Saturday, August 26, 2006

Prancing for Dinner

Daisy was a death's door two weeks ago. Now she prances for her dinner. She twirls, she barks her sad little soundless bark. She's a whole new whippet. The drugs have helped and we've been feeding her salt-free food and snacks. I even made her some chicken and brown rice (which Len thought was so good that he took it for lunch one day). She went back to the cardiologist yesterday, and her heart is smaller and she is generally on the mend.

I really thought I'd be making an urn for her at the pottery studio.

I'm glad that instead of an urn, I'm still working on the dinnerware. So far, I've made two bowls to completion. My tests have been good so far, and I've actually begun making the dishes now. The process takes weeks, because I have to wait for drying between stages and it's been particularly rainy here in Atlanta/Decatur -- when the weather is dry, drying is much faster.

So, I have the dishes designed in my head, but I still don't have the skill yet to execute the design exactly. Gotta learn more about glazing and the different clays. It's coming along. My job has been taking up a lot of my time these days (deadlines all hit at the same time -- yep, I missed one) and I haven't spent as much time as I'd like at the studio. After Labor Day, I'll be back to going several times a week instead of just 2. The studio is closed over the holiday weekend, so I'm hoping to have the energy to paint that last room.

Saturday, August 12, 2006


It's been a pretty traumatic week here in Decatur.

It all started last week when Daisy hurt her back and was clearly in a lot of pain. Len took her to the vet and she was tested and probed and prodded and after a day or so on the medicine the vet gave her, she seemed much better.

Monday morning I commented to Len that Daisy ate everything in her bowl and a big treat after -- a sure sign she was all better. But, that was the last meal she ate until Thursday. She was clearly uncomfortable and lethargic and could barely stand on her own. We'd never seen her like that and we were very worried. So, we returned to the vet, who was afraid to treat her for the wrong thing, so we took Daisy to the UGA Vet School in Athens for further testing and an ultrasound.

Yesterday, we met with her Cardiologist. She has always had a heart murmur, but it had never really bothered her until now. Turns out her heart is very enlarged and her valves aren't pumping all her blood and fluid in the right direction. She was very close to heart failure and she was close to drowning in her own fluid when we took her to have the ultrasound.

Last week's back pain was probably not back pain at all, but symptoms of this heart illness manifesting as what appeared to be back pain.

She is now on more medications than my mother (!) and we are to make sure she has no physical activity beyond getting up to eat and to go outside to do her business. Today, she's nearly back to her old self. Prognosis isn't really great for Miss Daisy. She is, after all, 14 years old. So our job is to make her comfortable and happy for the rest of her time with us. Shouldn't be too hard.

She's on the sofa now, where she's been resting all day.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Step One: Center the Clay

Like most 18-year-old dumbasses, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life when I started college. I had this teenage fantasy about becoming a working artist one day, so I began my college career as an "art major." I took painting and drawing and art history courses along with the basic required academics I needed to graduate, but found I truly *enjoyed* the pottery classes. A couple years passed and I got married (really, really young, but to the fabulously handsome and brilliant and good-natured Len, so it was a good long-term decision!) and we moved to Michigan, where I finished college. My first day on campus, I joined the newspaper staff on a whim, and the rest is history. I finished college with a journalism degree and experience as the editor of my college paper and as a stringer for the local papers. I have enjoyed a long and fulfilling career as a magazine editor.

Many summers, I took pottery classes offered through local continuing education services, but found those classes weren't giving me what I really needed: Time. Two hours a week for six or so weeks never got me anywhere. I don't think I actually finished a single project. I even looked into buying a kiln and all the ingredients, but couldn't justify the expense, when the fact was I had no real working experience.

Once we settled here in Decatur, I started looking around for pottery classes and found Mudfire Pottery. It is a potter's co-op, where you join and pay a monthly fee and they supply the rest. There are several people on staff, "rangers" they call them, who are there to assist when you need assistance, guide when you need guidance, and leave you alone when you need to be left alone. Pretty cool. I go there three or four times a week and work for a few hours and already I have improved my skills beyond where those summer classes ever took me.

Since Len and I no longer have dishes (we got rid of the Fiestaware just prior to our move from Seattle back to Atlanta) my first big project will be a set of dinnerware for us. Mugs, bowls and plates. I figure once I successfully complete a set of simple dinnerware, my skills will allow me to work on more ambitious projects like large pieces, and then move on to slab work. It's very exciting for me, like I'm fulfilling a life-long dream or something. It feels pretty good.

Now, has all this work with clay caused me to drop my knitting needles? Not at all. Currently, I have a cardigan, socks, a lace shawl, and a soon-to-be-felted bag on the needles -- and I work on these projects every day. Wow. Just call me Ms. Producer!