Sunday, January 31, 2010

Usable Art

Though Phil passed away a long time ago, I have found it so difficult to purchase mugs that look like the ones he made I haven't bought any. I have looked at mugs, bowls, and plates, admired them, picked them up to rub my fingers on the cool glazes, and then put them down and walked away.

Phil specifically made this mug for me one night after we'd been in the original Starbucks in Pike Place during our sophomore year. This was before lidded mugs were ubiquitous, if even invented, and I had admired a mug with a wide bottom and a narrow mouth. I imagined that I would be able to walk to class with a full cup of tea (it was also before I started drinking coffee).

Phil didn't like the way this green-brown-blue mug had come out, but I asked if I could have it and he said yes. For a long time this was my go-to mug in the morning if I wasn't going anywhere, while the long-necked one was what I took to class. It was much easier to clean than the other one, too. Then lidded mugs appeared on the scene, I got out of school and was driving to work, and the long-necked mug lived at home.

Yesterday morning I went to the Farmers' Market and there was a new vendor. He apparently comes to the Hayward FM once a month to sell his ceramics. He comes with pieces, but he also takes orders for specific pieces and colors.

Maybe because Marko and his family are in town this weekend (and I saw them later yesterday) I really felt like I would jump in and buy something. The potter, Scott, was very talkative and he and I talked for awhile about firing, glazes, and selling his usable art. Some people arrived to pick up pieces they had ordered. While they were talking, as I have in the past, I looked at mugs, bowls, plates, and casserole dishes, and picked them up to rub my fingers on the cool glazes. I found myself having a strong emotional reaction to even considering buying something that looked similar to the things Phil used to make.

Eventually I did.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Dynamic Duo and the Demi-Dynamic Duo

No's best friend and business partner Paulo turned forty this week. No and Paulo are five months apart, as are their sons.

Everyone believes that Zaye and Little C will be friends since their dads are friends. No and Paulo have been friends since eighth grade, when Paulo started at the school No was attending. And even though Paulo and I went to the same high school, sometimes I forget that Paulo didn't go to high school with No and their crowd from middle school, many of whom they are still friends with.

At the party someone remarked that maybe Little C and Zaye would celebrate their 40th birthdays together too. Someone else remarked that when the boys are 40, No and Paulo will be 80. No almost physically jumped back at the thought.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

This Is A Song

When No and I were young, among the books Mom read to us was Little Fur Family by Margaret Wise Brown (the author of the much more famous Goodnight Moon). The story focuses on the little fur child, who spends the day hanging out in the wild wood where the family lives, meeting creatures that fly and swim and an even smaller little fur person. At the end of the book, the little fur parents sing a going-to-bed song to the little fur child.

This is my favorite illustration, all by Garth Williams, in the book, though there are many that I really like. I can imagine the little fur father singing in a big voice as if he is singing in a chorus, while the little fur mother sings more quietly to help put her child to sleep.

In truth, though, I probably like this one best because when we got to the end of the book, Mom would sing us the song. At the end, the last line of which is"This is a song," she added her own lyrics to teach us some baby music theory: "with whole notes and half notes and quarter notes and eighth notes." At some point we asked her to write in her lyrics because a babysitter didn't sing the last part when we taught her the tune.

When JayBear came into my life, I gave him a copy and taught the tune to Miz Jinkins, including the last, apocryphal, verse. He so associates the song with bedtime that I don't get to sing it when we're together because it makes him think it's time to go to sleep, and he doesn't want to go to bed when Zirpu and I are over to play.

Some years ago I found the copy of Little Fur Family that Mom used to read to No and me. Last Wednesday evening after work I was going to meet No, KT, Zaye, and Mom, and I remembered I'd wanted to give to the little book to Zaye when Mom was present. I snatched it out of the bookshelf just before I left that morning.

No smiled and Mom exclaimed, "Is this THE book?!" as she opened it to the last page. KT giggled. As usual, Zaye looked all around at the lights and the people in the restaurant. I'm really glad I saved the book for him, without even knowing who or when he was going to be, all that time ago...

Saturday, January 9, 2010

New Van

Two years ago I asked the Food Bank Director for a new food bank building for my birthday, and it arrived - a few weeks late, but better late than never.

The food bank received a grant to purchase a new pick-up/delivery van, so this year I asked for a new van for Christmas. I got one! The Jedi Master went online, looked all over the state, and quickly found one not too far away - a new 2008 Dodge Sprinter that had been sitting on the lot since the economy fell apart 15 months ago and no one has been buying new equipment. Facing Jedi mind tricks, the salesman agreed to sell the van at a used price.

I got to drive it yesterday. I have driven a few large vehicles at my various jobs, mostly passenger vans, and this is the biggest thing I've driven. I did drive a 14-passenger van for a couple days about 15 years ago, which is as big as you can go without a commercial or bus driver's license. Anyway, the Sprinter is easy to drive - heavy, but easy. And with electric mirror adjusters, easier to see out of than the old van is (though still not visibility in the back, of course).

The FBD is very excited that even he, at six feet tall, can stand up in the back. I am too!