Friday, August 30, 2013

About That Pedi-Party....

I have been fighting a headache for a few days now even though I started taking ibuprofen as soon as I felt it coming on. Perhaps hormone induced headaches haven't heard of ibuprofen and don't realize its headache fighting capabilities... At any rate, I would much prefer to fight a headache this week than next. Next week I want only to admire that new grandson.

Yesterday I freshened up my toenails with a new coat of polish. Earlier this summer I wore pink nails on nine toes and a happy face on my right big toe. The smiley face staring back at me every time I looked down made me smile, and sometimes others commented on it too. Usually they were nice comments, but my husband asked me why I couldn't just be normal... haha! I wore them that way so long that the polish started to grow away from the cuticles.

This time around I decided to let my shoes dress up my feet instead. My nails are a paler shade of pearly pink and I'm sporting my new pair of Teva Mush II flip flops. (Wouldn't you know it? The blue ones are on sale this weekend.) I wore the black and white Tevas I bought last year all summer! It's been my first Flip Flop Summer ever and I love them.

Come join the party over at Betsy's place!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Unsteady Steps

Not so very long ago she held our hands to steady our steps...

My cousin works for the neighboring town. Late this morning she met me at the town loan closet and I came back home with a walker for my mom. It took no convincing Mom of its usefulness. She certainly seems relieved to have a more reliable support than the cane given to her at the after hours medical center Sunday night. I'd originally hoped the cane would be sufficient, but as the days passed it became apparent that neither Mom nor I were comfortable with her mobility level and the cane wasn't doing the job we hoped it could.

This business of "getting old" stuff is really hard. All those family photos of Mom are suddenly becoming completely nostalgic, and I find myself missing the woman in the photographs, the one who held us steady. Sometimes I'm not certain I can ever fill those shoes.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Blackberry Bramble

It feels like summer again; hot, humid, and sticky. It's blackberry season. Though I often prefer to venture off to pick berries alone, soaking in the sunny solitude, this afternoon I decided to take three little girls along to the back edge of our property where the  blackberry brambles grow thick and prickly.

Each small girl carried a green berry box in which to gather the treasured fruit. Warned of the vine's vicious ways, they cautiously braved the thorny old hedgerow, plucking fat fruits and dropping them into their boxes. The littlest girl was started to find her hair tangled in a sharp toothed overhanging branch. "It pulled my hair!" she exclaimed.

As I sat on the back porch just a half hour earlier, plucking tiny elderberries from gigantic clusters, I had thought how mothers of days gone by would have given the job of elderberry plucking to rambunctious young children, and yet there I sat doing it myself. My mind wandered to the patch of wild canes full of dark, sweet blackberries rotting in the summer sun and I wondered how many of today's children will one day look back with fond memories of braving blackberry prickers. After all, how many children now wander far enough from a mother's watching eye to even find a patch of wild berries?

"Naughty! Naughty! Naughty!" she shouted into the brambles, and yet the smallest girl reached in again to pull a juicy fruit from the vine full of stickers. There were squeals of pain and laughter from the other two as they too discovered the joy of blackberry bushes and the sweet reward of fresh picked berries.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


There are crossroads in everybody's life and I have come upon another in mine. It's probably no secret that I am tired. I've been wearing down for a long time now, and it's obvious that something has to change.

Taking care of an aging parent 24/7 is no picnic and I have had the responsibility for almost three years now. Adjusting to Mom's initial arrival took a long time, longer than I had anticipated, but adjusting has been far from a one time occurrence. Adjusting happens daily, and it happens for Mom too.

I was already feeling the strain in the weeks prior to Mom's fall on Sunday evening, but actually seeing her struggle to walk (with nothing broken or displaced) has brought to the surface the need to be not only better prepared for a real emergency, but to find someone I trust who can come in and stay with her at times when we are unable to be here. God has an interesting way of answering prayer, even prayers that I can scarcely recall praying. Or maybe He is answering someone else's prayer on my behalf... I believe the answer to my need for help may have been sitting right here in my living room when Mom took her fall. "K" has already worked as a caretaker for the elderly, and has papers to prove her qualifications with Alzheimer's patients. She is someone I know and trust, and had already offered to help before Rachel called to tell us of the accident.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Rainy Monday Night

It's raining outside just like this morning, only tonight it's really dark. The sound of falling rain takes me back to long gone days of camping with my parents. Although the outside moisture crept inside the camper and made our sleeping bags feel damp, there was something comforting about listening to the rain patter against the canvas roof and knowing we were all safe inside together.

Dad had a few favorite campgrounds that we visited repeatedly. He even had favorite campsites in some of them where we camped multiple times throughout the years. This corner spot in the upper campground at Robert H. Treman State Park was one of those spaces, but I also recall setting up camp across the road or around the circle when this site was already occupied. No one camps there now. The upper part of the park has been relegated to a "picnic ground" instead.

I didn't go on a camp out this year, not even to "Hannah's Place", at least not yet... but in my mind I can always take myself back to the days of laying in my sleeping bag next to my sisters where we would fall asleep listening to our parents talk softly around a dying campfire. Ofttimes Dad would pick up his guitar or harmonica and make some music for us and our fellow campers. Nobody seemed to mind, and sometimes he'd even get a bit of encouragement from the next campsite.

Rainy Monday Morning

It's Monday morning, and it's raining. It's one of those mornings where I could sit and soak up the not quite silent sound of falling rain...

The house is dark and Mom, after her morning bathroom visit, crawled back into her bed and under the covers. I cancelled her afternoon appointment with the audiologist. There will be no adjusting of hearing aids today. She took a fall last evening which left her battered and bruised.. She's been x-rayed and nothing is broken, but she is sore and walks with a great limp. I don't think I will want to leave her home alone for a while which means I must consider rearranging my plans for this last week of summer. Not sure quite how I feel about that...

In other news, I am wondering if it is actually possible to become burned out on children...

Friday, August 23, 2013

Super Powers

Somewhere along the way I have exceeded my super power capabilities... or perhaps my arch nemesis has found a clever way to secretly drain my energy supply. Either way my "Super Suit" is not fitting as it should. Summer has worn me out. I am drained.

In a little less than two weeks school will start up again for another year and I will take off for a week in Minnesota. After my return, I will put one child on and off the bus for the month of September and keep track of one small girl during the day. Right now even that sounds exhausting, but with the advent of school comes no other children for the current small child to fight with. Just that in itself will be a relief. She is trying on good days, but this week has been exceptionally trying.

When I stand back and look at my summer, the only things I see causing me great stress are the children I watch during the week and caring for my mother. Only one of those is really optional. Tuesday I could have had nine different children come through my doors, but I said no to six. None of them were my grandchildren, they were from three different families, and they are all children I love and care about. One has been here on a fairly regular basis lately but she is very small and requires constant supervision. (She wore me out being here four days last week.) Two are school aged but would have arrived at 6:30 am and I just couldn't do it. The other three would have arrived late in the afternoon after an already long day, and they also require constant supervision. I felt, in a way, as though God was shouting a message into my ear. "LEARN TO SAY NO!" And so I did. I could never have made it through the rest of this week had I not said no to Tuesday.

My last pottery class is next week. Although I don't feel as though throwing pots came as easily this time as when I took a class nine years ago, I do at least have a starting point and have had my memory jogged. Maybe the experience will be useful in the months to come. Maybe I will actually find a moment to escape to my basement and throw pots here. Maybe I will actually call my cousin and find out if we can do this together. Maybe one day it will become therapy and a stress reliever. Maybe I will get good enough to actually sell something... It could happen... maybe.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Camera Card

My camera card is full. Somewhere in this house hides another, still in the package, and waiting, but I know not where. In two weeks I will be packing my bags for my trip to Minnesota and I can not leave without a fresh camera card. I have to take pictures of our new grandbaby!

I have checked my boxes of photo CD's and gone through the camera case that we never ever use am beginning to wonder why I ever bought two at the same time if I wasn't going to keep better track of things. Not that Christmas wasn't distracting or anything... (Two negatives make a positive, yes? Christmas is distracting.) I am once again asking The One Who Knows to help me locate that tiny, packaged piece of plastic and wire so that I don't have to fork out any money for another just yet. I wonder what He'll say?

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Just Keep Writing

Just keep writing, just keep writing...

It's been more than seven years since I started keeping a blog. That a lot of writing. I've made a lot of friends in Blogland and have even met a few in person, but lately blogging has been much quieter. There has been somewhat of a lull in the excitement as old friends and family members give up their Blogdoms and pursue other interests or come under the belief that computer friends are "virtual" and give them up for something more "real". My commenting friends have dwindled, yet here I stay, writing, writing... and most if it probably utter nonsense. In my state of recent muddled-ness, I have not done much commenting myself, which doesn't do much for generating comments here.

My blog has been rather haphazard of late. It doesn't have a theme or central interest, just random thoughts, bits and pieces of my days, and here and there a bit of family history. Perhaps it's gotten boring and dull (or perhaps it always has been...) and yet I continue to tap the keyboard and post photos. It's compulsive. :)

I am overtired and should be crawling into bed rather than sit and type, but I rather like to imagine I have some company in the great adventure, so sometime tomorrow morning I will return to Blogland and check to see if anyone has decided to join me. I'll have my cup of coffee, whether I want it or not (sometimes I don't, but I'm afraid of the ensuing headache... ), and maybe a bit of breakfast. Or maybe I'll take my coffee out on the back porch and enjoy these fleeting summer mornings while they last. Yeah, maybe I'll do that.

PS. Yes, I like feeding the birds too.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

F is for Field Trip

F is for field trip and today was the day!

For far too long I have con- sidered taking the girls I babysit out to a local park to walk the nature trails and feed the birds, but not followed through. Summer is quickly fading and since it was such a beautiful day, we packed them into the van and headed out for some fun. Normally I bring a bag of sunflower seeds, but wanting to save time, we tossed a bit regular birdseed mix into a bag and hoped the chickadees wouldn't be too disappointed.

None of the girls had been to this particular spot and so none had yet exper- ienced the wonder of having a small bird land on their fingers. I prepared them the best I could, telling them how it felt kind of funny to have a birds claws land on your hand but that it didn't hurt. I also informed them that sometimes the birds fly directly toward your face on their way to land in your hand. It might seem scary, but it really isn't.

We were not dis- appointed in our adventure and the birds were happy to pick the sunflower seeds out of our hands and leave the rest. I managed to catch of photo of each child with a small bird, but wished I could have also captured the expressions that came over their faces after the first birds flew back into the trees. It was priceless.

 For more ABC Wednesday fun, click here.

Monday, August 19, 2013

On Becoming a Picky Eater

There is too much on my plate. I am full and will never be able to finish what is before me, therefore I must become a "picky eater"... I have never cared much for picking, especially when everything in front of me looks good, and yet I know that stuffing it in will only cause me indigestion... (Of course I speak in riddles.)

I've been stretched, stressed, and overwhelmed.. Oh, there are times when everything feels like it's going along alright, and then, all of the sudden the walls come crashing down around me and I once again come to the realization that I am not Wonder Woman and I never will be Wonder Woman, no matter how I struggle to fit in the suit. Today I said "no". I said no to people when I would desperately like to say "yes". Picking and choosing is hard. I don't like it much.

James and I went out together yesterday. I'm not certain, but I think he had it in mind to check off as many "Summer things" from my list as possible. We went out for breakfast, stopped at a waterfall (briefly), played miniature golf, bought a couple bottles of wine (we were too late for the tasting), had ice cream on the way home, and drove way too fast. Perhaps I can convince him to slow down and smell the roses next time we head out for the day. I came home exhausted!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Prickers and Sparks

Several years back we dis- covered a treasure trove of black- berries growing along the hedgerow between our property and our neighbor on the hill. When Mike had the old hedgerow stone buried, our blackberries disappeared for a while, but they're back and it looks like a good crop this year! I think we might even find enough fruit for a blackberry pie, though most of them will go into jam. My hands will be covered with microscopic lacerations for the next couple weeks. Those vines are most vicious!

Though "bonfire" was not on my summer list, we enjoyed one this evening just the same. There were marshmallows and s'mores and hotdogs for cooking, and friends to share the evening. Nate and Sabrina came too. It would have been a great night to camp out, but here we are again inside the house. Maybe we'll sleep out tomorrow night.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Beat Means Whooped

"I'm beat! Beat means whooped." So said my small son one day. It's probably been 28 years since then, but the line has stayed with me all these years, tucked away in a momma's memory. I often think of it when I am totally exhausted, and I am totally exhausted.

It's been a long week, made a little longer by the fact that I've had a stiff and achy neck for the past two days. Did you know that pain really does a number on one's patience level? The pain comes and goes, perhaps along with my stress level, and perhaps along with the taking and waring off of ibuprofen. Sometimes it doesn't hurt much at all, and at other moments, like just before I am driven to the bottle of pain reliever, I can't move my head without feeling the pain. Perhaps what I really need is a relaxing weekend, except I'm not sure there's enough time in a weekend to relax...

Doing the Twist

I left just a little early for my pottery class last night. Dinner for my family was on the stove; meatballs and sliced eggplant in sausage spaghetti sauce, all they had to do was cook up some pasta, but I hadn't eaten. I had formulated a plan for myself that didn't include pasta. I was in the mood for ice cream, soft ice cream.

Rather than head directly toward the city of Rochester, I took a short detour toward the town of Williamson, stopping at Yai Yai's, the local ice cream shop. I had two dollars in my pocket as I stepped from my car into the deserted shop. It was supper time. In another hour or so the place would be crowded with customers clamoring for an evening treat, but I didn't even have to wait in line.

I enjoyed the thick creamy treat at leisure as I settled back into my seat and turned the van west down Route 104. I was all alone with my ice cream cone, and I'm pretty sure I was smiling.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Everyday Adventures

I was distracted, not really paying attention when she said it. "This is my lip gloss." It should have commanded my attention, but the endless chatter doesn't always register right away. Thankfully, her sister was paying attention. And luckily, the markers are washable.

E is for Error

E is for error.

Perhaps you've seen the latest MSNBC gaffe. It has to do with the cities President Obama is scheduled to tour in Pennsylvania and New York State, except someone failed to check a map before labeling the scheduled stops. Out of four cities listed, the locations of all four are wrong.

I hope the driver knows more about NY state than the news team!

For more ABC Wednesday fun, click here.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Slippery Days of Summer

Each week finds the weather feeling a little more fallish and my summer is fading fast. There are still several items not checked off my summer list...

*Read a book
*Go to Canada
*Hit the beach
*Camp out overnight
*Go fishing
*Take a boat ride
*Go for a bike ride
*Play miniature golf
*Go wine tasting
*Ride a roller coaster

Some of these things will still happen, in fact, I am reading a book, recommended by my sister Priscilla, and enjoying it very much. It is "Unbroken" by Laura Hillenbrand, the story of Louie Zamparini. I also have a bike ride planned... kind of... and the miniature golf course owned by some friends is just a few miles down the road. Tuesdays and Thursdays it's two for one. The beach isn't far and it's even closer if I don't plan to swim. There's still time for wine tasting in the Finger Lakes, and a boat ride could happen... I was giving up on the roller coaster ride when Hannah reminded me that the Mall of America in Minneapolis has a few. If I stretch summer a few weeks into September, I just might check that off my list too, along with meeting another blog friend who lives a short distance from my son.

Today I baked a peach pie. It very nicely turned my day of feeling unpro- ductive into a sweet bit of productivity. Gotta love a peach pie on an August evening, especially with whipped cream!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Pickin' and Grinnin'

Gardens are fun, especially when vegetables actually grow.

We have had zucchini and yellow squash coming out of our ears the past couple weeks. We have cooked it up with peppers and onions, put it in spaghetti, and made Meatballs Espanol. (How do you like that? Mom's old recipe is online...) I have baked it in a pie, shredded it into pancakes, and made it into bread. We have given it away to friends and family, and stuffed our refrigerator with it. I am wondering how in the world I ever paid for even one small squash at the grocery store.

Last week I sliced up a ton of cucumbers and made Bread and Butter pickles. Yesterday I made another smaller batch. Although I have more than enough cukes, I think it has been weeks since we ate tossed salad on a regular basis.

We have probably close to 50 pepper plants, most of which are some kind of hot pepper or chile. At least six are regular green bell peppers. We could never keep up with them if we had to eat them fresh, but we know what to do with chile peppers. Just turn on the grill and roast them up. When they cool off, store them in plastic bags and toss them in the freezer. They are wonderful in soups, sandwiches, eggs, and fried potatoes.

And... way out back, where the hedgerow used to be, the blackberries are growing. They aren't quite ready for picking just yet, but I definitely see some blackberry jam in our future. I had some company out there Saturday afternoon.

PS. On Friday evening we had dinner with our son and daughter in law and enjoyed some time with the grandchildren. They are a busy, noisy, fun-loving bunch! And that granddaughter is irresistible.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Out for a Burger

This past Thursday Hannah and I decided to take the two sisters (Rocky and Wisdom) out for a ride. I drove down Lake Road toward Webster and thought we'd stop at the Webster Park pier where there is a nice little stony beach. We had no sooner pulled into the parking area, with the windows rolled down, then we decided to leave. Sometimes the lake just smells nasty and it was one of those times. Yuck!

After visiting the campground play area, we headed out to look for Gosnell Big Woods Preserve, but ended up at Vosburg Hollow instead. The girls seem to enjoy walking in the woods and Webster has a treasure chest of trails to follow.There isn't any need to travel a great distance when there is so much area to explore in our backyard.

Since we left home just before lunch time, we were all hungry after our walk, so we took the girls to Five Guys Burgers and Fries. I could have really splurged and bought everyone a lunch all their own, but I know better. I got the girls a "little burger" with ketchup and split it in half. Hannah and I split a regular sized burger with lots of trimmings, and we all shared a medium order of fries. Hannah and I each had our own drink and the girls split a third one. We ate outside because it's summer and
eating outside is so much more fun than eating inside with air conditioning. The weather has been so nice that outside is perfect every afternoon; perfect for woods walking and perfect for eating outside. Besides, when a small girl falls down, puts a hole in her knee, and spills her entire drink on the ground, the situation is easily remedied.

I have to say, it was a very nice day and I am eager to get out there again and find those 350 year old trees at Gosnell Big Wood Preserve, or maybe hop on a bike and ride the Hojack Trail. (Used to ride along part of that on motorcycles many years ago...)

Friday, August 09, 2013

Resistance is Futile

For the past nine years I have had a pottery wheel in my basement. Granted it is not the kind found in most pottery studios. It is, in fact, one of a kind. My Darling made it for me. Today I washed the dust and grime from its top and seat, and brushed off a few spider webs. Hannah went out to the barn and found an extension cord so I could plug it in...

What I really wanted eight or nine years ago was to order a pretty wheel from an artist supply company, the kind like my first pottery teacher had in her studio, so when my husband got creative and made a wheel, I was much less appreciative than I should have been. I found more to complain about than just the wheel. I didn't really want to work in a dark and musty basement, and so I have gone many years without. I am ashamed to admit how ungrateful I was. :-(

So, now I am back to the question I had eight years ago. Do I spend a significant amount of money and buy a new wheel, or do I use what I have and learn to work with it? It really is, in many ways, much nicer than those store-bought pottery wheels. And it it has a cushy seat too! Today I worked with it. My first bowl collapsed and my second bowl threatened to. I decided perhaps my clay was too wet or maybe I worked it too fast. (I'll have to do some research...) Anyhow, I stopped before she went over again. It's a wide mouthed bowl, not too deep, but not too bad either. We'll have to see how it trims up.

I really do have the best husband in the whole world. :)

Wednesday, August 07, 2013


It's been a dry time. I'm not really sure when the moisture slipped away and the ground became hard and cracked, I only know that I am thirsty...

Four years ago I felt the presence of God. He was close, He was near, and He was speaking to my heart. In early 2009 He whispered to my heart and I knew that He would be there to carry me through the storm that lay ahead. I couldn't see down the road and around the bend, but I knew He held me tight and I know He continues to hold me today, even though my heart often feels like a hardened lump of clay.

The past several years have brought a multitude of tests and trials from my father's cancer diagnosis and death four weeks later, to a change in churches and family challenges. Life, unlike our Father in heaven, can be cold and indifferent. Life doesn't slow down when circumstances around us are spinning out of control. Time marches on and so must we, often at a faster clip than we ever imagined possible.

Gratitude... Although the world spins on and it often feels as though chaos reigns, I can be thankful that God is still in control. My heart, though possibly dry, is not really a hardened lump. God hasn't let that happen. He's growing roots deep within, the kind of roots that hold one steady when all of life literally is out of control. I thought the other day of our lawn, which during a normal summer turns dry and brown. It looks dead and feels dry and crunchy, but when the rain comes it isn't long before it once again grows lush and green. If God so looks after the grass (Matthew 6:30), then I can be sure He hasn't forsaken me.

God always knows just what I need. Tonight I looked back through my Blogdom and found some answers to my own questions in my own writing. The world spins, yes, but so does the lump on the potter's wheel and hadn't I prayed to be flexible? Hadn't I wanted Him to shape and mold my heart and life? And doesn't that time of drying come after the potter has shaped the vessel? Perhaps I've just been "set on the shelf" for a time. Maybe it's not really the kind of dryness I'd imagined. Maybe it's the kind that come just before the pitcher is ready to be filled... Maybe...

Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand. 
Isaiah 64:8

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

D is for Don't

D is for don't. I don't know why I feel compelled to chose these words...

"Don't" just happened to be my eldest daughter's first real word and she was talking to her brother. While I found the initial encounter amusing, the continued rivalry and contention left me oft times wanting to pull my hair out (or knock their heads together...).

Years down the road, with sub- sequent (and older) children, I stumbled upon the idea of making the squabbling siblings "sit on the couch touching". Yes, they had to be sitting close enough to one another that they were in actual physical contact. Somehow this little bit of discipline typically left them laughing rather than fighting. It also taught them that if they didn't want to end up practically one on the lap of the other, they'd best learn to get along.

For more ABC Wednesday fun, click here.

Monday, August 05, 2013

Feels Like Fall

Last week I promised to take Hannah horseback riding. She missed going to lessons with her friends because I needed her to babysit Thursday evening. Today was the day and we couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day to spend a couple of hours on the farm. The bright, blue sky was full of puffy, white clouds and sunshine, and it felt like the perfect September day, except that it's really August.

Patience paid off and not only was Hannah able to ride, but she and the teacher went off on a trail ride instead of just riding circles inside the barn or up on the hill. Hannah returned smiling, and guess what? Emma and I had a chance to ride the horses too. How cool is that?

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Another Peek at Baby

*Sigh* Isn't he beautiful?

I love his hair, I love his little face, and I love his little fingers. One day, not soon enough, I will hold this precious little guy, kiss sweet little head, and feel his silky baby hair against my cheek. I will watch his mommy smile and see his daddy beam with pride, and I will remember a day not so far back in my memory, when I kissed another small head of darkish hair as I held a tiny bundle in my arms.

We were young, so young, but the tiny bundle we held almost thirty-two years ago was no less precious, and as Jim finds himself awestruck and filled with a brand new kind of love, so did we. He says we were brave, but I was, in some ways, scared to death as I found myself entrusted with the life and care of my very first child. There never was a prettier, more perfect baby than my first.

Friday, August 02, 2013

Grammy's House

We had two extra boys for the past two days. Josh and Jake stayed over night with Aunt Hannah while their mommy is gone on a business trip and daddy was working. This afternoon, while Aunt Hannah wasn't looking, Grammy took Jakie outside to play...


Little boys love sandboxes, and since our sandbox is fresh and clean, Grammy decided to let Jake have a little bit of fun. Do you think eleven months is old enough for a boy to play in the sandbox?

Grammy watched close, just in case the small child should chance to eat a handful of sand, but he was more interested in squeezing handfuls, checking out the sand toys, and getting his feet dirty... Well, he didn't decide to taste it for at least ten minutes, and then, all of the sudden, he popped a fistful into his mouth. I don't think he was pleased by the result.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

A Little Pot Tossing

Tonight I am totally exhausted, but I thought I'd share a picture or two of my Thursday night adventures. I finally remembered to take a couple pictures at my pottery class.

They don't all turn out perfect, in fact, sometimes the clay has a mind all its own. The tall one got tired in the middle because I wasn't spinning the wheel fast enough for how fast I was pulling, but then again, I had my eyes closed. It's the best cylinder I've done yet. The "plate" was really supposed to be a big bowl, but I opened it up too much too soon. Next week is our last week of throwing and we will be on to just trimming and glazing. If all goes well, I'll have several finished pieces to take home when the time is done. It's all got me thinking a little bit more of that pottery wheel James made...