Sunday, December 30, 2007

If Only: Legend Of The Red And the Blue

When I saw this one, I thought it might make a good educational video for both sides of the current presidential campaign.

Or at least go a step towards sorting out the next recount.

Call me an idealist....


Thursday, December 27, 2007

Atonement: A Groan, They Meant

Okay, so it's a big family tradition round here on December 26 to go to the movies. First, we read the reviews and argue for an hour about which movie to see. A few of us opt out, others opt in, and finally we set out for the theatre at the last possible moment. Just to get that adrenaline flowing. This is all part of the family tradition.


And it was adrenaline we needed this December 26 -- along with a good, stiff drink or two -- to get us through our viewing of "Atonement," the latest period-piece-Brits-in-love flick that's currently in just about every local theatre near you. If you want to see gorgeous interiors of a British manor house, beautiful shots of Keira Knightly, and really good extra close close-ups of people's eyes as they have DEEP THOUGHTS, along with the naked subjugation of the British lower classes, this is the movie for you. If you were hoping to witness a plot that actually moves forward at any discernable pace, the exchange of feelings and thoughts between adults, and a final resolution of the film's conflict, you might as well stay home and watch the Simpsons. You'll definitely find more of the latter there.


Now, I would not be so snarky if I went off to "Atonement" just hoping for some fluffy entertainment. But when I read "Nominated for 7 Golden Globe Awards!" and "Already An Oscar Winner!" in normally reliable venues such as the New York Times, I figured that I was in for some real blockbuster drama -- and romance. I was quite disappointed to find that this movie about as dramatic as tepid tea. The central characters are so hamstrung by British stiff upper-lipness, that one of their more gripping romantic interchanges is "I'm sorry, I can't remember if you take one lump or two." I'm not kidding. There is more pursing of lips than a year of Mick Jagger concerts. Sure there is the "two young lovers torn apart" theme, but these young lovers have so little time or reason to be together, that it's hard to believe they shouldn't really be down at the pub chatting up some new prospects. Dickens and Shakespeare -- too Brits who gave us some of the truest conflicts amidst romance run amok -- would be, well, quite put out.


And then there's the gratuitous use of the suffering of others. Much of the movie is spent on witnessing the male protagonist wander through war-ravaged landscapes muttering about his lost love. Personally, with German snipers intent on murder and the ground underfoot rife with landmines, I find it hard to believe that this guy would spend most of his brain power reading love letters on the lam. Meanwhile, the female protagonists work in London hospitals, carting in soldiers with every manner of gruesome wound. This would not seem so unbelievable, if it didn't look so much like these movie-makers were exploiting the real tragedies of those WW2 Londoners just to sell a movie. But, that's exactly what this movie viewer was left thinking. It's all the drama and blood of "Private Ryan," but with no real point behind it.


As for the surprise ending -- which I know was a big selling point that got me in my movie seat -- you probaby discovered more surprising things under your Christmas tree this year. The ending, while somewhat unique, leaves the viewer more certain than ever that the puppet masters behind the screen REALLY were just out to pull your heartstrings -- and still only managed a short tug. The lovers never believably love and the central deluded character continues her delusion -- at great expense to everyone around her. Especially you, who just wasted $9.50. And that time you could have been watching the Simpsons.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

May You Be Merry and Sag, Ya'll

Yes, we celebrate it all at our house. We light candles, say our prayers in Hebrew, and never put up our Christmas tree until my German Jewish mother-in-law arrives here to help us pick it out. At our house, we believe in honoring all the holidays...and in having the good will to see the irony and fun in all of them.

Apparently, we are not alone...

Here's hoping you all have a happy, wonderful time today. Merry Christmas, Sag Hameach, and Happy Kwanzaa!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Luck O' The Irish

There was no luck involved in knitting this one -- just a lot of TV-football-game-watching, sick-child-minding, and phone-calls-to-my-mother time. For me, these activities cry out "survival by distraction!" and what a delightful distraction this was.










As Cheryl (pattern author) warned me, this shawl is BIG. In fact it's so big, I couldn't quite figure out how to photograph it best. (Not that my photo skills are much better than getting a snapshot of people lined up on the beach.) Of course, on this winter solstice and the shortest day of the year -- at least in terms of sunlight -- there was only tepid natural light to be had.  Not much help for knitwear photojournalism. 

I'm figuring this shawl will be perfect for snuggling up in our notoriously chilly living room on a rainy Sunday, let's say. I tried to persuade our dog, Smokey, to test out this theory, but he was not game.  He's got certain standards, after all.  Linen, maybe?





Shawl Particulars:

Pattern: Irish Shawl from "Folk Shawls" by Cheryl Oberle
Yarn: Brooks Farm Duet, 2000 yards, brown
Needles: Addi Turbo US Size 7, 60" whooper
Note: This shawl finishes up beautifully in a much shorter amount of time than you would imagine.

You Are So Wrong...A Love Story

My husband and I just celebrated our 13th anniversary. For various reasons both having to do with the length of time married and certain theories of numerology, this seems like an edgy anniversary. Maybe for the next year we better not try anything dangerous on a Friday?  


There are so many reasons for me to adore my guy.  The man is a schemer and a planner, so I am never surprised when he comes home and says something about, let's say, that new car rental business he started last year -- the one I had no idea existed until somebody called here trying to rent a 15-person van.  He tells truly impenetrable jokes that end with punchlines like:  "And then the rabbi busted up the focus group with a frozen whitefish."  And who could not love a man who takes the time to teach young boys how to belch talk and arm fart?  The man is talented. And he has exquisite taste in bling. And fish. I'm so happy he's mine.



But, what I consistently love about my husband is that he is always up for an argument.  It is what instantly attracted me to him.  I can wake him at 4AM and disagree with him about virtually anything and he will argue with me.  It's adorable, especially to my contentious Irish side.  Some people might coo with saccharine vows of love, but he knows my favorite term of endearment is "You were right and I was wrong... so wrong" delivered in the deepest too-many-cigarettes-while-closing-the-nightclub-voice. The man is sensitive. And then, of course, I have to love him for putting up with me for a truly scary number of years.  



For some good arguing for the sake of it:


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Accidentally On Purpose

So, there I was attempting to actually use computer code without supervision and -- instead of saving my template -- I changed it. Then, I thought the new template looked pretty good. Giddy with power, I was able to add a picture to the header.

Now ReefBayView has a different look...until the next time I try to use the complicated machinery, as Natasha would say.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

All I Want For Christmas...

Is a beach.  Yup, that's right.  A beach.  And not a wintry, let's play football amongst the snowdrifts on some New England beach like we are all living in a J. Crew add. I want to trade in my boots for some flip flops.  I want palm trees and sand.  I want a Christmas that requires at least a 35 spf.

These days, I might seem to be in the traditional Christmas spirit.  Sure, I'm doing the usual.  I'm stringing lights, breaking out the Santa candles and the reindeer yard art, and crumbling up regifted fruit cakes for bird feed.  But deep down, I'm yearning to be someplace MUCH closer to the equator.  I'm dreaming of a sky blue Christmas, one where I can divide my time equally between the sand and the snorkel mask. 

 

I blame my husband for this, of course. Until the man DRAGGED me off to Hawaii one year for Christmas, I was fine with the usual head cold and mistletoe holiday. I'd grown up saying things like "I couldn't live without the change in seasons" and "It must be SO SAD to not have a white Christmas." Now I know that those are just the platitudes we tell ourselves in these temperate latitudes. For me, Christmas changed forever on December 25, 1995 on a remote beach at the far end of Maui.

Some men search for the nice golf course on vacation; my husband works down the list of the top nude beaches. Given my semi-Catholic upbringing, this was one of those marital issues that had worked itself out over time, through a process of professional counseling and collective bargaining. Thus, on that Christmas day, it didn't seem odd to me that I found myself hiking down a steep cliff overlooking the Pacific toward a lovely, protected cove where about a dozen people divided themselves between snorkeling and caroling -- au natural. After a few anxious greetings of "Mele Kalikimaka" (Hawaiian for "Happy Christmas"), I joined my husband as a merry, nudie snorkeler. We snorkeled amongst the schools of yellow and blue tangs and other fish so colorful that they made the tree at Rockefeller Center look subdued. We picnicked and napped. And I'm proud to say that -- through the judicious use of sunscreen -- not a part of me glowed like a Christmas tree that night.

That Christmas went down in our marital history as the best holiday ever -- and ruined me for any Christmas thereafter that required having to wear more than shorts and a T-shirt. Similar to our annual Passover proclamation, "Next year in Jerusalem!", we end our Christmases now with "Next Year in St. John....Hawaii...Some Place With Palm Trees!"

This year, while I'm hanging garland with frozen fingers, I'll be Mele Kalikimaka dreaming...and looking forward to future tropical Christmases. Perhaps, Christmas in Australia, I've been thinking, where it's summer in December. Turkey barbeque and stories about Christmas kangaroos (a nice reindeer substitute). Since I'm pushing 50 and we now have kids in tow, I'm not so sure about a reprise of the au natural snorkel fest. Maybe me and the husband will have to leave that for our wild octogenarian days.


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Equal Opportunity Religious Commercialization

Just so you know, my Jewish father-in-law sent me this one....


Thursday, December 13, 2007

2 Thousand Yards of Wet Yarn Later

Instead of lunch today, I blocked a shawl.  A big shawl. I've been knitting a bunch of shawls lately. And this seems to bust up the menfolk in my house, no matter how much I try to explain the beautiful pattern repeats and arrangement of yarn overs.

The knitting part I like. Blocking is another thing. There are few things I dislike more than blocking -- emptying mousetraps comes to mind. No matter how many towels, pins, and blocking wires I have on hand, I always run out of one or all of those things and end up with a killer backache.
This baby does, in fact, comprise 2,000 yards of Brooks Farm Duet, a mohair-wool combination.  My lumbar vertebrae can vouch for that.


The pattern, Irish Shawl, comes from Cheryl Oberle's excellent  book "Folk Shawls."  This is one of those "desert island" knitting books that everyone should have. Not only are the patterns beautiful, the descriptions of the traditional shawls make up a unique and delightful collection of knitting anthropology.

I had the great pleasure to begin knitting the shawl, sitting with the incomparable Cheryl herself when I was at the her workshop, the Taos Knitaway, this past October.  At the time, I figured I would finish this thing sometime in 2009, but the pattern was so straightforward and memorize-able, that I finished right before Thanksgiving.  I've just been putting off the blocking until today.




I just hope my shawl turns out as beautifully as the one shown in culturally appropriate green in Cheryl's book!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Finally, Someone Understands My Intimacy Issues

Ah, the single life.  Gabfests about the boyfriend.  The post-breakup analysis. The exchange of pre-relationship property.  All that good advice from your girlfriends.

Makes me almost wish I was dating again.

Not.


Monday, December 3, 2007

Letters and Numbers

I am designing some stained glass panels for display in a local home renovation showroom. (Thanks, Ethan!) I figured I should make something practical -- like letters and numbers. People might not include a decorative window in their renovation, but they just might go for commissioning their house numbers in the transom over the front door.

Drawing consistent, cohesive freehand letters and numbers is tricky business. (This is why those designer fonts are so expensive!) So I have spent the afternoon looking at fonts, blowing up the letter "A" and number "6" on my scanner -- to give myself a jumping off point from which to design my own letters and numbers for the panels. It's amazing how a tiny serif here or the way the loop on the "R" crosses its main vertical there can change your world. Okay, maybe just my world. I also had a few "outliers" to look at, letters and numbers from various oddball font books I've picked over the years.



There was a time in our Victorianish history when decorating letters was all the rage. Consider this. I mean, what were they thinking? And what is the monkey eating? (We can guess where he is looking.) And, more importantly, what happens when this gal has a bad hair day?










Then there is the case of symbolism overload. There are so many meanings in this letter "F" that it might be hard reading any further if it were actually used in print. Possible translation: A man with a flowery imagination (spray of posies from head), impaled by his own knowledge (see book), faces unrequitted love (see Cupid in bondage dangling apple), and hails from a family of birds who fish. With fruit? How the lobster doorpull plays into this, I can't tell you.


There were also letters that I couldn't even identify.



An "F"? A "T"? A case of curlyque overload -- in the theme of Queen Elizabeth meets Cher meets Victoria's Secret on quaaludes?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Just Say No To Wretched Excess

The holidays are upon us -- and so is the glut of catalogs that meet me everyday at the front door. Not only do they junk up my personal space and our environment, these catalogs junk up my mind with a steady stream of throw-away lifestyle issues. Like: Is there a maximum personal polar fleece load? How much bioengineering did it take to make that pear? If I need a "smart spoon", what does that really say about MY intelligence? Are there that many people who actually still use the fountain pen? And, if my husband wears that, do I really want to be married to him?

On top of all this emotional turmoil, I also have to deal with the guilt of knowing that our ACL (annual catalog load) took some town's whole rainforest away. It's enough to make a person eat tinsel. But then, a star appeared in the internet sky, and I rode my cyber camel to a place called Catalog Choice. You can go there, too.

The nice people at the Ecology Center worked their green fingers to the bone to give us what is, possibly, my favorite Christmas present this year. (A thankful shout out goes to the National Wildlife Federation and the Natural Resources Defense Council for their endorsement of the site.) Through Catalog Choice, an easy-to-use website, you can set up a FREE account that will stop catalogs from coming to your home. You can actually pick and choose which catalogs you want to put a stop to (e.g. the toddler toy catalogs that you are still getting even though you kid is now in college), and still receive the ones you like to peruse. And for the wafflers among us, there's a function to restore a deleted catalog later. I can hear the wind whistling through my mailbox already.

Hark! The herald mail bags sing!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Mourning Becomes Non-Electric

I'm doing right by Al Gore. I have just installed two of these solar lights to illuminate the many dark and treacherous paths that ring the house. Okay, I just staked the darn things into the ground.

The gal at the overpriced-gardening-store-that-goes-by-two preppy-names insisted that they would light up a football field after soaking up 15 minutes of sunlight.• They were on sale, so I got two of them.

She was such a liar. I hope her pants are on fire, 'cause these lights sure ain't. Now I have $70 yard art that barely couldn't make a chipmunk cast a shadow. I have moved the solar panels that came with the lights to every sunny location conceivable, all for nothing. Cigarette lighters are like blazing torches compared to these lights. Matches could give them a good run for (less of) the money.

Still in the Al Gore state of mind, I am wondering what I could use these useless light fixtures for, a kind of recycling revenge. I 'm thinking of options like:

1 - Home security device. This baby could pack a punch after a good wind up.

2 - Modern art conversation piece. I have seen $multimillion exhibits of stuff that looks just like this at MOMA with written placards nearby that explain, "This is a retrospective piece from the artist that explores his relationship with is family vis a vis the existential experiece he had once in Chelsea with a bologna sandwich."

3 - Inverted, a grapefruit juicer.

4 - Inverted and filled with ice, a party acoutrement.

5 - Worn on the head, a protective device to ward off whatever they are dropping on us this week from Langley.

6 - A decorative tomato stake for early spring.

7 - A Christmas gift for Ralph Nader, mailed off with a note reading: "If I can organize a big splashy press event in my front yard featuring the injustice of this well-meaning purchase -- that features you, of course -- can you get my money back? PS Did I mention it will feature you?"

8 - With some slight modifications, a Mission-style WII controller grip.

Better to light a candle, than curse the darkness, as they say. I'm handing out flashlights from now on...with rechargeable batteries, of course.

* I am such a sucker for retail promises. I just know that salesclerks everywhere start laughing as soon as I pull out of the parking lot. "She went for that old line?!" Guffaw, guffaw.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Abe and the Honest Turkey

For those of you who cook for Thanksgiving, but are also a tad conflicted about all this colonial plenty, give a listen to my Thanksgiving commentary for WAMU. I call it "Abe and the Honest Turkey." It has something to do with Thanksgiving, but owing back to a more recent time -- and perhaps a time more similar to the current one.

My friend Donald was kind enough to send me a link to a speech from Wampsutta (also known as Frank James), an elder of the Aquinnah Wampanoag tribe. It was this tribe that was allegedly invited to the original Thanksgiving dinner. Many people believe that it was more likely that the Indians provided the food, but were not allowed to sit down to eat with the Pilgrims. It was normal practice of that time for colonists to sell Indians into slavery in Europe, so this lack of hospitality -- on the part of the white man -- would not have been surprising. Wampsutta recounts what happened to the Wampanoag at that time and since. He made this speech in 1970.

It is not surprising that many Native Americans regard this holiday as the Day of Mourning.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

This Unabomber Still Likes Chocolate

This just in from my friend Karl, who found this potentially dangerous person in my front hall this past Halloween. Authorities have been notified.

Suspect fled with a large paper bag and a flashlight. No other items taken. Investigators believe the suspect may have returned to the scene several times, as evidenced by trails of candy wrappers that were left throughout the house. These later found by owners. Forensics experts believe that the suspect prefers Reese's Peanutbutter Cups, not the kind with crunchies, but the regular ones.

Neighbors witnessed several suspicious individuals nearby on the night in question. Prints were inconclusive.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Turkey: Bird of Disaster

When I was in high school, I actually had to read about 300 ancient Greek plays for my lit class. Every one of them had a bird-based prediction of the future. Most of them were dire and involved bloody deaths or the rending of clothes. A hawk flying over someone's camp meant certain attack by the enemy. An owl seen during daylight hours meant that something weird and unnatural was about to happen (e.g. marrying one's father and then having to watch him gouge his eyes out). And so on. It's no matter that when I was pooped on by a pigeon while waiting for the bus in 11th grade, I nearly had to be tranquilized. I figured that not only was my perm ruined, my future must be seriously in the crapper. What else could I think?

So, it wasn't any surprise to me that years later, when I began to cook my own Thanksgiving dinners, the bird that would "fly" into my kitchen could ruin or exalt. Unfortunately, the turkey has not been good to me. I have bought certified fresh turkeys that NEVER thawed out from their permafrost deep freeze in time for Thanksgiving. I have burnt turkeys. I have over-corn starched gravy to a consistency that made it suitable for bathroom grouting. In an food safety-anti-eColi frenzy, I have cooked turkeys until their flesh was about as appetizing as wet straw.

And one year, as I prepared to feed 25 people, the turkey showed its true feathers, its disastrous powers. It was a beautiful, barrel-breasted bird, and I dressed and stuffed it with a special chestnut dressing. Of course, it was about then that I discovered that my beautiful turkey was too big for my oven. A finely engineered system involving a chair, many cinder blocks, and some rope just about got the oven door closed enough to roast the bird and help to heat the house. After many hours of roasting and several delicate basting sessions, I untied the turkey from the oven. I was calm, certain that the earlier disaster had been diverted, that the gods were smiling again. Then, as I was crossing the room, dodging guests, cats, and inlaws, I dropped it. I dropped the Thanksgiving turkey. And, even worse, I spilled all the gravy, most of which managed to snake down my leg in one boiling mass of turkey fat and chopped celery. When I tore off the pants that I was wearing, screaming with pain, most of my skin came off with them.

The turkey had spoken, that fickle bird. I learned then never to turn my back on one, or "dis" it with a shoddy oven set up, ever again.

I have the burn marks today, five years later. People ask me about that mean-looking scar on the beach every summer. I used to make up an answer, it was so embarrassing to say I dropped the turkey. Not anymore. "Turkey got me," is all I say, as they look on quizzically and pull their young children away quietly.

Every few years I tempt fate and try the turkey again, in the same spirit that I try making a flip off the high dive every summer at the pool. Other years, it's Cornish hen (a small bird capable of only minor inconveniences) or go really safe with a nice leg of lamb. I'm just happy that the Greeks never told the future through their livestock.

Just to play it safe, this year I'm cooking salmon.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

A Change In View

It's been a week of catching up and relaxing and letting the fingerprint grow back on my weary digits and now, of course, I'm getting a bit bored. And antsy. And anxious. This can mean one of three things:

A. I need to finalize the design and prep for my next window.

B. I need to get back to writing THE BOOK.

C. I could clean the house. Not.

Naturally, it is B that wins the turkey. Many know, and are probably sick and tired of knowing, that I am writing a book. It's about two brothers. One has autism. (It is not "Rainman.") They are flummuxed about the women in their lives. It's funny. Their aunt runs a hardware store.

I'm planning on putting excerpts on a secure site for patient, loving people (with time on their hands) to read and comment on. My friend, Rebecca, of "Nice to Come Home To" fame (her fab book coming out this year) did this to writerly advantage. As soon as I find out how she did this, I will tell you, invite you, and possibly beg you to come sign up for a read.

It must be said that I have had the generous gift of reviewers here and there already. Grateful thanks go out to my other friend, Chris, and her husband, Dick, for all the fine Asperger's behavioral and key personal habits edits that they have suggested over many months. "The Monday Group" and "The Wednesday Group" also deserve respectful shout outs. And Coach Don.

It's funny, most of us grow up with this vision of all writers beavering away in some garret all alone (aka the Emily Dickinson model). And, okay, there is a lot of solitary writing that has to happen. Yet, despite all rumors to the contrary, writing is a community effort. At least for me.

I'm thinking that Dickinson must have been agoraphobic. Or, perhaps, she had a multiple personality disorder, and her witty personas kept each other company.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Lotus Have Been Planted

Sunday was installation day for the Lotus Window. But first...

I was working away through Saturday to finish up the grouting and patina work. People always think that working with lead came is the serious chemical exposure part of stained glass, but unless you are eating the lead came for lunch, a simple and thorough hand washing keeps those brain cells safe.

The real toxic fare is involved in the finishing steps of construction. It's ventilation fan, mask wearing, and rubber gloves time. After all the intersections of the lead pieces are soldered on both sides of the window, a grout/cement mixture (a nasty smelling concoction that makes one think "sludge") has to be pushed in all the tiny spaces between the glass and the lead came. This is a tricky operation, since you basically have to solder one side and then flip the window to solder the other side-- without it bending, pieces falling out, etc. Then, the grouting/cementing has to be done quickly, while the sludge is pliable. After that is finished, the whole window is dusted with this stuff called whiting (pulverized portland cement), which dries up the leftover grout/cement, so you can brush it off. At that point, you have used so many toxic chemicals that you really don't care that you are going to next dab nitric acid patina on the solder joints to make lovley, smooth dark lead lines.

After several de-dustings, cleanings, scraping, more de-dustings, etc., etc, you finally get to see the final product. Voila!

My wonderful husband helped me with cleaning up the window and loading that baby into the SUV, and off I drove to New Jersey. Since the window was still gassing off, it was a little like driving with an open can of turpentine for company, but that probably helped lightnen my head enough to stop worrying so much about installation.

Of course, what REALLY calmed me down was that my friend Robert, master carpenter, steady influence, and all-around reliable person, was there to do the real work. While I nervously cleaned and cleaned the window on the ground, he removed the old window, installed some lovely wood framing, and got everything ready for the installation -- all of which happened between 10 to 14 feet off the ground.

New window owner, Akiko, and myself watched from the ground as he hoisted the window up there, and with some combination of Zen concentration, Tai Chi precicion movements, and just plain old chutzpah and skill, turned the window and set it exactly centered and flush into its permanent home. I will pause here to reiterate the term exactly flush, since there is no such thing as exactly square on any building...and making square objects look square in what is always a crooked opening takes much more skill than most of us ever have.

And, finally, Lotus Window was in place. It looked as though it had been there forever.



Akiko told me that she thought it must be hard to give my baby up, and until that moment, I had not realized how much I would miss having this window in my studio.



But this is certainly the best spot for it. Lotus Window couldn't live with nicer people! It looks lovely in their home, both inside and out, with the sun streaming in and the lights shining out through it into the night.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Lord, Thank You For Public Radio...

...As it has been a constant companion in the new studio, as I've worked on the new window. I've also been listening to Dave Sedaris in his book-on-tape guise, though I have to stop doing this from time to time, because I start laughing so hard. It's not really safe to be doubled over guffawing while operating a diamond-bit grinder. BBC News is slightly better -- at least more sobering -- though I do have to turn that off whenever Condaleeza has a press conference. It's not good to be yelling when you are operating the diamond-bit grinder either.

But, I digress...

The window is now in its finishing touches phase. I'm very pleased.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Inch By Inch, Step By Step



And now we get the lead out...er...in. The lead came is a channeld piping made mostly of lead that is worked around each glass piece. The lead came first has to be stretched, then it is snipped, curved, cajoled (but never threatened) into place.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

This piece should be that lighter blue, no brown,okay how about the clear bubble glass, arghh!

At last! All the pieces are in place and there is lift off on the final color plan. There were about 10 pieces for which I had to try every color combination before I felt they were right. It's always amazing to me how long I can stand there staring a window in progress -- or thinking about it at the stoplight -- before that little voice in me says, "Just cut the damn glass and try it!" With the exception of preserving some special and expensive glass or trying to make the last sheet of a color stretch, it's nearly always better to experiment than, well, worry.

Then, of course, Himself/Loving Husband asked me to send over a picture of the window progress thus far for his lunchtime edification. Naturally, he had his own sage advice to offer. Darned if the guy doesn't have a wonderful sense of composition, so I can't do the uh-huh-only half-listening response known to wives everywhere. I ended up using just about all his suggestions, especially on that "football shape" that he felt was overwhelming the overall effect. Football, it seems, just about always has a way of taking over.

Fortunately, I have some good, strong morning light in the new workshop -- and bright spotlights for later in the afternoon. Most of this glass looks quite a bit different against the light than it does pressed against white paper. In some projects, the more opaque glasses are fine, but the folks who will get this window wanted to be able to see the trees outside through the window, so all the glasses I used are clears or tinted transparents. Still, to make sure that the glass patterns are flowing in the right direction per the design, there's a lot of squinting through the glass into the sun, before I make my pattern cuts. Of course, for some glass, like the one featured to the left, there's just so much going on that I save it for a later, uncut cameo appearance.