Coutts AB is a village of about 250 people. Last week a customer wanted to mail me a cheque to pay for a bowl and she asked for my address. I sent her the address, but what I didn’t tell her was that she could just send it to ” Pottery Cindy, Coutts AB” and I would get it. There are only two Cindy’s living in Coutts. I am Cindy-Lee and the other is Cindy-Lou. We are both friends with the lady in the Post Office and Tracey, the post office lady, would know which one is Pottery Cindy. If for some reason Cindy-Lou got mail for Cindy-Lee, she would walk over to my house and give it me. There are only about 15 streets and avenues in total in Coutts, so walking all the way across town to deliver a letter is not a problem. Being new town, everyone knows where the new people live.
We have been busy in the studio making pots and making videos. Here are the next two episodes in the saga of Studio Life in Coutts.
Winter has returned. Last week we were out walking in our shirtsleeves and this morning I woke to -18C with a nasty wind. Dang….. I am looking forward to spring. I am hoping for a cloudy start to the day tomorrow and that little smelly groundhog does not see his shadow. Fingers crossed! No more winter.
Jim posted the first few videos we shot and I have let a few days slip by and I a few videos behind. Here are episodes 5 and 6. Please keep in mind, I am much taller, slimmer and younger than I am in real life.
For more information about the library, here is a link. We have episode 7 waiting in the wings. I will post that soon with pictures of the gnomes the kids made Friday afternoon.
Jim and I have been am trying to get more people using the school. Here in Coutts, there is this wonderful old school that is no longer a public school but an Arts and Rec Centre. It houses my studio, the local library, a massage therapist, and a storage/ practice room for the local country/ rock band. There is some use of the facilities, but for the most part, it is underutilized. Monday was to be the start of the Senior’s Walk. The school has a gym and weight room that are almost always empty. Since I am at the school and in my studio weekdays, I opened the doors to the local seniors. The idea was to get people out of the house and have a safe and warm place to get a little exercise. However Mother Nature had plans of her own.
Minus 20 Celsius and 70 Kilometer winds is not a good way to start the week, or to get seniors, or anyone else for that matter, out of the their house. The school was quiet this morning, so I cranked the music and cleaned the studio. She looks good, a great way to start the New Year. Clean and tidy. It won’t last, but ….. so
I should have had before pictures to go with the after shots, but trust me, it was an unorganized mess. I had the ladies clay classes with a Christmas party and then the kids class and party. There were orders to get out, a couple of little trade shows and the Galleria in Calgary. Last year, when I was done, I walked out and shut the door. It was on its way to Hell in a hand cart, but it got refused at the door for being too messy.
Last year I was playing with what I thought was to be a new blue glaze, but it’s not what I had hoped for. I plan on working on some new glazes later this month, but I have never really liked experimenting with glazes. We will see how it goes and how much I get done. My next blue has to be better than this syrupy sweet, baby powder blue. The test looked interesting.
But as it got onto larger pieces, it reminded me of eating chocolate. The first little taste is good, but once it gets big, it is just too much. Candy Blue will not be seen again.
It felt good to back at work today and in such a tidy work space. I use a blend of two clays, and I have to pug to blend all the clay I use. Before the Christmas break, I pugged a couple of bags or so, and today I threw what was mixed. When I ran out of clay, I had the option of pugging more, or walking laps in the school. Jim came down and we walked in the school. Fourteen times around, the inside, is one mile, a bit boring and a lot safer than walking outside on the ice.
Another year bites the dust and we are in the first week of 2015. Where does time go? When my daughter was about 3, I said that , and she told me “behind the clouds”. I never understood what that meant. My son, being a pilot, should be able to get me some time back…… Jim and I have gone through a number of changes in the past year and I look forward to more in 2015. I often got melancholy on New Year’s Eve, sad to see one year go and other start. Not this year “Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades“. New Year’s Eve was a good one. We went to visits friends for a while. Friends we didn’t know this time last year. Then back home for midnight.
Every year at this time, a lot of people start making New Year resolutions. Next year I will be thinner, eat less, exercise more, and so one. They all talk about change and the changes they want to make in their lives. The changes I want to make are the same ones I have wanted for years, all the ones I listed above. I have “battled the bulge” my entire life. Living here is different than most places. People accept you for who you are. It doesn’t matter what you look like. There are of people all sizes and they accept me, themselves and everyone else, for who they are. If I want to loose any weight, it is only for me. The only Coutone’s opinion that should matter. This year I plan to be healthier. I feel much better when I eat properly and exercise. Healthy food and exercise, it is not as easy as it sounds.
The holidays are over. We ate, drank, stayed up late and watched way too much TV. Spent time with family and friends. It was a great holiday and a good break, but it is time to get to work.
I wish everyone all the best in 2015. May it be a year of health and happiness.
Christmas Eve Day was quiet and lazy. My son John drove down the day before and we were just sitting around the house. He brought his dog Harvey, and Harvey was getting a little bored. I decided to take take the dog out for a walk. We were going over to the neighbours later that evening, and a tired dog is better alone than a bored one. Jim came along. We like to walk and before the weather had turned cold we were walking about an hour a day. The streets were snowy and icy, but we were careful, or so we thought. We had been walking for a few blocks, and all of a sudden Jim’s feet went strait out from under him. He tensed and arched his back and landed on the back of his head on the road. His head, when it hit, made a horrible cracking noise, he let out a breathy groan through clinched teeth, and rolled into the fetal position. Now I don’t have a lot of medical training, but I thought this can’t be good.
He got up after a few moments and said he could walk home…. Yeah right……We didn’t take a phone with us, as we were just going for a short walk. I could have phoned John to come and get us. We went to a friends house just across the street from where Jim fell to call John to pick us up. I have only speed dialed John for the last few years, and in the excitement, I couldn’t remember his number. Lori, the friend, said she would give us a ride. I got in the back or her SUV with the dog, and Jim was to get in the passenger seat, but he just stood at the back bumper, not moving. I got out and helped him into the car. We drove the few blocks to home. He got out and waited outside by the door for John to come out and take us to the hospital. We went to the hospital, and as we drove, he couldn’t remember the fall. He didn’t remember going to Lori’s, the ride with her, or getting in John’s car. As we drove, he didn’t remember the fall or talking about it a minuet before. As I said, I don’t have a lot of medical training, but I thought this can’t be good.
When we got to town and turned to get to the hospital, he knew where he was and the memories started recording again. He had lost about half an hour of memories. It was like the recorder stopped. The doctor checked him out and Jim is fine. He has a nasty bump on his head, a very sore neck and his body feels like he was bounced it off the pavement, but he is okay. He was wearing his Buffalo Joe hat .He is not as scary as he looks in the hat and unlike the boy, he isn’t a pilot, he just likes the hat. I think the leather around his head saved him from it being much worse. His naked head on the frozen pavement would not have fared as well. We went to the neighbours for Christmas Eve, but we didn’t stay late.
We had a quiet Christmas and Jim stayed comfortable in his jammie pants. Boxing Day was laid back, and John went home that afternoon to his life in Edmonton.
The fall happened so fast. One minute we are walking and talking about Christmas, the next minute we are on the way to emergency. Jim will be fine, sore for a while, but fine. The fall made it very clear how fragile our life is, how quickly things can change. For Christmas, the gift I got, was to keep my new life and the people I love, in it. How could I ask for more?
Christmas time, and the livin’ is easy the snow is dumpin’ and the drifts are high …….
This is the first year since for…..ever….. I am ready for Christmas. The house is clean, well as clean as it is gonna get. The baking is done, again, as done as I am going to be. I’m just waiting for Christmas. Oh don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining, it just feels weird. This time of year is usually so crazy busy. Last year we were working on the house here and overwhelmed by the size of the job. We had to drive back 600 K to Edmonton on the 23rd, 450 K to Grande Prairie on the 24th. Then back to Edmonton Christmas Day to finish packing up the house to move out by year end. The years before we were working right up to Christmas and then I had all the prep to do. The kid or kids were home. This year is so nice.
We celebrated Christmas this past week with the community here in Coutts. We went to the seniors Christmas party, a pot luck and gift exchange. That was a HOOT.
We had a fun gift exchange of Rob Your Neighbour. On you turn, you can take a new gift from the table, or if you like someone else’s gift, you can take theirs. It was a lot of laughs. We almost had to take home an old and re-gifted box of very smelly men’s stuff, but at the last moment, some one surprising took it. The box of chocolates Jim ended up with was much better.
Next we had the ladies Clay Class party. We had some food , drinks and another fun gift exchange. The girls made some wonderful pieces for their first time working with clay.
Friday we had the kids clay class party, but we didn’t get any pictures. We had 13 kids after their last day at school, just before the ski-doo party. We fed them some sugar, supplied the with all kids of paints and for some reason, we got busy and forgot to take pictures. It wasn’t until they had left in a flurry of parents, hugs and goodbyes, that we looked at the mess in the studio and thought ….. shudda taken some pics. Next thought was just leave the mess and close the door. It will be there next year. We did just that.
My son arrives tomorrow for a few days of doing nothing and taking the entire time to finish. We plan to visit the neighbours for Christmas Eve and then just us three for Christmas and Boxing Day. We will eat, drink and binge watch Netflix for a few days and then he goes back to Edmonton Saturday or Sunday.
I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and best of the season. I hope you all have a very happy, healthy, wealthy and wise New Year.
Last week we went to the Christmas party and had a hoot. I got dressed up, but not take my picture and post, it dressed up. We went with the neighbours and it was the first time in years, that we went out with another couple. We had one of the best catered turkey dinners I have had. The caterer forgot the stuffing in the oven until it was almost over, but it was very good. She felt terrible, but those who got stuffing said it was great. They have a 50/50 draw every year at the dinner, but they decided that 50 percent of the pot was too much for one person, so they have 50/ 25/ 25, they call it 50/ 50 a few times.
Friday we drove to Shelby MT, about 30 minutes from here, to get our first Bountiful Basket. It is a co-op that we joined and every week you get a basket filled with veggies and fruit. It will be about half and half, but you never know what you will get. It was more for the adventure than the food. It was fun. We did a little shopping, had some greasy fried chicken, picked up some internet orders and came home with a box full of healthy. One of the online orders was our new rug. Our present to us this year, is under the tree, the new rug.
Going through the border can sometimes be a challenge. We go through the border more times in a week, than others do in a life time. We get to know some of the officers and they know us. Last Friday it took over an hour to get through, the computers went down. When we finally got to the window, Jim made a comment to the officer about it being one of those days. The fellow said he was there for 8 hours, if we went through fast or slow it made no difference to him. It was one of the those days for us. Then he shared a true story from when he had first started. He told his boss that he had really messed up. The boss asked if he killed the traveler? As long as the guy is not dead, the boss could fix it.
Friday it was 14 C ( 55 F ) and the grass had a green tinge to it. Winter hit hard Saturday and the world is white again.
Snow on the Sweetgrass Hills.
Today is Christmas baking day. I feel the domestic side of me lurking in the shadows of our new house. I will bake, clean and get ready for Christmas. We have two more Pot Lucks to attend this week and our son is coming next week.
As we settle into the new life, it feels more and more lucky that we landed here. It is like 50/50 a few times and we won them all.
It was a good week in the old school and the studio. I got all my pots made and delivered. We took a truck load, literally, but we have a small truck, to Calgary. Walking into Galleria Inglewood was like walking into Christmas. It was beautiful. There is over 9,000 square feet of gallery filled with art, craft and Christmas. If you live anywhere near Calgary AB, it is certainly worth to trip! Our pots looked good and now there is a truck load more.
Tuesday, the town had their annual cookie exchange. To participate, you make four dozen cookies and bring them to the library in the Historical Coutts School. Put the cookies together, and everyone brings home four dozen cookies, just not the ones you made. Jim made chocolate chip, peanut butter, oatmeal, they were really good. We got a great variety of wonderful and not so wonderful cookies. There were about 25 people that took part and the library was hoppin’.
Tuesday night was the last adult clay class, next week is our party. The studio was full of students. The gym was rented out to a family that was playing and exercising.The cookie people came to the studio to visit, the studio people were checking out the cookies, the family in the gym was back and forth. The school was buzzing with pre-Christmas excitement. It felt wonderful to be a part of it. The old girl was alive!
Tonight is another supper, not pot luck this time. We were invited to join the neighbours at the Milk River Senior Society Christmas Dinner. It should be fun. I am getting dressed up, new jeans, and taking my hair out of the pony tail that it has been in since we moved here. Tonight, I am letting my hair down.
We stopped in Lethbridge on the way back from Calgary and did the normal in town, run around shopping. We also got all new Christmas decorations. When we moved, I gave them all away. Back then, I was feeling like the Grinch and Scrooge all rolled into one. My daughter got all the decorations, wrapping paper, everything, if she wanted it all or not . I was done with Christmas. That was then and this is now. I am glad I did the purge. Out with the old and in with the new, is very much like our life here. As time goes on and we get our new rhythm in the new life, I can only wonder how different next Christmas will be. If last year to this year is any indication, I should hang on for the ride.
We went to our first Senior’s Club Pot Luck last Thursday. Many people here join the Senior’s Club even if they are not all that senior. The theme was Spanish or Portuguese. The only ones to bring a dish from the theme was Jim and I. Sharon, the Librarian, said that no one ever paid attention to that sort of thing, but they like to have a theme. It was good to meet some people that have been here for decades. I keep forgetting that everyone knows everyone here, and has for years, except for us. They welcomed us and took them into their group with open arms, literately.
The attendance was low. It had been miserably cold and snowy and it is a busy time of year. It was the hard core original members. I have to admit it was a bit like visiting the old folks home. One lady was a little vague in her conversation and as we chatted, the last slow and stupid fly of the year, landed on her plate and got bogged down in her meal. She squished it with her thumb, wiped it off with her napkin and continued eating. I offered to get her a new plate and meal, but nah, she had cleaned it all up with the napkin, it was fine…… all righty then……
We sat across from Mildred, who has lived here forever. We bought our property from her. She chaired the meeting after dinner with the same humour and rural hospitality that I am sure she has shared with Coutts for all the years she has been here. A very sweet lady. We sat next to Ken, that as a boy, played in what is now our yard and burned down the shed that was here. He and his friends had their first attempts at smoking near where we now park our car. We helped decorate the Christmas tree, Ken and I had a short game of shuffle board and Jim and I called it a night. It was good. That night we knew that we not only joined the Senior’s Club, but joined a community.
Last night we went to the town Light Up and Pot Luck Dinner. Two Pot Luck dinners in one week, a first for me. The attendance was much better. We met the same seniors from last week and about 50 other people. It was a wonderful evening. There were lots of kids, for Coutts, food, Santa, singing, hay rides and I won a draw for $50 from the local grocery store. The local grocery store is 18 kilometer away, Coutts doesn’t have a grocery store.
When we wanted to move and chose Coutts, it was much like a Pot Luck. Come on down and see what you get. We moved here because of the land prices. Serviced town lots in Coutts are among the lowest, if not the lowest priced lots in Alberta. We had no idea what a wonderful little community we were moving into. Oh the town has it’s grumpy and it’s nosy. The ones who only grumble, complain and don’t get involved. We don’t hang with them, mainly because they stay home, grumbling and complaining and aren’t involved. Living here is like the Pot Luck dinner, if you try a little of everything that is offered, soon you have your plate full. We have been here a year, my plate is full and life is good.