Dog King John & the Stolen Syrup Page 5

Latest installment – but lacking captions, logo etc. I don’t have a 11″X17″ printer/copier so I had to tile the image from multiple smaller prints – hence the  are also some obvious mismatched areas  I’m also trying to brainstorm a way to enhance the  aerial perspective as seen  out the window without the linework washing out completely in some places.

2019-01-01 dkj page 5 draft

Almost Michael

I came sooo close to naming him Michael.

He’d kicked first during Battlestar Galactica but finally arrived at just after six the following morning of January 1st. People ask us if we won any sort of prize for the first birth of the year but in Provo, Utah a.k.a. Babys-R-Us we were lucky to place sixth. It didn’t matter – one look at that little guy and I knew everyone else had lost that day and I had won with the smartest, best-looking choose-your-own-superlative baby in the entire world, everywhere since the beginning of time.

The Michael-impulse quickly faded away and we named him as planned: “Conrad” for my best friend and “William” for a revered mentor. Mother and child spent the day recuperating while I wandered around a daze trying to adjust to the fact that at 25 I was now a father, a role that both delighted and terrified me. Four decades later I am still delighted and terrified – raising brilliant children is a daunting, often exhausting task and I studied and worked at “dad school” even harder than I did at grad school.

I wouldn’t change a thing. After marrying my Beautiful Saxon Princess the best thing to come into my life were my children – and four decades after narrowly avoiding “Michael” my eldest son Conrad William Deitrick is everything that I saw in him that first day.

Class Update

TheGuySIngularIt’s a busy time of year and I get to have my Star Pupil with me in the studio a bit more often than usual. After our last session Jaybug has developed a passion for sculpture, which for a five-year old usually means he will stay on task for seven to ten  minutes at most. However, It’s been a little different this time around and I know for a fact that we’ve had three episodes of Dynotrux air since he started pushing Super-Sculpey this afternoon.

3 x 23 minutes = 69 minutes or an hour & change.

It’s amazing.

I am not sure what to make of it.

I’ve had fourth-year art school students that can’t focus for that long….

Class Portrait

When NSCC kicked me to the curb last summer my Beautiful Saxon Princess told me that the only thing that had  changed was  the size of my classes. –  before I had anywhere from  25 to 30 students but now I just have one – my grandson Jayden.

I couldn’t agree more. Jayden is just the latest in a succession of kids growing up in my studio. We had a great day in the studio today learning about sculpture and sculpting tools and as  we were finishing up BSP decided to take pictures.

Initial shot

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Attitude Adjustment

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Final version….

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Tremors and Dial-tones

Nostalgia rather than fear was the overriding emotion in our home during the March 1964 Earthquake. As we had been living in that howling wilderness otherwise known as Spenard for less than two years we styled ourselves as  temporarily  transplanted Californians rather than locals so the first few tremors brought on smiles and “Hey – just like back home” rather than any expressions of fear. It wasn’t until we lost our television signal (and the closing scenes of the “Invasion” episode of  ‘Fireball XL5)  that I began to feel  any emotional distress.

However things were a little different during today’s quake– I was chatting on the phone with my sister Heather when she stopped for a moment then said: “Oh boy…earthquake!See the hanging lamps? – they’re bouncing all over the place.”

Intestinal Stukas  started churning my insides as I nervously glanced around my own living room,  but I was puzzled to find all our lamps perfectly motionless.

Suddenly the proverbial  lightbulb flashed on  and I made a conclusion of my own:

  • Heather wasn’t asking me to look at the lamps, she was talking to my nephew Zack.
  • My hanging lamps weren’t bouncing around because Heather, Zack and the quake – were 4135 miles away in Sterling Alaska.

For my dad aviation was the best yardstick for measuring the march of progress – he was born into a world with biplanes and lived to see television broadcasts of regular shuttle service to  the International Space Station. For me it’s been phones: 55 years ago a call from Tennessee to Alaska would have been made only under the most dire circumstances, taken the help of at least three operators and would be made using a device that could not be owned by an individual – it  had to be  leased from the phone company.

I’m still getting used to it.

2018: In Praise of Middles

My father said it best:

“Between the optimist and the pessimist

The difference is oh-so-droll

An optimist the doughnut sees

The pessimist: the hole”

That idea/meme (or slight variations of that idea) have popped up in countless other times and places in my life. My particular favorite version came from engineer and SMOF (Secret Master of Fandom) “Uncle” Timmy Bolgeo: “ An optimist may see a glass of water half-way full while a pessimist see it as being half-empty, but show that glass to an engineer and he’ll see a storage facility with 50% excess capacity”,

I’ve decided that I am neither a half-empty or half-full person.

I like things in the middle.

The thought came to me as I opened a little carton of yogurt this morning. Actually that wasn’t my first thought – my first impression was a feeling of annoyance with the French, because before they introduced their six-ounce containers of Yoplait to America in 1977 we were all happy with hefty eight-ounce cartons. I’ve always wondered if that six-ouncer was passive-aggressive retaliation for all the French jokes we told in New England, but I digress,

Open a carton of yogurt and the first thought is “Do I really want to eat this too or will the poached egg take me all the way to lunch”. Your last thought is mild annoyance as you try to scrape the last ½ ounce from the embossed risers and ribs on the bottom of the cup.

….but in the middle?

Mmmmm!

It’s the same way with vacations. We were blessed with a two-week vacation back home to Alaska during both the summer of 1997 and the summer of 1999. Both visits played out pretty much the same:

  • jet-lag and nostalgia over-dose for the first few days
  • packing-anxiety and teary-eyed anticipation of parting AGAIN for the last few…

…but for four or five days in the middle of our stay it was glorious. We still had plenty of money left in our trip-budget, our friends and family had finally been able to adjust schedules to accommodate individual visits and the specter of departure was too far away to loom very effectively.

I think it makes for a healthy philosophy for life in general. Rather than fuss about what I didn’t get in the past (half-empty) or what riches I might amass in the future (half-full) I think I’d rather concentrate on the blessings I have right now.

In the middle.

…the light went on!

JaydenEnrouteOralSurgery

Sharing a home with a five-year old was not something on my radar even just a few years ago – but at this point I couldn’t imagine life without him. I’m a little weepy this morning – he’s had some dental problems and right now he’s undergoing oral surgery. I’m sure he’ll do fine but between my paranoia and an overactive imagination  I still get edgy…

(my daughter sent this photo to me from the trip to the oral surgeon’s office)

 He’s an amazing young man and extremely curious about the world. Any five-year-old asks a lot of questions but he is extremely detailed in his enquiries. For example, he likes to have the lights on during the day. Lots of lights. ALL THE LIGHTS. I finally sat down and tried as best I could to explain the idea of electricity and paying for utilities, but I wasn’t sure he had a grasp on the subject until later on in the afternoon.

 After I finished my impromptu lesson I turned off all the lights in the room and we parted ways, Jayden to his bedroom and me to the studio. I was a little perturbed when I returned to the room later on in the afternoon and found every single light turned on…but then I noticed a quarter, a nickel and three pennies in the middle of the table and realized that Jayden had most definitely understood our discussion we’d had earlier in the day – the discussion about paying for utilities.