Gabriel and His Girls

Gabriel

Gabriel and a few of his Girls

It’s May  and Gabriel is leading the girls in some good-natured destruction of my bale of straw.  They are enjoying a few of the last days of free roaming.  My garden is young and the raccoons will begin lurking in the woods beyond the yard.  Time to retire to the protective coop . . .real soon, Gabe!

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The Pelicans are Here at Seal Rocks

Yesterday and again today, I saw 2 or 3 dozen Brown Pelicans, Pelecanus occidentalis, on the large rock on the south end of Seal Rock State Park. The sky was breaking with blue and, as I walked north, I saw pelicans on Elephant Rock at the north end of the park. It felt like a gift to see them; they are my favorite seabird. It is my understanding that the Brown Pelican wanders between Canada (Southern British Columbia) and points south; a bit uncommon to see, they are related to cormorants as evidenced by throat pouches and webbed toes. Even so, the pelican’s pouch is enormous compared to any cormorant. They wander the Northwest coastline to follow food which they dive to reach and fill their throat pouches – releasing the water and swallowing the fish.

So, it is truly a gift for me from the universe to see so many and in one area. Spoken as a person who is thrilled to see 3 or 4 skimming the waves in view and then to disappear around a sea stack. I’m so happy to see them in such numbers here today!

Wow, Just Can’t Stay Away From Sauron -Yikes!

I ventured into the realm of Sauron again. Took a job with Sodexo as a “Kitchen Lead” (translated: lunch lady) at Waldport High School. All I can say is “yikes” – yup that’s the word that springs to mind when I recall September 2014 through February 2015.

First off, I started early every morning and left late every afternoon. I thought that I was just unfamiliar with the processes of the job and gave my time to learn them. Over 5 months I was able to speed up a bit, but only by scheduling myself to work from 5:30 AM until whenever I could get the clean up finished. I felt that I should only charge for 6.5 hours even though I was often working until 2:30 or 3:00 PM. I was expected to stay long for inventory once per month, so I got paid for that extra time. I was also expected to stay long and help other employees prepare food that required over night thawing for the next morning. For this, I just got a thank you.

Then, I ran into an old friend and discovered that she had worked for Sodexo in the same county. Her take on it, after finally leaving, was that she had been set up to fail. That’s the feeling I left with, too. However, I might have stayed for the entertainment of “high school drama.” But, even my caring for the individuals of which I became fond, was not enough after my best helper was “fired” by my boss.

It seems that the previous “lunch lady” had a hard time with this kid and kicked him out of her kitchen. He told me about it right up front when he was suggested to me by his counselor as a student helper. I just told him that if he messed with me that I’d kick his butt – we were friends from that point on. He was very insecure, carried his past “mis-deeds” around as a weight on his shoulders. I spent a lot of energy talking to him, trying to encourage him. Deep down, he was a good kid. My boss found out this kid was working for me after a few months, came in to my kitchen and told me to get rid of him. He wandered into the kitchen at that moment to get ready to work the lunch shift. I gave him the news as I stared directly into my boss’s eyes with my arm around his shoulder. A week later, I turned in my resignation (on friendly terms), did damage control for this kid – talked to his dad, talked to him quite a bit, introduced him to the new lunch lady as a boy who was becoming a fire fighter (not as the boy who got kicked out of my kitchen), made sure everyone who asked knew that the decision was not mine to let him go.

I hope I am not forced by financial circumstance to go back to a corporation for a job. Saying never is not wise, yet, I am too old and set in my “ways” to go in hoping for a fulfilling experience.

This chapter is dedicated to Blake, the fire fighter.

Copping a Squat

Taking a Break

The Girls

Rex the Beautiful

Rex the Beautiful

My girls (not those girls) have been relegated to a more confined area. It’s time to let my yard get back to green, tidy up the decks, and plant a garden. All of these things are of small moment to a chicken, or, in my case, a bunch of chickens.

I call them my little velociraptors. Spell check is telling me that’s not a word. But, it explains the attitude and behavior of my girls perfectly. They are single-minded in purpose, kinda cute but watch your ankles, and very hard to catch if they know you are trying.

Rex is my eldest, the last one of the original batch from 2009. Chickens have a natural life span of 7 – 8 years according to some sources; but, all of Rex’s kindred have been long gone. I suspect programmed obsolescence.

I know that the poor species has been mangled genetically to please the eating preferences of humans here in the west. I’ve seen the results in truckloads of small cages, barely room to move, certainly not to stand up (if they could with all that front heavy breast meat) going to slaughter. Both I and my husband cried for those poor creatures in the other lane driving through Salem toward I-5.

We love our girls – even when they are tearing up our yard in the winter, even when they attack our legs for what ever chicken thought is rattling around in their tiny minds. They are beautiful and colorful roaming the tall grass at the edge of our property; they can be sweet and funny especially riding the shovel as I dig up a few worms for their treat, and they give us the most lovely, rich-yolked eggs.

Rex is the statistical outlier. She is the queen of the roost and when she goes there will be more tears. She is having a good life and, even when she stops laying eggs, she will be fed and loved for herself. I wish all of our chickens had her genes. But, the chick industry would go bust. What ever they do to mangle chicken genetics so that the girls will drop dead for no good reason in less than 2 years to keep the dollars rolling in is shameful and evil. No surprise I guess. So, at this house, we will save as many as we have room for and allow them the opportunity to have a good life – however long it might be.

Art Heals

Louis Comfort Tiffany's "Waterlily" - reproduction executed by Paula

Louis Comfort Tiffany’s “Waterlily” – reproduction executed by Paula

Art heals. At work in my studio, I am completely absorbed, absolutely engaged. No matter what I’m doing whether it is design, selecting and gathering glass for the project, scoring and shaping to fine precision one tiny piece of glass, it doesn’t matter. It’s a meditation. I’m in my center, my bliss.

I’m inspired by the conversations I have with a glass artisans I am separated from in space and time who I will never meet except though the panel or lamp we will both touch because it needs to be repaired or restored. I learn how the original artisan worked to build the piece so I can de-construct and re-construct. It really is like a conversation. I always learn something, some new way to approach my craft.

I can’t completely agree that I made a conscious choice to work in glass. Anything made from glass is intriguing. I was led by someone else to a class for beginning stained glass and never looked back. That was over 30 years ago.

Rather than inspirational, the brilliant colors used for the stained glass rosettes I saw in cathedrals of Seville and Cordoba simply validated my preference for bright colors in my work.

Although I have dabbled in warm glass, my preference is for cold glass. It’s slow and requires patience with none of what you might call “instant gratification.” I was not born with patience, but I’ve learned it. The patience required for cold glass work spills a little bit into the rest of my life, which, if you ask my mother, is a good thing. Art heals.

I’m Back in THIS Saddle

I left for a new blog, a fancy Google Blog with ads. But, I’m back. That fancy blog ditched me, kicked me to the curb. O, where art thou lost Google blog. You just disappeared leaving behind an entreaty to make a new profile. I thought you knew me. I guess not. Hello again my old reliable, trusty WordPress blog. I’m glad I didn’t delete you in a moment of flirtation with that other guy . . .what was his name?

Adding A New PT Job

I wish I could say some really good stuff about my new job. The best I can say about it is it is a very vigorous workout, three times per week for 4 to 7 hour stretches that I get paid minimum wage for. I like working around newspaper people, but this isn’t that. The front office people are nice, but not involved; the pressman is great to talk to, but usually very busy. My team, of which I am at the very bottom of the “totem pole,” is mostly sad and tired. Since nobody can live on 12 to 19 hours per week at minimum wage, most of them have other jobs, too. Well, I do. But, my other job give me great doses of self-esteem, is fun around really “up” people. I bet most of them are not as lucky in their other job(s). I’m usually cheerful and that seems to be (to say the least) odd to a few of my co-workers. One of them seems to have a hostile attitude toward me which does occupy my mind too often, but mostly trying to forgive her because her life must be very different than mine. I hope she settles out of it before it becomes necessary to have a confrontation which will not change anything probably. This is not a career job viewed from the bottom of the totem pole, but I would like to continue until something with better pay comes along. There will always be hostile co-workers out there; that’s not really the problem. I’m just trying to resist falling into the sadness. I prefer cheerful co-workers, people who are happy to be working.

The Glass Shop Is Dead, Long Live the Studio By The Sea!

Jones Creek Glassworks was my little stained glass supply shop in Newport, Oregon.  I loved being there, I care about the people who were my students and customers (many are now my friends).  But, it’s time to move on.  I have effectively hobbled my website until its demise is official this September.  My old blog will soon disappear (pssst: you are reading my new blog – with a few old blog posts you will recognise by the category: Jones Creek Glassworks).

It’s taken me almost a year to let go.  I’ve been walking a path to one place while looking at the map for a different place.  Seems kinda stupid, looking back at the last year, but it’s normal.  Eventually you get there, look around, realize what you’ve been doing and, then, you get it!  I did the “ground work” without realizing it.  I’m happy.

Art is the importance of it all, and that hasn’t changed. 

” . . . endure not yet 

A breach, but an expansion 

Like gold to ayery thinnesse beate.

John Donne, from “A Valediction: forbidding mourning”

I feel a lot of freedom to explore more avenues of expression that were sort of blocked by my focus on glass.  I LOVE glass; but, there are other things.  I’ve recently acquired a lathe and other wood working tools.  Yes, frames for my stained glass panels are likely, but other ideas are being stirred to the surface.  I love making jewelry.  So, I’ve reinvented myself at Etsy.com.  Lessons learned, I feel ready for success.  We’ll see.  It’s great to be involved with the Yaquina Arts Gallery as a volunteer and an exhibitor.  More people see my work; maybe some of it will sell.  We’ll see.

Just catching up, gotta get to work. More later.

Almost A summer

Still learning my job with Discover Your Northwest.  I get requests to be “official” that sort of stun me.  I am in a role that requires me to coordinate with many types of people, no problem.  When they are all sitting in front of me as I stand at a “podium” who do I be?  Maybe it’s my imagination that I am different for each person, but, aren’t we all?  I have been a “teacher”, and the role begins at the “podium.”  Whatever else I am in the teaching process, I fall back to my “podium self.”   I guess who I be is the “person at the podium.” 

I don’t usually have this much trouble pondering a situation.  Maybe I’m feeling a little depressed.  Summer is not here; it’s June 12.  I suck up what little sunshine that may peek through like Poo hungrily scraping the bits of honey from a jar that’s about to disappear once again for who knows how long.  I need rain to cache for the plantings in garden and greenhouse, but I need sun for my soul.  No sun, no rain, the sky is gray.