Monday, September 28, 2009

Lackluster Lackey at Lily Bay

I write from site number 205 at Lily Bay State Park on Moosehead lake in Maine. Betty and I are on a mission. We are between shows, our next one is the Harbor Arts Juried Arts and Crafts Show in Camden Maine on October 3 and 4.

In the mean time we are on our way to northern Maine where our youngest son Aaron is installing his sculpture "intersect". It is a federal government commissioned work at the Jackman border crossing. It is on the main route to Quebec through Maine.

Aaron is going to set the sculpture today and tomorrow. It involves working between the lanes at the border and I worry a great deal about him. I offered to help but he didn't want my help, he hired two young strapping kids for the bull work.

The sculpture is a twelve foot diameter sphere comprised of 360 cast iron globes connected in a sort of haphazard way with black iron pipe.

I've seen drawn models of the work and last week I saw the entire sculpture laid out in pieces in Aaron's studio (something like a 4 bay garage) while he was putting final coats of something on it to make it rust properly..

Hopefully he will have the work completely installed on Tuesday, that is his plan anyway, we should be able to visit the sculpture Wednesday morning and take photos. I will try to post them on this blog if I can figure out how to do that. It won't be real pretty as the whole border crossing facility is being rebuilt and it is a huge construction site at this time.

I never intended on crossing the border into Canada and didn't think that I may have to in order to view the sculpture. Neither Betty nor I have our passports so the border lords may toss me off the property B4 I can get near enough to take photos anyway..

More sculpture drama another time..

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Lacky learns 3

We are just near the border of Mass and New Hampshire, several hours after a great 4 day visit to our grandkids. They are 6 and 3 years of age. I spent much of yeserday wondering how a three year old boy gets energy enough to be a three year old boy.

More later

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

new vision

When I was fifteen, I always sat as far back in the classroom as I could. “Out of sight, out of mind”, out of questioning range, was my motto.
The problem, sitting at the back of the room, I was literally “out of sight”. My eyesight was so bad, the blackboard was just a large dark smudge at the front of the room; chalk writing on the board couldn’t even qualify as a squiggle.
I must have been an attractive lad, squinting and firmly gripping the edges of my desk so my hand wouldn’t be interpreted as “raised”. Teachers urged me to sit closer but, never one to participate; I sat as far in back as possible.
Finally, using Gestapo-like tactics, the adults in my life forced me to go to an optometrist where I was fitted with some big black-framed Buddy Holly glasses.
The black plastic frames drew a lot of ridicule, (they were the cheapest the optometrist offered) and I spent the rest of that school year trying to figure out why the name “four eyes” brought guffaws from classmates. I didn’t think it particularly offensive, I just wondered why my piers thought it so clever, especially after many repetitions.
Adjusting to those first glasses was not hard, my vision was so much better; they quickly became an appendage I couldn’t do without.
A few decades later, the same could not be said for the bifocals I had to start using. Until I got the hang of them, I lost the ability to easily see anything below eye level.
What I had to do was learn to look around the “reading pane” of my glasses without bending my neck to the side and down, as a chicken might, looking for food on the ground.
I drove directly from the eye doctor’s office, sporting these first time bifocals, to the downtown Buffalo bus terminal to pick up my son Aaron.
I parked, and immediately tripped over a curb that hadn’t been there a moment before, at least according to what I could see down there around my feet.
Inside the terminal, looking up at the arrivals and departures board was a joy. New glasses, new prescription, clean and scratch free, are always a pleasure. I admit the scratches are my own fault. I often use my spectacles as safety glasses for a quick grinding or sandblasting job.
I was late, according to the arrivals board. My son must be in the terminal already.
He had been away at school for six months and to this day, he is likely to wear anything. He is also prone to doze off, standing or sitting, given a couple of minute’s free time. I cautiously strolled around the terminal, looking sideways and down out of my new glasses so I wouldn’t trip, like a hesitant rooster, checking those patrons seated and trying not to be noticed.
I won’t go into detail about the social faux pas of walking into a public Men’s room, calling loudly “Aaron are you in here?” or the hostile looks I received while standing at a row of urinals, straining to see around my bifocals like a rubber-necked chicken.
As it turned out Aaron’s bus was late, that information wasn’t posted.
I guess the bottom line here is, don’t be too tough on that guy next to you at the urinals, he may not have an overanundance of interest in what you are handeling, down there, he may just have new bifocals..

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Lackey go circus

I'm reading "Water for Elephants", it is the book you've never heard of and then when you try to tell anyone about it you find that everyone has read it before you. Much of the book revolves around the circus, it's very well written.
As with a lot of well written books, I begin to get real life mixed up with a book I'm involved with. Betty and I are at a large fine Arts and Crafts sale in Rochester. It is similar to the circus in that it is a bunch of transient people getting together for a show. Then we all tear down and move to the next show, but not to the same show. But there are no monkeys or tigers, except those depicted in various art forms.
OK, I didn't say it made sense.. I have go and carry some water for the elephants..

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Lackey go slowly

Labor day weekend we held our annual customer-friends-and-family-appreciation- jewelry show. OK so we have to get a catchier name for it. We are thinking of making it fixed on Labor Day weekend in the future the three day show seemed to be a nicer, less hectic pace.
We thank everybody who showed up.
We had a lot of fun, served wine and beer and snack type food and had lots of giveaways and discounts. We even had a raffle.. Sharon Mathe, I pulled your name out of the tickets Betty had placed in a bowl and held way over my head. You won the pin if you are reading this- it will be in your mailbox in a few days.
Lots of people just visited and that was great.
It is nice packing up from the home show. When you aren't in a hurry to get off the street or out of whatever foreign spot you occupy you can take your time and fix and or repair and or change things as you load out in a leisurely fashion..

Saturday, September 5, 2009

What's in a name??

As kids, my cousin Becky and I shared poverty and a slightly more-dysfunctional-than-average extended family. Both of our families lived in rural Western NY. When we all got together, Becky and I talked, joked, and observed life in general, often while hiking miles of backcountry roads. We played cards and board games. We observed that her parents (our mothers were sisters) paid bills first and then bought food with what money was left. My parents bought food for the family first and then paid bills.
Those kids ate a lot of government surplus peanut butter.
My parents had just enough income so we couldn’t get surplus food. We kids felt peanut butter deprived.
Years later, as young adults, Becky and I liked each other’s spouses, shared meals and leisure time. Emmy and I babysat her kids as Becky did ours. I remember once spending the night on Becky’s couch, at her request, when her husband was out of town. She felt threatened by a much too friendly (and creepy) neighbor. I woke in the morning to see her toddler daughters bouncing up and down in their little brother’s crib, not far from where I slept in the living room. They seemed to mimic barefooted-wine makers, holding on to the sides of the crib, and “crushing grapes” with high steps. As I shook sleep off, I wondered where their baby brother, Jason was. I thought Becky must have moved him from the crib while I was asleep.
A bit of a squawk from the bottom of the little bed made me realize- he was the grapes they were stomping. I jumped up and quickly grabbed the girls one at a time, setting them on the floor next to the crib, frightening them in the process. In the dim light, I checked to see if the baby was alive and I found he had a little baby grin on his face. He loved his sisters to walk on him, or as probably was the case, mostly around him. I think they played the game often. Today he is a large, healthy, good-looking young man; it didn’t do him any harm.
A year ago, I called Becky. She lives in California now. It was great to hear her voice after all the years, but hard to talk with her. She had changed her first name to “beccarae,” pronounced ‘beck-ah-ray’. No capitol “B” as far as I know and no contractions allowed. Calling her “Beck” or “Becky” was a hard habit to break, and made her angry. I often use contractions such as “Sue” or “Jan.” Some people are offended; most realize worrying about it puts a damper on communication. Either way, it is not the same as a name change when you are forty.
Through the years, one thing I could, and still can, count on in my family is an enduring and offbeat sense of humor. I thought she and I had come to the end of the road as friends. If Becky was so self-involved with her new name that she couldn’t chuckle just a bit at herself, or she became angry when people called her by her original name, it was probably just as well that we didn’t talk.
We had a family reunion this summer. Relatives from all over showed up, as did Becky from the West coast. We talked and laughed for some time and I found her just as funny and insightful as I had many years ago.
Becky and I email each other, I wrote to her, “My name is Terry Stephan, you can call me Terry or you can call me Terrance or Steve (the often used, mispronounced contraction of ‘Stephan’) or Frank or Sparky or T-bone or ‘Hey you,’ others have and it hasn’t damaged me- ever.
It doesn’t matter what you call me, as long as you know who I am.” Becky wrote, “I know who you are, I love you anyway.”
Maybe we’ve reached a truce of sorts and maybe people call her ‘beccarae’ in her Western State, but I was happy to find that Becky is, by any other name, still Becky.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A lackey has feeling too...

This past weekend was the Elmwood Ave art festival. Betty was juried out of the show this year, it is the first show we've been juried out of after being accepted in previous years.
Even though Betty and I went on a bead cruise out of Fairport, I still had Elmwood in the back of my mind. We both said it was good to miss another rainy weekend show but both of us were longing to be there in the good fight. Last year at Elmwood it rained very hard for a short time and we got a lot of other peoples stock and equipment from upstream as those downstream got ours'.
We could have tried for another show but because we've increased our fall show schedule decided to hang onto our stock, (and go on what turned out to be a less than ideal bead cruise). Like we should really worry about selling too much...
Labor day weekend is our "home show" noon to seven, three days. Wine and snacks and beads..