Thursday, September 27, 2007

I Love My Workshop

For anyone who has never had a workshop or dreamt of having one or doesn't own at least 3 20-foot flexible tape measures or a selection of hack saw blades -- you will not get this post.

But, if the criteria fits, read on....

My glass workshop is officially finished (well, except for that one shelf and some wood stain). It's located smack dab in my backyard, which is totally ideal for padding out there in my pj's with coffee for some predawn glass cutting. Naturally, like most of the wonderful things in my house, I have my generous and thoughtful friend and master builder, Hristos, to thank for this. He and his wife Elena and their crew (Thanks Joachim and Ed!) worked through blazing heat and a few harrowing moments. (Is that the freon line or the water line?) They created the workshop of my dreams. I will be forever in their debt.

I have been lusting after my own workshop since about 10th grade, when I tried to cordon off part of my parent's garage for my potter's wheel. Since then my various artistic pursuits that involve tools and equipment have shared space with lawnmowers, bikes, a generator (that stank of gasoline), and all manner of Christmas decorations. But no more! Now I have a whole workshop with multiple workbenches, slotted shelving to store glass, and (gasp) a sink. That has hot water.

I might not ever come inside my house again. Already, people are just coming by the backyard to see me. They don't even bother going to the front door.

To round out the workshop debut, I am finishing a long overdue window for a wonderful couple in New Jersey. I call it the "Lotus Window" in honor of their water garden, which was its inspiration.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Bad Hair Day

What they never tell you (along with the fact that women are not pregnant 9 months -- but really 10) is that life after 40, okay 45, offers one humbling self-realization after another. And most of them are about your body...and how it is not acting the way it once had.

First, there's the fact that you can't just diet for a couple days and drop the 5 pounds you need to to be able to it into that hot, new dress. In fact, to lose 5 pounds, you will have to diet, do miles on the treadmill every morning, and not even look at a piece of bread for months. Then, there are all the insulting effects of the dwindling away of hormones, otherwise known as menopause. These include hot flashes, oddball hairs growing out of the chin, inexplicable aches and pains, regularly waking up at 4AM, more hot flashes, the inability to handle anyone else's driving (especially your spouse or partner's), dry skin, turkey neck skin on YOUR neck, poochy tummy development, more hot flashes, and a chronic and complete inability to tolerate phone calls any longer than 3 minutes.

And, of course, there's the inevitable one...more...thing.

For me, the latest humbling revelation is that I am losing my hair. This is just so unfair. It would be okay if I were going out for Buddhist monk, but I'm not. In fact, I have never had that much hair to begin with, having been endowed with the typical brown hair of most of my West Irish clan -- the mousy, flat, and thin variety. When I was a kid, I hoped that I would somehow begin to grow my grandmother's hair, a thick, wavy auburn. My mother even encouraged this hope, probably because she felt bad for me and also because there WERE tiny, thin streaks of some color approaching a watery, burnt orange amongst my tresses. But, alas, my hair just grew browner and more dowdy by the year. Finally, in college, I downed a tray of margaritas, went to the local barber, and swore I wouldn't get out of his chair until he had given me a "just quit ROTC" cut. Fortunately, the androgenous thing was in then -- what with Bowie, Grace Jones, and Jagger running around -- so I wasn't so far off in the hair department.

But now, not even a white hair lie from my mother could stem my sure knowledge that I might soon be called Ol' Patchy Pate. I'm just hoping that, what with the collective thinning of my fellow baby boomers' hair, the industry will catch up to me with some wunderkur.

In the meantime, I may as well just head back to the barber's -- or the nearsest ashram -- for a good shave.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

The Hard Work of Getting Better

This past Labor Day, my first ever radio commentary aired on WAMU, Washington's wonderful public radio station -- and the third largest public radio listening area in the country. The commentary was about the hard work of getting better in the face of breast cancer. It was inspired by my dear friend and recipient of the afore-mentioned chemo hat. (She really like it, by the way.)

WAMU's fabulous radio wizards, Karen Munson and Mark McDonald, helped me figure out how to write for radio -- and then sound like I was NOT reading what I wrote. Let me tell you, this is much harder than it sounds.

Anyway, I am very excited and pleased with the piece. And happy to share it with you all here. Just click on the link below, and you'll be able to listen to the sound clip from my google page. Whew!