and gave me a quick tutorial in surface tension and the path of least resistance. He found the most probable point of origin of the crack, a small embedded stone, which most likely caused a heating/cooling inconsistency and, blammo — there it went.

I am perpetually fascinated by the curving direction a crack will take, the arc of it, how it feels like a living thing in my hands, a conglomeration of vibrating molecules that have misbehaved and will end up ker-plunking into the garbage can.

Never having studied glass arts, what I know I know intuitively; a martini, wine or champagne glass will exhibit its own behavioral traits based on the angle or curve of the cup. Once sand-blasted, I can break the stem of any one of them in a snap if I'm lose my concentration and grasp too tightly in the finishing process — a fact that has never failed to astound me.  I know the ping a flicked finger makes on glass that announces Too Thin To Bother With.  A well-tempered, appropriately thick piece of glass will make a mid-toned ringing klung sound that says All Is Well. So much is decided on the song a piece of glass intones, its solitary note of suitableness. (M. is a generous Goodwill donor.)

Our little machine rumbles and clatters along, and sometimes it sings.

Ironic that yesterday I spent a good long stretch of the afternoon teaching E. the techniques I use to layer color, and then today listened in fascination while he taught me the physics of the crack. Much to be learned, from either side.

I was appropriately humbled.
I was trying to capture the often-seen prismatic effect a crack makes, but the light wasn't right.

The crack as seen on the base of the vessel: beautiful curve!