Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Craft Day

Iced coffee (from yesterday) in a large plastic cup with a straw (the straw makes it the best), the sound of the washing machine (thank you Dave!) for music. Today is what we affectionately call "Craft Day" at the Griffith household. Craft Day happens every Tuesday and consists of having a couple of friends come over and work on our own handcraft projects from 10-3 or so. We either meet at my house or at the studio depending on the tools and materials we need to use, and we grudgingly break for lunch when hunger drives us to.

Major woodwork, dyeing, soapmaking, and glass are done at the studio as will be jewelry and ceramics when we get around to them. Spinning, weaving, knitting, crochet, felting, beading, etc., are all done at the house. Dave works from elsewhere on Craft Day so we don't have to worry about disturbing him. Some might say everyday is Craft Day for me as Dee also comes down once a week and is helping me go through the studio and decide what to keep and what to sell/give away when we move in June. But I don't count that time as a Craft Day as the things I am learning have more to do with what a packrat I am than anything useful.

Craft Day is for learning/trying new things, working on one-off projects, and mastering techniques. For the past few weeks we've been working in wood at the studio. Becky finished up some lucets that she cut in May and learned how to use her router. I started on another inlaid games cabinet for the Waldorf School, and Peyton and I made peg looms. We cut, drilled, and sanded with a table saw, a chop saw, a drill press, a router, a scroll saw, a Dremel, a Foredom, and a hand sander. One of the coolest parts of craft day is learning to use cool new (to us) tools.

The other night Dave and I had friends over for dinner and we joked about how I have a lot of (maybe too many) hobbies. But there are just too many fascinating things to learn, study and practice! Last night we watched the Dr. Who episode from a couple of weeks ago, and the main guest character was bored by her immortality. True, she was living from the middle ages through the 1700's and life did move pretty slowly and brutally through much of that time. But, the Renaissance! I'd have learned Italian and hung out there with the artists and mathematicians. 

Sadly for me, I don't have immortality so I have to cram as much as I can into my short time here. Today is a full day of spinning more of the alpaca fleece I am processing for a trade with Ruthann, and then shipping glass work. Tomorrow is working on the games cabinet and hand cutting the veneer for the inlay with a scalpel, and then juggling contractor scheduling for the new house. Thursday and Friday are full glass days in the studio making the pieces for orders to ship next week and for shows to prepare for in December and January. 

Monday, November 02, 2015


Coffee in the New York skyline mug, Alexa is playing "Freebird" by Lynyrd Skynyrd (and she just added coffee mate to the shopping list), and Jerremy is doing his daily clean of the floors. I am living in the damn future. With the new home, Dave has taken the idea of automation to whole new levels. While I might grumble at Alexa's voice recognition, I find myself starting to talk to my other devices even though they don't do anything about it. Notice I didn't say they don't understand me because I am no longer sure that's the case. And let's be honest: I want less to talk to them than to tell them what to do.

It's amazing the things you can now control with your voice, integrate with other systems, and schedule/manage through your smartphone.We already use Nest thermostats and Schlage keyless locks in Atlanta (in addition to Alexa and Jeremy), and in Austin we will add voice and remote controlled lights (indoors and out), irrigation system, cameras, room fans, blinds, awnings, and an intercom system. I am hoping for voice control of the entertainment system too, but that may be a ways off. Now if there was just some way to automate cleaning up after the dogs...

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Two Years, Seven Months, and a Day

Coffee in a stemless wine glass (we don't have any mugs here at the new house), "Cloudy This Morning" by George Winston on iTunes. It isn't cloudy this morning. It's beautiful, and breezy, and sunny, and I have a full exciting day ahead. Nonetheless I am a bit... sad. Two years and seven months ago yesterday I wrote a post about massaging my mother's feet. That was after her second hip replacement surgery. And after that life got... complicated. And dark. For a couple of years. Now I sit on (I hope) the other side of the dark, and I contemplate the gains and losses of that time.

The biggest loss for me was the passing of my mother in April, but to be honest, I was gradually losing her from the day my father died four and a half years ago. Living with her after he took his life (he had terminal cancer and time left, but he wanted to go out on his own terms) hammered a couple of hard lessons into me. You really can't live someone's life for her--or make her enjoy living her own life. Just because I saw a new world of fresh possibilities free from constant criticism and financial worry didn't make it her reality. However bad she said her marriage was and how much she seemed to want to be out on her own didn't make it true. I guess an anchor is just that; something that keeps you stable and grounded. An anchor, as such, is neither good nor bad. The person who is the anchor has all the personality traits and characteristics humans have and that can be a destructive and grim as you can imagine. But the anchor, that person's role as an anchor, is what keeps you set. When you lose your anchor, you can either sail or drift. Mom drifted and eventually broke on a reef. The irony that she died while in vacation in St. Croix with us is not lost on me.

Yesterday was her birthday and she would have been 75. She liked to note that she and Teddy Roosevelt shared a birthday. They also shared their the day with Captain Cook of the Sandwich Islands fame, Paganini, Emily Post, Dylan Thomas, Lichtenstein, Sylvia Plath, John Cleese, and my personal favorite, Simon LeBon of Duran Duran. During the past couple of years Mom remarked frequently that she had lived longer than her mother did. She followed that observation up with the bitter comment that people had an expiration date and she had passed hers. It has taken me until now to remember her as she was before Dad's death, before her numerous surgeries and health issues. When she died, at first all I could feel was a numb relief. No more fights with her to get up, to care, to live. And when I saw her in my mind's eye, I saw her as the old dried out husk of a person that she had become. No one should have to remember a loved one that way. But lately when I think of her, when I see something I would like to share with her or something that reminds me of a time we spent together, I see her as she was--mischievous, wicked sense of humor and fun, loving, strong, smiling, vibrant, energetic, athletic, up for anything, young at every age. And I am so happy to have her back.

My mom believed that when she died she would get to be with her parents, her sister, and maybe even my dad again. She believed she was going on to a better place and a new "life". I don't share her beliefs. I believe when you die that's it, there is no more. But I hope for her that she was right, and I know that even if it didn't work out that way so that she could be happy now, at least she is at rest. At peace. I love you Mom, and I miss you more every day.