Saturday, December 26, 2009

Power's back on

My power went out shortly after yesterday's post and was out for over 24 hours. So, I spent Christmas day by myself, reading a book while it was still daylight and going to bed at 8:00. I have gas logs to keep the house warm and, even set on low, the living room never went below 74 degrees. Thats a lot warmer than I usually keep my house, but it was only 68 in the bedroom. I have a battery-operated radio, but couldn't get the local station to come in. Turns out that they were offline, too, until early this morning. Here's some facts: 27,000 people lost power, and it might be Tuesday before everyone gets theirs back. Trees are down, making many roads impassable. There's still ice in most of the trees and they're still falling. We're in a State of Emergency. They're saying this is the worst tree damage and power outage since Hurricane Hugo in 1989. And last week we had the most snow since 1993 - there's still 5 or 6 inches on the ground in most places.

I'm trying to find a two-day window to go see my family, since they're calling for more crappy weather next week. Right now I'm looking at Tuesay... we'll see.

Friday, December 25, 2009

I was not dreaming of an icy Christmas!

So far the power is still on, but it keeps blinking. There are trees and limbs down all over the place, and it sounds like rifle shots going off outside.

It's 28 degrees. I only need 4 more degrees to (hopefully) bring this to an end. I don't think I'll get home to Raleigh today, as there are trees down across the roads, according to the radio, and who's going to clean that up on Christmas Day? I'm missing the holiday with my family for the first time in my life and it's been rough. At least I'm not overseas fighting a useless war and I still have a warm house and can bitch about it on this blog to all of you. I hope your day is happier than mine.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Day five, and I GOT OUT!

Woo Hoo! I managed to escape the prison of my house today! It was not an easy task, to say the least, but I managed to get out and back home safely. Yesterday, my neighbor got her pickup stuck in the middle of the road (No 4-wheel drive, no chains, bad tires and no weight in the back. What was she thinking? But, then, she's from Florida, so I guess that explains a lot.) and this morning it was still there, so I didn't make my 9:30 dentist appointment. Another neighbor got her truck out by 10:00 and the dentist said they could still see me if I got there by 11:00, so off I went, slippin' and slidin' up the little hill (with big drop-offs on both sides) and finally reached black pavement. Whew! I don't do well in these situations. My car has all-wheel drive and does very well in snow, but ice is another matter. My palms get sweaty and my heart pounds and I really don't like it. But, I did it.

When I got to the dentist's, he said I needed a crown, of course, and all that drilling put my heart back into palpitations, but it really wasn't too bad. He was quick. I think everyone in his office was anxious to start their Holiday vacation, and here comes this woman at the last minute. Then, I almost passed out when they told me how much it cost. I know my credit card is gasping it's last breath at this point, but whatcha gonna do? Merry Christmas, Dr. Bridgeman!! (I know, a funny name for a dentist - BRIDGEman. We have a meteorologist on one of the Charlotte TV stations named Larry Sprinkle, too.)

I went to the Post Office - my box was absolutely stuffed, and I had two packages waiting - and returned the movies I'd rented last Thursday. Got some groceries, went to the bank and then came home. Coming down the little hill is not as bad as going up it.

The freezing rain forecast for Christmas Eve has not changed, so I probably won't go to Raleigh until Christmas Day, if the temperature rises enough. Just taking it one forecast at a time, and my family wants me to be safe, so it will all work out.

I want to thank all of you who read this blog for hanging with me since I started it last May. It's been an adventure, that's for sure. I hope that your Holiday Season is glorious!


Monday, December 21, 2009

Day four of being held prisoner in my own home

I'm still here. The road is still covered with snow - it may have either melted or compacted itself into only a foot by now, but it's still here and so am I. I've been singing "I'll Be Home For Easter" in my head. (Thanks for getting THAT started, Alan!) Boredom and cabin fever are setting in. Now I have to try and get out of here on Wednesday because I broke a tooth and have to go to the dentist and if I don't do it that day, they're closed until January 5. If I didn't know that there's more bad weather coming on Thursday (Christmas Eve) - this time freezing rain with "significant icing" - I'd just head to Raleigh on Wednesday after the dentist. Now I'm worried that power will go out and I'll have to deal with frozen pipes when I get home. My sister keeps asking when I'm coming and all I can tell her is that I don't know. All I do know is that it's not today.

I put some seed out on the porch table for the birds. Look who else found it. I've also had a group of four crows that have been gorging themselves and the deer ate the whole feeder full last night. Oh well, I guess everybody's hungry. Including my cat:

Friday, December 18, 2009

That's a lotta snow!

I haven't ventured past my covered porch with a ruler, but it looks like maybe a foot and a half of snow. That's a lot of snow for us, and it's not even officially winter yet. I suppose that I'll be here in the house for many days, and I wonder if I'll be able to get out by Christmas Eve, when I'm supposed to go back to Raleigh for family festivities.

The birds are happy that I refilled the feeder. I had stopped feeding them because I was also feeding squirrels, raccoons and deer and the seed is too expensive to feed everybody. But, it's hard for the little feathered ones to find anything to eat under all the white stuff.

My road is a gravel road with a grass strip in the middle, so it can't be plowed. The plow digs up the grass strip and turns the whole road into a sea of mud when the snow melts. Oh well... I guess there's nothing to do but wait until it melts.

I may not get out for a week.

Our weather guy has been saying for several days that we were in for a "Big Snow". He was right. It started about 8:30 this morning, has been snowing all day, and we have about 8 inches now. He says the worst will come over night and we might have TWO FEET by the time it all ends tomorrow. Yikes. I prepared myself, though. I rented some movies and went to the liquor store and, in case the power goes out (which, if it does, I'll be really pissed because I want to watch those movies!) I've filled the bathtub with water to flush the toilet and lit the pilot light on the gas logs. I took a couple of short videos today, but I'm having trouble uploading them. I'll take pictures tomorrow and post them here.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Wonderful weekend

I had such a great time this past weekend with family. I went to Raleigh on Friday and dropped off some more pieces at the Little Art Gallery in Cameron Village. Then I visited with my Dad and had dinner with him at his retirement home. I love that place. It's like having 240 grandmas and grandpas doting on you every time you show up. On Saturday my sister and her husband had their annual Christmas Party. As usual the food was incredible and the people extremely nice. She had told me to bring my jewelry with me "because some people might need to do some holiday shopping." I did, and I made some money while partying. Can't beat that with a stick! In fact, two of the pieces from the previous post now have new homes.

On Sunday my Step-daughter and her family drove down from Virginia so that we could do Christmas with them. It was wonderful, as usual, to see her and her husband and my two step-grandboys. The younger one is six and still firmly believes in Santa. His older brother is nine and probably does not. He won't admit it, though - I think he's afraid that he won't get any presents if he does. Or, he's trying to spare his little brother's feelings..... No, I don't think that's it!

I'm working at Hands Gallery today and I'm exhausted. We were up really late on Saturday night and the drive back from Raleigh on Sunday was not fun - drizzle and fog made the trip seem really long. When I leave here I'm going to finish my gift shopping, get some groceries, and then go home and NOT GO ANYWHERE for at least a couple of days. I love my family and enjoy every minute I have with them, but traveling wears me out. Driving hurts my back. I love being home, too.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

I'm Done.

I've been spending the last few days finishing up some custom orders, so that they're done in time for Christmas, and I don't feel right firing my kiln with just a couple of things in it. Seems like such a waste of electricity. So I made some new pieces and some to take to the Little Art Gallery in Raleigh. Plus, look at the gorgeous photos I took with my new camera! I'm thrilled to have some decent shots to send off for show applications, too.

This one broke, so I improvised by putting the drop at the bottom.

This one has a nice Rhodolite Garnet. It was one of the "sparkly" ones from the previous post. I un-sparkled it.

I love working with pearls!

So now I think I'll take the rest of the year off. I'll be headed "off the mountain" this weekend to attend my Sister's Christmas party and to have a holiday celebration with my Step-daughter and her family, since they're going on a cruise this year. Then two weeks after that is the big day and I'll be going back to spend time with the rest of the family.

The weather has been raw, rainy and cold (even a little freezing rain today) and it's time to hunker down with a good book, or bake cookies, or visit with friends. No more work this year, unless more orders come in. There's still a few things in the sale category in my Etsy store, so Artwear bargains are available. The last day to ship is December 19.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Sometimes when you fire metal clay you get the "Sparkly Effect" when it comes out of the kiln. I fired the above pieces today and they're REALLY sparkly. This is an effect of the silver particles fusing together and forming crystals on the surface. It's random and I don't think anyone really knows for sure how and when it will happen. And no one knows how to make this happen on purpose. These were not all the pieces in the kiln. The rest of them came out white, like they usually do. Vickie Hallmark wrote a blog post about this recently and went in to great detail about why this might happen. You can read it here, if you want a scientific hypothesis of why this might be.

My question to you, dear readers, is do I polish these to a  shiny surface and then put on a patina, like I usually do, or leave them rough and sparkly? Polishing esentially flattens down the crystals and light doesn't reflect off of the peaks any more.  I'm not sure I like it and I don't know how it will wear over time. What's your opinion?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

And the winner is.....

The BIG, BIG, BIRTHDAY SALE is over and was a successful event for me. Many people took advantage of reduced prices on some lovely pieces. This morning I drew a name from all people who ordered in November and Gayle Tsipis has won these beautiful earrings! Congratulations!

A little secret to those of you who read this blog: All the items that are left in the sale will stay marked down through the holiday season, so bargains are still available. Just no extra discounts or give-aways. Now let's get going on that Holiday shopping!