Saturday, June 08, 2024

Old Eyes

 Last week I had cataract surgery on my right eye. It all went very easily. It was so easy that it was difficult for me to follow instructions like: don't bend over for long, don't lift anything heavy, don't rub your eye, etc. Since the surgery was pretty much painless and you feel fine, it is just easy to forget and do those very things.  Toby was good to remind me, but he doesn't follow me around and keep me from doing stupid things. Fortunately, I did fine. Then Thursday I had my second surgery. It was easy too, but maybe more blurry for the rest of the day. One of the instructions this time, was that I should use my eyes - watch TV, read, computer, etc. We came home and packed up the pottery and went to the After Hours Artwalk in Wichita Falls. I saw one of my old high school buddies. While talking, I told her that I had had cataract surgery that morning. She said, "You shouldn't be here!" I replied, "Where should I be? She didn't have an answer. Truly, I was fine. I wore my good sunglasses, Toby lifted everything, and I sat around like a princess and visited with people. 

Jesse's birthday was earlier this week. We called and sang happy birthday to her. She was planning on going hiking somewhere south of Morgantown. She has her art buddies and is getting active in the art community. She drove somewhere near Pittsburgh to do some sort of volunteer art work. She has also been painting lots since school is out, because she is putting work in some gallery show in Montana. In July, she will go to Maine for three weeks to do some sort of residency at a ceramic facility called Watershed. I told her that I would fly out to WV and drive to Maine with her - that we could make a vacation out of it, stopping at pottery places all along the way. She just laughed probably relieved that I was not serious. Sounded good to me.

Bo's birthday is in a few days. My kids are getting old - such an odd feeling. Life is rolling by way too fast.

Today was CTAC's Paint in the Park.  It was held at a local B&B here that is a beautiful old house, and cottages with a lovely yard. I was the judge this year, but I painted for the fun of it. I told people that if they didn't like how I judged, they could blame it on my eyesight :) We usually have about 15 people show up to paint. The winners were posted on Facebook and Instagram under the Chisholm Trail Arts Council. Here is my little sketch: 

Sunday, May 19, 2024

Welcome to Old Age

 Last weekend TobyLou Pottery set up at the Lawton Arts for All. It was a three day show and a well established arts festival. We had great sales on Friday and Saturday, which were beautiful days, but it rained all day Sunday. It quit raining in time for us to pack up and leave. Still, we did well and had fun. When we do a big arts/crafts show, we take our mugs as well as my little watercolors and also some of the grandkid's weaved pot-holders.  I actually sold several watercolor paintings.  

This week we got busy making more mugs and stuff to build back our inventory. We have another three day arts festival planned in June and will need lots of mugs and such. It was a fairly slow week and made for good pottery time.  The weather was good enough that we could keep the doors open to the studio and work. Then today, it was hot and muggy. I am afraid spring is over and summer is here. Time for the air conditioner.

One other interesting thing this week: I went to the eye doctor in Lawton to make arrangements to have cataract surgery - instigated by my regular eye doctor. I guess I am officially old now. They dilated my eyes, something that I had never done before. They put some other drops in while they were at it. My eyes were immediately dry and scratchy. I had to wait a while to actually see the doctor. He examined my eyes with very bright lights. If I was not blind already, I would be after that. When he was all done and said that I had moderate cataracts in both eyes, he asked if I wanted to do surgery. I was confused. Isn't that why I was there? After some back and forth, he finally said, "I think you should go ahead and have surgery." Well, yeah! Then they took me to another room where Toby joined me. A lady explained that I could have the new fancy laser surgery that makes the surgery go much better and heal much faster, but that's not all. I could get a new special lens that would improve my eyesight. It would cost $3000 an eye, not covered by insurance. Or I could do the laser surgery and get the cataracts removed and a new lens that might help somewhat - still expensive and not covered by insurance. Or I could get the regular old surgery all covered by insurance. So basically they could make this surgery easier on the patient, but only if you are willing to pay up with the cash-ola. Gee, I think I'll have the old fashioned surgery with all the pain and longer recovery time, thank you very much. Then the lady said that the doctor said I had dry eyes and I should put drops in them several times a day. I tried to explain that the drops that they put in my eyes were the problem, but who knows. She said I needed to take good care of my eyes, because we wanted the healthiest eyes possible for the surgery.

Allthough, these eye specialists were all very nice, I couldn't help feel like the whole cataract thing is a rigged game. Kind of a scam to get money from old people! Like hearing aid - that will cost you an arm and a leg!  And then there is all the joint replacements, because we have worn out parts. Welcome to being old.

You know that I am really just making fun. It will all be good.

Tuesday, May 07, 2024

 Time flies whether you are having fun or not. My last post was back in Oct. We have done several arts/crafts shows since then. Some were arts/crap shows. Some were actually very fun.  We still love our After Hours Art Walk in Wichita Falls. They stopped for the winter months, but have started back up recently. Toby and I are getting good at this show stuff. 

In the meantime, Toby had ankle replacement surgery at the end of November. It all went well, and he did great. His ankle is not 100% yet, but getting there. It made for a very relaxed winter. We took it easy for several months, read lots of books, and sat by the fireside. We sold our longhorns before Toby's surgery, so that we did not have to feed and deal with them. Toby got a solar powered gate put in to keep those darn cows in, since the bull could go over the cattleguard. Now the cows are gone, but the gate is wonderful. It keeps people from coming up the drive unless I know who they are and give them the password. Or if they were smart and industrious, they could get out of their car and open the side gate and come on in. Only the tax assessor figured that out.ith t

Spring has been cool with lots of rain and storms. The city of Sulphur, about 45 miles from here, was devastated by a tornado. My friends there were all okay, but many were wiped out. I like the cool weather, but I could do without the storms. The pond is full, though, and that is nice.

We have been working on our pottery - lots. We have done a few shows already, and we are getting ready to do a big, three day Arts For All Festival in Lawton. Hopefully the weather cooperates and the people come out. It is held in the park and is usually a good show. Famous last words.

Jesse is doing great in West Virginia. She finished up the school year last Friday. Now she has some free time before she does some summer residency things. She is also preparing for an art show in Montana (or some place like that). This show is for her paintings, which she has done very few of this year. She did come home in February to paint while the Wichita Falls Symphony played. It was fun, and she did great. Well, there was a little problem: The canvas was huge on stage sitting on an easel that I provided. Rehearsal went well, but later someone lowered the canvas on the easel. It made Jesse have to bend over to paint the bottom part. The problem was that she wore a short dress. She managed to stoop gracefully and paint the lower part of the canvas without showing her bottom. It makes a mother fretful. 

Bo's family, along with us, drove to Sulphur Springs, TX, to see the full eclipse back in April. We met up with a cousin there, had a picnic lunch, and viewed the eclipse. Afterwards, we drove to where my mom lived when she was young and my grandfather ran a small store. It was fun traveling with the Grands. 

I often have thoughts that I want to put down, but I am just out of the habit of using my laptop. Hopefully, I get back to blogging some. We will see.

Monday, October 09, 2023

Craft Shows - Prince or Frog

 Toby and I have been busy little potters. We have been doing several new arts/craft shows as well as our usual After Hours Artwalk in Wichita Falls and the Artwalk on the Paseo in OKC.  Some of the shows have been fun and some were miserable. We read an article that said some craft shows were better than others and some were just better fits for your items than other shows. You just had to try them to see which fit and worked well for you. Unfortunately, the article said, "You have to kiss a lot of frogs."

The two art walks that we have done each month have worked well for us. People are beginning to know us and look for us. Some stop by to tell us how much they enjoy a mug that they bought from us, which is fun. These art walks do not cost us anything to set up and sell (well, gas money). The set-ups are pretty easy. Although the temps can be rough through the summer, the hours were from 5 to 9 and were do - able.  We saw people we knew and enjoyed the time. And we did okay on sales.

Then the fall arts/crafts season really kicked in. We tried one in Wichita Falls at the Multipurpose Event Center (MPEC). The MPEC is a very nice facility, so we did not suffer in the heat, but the crowd was not nearly what we had expected and the cost of the show was more expensive than the art walks. Sales were okay, but not great - not for the hours and milage put in.  We did get to see my cousin and have dinner with her and her husband, so it was not a wasted event.

Then we did the Rock Island Art Festival in Chickasha, OK. Other potter friends had told us that it was great and lots of fun. Well, it used to be held in a park with trees and grass. The park was sold to a private corporation, so the festival was held in the downtown streets. Being the last weekend of September, the weather had been great in past years. This year, the weather was in the high nineties, with gusty winds that blew tents around crashing into other tents. The dust and heat were not fun. We were next to a kettle corn truck with a loud generator. Then the booth across from us blared  "stoner music" that vibrated through us all day. The hours were Friday and Sat. 9-9 and Sunday 10 - 4. It was way too long and awful. If sales had been better, maybe we would have been more content. But sales were not great for the time and effort and hours and miles put in.

We live and learn and kiss a few frogs. We have a few more shows lined up in the next few months.

Jesse has been in touch. She is doing well. She is a happy camper and always makes the best of a situation. She loves adventure. This past weekend, she drove the university bus to Washington DC for a craft show. I have not visited her to find out how the craft show went. In the meantime, her mural in downtown Wichita Falls won People's Choice for best mural in Texas. She is also up for a community award in Wichita Falls. People love her mural and miss her. I know I miss her.

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Long Hot Summer

 While I have my computer up and running, and I am connected, I thought I would drop by and say hello. It has been a long hot summer. If you have followed me for awhile, then you know I hate long hot summers. Right now, we are having a bit of cooler weather. Hopefully, the cooler weather signals a change of seasons and fall is coming. Chances are that we will still have some hot days ahead. If the temps just get under 100, I will be much better. 

We went to Red Lodge, Montana in mid July to see Jesse. We camped out in Beartooth National Forest land with no water or electricity or phone - boondockers. We did have a generator for electricity and batteries to save the electricity. We have our old dinosaur of a generator that made a huge racket compared to more modern generators that made a nice hmmm. Fortunately, we were not camped too close to anyone and only ran the thing during the middle of the day as to not bother anyone. We had a great time visiting Jesse, riding our E-bikes around Red Lodge and the campground. When we left Montana, we drove to Deadwood, SD, to camp and see the sights and also go to Mount Rushmore. Deadwood was not exciting, but they had a great rail-to-trail up in the mountains.

It was a blast to ride the e-bikes up the trail and the just cruise down the long downhill. And the weather was perfect. From there, we drove across South Dakota to Lewis and Clark Recreational Area, which was a very nice campground on the Missouri River. We were able to visit with an old teacher buddy from McAllen, who now lives in Nebraska, but has a lake house on the Nebraska side of the river. It was good to see old friends.

Jesse came home the first week of August, and we loaded her stuff in a U-haul and hauled it to West Virginia. It was a long way. Morgantown, WV, is a beautiful place. I think she will like working on her MFA there. Although the first week of school, it was announced that they would be closing their MFA ceramics program, which has been one of the best in the country. It seems that higher-ups made some serious bad investments and put the college in the red. Their answer to all problems is to cut arts. They say they will finish out Jesse's MFA, but they may fire several of the professors. The whole thing stinks. On the way home, we swung through Ohio to see the Ohio cousins. We drove through Amish country, which was quite lovely. Once we got home, we were worn out and ready to stay put for a while. 

We have been doing a few pottery and craft shows. Fall is coming and then the holidays when there are lots of craft shows, and people are buying. We are getting ready to sell, sell, sell. We have also been busy on the farm. Toby has been fixing tractors, trucks, fence, etc. We now have six calves to go with our longhorn mamas. I love watching them romp and play. Yes, they all have names:

The Bully Boys, Lightning, Ghost, Navajo, and Brownie.

That was just a short post to fill you in on what is happening. I make no promises on being a regular blogger. Sigh.

Monday, July 03, 2023

Kiln Time

 It has been a fairly nice summer so far. It's a little humid, which is horrible when it is hot. We went out to the Wilson's for hotdogs and fireworks on Saturday last. The outside temp was great. Last year we attended their 4th of July cook-out and fireworks, but it was stinkin' hot. Still it is always a good time with good friends, good food and great fireworks.

Today we got the kiln loaded for a glaze fire. Tomorrow we will start the kiln early in the morning. It will be done in about 8 hours, but it will take another 8 hours to cool. Thursday we are planning on taking our pottery to the After Hours Art Walk in Wichita Falls. It will probably be stinkin' hot, but we are beginning to have people expect us there.

Here are my next two World Watercolor Month paintings: July 2

July 3