Monday, November 24, 2008

Back in the Swing of Things

It finally feels like Steve & I are getting back in the swing of things. He returned from Ohio a couple days ago. His dad is recovering quickly from the triple-by-pass surgery and our son, Danny, is staying with Papaw until he's able to take care of himself again.

Later this week, Danny and his girlfriend plus Megan and Dustin will come down here to visit with us for Thanksgiving. The original plans included Steve's dad, brother, sister and their respective familes, but since his dad's medical problems, it has dwindled to just our immediate family. I wish we could go up to Ohio to be with his dad but it just won't work out. We're very thankful that Steve got to spend as much time up there as he did the last couple of weeks. We're also extremely thankful that his dad is doing so well!! We have much to be thankful for as the season approaches.

I've been enjoying my pottery class. Today we unloaded the kiln from our first salt-firing. I will add pictures soon, I'm having some camera problems. I was pretty pleased with my results. Only a few pieces were in in spots in the kiln that didn't get much action from the salt. I have decided that I need to get more proficient at brush work. That's what I'm going to work on with my next batch of pots.

Last week, one of the other students did a hand-building demonstration of a very interesting form. It requires the use of some blocks of wood and thick foam. It's a fun process and I like the results. Here's a picture of the small tray that was made in the demo.....

The weather down here has been extremely cold!! It feels like Ohio! For several nights (when Steve was gone) the temperature was down in the teens - brrrrrr!!!! Fortunately our heat tape is working properly on our water lines and we haven't had it freeze up! We've certainly been going through the propane! I had to have the tank filled twice while Steve was gone. We actually had several tent-campers when the weather was so cold, I couldn't believe it!! Crazy young 'uns!!

We have all the rentals clean and ready for the Thanksgiving visitors. We had some extra cleaning to do over the week-end because the pipes froze in one of the yurts and the occupants ended up in one of the cabins. It's been keeping us busy, I'm glad Steve's back!! Once Thanksgiving is over things will slow down and after Christmas we'll be extremely slow.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and gets to spend quality time with family and friends over the week-end.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Whirlwind week!

It has been a busy and eventful week and a half!

On Nov. 4 I headed up to Ohio to help Julie get things ready at Bear's Mill for the upcoming art exhibit. I thought I owed it to her since I'm one of the featured artists! I stayed with Meryl Tues. night and had a nice visit. Wed. morning I received a phone call from Steve to tell me his dad was in the hospital!!

Apparently he'd been having chest pains and had called his doctor to schedule a stress test. He flunked the stress test and they immediately admitted him to the hospital. I visited him that morning and he was in good spirits and actually feeling pretty well. The doctor wanted to do a heart cath, but wasn't sure when he could schedule it.

I went to Indianapolis Wed. evening to visit Dustin and Megan after spending a couple of hours at the hair salon getting my locks dolled up for Friday! I stayed with the Canfields (Dustin & Megan) that night and we did some shopping for baby stuff on Thursday morning!! I still can't believe I'm going to be a grand-ma! I discovered the awesome baby store, "Once Upon a Child" where you can buy "gently" used baby clothes and furniture. We bought a little bassinet and are on the look-out for a "Pack-and-Play. I've never heard of this contraption but I've been told by 2 reliable sources that I should have one myself for when I'm baby-sitting!!

I came back to Ohio on Thursday and helped Julie get things ready at the Mill. We worked until 11:30, it was just like old times!! We got up early and finished things before the reception from 6-9. We had a great turn-out!! There were 3 of us who had our pottery on display. Julie, our friend, Rita from Indianapolis, and myself. We had paintings by Evie Mahrt from Piqua, OH. She's a phenomenal painter who does impressionistic landscapes. We love her work!

We had a great turn-out for the exhibit and I got to see some folks I haven't seen for quite awhile. Dustin and Megan came over and brought us Maid-Rites for dinner, yum!! It was so nice to get to visit with old friends!! Julie let me sleep on her couch both nights.

Saturday was spent at Miami Valley Hospital waiting for Steve's dad, John, to undergo triple-bypass surgery. Steve drove all night Friday to be there. He picked Danny up on the way. That was a long day and when we finally got to see him, he was very groggy and sore. We spent Sat. night at Steve's parents house. Steve and Danny slept like logs!!

Sunday we were amazed to see how well John was doing! He was talking a blue streak when I arrived and smacked me on the arm several times. (He always does that when he's in his "story-telling" mode! I thought my arm was gonna be black-and-blue but I was tickled he was feeling so well!) All the kids and grand-kids were there to see him and even though we hate that he had the surgery, I'm so glad everyone was able to be there and we got to spend lots of time together!

I headed out that evening after we all went to dinner. I took Danny home and spent the night at his place so it broke the drive up a little for me. Of course, Danny was no company at all on the drive down 'cos he slept the whole way, but I know he was pretty tired from the whole ordeal. So I figured out I slept in 5 different beds/couches in 6 nights on this trip!! Danny said I should be careful who I tell that to!!

Steve followed me because he wanted to come back to the campgrounds for a few days so we could get caught up with the cleaning. Then Wed. he headed back up north to be with his dad when he got released from the hospital. That happened today but he had a little set-back and had to go to the local hospital to get a temporary catheter. Steve will stay with him until late next week and then Danny will have some free time and is planning to drive up and be Papaw's nurse-maid for however long it takes for him to get back on his feet.

Judging from the way he's bounced back so far, I don't think it will be more than a few weeks!! He's a pretty amazing guy for 79 years old!!

So now Steve's back up north and the ladies are in charge of the campgrounds. Our maintenance man had some vacation days planned to visit family this week, so Ande and I are taking care of things. Ande does 95% of the work altho I did have to help a couple late-comers check in this evening and was standing in the rain helping a guy back his big ol' honkin' motor home into his spot!! Things should settle down now.

Last night she and I went out for sushi!! That was outstanding!! We also visited a little consignment shop in town, what fun!

Here are a few pictures from the reception at Bear's Mill. My pottery will be on display for the month of November. I'm excited about the work I'm producing in my class down here. We're supposed to fire the salt-kiln next week and I need to make sure I get some pieces glazed this week so they make it into the firing!

This is a picture of several of Evie's paintings and some of my pottery displayed on the table. The piece on the pedestal was made by Julie.

Next is a picture of one of Julie's vessels and 2 of Evie's paintings. I think they looked very nice together!

And here's a shot of the 4 artists, pretty hot for ol' ladies if I say so myself, which I do, 'cos I'm probably the only one who will!!

From left to right are Rita Wiley, potter, Indianapolis, Julie Clark, potter, Bear's Mill, Evie Mahrt, painter, Piqua, OH, and Loretta Wray (yours truly) potter, Asheville, NC (well, technicaly, Troy, OH!!)

It was definitely a whirlwind of a week! It felt like so many things happened that it should have been longer than a week!! I believe I put over 1200 miles on my car!! The best part was when I paid $1.76/gal for gas in Indy!! It's still over 2 bucks/gal down here.

I believe I better sign off for now. Keep Steve's dad in your thoughts and prayers, we're thankful that he's getting along so well and that we were able to spend time with family and friends!

Monday, November 3, 2008

When a Picture is NOT worth a thousand words

I've come to the conclusion that pictures just do not do justice to the beauty we're seeing down here. I'll continue to post some, but keep in mind that it's definitely NOT the same as being here! A better camera might help, but I don't think it would be as impressive unless they could be projected on a huge screen!

Sunday afternoon we took a drive down the Blue Ridge Parkway south of Asheville. I think the leaves must be very close to their peak of color. Since we left somewhat late in the day, we were treated to a different play of light and shadows than we've seen up until now. The lower proximity of the sun shining through the leaves provided an array of beautiful fall colors. As we drove through some of the heavily wooded areas, I felt as if we were in a huge church made up completely of stained glass windows. The colors were breathtaking and seeing such beauty in nature always makes me feel closer to the creator.

Our goal was to hike a trail off the Parkway that is supposed to be somewhat "off the beaten path." It's a place called "Skinny Dip Falls" and we weren't planning on participating in the activity for which the falls was named (and were hoping that the weather was too chilly for us to have to observe anyone else participating in the aforementioned activity! We did come across some teen-agers making out but they were thankfully fully clothed.)
It was worth the possibility of seeing more than we bargained for, and worth the hike to visit this beautiful spot. By the time we arrived, the sun was getting pretty low and we were a little worried that we might not have time to make it down to the falls and and back before darkness set in. We did NOT want to get stranded in the dark. Even though the trail was well-marked and only about a 20 minute hike from the parking lot on the BR Pkwy, we hadn't brought a compass or flashlight, had no phone signal, and the trail itself was a little hard to discern because of all the leaves on the ground. We wouldn't have been able to see the markers once it became dark. So, that added a little air of adventure to our hike!

The trail head for the falls is located at mile marker 417 on the Parkway. There's a small parking lot with an overlook that provides a view of Looking Glass Rock, which is an interesting mountain peak that stands out because of its bald surface.

Here are some shots of the falls.................(I still haven't quite figured out the alignment features of this site and apologize that the pictures don't always end up where I intend for them to be!)

As we drove back to the campgrounds, we were treated to some beautiful views of the mountains being touched by the setting rays of the sun. I know I said pictures don't do it justice, but I have to give you a taste of it.....

If you want to see more of the photos I've taken since we've come down here, you can visit my Picassa Web album at The photos on this page are full size, a little better for viewing. I always downsize them to post on this site.
There are also some pictures from my pottery class with Suze Lindsay posted. That's been fun and interesting and I'll post more about it later!
FYI, I'll be heading to Ohio tomorrow for a few days to help get things ready and participate in an exhibit at Bear's Mill on Friday, Nov. 7. My pottery will be on display along with the work of 2 other potters (Julie Clark and Rita Wiley, both good friends of mine) and a talented painter, Evie Mahrt. I'm planning to run over to Indianapolis to visit Megan and Dustin on Wed and Thursday and then will stop at Danny's on the way back to spend the night Sat. It will be a busy week, but I'm looking forward to it!