Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Windshield Wipers

Well, this week we are finally getting a little snow here in the valley. As usual, the news spent a few days sensationalizing yesterday's approaching storm, which was slated to show up at the evening rush hour. The storm didn't prove to be much; just an inch or so of snow (a couple of feet in the mountains), and other than an icy morning commute it caused little problem. All the impending doom did remind me of one of those important things on my "I need to get around to it" list... my lousy windshield wipers. So who is actually good about replacing their wipers as recommended?.... twice a year.. ha! Living in in Utah we don't get much rain, so it is easy to ignore how bad your wipers are. That is, until the first winter storm.

A few years ago my brother Jeff came out to ski, and was so appalled by windshield wipers he made me stop at the first store we could find, buy new ones, and he replaced them for me in the store parking lot. The following Christmas he sent new wipers as a joke. I thought they were a great gift, and now when he asks what I want for Christmas I tell him wiper blades, because with out his gentle reminder I am bound to neglect my wiper maintenance duties.

So last night, in the middle of the "big" storm, I realized that I really needed to do something about my more than 2 year old windshield wipers. Darn my brother, he didn't send me wipers last Christmas so I had to go the store for refills. Of course when I got out to the car I realized refills wouldn't work, that I need to replace the whole shebang. So back in the store I went to exchange them for complete replacement blades. Doesn't it seem wasteful to have to throw the whole assembly away when you really just need a new rubber blade?

In the back of my mind I had this small memory that replacing the wipers was a pain in the rear. Not a faulty memory at all. I decided, even though it was snowing a little, to change them in the parking lot, because the lighting was better then in my driveway, and more replacements were in the store if needed. I started with the passenger side, figuring if I screwed up I could still see out the driver side. I guess you're supposed to be a rocket scientist to change those puppies out. It took forever to figure out how to get the old one off, a little less time to get the new one on. The replacement was aided by that "wonderfully informative" 1 inch by 1 inch instructional picture (see picture above!). Thinking I had it all figured out I went around to tackle the driver side. The problem being the drivers side wiper faces the middle of the car, and my car (a Toyota highlander) is tall, and I am, well, short. So I'm stretching over the car, trying to disassemble and reassemble the wiper from the opposite orientation, thinking it should be easy because I should have learned something from the passenger side. Well It took me twice as long to replace that wiper. I guess I'm not a rocket scientist. My fingers were frozen but at least I can finally see out my windows. My brother will be proud. And if I get new wiper blades for Christmas, maybe next time will be sooner than two years from now.

Monday, November 27, 2006

My holiday weekend...

One would think that with a whole four day weekend off from work I would have found a moment to write something here, but somehow it didn't happen. Our holiday weekend began with a nice surprise. Our kids Korean dad was here in town on business and stopped by to pay us a visit. Korean dad?, you ask. My kids first babysitter was Korean woman who's husband was pursuing a PhD in engineering at the University. She watched my kids until my daughter was year or so old at which time they moved back to Korea. Thus they are my kids Uma and Apa (mom and dad), and their son is my kid's Korean brother. We have not seen them since we traveled to Korea to visit them back in '94 so it was nice to have even a short visit. I only wish Uma could have come too. She sent gifts though, a Korean music CD for my son, a beautiful little purse that she made herself for my daughter, and gim (seaweed) snacks for all of us. She only had one child, a son, and always really wanted a girl, and she always treated Sarah like a daughter. My kids were lucky to have such a wonderful caregiver, and we all really enjoyed learning about Korean culture. I still find it hard to believe that my picky eater kids will eat seaweed snacks (roasted, salted seaweed squares)

Other then that it was an uneventful weekend. We had a small family feast on Thanksgiving. The weather was nice so we walked the dog to the gully for a swim, and stopped at a friends for coffee. I managed to get a couple of jogs in. (I am determined to someday be in good shape again) I made a few beads, played with fusing glass in my kiln, but mostly I spent hours and hour cleaning beads.

Someone tell why I don't clean my beads as soon as they come out of the kiln. I had a nearly 6 month backlog of beads to clean. I haven't been caught up on bead cleaning since May, when I cleaned them all to have some to take to the Michigan cabin retreat. So after many hours, 2 broken diamond bits, and couple of dremeled divots in my left index finger I have lots of clean beads. Now I'm going to swear (again) that I will clean my beads as I make them, rather than letting them pile up. ...Just like I've sworn (about 100 times now!) that I will clean up my workspace after every torch session.... Hopefully this time I will really keep my promise to myself by finishing my bead chores before I go on and have more bead fun!

Next I'll have to figure out what to do with them all. I think Oreo has claimed them as his own.

The family with Jong Bae, the kids Korean father.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Dog Aromatherapy

Someone on LE posted this comic the other day. I just love it, it totally sums up my dogs view on life. It has been kind of obvious from the beginning that Daisy is not exactly the sharpest tool in the shed. She was a year old when we picked her up at the humane society, and was pretty well behaved, except for having this thing for pillows. After numerous episodes of coming home from work and finding polyester pillow fluff spread through out the house we decided that she could no longer roam freely. We decided to keep her in the kitchen so we propped a 2 foot tall piece of cardboard in front of the doorway with kitchen chair. We'll, that piece of cardboard kept for confined for at least six months.

Like I said, she's not the brightest pooch, but she is a bit of an idiot/savant. Where she excels is in directions. She knows all her favorite places and exactly how to get them. The gully where we take her swimming, the park, her friend Ayla, the yellow lab's house,(a mile and a half down the hill), and her favorite store are all on her favorites list. The weather was nice yesterday so I decided to take Daisy for a run. As I often do on runs, I let her pick the course. Her choice was to run to Petsmart (a few blocks from my home), where she likes to go and browse. With her nose of course. She loves to go up the dog treat isle carefully sniffing at each and every different type of treat. She's such a shopper dog. I think she would really like a good doggie aromatherapy isle!

Friday, November 17, 2006

It's still alive....

....the bejeweled hissing cockroach that is. I had the honor of transporting it downtown, where Sarah and three friends were going to some sort of fashion show tonight. Sarah snapped these pictures of her friends playing with the "pet" in the back of my car. The girl with the purple shirt is buggies proud momma.

Can you tell that this girl is NOT the bejeweled bugs owner??

Aren't teenagers just adorable??!!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


I've posted a picture of my MySpace picture. Well, it's not really a MySpace picture since I don't really mave a MySpace page. But it could be. On Sunday the family went to brunch at this very fancy restaurant, LaCaille. (we had a gift certificate that was soon to expire) My daughter was quite impressed with the very fancy bathroom when she suddenly had a *lightbulb* moment. "We need to take a MySpace picture in here!". "Huh?" I say. "In a bathroom?" So she gave me instructions - tilt your head like this, pout your lips like this, put your hands like this. Apparently lots of people take their my space pictures themselves in front of mirrors at odd angles or in in funky poses. In case it's not obvious the cute, skinny one in front is my daughter. (She shields my girth well, perhaps that's why I like this blurry, off color picture!)

I have hardly ever seen my kids MySpace pages. They are set to "private" and the kids have made it clear that they are off limits to mom. They have also made it abundantly clear that I'm not supposed to be looking at their friends pages either, even if they aren't "private". I keep telling them that if it's out on the internet it's out there for anyone to view, incuding nosey mom's. We fight about this sometimes. The kids tell me I don't get it, but I think they are the ones who don't really get it!

Regarding my fancy brunch, LaCaille is a lovely, beautiful place (with over-priced, decent, but not especially stellar, food) the second course is this wonderful cream puff swan- I love food art!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

a little blog tag with JC....

Am I a needy lampworking skills victim? Now that's a weird question isn't it? I am asking myself that question in response to the blog of one of my lampworking buddies, JC Herrell. To paraphrase her blog, she seemed disappointed in people who, on the lampworking forums, are what she describes as "skill victims"; which I interpret to mean us whiny folks who complain about our skill sets and talents and allow ourselves to be limited by our attitudes.

So I have to wonder if I'm am perhaps one of the people that is aggravating her. I have to admit that I, just the other day, commented on a forum that I was very jealous of another artists stringer control. I admit to making frequent comments of that ilk. I'm a hobbyist lampworker. I've been doing this for 3 years, as time permits, which for is maybe an evening a week and some more time over the weekend. I have yet to take a real class. I definitely have areas, many areas, where my skills need work.

But does this make me a victim? I don't feel like one. Take stringer control. (You could insert a number of techniques here! LOL) I have often joked about my lack of stringer control, commenting to others about my personal hypocrisy - complaining I don't have stringer control, but knowing I really haven't spent much time working toward acquiring it.

I have enough stringer control to make foliage on my florals, which I guess so far, has been enough for me. But of course better stringer control would be a great thing, and I am envious of those who already have it. It would be wonderful if the great glass gods would wave their magic wands and make me instantaneously talented. Wouldn't it be nice if it worked that way? I'm sure at some point I will suddenly be motivated to master the art of stringer control but for now I'm actually content in knowing that I have been working at my own pace, aquiring new skills as they suit me and my current style of bead making.

I may see the places where my talent and skill are lacking, but I don't feel victimized at all. I think trying to honestly appraise my skills and talents will help motivate me to work on the things I need and want to, and perhaps even help me choose the trajectory of my creativity.

I hope J.C. doesn't mind me commenting on her blog....and I hope I haven't been the one to irk her too much! She's a great bead maker, a great person.... and she brings up interesting points in her blog! Definitely points worth pondering!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election Day!

So did you do it? Vote that is. I did and got my "I Voted" sticker and everything. Note the fingerprint on the sticker; I guess that's the new symbol for touch screen voting. The new electronic voting machines seemed pretty straight forward to use, our precinct seemed to have plenty of them, and I don't think it took me any longer to vote then it did in previous elections. But of course that was before 7:30 AM, maybe the lines and wait times will be horrendous later in the day. Now the vote counting issue...I guess we'll see how that goes this evening.

Our only voting hiccup was knowing where to vote. During the "big" presidential elections my precinct votes at "The Sons of Utah Pioneers" building which is conveniently located two streets over from mine. For the "lesser" elections the vote takes place at the neighborhood elementary school. Usually we go the "Pioneers" as we call it, realize it's the wrong place then head over to the school. I had thought that with a both a senatorial and congressional race we might get to vote at the Pioneers this year but I wasn't sure. My husband, who always goes to vote right at 7:00am, called home and asked me where to vote. The school district closed our neighborhood elementary this year, so where DO we vote? Oops, we'd never thought about that. So he came home, looked it up on the internet and found that we now vote down at the synagogue a mile and a half away. Problem solved, voting accomplished. I can proudly wear my sticker.

This really got me thinking about the electoral process. How do they decide where people vote? Who are those people who are running the election process? I'm under the impression the polling places are staffed by volunteers. ( Is this true?) I wonder where they find them. Where I vote the scribe who writes all the names in the book is always an elderly woman with beautiful handwriting. Maybe they look for people old enough to have had a penmanship course for this job! I imagine that it is a big job to organize all the voting equipment, people, places and paperwork. I think our county clerk oversees the effort, I guess her job is way bigger than I could imagine.

Since voting is a governmental thing. I would *think* that voting would take place in a public building, like a school. Clearly this doesn't always happen, today I voted at a church, sometimes I vote at a building owned by a private organization, heck, back when I was a kid in Ohio my parents voted in the basement at a neighbors home. My 20 some year old voter registration card says to vote at the Sons of Utah Pioneers building, but in reality we vote in other locations more often. It also says to check the newspaper or call a phone number (Does this 20 year old number still work?) for updated information. Checking the newspaper requires knowing your precinct number. Who remembers that? How many people (besides me!) actually keep their voter registration card handy? Of course now we have the internet, which makes it easy. Enter your address and it tells you where to vote. But what about those (rare, not so rare?) folks with out internet access or computer savvy?

My boss went to vote this morning, gave them his name, and found he wasn't on the list. It turns out he had been "redistricted" (or as he said, gerrymandered in to a new district!) and he hadn't know about it. So he has to vote someplace else, someplace he didn't have time to go this morning, so he will have to vote later. Several (most) other people I work with hadn't voted yet and didn't know where they were supposed to vote. These are intelligent folk ( I work at a university), so I know they will figure it out and go do their civic duty. But it makes me I wonder how often people are confused about how to actually go vote.

I wonder how often people don't bother to vote, just because they are confused or it's too much trouble to figure out the system?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Happy Halloween!

Halloween at my house...
Graveyard in the front yard, jack-o-lanterns on the steps. Teenage kids, so no one to take trick or treating (***sad sigh!***). We did have a dozen a dozen of my daughters friends show up for the traditional pre trick or treat dinner, which at our house means pigs in a blanket and mac and cheese. As quick as as they came they all disapeared, roaming the neighborhood and haunting other friends houses. Three hours later a bunch showed back up at my house for some hot spiced cider. My son was out with his friends so for the most part it was a quiet night.

We did have one interesting guest tonight. Meet my daughter's friend Maddie's new pet- a jewel encrusted hissing cockroach. Complete with a finding that allows you to attach a tether that pins to your clothes so that can wear your bug as a lapel pet. Cockroach Couture! Just what everone needs right?? So if you want to be hip and cool this season they are available for mail order! ...and yeah, it's a good thing my daughter didn't bring one home! Not that I'm that bug phobic, but $60 for a roach? No way! I may be crazy but not that crazy!