Monday, March 31, 2014

No Bad Hair Days

No Bad Hair Days!

Well, I guess it's time to post some more. Yet another person asked me about Dave Stewart's pottery: I guess the search engines that be direct people to my blog. So, I have a small following now, several comments too.  I never really published sci-fi but I have been paid for writing nonfiction. As I ate breakfast after responding to the blog question, I decided that I am an essayist.

Whoda thunk it? Not an Op-Ed writer (I dislike politics). Just an essayist. So, here's a bit more essayish stuff on Dave Stewart, y'all: his glaze contained lead. He periodically got checked for lead poisoning, and his pots got checked for leaching (both always passed). The lead made the lovely red color come forth. Another thing about his glazing: he used a gas kiln to glaze-fire with. He said he never reduced, just fired oxidation (all ports open). But! I am of the opinion that his firings actually experienced reduction. My thought is that his old boxy kiln going full bore just didn't HAVE enough ports to allow enough oxygen through. Also, the magnetite specks always made nice big black spots. Magnetite in my clay body NEVER made such spots. Magnetite added to my glazes made petite black spots. And it was magnetite, all right... Dave used to let Gail drag a magnet on a string through the beach sand in La Jolla and collect all the magnetite personally. I did that with magnetite in Socorro (iron-rich rocks and sand at our home). But no lovely black dots. Thus, I figure that after trying everything over thirty years and not managing to get Dave's spots, it had to have been the firing which produced that look, a reduction firing.

Oh, wait--I just thought: it might have been the lead, too.

Okay. Just about enough for now. I titled this post No Bad Hair Days because I just  lost most of my hair (probably alopecia areata) & I am now wearing a wig. It's a fun, bleached-blonde thing, not how I used to be able to wear my hair at all, but more indicative of my inner personality than what I could get ever get out of my real hair. I am totally pro-wig now--these things ain't the ones that were around in the '70s (which made us all look like Harpo Marx).

Have a good one!


[Was just revisiting this blog and found this draft, unpublished, from April 2007. I hit the "publish" button and google stuck it here as though published today...]

Men sit down on the toilet some of the time; why not all the time? Women sit down all the time. Are men too much in a hurry? Probably, from the looks of the toilet when the wife comes in to do the cleaning.
I am reminded of a strange joke. "Why do dogs lick their parts-that-needn't-be-spelled-out?" "Because they can." Probably, men stand to urinate because they CAN. In the wild, there is nothing wrong with this: in fact, it's enviable (the lucky dogs, so to speak)--especially in the cold and snow.
However, at home, men should use "toiletiquette," and sit. First, there is no quarreling about where the seat should be left--it's down, period. No shrieks in the night when the wife sleepily sits and drops in because she forgot to check seat status.
Second, and more to the point, it's a lot less mess. Guys, no matter how well you aim, the stuff splashes. You don't think so, but you are too high up to see it. You gotta come down on your knees (as one does when one prepares to clean the fixture), and you will notice the little yellow-brown spots on the rim, the underside of the seat, and even down the front. While you're down there making your scientific examination of my claim, take a whiff--urine also reeks. It is impossible to get off of a carpet (good reason not to have carpet around the toilet anyway), it's almost as hard to get off wallpaper or curtains, and it comes off only fair from linoleum or hardwood (tile is fine).
Men: if your wife is the one who cleans, give her a break. If you do the cleaning, why heck, give yourself a break. And enjoy the extra chance during the day to sit down and relax!
Women: if you do the cleaning after a man or men in your house, tell them to sit or you will quit cleaning. There is no reason to put up with this thoughtless habit.
Now here's one for the women. The washing machine and dryer were invented so that washing clothes could become easier. How was it done before? Heat the water on the stove, mend the clothes, wash everything by hand, hang the clothes on the line, heat the iron, iron the clothes.
I imagine that Moms back then made it very clear to their kids and husbands that getting clothes needlessly dirty put them in peril of whatever Moms threatened to do back then.
So now we have washers and dryers. But some of you will sadly accept the Zen koan that Life is an endless pile of laundry. Why do you spend so much time doing laundry? I think there are two problems here.
First, everybody in the family gets clothes needlessly dirty much more than they did in The Good Old Days. Mom doesn't threaten anybody anymore--why should she? She has the Wonder Machine to take care of all the little sloppy messes, just like on television--and of course, the right Brand-name expensive Wonder Guck that will take out every stain known to man. So I hear that children today wear their outfits one day (if that long), and plop--they're in the laundry pile.
To digress on smelliness: now, it is true that in the Good Old Days people went without baths for longer periods, as well; and if their clothes were going longer between washings too, I'm sure that everybody smelled a lot more. When I went to Europe in the late 60's I discovered that people there smelled more than they did in the U.S. I don't know if that is still true, but I assume in any case that people here in the U.S. are extremely conscious of body odor (check those TV commercials again); and so you will say you can't go around smelling more than the next simply CAN'T.
Okay. So underwear gets changed every time you shower, ditto socks. But check the armpits on the shirts. Did you know that if you hang them up in the closet to air out, they often will smell much better the next day? And pants can go a long time without getting smelly--they get dirty faster than they get smelly. Which brings me back to dirt: you and your children should cultivate habits of work and play so that you don't get clothes needlessly dirty. Don't let the Wonder Machine keep you from issuing the ultimatums your Grandma did. The bottom line here is, be critical of how fast you let "dirty" clothes pile up to get washed.
Second problem with laundry: people are letting the process of washing clothing jerk them around. I talked to a friend who has a big clothesline strung in her laundry room, because she pulls out so many things from the dryer after just a few minutes that she doesn't want to shrink. So, she has to wait around the dryer, then she has to sort through the load to pull out what she wants, hang it up, take it down again...
Another friend refuses to let her husband help her with laundry. Why? It's so complicated that the big lummox can't possibly get it right. There's the pre-soak, the stain remover--but not on THAT shirt--the delicates, the heavy-duties, don't put the nylon nightie with the socks, whatever!
Yes, my own Dad poured bleach directly onto the clothes, then started the water filling. Happened to ruin something my teenage soul was disgruntled about for weeks. But do we need SO much COMPLEXITY?
I have a washer and dryer--Kenmore's cheapest--that gives me very little choice. The water level is one level, period. So, I'm not tempted to throw one brassiere in to wash all by itself; I wait until the basket is full, and then do laundry. It lets me choose hot, warm or cold wash, but that's it. Rinse is always cold. There are no other settings, no delicate cycle. The Kenmore dryer has two settings, hot and air. I turn a timer on for however long I want, and when it's over, it stops.
I use the same detergent for everything; I do add Borax because the water is hard; I do separate whites from colored stuff, and I wash towels alone or with sheets or jeans (they don't pick up the lint); and I do use dryer sheets. Other than that, I don't fuss with it.
My philosophy is this: whatever I buy has to stand up to Standard Washing Procedure (even my husband can do it). If it's cotton and will shrink, I buy large. If it does shrink when it's not supposed to, I live with it or take it back for a refund. I don't buy the rayon skirt--or any article of clothing--that requires special handling. I no longer fool with dry cleaning, either--it all goes into the laundry, or I don't buy it.