Gary Jackson: Fire When Ready Pottery
A Chicago potter’s somewhat slanted view of clay & play
Categories: animals, Mom

Hard to believe that it has already been two years today since my Mom passed away. And you know I don’t believe in all that “mumbo-jumbo hoodoo-voodoo” stuff. But… when a “sign” shows up and slaps you in the face… sometimes you take notice!

I was on my back porch this afternoon talking to my neighbors and Melanie asked how my Dad was doing these days. At that very moment, a hummingbird appeared flitting around my geraniums. It was the first hummingbird we’ve seen… and at the VERY moment Mel asked about my Dad?! Really???… c’mon Like my Mom was there telling us that everything was good… and that my Dad is doing great.

If that was a “sign”… I’ll take it!

Categories: family, holiday, Mom

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to all the great Moms in the world…
to those still with us, and to those who are not.
Take time. Share stories. Make memories. Life is short.

Categories: food, Mom

While playing & biking in Elk Grove Village yesterday… how could I not stop by the best bakery ever?! I grew up with baked goods from Jarosch Bakery on a regular basis. So now it is such a TREAT to get out there to “treat myself” to a yummy childhood memory! It’s the same coffeecake my Mom would ALWAYS get us when she went there… a nice Mom memory.

And then I just realized… is it so bad that I did basically nothing all day today, and pretty much ate nothing but THIS!!!

Little sliver after little sliver… bite after bite… slice after slice… burp…

Categories: art fair, food, Mom

Sweet success at ART IN THE BARN today. Not only did we send a lot of pots off
to their new homes… but we had lots of cookies too!!!

My Mom used to bake cookies for every art fair. But now that she’s gone, a couple people made cookies for me in her honor! Special thanks to my niece Taylor, painter Cheryl & potter Patty for the extra “sweet” tribute to my Mom.



Categories: inspiration, Mom

RIP : TUESDAY, AUGUST 6th, 2019.
It was early on that Tuesday morning I was already at Lillstreet getting ready for my Summer Campers to arrive. My phone rang early and I saw that it was my Dad calling. He never calls in the morning. He’s more of a later in the evening phone call kind of guy. I immediately had the sinking feeling that I knew what the call was going to be. The phone call we had all been waiting for. The phone call we had all been dreading. The inevitable phone call to let me know tat Mom had passed.

I stepped outside to take the phone call from the privacy of my car. I knew I didn’t want to hear “the news” with everyone around. And yes, it was the news we had all been expecting… that my Mom had passed early that morning. Quiet. Serene. Just as we would have wanted it to be. I asked my Dad if he needed me to do anything. To find a quick sub for camp… to leave Lillstreet and come out to their house… stuff like that. He said “no” that he was okay, and oddly relieved, and that my sister & brother were coming over to help out with everything. He said I should continue my day at Summer Camp as best I could.

And then… as I was walking back into Lillstreet, right there on the corner of Lillstreet there was a single stalk of milkweed with the tiniest of baby birds there chirping & chirping like crazy. Just a baby bird that had lost his Mom.

Now I know the feeling.
And it was a little too coincidental… a little too ironic.

Another sign from Mom… I got it. Slapped upside the head one more time!!!

baby bird without his Mom


Categories: food, inspiration, Mom

A few weeks back I had received some fresh-grown rhubarb from my friends down in Peoria. I intended to make a yummy sheet dessert that my Mom used to make with it. Kind of a shortbread crust, custard filling and rhubarb baked into the top. I looked all over for the recipe, but couldn’t find it. So I put the rhubarb in the freezer… hoping to find the recipe when I got back from vacation.

As we were driving, somewhere in the middle of nowhere, I told Chris the same story about Mom’s recipe… as we had many touching discussions about my Mom and her situation during our drive. I had kind of forgotten about those discussions, and that rhubarb recipe, until we stopped off in Amish-land Indiana. As were were looking around to buy a yummy pie for me to share with my pottery class that night.

And there it was…. an Amish pie version of the exact same rhubarb dessert I had been telling Chris all about. The same recipe I had been searching for. Done. Made. And ready for us to eat. Another “sweet” sign from Mom?! I think so.

Categories: inspiration, Mom, movie, movies

While hanging out in Lake Placid getting accustomed to the town, prepping, eating & relaxing… Chris and I decided to go see a matinee movie in town. Luckily the theater was playing the new “live action” version of THE LION KING. Of course I was excited as I love the original animated version. But don’t think that the symbolism was lost on me…

That the movie is all about losing a parent figure
and then needing to step up and make the best of yourself moving forward.
To discover who you are, grow and never forget who has passed before you.

Thanks Mom… I got the message!
Hakuna Matata!

Lion King

losing a parent

Hakuna Matata


Categories: inspiration, Mom, special events, vacation

As we were standing on the rooftop deck out side of our Lake Placid room, we could look out over Mirror Lake and see where the IRONMAN swim course was already set-up. As Chris and I were looking at the water, we were suddenly impressed by a full rainbow that stretched over the lake.

It wasn’t until later that evening that I called my sister Jen to check-in for any updates on my Mom’s situation. I was aware that this was going to be a tough day for my Dad & family… as they were having a “final” discussion with the medical doctors, and deciding to move onto the hospice phase of her care. It was a tough decision for all of us. Yet we were all sadly aware that there was no more hope for recovery or any sort of “quality of life” left for my Mom. We were responsible for seeing to her final wishes.

As I was talking to my sister on the phone, she told me all about the meeting, the doctors, the choices, and the decision agreed on by all to move forward with hospice care. She then asked me about my trip to see how it was going, and to make sure we made it there okay. I told her about our “accidental trip” into Canada, and then told her about our hotel room and the rainbow over Mirror Lake.

She stopped me right there. The mention of the rainbow stopped the story.
She told me that during the meeting with the doctors, they offered up three different hospice care companies. My sister & brother researched each of them, checked locations & services, and finally chose the one that best fit our needs & wishes.

The name of the company?…    RAINBOW HOSPICE.

Yep, chills went through me too!
Like this isn’t a “sign” from my Mom???… saying that she’s okay with the choice???…
and that she is wishing me well in my upcoming swim?! I mean seriously?!

Could she make it any more obvious?!!!
Slapped right upside the head. “Hey look at me… and my rainbow!!!”



Categories: family, flowers, Mom, Mom & Dad

Huge heartfelt thanks to everyone who has expressed their thoughts, hugs & condolences over the passing of my Mom last week. She left us early Tuesday morning, and was finally put to rest yesterday morning. It has been a sad & enlightening experience for all of us as we work our way through the loss & grief. Yet with so many positive thoughts & memories I’m sure we’ll all make it out the other side… as she will continue to guide us through with her teachings & our memories.

The visitation Friday night was beautiful, with so many people passing through to pay their respects. It was the first time that someone so close to me was the “guest of honor”… that I found I was treading into new territory. I wasn’t quite sure how to react, but to be thankful and cherish the moments & friends as they shared stories & support.

My entire family thanks everyone who made it out say  their good-byes to my Mom.
She was a wonderful lady, a fantastic Mom and one of my best friends.
It will be tough over the next few weeks to come to the full realization that she is gone.
I’m sure moments will pop-up that catch me off guard. And even more “signs”
that slap me upside the head to force a memory and a smile. It was wonderful to see
all of my family together yesterday at the gravesite ceremony…
even if it was for such a sad occasion.

Thank you for your support & caring.
Thank you for your understanding as we all move forward without her.
Thank you for sharing your fond memories of how she touched so many people.

Thank you Mom… for just being YOU!!!
You will be so sadly missed by so many people.

A fond




Categories: bike, Mom, sunrise

Beautiful sunrise reflections on a day that is sure to be filled
with even more beautiful reflections of Mom.