Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Latest fusing projects

My kiln has been busy since Christmas and I wanted to share a few of my latest pieces.

This first one is a commission piece, meaning my friend Pat bought the glass and asked me to make 10 plates for the American Heart Association (I donated my time). Needless to say, it took several weeks to make all 10.

For this next one, I fused iridized glass, face down, on a textured tile. I really like the crinkle effect.

This last piece is my favorite piece I've ever made. The photo doesn't do it justice. The green, aventurine, is darker, almost a forest green. I fired it on lava cloth so the bottom is textured. I originally made it to donate to the Heart Ball auction, but now I love it so much I don't want to depart with it. I guess I can always make another to keep.

I need to coat my kiln shelf now so I can make some more. I'm also looking into some advanced classes as I'm ready to go to the next level.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Book on Parade

Risa, the wife of Doug's cousin Tim, recently published a book, Cinescopes. It was mentioned in Parade Magazine today. Click here to read the review. Hurray for her!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Officer Cat

I love this story. I've heard of drug-sniffing dogs, but never kiddie porn finding kitties.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

I hate being sick

This week both Doug and I have been waylaid by the stomach flu. Doug got it Monday (although he swears it is food poisoning) and I got it yesterday. Doug seems to think that food poisoning can be passed on through contact -- I say we both have stomach flu.

Doug is back at work today, but only because he was behind before he got sick and is heading to Canada on Saturday for a week and needs to have everything prepared. I canceled classes today.
I think from all the "common" illnesses, stomach flu has to be one of the worst. Even if you felt like eating, you can't keep it down. Your abdomen muscles hurt from all the vomiting, your body aches and you just can't get comfortable. Then you have to worry about accidents from what my mother-in-law calls the "big D." I haven't had anything to eat (that I've been able to keep down) since Tuesday night. I have, however, been drinking a mixture of Pedilyte and water so I don't get too dehydrated.

Worst thing, I think, is tv. There is nothing on. Funny thing is, when I actually find something somewhat interesting, I fall asleep. Unfortunately, I can only sleep for an hour at a time.

I think it's hard when both of us are sick because neither Doug nor I feel like being nice to one another. I want to be babied and he doesn't want to do it. About the only one giving me any attention is Dexter.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Restaurant review: El Greco

Admittedly, Doug and I are foodies and Greek/Middle Eastern is one of our favorite cuisines. Until the last few years, good Greek/Middle Eastern restaurants in Austin have been few and far between, so when we hear about a new one, we're there.

A few weeks ago we heard about El Greco, a new Greek restaurant on Guadalupe, so we tried it out--twice. The service was so bad that I doubt we'll go back.

Our first trip was two weeks ago, Saturday night. It's small, but was packed. You order at the counter and they bring your food. Doug ordered the Chicken Souvlaki, which he thought was okay. I ordered the Beeftekee, chopped steak stuffed with feta. It had a lot of flavor. Doug liked his potatoes, but my sides were a bit bland. Compared to other similar types of restaurants, I thought the portion sizes were small for the price. It was like $3 for about three tablespoons of hummus and the hummus wasn't that special.

The thing that got me, however, was the service. It was 15 minutes after we ordered that I got my wine. We asked the server about it when he brought the hummus and the reply was, "I can't serve that to you." I understand being under age, but he could have responded better. It took another 5 minutes after I got my wine for Doug to get his beer. They were out of water at the drink station and I had to get the server to fill it up. And it wasn't just us, the table next to us got their appetizers after their entrees. You could just look around and tell everyone was getting frustrated at the service.

Still, it's a new restaurant and it has to work out its kinks. We decided to give it a few months before we went back for dinner. However, they do serve breakfast. Saturday I was in the mood to try one of their feta breakfast pockets, so I convinced Doug to go. They open at 10; we got there 5 minutes early so we walked across the street to Wheatsville Co-op to kill time. By the time we got back to the restaurant, it was 10:10.

We walk in and we're not even sure if it's open. The kitchen is open to the restaurant and one of the guys in the kitchen was singing something about bitches at the top of his lungs. Not a great first impression. The owner was at the cash register and Doug asked if they were open. The owner said they were running late and it would be another 20 minutes. Then he said something about not having all the breakfast items and what would we want. We got the feeling that us just being there was an annoyance to the owner. Doug politely said we would come back another time.

Of course, Doug was lying. He vowed never to go back. It wasn't that they weren't ready, it was the whole attitude. It's one thing not to have the flow down. And I know it wasn't just us, I've read other comments about El Greco's service. But that could be forgiven, assuming that it gets better. It won't get better, however, if the owner doesn't care, lets his staff sing about bitches, and comes across rude himself.

Thank goodness, there is Sarah's Market, which I'll have to tell you about another time.

Semester has started

But I'm sure you can tell, given the frequency of posts. Classes started last week. I'm teaching four classes, or three courses. One course is new to me, so there is a lot more prep. Plus, the beginning of PR Campaigns always takes a lot, trying to find client projects for the students to work on. So far, so good with the classes. Nothing else really new to report. No news always means good news with us.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The Secret works!

You may have seen the book, the movie or even the Oprah show about The Secrete, aka The Law of Attraction. Used to be called the Power of Positive Thinking. Whatever you want to call it, it works. Case in point, the selling of my car.

In August we bought a new (used) car. Since then, my piece o'crap 1997 Chevy Cavalier has been in our driveway. The idea was to clean it up, do a few things to it and then sell it. Unfortunately, we (the royal we, meaning Doug, who had been driving it for the last two years) had not gotten around to doing that. Additionally, there were certain times that "we" (meaning me) would not have time to deal with the email inquiries, so I didn't push.

In November I had the idea that during the Christmas break I would go ahead and take photos and post them on Craigslist, with the idea that if someone wanted to look at the car, "we" would be motivated into fixing it up. Then with the rush of the end of semester and the holidays, this plan slipped my mind until last week.

On Thursday, I pulled into our driveway, looked at the green car and thought about grabbing the camera and posting the photos on the Web. Then I remembered Doug was going to be traveling quite a bit for business and I that he should probably be here for the selling of the car. Friday, I come home from a massage and looked again at the green car and thought, "I don't need Doug to sell this car. I can do it myself -- after all, I bought it myself." Then I realized I really didn't want strangers coming to the house when Doug was away. I knew I needed to just get rid of it.

A couple of hours later my door rings. There are three Hispanic guys, maybe in their 20s, and they asked if we were selling the Cavalier. I told them yes. I asked how they knew (since there were no signs, no ads, no nothing) and they said because we hadn't moved the car in awhile. Okay, this freaked me out a bit. I let them look at the car and they asked what we were selling it for and I told them, jacking it up a bit. They asked if we it was in good condition and I said yes (neglecting all the problems with the air conditioning, etc.). I suggested that if they wanted to know more they should call Doug after 6 p.m. and gave his cell number.

Later that afternoon I'm running some errands and get home a bit after 6. I know Doug is on his way. As I'm parking, this van stops in front of the house. It's dark out and I see it's the guys. I'm more than a little freaked -- after all, they knew enough that the car hadn't moved. Were they casing the joint? They want to know about Doug and I say he's on his way, hightailing it into the house. I call Doug on the cell and no answer. The guys are still outside. I call Doug again and yet again and no answer. I think -- who can I call? With the dogs, I was safe inside, but still... I call my friend Gary, hoping he was working late at Dell and could swing by on his way home. Of course, he was already at dinner. Gary could tell by my voice I was worried and it didn't help when we got disconnected. He finally called back and I told him what was up, but said it would be okay. Finally, Doug arrived and Gary hangs up.

Of course, this was my overactive imagination, but still, it was suspicious.

Doug talked to the guys, told them what all was wrong with the car, cleaned it out for them and let them test drive it and made a deal with them. The price was less than what I quoted, but more than what we thought it would actually sell for. They paid cash, signed the paperwork and drove off with the car, heading, they said, back home to Brownsville. The car has finally been sold.

I'm still a bit freaked to think someone watched the house enough to know we weren't driving the car, but I'm more amazed with how easily the car was sold. I decided it was finally time that the car was gotten rid of and suddenly it's gone. Think it and it will happen.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Weird news of the week

Here's a story out of Houston that reminds me of the old journalism school adage about what is news -- Dog Bites Man is not news, but Man Bites Dog is. Maybe that's why the Dog Shoots Man headline caught my attention.

Friday, January 04, 2008

So excited!

This weekend we are moving to the world of HD. We did the day-after-Christmas sale at Fry's electronics and bought this Sony Bravia for a really great deal. Tonight we are going to buy the stand/mount we have picked out, tomorrow the tv arrives and Sunday the DirecTV folks are going to upgrade our system. The tv has been a long time coming, doing research and patiently waiting for the right time, system and bargain. The conversion to HD is partly our Christmas present to each other, along with a gift from both both of our parents (thanks, folks!). I can't wait until Sunday when I can try out all the channels.

Cool gifts

I got the neatest Christmas gift from my sister Chris yesterday. It's a photo book with family pictures throughout the year. It's printed, hardbound and even has captions. It's a really cool idea for a gift.

This year, we decided to get digital photo frames for both sets of parents. The ones from Kodak were the best. What made it real cool, at least in our mind, is that we pre-loaded the frames with photos. I need to make a flash slide show and post it for folks to see.

I also got mom laser etching of the photo below. Mom is the baby, sitting on my grandmother's lap, with my great grandmother and great great grandmother on either side. We found this place in Georgetown that can laser etch photos into framed tiles, glass and wood. Unfortunately, we found it after we sent the Christmas package to Doug's parents, or we would have done something for them as well.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Latest projects

Below are some of my latest fusing projects. The first two are Christmas gifts for my sisters, the next two are candle holders (Christmas gifts as well). The last two are just because I found a couple of cool slumpers when I was in Ft. Worth. More of my fusing work can be found on my Web site; I will add these photos to the gallery later this week.