Friday, September 24, 2010

TJ's German Adventure Part 4


  TJ Edwards To continue from the last installment.

The weekend after our firing, we had a market. It wasn't too far away and Johnny Cash was keeping up company. We weren't rushed to set up which is always better than the alternative. It is always interesting seeing all the different booths being set up and the different styles that the emerge. This particular market is only for clay work, and this type of market is quite frequent in Europe.

With the market there often comes a themed exhibition. This time the theme was drinking vessels. While we were still at home and packing the work to leave we talked a lot about what she should submit...a tea bowl, a tea pot with drinking vessels, a small arrangement of her mugs which are lovingly referred to as "sacks with handles." 

Much of her work is quite nice and a combination and evolution in style from when she was making electric fired work and transitioning toward wood and salt firing exclusively. Some of her mugs are inspired from French style studio pottery. Thrown on a slow turning wheel with soft clay then unceremoniously picked off the wheel, celebrating the finger marks where she grabbed it at the base. She has a connection with this way of working and will likely develop a production line around the aesthetic...when there is time. 

I really like her sacks with handles, especially with the story that accompanies them. When Susanne first started making them, her son's girlfriend, Kasha, was spending some time with her while she was making handles and that was her description, but as English is Susanne's second language it sounded quite different. When the story was retold to me I laughed and Susanne articulated sacks a little more clearly for me. 

Obviously my vote went to submitting the sacks with handles, she agreed and delivered the set with the title in English. Once we were finished setting up the booth, we made our way to the champagne toast and opening ceremonies. Part of the ceremonies was announcing awards and I am pleased to say that Susanne's "Sacks with Handles" won the 200€ prize for traditional ceramics. 

Susanne has been working with clay for more than 20 years so she knows many of the potters at these markets. The whole time while setting up and making our way around the rest of the sales areas it is like grand reunion. It is nice to see community like that. 

As the market progresses, the temperature also rises, and peoples desire to carry things goes down. Probably my favorite customer at this market was a six year old girl who walked straight into the booth picked up a medium sized serving bowl and immediately said to Susanne, "This one is mine and I am waiting for my parents so no one else buys it!" Hooray for those parents encouragement of their children's aesthetic appreciation. 

At the end of the market we hurriedly packed the pots and the set up to get home to some guests that had stopped for the night on a several hundred kilometer cycling tour. The next morning just after breakfast Susanne got a call from a market in Austria that she had been put on the waiting list for. Surprise we are going on another market in two days, and the next firing must be postponed.

Susanne takes the time to finish all the wet work while I cut and stack the rest of the wood. No easy task but it is nice to not have that job looming over us any more. We pack the car Wednesday night, and drive to Gmunden, Austria Thursday morning for the 22nd annual potters market. We don't arrive in Gmunden until late in the evening, it isn't too difficult to convince us to set up in the morning instead of in the dark. 

Sometime in the mid afternoon the weather changed for the worse, cold rain accompanied by forceful winds eventually added up to a broken umbrella and Susanne and I standing in the rain for most of the rest of the day. A big thanks to our neighbors who let us stand under their tents and loaned us a personal umbrella for the part of the afternoon. 

The bed and breakfast where we were staying loaned us a replacement booth umbrella for the rest of the market. Saturday there was a throwing competition, men's and women's division. The competition was for throwing the widest closed form with five kilos of clay in eight minutes. the Ladies went first and someone had the great idea to throw a large bowl and fold the rim over to make a hollow rim. The people conducting the challenge made an addendum to the challenge for the men and it had to be completely closed. 

As a joke Susanne asked if I could throw on behalf of her studio, since I am her assistant. The company giving the prize allowed it, and of course I was game. I was the fourth to throw and the first to have a score. My score of 36.5 cm stood the test against 16 other potters. Susanne's prize is a guaranteed spot in the market next year and one ton of clay. It was really funny and a big joke with the other potters to find out how I was going to get the clay back to Tennessee. 

Austrians know how to host a market. Saturday night the city hosted a banquet, great food, wine, and beer a plenty. Great conversations and dancing well into the morning, which made Sunday a bit difficult. The sun finallymanaged to find its way through the clouds and made for a nice finish to the market.

We were back in Mörsingen, a fast two days and then back on the road for the First European Wood fire Conference. It was really interesting to hear about all the diverse thoughts and working methodologies in one realm of ceramics. One of the ceramic schools did a great experiment, which I hear will later be published in the Log Book. The premise was to do a firing for at least 24 hours in a miniature anagama stacked in a similar way, there were ten minigamas built and each was fired only with one type of wood. What a great learning exercise for the students. And to be able to directly see the effects of the various woods was very interesting. Of course there was much more than that but I have to save some stories so I have something to tell when I get back. 

This week has been jam packed, rushed bisque firings, cutting the grass, raking the cut grass, glazing, loading the salt chamber, packing the pots for a market this weekend. On Monday we fire, then we prepare the studio and house for the Open Studio next weekend. The last two weeks here are going to be quite intense and full!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


I have a 2 year old.

Ever since he's been able to understand what we are saying to him, he's been pushing his boundaries. 

That's what they do right? Push boundaries. They test and test. And then test again. See how far they can get you to bend to their will and what they want.

I hear it gets worse. 

A friend of mine said that it gets worse. You tell them something, they are good for a couple of months and then they are just dumb for a month. 

It got me thinking... I don't think we ever outgrow that.

What is it that is in our nature to push the boundaries? Why are there some of us who push harder than others? Why are there some that seem to never push the boundaries? And what makes us decide which ones to push and not push?

You see it all the time in relationships, whether it be dating or friendship. Sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, everyone. We all push the boundaries with each other all of the time.

Then I realized with some chagrin that I am so guilty of this. Mostly in the work field. 

At one point, I'd not wear my eye protection at the production plant until I absolutely HAD to cause I hated it. I finally stopped wearing my steal toed shoes cause they didn't really enforce it. I'd wear my jewelry as long as I could until they made me take it out. Never did take my tongue piercing out. Even when asked to all the time. I just thought it was stupid. I was working at a place that had a chemical that reacted to metal or something like that. I don't remember, it was a long time ago...I just remember we couldn't wear jewelry. Anyway, I figured that if it was getting into my mouth and reacting with my tongue ring, it was a little too invasive for my liking at that point, so who cares if I have that in my mouth. 

I then worked in a few FDA regulated places and saw the boundaries being pushed all of the time. By everyone who could. It was interesting to see where people would push back. If it was at all inconvenient for them, they'd push the boundaries. 30 seconds for an iodine scrub and then 30 seconds to dry? Ya right, I have numbers to meet buster. I have more sticks I need to get in a day than that smug mo-fo over there. That was one thing I didn't mind, but I saw it all the time. All sorts of stupid stuff that people did. 

And then to see who, over another, got fired for the same infractions. 

Or at another place, it was the face masks. Who wants to sound like Darth Vader to themselves?  Or when you are already hot as hell because of the non-breathable lab coats we had to wear, no one wants to put a face mask on as well. Or the weights of the patients, or proteins, or hematocrits that people tried to guilt us into faking. I know that there were those who totally pushed the boundaries on that.  

Every day, boundaries are being pushed, bent, and broken. It's surprising to see the range of consequences of it. Something as little as a flooded toilet or spilled milk to something more serious as losing one's job to the biggest of the big like dying. 

I don't bend the rules at the job I'm at now. I've been there since I've had kids...I realize that the rules and regulations, although they may be silly and redundant to me, they are there for a reason. I am daily trying to figure out what is worth fighting Linus over regarding rules and boundaries and what isn't. 

And the hardest part... trying to be the tough guy and following through with the consequences I set for him for breaking and pushing his boundaries. 

I don't envy you parents of teenagers and those of you who are bosses of adults who should know better but don't. 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Empty Vessel

It's always funny to me when my mom comes back from visiting her parents.

First, we talk about how much we like Grandpa. How funny he is. How tough he is. Next, we talk about how inappropriate Grandma is, her quirks, and that as sick as she is, as sick as she keeps getting, she will never die. She is too tough to die. She just isn't ready to die yet. She's not going anywhere. Finally, we end up discussing what we want to have happen to us when we die.

I guess it's pretty important to voice your opinions on what you want to have happen to the empty vessel you leave behind. I know it's pretty standard to be embalmed and put in a coffin, sometimes having a viewing, and then buried.

That's a lot of space that is being taken up.

I know that my mom and dad both want to be donated to science. My dad contracted Polio when he was a baby while living in Nigeria, Africa. He knows that there is not much of an opportunity for doctors to study what happens to the body from Polio, so he wants to be donated for study.

My mom also wants to be donated. She feels that she'd rather have doctors practice on her dead, than on someone alive. Makes sense.

I do know that after someone is donated, they are cremated and sent back. We already know what we are doing with my dad (although he doesn't know, hasn't talked about it as far as I know, nor has he discussed his desires). I just found out what we are doing with my mom, so that's good to know for 30 years in the future when she does die. :)

Me? I've been tainted by the book Stiff by Mary Roach. She discusses different things that can be done with a body from donating it to burying it to cremation and then there is even more!

I want to be frozen in liquid nitrogen, shattered, and then used as mulch for a memorial tree.

Gross right? I think it's awesome. But I am worried that I won't be able to find anyone who does that. And I don't think I can get someone to just bury me in the back yard or a park because then it is breaking some law I think. My mom suggested we feed my body to pigs and then use the poop to fertilize trees. But that's cause my mom is funny like that. :D

So, what I wonder is, can I write it in my will and then it has to be carried out? Or is it considered desecration of a dead body or some other weird law? And then, why not just be cremated? Well, the ashes do nothing for the earth. Everything that is beneficial is ruined. I want to be of some use to the planet that I have taken from.

(I am hearing Matt rolling his eyes right now at his hippie wife...sorry babe!)

There is also the option of putting the body into a lye solution and flushing it down the drain, but that isn't anything but gross slime and isn't helpful either.

Ideally though, and this is going to just kill some of you reading this... I want to die, have all of my hair shaved off and used to make a diamond or two from places like this or this. Depending on when I die, why, etc. Maybe just one diamond for each of my kids, or one for the hubs, or whatever. That is their decision. I am going to do that to Pali when she dies. I love her.

And THEN have my body frozen with liquid nitrogen and shattered and used as mulch. I would like it to be in a nice memorial park used to feed an Oak, Elm, or Willow tree.

I'm sorry, is this just too much? It's just been on my mind as of late for reasons I'll post later this week. I guess this is as close to having a "last will and testament" that I've got. :D

Yes, I am actively dying right now as we all are, but nothing is in my foreseeable future, so no one panic. OK?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Mommy group

Hey moms out there...

I have an idea and I'm wondering who would be interested, who would participate, etc.

I'd like to start up a website that is by invite only, so only those who are part of the group can see the posts.

I would like to get it so that mommas in the Utah area can join up, post when they have something they are doing like going to the zoo, the museum, the park, etc. and then other moms can see when and where and chime in that they'd like to meet up.

There are so many times that I find out that a friend has gone to the zoo or to Red Butte and they were by themselves and who wants to freaking call everyone on your list to see who wants to go?

I know that there are groups of moms who like to get together and I HATEHATEHATE trying to do the three/four/five way "what time, day, place is good for you?"

I haven't asked my hubs yet (although if he reads this first...hi Honey, thanks!!) but he writes computer programs for a living and works with the online banking portion of the bank where he works. He has created a few internet pages and I am pretty sure he wouldn't mind setting something up that is secure and safe so random people can't just look at what is going on with this group.

I would like it so that moms way up North can get together. Or that moms that are heading North or heading South can meet up with others in the area.

Does this make sense?

Does anyone have any ideas or feedback to help me with this? I would like to include others in other states, and maybe at some point we can do that, but for right now, I'd just like to focus on the Utah Mommas.

Help me out ladies! Let's get a community of moms together so we can meet others. So we can support each other. Let's make this a little easier than calling one friend here and there. I don't get out as much as I'd like because quite frankly it's a hassle and I hate that I feel that I may be neglecting one friend or another.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Phases and Stages

I know that all kids go through phases and stages.

I am really enjoying Linus's different things that he does. 

Right now, no matter if it is a nap during the day or if it is dark outside and he can't see anything, he will go around his room and pile up all of his toys, blankets, and books around him as he sleeps. 

He has a dump truck that has a couple of buttons on it that make it rattle and sound like a truck and the wheels go or music starts up. I have to go in when I know he is asleep because if I don't, he'll wiggle around and set it off and wake himself up. 

I have to take this out of his crib.

He piles his books all around him and that can't be comfortable.

And his favorite is a bug pull toy that vibrates after you pull it. It's noisy. It's a bug. 

He's into bugs right now. 

He was smelling the flowers out front and there was a bug in one of them. It was the funniest dang thing watching him try to run up the hill while screaming. Sometimes he likes them, sometimes they freak him out. And he loves to pick up dead flies by the wings and flush them.

He also has started walking around with his tongue hanging out of his mouth. He's started drooling again a little bit and I am not sure what's going on. He isn't teething and his nose isn't stuffed up like it was when the dogs were living here at home. I'm not sure if he's just really becoming aware of his tongue now that he's really trying to talk or what. I'm terrified he's going to fall and bite it off.

He's FINALLY started to show signs of becoming ready to be potty trained. He is showing signs of recognizing the need to pee and he will climb out of the tub if he has to poop. 

Right now, his two words he says all the time other than "Mommy" and "Daddy" are "Wally" and "Bubbles".  I love how he says "Wally"'s just like in the movie when WALL-E introduces himself to EVE. And "bubbles" is boooboools. 

He's been so fun and so tough. We are working on picking up toys and books right now and he can't stop throwing them. In fact, he can't stop throwing anything. I am really working on teaching him that throwing things in the house is not allowed. Sigh. I have not been very successful.

My favorite thing though, we were at Costco and I looked down at him in the cart and he had his finger shoved up into his nose. Little kid fingers shoved into their noses look like they somehow manage to shove them up past the last knuckle. I know I should think it is cute, but he just sits there with his finger in his nose. Not sure what he's doing, but he looks at me and just chuckles. It's great.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Really Guys?

Let me throw out the warning now. I'm tired. I am not sleeping well. I am having some health stress right now. I am one cranky lady. Sooo.... here's my rant so I can get it out of my brain. I just want it to stop circling and written down and hopefully get a little sleep tonight. It's a busy day tomorrow.

So, as much as I love the internet. And as much as I cherish the "adult" interactions I am getting from it, I do have to say that there are a few things about social networking that is really starting to bug me.
Bug me bad enough in fact that I have to get it off of my chest.

There are some people who really need to spend a little bit of time in a 3rd world country. They need to see what actual suffering is all about. They need to spend a little bit more time doing charity work for those in need.

I'm just seeing a lot of bitching and complaining about things the just really aren't that important.

Call me un-American. Call me liberal. Call me un-Christian. Whatever. I don't really care. I just don't really care about the Mosque that is being built. I understand the high emotions that are going on with Ground Zero and what-not, but it doesn't sound to me like the actual terrorists are asking to build their terrorism camp ON Ground Zero.

Really, is it that hard to let people worship the way they want? Is it such a bad thing to let people have their sacred worship places? I'm pretty sure that it isn't even AT Ground Zero. A block away? Why does anyone care?!?!?!

Let people burn the Quran as a protest. Let others burn the Bible in protest. Let's all just burn all the books we can find in protest.

I just think that burning books is from an era that has passed, it has shown us it doesn't really do anything, and just breeds hate.

Hello 1950's it's not so good to see you again.

In 10 years are we going to go back to burning bras?

I won't even get into President Obama. I support him fully. He is my President. He is the elected official. I will vote for the people in my actual state that can possibly do something about what affects me locally and sit back, hope Obama succeeds, and if he fails, so what, he won't get re-elected, some other jackass will be elected and depending on the political party, the same crap will go around about this next president.

I do agree things need to change in this country, but it is much too large a job for one man to do alone and there are way too many power hungry, rich, puffed up, ass hats running around measuring the length of whatever old men measure to actually think about the rest of the people in this country.

Am I ranting? maybe. Am I angry? maybe.

I'm sorry, ...actually I'm not sorry. This is my blog. Take it with a grain of salt. Know where I stand. How I feel about things.

I guess if you really hate it that bad, go to Africa for a while where there is actual political unrest. Where the people are killed for stating their hatred for their leader. Where everyone is starving. Where AIDS is running rampant.

Go to the Middle East where women are being stoned to death.

Go to Mexico where it is so dangerous right now.

Go ahead and continue expressing your beliefs, fears, what you think is right, what you think should happen, why you think this politician is wrong or right and why, why this religion is wrong or right and why, why people should be allowed to believe something that scares you because it's different. Please do. Because you can. WE HAVE THAT RIGHT TO! I am reading that people think we don't have freedom...


I will continue to read the opinions of others. I will continue to read them. I will continue to thank my lucky starts that I get to agree, disagree, and agree to disagree.

Anyway, I will continue to fight the good fight in my own house to raise my children the best I know how. To teach them values and morals that I hope will give them the tools to make the right choices. I hope to teach my children that hate is wrong, ideology is great but can't be argued, and to remain true to themselves and what they believe. I will teach them to listen more than they speak. To be respectful of others and their beliefs, to learn what is different to quell the hate that comes from fear, to try to remember every day that they don't know your story. I mostly want to instill in them that your shoes are different. They don't know what roads you have traveled not only in your day but in your life. The anger I received today may be from a woman whose child is fighting for their life in the hospital. Or she just learned her mother died. Or she just learned that her husband got laid off and now they won't have a place to live or food to eat.

And people are upset over a building people want to go worship their deity in.

Whatever floats your boat I guess.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Battle of the blankies

I just want to start off here with a quick apology.

Mom, I am sorry you had to deal with me and the meltdowns that ensued due to washing my blankey that was so stinkey and gross and disgusting because it was never out of my sight or hands. Love, me

Linus has been having some very wet diapers during the night and is waking up soaked from head to toe in pee. It's easy peasy to change his jammies. It's easy peasy to change his sheets. But to wash his blankies is like pulling teeth.

He doesn't even hold them and walk around with them all day. But the second he gets wind that they might not be available to his whim, then that's when all hell breaks loose.

This morning, he was up at 6am and just having a tough time, so I went in to change his diaper and he decided that it was time to get up. I let him lay down with me and insisted on shoving his blanket in my face. Gag. They are going to be washed first thing!!

I snuck them away, he didn't see them. They were washed. Score 1 for mom!

I put them in the dryer. Just then, Linus walked in and saw them in the dryer.

I immediately was the meanest person in the world and he hated me. HATED ME!

Score 1 for Linus, I took them out of the dryer and let him have his wet blankies.

I was then the best person on the planet! Yay mom for saving the blankets!

Linus, with his blankie, and how he loves to sleep. Blankie has to be covering his face.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Am I invisible here?

Please bear with me as I try to type this. I ripped off the skin from two of my typing fingers. Mainly the Shift, A, Q, Z, F, R, T, G, B, V keys. It's a little tough typing on the tips when the fingers don't want to bend due to band-aids. It's the nightmare of piano lessons all over again.


Anyway, I am not sure what prompted this memory, but it's my favorite ex-boyfriend story.

This particular guy liked to drive. Just to look at things, find new things, find new routes, etc. So we would just get into the car and drive and drive.

He also loved his cell phone. He is very much the social butterfly. Even more so than I am in my finest moments. He is always sending and receiving texts and phone calls.

One day we were out for a drive. It was a beautiful day, the radio was playing, and I remembered I had something I wanted to tell him. He turned the radio down and commenced listening to my story.

I got halfway through my story and he picked up his phone, dialed someone, and started to talk.

O.O <------------ That is what my eyes did.

"WHAT?!?!?" is what my mouth tried to say.

I was completely dumbfounded that he would just pick up his phone like he was alone in the car.

It wasn't until after he was off the phone, and I must have been looking at him with "I'm going to fuzzing kill you!" written all over my face, that he realized what he had done.

Ya... try to back track on that one buddy.

I want to hear some of your funny/what the heck/crazy dating stories some of you might have.

Email me at

Let me know if I can print it on my blog or if it is to remain a private story. I just love hearing these stories, and  even though I don't need the reminder, reminding me why I am so happy to be married. :D

Friday, September 3, 2010


So, my mind has been filling up with things to write about... Just wanted to forewarn you- there may be many posts coming up.

I'll spare you with posting one a day. I'd hate for you to miss any of my rantings, ravings, and general wildness. LOL