Bouncing back

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Hope you’re all in a happy place, celebrating in meaningful ways all that you are blessed with and thankful for.

Today, Dane and I celebrated Thanksgiving with his family. Of course, we Facetimed my side of the family as well. I’m so grateful for the whole lot of them – my husband, my children; my dear parents and siblings; their significant others and children; my in-laws and all of my cousins. We’re a huge and diverse clan whose celebrations always include the making and bringing of food.

The love of my life, for whom I am eternally thankful. Aren’t we adorable?
My Mommy, Miyako Sumi Hirano – the Original Goddess.
Photo courtesy Janice Hirano.

One of the things I love about food – especially those of the potluck variety – is that it must be transported or served in a vessel. I make vessels!

My youngest daughter, Sachi, and I cooked together this morning – she made roasted Brussels sprouts and roasted carrots; I whipped up some mashed potatoes. I am thankful that she and I had that time together, chopping, cooking, mixing, tasting, mmm-ing, plating and washing dishes. It reminded me of my time in the kitchen with my mother who, I’ve decided, I want to be like when I grow up, because she is so badass. At 86 years old, she’s sassy, brassy and energetic (she does Zumba, weightlifting, Body Pump, high-intensity interval training and pilates). She is amaza-zing, and I’m so thankful for her and all that she taught me. Everything I’ve learned from her has been a gift to my adulthood and parenting.

I’m also thankful for my health. Since mid-October I’ve been bouting the blahs. First, the skin around my cuticle on my left middle finger started itching, my nail started lifting off of my finger and breaking off. I didn’t know what was going on with it, so I kept an eye on it.

On Oct. 30 I got my annual flu inoculation. I immediately started feeling a tickle in my chest and by mid-afternoon, I was coughing a dry, unproductive hack. By evening, my cough was incessant and my throat was sore. I gargled with warm salt water several times that night and by morning, my throat felt rough but better. The coughing continued.

After work the evening of Nov. 1 – a Friday – I went to urgent care to have my finger and cough looked at. Doc said I had a bacterial infection in my finger – or paronychia – caused by a manicure I was given, coupled with long and recurring exposure to water, somewhat inherent to making clay pots. He prescribed two doses of Keflex a day for 7 days to take care of my finger. These are horse-sized pills, mind you, and they didn’t go down easily. He listened to my lungs and said I had bronchitis. “It’s a virus, so you’ll just have to let it pass. It’ll take about two weeks,” he said. I asked if I was contagious. “No need to stay home from work unless you want to,” he said. “Yes, you’re contagious, but there’s little risk as long as you keep to yourself, wash your hands frequently and don’t cough on anyone.” I didn’t. I mean, yeah, I washed or sanitized my hands and did my best to keep to myself, but I didn’t cough on anyone … at least not that I know of and, certainly, not intentionally. There were times when a cough unexpectedly erupted, but not on anyone (again, that I know of), thank God.

Tuesday, Nov. 5, I was still feeling poorly – worse, in fact – so I worked from home and went back to urgent care. My bronchitis had worsened by then and I had some major drainage oozing down my throat. My lymph nodes were inflamed, and I was experiencing a throbbing, constricting pain in my throat. Doc told me to stop taking the Keflex; it had done its job on my finger but wasn’t designed to help with the bronchitis. For that, he prescribed Zithromax. The coughing subsided, but the throbbing constriction in my throat continued, so I booked an appointment the following day with my primary care physician, who referred me to an ENT (I’m still waiting for an appointment) and recommended that I start taking an over-the-counter antihistamine. The appointment is pending, but the antihistamine seems to have helped, along with a daily dose of acid-reflux meds.

It’s been almost two weeks since I was feeling poorly and now, I’m just exhausted. I’ve gone from the blahs to the blehs. And to banish the blehs, there’s nothing like throwing clay, so that’s what I’ve done these past few days, working on concepts.

A few weeks ago, I made a couple of “talking bowls,” a design I learned from Maryland Potter Mea Rhee of Good Elephant Pottery. I decided to use this pot to test a hanafuda card design. I started by carving chrysanthemums and leaves in my pot at the leather-hard stage, outlined in slip. When the pot dried to the point where I could really hold it, I added an electric-blue underglaze over the carvings, then wiped it all away, leaving behind faint blue lines in the carved areas. I layered a variety of underglazes to “paint” the flower petals, leaves and stems, and got accustomed to my paint brush. I’m still considering whether to add some reds and blues before I bisque the bowl, after which I’ll add a clear glaze.

I also threw a cup using a design I love. Still, I’m going to keep refining it … because why not, right?

You can see that I’m still making a lot of single pieces. While I can do production pottery (and at some point I plan to), I am still searching for my voice as a potter; still conceptualizing. I haven’t landed anywhere yet, with the exception of my Warrior Goddesses, but even they continue to evolve. Anyway, more to come, y’all, so stay tuned here for developments.

Lastly, I cranked out a slab of clay and compressed it over a hump mold – an idea I copped from Bill van Gilder, and then gave it my own spin. Unfortunately, I don’t like it as much as I’d hoped I would, but it’s still early. I’ve got some ideas that may give it a little more interest.

Finally (yeah, I know I said “lastly” in the previous paragraph, but I meant “Lastly, I worked on this plate” :-P), please accept my personal invitation to LIKE my post and FOLLOW my blog at On Dec. 31, 2019, one of my followers will be randomly selected to receive a Lolo pot, with my deepest appreciation for giving me and my blog a chance. If you actually do follow me, I’ll at least know you read the whole post!

Thank you – here’s to an awesome Thanksgiving for all, especially those who are less fortunate. Wishing you the blessings of the holiday seasons.


Published by Lolo Robison

Crackin’ Crow Pottery is a Greater Lansing clay studio owned and operated by ceramic artist Lolo Robison. What’s a crackin’ crow? Simply put, it is an alliterative translation of “good crow.”

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