“And someone with strengths, for all the little things… You need.” – Wheat

Today feels good, and also very random. Waking up at 4:30 and starting to work will do that, I guess.

First light. 1167•F.

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OK, so I am admittedly a complete homer on this, but I say that “Gorgeous”, “Call It What You Want”, “Delicate”, and “New Year’s Day” is one hell of a good playlist. I may or may not have listened to it, oh 50 times since reputation came out. Less than a week ago.

The strangely specific, very unpleasant smell of slowly cooking off an entire summer’s worth of wasp’s nests from the loose bricks over the kiln arch. Ug. Gives that first firing of the season a distinctness I could live without.

The paranoia of having the kiln going again; hoping for no burner FUBARs, the weather to follow its predictions, myself to regulate my energy and enthusiasm so that I stay on top of it and don’t do anything dumb, like decide at the very end to let it go fifteen degrees hotter for no reason.

I took a selfie out in front of the kiln, something I never do. OK, not never, but like maybe four times to date. After looking down and realizing how ridiculous I’d look to a stranger coming up the driveway, I couldn’t resist. 15 year old torn up jeans, backed by thermal leggings. Ancient yard work tennis shoes, dull green from all that dead grass. My IOWA 51 hoodie, from 1993 — so that one wins the prize for oldest garment in the ensemble at 24 or so years. Rabbit-trimmed hunters hat, bought as a gag on a cold day in Wisconsin in what seems like another lifetime, and now worn every day around the studio from October to April. Blue latex gloves, to keep the coarse, ice cold sealing clay off my skin, as I wrap the dumb little kiln in a paper mache’ coating, for protection against stalls and backburning from the occasional volatile gust. And I’d even forgotten about whatever my semi-beard is doing now, in the long 5 day interim between being on the clock from one week to the next.

And they think I dress down on office days.

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Living in the country, growing weird, indeed.

I got in touch with one of my oldest friends, after a few years of radio silence, and we scheduled a call for later tonight, after the kids are in bed. So great. Such a relief. And while I’ll be loopy as hell by then — even more than I am now — he’s one of the few people in the world who’ve definitely seen me worse, probably dozens of times, and still loves me in spite of it. Or because of it, maybe; I’m not sure. That decade-long recluse thing kinda came back to bite me in the ass, and I’m determined to turn it around.

Same goes for tomorrow — once I get past this first firing — I’m going on an exceedingly rare (for me) clay visit, to see the retrospective show of a friend, whom I’ve never actually met in person. This should be cool. And it’s in the U town — the real U — so there will probably be a good lunch involved. Thinking I might also let myself go to the kick ass art supplies store and buy whatever feels right; even though my 14 year old car needs new shocks, struts and tires, and I’m a long way from banking any of the sale proceeds from all this bisqueware all around me, it seems like a fine time to not deny myself some new toys/materials. “Because a mind needs books like a sword needs a whetstone.” Oh, and I might even buy a new pair of pants, if after all that I’m still awake and feeling particularly nutty. The one I’ve got left, that isn’t tattered by clay dust, is from last year, before I stopped drinking milk and accidentally lost about 15 pounds. I’m pretty much swimming in them now, and the belt situation is a little ridiculous. (I know, the fucking luck, right? Sorry. What can I say… I got the Scandanavian metabolism/skinny gene as part of the Dad Deal. Came with some decidedly negative early life experiences, and I’m pretty sure I can chalk up the Black Dog to that side of the bloodline, too. But hey — at least I know not to start drinking. That’s a plus.)

Oy. I think I need another lunch before it’s time to salt.

I made the mistake of showing Pixel this morning’s post, because she asked if I had used that Taylor lyric yet. So I was reading that paragraph to her, and she started reading aloud over me, as she does, and she’s so dang quick that she got to the next line, which I’d already forgotten about, and read out, “Fuck ’em if they can’t…” — before I could snap shut the browser window. Oh dear. I lose the bet with The Admiral as to who’s gonna break out the first one of the seven deadly swears.

So I immediately go into my whole song and dance about how there are no bad words, only bad people — kidding! — only bad uses of words, and that almost any word can be used badly, la la la, etc etc etc, what do you expect from an English major/might-have-been-Philosophy-minor-if-my-first-Prof-hadn’t-been-God-awful?

And she says, “Well, in my world, we call that the F-word. That way we can say to a teacher, “He said the F-word!”, and we don’t also get in trouble for saying it.”

Third grade, folks. Read ’em and weep.

Makes me think about all the other things that she knows that I don’t think she knows yet. This parenting thing gets easier when the world beats me to the punch sometimes.

“Waterfall goes softly down the drain. And I think my time has finally come. Oh, give me a chance so I can find a thing… One and one; one and one is three.”

Well, shoot. Plus-93 was going to be about how I did my 93rd bisk firing in my electric kiln the other day, and the same day Pixel came out to the studio, looked at a whole board full of test tiles, and said, “Dada, I like number 93 the best. Ninety three.” And, for whatever reason, how one of my favorite Colts, from back when I was young and watched football, was Dwight Freeney, DE, No. 93; all-time master of the spin move. And some other 93 thing that happened that day, too, but is now lost to wadding and diorite and lunch and two semi-naps and salt prep and Instagram addiction and waiting and watching and wondering.

“My hand is, possibly, slipping. And I may have, lost what I, was gripping.”