Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Winding it up. A late post

Winding it up. A late post


Lost California Project:: Anza Borrego #1, #3, and #2

Monday, 7/18

I just got done setting up the day's work. It's finishing day; messy, tedious, frustrating, finishing day(s). But I took a W&B, and a sudden  cascade of thoughts and feelings rolled over me, so I walked away from the table, and sat down here at the desktop.  Mary is down in San Clemente with her nephews and niece. 

Saturday was the memorial service for Mary's brother's wife, Martha, who died some weeks ago. This came right on the heels of her husband, Mary's brother, Randy's death in December.

 Martha. Randy. Chris. Max. Larry.  All people I knew on a first name basis. None had the coof. You know the meme: I'm not saying it was... but...

Randy and Martha's four sons, and their families had  all flown out for the service. It isn't easy to get all the families in the Winans clan gathered. Sunday night they made a snap decision to do the scattering while almost everyone was together. They decided on San Clemente where the family once owned a condo above the beach. San Clemente is fifty six miles from here. As I write, the Winans clan is down there scattering the ashes: Randy, Martha, and Mary's mother and father, as well.  Mary is riding down with her niece, Katy, and she left the house a little before four this morning.  I am normally a very early riser. Three thirty is not uncommon, yet despite a sketchy night's sleep, I did not awaken and hear her leave.  Mary exempted me from attending and for that I am grateful. One hundred and twelve miles of So Cal traffic grateful.

Even so. I should have gone. Can't undo what's not done. Mary is sometimes too easy on me. Most wives would have insisted. I took the easy way out.

 I didn't attend the service, either. The family are all members of the uptown Methodist Church. I've attended services there, and I don't care for the female pastor. I attended services for Randy there just a few months back. For that service I was slightly late; the attendance was light, and I declined to wear a mask. I sat in the back, alone in a pew, but I had to leave early anyway.

Martha was active in her teaching profession; she knew a lot of people, and she had many friends, and former co-workers. The church was crowded. Every single person, family, and guest, was masked. Those few who were not masked on the street reflexively, dutifully, and unconsciously donned one as they drew near. It was done without hesitation, without a second thought; as customary as wiping your feet, or saying, "good morning."

This included my wife. She too, put on the mask and walked right in. I got near the doors, and felt that sickening rush of adrenaline. I could feel the amygdala hijack coming on. I balked, and walked off. I will not put that thing on  my face. Period. This has gone from  intense dislike, to aversion, to full blown phobia.  It has gone far deeper than a matter of principle. Remember Kevin McCarthy near the end of the old "Invasion of the Body Snatches?" The thought of strapping that filthy thing to my face, and being crowded into that church, elbow to elbow with hundreds of the faceless sent me into panic mode. I sat on a bench out front, and waited quietly for the service to be over.

Tue. 7/19

I spent the rest of the day, Monday, sanding. I started in dry with the 150 grit Emory cloth to work out the tool marks, and then stared the wet sanding with a couple of passes at 220 grit, then 320, and finished the day with one pass at 400 grit.

Close inspection this morning called for going back for another pass at 320, before working through 400, 600, 1000, then finally 2000 grit wet. Then it was soft cotton cloth, and Simichrome polish. It's wet messy work. After a while my hands were breaking out from the sweat and heat. It felt better to leave the rubber gloves off.


  Only problem with leaving the gloves off was that I sanded a goodly amount of skin, and even a little blood from my fingertips. They are now pink, silky smooth, and excruciatingly sensitive. Later today I'll go back and rough finish the base with some #2 gauge steel wool.

So now I have to take a break from the stones, let my fingers heal, and get the garage cleaned out again. (yuk)

Odd how stuff works, I clicked on facebarf, yesterday, and had a "your memory"  about cleaning out the garage from a few years back. Gosh, that's what they must mean when they say, "history repeats itself."


Monday, July 11, 2022



4:20 Monday morning. I'm sitting here at the desktop all bleary eyed from a second night of insomnia. When the sun comes up I'll snap a photo or two of the rock in its last phase before finishing.
Friday night I didn't sleep well. I got home Saturday, after the RatRod Ride, feeling exhausted and beat, even though I didn't smoke on the ride. Eighteen miles on the cruiser followed by the utterly miserable crawl through Beach Boulevard traffic just took it out of me. I turned in about eight, and woke at one. Repeat that for last night. So I'm sitting here feeling like total crap with another long hot day ahead.
Oh. Sun's up. Here:

Work has been steady, but slow. I'm coming close to the finishing stage of the project. As the sculpture progresses, the tools get smaller and smaller. I'm past the big tools, pretty much done with the middle size tools, and down to working with the small refining tools. I ordered a couple of new 8" rifflers from the Stone Sculptors Supplies gals up there in Sebastopol, CA.

And here they are:

  The 'knife and spoon' pair are my favorites for this stage of the game, but the ones I have are 20 years old, and dull. These little rasps are works of art in their own right. They are hand made by the Milani Tool Company in Italy, and they aren't cheap. But they are worth every penny. You can't say enough about the pleasure of working with fine tools.
The task, now, is to seek out, and terminate flat spots, straight lines, and awkward curves. The tricky part here is to shave off enough, but not too much. You always have to leave a little so that the sanding brings the lines to that 'just-right' place. This piece should go on the shelf in another week, maybe more. I made myself promise to attend to some domestic chores at the homestead. That garage... The Chinese elm... Stuff in the yard... 
Ugh. But it's gotta' be done.

Monday, July 4, 2022

Getting Close to Home

 Getting Close to Home

Still scratching away at this piece, and it's looking like I'm close to the home stretch. The coil at the upper half of the figure is still a little ponderous. It's a flat heavy donut and needs to coordinate with the bottom half a little better. 

I'm exploring a couple or three ideas. Even at this stage, a lot of the work is just sitting and staring at the stone. Progress has been a little slow, what with getting the house and grounds ready for our July 4th BBQ.


 I'll probably have this on the shelf some time in the next couple of weeks. After that I'm forcing myself to step away from the carving table for long enough get the garage cleaned out. It's a mess. Not only that, I have to come up with a way to get the base cuts done on some of the new stones. The next two rocks are the  last of the stuff I got last September. Working them should carry me to the end of the year at least. They're both big, and heavy. I have a plan in mind for the 80 pound stone, but I'm still scratching my head over what to do with the 125 pound boulder. No doubt I'll come up with something.