My mother ordered a kiln…

…for Christmas.  Which, when you consider that we need to refinance the farm to get the ex off the loan, and I am working part-time, and we have used all of my savings, might not seem like the best thing to do.  However, when dealing with a mother who is closer to dying than living at this point, though she is still fighting.  She saw her oncologist on Friday who x-rayed her lungs and put her on a different antibiotic since what she saw could have been pneumonia or a new potential cancer spot.  Mom’s determined that she will not be dying by pneumonia, but her lungs may have something to say about that.  Since we discovered her stage four cancer when one lung collapsed and one partially collapsed due to fluids caused by cancer build up, I’m not sure mom has much to say about the matter.

Still, we are hoping the antibiotics work this time.

Mom was a teacher, you see.  Back before there were all the stores to sell goods to teachers which they pay for out of their own money to try and make those horribly decorated classrooms look like living places, teachers had to make their own borders out of paper, design their own posters, cut out their own decor.  Needless to say, from the time I learned to hold scissors and sort of cut a decent line, I became the person in charge of helping mom decorate her bulletin boards.  She did have this kit of border templates that I used to cut miles of interestingly shaped boarders out in various colors to fit the seasons and the themes, but that was all the help I got.  I learned to trace and cut bubble letters.  I was a master of the stapler.  I never learned to draw as well as mom. but that was mostly due to my own hang-ups and my belief that mom was amazing and my worry that I would never quite live up to her skill level at much of anything.

In any case, part of being mom’s daughter meant hanging out at school a lot while she worked.  I never minded when I was younger, since her classroom held treasure troves of books, over 25,000 by the time she retired (she rotated them in for themes and seasons), games to play, and things to do.  When I was younger, her giant sand table that I could climb in to play was a favorite, but as I got past the age of six and she taught me more about how to make things out of clay, I always loved working on clay projects on late nights in her classroom.  I don’t have any photos on this computer, but I will take a few down at the parents’ house tomorrow and post some of my classic pieces.  You may well be amused.  Remember, I was younger.  Much younger.  I haven’t really touched ceramics since I was in high school.  I moved away from home and into places far away from classrooms or spaces with room for messes and creativity of that sort.

When I moved back from China, I was just going to send suitcases home, but a friend of mine was coming back at the same time and she had room in her shipment.  She convinced me to ship a few things with her.  It just meant I had to drive up to Canada to get my stuff when the shipment arrived.  I almost sent a kiln home.  So did my friend.  The cost was amazingly low.  But the thought of customs and two kilns was problematic, so I canceled my order.  My friend didn’t bring a kiln in either…which ended up being a good thing since she filled her shipping container with so many art supplies there wouldn’t have been room.  Last summer, I found a kiln at Habitat for Humanity for 250.00.  Well, I talked the fellow down to 200.00.  Mostly because the person who dropped off the kiln said it worked, but they had no way to test it.  As it turns out, after getting the electrical fixed, I’m sure the kiln would have worked if I wanted to spend the money to get new heating elements.  At that point, I took the kiln back and am still spending my 200.00 credit at Habitat.

Given that this is Mom’s last Christmas, which is what she said about her last two Christmases, but this one really is the end…even though her oncologist has some other ideas to try.  Which is amazing, if she can kick this lung issue that is.  So, given that this is probably really Mom’s last Christmas, she decided that we needed a kiln so we could make some art like we used to do.  If you’ve never tried it, it really is hard to argue with a dying woman.  The whole death thing pretty much beats down any other sensible arguments…at least when the person who is steps closer to death’s doorstep by the minute is my Mom.  Which means that the kiln should come by the start of December, and that I drove up to the clay store today to buy clay and glazes and tools that we don’t currently still have in one of my ballet shoe boxes which has held half of our clay tools since the time I was twelve.

I used to really love working with clay.  If I don’t worry too much about getting things “right,” I think I still do.  I also hope that mom’s oncologist has time to see her to talk about new treatment options before it is too late.  The new antibiotics seem to be helping.  Mom can swallow again.  It is hard to keep hoping for another Christmas when we’re really just hoping for a few more weeks.

Anyway, tomorrow we break out the clay.  I’ll let you know how it goes.


Amy of Hummingbird Hill View All →

I’m just someone trying to figure out how to juggle ten acres, work, a mama with stage four cancer, and a whole lot of grumpy. This blog started out as “Grumpy Gal’s Guide to Gratitude,” but since all I really keep typing about is the garden, I figured I might as well own it! So, thanks for joining me as I try and figure out how the heck to kick myself in the booty and get on with life.

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