Thursday, June 29, 2006

A Thursday in Late June

Worldcon is coming.

I don't really have anything for the art show. I've been reading instead of doing much else. We went to a blueberry festival last weekend, picked some berrries, and I baked a blueberry crumb pie.

I still have a cough and am wheezing. I have an inhaler that helps about half the time (the other half is either coughing fits or my gag reflex starts to kick in).

Four day weekend coming up. I have to start the pottery pipeline now, in order to have raku pieces ready.

I want to make a couple of rockets, both raku and high fired celedon pieces. I've had a ray gun in the garage that I haven't worked on for years that I could make a raku or cassius handle for to finish it.

I'd like to do a covered jar with some carvings in it. Maybe I can make a modern canopic jar or something.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Slinging Cement

This weekend, we started to tackle one of our bigger projects. Julie has been landscaping the front yard, and there was a series of steps that needed to be created so she could finish laying mulch, flagstone, and plants.

On Saturday, we finally decided what we would do. We would cast the steps in concrete, and then mortar brick and flagstone on to finish the look.

We started to build wooden forms, out of a bunch of scrap plywood left over from other projects. In a couple of cases, we needed to have a curving form, so I bought a piece of thin plywood sheet, and we cut it lenghtwise into three long pieces. We used two foot lengths as 1X3s as stakes, only because it was the cheapest thing that I could find.

It was very hot this last weekend, so we worked only a few hours on Saturday and Sunday, but finished the forms.

I took yesterday off from work. I had a ten o'clock appointment with my ENT, to review another MRI that I had last week (everything fine, no sign of the cyst). We then went to Home Despot to get bags of concrete and to rent a mixer.

Five hours later, I returned the mixer. We had mixed two thousand two hundred and forty pounds (a British long ton) of concrete to create forty linear feet of steps. The worst part was having to lift the eighty pound bags, and hold them over the throat of the mixer, while Julie cut them open.

We are very sore, but quite pleased with the job. Having an electric cement mixer beats hand mixing, either with a shovel or with a rolling cylinder mixer. The mixer is nicely balanced, so positioning it for pouring, even in loose sand, was pretty simple.

Thursday, June 15, 2006


I seem to have gone to a really dark place.

I am disappointed by just about everything that I see in the world.

The neverending battle to do the right thing is exhausting, and I want a break.

When I get the break, I don't want to do anything with it.


Last night, Steph announced at 9:15 pm that she wanted to be part of a school talent show. There was a song that was attached to an animation that she found on the net, and she memorized the lyrics. She needed the music.

The song was called "Toy Soldier", by an artist named Martika, and had been recorded in the '80s.

I carefully explained to Steph that she can't task us with projects that late at night; if she had told us earlier in the evening, we could have done something about it.

She was sad, but accepting.

I was proud of her, but then thought about the times as a child when my parents were too busy to come through on a last minute requests.

I tracked down the name of an album containing the song on the web, then called our local Border's to see how late they were open.

They had one copy of the CD, and put it on hold for me. I raced out, and picked it up before they closed at ten.

Steph was very happy to get her music. We put it on her CD player, with "Toy Soldier" on repeat, and she happily listened as she was tucked into bed. I was happy to be her hero. At least there is some hope in the world, when we can solve little problems for our loved ones, and make them smile.