Gary's Third Pottery Blog

When the going gets tough, dragons gonna get going....

Gary's third pottery blog

WRITE TO ME! Come see me! Open studio HERE! November 25-26 (11-4 each day); Aurora Art and Design, daily until 12/24; Cooperstown Art Assoc. daily until 12/24; Ellis Hollow Community Fair, 12/10; December 10, Little Red Wagon at the Space at Greenstar. All material on this blog unless stated otherwise is copyright Gary Edward Rith 2016

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween = CEMETERIES?

For Halloween, I was like, Saturday:  "it is s'posed to rain like hell...I need pics of the Etna cemetery before the rain flies!"
Our village is so small we only have a couple hundred residents, a bust stop, a post office, playground, fire hall and...cemetery.  The cemetery is over 150 years old and has veterans from at least the War of 1812 (I think a veteran from 1776 too) and a lot of Civil War veterans (including a captain who died around 1862...but whose wife, buried next to him, died around 1918!).  We have the title abstract on our house which is the same age as the cemetery, and we can trace the former owners around the headstones.
The cemetery is so beautiful.  It is only a block from our house and surrounded by a brook and forest preserve with paths!  It is all a bit pleasantly rough.  Nobody ever visits either cemetery or nature preserve, which means they are clean and have no trash.
We got home and since it has been warm...I had a deer tick on my leg OH GOSH! Nabbed him before he bit me....
Anyway, the saddest stones are just behind Penny, a row of several stones from one family.  The parents died many years after the kids.  All of the kids died in one week in January in the 1800s....imagine that, some flu comes along, and all your kids your die in one week?????

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

sidestepping Sandy and Time Warp Tuesday!

I was not too concerned about this storm until a weather guy on the radio was talking about it....then I started collecting water and checking for batteries.  We happen to live on a river that does flood, very badly sometimes, but we are high.  We also happen to live close to the electric company.  I can't see them, but there are power lines all over the place around us.  As our well guy told us last year "you guys have power coming from 2 directions.  You're lucky, it means you won't easily lose your power" which would mean NO WATER etc.  And we don't seem to lose power .... unlike our last house, at the end of a country dirt road.  We lost power all the time!
Anyway, I have pots of water all over the place because life without water sucks.  But its pretty quiet outside.  maybe we are in the eye of the storm?
ANYWAY back to our regularly scheduled....

(You know that Jenn started this and there are many of us who participate including Brightside Susan and smalltown me  and jen rants and raves and Tonya Lynn    and Fond of Snape  . Basically, a fun way to dig up and share some old photos!!!!)

So like I said last week, my 22 year old self was a pre-school teacher with few chances of advancement...or decent pay.  I was in New York but heard that since Chicago famously had the "worst schools in America" (the Reagan administration actually said that) money was being thrown at Chicago and the University of Illinois was throwing money at future teachers.  IT WAS TRUE.  Not knowing anything about special education or Chicago, I applied to the masters program there, got in, got a full scholarship and a job with the university and moved there.  Financially a very good deal, educationally?  It was a terrible program and I didn't learn a thing!  (but I did mess around in the university ceramic studio, which had nothing to do with becoming a special education teacher, and that IS HOW I MET THE WIFE...funny, huh?)

Anyway, I got a very good teaching job at a very good private school for blind and multi-handicapped children called Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind.  They built a new school facility while I was there, state of the art.  It was filled with kindly and hard working people, almost everybody from a modest and poor background.  It was right next to University of Illinois, so I was obviously familiar with the area, but the school and everything about it changed my life because until then...I had always been surrounded by privilege.  Poor, blind, physically and mentally handicapped children and assistants from housing projects were all pretty new to me.  But I learned.

I can't say I did anything amazing or taught anybody anything.  To tell the truth, you were trying to teach kids whatever they needed, the most individualized instruction possible.  So, many were learning to feed themselves (remember:  blind and physically handicapped), dress themselves, go to the bathroom, clean up after themselves, etc.  One or 2 students I could try some reading skills with, and I did know braille at the time and how to teach it (don't remember it now!).  There were also students with hearing impairments and one student with autism.  He could not see and his functional IQ was in the mentally handicapped range and only spoke a couple of words but....he played piano brilliantly.  It was a reward for him:  do some school work then take a break to play piano.

The ceramics studio I mentioned the wife running at the university was just a block from the school and she let me bring kids over to make a mess which was a LOT of fun for blind kids.  We also went to a swimming program, and you see both those pictures below.  I was swimming with Eric there and that picture with his smile made it into a lot of newspapers and the annual report too....
(I taught there 1990-1993)

Monday, October 29, 2012

disgusting and despicable

Wednesday the NY Times has an article on peanut butter and ...pickles...sandwiches.  I am intrigued!  I put peanut butter on anything! Everything!!!! Friday I was game to try it, although I am not a pregnant lady but I was reaLLy hungry.
 I think the article uses sweet pickles, which I don't think I have ever bought, and have rarely eaten. I am a dill pickle guy. Would I have HATED PEANUT BUTTER AND PICKLES any less if I had tried it with sweet pickles????
 It was a nasty mess. I got photos below.
I ate it all.
 I got a tummyache.
BUT I am one of those optimistic Americans who turns bad to good. It being Halloween week, there is a little chocolate around the house, and I was like "DUH, peanut butter with a chocolate bar sandwich!" because I already know pb and chocolate is terrific together.
Well, day one, YES, it was sooooo good. I toasted my bread, got the pb on there, and softened a dark chocolate bar in the wave for a bit and tossed it top. DELISH!
But, again, being an American interested in CONVENIENCE and EFFICIENCY I was like "be easier to just toss the bread onto a baking sheet, put peanut butter on there and the chocolate bar and lightly warm them TOGETHER. And the result?
BRILLIANT. I should patent the idea! BEYOND delicious!


Sunday, October 28, 2012

speaking of frogs....

You probably could use one of these frog bowls, just out of the kiln Saturday morning! Soooo cute....on sale now at my etsy shoppe! biggish medium sized blue and green bowl with a frogbiggish medium sized purple bowl with a frog

Saturday, October 27, 2012


This is big.  I have been working on this decorating scheme for nearly 30 years!  The swirly colors....these mug represent my ideal just perfectly.  I was thinking about them, they have PIZAZZ! I need to make MORE!
Have a great Saturday!

(mugs by Gary Rith)

Friday, October 26, 2012

the whole dang thing...put together!

I see the wife's magazine and there is this recipe in there, for some type of pocket thing filled with spinach and potato, sausage, mushrooms and cheese and I am thinking "make this vegetarian, and you have a totally cool calzone filling!".  You will recall that last week I was making calzones for the first time in awhile...good golly, why don't people make them EVERYDAY?  The beauty of this filling is you remember when you were a kid and your plate had a little dollop of all the food groups placed around:  the spinach scoop here, the meat there, potato here, etc.  THIS CALZONE HAS THEM ALL inside a tasty crispy crust!

Also, look at this fine vase.  You need things like this, or your relatives do! less than 2 months till CHRISTMAS!  For sale now at my etsy shoppe....tall skinny turquoise or teal vase

Thursday, October 25, 2012

thinking of CHRISTMAS...2 short months from today!

Think of it!  Two months!!!! Will you have enough of my pottery for all of your friends and relations???? Shop early and often, especially with these super duper deals on super duper items! At my online etsy gallery NOW....

bunny and beagle mugbunny and beagle mugbunny and beagle mugfun dog and cat vasefun dog and cat vase

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

speaking of Claudia and blackberries...the berry kind....

Yesterday Claudia blog posts this divine looking simple pasta recipe full of meat and cream and I am like "wait, that sh!t can be REPLACED with vegetarian stuff and it will be DIVINE..." and EARLIER that day it had been the same....I get these frozen blackberries when our own season is over (as in, our ten months of winter)...I have always wondered about the blackberry cobbler recipe on back which is full of butter and cream, easily made non-dairy....I have never had blackberry cobbler before.  Maybe I have never had cobbler of any kind before?  WHY HAVE I NOT MADE AND EATEN blackberry cobbler before?????
It was our breakfast just now and Couldn't be more simple and easy to make and holy COW it is super tasty!

Spike agrees:  Claudia's peas, sausage and farfale made veg is DAMN CONVINCING....although he thinks those look like spinach pasta corkscrews, not farfale....

In other news, you know I am pretty crazy about exploring this decorating scheme, swirlies! Under glaze, mmmm mmmm mmm good!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

time warp Tuesday, toddlers and therapy dogs!

(You know that Jenn started this and there are many of us who participate including Brightside Susan and smalltown me  and jen rants and raves and Tonya Lynn    and Fond of Snape  . Basically, a fun way to dig up and share some old photos!!!!)

In 1987 I was a preschool teacher at my nephew's school in Syracuse and I lived in half of a 2 bedroom apartment across the street. I am posting this (25 years ago!) because I think the contrast is interesting, with the pics of me and Penny the therapy dog at Longview Senior Living yesterday below.  Then, working with preschoolers.  Now, working with the elderly!  Pretty similar, actually, in some ways.... (Longview, btw, is the nicest senior living on earth and is directly connected to the eldercare program at Ithaca College (gerontology) and millions of college students are onsite PLUS they also have a preschool, so the building has every age in it, from 3 to 103!)

Anyway, I studied art in college as you may guess.  In Reagan's 80s that didn't get me some kind of great paying job, but my minor topic which included student teaching etc was early childhood education because a)  it was fun reading kids books b) kids get to play with crayons and clay, yaaaay! and c) my GF at the time was into it....
When I graduated with my useful arts degree (in the end = TRES USEFUL, right?) I took a job in Syracuse at my nephew's preschool.  It was daycare and brutally difficult and exhausting...and starting pay was minimum wage.  Like, 3.35 an hour.  My apartment across the street was 125 a month.  I was happy, but oh lord I was tired.  There was me, a second teacher, and 20 3 year olds, 8-5 every day.  I have never been so tired in my life, and every young person should have these crappy paying and hard working jobs when they are young so they understand how it is for other people.

The fun part of the job was the stories, drawing and singing.  The hard part was the usual, trying to keep the kids from killing each other or running out into traffic...across the hall from our preschool was a special ed program for young kids and they had ONE ON ONE teacher to kids, they had muscians coming in with guitars, the teachers only worked 9-2...and I was like, truly "I am gonna become a special ed teacher"...and I did...more on that next week.

This photo cracks me up.  Little Leah on the left was such a sourpuss, but she liked me.  Sitting next to me was Jonathan, another teacher's son, and he was always singing...and dancing to LL Cool J and such....I remember all these kids so well, and they would be nearly 30 now......

(below, my pal Kerry with Penny, and Penny my therapy dog at Longview)

Monday, October 22, 2012

my azz: a BARELY SAFE FOR WORK post....

A week ago Stev0 and ray come over on Saturday, we run the very fast 5 miles...and the last 200 yards I sprint ahead in triumph, beating their exhausted selves.
I paid for it.  I pulled a muscle in my....azz. A pain in my azz....well...I think it is a pulled hamstring, which football players always seem to have.  But it feels like a pain in the azz when I run.

SO, Stev0 and Ray want to run another fast 5 miles Sunday, and I meet them. I say "I will be beyond slooow...slower than slow...I have an injured azz".  Stev0 helpfully takes a picture of that very azz while I am stretching...and I have the slowest run of my life, stagger back home and tell the wife
"Its cocktail hour and I need a soak.  You'll find me and my sore azz in the tub with a beer...." and she and the camera did indeed find me there....btw, beer and a hot bath is a brilliant combo, why have I never done this before??????

In other news....I have a big new favorite burrito. You may recall, we have started making our own tortillas. Making guacamole fresh at home is also easy. (even if you buy guac and tortillas, keep reading)  
WELLllll, so is roasting sweet potatoes. For 4 burritos, dice 2 sweet potatoes, mix with one or 2 tbs oil and hot pepper flakes, bake 30-40 minutes until they look crispy and done. Lay some guac on 4 tortillas, then put roasted sweet potato on top: the SIMPLEST and tastiest burrito you have EVER had in your life!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

blog tourism.....

Last summer Alison visits from Ontario and gives us a bottle of TASTY Cave Springs riesling...a dry wine from the immense Niagara growing region.  It is from Jordan, Ontario, arguably one of the PRETTIEST one block towns on the planet...with a winery in the middle and other wineries in every direction.  Actually, Jordan is like Beverly Hills in the middle of the Ontario woods....
My camera was misbehaving and I only got a couple of shots...but here is my story:

Longtime readers here will know that CM was my very first blog reader and internet customer and international visitor, and a lot of other first things too.  I started blogging 6+ years ago to show her what I was up to, as she was and is very secretive and private, but she came down from Canada and introduced herself to us 6 years ago this month, and we have been good pals with she and her husband B. ever since. They have come here a couple of times, and we have gone across to Ontario to see them.  Not too long ago they bought a new house....which is 100+ years old and gorgeous and they are lovingly restoring, as the saying goes.  I wanted to see it.

The other thread of this story and blogging is the large blog party I had in July, and Alison came down from Ontario with Ontario wine...the Cave Spring.  I loooooooooooooooved it, love love loved it! And I knew that just across the border from Buffalo is the prettiest part of southern Canada.  The area around Canadian Niagara Falls is all orchards, hills and forest, sooo pretty.  I looked up Cave Spring after tasting it and was like WOW, as you may say when you see the links above (my camera was misbehaving and I was lucky to get a couple of shots only...oh well).  Also turns out, Jordan, Ont is close to CM and B's new I planned to see the winery, have lunch, see their house, and BE A LEAF PEEPER as it is peak color season there....

Anyway, wine tourism and blog buddy tourism is FUN.  People may not realize how utterly close all of Canada is to New York...well, right across the border.  Since it is harder to travel since W. tightened border security, America ignores Canada.  Not me!  I love it!  I love Canadians!!!  I even had time to go to Canadian Niagara Falls....well, anyway, thanks for listening and I wish more of my pics had come out!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

the long and winding road....

Secret road trip today, catcha Sunday morning :)

(pitchers by me... I love pitchers! I love this new glaze scheme!!!! SWIRLY!)

Friday, October 19, 2012

speaking of RELIGION and POLITICS....

You always hear "never speak of religion and politics at the Thanksgiving table", probably because some uncle has horrific views on both and nobody wants to be bored or offended...better to just take it off the table, right?  Same with blogging, too, or at least a certain type of blogging, like mine, which is limited to the daily horsesh!t of my life...which tends to be about creativity, food, and if I may say, humor.

I won't go into politics.  I don't want to tear my hair out today, and I use facebook to avoid arguing politics. You can guess how I am going to vote, as a FAR OUT left wing anti-gun passionate animal lover and vegetarian....and it won't be Ralph Nader, comrade.

But, I am going to risk a brief show of religious belief.  In high school and college I began attending Quaker meetings (Religious Society of Friends) and I do so now.  On the surface, what is a Quaker?
There is no clergy, or as the saying goes, we removed the lay people. Therefore, no sermons.  Meeting (services) consists of the group assembled in silence, unless someone is moved by the spirit to speak, in a simple and unadorned space.   It is about social justice, leading a simple and quiet and humble life, and peace.  Quakers are one of the 3 so-called Peace Churches, with Mennonites and The Brethren, who are exempt from military drafts.
Quakers are quite varied as people and individual communities, and we are NOT to be confused with old order Mennonites, the Amish, who are a very different group.

I struggle, oh yes I do, with the leading the simple and humble life, to be a better listener and less of an impulsive speaker, but its hard!  I mean, I have had people look at me with real disbelief that anyone as foul-mouthed and moody and quirky as me could be a Quaker, but there it is....something for me to try for every day, more humility and more compassion.

Anyway, as Quakers had led once in the anti-slavery movement and the anti-Vietnam movement, you can guess that some Quakers spend a lot of time going to rallies, to protest, for example, the death penalty or wars in the mideast.  I am definately NOT the sort of person who goes to rallies.  You may notice that some of my activities revolve around trying to make somebody's world a little better and be a better person because of it, such as following around my little dog as she becomes a therapy dog for senior citizens or in hospicecare.  But as far direct action for the Quakers, I push a broom.  The most humble job I could think of, behind the scenes, NOT standing in the rain protesting something and having the police bust my head.

As Quakers have no clergy, there is really no staff either.  Just members who do what needs to be done. I am one of the local meetinghouses' cleaners, called the Third Street Sweepers.  Which is funny, when you think "he is a terrible and reluctant housekeeper, and he volunteers to help clean a huge public building???????". YES, yes I do.  Sweeping, mopping, scrubbing toilets....although I left the bathrooms yesterday to the new guy I was training to be my partner ;)

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I am a full-time studio potter, sculptor, and dog walker, married to superhawt Missus Tastycake.