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text 2018-07-05 17:05
More photos!

This is the project that doesn't require any time outside or in the studio or in the workshop.  I can stay where it's cool!



This is labeled "Uncle Arthur's Summer Camp."  Taken early 1890s.


From the left:  George Joel Wheeler (1860-1911) was my grandfather's father.  Seated in the print dress Grandma Wheeler, Pamelia (Turner) Wheeler (1821-1903), was George's mother. Cousin Louis (in hat) is Louis Arthur Wheeler (1878-1960), my grandfather's cousin.  Uncle Arthur Leroy Wheeler (1851-1930) was George's brother. Aunt Sarah is Sarah (Crow) Wheeler (1854-1941), Arthur's wife and Louis's mother.  Nina Wheeler (1884-1968) was Louis's sister.  Mabel is Mabel Pamela Wheeler (1889-1968), George Joel's daughter.  She's my Great-aunt Mabel who compiled and labeled all the photos, my grandfather's older sister.  "Mother" is Mabel's mother, Alphronia (Drury) Wheeler (1865-1946), my great-grandmother.  Charles is Charles Joel Wheeler (1885-1941), Mabel's and my grandfather's older brother, and therefore my dad's uncle.  My grandfather wasn't born until 1901, so several years after this photo was taken.


Until I scanned this photo and began figuring out just who everyone was, I didn't realize that Pamelia Turner was in it.  Then when I put in the dates, I realized she was born almost 200 years ago! I have a spoon that, according to legend, she cut her teeth on, literally.  There are small dents in the bowl supposedly from her teeth.  It's badly tarnished and I should clean it up and seal it.  I was able to get a couple of fairly decent photos, including one with her name -- it's Pamelia, not Pamela -- engraved on the handle.  The metal is very soft and bends almost to the touch.  I don't know how it survived a baby's teething!



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text 2018-07-05 15:49
I was up ridiculously early

Weather forecast is calling for a high this afternoon of 112.  It wasn't even very cool at 4:30 a.m., but I decided to take advantage of the dogs' needing to go outside and spent about an hour in the studio.  I had two objectives.


One was to continue work on this major crafting project that I really want to finish before I leave for my little vacation in Seattle.  The project has reached the stage where it puts stress on my fingers and wrists if I work too long at one time, so I try to get in short sprints here and there.  It seems to be working, as I am seeing significant progress.


The second was to initiate another major project, but one that has no urgency.


There are all kinds of little bits of "stuff" scattered around the studio.  Stones and patterns and bits of fabric and notes on scraps of paper and tools and what-not.  I knew I had a good-sized rectangular roaster pan in the workshop what was perfect for this new project.  Once I washed it out and let it dry, I began collecting all these bits and scraps and what-nots into the pan for later sorting. . . and disposal.  Just in the process of collecting the stuff, I found a few things that ended up in the trash, where they should have gone months ago.


By the time I brought both myself and the dogs in the house roughly an hour later, I had accomplished my two objectives.  Neither project is finished, of course, but I'm well on the road.  However, in gathering up the odds and ends, I stumbled upon some truly ancient paperwork -- the manuscripts brought to the last meeting of my last real critique group, probably somewhere around 1994.


I knew some of them were out there, so this wasn't a shocking discovery.  What surprised me was how many of them I still had.  There are at least a dozen, maybe as many as 20.  I called on what little discipline I possess and resisted the temptation to sit down and read, so I didn't even go through the binder to see how many actual manuscripts were there, but it's a bunch.


With one exception, none of the writers in that particular critique group ever went on to be published as far as I know.  One of the books has been digitally published by the author on Amazon.  I picked it up for free a couple years ago when I recognized the plot line; the author used a pseudonym that I would never have recognized.  At the time, it had a few reviews, and most of the reviewers agreed with my original assessment: the story was cute but just too far-fetched to be believable.


I'm not sure that that particular manuscript is in the collection I found today.  If it is, it should have some interesting observations (mostly mine) written on it, because that implausibility was one of the main reasons the critique group never warmed up to this story.  I was distinctly reminded of it while I was reading Breaking the Rules the other day.


It's now going on 8:00.  I still have a ton of work to do before BF announces he's heading home from California, so I'd better get my butt in gear.  Old critique group manuscripts may be interesting, but chuckling over them won't pay the bills!

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text 2018-07-01 21:48
As the neck stiffens. . . . . .

Yesterday was not a good day.  I managed to push through the pain of a stiff neck to get a few things done, but it wasn't easy.


One medium-sized project is crossed off the list, completed.  Because it required an extended stint at the computer, I suspect that didn't do my stiff neck any good.


I continued to make progress on the family photo project as well.  It, too, requires substantial time at the computer, not only to crop individual photos from the pages they've been securely glued to, but to zoom in on faint penciled captions and then to decipher unfamiliar handwriting.


A large crafting project also contributes to the physical strain, but it's something I really need to finish and get out of the way.  It's taking up considerable space in the studio, for one thing.  For another, it's an item I sell fairly regularly both online and in bulk to a local retailer, so I need to keep a supply on hand.  After having let my stock dwindle to barely a dozen, I'm now working on replenishment, slowly but surely.  Again, it's something that requires some physical strain and I know that's part of what triggered the stiff neck.


I was tired last night and went to bed around 10:00, but woke up at 2:00 a.m. in excruciating pain.  Both sides of the back of my neck were screaming to the point that I had severe difficulty getting out of bed.  I thought about taking some ibuprofen, but I couldn't even push past the pain enough to get the bottle out of the cabinet or find a drink of water.  I collapsed back into bed.


When the dogs woke me at 4:30 to go outside, I was even worse.  I don't even know how I got out of bed, but I did.  The dogs would have stayed out longer, but I got them inside with a promise of cookies.  Before I fell back into bed, I did take some ibuprofen.  By the time I next woke up at 6:30, I could at least move without screaming aloud.  Yes, that's how bad it was.


I was able to take care of the major early-morning chore, which was to change out all the tumbler barrels and move the stones along on their weeks-long journeys to being polished.  Even though it's not a taxing job -- the barrels are small so they only weigh a couple pounds each -- I could feel the strain to my neck and shoulders.  I finished about 7:30, then headed once again for bed.


Though I hadn't really expected to sleep, I dozed off into dreamland and had a completely terrifying nightmare that my bottles of Levenger fountain pen ink had all been smashed to smithereens and my Ultra-Tec faceting machine stolen from the studio.  Fortunately, it was only a dream, and a beep from my phone alerting me to an incoming text message woke me up.  It was 10:15.  I could move without significant pain.




I got up and took more ibuprofen.


It's now early afternoon.  I have accomplished certain objectives for today, crossing a couple more small items off The List.  I logged into the public library's ebook system, intending to finish reading a non-fiction book I started several weeks ago, but something else popped up and I'm going to try a frothy little bit of fun.  I need a few hours without controversy and angst.

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text 2018-05-20 22:37
Reading progress update: I've read 40%.
The Well At The World's End: Volume II - Lin Carter,William Morris

Prior updates:





Remember the old writers' adage?  Write Chapter One.  Write Chapter Two.  Throw away Chapter One.  It's meant to keep writers from pouring all the background material, especially the characters' history, into a grand opening info dump.  Apparently it's not as old an adage as we might think, because Morris clearly didn't follow it with this book!


Four chapters or so -- maybe more, maybe less -- are given over to the history of the Lady of Abundance, who by the way has no name.  Talk about telling and not showing?  The whole thing is done in her narration to Ralph, and I have to say it's pretty damn boring.


This interlude, however, serves to set up Ralph's decision to actively seek the Well at the World's End, which had only been a kind of thought in the back of his head prior to her tale.


The Lady of Abundance (also known as the Lady of the Dry Tree) isn't the only character without a name.  We have various Knights of the Dry Tree, the Sorceress, the Knight of the Sun, and so on, which makes it difficult to tell who is who.  The girl from Bourton Abbas, a place Ralph stopped at along the way, is now coming back into the story, but she was so unremarkable at her introduction that I don't remember anything about her.  Now she's being brought back into the story as Dorothea.  I may have to go back to the pages in Bourton Abbas to refresh my memory as to who she is.


Another difficulty in reading this book is that people and places change sides frequently.  So Ralph meets people along the way who claim the village of Hampton under Scaur is a place of evil, but other people he meets say it is a haven for travelers.  Some encourage him to seek refuge in Hampton, while others urge him to avoid it head instead for the Burg of the Four Friths. It's very confusing.


Like places, the people are confusing.  Is Walter the Black a good guy or not?  What about the Knight of the Sun?  And who was the guy Ralph kept encountering with ominous comments like, "The first time"?


Also, a map would be helpful.


Brief update on me:  I spent most of Friday and all of Saturday in bed, in excruciating pain with the back spasms.  Big doses of ibruprofen helped only a little.  Last night (Saturday) I was i such extreme pain that against my better judgment I broke out a 2013 prescription of Flexeril that I had got another time I had bad spasms.  Though it didn't work at all that time, it worked last night and allowed me to sleep.  I took another around 2:00 a.m. and slept off and on until 9:30.  I'm laying off the Flexeril for now, and am still in pain but not quite so much.


The one thing I managed to get done this morning was change out all four tumbler barrels.  One small batch of stones is now done -- there wasn't anything spectacular in that barrel -- and the other three are progressing.  I would have liked to fill that fourth barrel with new stones, but the back just wouldn't let me. 


BF is on his way home from umpiring another softball tournament and then I think we're going to the Asian buffet . . . if I can stay awake that long!  I think I'm having a Flexeril flashback. . . . . . .

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text 2018-05-18 19:47
I knew this would happen

I did my best to avoid it, but  . . . .


Putting three bags of water softener salt into a grocery cart, then taking them out of the cart to put them in the car, then taking them from the car to the patio.


Carrying a 35 pound bag of dog food from the car to the kitchen.


Bringing a case of bottled water from the car to the studio.


I woke up this morning with back spasms.  Had difficulty getting out of bed.  Hot shower helped, but not much.


I would still be in bed, flat on my back, but supplier of Moby's anti-inflammatory meds screwed up the refill order and I had to get on the computer to dig up the original order and communications re the prescription.


All I want to do right now is lie down and for the pain to stop.  I know it will eventually, but right now it's pretty terrible. And I can't go to bed until I get this mess cleared up with Moby's meds.


Oh, and the toilet leak started up again.  It needs a new valve, which I bought yesterday but am not even going to try to install until I can move without screaming.  At least the leak is way, way, way diminished from what it was, and even at its worst it wasn't terrible.  It's more an annoyance than anything else.



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