Wednesday, December 31, 2008

I don't think 2008 sucked that bad, when you think about it.....

Many of my friends have said 2008 sucked, was forgettable, all that. Sure, there were challenges. But, um, except for my stock portfolio (HAHAHAHA!), things have gone pretty good for us at 540 Main, Etna, NY:
-my dude won the election
-my poor dog Jack died in August, but he was very old, 13, and was playing ball till the last moment--and that pic up there is about the last moment.
-I had a chance to make a lot of FUN POTS! I love making pots. And sculpture. PLUS I started working in the Cornell studios which is so much fun.
-Missus Tastycake got prettier than ever this year, somehow, and yet is even more fun after 16 years of marriage, and she got a much better job this year.
-I had a chance to make a lot more friends!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Bloggy friends, new people friends, reconnect with old friends!
-Sales in October and November were down the tubs, but DECEMBER was the best month I ever had in business, EVER, and this blog sold over 500 items, thanks to YOU.

AND I discovered the Raveonettes


and also the Ting Tings

flightless waterfowl and me

(Gary Rith makes some penguin bowls and cups.....) Missus Tastycake was lurking about with the camera...sure is fun to have her around on vacation.

so much snow.........

Finally saw MARCH OF THE PENGUINS last night, a movie everybody should see, about penguins down in Antarctica. This may fuel a 2009 penguin obsession.
Dreamt, of course, of snowy scenes, including a recurring dream of mine that it is my senior year in college and I MUST GET MY ACT TOGETHER which was followed by another dream where I was on a snowmobile (only have been once) and I rode up to an empty house and broke in but there were three dogs that I charmed with chicken livers. I am not cut out for burglary, it made me too nervous. And so I awake and although all our snow had melted it is snowing quite hard once again....

2008 countdown, the year in pots

(some final favorites: pottery by Gary Rith)

lips like sugar, sugar kisses!

by Echo and the Bunnymen, my faaaaaavorite.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

le Lost Dog for lunch

(Missus Tastycake at Lost Dog Cafe, me on the riverbank behind opposite side of our house)
OK, so we stuffed ourselves for lunch on our way to the library. Seems like I am stuffed every day lately!!!!!

What a racket....

A dog walked by outside and Penny spent several minutes hurling insults at it.

Wiki tells us that beagles are named for the racket they make:

" The origin of the word "beagle" is uncertain, although it has been suggested that the word derives from the French begueule (meaning "open throat" from bayer "open wide" and gueule "mouth")

Other possibilities include the French beugler (meaning "to bellow") and the German begele (meaning "to scold")."

a random shot or two

Me and Missus Tastycake, Penny and Spike...
I was totally flattened last night and slept all the way to 7:15--amazing!

2008 countdown!

(more pottery favorites from 2008 by Gary Rith)

The Church

Under the Milky Way
Everybody will love this 80s goodness.

Monday, December 29, 2008

my amigo Alex

Kevin and Winnie from the Wonder Years

Alex and me June 1987, graduating from college

Me and Denis with most of the Bennington class of 87, May 1987, Alex strangely absent, Burgess skulking around on the right side of the picture with some pretty girls---chicks dig a Bristish accent you know.

Burgess, the day we broke into Denis room and filled it to the ceiling (October, 1986) with crumpled newspaper. I am not sure Burgess still has a full head of hair....

SOoooo, quite a few reunions today and this year. I wish I had her picture from then or now, but alert readers will recall that my friends (sisters) Wendy and Mary Beth from my school and my neighborhood reconnected in November. We had been pals from about the age of 12 to about the age of 22...(twas somewhat like that TV show The Wonder Years, where I was the cute little boy Kevin and one or the other of them was Winnie, with a sister) then you know, grad school, life, marriage and all that came along and suddenly you talk again after 20 years. Me and the missus visited Wendy, who lives conveniently nearby, last month, and today she calls and comes over and we have a blast and if you can believe it, the conversation picks up where it left off in the 80s and it is a totally sweet time.

Then there's Alex. Denis, Alex, Burgess and I (along with Marcelo, the somewhat deranged nudist, and Scott, the somewhat deranged neo-fascist, and that kid whatisname from Brooklyn who had a knife and was f##king scary) lived in the freshman suite of Leigh House at Bennington College starting in 1983. People here will know Denis, that rogue, who comments daily, as my oldest friend, (other than Wendy and Mary Beth!). Burgess, of course, landed in Japan and later Britain, and YES, thanks to facebook we now hear from Burgess too. WELL, the puzzle piece that has been missing so long, of course, since college graduation in 1987, was Alex (nobody cares about the deranged and the nudists listed above who also lived in our freshman suite). SO, out of the blue I get an email this morning, from, can I say it here? Harvard Medical School. Alex found ME, via this blog. Alex is back, and Alex has a new baby and a beagle. HOW ABOUT THAT, our old gang is together again, sorta......(sure, spread across the globe, but as close as the click of a mouse)

today my beloved...

Today my beloved Mocha java says to me:

"This coffee tastes like mud!"

in response to my puzzled look she continues:

"well no wonder, it was ground earlier this morning!"

COUNTDOWN: favorite pots 2008

(pots by Gary Rith)
Has been a most excellent year for pots. I like to make things that are dynamic and modern, bright and fun. I like to have a good time, and follow one idea from one step to the next.

so my beloved Pumpkin says to me:

Early this am my beloved Pumpkin says to me:

"Only very dull people are bright in the morning" (Oscar Wilde)

I am not terribly bright so far this morning...

face to face

(cups by Gary Rith)
So, there you are, holding your mug, face to face with those EYES, the teeth, and at the bottom, the TONGUE.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Slumdog Millionaire

Me, the missus, the visiting SIL and Denis' ladyfriend Kim went to see SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE and eat some Mexican food at Viva.
On the one hand, Slumdog Millionaire is an uplifting tale of a poor kid winning a million. On the other hand it is full of the worst brutality and evil you have seen in a movie.
I loved it. Not for everyone, ten out of ten thumbs up, and 15 thumbs up for the rather excellent Mexican dinner, and as usual, Kim is a hoot.

le masterpiece

(cup by Gary Rith)
Probably looks ordinary enough to you, but maybe I have worked my whole life to make this cup. The spirally upward movement, the whacked and added little feet, the loop handle with twisty pattern...
my pottery to do list is LONG, but 2008 has had some great pottery experiments and I am pretty dang excited about 2009 and now maybe it is time to eat a mountain of potatos and omelette....

stuffed and mounted

(cups by Gary Rith, coffee by Gary Rith plus Mrs Chocolate Truffle's paw)
The thing is, I think intoxication is totally overrated. I think my brains are generally mushy, actually, so my drug of choice is caffeine. Sure, the end of the day and I have that beer or shot of whiskey. But I like to be lucid and hardworking, I like to clean and cook and blog and be a happy and shiney little worker bee. COFFEE COFFEE JOY JOY!
Something has gotten in the way this week, however. Food. Holy cats I am stuffed stuffed and STUFFED. I think that it makes it hard to sleep, work, walk, stay awake, but it sure is fun for a day or two of holidays.
(actually, there is no end in sight for the feasting......)

the back of love

Holy cats I love Echo and the Bunnymen. The cd I got for Christmas, their greatest hits? COMES WITH A DVD OF ALL THEIR MUSIC VIDEOS TOO. Ii would call that heaven.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

today my beloved SIL said to me:

Today my beloved SIL said to me, she really did:

"Nobody EVER wants to go shopping with us"

le piggies

I dreamt last night that it was day one of my pottery classes at Cornell and I had my plan, but everything was going wrong and everybody was chaotic, esp. Denis who was taking the class. YES, that Denis.

So, looking at the cups above, when others are thinking Santas and the rest, I am thinking piggy and experiments. I have made piggy banks for about 20 years. I have put wee little pigs onto mugs for about 10 years. BUT, I am working on some ideas here, like a circular loop handle with zig zags etched on AND to make this sort of foot. How do I describe the foot here? I wanted to whack the bottom of the cup then add a foot in that recess.

I can explain something to you now that Christmas is past, as I explained this to Farmer's wife who owondered why I didn't make Santas and ornaments all season long (I made some, but didn't post it here). I find that as a self-employed person what keeps me excited, happy and hard working every day is variety. I am fortunate not to be a wage slave in China or India, and what I do every day and every hour varies, and I can follow my ideas, like a zebra mug in December. People joked about it and I noticed indeed, where were the Santas? Where were the ornaments? I am making some (for next year!!!!!) and I do have ideas for Santa mugs and such that I havn't gotten to yet, and in years past I have made and sold cute snowman candle holders and such. But I find that if I am busy with a lot of ideas, and I always am, I have a hard time with repetition. Sort of like it is easy to make 30 different items in one day, but feels like back breaking work to make 10 of the same. So what I tend to do is make seasonal stuff all year long, and maybe never enough. I just probably would have gone nuts if I got into a lot of Christmas stuff this fall--because then people would have asked for it and more and more, when I wanted to just make a variety instead, and all of it sold well. I am more in the mood NOW to make Christmas stuff than I was a month ago-----because now the pressure is off

(pottery by Gary Rith)

Friday, December 26, 2008

a faulty recipe and Patrick Swayze

All of us potters live in the shadow of GHOST with Patrick and Demi. When I taught high schoolers in the mid-90s, day one of class I played THAT segment, so that students knew this was NOT like history or geometry. Pottery was fun, and wicked sexy.
So this evening I am sitting in the front of Kyushu, waiting for the rice, broccoli, the wee little avocado rolls and tempura takeout, and I read US magazine. They have pics of some starlet in LA in a tiny little black dress and UGG boots coming out of Costco with a 48 roll package of TP (MAN, is that a career killer or what????) and that is how I hear, or maybe I heard and forgot, that my man Patrick Swayze has pancreatic cancer???? Seems like pancreatic is the worst.
Patrick and his wife have been together through thick and thin since they were teenagers. He is handsome, she is beautiful, he is charming, he loves horses. We have to hope that Patrick....... anyway.

SO, I wanted to make peanut butter cups at home. Recipe number one tastes good but is a MESS. I will not share the recipe with you. Doesn't look much like peanut butter cups, DOES IT? Don't worry, next week I will try recipe number two which looks easy and perfect.

veggie broth

There was some discussion of moose pasta stew, made with veggies and beans and how it makes all the sicky people in the house feel great. If you are a vegetarian and don't have chicken soup but veggie soup makes you feel better, maybe it is soup, not chicken that does the trick? And of course, my petite dumpling remembered this cartoon.

le stripes! and don't mess with Texas

(zebra mug by Gary Rith)
Twas fiddling around with different ideas, yes I was, and this came together and I am very pleased. With zebras, probably more is better?
I dreamt, I really did, that I went to Houston to see Lynda and FW for a little blogger vacation. Houston was a wonderful, mystical sort of Emerald City at the end of the Yellowbrick Road. I havn't been to Texas, but I am sure it must be true! It was warmer anyway, that's for sure.

Penny was lying in front of the heater, as she does, getting toasty, when Emily kitten walked by and sniffed Penny, and they had a fight. The dogs and cats usually get along great, but occaisionally they remind you they are animals. Animals who will fight for the spot in front of the heater. :(

You know that it is Echo and the Bunnymen week here at my blog. Killing Moon.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

le holiday

(Emily kitten with my bourbon and ECHO AND THE BUNNYMEN CD, bowl by me with moose pasta soup, Buster and Penny asleep)
SO, Christmas and the pressies and wedding anniversary are past. Now all we have is 5-6 months of crappy weather to look forward to.

mother and child

(elephant sculpture by Gary Rith)
You could say today is about one particular mother and one particular child....