Monday, September 26, 2011

Queen of the Mountain!!

"Marina," my modern comfort bike at the
downtown pavilion overlooking the river.
This morning I was celebrating that I had a day off with nowhere to go, except to a friend's house to feed her cat.  I mused about taking a longer than normal weekend bike ride when Larry laughed and said, "Why don't you combine the two and ride your bike up to feed the cat?"

My initial response was "Not bloody likely!"  The reason I responded this way is that the friend's house is across town and on top of a very big hill.  Most of the rides I've taken have been on quiet neighborhood streets.  The terrain is fairly flat and if I were to be completely honest with myself, even though I've been going on progressively longer rides, I haven't been challenging myself or going outside of my comfort zone.

As I dressed for the day I decided to rise to the challenge! I hopped on my bike and  immediately discovered a flat tire!!  A pretty little brass nail had punctured the back tire and tube.  In the past I probably would have let this discovery discourage me or give me an excuse to put it off for another day.  Instead I waited while Larry patched the tube and remounted the tire. (The husband comes to the rescue once again!) In less than an hour I was back on the bike and headed uphill! 

Here's the route I took:
Map of progress

The footpath, taken on the ride home.
What a God-Send!  See the rays from heaven?
It's actually a lot steeper than it looks.

The ride is about three and a half miles one way.  Most of the ride was pleasant and uneventful, even on the busy streets I traveled. For the most part, Kerrville drivers are courteous and thoughtful towards cyclists.

Some guy in a huge water truck drove past me on Barnett Street and whistled at me.  I don't think I've ever been whistled at in my life!  The random and unexpected event made me laugh.

In one of the neighborhoods I went through there was a chihuahua who thought he was the size of a timber wolf. He materialized out of nowhere, but I easily outran his short legs and razor-sharp teeth.

The biggest challenge was THE HILL.  There were two approaches, one on Leland Street that was a straight, vertical climb; and the other on Galbraith Street, a twisty, turny narrow road with blind spots.  Neither seemed like a good idea.

I went to the base of the hill on both streets, trying to figure the best approach up the rise, when I remembered a foot path a block from Galbraith Street that went from the end of Circle Street to the top of the hill on Galbraith.  I found the path and took it, thankful for a more gradual path up the hill.  It felt so good to reach the top of that hill!  I felt like I conquered Everest!

Pywacket the Cat, hiding under a chair.
Bad quality photo from my cellphone.
Anyway, I got to the friend's house, high on accomplishment, with a face as red as my tank top.

Pywacket the Cat was unimpressed.  The cat hates me at the moment because I had to give her some cat laxative a couple of days ago for hairballs. She currently hisses and hides every time I enter the house.  So I embraced the anticlimax, cleaned the catbox, fed "Lady P" and headed home.

Going home, back down the hill, was fun! Flying downhill gives me an exhilaration that reminds me childhood.  A fast, free ride down a hill that lifts the hair off the neck never fails to make my heart leap with joy.

Both the trip up the hill and the trip back home took 30 minutes.  The round-trip was a little under 7 miles, which is not the longest trip I've made so far, but it is my most challenging.  My average speed was seven miles an hour... slow and steady (and not very likely to win a race but better than I expected). 

My next goal is a Kerrville to Ingram trip.  It's going to take some time to build up to it, but after today I am feeling very encouraged.

Have a beautiful, amazing week!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Tivy High School Seniors, 1935

Iris Chronis, the sister of Gene Lock (who was the original owner), gave me this wonderful photo today and I had to share. 

Tivy Seniors, 1935  (The same year the old Post Office building where I work was built)
You can click on the photo to view it at a larger size.  The handwriting on the back of this photo identifying everyone was really hard to read, so if I got someone wrong, please write me and let me know.

First Row: Marcia Jane Morris, Louis Fisher, Lucille Plumb, Ruben Zumwalt, Jean Leinweber, Cecil Londess, Moralee Jensen, Jimmie Yelvington, Laura Pelton, Frank Hatch.

Second Row: Sammie Marshall, Jonnie Stoetzner, Gene Lock, Evelyn Guthrie, Rudolph Radeleff, Doris Frances White, Doyle Nichols, Elsie Gammenthaler, Raymond Mickle, Julie Jackson

Third Row: Evelyn Littlefield, Norman Forehand, Mable Bernhard, John Spencer, Nellie Nye, Herbert Brown, Seraphina Castillo, Huling Mosty.

Fourth Row: Teddy Rothrock, Lois Butt, George “Jiggs” Leigh, Ruth Butt, Robert Smith, Edna Wolfmueller, Paxton Bollinger, Eloise Zumwalt, Spence Rogers, Melba McKay

Fifth Row: Juanita Childs, Ora Russell, Clarice Green, Ruth Smith, Vernon Sandel, Elizabeth Richards, Mildred Cotton, Juanita Long, Leona Stephens, Eloise Rutlege

Sixth Row: L.T. Davis, Jr., Rose Linstead, Imgene Merritt, Cecil Rawson, Hazel Sublett, Elizabeth Fowler, Margaret Grona, Charlotte Seeker, Geraldine Davis, J.D. Rose

One of the funny things I noticed about this photo is how it was produced.  Individual photos were pasted onto a board and then hung on a chicken wire fence to be photographed. That's a lot of work!  All we have to do is slap a bunch of images together in a program and it's ready to go.  Mr. Wheelus, who took the photo, had to get everything JUST RIGHT on that board before he snapped the photo.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

More Sparkly Creations

I spent some time in my studio on Monday and here are the highlights:

Pearl and Turquoise Chip Necklace with handblown glass vessel.
I didn't like the way the glass on the vessel looked with the materials in the necklace
so I etched the vessel, giving the glass a misty appearance.  I wore it to work today and got a lot of compliments, which made my day!  I am debating on whether to keep this or sell it in the gift shop.

Bright green and deep purple perfume bottle.  This bottle was made for my friend Marsha Mefferd, an extremely talented artist. The colors of the vessel and the dots on the stopper were inspired by her artwork.  It is the first
perfume bottle I've made that I've been happy with. It stands about 3 inches tall from the top of the stopper to the bottom of the bottle.  It's a late birthday gift for Marsha .... she hasn't seen it yet.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Passion in Purple!

This is the latest vessel to come out of my studio.  The weather has finally cooled enough that working over a 1200 degree torch with a 947 degree kiln running within two feet of the work station isn't too daunting.

I am recovering from a nasty bug, so I only made three vessels this weekend.  Two in purple and one in teal.  (The teal will be posted soon).  The purple vessel above is a donation to a silent auction for the Daughters of the Republic of Texas. I hope it brings them lots of big bids!

After I turned off the torch, I emerged from the studio to find out that I have friends in areas of Texas that are currently being threatened by wildfires.  I reflected briefly on how fire can be both a creative and destructive force and then I commenced to worrying about loved ones.

The east Texas neighborhood where I lived before moving back home to Kerrville was evacuated yesterday and  I have good friends in the Bastrop area who were also evacuated.  It is so difficult knowing that people I care about are in harm's way and that there's nothing I can do other than offer a safe place for them to shelter and spend time on my knees in prayer.  I guess that's where faith comes in - somewhere, in all of this mess God is in control.

Please pray for Texas and the end to this miserable drought and the destructive fires that rage across the state.