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.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016


I got on a kick of making little boxes for a while.  Why? I have no idea, they just happened.  This pattern comes from a placemat we bought somewhere in a museum store, it was gold and a really cool open structure and best of all, it was easy to stuff in a suitcase.  These are all about 4" high.

How about a movie review?  We love opening our mailbox and finding a red Netflix envelope.  Sure, we could stream movies but the tv is in the bedroom (slow reception) and it's so much easier to back up and re-play stuff from a dvd.  We also like to put captions on and sometimes that doesn't work well with streaming.  So what did we watch on Election Night instead of returns?  Weiner.  It was definitely a good portrayal of  the word "hubris."

We also watched Trash, set in Rio. The same Rio where we had the Olympics this summer....Hmmm.  We sure didn't see this part of Rio on tv. Excellent film.  We initially picked it because Martin Sheen and Rooney Mara were in it.  Interesting to see a film where the only two "Hollywood" names are somewhat pivotal to the story but don't dominate it.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Two Aren't Enough

Why make one armadillo when two will do?  Why make two when you can make a herd of them?

You've seen my bulletin board, how about one of my favorite shelf spots?

Those little skulls do get used sometimes. This (the moon shape) was one of my first attempts at sawing into metal stuff.  Susan had to physically restrain me from polishing it up and sure enough, she was right - the patina it has developed is perfect.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

ACL Isn't Real

ACL (Austin City Limit) starts this weekend.  Unfortunately for us long-time Austin residents, the weather is projected to be absolutely great - cool evenings and only moderately hot days, with no rain.  Unlike the day shown above, where we were sure a spaceship would come out of that rain cloud.  Nope, within 5 minutes of that cloud forming we had the rain pouring in:  
These views are from our balcony.  That shiny stuff in the bottom right corner?  Well, Susan thought there was an ugly scratch on the railing so .... aluminum sticky tape like the air conditioner repair people use.  She thought about spelling out in morse code something really tacky but just randomly wrapped strips around instead.  Sometimes we have incredible sunrises:
Why do we care what the weather is this weekend?  We want it to be horribly bad so that all the people coming in to Austin for ACL will not say "Wow.  What a great city with terrific weather.  Let's move here!"  No, No, No.  Don't come.  We are full.  No Vacancy.  10th worst traffic in the nation for medium-size cities.  Stay where you are!

But if you decide to come, here are some bands you'll be able to hear:

Band of Horses (do they know Foals?)
Jazzy Ash & The Leaping Lizards 
Frightened Rabbit
St Paul and the Broken Bones
Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds

I have no idea what any of those sound like because I listen to Oldies from the 50's and 60's on Pandora.  But cool names!  I need to get more creative when naming my ceramic pieces, instead of calling these pieces "Bird 1" and "Bird 2".