Sunday, January 21, 2007

Featuring everything you never wanted to know about my life of woe &/or intrigue!

If you are here, you are probably a friend or family member. Welcome!

On the advice of my Mac geek & friend, Mykl, i'm creating this as my more personal blog: from now on, i'm going to put my longer more personal posts here & i'm shifting the existing pigfutures blog over to a more professional/ pottery & business oriented focus.

I've got alot of folks who i care about and want to share my life with, but like everyone else, i'm pretty busy. What's more i'm very easily distracted, either by the TV or by gossip blogs or yahoo groups: if it's on a glowing screen, i'm very quickly paralyzed and i become a bump on the sofa. But i also really enjoy writing and want to do more of it, more often, thus, this blog.

To start out, i'm going to cheat and post a copy of the holiday letter i wrote last month but never got around to printing or mailing. (hey, at least i wrote the sucker!)

So, without further ado, here's my take on 2006:

My year in review: being a short look at a long year.
Well, for me it's been one of those years. The kind you want to kick in the arse as it leaves, scream "and don't come back!" and then loudly slam the door.
I'm going to try to brief, cause i don't want to linger over the painful parts, and there were alot of them on this trip around the sun.

The year started out fairly promising. Morna and i made alot of Newgrange pottery in February and March. My time with her was bittersweet, because we had agreed in advance that it would be our last year of working together for awhile. We had a few rough spots during Morna's stay-- it was hard to be together 24/7 in such a rural setting, without other folks around to dilute our personalities, but by the time spring rolled around and we realized that we weren't going to do this again anytime soon, we both began to really treasure what the other contributed to the beautiful and unique pots we made together.

February was also when we got our wonderful puppy, Animosh, at the local flea market! It was all Ceit's fault. She picked her out for me as an act of revenge (I had helped to sucker her into adopting her wonderful/terrible 'project' dog, Ashe) Ani was Ceit's revenge.

Ani was 3 lbs of attitude what we got her, a 4 week old jack russell/ cocker spaniel mix. Darrell and I fell in love with her at once. Barnaby was more reserved, but within a week, Ani ruled our house. Her energy and enthusiasm were contagious, and she was a wonderful snuggler. It was wonderful to watch her discover and conquer the world. The love in our house flowed through her. The reason i am speaking of her in past tense is that we only had 7 wonder-filled months with her. Ani went about all of her life head first and in a hurry and that's how she met the car that hit and killed instantly on a sunny late September afternoon. That was one of the most painful afternoons of my life. I don't want to talk about it further-- if you want to know more about Ani's short and awesome life, check out my blog:

But i'm jumping ahead. In April, Darrell and I got married at my Moms' house in the woods of Mount Airy. We had a wonderful, disorganized, lovely and love filled ceremony. At least, that's how i perceived it! It was amazing to stand in a circle surrounded by family and friends and tell Darrell how much I love him, and hear how much he loves me and then to hear how much our friends and family love us. Getting married is wonderful! I heartily recommend it to everyone! It's like being drunk and stoned on love. What an awesome day! The memory stands out like a bright planet in a very dark night sky. A brilliant point of light. I just need to say thank you again to everyone who helped us with that wonderful day, especially my Mom and Lee, for hosting us and putting us with our taking over their home and life for a week.
And my sister and her family, who came from Colorado and made sure that i was surrounded by my natural family as well as by my wonderful chosen one. And to Ceit who came down from Canada to perform such a great ceremony. And and and... , well, everyone who made the effort to come out and walk up that long driveway and witness and bless us on that wonderful day. Thank you all.

I did say this would be a brief letter, didn't i? Well, it seems i am wrong yet again. What i recall about the spring and summer of this past year, other than the joy of my wedding, is simply working hard in the pottery studio, struggling unsuccessfully to sell my house in Damascus, and playing at several fairie festivals. I'm loving the fairie festivals. If i haven't prostellised about them to you yet, i'm sure i will soon. For now, i'll just say that if you get a chance to go to one, especially the Maryland Fairie Festival, you should come out and play. So much fun!!!

My summer was fun, especially the not long enough visit from my sister, niece and nephew. We had a great time in West Virginia and then got to spend a week at the beach together. And then Pennsic, which was good, at least as far as i can recall. It turns out that i wasn't just tired all the time yet unable to sleep for the past two years from being stressed and overworked, but rather because i had Lyme disease. My doc and i figured this out just before Pennsic, and so i was on the heavy duty antibiotics (& avoid prolonged exposure to sunlight) for all of War. That meant that i basically had a mild reoccurrence of the onset of the disease while camping, trying to sell pottery and also trying to avoid foreclosure on the house in Damascus. Feverish, achy, light headed and stressed out all the time. A pretty typical Pennsic experience! It was lucrative and i even got to arrive late and leave early. For the first time ever-- & i've been going to War for 22 years-- i got to avoid both set-up and take down. I'm only sorry it happened because i was pathetically worn out and sick-- i didn't get to savor the experience. I've had hazier, more fuzzy headed Pennsics in the past, but i was drinking back then. This just wasn't as much fun, somehow.

Maryland Renn Fest was much better for me. I had a good year, and since Darrell and my wonderful booth monkeys (Gigi & Chris & Kimmie) had things running so smoothly that i only went to Faire 5 of the 9 weekends. Once again, i sat at the great end of season dinner Chris arranges on the closing night of Faire and wished it wasn't over so soon. That, my friends, is a good Faire season.

Sadly, autumn was also when we both of the wonderful dogs i had got hit and killed by cars, within 6 weeks of each other. Their deaths are still resonating with me. They were both so important to me, so much a part of my immediate family. I will always miss and love them. My Mom also had to make the difficult decision to say goodbye to her old and wonderful dog, Blaze, this October. Blaze was a great dog, a good sibling. I miss her and the contagious joy she brought to everything she did.

Also, this fall i've had to follow, mostly at a distance, the struggle of my friend Scott as he has been recovering from liver transplant surgery. Scott was blessed with a living donation from his cousin and he is further blessed by a wonderful wife and support crew, but it's been a long and difficult journey to recovery for him and his family, from surgery in early September to finally getting home (hopefully for good this time) in early December. I've learned lots about courage and stubbornness watching him go through this, but the most important message for me it that we are all morally obligated to pass along the gift of life. If you aren't already an organ donor, why they hell not?! Sign that damn card today! No excuses. Just do it! You won't be using your parts anymore-- don't be selfish-- share your life & recycle yourself! Ok, enough.

We do have two new dogs who are doing their best to remind me that life goes on and there is plenty of living left to do. We got our Budgth (pronounced Bug and spelled in a pseudo Celtic style) at our local animal shelter in early November.
She was so excited to meet us-- she bounded out her cage and into our laps and into our hearts. She was very much "what took you so long?!? I've been waiting and waiting for you!" when she met us. She is a boston terrier mix, with some lab in her somewhere. She looks alot like Ani but she's very much her own being. We took her home and had 2 1/2 very happy days with her and Barnaby. But on our third day with Budgth, Barnaby was taken from us by another car on the road in front of our house. He didn't die right away, but there was no blood and no pain and we were able to say goodbye to him. He died surrounded by love and compassion. And even though he left too soon, it was a good death.

D. & i had already planned a trip down to Florida that was part work, part vacation and we were going to take Ani and Barnaby with us. Now, without those dogs, but with Budgth we drove down to the Gulf Coast and sold pots on the weekends and walked on the beach and shopped at flea markets during the week and we cried alot, mourning our missing dogs. But we also bonded with Budgth, who is an awesome snuggler. And we came home a smaller but healing family.

And then we got our newest dog, the day after Thanksgiving. Spike is a JRT mix.

He also came from our local shelter. We'd met him when we got Budgth, but we still had Barnaby and Spike had just come in to the shelter a few days before. Spike had been beaten up pretty badly by a pack of dogs or coyotes and he desperately needed medical attention. But i couldn't walk away from him, so i sponsored him. I paid for his medical treatment and promised i'd check back in on him when we got home for Florida. Well, we got home and he was still at the shelter waiting for us. He's a daddy's boy. He and D. have bonded hard and they spend happy hours together on the couch, both of them slouched on their backs, rubbing each other's exposed bellies, watching tv together. Very cute, those boys! Spike is definitely Budgth's bitch. She's in charge of our family and we're all fine with that.

To finish out our year, we did the Holiday Open House/Studio Tour at Art of Fire in Maryland the first 2 weekends in December. It was cold, but fun-- we reunited with our friend Mary from Tuatha and got to see lots of friends and perhaps more of Mom and Lee than they might have liked, as we stayed with them for 10 days while we did the show. Still and all, i found it a very satisfactory way to start the holiday season.

While we were doing the Studio Tour, Mary and i spent alot of time talking, and as i talked with her, i realized how much my life has changed in the past 18 months, since i've moved to WVa and married Darrell. And i realized how much i love MY valley in those ancient hills. It's very much home and being there i feel so grounded and safe. I am so blessed to have found such a beautiful, peace-full home. You need to come see it, and to think about moving out there, because the only thing that my valley is missing, aside from easy access to good pizza and indian food, is enough friends. I can get pizza and indian food when i travel, and i can see friends that way too, but i need more friends at home. That's where you come in. Or at least, come to visit!

And as i write this, i'm up in Ontario visiting Ceit and Storm for a Rozakii Holiday gathering. We brought our two dogs and we've been having a great doggie and people blender/rumpus/visit. Then it's back to Maryland for a brief pre-Christmas attack on Mom and Lee, and finally home to West Virginia for the actual holidays. We're going to host a few friends over the New Year's holiday and then i'm actually looking forward to getting back to work in the studio as we start the new year and as i said at the beginning of this now epic account of my year, finally and formally bringing to an end this year which has had for me, personally at least, of far too many downs compared to ups.

I'm planning on changing that in the new year, thank you very much. And i hope that your past year has been much better balanced, or perhaps even full only of good things. And i plan on that being the case for both of us in this coming year.

Sending you sincere wishes and strong intentions for peace, prosperity and great health and happiness for all of us in the next year.
And abundant blessings and love,