Thursday, March 23, 2023

Retirement Report

Last week around my birthday, I started feeling a cold/flu coming on. It seemed to get worse and worse and last forever. Toby was so good to take care of me, but I could tell he was getting sick and tired of me being sick and tired. Then just as I was starting to feel better, he got sick. I really hate for him to be sick, and to know that I gave it to him. I treated him very well and did not say, "See, I told you it was bad."  Finally, we started feeling better and got out of the house for a bit. The kids came over last Saturday since we weren't running fevers. We enjoyed them, but we wore out fast. I think we are on the mend. Several people we know have also been sick - so it is a thang going around. Some have asked if it was covid, but it was way worse than covid :) Actually, we did not get tested. I figured if none of our friends reported. having covid, then chances are, we did not have covid either. I'm just glad it is over.

With Toby retired, our pottery production has gone up. we produced about 70 mugs before I got sick. I put some of them on Facebook and sold lots within a few days. Being sick slowed down production, but I think we still did pretty good this week. In the past, I had all sorts of shipping woes, but now with Toby more invested in the business, he worked it out where we can get a much better price online. He got us new boxes and a scale to weigh the boxes, etc. It's so nice to have a production manager - ha! And he vacuums the house! I guess I will keep him around.

We really are enjoying our retirement. We had hoped to go to Florida to see Jesse compete in the National Art Battle on April 1st. Toby thought we could take the Casita and just drive out there. The closer it gets, it seems to be too much right now. We have lots to do around the farm and in our pottery business. I think we will just watch the art battle online and vote. It is amazing that we can be so busy and yet we are free to do what we want. Does that make sense? It is possible that we really need to get more organized and be less "fly by the seat of your pants." Although, life is more exciting when you can wing it. 

Thursday, March 09, 2023

Birthday Memories

 Today is my 65th birthday. As birthdays go, this one will be forgettable. That made me think of other birthdays that were more memorable. In a family that did not spend much time on birthdays, there are only a few that stand out until I married Toby and he has done a better job of spoiling me. 

The first birthday I really recall was when I was about 6 or 7. My dad came in and put a few things on my bed. They were things that he had probably picked up at an education conference - like a pen that turned into a pointer for using on the overhead screen. I was old enough to act like it was funny and that I liked the gift knowing that he had probably forgotten my birthday, but I was young enough to be disappointed. It was actually fairly typical of birthdays in our household. The next year, my mom made a beautiful bundt cake with one of my Barbies in the middle and icing making the cake look like a dress. I had several of my little girl friends over, and it was a great birthday.  But I was ugly to my brother and didn't want him to be at my party. I'm sure we had had a squabble and I was carrying a grudge. My mother seemed to be okay with my not wanting him there. But then a year later when it was his birthday, she sent me away and said I could not be at his party since I did not let him attend mine. Geeze! Mom had a great memory and really taught me a lesson.

After that, I don't really remember birthdays until I was 16. Then I had a slumber party where we stayed up all night giggling and telling stories and listening to records and dancing. After everyone went home the next day, Mom took me shopping and bought me some plaid bell-bottoms and tops to match. I loved the new clothes, but I said something snarky to Mom on the way home. Rather than getting on to me, she said, "Are you worn out?" I answered yes, and began to cry. She just laughed at me. She could be a great mom sometimes.

I remember turning 18  - I had a week to go wearing a cast on my leg from a car wreck. I had a pity party. Nineteen was a terrible birthday that I won't go into. My 30 the birthday was skiing with the girls in Taos. My 40th was a surprise party at a friend's house. We were two hours late, because I did not know about the party and Toby was, well, Toby. Of course my 55th birthday in Paris still holds the no. 1 spot for birthdays with getting Rocket, my dog, two years ago as second place in birthdays. All in all, I am a spoiled brat and I have had some good birthdays with good friends. Toby does try to make my birthdays fun. This year I am a little under the weather, but I was a princess all day with Toby taking care of everything else. 

Here is a little portrait that I have been working on 

Here is Jesse's first-round painting at the Texas Art Battle 
And here is her final Art Battle painting

Now she goes to Daytona Beach, FL for the National championship. If you download the Art Battle app, you can watch and vote in real time on April 1st.

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Retirement: The Honeymoon Phase

 It has now been two weeks of Toby being home with me - Retirement. So far, so good. Haliburton had a cake for him in one of the conference rooms on his last day.  People came by to visit and have cake.  I surprised him by having Jesse and Bo there. Lots of workers from different parts of Haliburton came by. And then we were free. 

It has not really set in yet that he is retired. We are staying up later and sleeping a little later. It is the sleeping in that we don't do so well at. We are both  morning people. Last week when it was rainy and cold here, we stayed in our PJ's most of the day. I don't think we will make a habit of that, but it was fun for a day. There has been a lot of napping. I consider it "catching up" from all the crazy work hours he has put in for the last several years.

We are getting along fairly well - as well as we ever did - which has always been fairly well with an occasional discussion or argument. I guess we are still in the honeymoon period of retirement - however long that lasts. We certainly don't have a routine. Mostly we are just relaxing and getting used to being together more.

One thing that I have discovered about myself is that while I am mostly easy going and a "wing it" sort of person, I do some things very specifically and have done them that way for 45 years. Toby has been very helpful around the house, but he doesn't know my way or my way of thinking. Like hanging the laundry on the line. I don't hang things, especially sheets, on the line when there is a 40 mile an hour wind out of the north. Toby just knew that it could be done with enough clothes pins. I tried not to argue, but I did finally say something like, "Fine! I like buying new sheets."

It is really nice having him around to help with the housework and errands. This morning he said we should make a run to Goodwill. I was excited - junking! But no, he meant each of us loading up one trash sack full of clothes "that we don't like" and taking them to Goodwill. He loaded up his sack fairly quickly. I had to try things on. It's not that I "don't like" my clothes. It's that I have all sorts of sizes of clothes that are too tight around the...well, you know. I pulled a sweater out of the closet and put it on. Hey, it was comfy and I thought I might just wear it today. When I came out of the closet wearing the sweater, Toby gave me the thumbs down. What? I love this sweater! Toby said it looked all stretched out and baggy. Exactly why I love it! Men! What do they know?

Then we went to Walmart. He does know that I have very particular Walmart etiquette, and he tries to abide by my Walmart rules. He still doesn't park in the right space, and we had a discussion about it today. Once inside the store, he did follow my usual track around the store. And he did stay in my line of sight (unless you tell me where you are going) Don't make me come hunting you. After Walmart, we went by the Dollar Tree. I was afraid he would freak out at the mess that is our store, but he did great. 

I think this retirement thing will just get better and better. It is certainly entertaining at this point.

Monday, January 30, 2023


 Today was Toby's last Monday to work. He will be retired as of Feb. 2nd. He is pretty pumped. His crew had a big lunch out in the warehouse for him last week. Several people on his crew are amazing cooks. One guy does sourdough bread, amongst other things. Another guy does smoked brisket, turkey and pastrami. So there was sourdough bread and pastrami and other sandwich fixin's at the lunch. One of the ladies makes great desserts. Another lady is from New Mexico, and she made pasole. One of the workers who is from the Rio Grande Valley brought hot sauce that was stinkin' hot! He also brought me some Mexican vanilla. It was a very special lunch. 

Then last Monday, Toby's boss took us to the country club for lunch along with some other boss-type folk and their spouses. For the most part, it was fun, but maybe a little weird. 

On Thursday, his last day, Haliburton will have a cake and a time when folks can come by and say good-bye, congrats, whatever. And then he will be home with me. 

People keep asking him what he is going to do, and they hint that it will be awful to have him around all the time. I do think it will take some adjustment, but I am looking forward to having him around. He has so many projects around the Lazy B that he needs to work on, plus he will be able to go and do whatever he wants. He plans on doing more pottery with me. We decided to take the continuing ed class at MSU for pottery. I think it will give him a better idea on what all he can do. It will also give him some different instructors besides me. It will also let us spend time with Jesse on class days. Also, he would like to ride his bike across America, but maybe not in February. He will have time to plan that trip. Yep, retirement will be fun.

Here is the painting that I have been working on. I got the reference photo from a Facebook group called Landscape Reference Photos for Artists. It has some great landscapes. I also joined another reference group that is similar, but has more than just landscapes. It has pets, still-lifes, etc. 

I feel like life is about to change and for the better. Toby has worked hard for a long time. He is ready to have some fun, and I am game for fun.

Friday, January 20, 2023

New Kiln and Art Possibilities

 I got my hair cut yesterday. Maybe I have mentioned this before, but I love going to the beauty shop. Having been raised in a beauty shop, I find them comforting. Women go in looking bad and come out looking beautiful. Someone else does your hair, so you feel like a princess. What's not to love? Well, I guess sometimes it can be disappointing, but in theory, it should be a joy. 

I got a new kiln last week. We went ahead and got a brand new one. Pat at the ceramic store said, "Buy an new kiln. It will work well and last you 20 years." Toby told me he didn't think we had 20 years of ceramics in us. So we will the kiln to Jesse when we get too old  :) Toby had last Monday off and he did the electrical work to get the kiln going. We have been throwing pots like mad potters. I have about 30 mugs getting ready for bisque firing. Yay!

I am also working on a new pastel of a winter scene. Jesse is doing an art show at the Leslie Powell Gallery in Lawton this spring and has asked that I join her. The gallery guy thinks it will be great to have a mother/daughter show around Mother's Day. I need to get busy and do new paintings. I found a new group on Facebook called Landscape Reference Photos for Artists. People post their landscape photos so that artists can use them. They ask that when you do a painting and post it, you give the photographers's name. It is fun to see the photos and the paintings together. I have lots of photos saved in my to-do file. I will soon post the one painting I have almost finished.

Back in October when I went in for my wellness checkup with the doc/nurse, I pointed out a little thing on my ear. It had been there for a while, but I had not seen a doctor in a while. Anyway, the doc/nurse sent me to a skin doctor. It took three months to get in. The PA who saw me was nice enough. She said the thing on my ear was pre-cancerous and that I came in just in the right time. Hmm, it took me 3 months to get in, but don't get me going on that. So the PA froze the ear thing off with liquid nitrogen. It was simple enough, but later when I went to Walmart, I had one of those pity parties. You know, where you feel like you deserve something special. So, I bought some new pens! Whoo-hoo!

Also, I have agreed to teach a little watercolor workshop to some ladies. You know what that means? It means that I needed a few new paint tubes. So I bought some. Since Toby is retiring in less than 2 weeks, I better buy when I can and before he puts me on an art budget. 

Friday, December 30, 2022

Lazy Day in the Winter

 Today I had lots of time - maybe too much time. It seems that I did not do the things I should have done, but instead was doing things I like to do. I got on my laptop to do a few errands and ended up reading through blogs that I like. I caught up with Jo Castillo and then moved on to John P. Weiss. Both are so encouraging. Jo for her consistent sketching and happy outlook on life, and John for his uplifting writing and photography and cartoons. Jo helps me to want to keep up my blog. She also encourages me with my art - I send her things to critique - always helpful. John Weiss, well, he just has an amazing way of looking at things and writing to encourage artists and writers and other creative folk. Most of the old bloggers that I followed are gone now. Everyone moved to Facebook, which to me is not a place to journal. I only have a few people who read my blog, but that is okay. This blog is still a nice way to be creative. Like my art, this blog will never make me famous. 

Last Christmas my daughter gave me Storyworth. Every week I have received prompts to encourage me to write. At the end of the year (now) they take all that you have written and put it in a book and send it to you. At the time she gave it to me, I thought, "but I already blog." Oh well, I wrote a few things, but not nearly what I was supposed to do. Sigh. I may try again. Or not.

My kilns are not doing well. I cannot finish my pottery. It is tiresome, but I am looking for a new kiln. In the meantime, I started a new pastel. Today, though, I was just lazy.

GBN2 turns 16 today. She is a beautiful young lady, a bit bossy like me. She is short like me, too. Sorry about that :)