Thursday, March 29, 2007

Nerd alert!

The good thing that happened the day Matt had his accident: when I returned to work that afternoon I noticed the little hillside by my building was covered in these wonderful purple flowers.

I recognized them immediately as a flower I should know from college. I majored in botany, and took taxonomy in the spring of my freshman year, so I studied lots of spring flowers. This one was Speedwell (common name) or veronica sp. (scientific name). Could I possibly have remembered that correctly after all these years? A quick google search when I got back the lab confirmed that I did indeed remember correctly. An accomplishment I think, as I took that taxonomy class way back in spring of ’79! Yeah, I know, another nerd alert moment for sure. (I am what I am!) I wonder how many truly useful and important things I have forgotten to allow room on my brain to remember my plant taxonomy for 28 years!

Spring weather being what it is, here’s a shot of that same hillside taken a week later!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Thank you!

I wanted to thank everyone for their concern and comments about Matt's car accident. I think I proved that saying "everyone loves a train wreck" (OK, car wreck!). My blog page had over 200 hits on Thursday! Normally a "good" day would only be about 20 hits. Hopefully it reminded everyone to drive carefully and defensively.

Another thing you often "hear" is that most accidents happen right near home. Sure enough, Matt was less than a mile from when he had his accident. Sandy's sad story, written on my comments page, reiterated how tragedy can happen just blocks from home. I have always been a seat belt nazi, regardless of whether I was driving 1 mile, or 10 miles, from home. People who don't use seat belts, or worse yet, don't buckle up their kids, really irritate me. Because it was never an option, my kids know to always buckle up, but I'm always shocked that when I pile five of my kids friends in my car I nearly always have to remind someone to buckle up. I never would have guessed that I would have to ask "Is everybody buckled?" to a bunch of teenagers just as I asked when they were tots. You'd think they'd all know better!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Thank goodness for airbags!

The bad part of my day... that phone call every mom of driving teenager fears. "I've been in an accident"... This is what's left of our '99 Chevy Prism after t-boning a Toyota Sequoia. My son was driving straight up the street when the other car pulled out of a side street to make a left hand turn. He slammed on the brakes but couldn't avoid the accident. All I can say is thank goodness for airbags!!! My son was pretty shaken up, is a bit bruised from the airbag(his chest hurts!), but is OK. The Sequoia was driven by a 17 year old girl with two passengers. The kids were all out of school for lunch hour.

When I arrived on the scene I made sure Matt was OK, talked to the sheriff and when the paramedics were finally done with them I walked over and spoke to the girls. I wanted to make sure they were OK. The three girls were pretty upset, the driver in tears but otherwise seemed fine. I felt really bad for them. I asked if their parents had come because they seemed quite alone. The driver pointed out a man walking around taking pictures and said it was her dad. It struck me as weird that the dad never came and said anything to my son or to me. He never even made eye contact with us. I keep thinking that if my son had caused the accident, I would have spoken to the other party, made sure nobody was hurt, apologized, discussed insurance or something. Does that seem odd to anyone besides me?

So Matt's poor car is toast, I suppose the good thing is that it wasn't his fault, although I have to admit that I'm just so thankful he is OK I'm not even worried about the car or the blame. I've never been in accident were airbags deployed. He said it was pretty scary. His knit hat got knocked right off his head, and if you look at the windshield you can see cracks on the passenger side where the airbag broke the window. He said the scariest thing was getting out of the car, feeling dazed, and realizing that nobody was getting out of the other car. He was afraid they were really hurt, and was quite relieved when he found out they were fine. I'm glad they had side curtain airbags.

So hug your kids, as you never know when something bad can happen!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Flip flops day four!

It is hard to believe that today is the 20th of March and I have been wearing flip flops for the last four days. On Saturday I took Daisy jogging down to the gully for her first swim of the year. I wore a tank top and shorts and was actually hot! In March! My crocuses have already bloomed and wilted and I have a single daffodil flower in my front yard. I don't recall ever having such spring-like weather this early in the year. Of course it won't last, the temperature is supposed to drop tonight and snow is predicted for the mountains. But while the spring was in the air I was inspired to make some springy beads.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

So how does one define success on ebay?
Is total number of sales, total dollars of sales, high bid per auction? Ebay is an interesting venue. Prior to taking up lampworking I never would have guessed it would be an outlet for selling beads, and as a long time non-seller, it looked pretty intimidating to me. Thousands of lampwork bead listings, some sell, some don’t. Some sell for hundreds, or even thousands; others for dollars or pennys or not all.

As a hobbyist who has just recently begun to dabble in the ebay world it is really unclear to me how I would define success. I have to admit I'm at the stage where I'm thrilled to have a watcher or two, I'm thrilled when my number of views actually goes up, thrilled to get a bid and really thrilled when I get more than one, although that is rare. Today my auction selling success sits at 70%, I have no idea if that is good for a newbie or not, but I'm certainly not complaining.

Last week I had two ebay treats. My first trifecta - 3 beads for sale and they all sold. That was exciting for me. I listed more beads that night and had a bid with in an hour or so, and a bid on another bead by morning. Usually they languish and get a bid on the last day if I'm lucky, so getting early bids was really nice.

Tonight I had another exciting monment. I actually got sniped! Imagine my suprise when I checked my auction and in the last minute it went from one bidder to three! Woohoo! What a fun game ebay can be!!!

Another thing I am really happy about. Repeat buyers! I think of all the ebay things I find pleasing it is having repeat buyers that makes me the happiest! It is certainly a wonderful feeling to have someone come back for more! I don't know if anyone who has bought my beads reads here, but if you do, thank you very much!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

I got home a little late last night since I stopped to pick up pizza on the way home from work. It was a little after 6 and my son was home but my daughter wasn’t there. I asked Matt if he knew where Sarah was and he said “no”, that he had just gotten home form work and that she wasn’t there and he had no idea where she was. Since 6 PM is check-in time I was a little miffed. After about a half and hour I said to Matt “Give your sister a call and find out where she is” He did, then grumbled about how once again she didn’t answer her phone, and about how he would have been in trouble had he not checked in. I assured him that yes, she was in trouble, and a half an hour later tried calling her again. Still no answer. I call one her friends to see if she had any idea who Sarah was hanging out with after school. She didn’t. So I decided too cool my heels and take the dog for walk. But first I thought I'd check and see if the girl across the street happened to notice who Sarah was with after school. Zoe hadn’t ridden the bus, so she didn’t know, but volunteered to text message Sarah for me. I said “sure, just tell her she better get home “ and then Daisy and I proceeded on our walk. I was about halfway down the street and Zoe came running after me. “I found her, I found her.” “Where is she?” I ask. “She’s home in her room!”. So here I am, fretting about my daughters whereabouts, while all the while she was at home, asleep in her room. Talk about feeling like an overanxious neurotic mother. One who’s not smart enough to find her kids in her own home. Duh. I felt kind of bad so I went to the store and bought Sarah’s favorite frozen pie and baked it for her, as it was Pi Day after all. Mom demerits for me this week!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Happy Pi Day!

One of the students in my lab walked up and wished me “Happy Pie Day” this morning, to which I responded “Huh? Pie Day?” and he said “Three fourteen, Pie Day!”. Then, of course, the light bulb came on. 3.14 (or more acurately 3.14159), Pi, the math Pi. As a bit of a self-ascribed nerd I am a bit embarrassed that I did not know about Pi Day, but a quick Google search affirmed that yes, people do celebrate Pi Day. There are Pi Day web sites with Pi Day songs and activities you can even send a Pi Day e-card!

I think that in an attempt to parlay my new found knowledge into something good for me I will use Pi day as an excuse not to cook tonight. I think I’ll pick up pizza, yup, pizza Pi on the way home from work today!

So Happy Pi Day everyone... take it easy and pick up a pizza for dinner!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Before and After

One of my New Years resolutions was to keep my workspace clean; you know, to clean up after each and every torch session. I think I managed to keep my resolution for about a week, then my typical chaos kicked in. This morning I told myself that today was the day I was going to clean my workbench, and low and behold, while I was procrastinating doing said chore, I read Lori Greenberg's blog where she showed before and after pictures of, guess what, her newly cleaned workspace! I took that as a sign that I should get off my lazy butt and really clean mine too. Really cleaning as opposed to saying I'm going to do it then going up stairs and have a dipped mandrel entice me to light the torch instead. That's what usually happens when I tell my self I'm going to clean. Not being one to ignore a good "sign" when the stars and moon align to show me one, I really cleaned today. That of course, was after I used my last four dipped mandrels. So here it is. Workbench, before and after:

Friday, March 09, 2007

Art Books

A friend of mine from work and I took a nice little lunch excursion today. We headed up to the Utah Museum of Fine Art to see The Guild of Book Workers 100th Anniversary Exhibition. It was a very interesting exhibit. Some books were pretty traditional, others extremely beautiful and artful and some were downright funky; to the point where I’m not sure I’d call them books. It was quite fascinating to see the range of creativity exhibited. There was even one that included glass art. The cover was made of wood, and embedded in the wood were a bunch of small dichroic glass cabochons, which the artist called glass stones. The only inside picture that could be seen looked like a watercolor painting of colored glass stones. One thing that I found a tad dissatisfying about the exhibit was that everything, just as one would expect in a museum, was under glass. I wanted to be able to pick up and look at the books, to actually see what was inside, rather than just the outside, or the displayed pages. I guess in my mind the book isn’t just about the cover, but what’s inside also counts. I guess there’s some truth the saying “you can’t judge a book by the cover”. These were pretty amazing covers; I can’t imagine the books contents were too lacking.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Out with the old?...

So is spring here? We had two huge snowstorms last week, but now its about 50 degrees and the snow is rapidly melting. The tulips are beginning to pop through the soil in my front yard garden. I had an ebay package to send off yesterday and instead of driving it to the post office Daisy and I jogged over to the post office. It was perfect running weather.

Sadly though, I came to the realization that I may have to retire one of my favorite jogging shirts. I admit to be a clothes hoarder, I have a hard time getting rid of clothes I like, especially if they are comfy. I have a couple of ancient tie-dyed long sleeve t-shirts that are long time favorites. They are at least 10 years old; I made them at a tie-dye party sponsored by a woman at work. Sadly, I’ve forgotten her name, but she liked to tie-dye and to offset some of her hobby expense she would throw dying parties. We would order our dyables through her, so we could get the bulk discount through Dharma Trading Company, and pay her some small fee for the rest of the supplies. She had tons of colors of dyes, and was a great instructor so it was a lot of fun. She would rinse and wash the shirts for us, a job I never truly appreciated until I got the job of rinsing and washing my Girl Scout troop’s shirts. Wow, that’s a lot of work!

I loved my tie-dye shirts but as the years went by and they became holier and holier they went from “everyday wearable shits” to “slop around the house shirts” to “sweaty jogging shirts”. Soft, comfy, worn out delightful shirts. Yesterday when I got dressed to jog I discovered that armpit hole in my turquoise and pink tie-dye had expanded from ping-pong ball size to baseball size. I guess it really is time to retire my shirt to the trash. Believe it or not, I spent much of my run telling myself that I was going to go home, strip off the shirt and toss it right in the trash. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. NO trip through the laundry. Then it occurred to me! My shirt would make a perfect glass rod wiping rag. So it’s in the laundry basket after all, and now I’ll have a colorful artsy-fartsy studio rag. Recycling at its best. I guess I’m just a crazy old woman who can’t get rid of old stuff. Heaven help my kids when they have to sell the house and put me in a home!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Snack time?

Look what I found at the dollar store Saturday. Edible gummy rats! Isn’t that the sort of thing that everyone is looking for? In my bizarre little world they were a big hit. In a “ha, ha” sort of way. (I work in a research lab with mice.)

What I want to know is how often have you had a little hunger pang and thought “Hmmm a chewy candy rat would really hit the spot!” My other big question is “What flavor is gray?” Are gray gummy rats tastier than white gummy rats?

A couple of people at work were brave enough to try them. Apparently the gray ones tasted a bit like grapefruit. Maybe someone will try a white one tomorrow. As appealing as the thought of ‘rat snacks’ is I personally don’t like gummy candy of any sort, so I didn’t indulge. You gotta just love the crazy things you can find at the dollar store!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Stanford Ferdinand

So who names a bead Stanford anyway? I guess I do! I really struggle with the naming beads thing. Occasionally one speaks to me and tells me it's name, but usually I have a hard time dreaming up spiffy bead nomenclature. So the other day when I was at a loss I for a name I asked my daughter and her friend for ideas. Her friend Ann instantly blurted out "Stanford", name it Stanford! Stanford Ferdinand!". And so I did.

Stanford gave me a little scare tonight. I have a very "sophisticated" system to keep track of my ebay beads. I have two plastic sandwich baggies on my dresser. One holds the beads that are currently up for auction, the other holds the ones that didn't sell in case I choose to re-list them. I went to slip a newly listed bead in its baggie tonight, and I realized Stanford wasn't there! Not good, as his auction runs until Sunday. My first thought - "Panic!" my second thought- "No one's even watching that auction, but I better find him anyway. Just in case". Fortunately, he hadn't run too far away. I'd stuck him in my pants pocket and forgot to take him out to put him in his baggie. When I hung up my pants he fell out of my pocket onto my closet floor, where luckily, I found him. I guess he's lucky he didn't get durability tested in the spin cycle of my washer!

I had this problem once before. On my very first auction. I was thrilled to death when I had my first watcher, then realized I couldn't find the bead. I didn't find it until the next day, and I was pretty anxious until I did. What a way to start my ebay career, losing my first potential sale! Turns out I had folded it up in my wallet, which I had taken out because ebay needed a credit card number. It ended up not selling anyway (ebay lesson one: Watcher doesn't always equal buyer!) I've done a much better job keeping track of things - until "Stanford" went missing. Gotta keep better eyes on those sly guys!

Friday, March 02, 2007

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood!

The sun is shining and the sky is blue. It wasn’t that way when I woke up. It was snowing like crazy- About 8 inches of fresh snow fell at our house. Luckily, I like snow. My kids had a scheduled day off from school, and the plows, which usually hit our street around 6 AM hadn’t made a sweep yet, so I didn’t exactly rush out the door. I shoveled the driveway, played snowball with Daisy, took her for a walk around the block and let her play with the neighbor’s dog. The plows finally came around 9 so I thought I should head out. So now I’m at work, taking a break to eat a peanut butter sandwich, listening to some of my favorite music (Dan Fogelberg) on my headphones. You know what?, I feel good! I don’t know if it’s the fact that it’s so nice out, or that I got a nice, much needed workout while shoveling this morning, or maybe today’s break from my normal routine was just what I needed. Maybe it’s the fact that I removed my big snowboots and am wearing birkenstock sandals. The telemark skiers have this saying “Free the Heel and Mind will Follow”. Maybe that applies to wearing sandals in the winter as well. Regardless of the reason, it’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood. Can’t you just hear Mr Roger sing?!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

More from the eclectic beadery...

As part of my eclectic beading experience I have gotten in to making big hole beads lately. Great big, big big hole beads! I have no idea if there is much interest in big hole beads amongst ‘Bead People’, but I know my kids and their friends love them for their hemp creations! So if no one on ebay finds them interesting at least I know I have avid fans at my house everyday! The kids love my free beads. Wanna be a ‘cool’ mom? Let the 15 years raid your reject bead bowls!

I can think of all sorts of things to do with big hole beads. I think they would be great as sliders on bead crochet, or viking knit, two things I have no idea how to do. Maybe one day I’ll try to make a multi-strand necklace to slide them around on. That is something I could do. I really should find time to string more. It seems my creative time all goes in to making beads, but rarely using them. I must admit to feeling very satisfied when I get motivated to string up my beads into some type of creation. I should probably do it more often, and these big hole beads are giving my the itch to try some new things!