Friday, May 12, 2017

Did You Miss Me?

Did you miss me? I'm hoping my Blog Wrangler will post some more pictures but for the last hour she's been wrangling with the new computer and the old one and she said she's forgotten everything she learned before we left and Photoshop is refusing to cooperate and she doesn't want to talk about it any more. And I don't want to talk about the fact that my cellphone, for which I do not give out the number, has rung 4 times today with robocalls from Connecticut, Georgia and other places I don't know anyone.  I'm really tired of them leaving voice mail and even though I now know how to block call numbers they still get through, like cockroaches.

We've been on the road for 24 days, 3852 miles on the car and only 4, maybe 5, OK, 6 times did we scream at each other.  Briefly.  Justified.

That's me on the first day, at our favorite rest stop, Buc-ees. Buc-ees are only in Texas and I wish they were everywhere.  Susan loves Buc-ees because: 1) every Buc-ees women's bathroom has 30 stalls, 2) each stall has a door that shuts and you flip a lever and on the outside it changes from saying "vacant" to saying "occupied" so you don't have to peek under to check for feet, 3) each stall has a dispenser with 4 separate rolls of toilet paper so they never run out and 4) each stall has a Purell dispenser in it. And they are always clean!

One stop was the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum in Cleveland where this quote by Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys caught my eye.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Train Bird

I couldn't resist it.  This bird needed a bird.  Watch for him on a train coming to you soon.
How do they travel?  With a sturdy earth magnet glued on their bottom.  Although, having seen trains bump hard along decrepit tracks lately (Infrastructure, Mr. President, Infrastructure!), I'm thinking there are probably broken birds and sculptures all up and down the tracks around here.

Saturday, April 22, 2017


This is Celeste, the lab tech/assistant in our ceramics department.  She gives me positive support, thoughtful critiques, and good suggestions about the work I'm doing.

Yes, she wears orange clogs.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Tuesday is Your Last Chance


Finally, a good IRS rule: The usual rule is Taxes Due April 15.  But a filing deadline can't be on a Saturday (the 15th), Sunday or legal holiday. Well, what about Monday?  That's Emancipation Day, a legal holiday, which actually fell on April 16. But it can't be honored if it falls on a Sunday so it gets shifted to Monday, April 17.  And, since the Emancipation Day is honored in Washington, D.C., on Monday, April 17, the IRS headquarters are closed that day. That means your tax deadline moves to Tuesday, April 18. Gotta love those holiday rules!

Note:  I have no idea if state tax returns have different rules.  I'm lucky enough to live in a state where we don't have state tax returns. Property tax, yes, up the whazoo.

Tara Donovan is the artist who made this installation we saw last year at the Renwick.  It could possibly be the IRS file room ....

Saturday, April 8, 2017


Hec says hi. I've been making people lately.  I like to give them little birds to carry. Hec is named after the character in the movie Hunt for the Wilderpeople, a 5-star movie.  
Lily has her own bird.
Lily has a tattoo.  Susan and I plan to get tattoos when we can take the time to decide the best place to get them.  Anyone young can easily get a tattoo anywhere but for old geezers like us finding a spot for a tattoo where there isn't sag or wrinkles gets a little bit harder.  Ok, TMI.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Thanks to Seth Apter

Obviously I didn't become a better person, because it's been a long, long time since I've updated this blog.  Can I blame it on my blog Wrangler?  Well, only a little.  She's fighting battles with a cranky old computer that has a hard drive that freezes up on her, a Photoshop Elements program to edit pictures that refuses to save her edits, and a new computer with Windows 10 that she's having to transition to very gradually.  I try not to disturb her, she's reading a book about Windows 10 that has 981 pages. And then there were taxes.  We do our own.  Correction:  She does them for us.

Seth Apter is my long-lost brother, and thanks to him I've had a rude awakening that tells me people notice what I do.  We got together last fall at the Cooper Hewitt Museum where we decided to interview each other, after getting matching haircuts.
I have been working on a people series with movable arms. The bottom picture shows that I'm trying to fasten the arms with a button and wire.

James Tisdale is a great mentor for me.  We work together loading and unloading kilns at school, I feed him a breakfast and in exchange I get to watch him work.  Way cool. His people are sometimes 2-3 feet tall, mine are all under 12 inches tall.
When I'm not working on my own stuff, I'm contributing to my environment.  My neighbors, Dina and Frank, gave me a little Snoopy dog.  I decided it needed to be permanently glued to an appropriate object out in front of our building. So far (3 weeks) it's stayed there.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Your Blog

Oh yeah, Susan knows this one and even posted this outside our apartment door so I'd see it every time I came in. She reminds me at least once a day that I need to not only look at blogs from other people, I need to comment on them.

OK, what if I try to be a better person next year? 2018 has to be better than 2017 is going to be, if you believe everything the talking heads tell you in the media and TV coverage.  You know, those talking heads that predicted the results of our election... not! Anyway, I do see other blogs and am appropriately humbled by not only the stuff they make but the fact that they blog - a lot!

When I made Susan's Esther Williams figure I used some of her buttons to fasten the arms so they moved.  (Susan: You took buttons from my button collection?!?!) I then decided to make some of my own buttons out of clay.  I think I got carried away.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Lesson Number One

How to Enjoy Wine

Open the bottle to allow it to breathe.
If it doesn't look like it's breathing,
give it mouth -to-mouth.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Big Guys, Little Guys

These guys were big, about 12 inches long.  There are sturdy because Regina puts them out in her yard.  She lives in an almost-country area and has raccoons hanging around her pond (her pond fish long since disappeared, they were definitely a canape for some animals' party).  

They went to Regina for Christmas gifts because Regina gives Susan an hour-long massage 3 times a month.  Unfortunately, it seems like every time Susan comes home from Regina, all mellowed out, a crisis of some sort has arrived on the scene.  Crisis? Like I can't figure out how to make the mouse work.  Why is the washer not draining? What am I going to have for lunch?  So she sighs and says "Well, there goes that massage payment down the drain."
Little guys? Have you ever seen carrots this small?  Felipe, one of our dining room managers, gave us these for lunch one day.  Actually they'd been part of a buffet line decoration but how do you even price something this size at the grocery store?

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year!

Let's hope this year does, or maybe doesn't, live up to your expectations.
Eddie says "Whatever."

Monday, December 26, 2016

Esther Williams!

Susan speaks:  Isn't Esther the best Christmas present ever?!?!  Don made her for me because I taught him how to swim.  She's about 12 inches high and her arms move because he's fastened them on with buttons.

She's wearing my Lands' End Tugless Tank suit (plain black, plain lining) and my Speedo Hydrospex Classic swim goggles and my TYR swim cap (lots of brand names there and no, I don't get any money by mentioning them).  Only difference is that I go barefoot to the pool but he's on a kick of making different kinds of feet so Esther got flipflops.

Here at our retirement community ("Geezer Village") we have an indoor pool, 3 floors down, 2 hallways over.  We have learned that if we get to the pool by 5:00 a.m. or so we are the only ones there.  We turn off the overhead lights and swim in our private pool, dimly lit as though it's a moonlit pond. Getting up that early 3 times a week isn't great but having the pool all to ourselves is a treat.  

Don really knew how to swim, sort of, if you call thrashing around in the pool like a wounded whale "swimming". I would watch him do a lap and then tell him what he might try differently to be smoother and he'd do it and now he's really good. I'm not the best swimmer myself but I had lessons as a kid and got a few lessons when I started swimming again about 10 years ago.  That was at the local Y, and having to share lanes and circle-swim wasn't my favorite way of swimming but I did it.  Now the two of us have a whole pool to ourselves.  Bliss.

Hope you all are having a Happy Holiday season, whatever your chosen holiday is.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

More Members of the Juice Box Family

The Juice Box Family is expanding.  This is Hector.
Say Hello to Ralph.  I'm trying different ways to attach moveable arms, these are attached with buttons.  Soon I'll make some clay buttons, right now I just raided Susan's button box.  For the record, spellcheck doesn't like the word "moveable" but there are times when I think things look rightable and they'll darn well stay that way.  Ignoring of course, the typos and missssspellings.

Leonardo is looking out for you.
And Lucy, who you've seen before, is always having to track after her brothers. Everyone is about 6" high.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Jill Gets Her Train Ride

Yes, Jill, you finally get your train ride!  Because of all the nearby road construction the trains haven't been stopping very much so it's taken a while to get you a ride. I have been given strict orders to only put my pals on standing trains and not on moving trains, no matter how slow they are. Also, I'm a little worried that when the enclosure walls we are having put around the highway are finished they will keep me from getting to the trains. But for now you get to travel the country.

Who is Jill?  Jill Berry. A terrific artist, an author, and a very smart, funny lady.  Both Susan and I have taken classes from her, learned a lot, and enjoyed the time in her classes. I told her about my Travelers and she thought that was a great idea so the next time I saw a garage sale I looked for a possible Jill.  No, Jill's name wasn't on it, I added that.  So whenever you see a train, look for Jill and wave.

You could also look for Brown Bear (he's on a different train).

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Monday, November 21, 2016

How Cool is That?

Susan wanted her work area pared down, large shelves moved out of the way so she had more room to walk around.  That meant she had a clear wall now and we debated a lot about what to do with it. Blackboard chalk? Too much dark.  A metal sheet for a giant magnetic board? Too expensive and too heavy.  A giant cork bulletin board? Yes.  Oops.  Heavy. Expensive.  Not to mention there would be big holes in the wall if we took it down (Do we know "I've been thinking..." is part of her life and seems to always mean something with tools involved?).  That's a sort of no-no in our apartment building.  Yes, we could do it but...

Browsing around an Office Max store she spotted these foam boards (picture above shows them at Walmart).  Lightweight, and cheap!  It's a thick foam core board with a thin layer of cork.  We bought some wood lattice-like strips (like a yardstick size/thickness) at Lowes and hot-glued them to the backs at the top, middle and bottom of each board.  Then I needed just one screw at the top and bottom of each, attaching through the wood strip for stability.

Then it was off to Ikea to get the table top and Krille roller legs (the legs cost more than the table top!).  This is the third table we've attached these legs to and they are really smooth.  The picture shows her area before she's had a chance to scatter stuff everywhere -- you don't want to see it now.

We will add a 24x30" raised section to the table at the left end, on Ikea Capita legs.  You can barely see them on the right in the second picture, raising up a different top.  This will give her a standing-height work surface on half of the large top. ( In our experience you do not want to use the Ikea adjustable legs, they are just too wobbly.)  If you add a second top area on Capita legs you wind up with all the space under it to put more of your stuff that you never manage to put away.

Here's this guy's answer to the more expensive flat-file cabinets:

Friday, November 18, 2016


Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.  Well, not actually diamonds.  How can we afford to travel around like we do?  I was lucky enough to marry a woman who did not want a diamond so her wedding band cost me only $12.50. And best of all, she hates to shop for clothes and shoes!  Of course we do have a gazillion books in the house and her Amazon wishlist has over 90 books on it, all of which she has marked as "Highest Priority" in anticipation of the holiday season.

Lucy is about 9" high. She's looking out for you.

Here's another movie recommendation:  A Perfect Day.  Benicio Del Toro and Tim Robbins.  5 stars.