Sunday, August 26, 2007

Pottery: Sammy's

Here's a photo of this finished pot of Sammy's:

It turned out real pretty. I love how Sam has decided to use his bowl:

The boy has a passion for blowing bubbles now, since his friend, Zack, taught him how this summer.

Here is a photo of Sammy's first 2 thrown pots. The small, reddish one is his first ever pot made on the wheel, and he gave it to me. I love it.

Both pots are small, and they look pretty darn good for a first effort at the wheel! Sam has made 3 more pots since then, and he's improving with each pot. Football practice has really interfered with pottery time, so he hasn't been at pottery for a couple of weeks. We'll just have to see how things go... Sammy may have to take a hiatus from the wheel until next summer.

Pottery: Oz Dish

This is the last of the finished pieces I've got done so far. I made this shallow dish by using a mold and pressing a slab of white clay into it. It is about 14 inches in diameter. The mold was metal; basically, it was just some dish that Kathy had in the studio. You can use almost anything for a clay mold, really; she has wood salad bowls, plastic dishes, etc. The material the "mold" is made of determines how you use the mold. I found the shallow, metal dish was difficult for me as I had a lot of trouble extracting the clay, which was leather-dry, from the dish and having it remain intact and in shape.

I free-formed the winged monkeys. I had originally thought to make them more detailed than I did, but one monkey showed me my limitations. I went simple.

I put about 5 coats of yellow glaze on the brick road, and then used a greenish glaze called riverstone for the interior of the dish next to the road. I decided on a grayish glaze for the monkeys and the outside of the dish, with bright red detail only on the monkeys' hats. Detailed glazing is also not my forte. I'm more of splash and dash kind of painter. Also, during the bisque firing, one of the monkey's tails broke off, and I've glazed the pieces, but have yet to figure out if it can be glued on and still look ok. Also during the glaze firing, the dish warped a little, so it does not set flat and stable. Eh. I'm not in love with it, that's for sure. The flaws don't upset me. Mostly coz I'm not sure what the heck I'm going to do with it.

I don't know what inspired me to do a Wizard of Oz theme dish, especially since I'm not a fan or anything. I like the movie, loved the 'Wicked' play, but I don't really have a "thing" for Oz.

But I do like how the yellow brick road turned out.

Pottery - 2 pots

This first pot I made using a combination of white and red clay, with oxblood red glaze on it. I thought the contrast of the oxblood on the white vs. the red clay would be more pronounced. I was pretty much just using up some ends bits of clay, and experimenting with it. I like the pot, though the lid sits on it very precariously. Also, the lid is quite thin, so I guess I won't be surprised if at some time in the future, the lid bites the dust.

This bowl is called a "wad bowl" because you make it by rolling small wads of clay and putting them into a plaster bowl form, then smoothing the inside, while the outside remains wad-like. Sammy and I each made one during a pottery session together.

I finished mine by painting dark green underglaze on the outside, wiping it off and finishing with clear, as I used red clay. For the inside of the pot and the inside of the lid, I put on 4 coats of a glossy glaze that looks like the light orange color of a melon. The red clay still showed through, so it doesn't "pop" the way I expected, but it's a nice, earthy color.

This lid doesn't fit on it precisely, either, but it's a heavy lid, so I think it'll last.

Sammy's wad bowl lid didn't make it through the glaze firing intact... the handle fell off. But it didn't break or explode. So we have reglazed at the connections and are waiting for it to get re-fired. Fingers crossed. (We say that a lot at pottery.)

Pottery: Greenwoman

This piece is one my sister, Kathy, requested. On the shed near their pool, Kathy has a small collection of masks. One of them is a greenman.

Kathy wanted me to make a woman for him. I started out using a mold at Space Studios for the face, and then added clay to form the facial features. I free-formed the leaves for her "hair." This piece took so very long... and it was difficult because the leaves kept falling off. During the bisque firing, a couple of them broke, while several actually came off. I glazed the pieces and assembled them on a kiln shelf so they would hopefully remain intact and the glaze would fuse it all together. One of the broken leaves shifted, but I guess if that was the worse that could happen on this piece, I was relieved. Though still disappointed somewhat. Kathy said she wanted the color to match the greenman or a green, and I went with a glaze called old copper. I think it's a lovely green, and it fit the greenwoman well.

Kathy liked her very much, and I'm so glad.

Kathy said now the greenman's little smirk makes sense.

Pottery - more shakers

I have really gotten into the shaker balls that Sammy showed me how to make. Something about when you get done, you can hold this piece of pottery in your hands and it'll make noise for you. I like. I made 4 more...

I made this first one for my sister, JoAnne. It's a black cocker spaniel, which I made for her because of her beloved dogs.

This one is an owl. I spent far too much time on, first of all, deciding how to glaze it, and then on painting the glaze. I used green, brown and yellow underglazes, then opaque white and black, along with bright yellow for his eyes... then clear over all. He turned out a bit darker than I planned, and the black of his eyes didn't turn out as crisp as I expected, but I like him and he rattles nicely.

The third one I made is this magic 8 ball, and the answer is always "yes"...

Unfortunately, the 4th one I made blew up in the kiln during the bisque firing. For these shaker balls, since the inside is hollow, you must poke a hole in the bottom to let the air escape, otherwise you're just making a bisque bomb. I did poke a hole into it, but for the little bits of clay I put inside, I believe they were not dry enough and one must have made its way into the hole and plugged it off. Thankfully, my bomb didn't destroy anyone else's project inside the kiln. That would have made me feel worse than I felt about this 4th shaker ball. It was one I made for Joycie, and I spent a great deal of time on it... This was my first exploding-project experience, and I have to say... I don't care for it at all. But that's the risk you take with pottery. It's all an experiment for me at this point. That part I love.

I've since constructed 4 more shaker balls, this time quite large ones... probably about 7 or 8 inches in diameter. As a comparison, the owl is about 4 inches & the magic 8 ball is about 3 inches in diameter, the typical size Sammy & I have made thus far. Yesterday, I just finished re-making Joycie's, and with the larger size, I think it actually looks much better than the 1st one I made. It's drying now. Fingers crossed.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Joyce's new bedroom

I went over and visited Joycie this past Wednesday evening, and we did a little more shopping for her apartment, and then we went out to dinner together at a nice local Chinese place... where they make great crab rangoon.

We got a curtain for her bedroom window, since the blinds let in so much light. It's a gold velvet, and it's very pretty. We also bought 4 nice "bungee" folding chairs and 2 folding side tables for their balcony. There will be lots of nice days ahead for the girls to enjoy some time out on their balcony.

Here are some pics of Joycie's bedroom...

She is sitting at her desk, which is set into a small alcove. The room is about half the size of her bedroom at home, but there seems to be plenty of room for everything she needs in there.

This is the view she sees from the desk or the bed...

The poster is one she bought this past summer, and she and I made the 3 glicee-like prints (though we painted them using acrylic paints, from photos Joyce and I took). And there's her lovely new TV, can't live without those. I think each of the 4 girls has a TV in their bedroom, plus the twins bought a large one for the living room. 5 TV's in that apartment...

This is a shot of Joycie putting up the curtain rod... and putting yet another hole in the wall of that apartment. We'll have to do a lot of patching at some point in the future when the girls move out.

I like Joyce's bedroom, she has a nice style. The things she has chosen and the colors make it a very warm and inviting place. I'm so glad she's enjoying this phase, and I'm very proud of her.

But, damn! I miss her.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Yada yada yada

It's either yada yada yada'ing for me or crying...

Joyce moved into her apartment this past Sunday, and the day went surprisingly very well. I only almost cried once, and that was much later that evening when only Kev and I were home.

The apartment is very nice. It's a 4-bedroom, and she has 3 roommates. Sunday evening, though, Joyce was the only one of the 4 girls staying at the apartment, so she invited her brother to stay with her. The 2 of them had a good time, ate popcorn, watched "Disturbia", slept in and then got groceries the next morning.

It is so hard for me to believe that this time has come to pass. My baby girl's gettin' all grown up.

Last night was Joycie's first night all alone there, and she didn't like it all that much. Two of the other girls (twins, actually), will begin living there this weekend, because they are both finishing up summer jobs this week. Classes start Monday the 27th, and the 4th roommate isn't moving in until the 26th or so.

Next week, the twins and Joycie will get their books and make their plans for classes, figure out how their respective routines will begin, and so on. Probably will include a lot of pizza ordering and Chinese take out.

Sammy and I are in town right now, and I'm typing this post using fast Internet at our local library. It's so nice. Joycie will love the wireless high speeds she'll have at the apartment. But I just signed up for DSL, which I hope will work and provide us with some higher speeds at home. Fingers crossed.

On our way to the library, Sammy and I passed an old guy on a Vespa (or equivalent), and he looked kinda funny... he was a pretty big guy to be on that little machine. Sammy said, "oh, mom, there ya go, there's a big hunk of sexy for ya." Funny boy.

Joyce has been making some great wisecracks lately, too. She and I saw this woman driving an expensive SUV, and Joyce said, "You know, it doesn't matter how rich you are, when you're smoking a cigarette, you look like trailer trash." She's right, too. Trailer trash in a Lexus SUV. Oh, yeah.

Sammy has football practice tonight, and so I am going to pottery sans Sammy. He's asked me to paint glaze on one of his little pots so it will get fired, so I guess I'll have to pretend to be Sammy for a little bit tonight. Though he is cutting into my studio time.

And since today is the first day in quite some time that I actually feel somewhat ok in the neck area, I am really, really looking forward to pottery. I woke up this something, and I instantly realized that Something Was Different. Every morning since that MRI, I wake up feeling like I have a bad hangover... like someone-please-stop-the-spinning-so-I-can-walk, pukey feeling. Except it wasn't there this morning. I don't know what shifted, but I am damn happy about it.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Finally Friday

I've had a pretty rough week, ever since that MRI... and I saw the doc yesterday morning... turns out, I was totally wrong. That's what using the 'net to diagnose a medical problem will get ya. I don't have a pinched nerve, that's true, but I also don't have a herniated cervical disk. The doctor I saw, a rehabilitation specialist, doesn't know what it is I have, but whatever it is, the MRI showed it is pressing into my spinal cord, not by a whole lot, but it's there. Which also explained why the MRI was so painful and set me back so much... I'm still feeling awful from it. So now I have a CT scan Monday morning, and the doc referred me to a surgeon. Reminds me of a song... the long and winding road...

Like our driveway, and this is what I saw on my way home yesterday.

Aren't they pretty? I watched them for quite a while, and took a lot of photos.

Later that evening, Sammy came up to me and said something like, "you wouldn't wanna take me over to Aunt Kathy's swimming, would you? Oh, nevermind." And away he walked. So many times this summer he has asked me to take him over, and it seems like I always have some reason (lately my neck) for not going. So I took him. And it was a beautiful evening...

My sister, Janet, arrived at Kathy's on her 4-wheeler with her grandson, Rogan, and soon-to-be-step-grandson, Austin. The 3 boys had a blast together in the pool. By the time I took this photo, I had to use my flash, it was starting to get dark...

3 gorgeous boys.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Sammy at the wheel

My passion for making pottery at Space Studios is in permanent residence at the family homestead, and all who live with me know this to be truth.

As I mentioned in a previous post, Sammy has been taking some pottery sessions with me this summer. We made those critter shakers, and we also built some pots. Here are a couple that Sammy built, bisque fired and ready to be glazed:

The first one is called a "wad pot" because it is made by putting small wads (balls) of clay into a plaster bowl mold. The inside of the bowl is smoothed out, but the outside remains wad-like. Sammy decided to use a combo of red and white clay, and to make a lid for it. He chose a blue glaze called "moonlit sky" for it because that glaze looks so different on the red versus the white clay. Should turn out beautifully! The other pot is one he made by pressing clay into a plaster mold, and the lid is made the same way. The lid was thick, so for a handle, he and I together carved the handle out of the clay. There is a band of decoration carved around the middle of the outside of the bowl that is just like the decoration carved into the handle, and there is a similar decoration carved into the bottom of the bowl. The glaze Sammy chose for that pot is really cool, too. Will post photos after they're done.

Sammy enjoyed building those pots, but shortly after the 2nd one was done (they didn't take that long to make), he decided to try his hand at throwing a pot on the wheel. Karen, an instructor at Space Studios, taught him. His 2 small pots from that first session are also in the photo above.

And a passion was born.

My boy loves throwing pots on the wheel. He is doing so well at it, too. He's a natural. We went last night, and Sammy spent almost all his time working with Karen on the wheel.

Notice not only the huge smile Sammy has there for Karen, but also the streak of clay on his cheek. He's been initiated. And he's love, love, lovin' it. I thought it was fun doing pottery myself, but doing pottery while watching my son have such a good time was primo fun.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

A pain in the neck...

Literally. I was rear-ended in April 2004, and yep, that hurt my neck. Then after I got glasses for the first time... actually progressive bifocals... actually, trifocals because there's a top, middle and bottom range of vision correction in them... ugh... anyway, I had trouble getting the correct position to look through them. Basically, I screwed up my neck. It's been hurting for, well, over 3 years. I thought that it had only been a couple of years, but times flies... and I only just this morning realized that the car accident with my LeSabre was in April of 2004, not 2005 like I've been telling everyone. Oh, well.

This past January, being unable to get any kind of soon appointment with our family doctor, I went to our local urgent care facility. The nice doctor there gave me a prescription for Prednizone, and that helped with the pain for quite a few weeks. But then in April, it came back, and with it, the usual numbing pain going from my neck, across my left shoulder and down my left arm. Then the palm/pad of my left thumb starting itching. I mean ITCHING. It nearly drove me bonkers. So I called my doctor's office, and once again being unable to get an appointment with him any time soon, I went to urgent care. Another nice doctor there gave me another prescription for Prednizone and also a prescription for Physical Therapy. The PT was specifically to help me with the "pinched nerve" in my neck, which he believed was my problem, as did the PT woman.

I started the PT sessions early in June, and very shortly realized that was a big mistake. It hurt. And I'm no pussy when it comes to pain, so it really, really hurt. But the PT explained that it had to get worse before it got better. After about 3 weeks of 2 or 3 sessions a week, I stopped going. I knew something was very wrong. The pain was actually triggering constant nausea, which I was usually successful at fighting... but I was too sick to drive, too sick to go into work; I think I missed 5 or 6 days in June. It was awful.

I finally got an appointment with my family doctor, who spent about 5 minutes with me and then - of course - referred me to another doctor. A rehabilitation specialist. I'd never heard of that. But I went this past Wednesday morning, and had a nice discussion with him. Which resulted in my being scheduled for an MRI Thursday morning at 6:30am.


Those of you who have experienced an MRI for your neck area know what I'm talking about...

I had to lay flat on my back (which I have been unable to do without pain for months and months, by the way), with my head on this perch. I had to put in earplugs, and then they put these blocks of hard foam stuff on either side of my head, not only for additional sound insulation, but also to hold my head still.

The nurse then gave me this cord with a button on the end of it, and she told me that if it got just too difficult to bear while I was in there, to just press the button. Feeling quite comforted with that safety measure, I resigned myself to the process.

The part of the machine I was laying on started to move forward. Let me just say that, not being a small woman, I was very, very surprised that I fit into that tube. It was a tight fit, and my arms were forced down at an odd angle. By this time, my shoulders, arms, back, legs and feet were already tingling... painfully, which is what happens whenever I lay on my back.

Within 5 minutes I could not have pressed that button if my life depended upon it. I couldn't feel it. I couldn't feel my hands. They told me it would be about 15 minutes. It was almost 45. It was loud and painful. I preferred the loud noises though, because it gave me something to concentrate on; it was more difficult to take when things went quiet. Of course, the pain started to trigger nausea, and then I almost panicked with the thought of barfing in that tube.

When they finally slid me out, the nurse cheerfully said, "OK, you can sit up now." Yeah, right. As soon as I can tell that I have a body again. I shuffled back to the bathroom, holding the key to the locker in my hand. I know it was in my hand, because I could see it. I couldn't however, yet feel it. I asked the nurse to please unlock my locker for me, and she seemed surprised. Yeah, that made me want to put her in that tube for 45 minutes. See how you feel.

By the time I got dressed and out to the lobby area, my "Kodak moment" was ready for me, as the way-too-cheerful older nurse told me. She handed me a large envelope containing 5 sheets of several photos from the MRI. She explained how important it was for me to hang on to those and take care of them. I told her I agreed it was important, because I was never going to have another MRI again. Her cheerfulness vanished instantly, and she pretty much turned her back on me. I was dismissed. The old bitty. Perfect ending to a perfect experience.

I waited until I got almost home to look at the pictures. I ended up stopping on our road right before our driveway and pulling them out. Then when I got home, I did some 'net searching... of course. Not sure if that's a good thing or not.

Here are some of the pictures.

From my feeble research, it appears to not be a pinched nerve, but rather a herniated disk. The rehabilitation doctor and I had discussed that possibility, and thankfully, there are ways to treat it that do not include surgery. Physical therapy is one way, and when he saw me flinch, he explained that the PT I had for a pinched nerve was not what would happen for a herniated disk. (I believe the PT I had in June caused me more problems and pain... Big Time.) There are also medications for treatment. I'm all for that. Bring on the drugs (screw you, Tom).

The MRI was worth it then, I guess. Though I will never do another one conscious again. My head, neck, shoulders, arms and back have been through the ringer. I have pretty much been lying down since Thursday, as much as possible. I feel like I have a cement block sitting on the base of my skull, and that's not very conducive to a happy mood and to productivity. Shit.

I have a follow-up doc appointment this week to find out for sure what it is. Ugh.

And today, the kiddos and I are going to go get groceries, which I've been putting off for weeks. I would love to put it off some more, but we are totally running out of stuff. I plan to be the director today, so I'm practicing my pointing skills now... owww...

Community Arts Project

Back in early June, I first met Lauren Raine at Space Studios. Lauren is one of the artists who has received a fellowship this summer, and so she is in town working on a project. This is Lauren, and she is very interesting person.

She's very talented, very smart, and... well, let's just say that she is not the type of person I would generally meet in our town... and that is totally a complement. Here's a clue... this is the back view of Lauren's vehicle:

Lauren has been writing a blog during her project, and you can read it here. Specifically, she organized a community arts project, and myself, Sammy and my nephew, Michael, are participating. This past Monday, we went to Space Studios and had molds made of our faces and a hand. This is me being the guinea pig of the group, having Lauren do my face first to show everyone how to do it.

It is just strips of plaster tape, such as for casts, smoothed on over your vaseline-covered face. The nostrils are left open. It actually felt quite good, and since I arrived there with a bad headache, it felt especially good. Like a facial massage.

Then I did Sammy's face.

And since Michael had a senior photo shoot scheduled for Tuesday, we passed on doing his face and did only his hand Monday evening. But then Mike and I went back to Space Studios Tuesday evening and did his face.

We all meet again next Monday evening for the 2nd and final portion of this project. I believe we will get to see Lauren's finished pieces of our faces and hands, and we will do the "prayer ties" part... which is still causing me somewhat minor bewilderment. We are to arrive on Monday with our "prayer" which can be pretty much anything we interpret it to be... keeping in mind the theme of this project, which is "connectivity" (and that is my one-word summation). It can be our own words, or a quote, or a passage from a poem or book, or song lyrics, whatever. I've been leaning towards a quote from the 1991 "Rugrats" movie, when Tommy says, "Hang on to your diapies, babies, we're goin' in." I love that quote, and I use it pretty often. Have done since the movie, so that's, um... holy cow, about 16 years now. But think about it... that's life, isn't it? Hang on... and we're all in it together. But even though I like that quote, I don't think it's "serious" enough for this arts project. I kinda feel like if I were to use it, I would somehow let Lauren down... but I can't really say I know her well enough to be sure. I'm still thinking on it. I also know that neither Sammy nor Michael have written theirs... so Monday evening should be interesting.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


Monday evening, my nephew, Michael, Sammy & I attended a community art project at Space Studios, and I’ll have to fill you in on that later... The focus of the art project, though, has to do with a basic premise that we are all connected. All humans, animals, plants, all life forms and resources on this planet.

Sitting out under the pine trees outside at the picnic tables at Space Studios, one woman was talking about how that was the theme at Sunday service at her church. She went on to explain how when a person does something bad, something they know is not the right thing to do, how it affects everyone, how their feelings about themselves affects their relationships with others, how those others feel about it, and so on and so on. Kind of like the “pay it forward” theory in reverse... essentially the lesson being do good, because if you do bad, then everyone is affected badly.

I was thinking about that while on my drive into work Tuesday morning, and on our road I passed a neighbor woman walking. By neighbor, I mean one who lives nearby, not one who is neighborly. Suffice to say that our lack of mutual affection for that family goes back to the time we purchased our property from my sister, Joie, after her husband died, and she and her husband had had problems with that family. We believe the problems are because the land we own and call home was used by that family for decades as favorite hunting spots, mushrooming, dirt biking, etc.; in essence they treated the acreage as if they owned it because they believed it to be state-owned property. The story I heard is that they were quite surprised to learn it was a tract of land they could have purchased, so they felt that my late brother-in-law and my sister took it out from under them. We inherited problems with that family trespassing. Once when Kevin was out back shooting his bow, the husband and wife come traipsing down the trail... just as he was about to let loose an arrow... in their direction. Kev was surprised and annoyed. They were boldly trespassing on our property, they knew it and they also well knew we didn’t want them there. Words were exchanged, and Kev “escorted” them to our property line. The couple was not happy, but they were also cognizant that, legally, they didn’t have a pot to piss in. The woman harped at Kevin, and one thing she said to him was, “I hope you never have children because you would make terrible parents.” Ummm… ok. I guess demanding that habitual law-breakers cease to trespass makes for bad parenting skills. Right. I did not respond to her wave of hello this morning, instead looked her in the eye while remembering her wish for me to remain barren.

Was that negative of me? Yep. But I have to admit, I wouldn’t mind that negativity passing along to her yesterday morning. I wonder if she remembers her awful statement. Likely not. Certainly they have never tendered toward us anything remotely resembling an apology for anything... instead, they fed and watered and cared for the “feud” like it was their favorite child. Once when I was driving our 4-wheeler down our road, & with our little trailer hooked up to it, so I could pick up all the trash, they called the sheriff out to get me in trouble for driving the ATV illegally on the road. Which, yes, I was doing. But it was for a good cause... and technically, I was walking beside it, just pushing the accelerator button with my thumb every now and then to move it forward... kind of like a self-propelled wheelbarrow. The sheriff deputy was disgusted, I could tell, but also I think he was friends with our nasty neighbor, and he basically told me to just use a wheelbarrow from now on, ok? Oh, sure, says I. Not meaning it at all. See ya next spring when I do this again.

And somehow that reminded me of something that happened to my sister, Kathy. They had put an old sofa out at the end of the driveway on the roadside with a “free” sign on it. It was still a great sofa, but it was brown leather-look vinyl, if I remember correctly (debatable), and they didn’t want it. They thought they were doing a good thing putting it out for someone to take free. But someone came along and with some kind of razor-cutter removed a huge rectangle of the fabric off from the back of this large sofa, rendering it to useless junk. Junk that my brother-in-law & sister had to therefore take care of... not a super easy thing to do. What kind of a person would do that? An asshole, of course.

And then, continuing on my drive to work, I went past this local animal feed store that has just recently closed. When we moved out to our property, it was a combined feed store and Amish furniture shop. The owners lived in a house right next to the shop, and they had a barn out back, with horses. Odd combo for a business, I know, but it was what it was... and right after we built our house and moved in, we bought our large, oak dining room table and 8 chairs from them. The owners would get unfinished Amish-made furniture from Illinois or Ohio, and the wife would finish the furniture. She did a beautiful job 14 years ago when we bought our dining set. Last year, being unable to face the fact that she had gambled away all their money, the wife went out back behind their home/feed store and shot herself dead in the head.

That started me thinking again about being negative puts out negative and ends up in negativity all around. Which made me think who would drive down at the end of our dirt road, past our property where there’s a big circle turn-around area, get out of their car and take a dump practically right in the middle of it, leaving their used napkins right near their pile... who would do that? The things people do back there at nighttime... forgetting their remnants will see the light of day. Like the large shrub at the end of a smaller trail off from that big circle... the shrub that was festooned with used condoms. I’m sure those teenagers felt very romantic back there in the moonlight. See that bush in the light of day, and it just looks gross. Very gross. Poor shrub. Poor, disrespected shrub.

And then I remembered something else negative... years ago, back when Joycie was either not yet born or a small baby, I used to leave all 4 of my car windows wide open during the day in the parking lot at work. A parking lot accessible only by my fellow employees, not the general public, by the way. I don’t really know why, but I took to just leaving my car keys in the car that summer. Until the day I came out from work one hot, sunny day and someone had generously rolled up all 4 of my windows and locked my car with the keys in it. Thankfully, I was able to get a security guard to get my car door opened, but that whole endeavor took about an hour and a half. In the hot sun, while the evening plans I had made melted away.

And you know how sometimes something seems real positive? Like the beautiful hay field that the farmer let go one summer, and it grew a beautiful bright yellow field of mustard weed. Or whatever it’s called. Then came fall, and the first hard frost of the year. Guess what? That plant smells truly awful after a frost. Like open sewer awful. Did I mention it was a really big field? A field that surrounds a new church. Bet those Sunday worshippers weren’t so happy about that lovely field of yellow anymore, either. Each time I drove by, I found myself speeding up just to get past it. Hey, something positive – I never got a speeding ticket.

And then I drove by this area along the street in town that used to be crap-land. Ugly scrub and brush, with litter packed along the edge of the wooded area, past what one could loosely call the grassy part near the road. Because of the new baseball stadium in town, this long stretch of land has become beautifully landscaped, with a walking/biking trail through it. I enjoy driving past it each morning now.

While I was enjoying that view, I had to stop at a red light. You know how sometimes there is a car near you just BLARING a bass beat/music irritatingly while you have to wait for a red light? Well, this morning, there was a Jeep with no cover on it blaring out Paul Harvey... cool!

And we’re back to positive. Whew.