Archive for November, 2010

Choking on Thankgiving Dinner

Thursday, November 25th, 2010

Every year for Thanksgiving, I enjoy cooking the big dinner. It is the one time of the year where I go all out and make just about everything from scratch. I was excited to be cooking Thanksgiving dinner again. Earl and my youngest son ran to the corner market to get some sugar for me. My oldest son had had just returned from walking the dog and sat at the dining room table in the dining room to look at the newspaper sale ads.

I was in the kitchen getting ready to mash the potatoes. I hadn’t eaten that morning, and wanted to verify that the potatoes were cooked all the way through so I picked a small chunk of boiled potato from the pot on a fork and blew on it as I turned to get the colander from the shelf.  I popped the potato in my mouth and placed the colander in the sink. The potato in my mouth was still pretty hot, so I took a breathe in to cool the potato.

All of a sudden I couldn’t breathe.

I’ve choked on food a time or two before, and knew that I had to stay calm. But this choking was unlike the other times I’d choked before. Previously, the food was fairly solid and I could easily dislodge it: a momentary discomfort and soon forgotten. This time I could feel the starchy coating on the potato turning to glue as the potato disintegrated at glacial speed. The more that potato disintegrated, the more glue seemed to accumulate in my throat.  I’d struggled to catch my breath for about thirty seconds before my oldest son realized I was in trouble.

“Mom, are you alright?” my son asked me. He stood up. I motioned to my throat and tried to say, “I can’t breathe!”

“Do you need the Heimlich maneuver?” he asked again. I nodded then turned to the sink again where my hands were gripping the sink.. My 6’2” son rushed around the table, across the dining room, into the kitchen and got behind me. He reached around me, brought his hands together just below my ribcage, and pulled them in and up.

Nothing happened. I still couldn’t breathe. The starchy gluey mass in my throat and windpipe refused to budge. My son waited to see if there was a result, saw there wasn’t and tried again. And he tried a third time.

I tried to stay calm, but after the third maneuver with no result, I was starting to feel that things were looking pretty grim.

My son started yanking harder and faster each time he tried the maneuver.  I lost track of the number of times he tried. I began getting weaker and weaker from having no air. I flopped around like a rag doll as my son lifted me with force off my feet in his efforts to dislodge the mass in my throat. At some point I lost my bladder control and I didn’t even care because I was battling the loss of consciousness.

I thought, “So this is the way I’m going to die?” It wasn’t quite how I thought I’d go.

Then desperation flared. “Please God,” I begged angrily, “Not on Thanksgiving Day! It [my death] would ruin Thanksgiving Day for my family forever. Today is a terrible day to die!”

And then, it suddenly seemed as if I could feel a strong blanket of love, as if my guardian angel was helping my son to help me. My throat cleared enough that I could get a little bit of air. As I greedily sucked in whatever air I could get, I could feel the gluey starch ease a bit and begin to move with my air movement. My son stopped bruising me, stepped to the side and looked at me.

“Coke!” I managed to rasp out. My son seemed quizzical for a moment, and then realized I wanted a drink of carbonated soda. He hastily poured a fizzy glass and handed it to me. I took a small sip. I had an uncertain moment as I realized I wasn’t sure I could take a drink while I was still gasping for air. But I managed to swallow it, and the carbonation helped to cut through some of the starchiness blocking my air passages in the back of my throat.

When it became obvious that I was going to live, I fiercely hugged my shaking son.  Then I realized I was badly shaking, too. After we’d both calmed down, I cleaned myself up and changed clothes. My husband and youngest son arrived home soon after;  happily chatting. It sounded like music to me.

My family and I have much to be thankful for this year.

Clay Platters

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

Here are some more clay stuff I’ve thrown.  These look pretty cool, but they are the world’s heaviest plates. The large ones started out as 8 lb platters, then shrank up to a plate size (just over 11 inches across). After firing the platters, they now weigh about 4 ¼  lbs each.

The saucer weight is not too bad. It started out at 2 lbs, and after firing weighs about 1 ¼ lbs. More importantly, it is still saucer sized at 7 inches across.

First there was the salt kiln fired platter and saucer.

Salt Kiln fired platter

Salt Kiln fired saucer

These looked pretty cool as a set. I was pleased. I’d used Candice black and copper red on these. Although I thought I’d had put on the copper red thickly, it still thinned out on the rim of the platter. That worked out fine in the salt kiln. The salt silica adds its own orange peel type finish to the clay.

The gas kiln platter looked cool as well, when it came out of the kiln. The pattern was different, but the colors used were also Candice black and copper red, plus a white. The white came out looking silvery gray with a crazed finish.

Platter from the gas kiln

I can’t decide which of the two patterns I like best; the primitive coloring along the edges or the triangle sections.