Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Reasons I like the bead world...

One of the things I love about the glass bead world is how once you are hooked on melting glass and realize how one's current skill level effects (limits!?!) what a person can create, you gain apprectiation for beads that may otherwise not appeal to you simply because you marvel at the skill it took to create them. Seeing Mavis's bead the other day reminded me of that. I was certainly oo-ing and ahh-ing over them the bead store, as well as lamenting that I couldn't create anything like that. But the truth of the matter is while I'm the first to say I suck at sculptural work, I also have to admit that I've rarely attempted any sculptural pieces. Back in December I talked about my sculptural bead attempts; not much has changed since then! But not yet having the bug to work on those skills doesn't stop me from really admiring the work of those who do. I think it's wonderful to know I may have future challenges around the corner, and that one day I may be inspired to make things that currently seem out of character for me.

A second good bead feeling from my Mavis bead experience - I love all the bead world connections! I've never met Mavis, but I've made friends with folks who have. I have a cool bead that I got in a trade with Schermo. It looks like a victorian style purse. I don't recall the entire story, but she came up with that design to make a bead for Mavis. I have another wonderful trade bead; a green vine bead with a cool turtle murrine that was made by Kristen of Gennesee Glassworks. Kristen used a murrine made by Mavis in the bead. So even though I don't know Mavis at all, I feel this tiny connection. It's a nice thing.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

My parents are in town visiting for Matt's graduation. Today Matt and Bob and PopPop went golfing, so Sarah and G.G. and I decided to go shopping so Sarah could find a dress for her "promotion" (from Jr. H.S. to H.S.) party. Since recent shopping trips hadn't been successful, and because we had Sarah's grandma to entertain, I decided we could venture out of my usual north valley box and check out Southtown Mall. Southtown is only about 15 miles from my house, but from my world view it's the other end of the universe, so I haven't been there in 12 or 15 years. (I'm a terrible shopper, if it's not for sale at Smiths 3 blocks from my house I probably don't need it!)

It turns out that there is a bead store there, so of course I had to go in a look around. I always check out the locked cases to see if they have any nice lampwork, and today I was pleasantly surprised to find some beautiful lampwork mermaids and fairies that I suspected were Mavis Smith beads. Sure enough they were, and the shop keeper was kind enough to let me fondle them. I've never met Mavis, but I have admired her work, so it was really cool to see some in real life. I was surprised how big they were, and yet how delicate. I don't get to see much lampwork other than my own, so it was really cool to see such marvellous beads in real life.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Paranoia and Spring Flowers

I'm not entirely sure but I think that someone has covertly "micro-chipped" me and is tracking my every move. I think they are reporting all my moves to my boss, so he can catch me when I get to work late. Are these the ramblings of paranoid psychopath, or am I just noticing weird coincidences again?

One nice thing about my job is that (within reason) I can set my own hours. I'm pretty boring though, I usually get to work everyday at about 8, give or take 15 minutes. My boss on the other hand likes to work at home in the mornings, and usually shows up at work around 11 or so. Except.... when I am late for work. I'm rarely "late", but once in a while I schedule an 8 am dentist appointment or need to stop at the kids school or something which causes me to get to work at 9 or 9:30. Never fail, the only days my boss comes to work early are the days that I get there late. 95% of the time I could show up at work 9:30 or 10 and beat my boss to work, but for some reason, on those days I am late (like today!) he manages to come in early (for him) ang catch me come in late. He's never there to notice all those days I'm there at 8.

Today I was late because my parents came to town. They flew in yesterday afternoon, and this morning were heading to Vegas for a few days. So I stayed home so I could make them coffee and see them off. While I was there, the east window light shining on a bouquet of garden flowers looked so pretty I had to take some pictures.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Science and Art

My nerdy side likes it when art and science collide. Today, CBS's Sunday Morning Show did an interesting story about Robert Lang, an engineer turned origami artist. He does the most amazing things with single sheets of paper. Even more fascinating to me, he understands the mathematics of it and has applied origami to engineering problems, like designing airbags and building expandable telescopes. Now that is something I can't even begin to imagine!

I find origami fascinating and exceedingly difficult. Like every school kid, I can make a paper crane, and I used to be able to make the blow up frog; the one that you blow air in to puff up it's abdomen. When my kids were little I bought a really cool origami book- or so I thought until I tries to fold my first T-Rex. Yikes, even with instructions I found it exceedingly difficult. I don't think I managed to fold more than two things, and they probably didn't come out quite right.

Check out his website, it's full of interesting things. For many of his creations he shows the crease patterns, not that they would help us mere mortals learn to fold anything so complex. It almost makes want to improve my math skills!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Coincidences again

As you may know I am fascinated with coincidences, and and equally amazed at how this web of a world intertwines. I had another cosmic moment the other day, an unexpected intersection of my nerd world, my gardening world and my glass world.

I went shopping to purchase bedding plants for my front garden and deck planters. I prefer to buy my plants at the growers; I love to browse fragrant greenhouses bursting with color! As I was walking through the green house I saw two women that looked vaguely familiar. I'm sure I stared at them, and when we bumped into each other the second time I was sure they were staring at me. So we did the "where do I know you from?" routine. One woman asked me "Do you do glass?" Which of course I do, and we realized we met a while back at the Western Art glass store. Small world. That left woman number two. "Where do you work?" she asked. I said "the university". and they both said "so do we". To make a long story short it turns out we all worked in the Human Genetics department more than 11 years ago, two of us in labs, and the third in the administrative office, where she took care of my accounting. It's funny how I couldn't remember where I recognized them from, but as soon as we sorted that out my memories became absolutely crystal clear. Makes me want to look for the keys to unlock all the other forgotten memories that are rattling around my head!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Nature and numbers(11 again!)

Do you remember me talking about the 11's in my life a while back?
They seem to have returned. The person who left me my most recent ebay feed back has a feedback of 11. Another recent customer currently has a feedback of 1111. I still don't know why I'm so 11-philic lately. I suppose it's just me being over observant of odd coincidences (like when street lights blow out when I go by!), but it sure makes me wonder!

More weird observations...another nerd alert moment...
I've been cat sitting for a friend, and I have been using the need to go to her house as an excuse to take a lunch time jog through neighborhoods near work. The other day while running through the Aves I came across this cool Horse Chestnut tree. The trunk split into two branches, the east half was in flower, but the west half wasn't. I've never seen anything quite like it, and no fuzzy memories from botany major days explain it. I guess I'll have to do some research!!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Thieving Dog two

My Daisy wants to continue her life of crime! I took her to the gully for a swim yesterday, and she made a new friend, Missy (short for Mississippi). Missy had a cool toy, a donut that was made out of tennis ball material. It was tossed in the water for Missy, and Daisy grabbed it and wouldn't give it up. Normally when Daisy gets involved with another dog in a game of fetch in the creek, as soon as the other dog approaches she gives up the stick or ball. She's never been an alpha dog. But with this donut toy she was different, she wouldn't give it to Missy, and when I finally convinced her to come out of the creek she wouldn't give it to me either. When I finally wrestled it from her and gave it to Missy's "mom" she jumped up and tried to steal it back. I guess I'll have to head to Petsmart this weekend and get her one her own, I need to stop her life of crime.

The bad part of yesterdays trip to the gully: Web worms! Or do you call them tent caterpillars? Or more scientifically, Fall Canker Worms ( I think! I'm not an entomologist.) Ugh. I hate web worm infestations. They were hanging all over the narrow trail that leads down to gully nearest my house, so I ended up hiking back up and and walking through the neighborhood to the main park entrance, where the trail is wide enough that you can dodge the worms hanging everwhere. I'm not the phobic type, but inchworms dropping from the trees on threads really gross me out.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Sad days and butterflies

Today was a lousy day for my daughter. Last week one of her friend's mothers committed suicide, and today was the funeral. I don't know this friend very well, and I only met the mom once, but my daughter really, really liked this woman. I guess they had many heart to heart chats and Sarah considered her a friend, not just someones mom. I think it's wonderful when kids find adults they can relate to and bond with so I feel very sad for my daughter. The funeral was up north in a town about an hour away, and at the last minute Sarah's ride didn't work out so I ended up playing hooky from work to driving her and her friend since I could see it was really important to her that she attend.

I guess 15 year olds like to have their own life, their own little world, so she didn't really want me to attend the service with her. Since we were an hour from home I figured I'd just kill time until she called to tell my she was done. I went and got my hair cut which didn't take long at all (good bye 6 inches!) then I decided to go for a hike. I drove up behind the church to where the houses ended and found a place to park and a jeep trail. It was a lovely spring day for a hike up the mountainside. The hills were yellow with mustard plants, the lupines a beautiful blue, phlox and alliums and the occasional astragalus were also in bloom. The sage brush smelled wonderful, the birds sounded wonderful. It was really nice to get out for solitary, peaceful hike on what should have been a work day.

The highlight of my walk was getting to a little spit of a creek. It was rocky, all of about an inch deep, and swarming with tiny blue butterflies. With their wings spread they were a beautiful blue, when closed they were grayish and blended in perfectly with the rocks they were sitting on. Bunches of them sitting on the rocks perfectly camouflaged, until disturbed, when they spread their wings and made little clouds of blue. I wish I'd had my camera with me.

So I ended up having a nice day, and attending the funeral lifted a big emotional burden from Sarah. I'm sure my boss won't be thrilled about me missing work, but sometimes you have to do things for your family, and today was one of those days.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Insomnia and Bird Beads

Insomnia moment... it's 4 am and I can't sleep. The birds are chirping outside. I recently made a new discovery in nerd land...the Cornell University Bird Guide. The online guide has something the bird books do not... bird songs! So I'm laying here in bed with my laptop listening to bird songs, both outside my window and online. I'm trying, with little success, to identify the real bird songs. The funny thing is, when I play a bird song, my cat comes over and tries to stick his head under my computer. I guess he likes birds too.

In another nerdy moment, the necklace in the picture was bird inspired. One of the guys in my lab showed a picture of a Loon at lab meeting last month. I saw it and thought it was perfect bead inspiration... that red eye, the distinctive black and white patterning of the plumage. About the same time Art Bead Scene announced it's first monthly challenge, which was themed
Take Flight, so I decided I'd make a Loon bead necklace. I can't quite decide what I think of my creation. On one hand, it seems, well, loony! On the other hand, it seems a bit busy. Maybe my avian inspiration/interpretation skills need to be honed a bit. (Yup, I'm fishing for comments/criticism here!) I do think though, that I will try to design some more bird inspired beads in the future. I like it when nature inspires art.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Earrings again...

Look, I did it again! Earrings! I found another excuse to actually use some of my beads. I went to a baby shower on Saturday, and in addition to the baby gifts I thought a "mommy" gift was in order, so I decided to make some earrings. The expectant mom, the wife of a PhD student in my lab, is having a surprise baby. She was always told she'd never be able to have kids due to severe endometriosis. She started having some abdominal pain and was sent for an ultrasound, where everyone was afraid they were going to find some tumors, but instead they found a 5 month old fetus!!! Talk about a surprise. A really huge surprise considering that she had had three negative pregnancy tests during those first five months. (She was doing a drug trial for an endometriosis treatment that required pregancy tests) That's probably the most exciting pregnancy story I've ever heard!

Jury Duty

The one interesting and unusual thing that happened to me this week was I got called for jury duty. It began differently than normal; instead of receiving a letter telling me to call in every morning to see if I had to report, I got a subpoena, telling me I had to go to court the week before to fill out a questionnaire. We were told that this was fairly unusual, which made me think it might be an interesting case. The questionnaire asked about ordinary things like your education and occupation, and things that seemed more specific like what you thought about lawsuits, tort reform and capping monetary damage awards. It also asked about your hobbies, your news sources, and my favorite question: "What are the bumper stickers on your households car?" So would my "What if the hokey pokey IS what it's all about?" bumper-sticker disqualify me? Or how about my husbands "What would Buddha do?" Interesting question!

When we returned to court on Tuesday, there were so many of us they need to bring in extra chairs, and the judge had a seating chart telling us where to sit. I wondered if there was significance to the chart. Were we pre-screened as to who the prosecution and defense thought they would like to choose? They handed around another questionnaire, and every one was required to stand up and answer all the questions. It seemed a little silly, as most of the questions had been covered in the written questionnaire we took the week before. It was interesting to see the variety in answers; the various educations and occupations of the prospective jurors, and their interests. Many were pretty ordinary, others more interesting, like the guy why builds and flies experimental aircraft, or the woman who looked about my age that was a skydiver. I admit I was the only one to stand up and say I made lampworked glass beads, and was a member of the International Society of Glass Beadmakers.

The bad thing about the question process, was they also wanted to know what your family members did for a living. Since I live in Utah, where there as so many huge families, those lists went on forever as people listed the occupations of their 5 or 8 kids. From there the questions got more specific, so everyone didn't have to answer: "Have you been involved in a lawsuit, or car crash? Do you have strong feelings about lawsuits?" Some people where actually privately interviewed in the judges chambers. It was interesting to see how the process went, although I think this case was a bit atypical; the judge told us that it was the longest jury picking process she had in her 8 years as a judge.

To make a long story short, I didn't get picked. Part of me was relieved, because they anticipated the case would last another three days, and I'd hate to miss that much work. On the other hand I was really curious about the case. All we were told was that the couple was suing for damages because of back or neck injuries she received in a car wreck. She was wanted to be compensated for pain and suffering, he for “loss of consortium.” I was curious about the case. Were these money grubbing sue-happy people or was she really damaged? Was the driver (who admitted liability) reckless or was it truly just an accident. One alarming thing was that the accident happened in 1999... does this say something for the legal process? Are all cases drawn out for years and years? Yikes!!! I guess I'll never know, darn it. At least I'm off the hook for jury duty for the next two years.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

My dog is a thief....

I took Daisy out for a jog tonight. As part of my course we usually take a lap through the park, where I'll let her off the leash to romp around. In the middle of park we saw Tommy and Jetta. We first met them a few weeks ago. Tommy is the owner (or is it really the other way around LOL)Jetta is a sweet, year old black lab, who is very friendly, and, oddly enough, is happy to let Daisy be the the alpha dog. I find that amusing because Daisy is not an alpha dog by any stretch of the imagination. Tommy brings a ball to the park for Jetta; a "squeaky" tennis ball, that my dog Daisy just loves. So tonight Daisy ran over to play with Jetta, then Maggie, a 5 month old labradoodle (who had her own tennis ball) came to join them. While we let the dogs play and chatted Maggie's "dad" and Tommy kept tossing the balls to all three of the dogs. It was starting to get dark, so I told Daisy it was time to leave and started jogging out of the park. Before we got to the road I stopped and put her leash back on her, then we headed out the drive and through the neighborhood. We were a few houses down the street when I noticed Daisy had something in her mouth - a ball, Jetta's squeaky tennis ball that Daisy likes so well. So I guess my dog is a thief!!! I turned around and headed back through the park, and managed to make it the other end just before Jetta and Tommy pulled out of the parking lot. So how do you make your dog apologize for being a thief?? I'm not sure she felt the remorse when I returned the ball... I think she really wanted to keep it!