Wednesday, December 30, 2009

December 2009 photos

Christmas Karma

The land of chun

Jenika and Justin

Rick trying to decide whether or not to keep his Yankee Swap gift

Rick chillin and playing on FB Christmas Eve

Jenika and Jared

January 1st snowstorm

Kayaks looking longingly towards the now frozen lake

Wolfie tree under full moon

Full blue moon December 2009

Flowers from my Sweetheart 12-29-09

Rice blowl I made for Jared

Pottery stock from which each guest choose one piece

Newly made pie dish

Saturday, December 26, 2009

I’m gifting a good portion of my pottery stock this Christmas. It’s hard to do because each piece is a unique creation, often the first time I’ve mastered or at least attained a reasonable level of skill at a particular technique. The two pieces I gave to the family from Head Start were stained with the same pattern (royal blue on the bottom and emeraud on the top. I indented the sides of one and flared the top which gave it a very pleasing shape.)

The covered bowl I gave to Sara from my office is the best covered dish I’ve ever made. The top fit perfectly which was interesting because it was the first time I’d thrown a top before throwing the bottom. I found it easier to fit the bottom to a particular size opening than I had been able to do with the tops in the past. And I gave the top a rather deep gasket and finished it with some rope coils. The glaze was royal blue with pippin over the coils to create a nice green over blue combination.

I gave Robert that nice tall mug that had the chun over the royal blue, giving it kind of a glossy black over the green part of the chun. Actually it must be the opposite - royal blue over chun. I like it though and want to try it again on some other pieces.

I gave Kerri a small embellished pedestal bowl glazed with chun – one of those that was fired in a particularly hot kiln and turned the normally predominantly rust colored glaze a more mucus green color. The green is usually the less dominant color and works much better as such in my opinion. But I got used to the green and rather liked it after being with it for a few days.

I haven’t decided which piece to use for the Yankee Swap tonight. I think with what’s left I will put it out on a table and just let people pick a piece if they’d like. Maybe they want a cup, or prefer a covered trinket dish over a serving bowl or a vase. Or maybe they don’t want anything. Too much “stuff” already.

There are some nice pieces – a bowl that I squared off at the top and embellished with a strip of stamped clay and some leaves; a blue pedestal bowl with stamped handles; a tall stamped vase that I hand built,(Linda ended up choosing that as her Yankee Swap gift) as well as a fairly tall vase I threw that has roped handles with a matching coil on the bottom. That was done in the royal blue with chun over the top. I left a good four inches with just the blue on the bottom but the chun ran right down to the coil – and over in one place. Malley had warned me that it ran but I didn’t realize how much. Yikes.

I’ve also got a blue stamped rectangular tray, (I think Jenika chose that piece) a nice plant pot and some small bowls all done in chun. A serving bowl with leaf stamps and handles and a matching set of two bowls done with the blue on the bottom with pippin over the top making that pretty green. And a couple of small covered containers. I’ll set them up on a table and invite everyone to choose one, if they wish. 

Friday, December 18, 2009


A piece I'll read tonight at the poetry reading in Gardiner.

   by Crystal Bond

There’s a hunger for connection

Deep down in one’s soul,
Under all the layers,
That moment when you cut through all the bullshit that surrounds every relationship
And connect.

There are no ex wives, old boyfriends, or needy children
The stress from work is immaterial
The unsold house, the bills, the mistrust
It’s not separating us in this instant
There’s only the two of us
And the ping rate is miniscule

It’s there,
and then it’s gone,
back to daily life

One suffers the hum drum of routine in memory of that moment
As the power of two dance before them, drawing them in
And usually spitting them out, but for the rare moment
When defenses drop, and we’re given another glimpse
Of what’s behind the great wall of ego and thought.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Three Stalks

Three stalks of purple bell flowers
sit gracefully on her antique lady's desk

simple, elegant, beautiful
they demand your attention
and imagination.
                       in whispers

Was it her husband
stopping by the florist
on his way home from work
thinking of her smile
and the delight in her eyes
as he presents them to her
                     as if throwing down his coat over a puddle in the road.

Or was it the woman of the house
strolling through her garden
choosing a stem here and there
picturing them sitting on her desk
and inhaling their sweet aroma
as she writes longingly to her lover

the flowers bring her back to him
his broad chest,
strong hands,
his smile
              the simplest of which dazzles even the most cynical

she closes her eyes, feels his presence
and turns slowly

discovering her husband standing there
             with flowers
                         his smile dazzles

Catch Up

Last time I wrote was from my hospital bed at Maine General where I ended up the night before Thanksgiving.  I stayed until after my stress test on Friday which turned out to show that my heart was perfectly healthy.  I later went through an upper GI series which showed that I have some irritation on my lower esophagus which I have to assume is what's been causing my problems.  Maybe two Prilosec a day . . . 
We celebrated Rick's birthday this past Friday at The Depot with Robert, Keri, Woody, Annie, Rose, and a rather obnoxious Leo.  His poor ego is killing him. 

I gave Rick a new Citizens Eco-Drive diver's watch (old one broke), new Petzl headlamp (old piece of crap one he had for only about a year broke), 1955 first edition of Lawrence Ferlinghetti's poetry book Pictures of the Gone World, and . . . something that will remain unnamed. 

I brought home several new pieces of pottery today.  It was the first fire with a new element in the kiln and got too hot so that all the chun glaze turned a mucus like green.  I was really counting on some of them as gifts and now I'm not so sure I want to impose them on anyone.  I've got a nice small covered bowl for Sara whose name I picked at our office draw along with a two tone serving bowl for the Head Start family we're giving gifts to.  I'll pick up a nice Lowe's gift certificate as well. 

We went to The Depot's open house on Saturday for about 15 minutes.  Way too crowded.  Left and went over to the new Italian restaurant, Pastaz, on Water Street.  We also got our Christmas tree on Saturday and decorated it this morning.  Looks nice. 

Justin called me yesterday to say that Jared had another seizure of some kind - like the one he had at our Fourth of July picnic at Linda's in 2008.  He says it was the first one he's had since that one but I'm not sure I completely believe him or believe that he'd know if he had others when no one else was around.  He's going to make some doctor appointments and get checked out. 

Snowy night.  Wanted to go to Eddie's art opening at Slate's but a 40 minute drive each way in that mess just couldn't be justified.  Instead, we're about to watch the season finale of Dexter.  Glad we didn't go out.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

I took the week of Thanksgiving off from work. I don't work Fridays so my vacation started on Thursday night.  I went to pottery class and then dinner at The Cup with Betty. Friday Rick and I went to a poetry reading at The A-1 To Go CafĂ© in Gardiner and Saturday was back to the pottery studio for a few afternoon hours. Sunday the NitPickers played at The Cup and I took Jared and Chris there for dinner. I guess they’d heard the band play one other time before but I thought they’d enjoy hearing them again. I think they did.

Monday my official vacation started and Rick came down with something and ended up coming home from campus sick. By Wednesday I was feeling sick and Wednesday night I woke up from a sound sleep about 3 am with severe chest pains, nausea, and sweating. I walked a bit and decided I’d better go to the hospital. Rick took me in and after about 5 hours in the ER and even though they couldn’t find any evidence of a heart attack, they insisted I get admitted until they could do a stress test. So here it is 11:30 on Thanksgiving evening and I’m in a hospital room next to an 80ish year old woman who recently had a knee replacement and has been having diarrhea all night in a commode two feet from my bed. She had the thermostat up to 76 until I asked a nurse to turn it down. Of course there’s the incessant beeping from unknown machines out in the hallway and the nurses continually coming and going. I’ve slept for about five ten minute segments throughout the day. I’ve got a splitting headache and I’m just waiting for the snoring to start.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Hour

This piece seemed to be a hit at the poetry reading last night at A-1 Cafe.

The Hour
by Crystal Bond

Today is the beginning of Daylight Savings Time.
Or is it the end of Daylight Savings Time?
I’m never sure but it’s inconsequential.
It’s when it’s time to turn the clocks back an hour.
I never turn them back till I wake up the next morning.
That hour is a gift from Chronos;
One must relive that hour with vigor.
Just savor the thought of that hour,
Wait until the opportune time,
And voila . . . turn em back and enjoy!
I can do anything in that hour because that hour doesn’t really exist.
It’s already passed.
It’s much different than the spring where you turn the clocks ahead.
You’re frantic;
you’ve lost a whole hour and you’ll never get it back!
That might have been the hour you meet your one true love
Or found the elusive G spot
Or both
And now, the hour is gone . . . forever
And whatever might have happened in that hour
Will never happen
Gaining an hour in the fall doesn’t make up for that hour you lost.
It’s too disconnected. It’s been too long.
In fact, it would suck to think of the fall’s extra hour as just a quid pro quo
for spring’s loss.
Deal with the loss in the spring and celebrate the gift we’re given today!
Forgive me Mary Oliver, when I ask
What will YOU do with your one wild and precious hour?

Sunday, November 15, 2009


I brought my pottery garb home this weekend to wash it. It was all so caked in clay that I'd get more clay on me than off me when I'd use it. Pulling it out of the laundry I noticed that it mostly consists of hand me downs. I have a big green shirt I wear over my street clothes that I saved from my youngest son's throw away pile, a green towel wrap with his name on it given to Rick by a former girlfriend - he prefers to walk around nude :-) - pulled from a similar pile that I place over my lap to use when I'm at the wheel, and a ragged white towel another student left at the studio that I try to keep clean enough to dry my hands when I'm done for the day. The only new piece is a canvas apron with a split in the center, to cover my jeans when at the wheel. Regardless, I still come home with clay in my hair, on my clothes and white clay dust up and down my arms. I guess that's just part of the charm.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Closed camp down for the winter

Last weekend we went out and closed up camp for the winter. Drained the pipes, emptied the fridge and the cupboards, shut off the pilot light to the gas fireplace. I will be without my fortress of solitude for the next five months. Usually we are able to open it back up by early
April, and then the peepers will start up again, and the loons will reappear, and the universe willing, the marsh will once again be filled with abundant life.

Maybe we'll actually get around to painting the interior one of these years.

I probably should have raked some leaves but just didn't have the time or inclination.

The new bathroom

I'm VERY pleased to report that our new bathroom is 99% completed. Here's our old bathroom. Rather messy, granted, but it really didn't clean up much better than this.

And now our new bathroom:
Painted cabinets, granite vanity top, ceramic tile floors, new shower and lots of new shelving/closet space. It's so much more pleasureable to start my day in here than in the old, ratty bathroom with the cramped shower that had no water pressure. Ahhhhh. I guess it was worth living through 45 days of construction.
Now the question is whether we continue with construction in the rest of the house. I want to paint throughout, pull up all the wall to wall carpet and put down either hardwood or laminate flooring. Replace some of the windows with sliding patio doors - three probably - and remodel the kitchen. I would definitely need a commitment from our carpenter to spend more than a couple hours a day here. He does good work but the bathroom project took just too much time. I think he basically tried to fit us in while doing several other jobs and that's just not gonna work if we move onto the rest of the house.

Saturday, November 7, 2009


A couple mugs I made last week. My shapes are getting better.
And a couple of unembellished bowls

And some pieces I worked on today with embellishmentsn - funky handles, pedestals, etc.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I like this hat. I left it at The Higher Grounds one night a couple winters ago and it sat on a manikin there for the next 9 or 10 months. Finally Paul said he'd fought off as many attempted thefts of it as he could and suggestged I take it back, which I did. Rick doesn't like it but then I'm not a big fan of his John Deere tractor hat either.

Monday, October 26, 2009

People are interesting

I had an interesting drive to work this morning. Just after pulling out onto Route 27 I saw a car in my rearview mirror, wildly pass a car some distance behind me. Everyone was going at least ten miles over the speed limit but this car was screaming down the road at probably 80 or more in a 55 mph zone. It came up on me really fast with several cars coming at us in the other direction, making it impossible for it to pass me. My first thought was WTF? What an idiot driver! But then I remembered Rick’s post the other day about never assuming what’s up with someone else. So I looked in my rear view mirror as she was tailgating me at 60 mph and noticed that it was a woman, probably about 65, not your typical fast driver/tailgater. It occurred to me that maybe she wasn’t just one of the late for work idiot drivers who often scream past me in the morning, but perhaps there was some crisis she was responding to. The way she was leaning against her door, hand over her brow, she looked pretty distressed. When she turned off onto Leighton Road I was really tempted to follow her and see where she went. I would have been really disappointed if she’d pulled into an office someplace. But in any case if not for Rick’s post I probably would have just written her off as some jerk driver.

So just after she turned off another woman came up behind me at a stop light. I looked back and saw her obviously singing her heart out. We sat there for a couple minutes and she never let up for a second. She wasn’t just singing a line here and there, she was going full bore through an entire song, giving it all she had. I drove a couple miles and came to another stop light and I looked back and she was still going at it. I realized that she looked familiar. I thought maybe she was the lead singer to a band that we sometimes see in Hallowell called School Street Band. She is quite a character. One night Rick and I were sitting on the sofa at The Higher Grounds and she came over with her cordless mike and practically gave Rick a lap dance while never missing a beat in the song she was singing. I know she works at a bank in town and sure enough just before I pulled onto the rotary I saw the car turn into the bank parking lot.

People are interesting.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Art Exhibit

Check out the postcard for my upcoming art show . . . ok . . . well maybe it's not just MY show . . . there ARE a few other artists exhibiting as well. :-) But I'm very exicted to be included. I'm hoping at least one of the pieces I glazed this past Thursday will warrant inclusion. That would give me three pieces. Fun!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

New Pottery Pieces

Here are some recent pieces. On this first one you can see I was experimenting with new kinds of handles. It's done with a chun glaze - one of my favorites.

This vase has a royal blue glaze and I dipped the top and arms in emerauld. I like the way I rolled the handles into a spiral before attaching them though they don't quite match.

Again - royal blue glaze with the rim dipped in emerauld. I purposely left the ridges inside the bowl to make the glaze break over them and give it a kind of cool effect.

I've been experimenting with various types of handles. I rather liked this one. I had dipped it in a spamboo glaze (our own concoction comprised of bamboo and spring green) but some of it had flaked off and I couldn't remember by the next week what glaze I'd used. So I guessed celadon froth and turned out to be incorrect. But I rather like the combo. Wish I'd done it all the way around.

The handles turned out kind of cool too. I tried a bunch of different handles this past Saturday on some bowls and can't wait to see how they turned out.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

In The Rough

A couple of pieces I worked on at the studio yesterday. Had fun carving on this little vase.

This tile piece was great fun to make but glazing it will be challenging.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Lowell Celebrates Kerouac weekend 2009

Got back from Lowell Celebrates Kerouac weekend a couple hours ago. We met some interesting people - Charlie and Chris from Michigan, Steve from Ohio, and Cori from Boston at Kerouac's grave. Rick ended up selling 3 books there! Funny. We drank a couple shots of 16 year old Bushmill's and Rick read an excerpt from Dr. Sax and I read Ferlinghetti's poem entitled just 25 or The Smiling Mortician. It seemed appropriate at Jack's grave.

We had a quick dinner at the hotel and joined the tour at the Lowell Public Library led by Roger and Bill. The Library is truly a magnificent building, built in the late 1800s for a mere $175,000. Fabulous woodwork throughout majestic room after room. No wonder Jack was inspired by the place and often skipped school to hang out there. I remember my own little library in Readfield, Maine growing up. Two rooms in what is still their public library, just at the end of the driveway to our house. Not majestic but it was pretty impressive to me from the ages of 5 to 10ish, when we moved out of town. It felt like Christmas every week being able to walk down there with my brothers and sister and come home with an armful of entertainment. Many of those books I probably took out 20 or more times.

After the tour a bunch of us went over to the Smokehouse for some Margarittas then a taxi ride back to the hotel.

Saturday we started at what was supposed to be Kerouac Park but ended up moving to the Lowell Cultural Center because of rain. An enactment of an excerpt from Dr. Sax about the so-called Watermelon Bridge, with David Amran accompanying them on the keyboard and drum. David gave Rick one of his books in exchange for one of Rick's books. Cool.

Later we listened to a lecture by a professor from Notre Dame College and then a tour of some of the places in Kerouac's novels led by Roger. It rained pretty hard during the tour but we warmed up when we got to the poetry reading at Brewed Awakenings, where Rick and I both read an original poem. A quck dinner and then off to a nearby church for music by David Amran, his band, and members of the Lowell Symphony Orchestra.

Malley called while we were in Lowell to say that she's doing a show and including some student pieces and asked if I'd contribute some. I think I'll use some of my tile pieces - the tray and a wall hanging. Maybe one of my funky bowls, too.

The Maine Audobon Society loon contest has all the photos up on line. There are about 250 entries; some really nice photos! Mine hold up pretty well though.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Pottery, Poetry, Pasta and Power

I went to the studio on Saturday to finish some pots and mugs I'd started on Thursday. I pulled some handles for my mugs and hand built others. I set the pieces out on the deck to dry and enjoyed the beautiful September sun while adding some embellishments.

One of the bowls I made on Thursday came off the wheel a little dented so I just went with it, sculpting it to look kind of like a somewhat crumpled paper bag. At the end I decided to add a decorative rim on the top so now it strikes me as an Easter basket. I was tempted to add a little arced handle but I resisted. A little too cutesy I think. The mugs were looking a little boring so I decided to carve hieroglyphics all over one of them.

I was ravenous by the time I left the studio so I stopped at the hotdog stand on the street just outside. There's quite an interesting couple who own the stand, regaling me with magic and funny stories while I sat in the sun and enjoyed my hotdog and root beer.

I drove out to camp, fed the birds and squirrels, drank a glass of white wine and wrote some poetry. Cobby came to visit and it worries me that he's looking a little skinny. I really wish I knew where he lived and if someone cares for him. He's so beautiful and friendly and I'd love to take him home but I know he wouldn't be as happy as a housecat as he is out here with full reign of the stream.

By this time I was getting hungry again and my meager stores of cheese and crackers and PBJ at camp weren't looking that appetizing so I drove home and threw together a spinach lasagna which came out of the oven just as Rick was returning from his gig playing at a wedding in Freeport.

It's now Sunday morning and as I was writing my post we lost our power for some unknown reason. It's another beautiful sunny day, with little or no wind. Losing power is a fairly common occurrence here in Belgrade Lakes. This time of year it's no big deal except I can't post what I've written to my blog without getting out of bed and digging my Verizon wireless card out of my backpack. Plus my coffee is getting cold sitting out there in the coffee pot and no microwave to reheat it. Very minor inconveniences as opposed to winter when one really relies on electricity to keep the furnace running. We figured out soon after moving here that wiring our furnace to a back up generator was a necessity. So now we feel pretty secure regardless of vagaries of the weather.

I decided to be completely lazy and curl back up into my cozy bed and wait for the electricity to come on. It only took about an hour but now it's almost 11 a.m. Jared is making me French toast and it's smelling very yummy. Time to get up.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Elvin's Farm

I took a drive over to Elvin's Farm in Readfield today after our staff retreat and walked away with an armload of flowers which I turned into these four bouquets. I've always been a sucker for a beautiful flower and they have rows of beautiful selections. Fortunately, you can cut your own at a small fraction of the price you'd pay in a florist shop.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Cathedral Pines, Eustis, Maine

Spent the weekend up in the Eustis area. Left Belgrade Lakes around noon on Friday, after getting up at four a.m., unable to sleep. I was definitely ready to sleep about half way to Eustis. Pulled off at the picnic area in Carabasset Valley and shut my eyes for five minutes and felt like a new woman.

Met Cindy and Mary at The Plaza in Stratton for a couple drinks, then went over to the campground and Woody helped me set up the camper real quick. Cindy then drove us over to Grace's house. What a nice surprise. Last time I saw Grace she wasn't really talking and really didn't seem aware of her surroundings. But this time she was talking in full sentences and really hopes to be able to walk again before long. She had a brain aneurism and a stroke a few years ago and it's been downhill for her for a long time. She was always so full of life and she's only about 50 now so it's so sad to see her like that.

We took her back to The Plaza with us and had some drinks out back around their campfire with some interesting locals. Rick got into town about 10ish and picked me up there and we went out to the campground and crashed. I slept extremely well and woke up to probably 40 degree temps. We had a campfire to warm up and after coffee and breakfast Rick and I headed out to the North Branch of the Dead River for a paddle. It got warm very quickly and we were in short sleeves for most of the paddle.

We saw an interesting assortment of critters on the paddle. First these ducks. I'll have to do some internet research to figure out what kind of ducks they are.

and this turtle.

We sat in our kayaks at the foot of the dam and let it pull us slowly around in a whirlpool about five times while we ate a snack and drank a beer. I always expect water rushing over a dam to create a fast current that you really have to paddle against, but more times than not it seems that you encounter a whirlpool of varying strength. I'm sure at some dams it could be quite dangerous, especially if you were swimming. But in most of the places I've been, it just creates a lazy little whirlpool where you can just kind of go with the flow. This one took us full circle about once every 3 or 4 minutes.

Came across this heron on the paddle back.

There were several - maybe 5 or so loons just off our campsite. They were very vocal all weekend. At one point one of them went flying in circles overhead, calling the whole time. Very odd, but very cool.