As I sit here in the hot car waiting for a late ferry- (you must never be impatient if you live on an island)- I pull out my boxes (yes, boxes) of homemade pottery and can’t stop holding and marveling at the surfaces, the colours, the specks of gold and blues. These are mugs that I made with my own two hands!
I hope nobody sees me trace my finger over the tiny flower or the smudgy outline of black birds.
Why can’t I put them down..is it because they are so beautiful? No. They are bottom heavy and dripping with too many layers of glaze. The mugs are a hodgepodge of styles from sgraffitto- a scratched in pattern that makes very striking black and white pottery- to stamped flowers, starfish ( of course) and birds.
I can’t keep my hands off of these misshapen cylinders, the mistakes hidden ( not so cleverly) beneath a glittering copper raku finish.
And yet. I turn my little- what could it be, a wooden spoon holder? A pen holder? I hold them in my hands one by one, unable to put them down.
My teacher said on the first day of class- –that clay is honest. I think what he meant was that there is no way to cheat it… you have to be patient, weigh out your clay, work it carefully, not too wet, not too dry. And if you have ugly work, that is thick rimmed, with god awful colours it is because you are a beginner, there is no hiding this fact. All the beautiful pottery we use on a day to day basis-these pieces from potters are the ones who kept at it to make those lovely shapes, comfortable to hold and to drink from or eat our bowls of popcorn from.
And if I get better at it, if I do carry on with it— and I think I will, because I am caught in it’s spell of wedging and molding and waiting and glazing and waiting some more… then I will get better and maybe my next load won’t have glazes that are too thick, or lumpy- each time, little by little the forms will improve.
Imagine this: you and your friends are driving down the highway in the pouring rain. You tell the friend who is driving that you really need to use the bathroom. She says, “can’t you hold it?”
And you say. “No, it’s pretty desperate.” There is nothing for miles but highway and dirt roads, so finally she pulls off so you can find a bush to hide behind. The moment the car pulls off the highway, the heavens appear to part for a moment and there as if by magic—
is a porta potty in the middle of nowhere. We all yell- what the heck? in disbelief.
I get out and find that it is spotless inside with toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Afterwards, we discuss the logic of this and of course, there is no logic. I think this is how the law of the power of attraction works. We all wished for a toilet at the same time and it appeared with a rainbow gleaming from behind its’ green plastic exterior
was this a misuse of the power of attraction? I’m not certain,
but I sure was grateful.
Click on the link below to read all about the laws of attraction-
Sometimes I am addicted to movies that make me ugly cry. The other night I figured it would be safe to watch a classic old black and white movie by myself because I knew no one in my family would be mad that I watched it without them. It was called Penny Serenade. I love Irene Dunne and Cary Grant is pretty easy on the eyes as they say, so I thought I would give it a whirl. Spoiler Alert: It begins with a woman looking somberly past an empty child’s room so I knew right away that it was gonna get sad and pretty quick. Then you find out that the couple is going to get a divorce -which sets you off to wonder what sort of tragedy has caused this, so you know that you better get out your box of Kleenex and fast.
The concept of the movie plays out where each record the woman pulls out of her album titled, The Story of a Happy Marriage reminds her of different parts of her life. Viewers get to hear the music and see the history of her life connected to each song. Part of the reason why I love old movies is that I can become a sort of armchair cultural anthropologist as I watch them. How old record stores worked, for instance- it was fascinating. There is a piano where someone can play sheet music for you or a listening room to choose your music, how else would one hear these songs without the internet? Also anthropologically speaking, seeing how a printing press worked with all of the moving parts was fun to witness. I enjoy studying how the roles of men and women in the US are portrayed in each era. Their behavior didn’t seem too far off from how things are today. Early on in their marriage when the man immediately quit his good job when he got a small inheritance and the wife asked: “oh, was it a lot more than we thought?” And when he admitted it was a lot less, she said, “well I don’t understand, why you would quit a perfectly good job.” This made me laugh and think yes, this scenario is timeless. Later in the movie when they didn’t have any income coming in I found it frustrating that they didn’t consider sending the woman out to find work. Witnessing how the adoption process worked was also amusing. Pretty free and easy according to Hollywood. Heres a baby, she’s meant for you, what you have no clue how to look after her and don’t have any diapers?— well just pick stuff up on your way home.
Spoiler alert: My favorite scene was the first night and the following morning after they come home with an infant. The fear and ungainliness of trying to bath and diaper her that first morning were perfectly portrayed, for me this was the winning scene. As an armchair cultural anthropologist, it was fun to have a diaper folding lesson, the one pin kind. What -no bamboo diapers with velcro fasteners? I also loved to see how society once existed in a plastic-free world. I am always on a lookout for scenes in the kitchen and how food is served up etc. Glass baby bottles were the only option in this era.
The little girl is a show stopper both when she is a chubby little happy one year old and when she is the echo in the Christmas play. These film writers know how to wring out your heart. Especially because of oodles of foreshadowing from the start, you know that things are not going to work out- but like a car wreck, you can’t look away.
Is this film schlocky and full of Hollywood tricks? Yes. Did it make me have an enjoyable time sniffling away and letting the story “play on my heartstrings?” Yes.
Sometimes I just want to be whisked off into someone else’s problems, problems that make you weep and not in a pretty way.
This is my (almost) free therapy. Our TCM channel is included with our internet bundle so it is still fairly cheap. Throw in a bowl of homemade popcorn and your night with therapy included is quite economical.
On a scale of 1- 5 Kleenex tissue box rating system, with 5 as the highest rating, I give it a 4.5 for a tear jerker.
Click below for a 10-minute clip- squeaky stairs and all.
Here is a word I bet you never knew existed….petrichor- it is the word for the earth scent that hits you right before it rains.
The scientific reasoning for it is that when raindrops hit dry soil an oil is emitted by some plants… it is the oil mixed in with freshly damp soil that you are breathing in.This oil is meant to slow down germination.
And did you know that if lightning is brewing somewhere, it is the ozone in the air that you may be smelling.
I wonder if is there a name for that sweet melancholy you feel when you know that summer is really and truly over.
There should be a word that explains the way you feel when the rains keep coming and you wished that you weren’t cheap and had bought a cover for your new stainless steel BBQ. It pours and pours, and every time you pass a deer on the side of the road, you think, “poor deer- you must be drenched. But, sorry I still don’t like you and wish you wouldn’t keep breaking into my garden. I am still sore about the kale patch.”
Click below for the best songs for sitting all pouty on the couch as the rain pelts your metal roof.
Perhaps you have been jilted by your recent lover and now the rain is making you feel worn out, but still beautiful, wearing makeup for no one.
I am a creature of habit. Whenever I go to a restaurant and find a meal that I love, I only order that same meal although there are many other enticing choices to choose from. This can go on for years. When I go to the swimming pool, I always choose the same locker and shower stall and when I go to yoga I have a favourite part of the wall that I like to do legs up the wall with before class. I like to have my same coffee mug in the morning for my latte and I place the same ring on my finger every day as I swish out the door.
And if you ever go grocery shopping with me you will know better than to not put that little cart token back in its special spot on my key chain!
Now, some of you may say this is a bit OCD— a little bit of Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory stuff happening here, but I say, no! these little rituals are actually good. It is the little habits that I can count on in a world full of change and uncertainty.
If you saw my office you would know that I am the opposite of OCD , tiny piles of papers swirl around my naked ankles as I sit and write this blog. Although I do have them in piles that only make sense to me.
And when my significant other makes fun of me for always liking the same food, I tell him in my defense, that really this works in his favour. I only like him. I don’t want to change my order. Just like the grilled chicken burger with a side of yam fries that I always order at restaurants, I will always order up the same red-headed guy. Once in a while I am persuaded to try some other meal at a restaurant and am almost always disappointed. I think,”Darn! I could of had the chicken burger.”
Here is a link to a very popular book about tidying up your life, it is about bringing order to your surroundings to create a sense of calm into your world- which I guess is what I am trying to do with my little rituals. I haven’t read it yet, but it is on my to- do list that is underneath these mounds of papers.
Recently when Bohemian Rhapsody began to play on the car radio, I encouraged my teenaged daughter to sing along. I was aghast that she didn’t know the words. I felt as though I had failed her. A friend of mine told me that she was a lazy parent when she discovered that she didn’t teach her kids to wash behind their ears. But I believe the worse sin is to not teach them the joy of singing out loud to a Queen song. It should be an essential part of our children’s education. These lyrics must be taught at an early age, right after they learn to say mama and dada and to wash their hands before dinner (with homemade soap, of course).
I truly believe singing in the car with complete abandon is an important form of stress reducing therapy and it is fun too.
How did I miss passing on this important life lesson? After all, in our modern world, we all spend a ridiculous amount of time driving our kids around to sports and field trips and sports and more sports. I admit that my daughter and I did have a time in our lives when we sang to Adele’s SomeoneLike You for a month or so straight, on the way to school and on the way back again. We were having a rough patch in our lives, and somehow this singing together made life seem just a tinch bit better, if only for those few moments of shared reckless car singing.
I remember my own mother would turn the radio up and make her little VW Rabbit dance to Funky Town (it was the early 80’s). She would take her foot on and off the brake at the stop lights. This made me believe that she was the coolest mother in the whole wide world.
Of course, every mother hopes that her children think that she is the coolest mother ever. Looking back I recall that I had the same Hits of the Forties cd in the back of our multi disc player in the trunk of our Volvo for over two years. I couldn’t change the discs because the player was buried under piles of soccer paraphernalia, recycling and old sweaters. How many families of today know all of the lyrics to On The Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe by Johnny Mercer? Or Don’t Fence Me In, sang by Bing Crosby? So, I am afraid, I don’t win coolest mom on the planet for these reasons.
I suppose Ihave taught my children to sing in the car, only with vintage songs. So all is not lost.
I encourage everyone to sing along to great tunes in their car, alone and with your kids. I assure you, even on the worst day you will feel your mood lift. Sing until your head feels a buzzing sensation.