Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Do I need more hobbys?

A couple of weeks ago I was at a baby shower for a friend who happens to be an excellent potter. She was trying to entice me to come take a class at her studio. I told her that "I had a fear of pottery". She looked at my like I was demented, until I explained that my "fear" is that I would like it too well then want to have my own kiln, and wheel and pottery studio.

Imagine my surprise when that evening I received a call from another good friend. This friend is another artist type, and one of the many things she does is china painting. She wants to know if I'd like to use a big kiln for my glass work. It turns out that one of her elderly china painting friends had to go move to assisted living, and my friend got one of her kilns. She can't use it right now, but thought I might be able to. How could I say no?

To use it for glass I think I would have to spend quite a bit of money on a digital controller, which I can't do right now, so I'm thinking I'll play with clay after all. It's funny how life works sometimes, one minute I'm saying I fear pottery because I'd want my own kiln, a few hours later I have one sitting in my garage. Cosmic huh?

So Saturday I went to the ceramics store and bought two huge bricks of clay. I'm going to pick a night and have a bunch of girlfriends over for a "Pot Party" where we can all get creative with clay. It will be a perpetual party, because after we create we'll have to have a glazing party, and a firing party, and kiln emptying party, right? I think I'll now discard my pottery fear and look forward to clay play!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

More from Arches

Is it weird if I blog my blog?

Regarding my two pictures of Matt up on the arch, for the most part everyone liked the first one the best. I guess I was leaning that way, which is why I posted it first. But I really liked the second one too.

Jimmy at work had an interesting comment when asked which he preferred: "It depends on what you want to say. If you want to say "Look at my son!", pick number one. If you want to say "This is a magnificent arch and people are small and immaterial, pick number 2"". I think he has a good point. I of course want to say both "look at my son" and "this is a magnificent arch", which may explain my quandary about which I like better.

It is so nice when mother nature cooperates and gives nice photographic light. Here are a few more pictures from that day at Arches.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Firey Reading

Weird coincidence... I try to go to the gym several times a week, where I work out on weight machines and aerobic machined like stationary bikes and stair steppers. I find the the bikes and stairsteppers a bit boring (a good outdoor jog is so much more interesting!) so I like to keep a book in my gym bag to read while working out. A week a go I started the book "The Smoke Jumper", by the same author who wrote ("The Horse Whisperer"). It's sort of weird that I started a book about forest fire fighters, and week later poor California is blazing. The gym has some big screen TV's, the one where I work out is always on CNN. So this week, while I'm reading a book about fire the TV screen is image after image of burning houses and wild lands. It definitely added to my reading imagination.

I feel so horrible for the people affected by the fires, it is a situation that on one hand is hard to imagine, and on the other hand is worrisome as we live near windy canyons and mountains that occasionally catch fire. I've often wondered what would happen if a fire ever got out of control up Parleys Canyon and the winds picked up. Mother nature can sure be scary at times.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Wednesday Wackiness

It was a gloriously beautiful day yesterday so I skipped lunch so I could cut out of work a little bit early to enjoy the sunshine. Because it was so nice I decided to take Daisy for a jog down to the gully so so she could enjoy yet another "last swim" of the season. A block or two from my house I saw my wacky siting for the week: the barefoot runner. I heard about him from neighbor, who sees him frequently. I guess leaving work a bit early put me on his schedule. A youngish guy, in his late 20's perhaps, with a yellow dog, who runs, and I mean runs, not jogs - barefoot.

Now how is that for craziness???

My neighborhood doesn't exactly have nice smooth sidewalks to run on. We, in fact, have no sidewalks. Our streets are the standard cracked and rough asphalt. The last resurfacing was one of those tar and pebble jobs quite a few years back. I'm a barefoot kind of gal, but I don't care to even walk on out street sans shoes; I can't imagine running.

I would love to talk to the barefoot guy and ask him why he runs without shoes. I had hoped his dog, who was off lead, would have dashed across the street to meet my Daisy, giving me an excuse to stop and chat, but the dog never broke stride and stayed in perfect heeling position. (That is almost as wacky to me as barefoot running). Perhaps next time I get home early enough to cross paths with them I'll have to "accidentally" drop Daisy's leash so we can have a dog encounter!

Sunday, October 21, 2007


On Friday night I went to a Gothic fashion show, "An October Evening" that was held at the local Masonic Temple. The show featured the designs of many of our local "alternative" clothing designers, punctuated with spooky photos and videos. The show benefited a toddler who is being treated for a rare metabolic disorder at Shriners Hospital making it an interesting evening for a good cause.

I haven't been to the Masonic Temple in years. Way back when Sarah belly danced we went there many times to watch Sarah perform. It was always a magically feeling place, just the perfect atmosphere for those belly dance festivals. The auditorium is decorated with ornate woodwork, much of it gilded. In the middle of the tall ceiling there is "the sky", a recessed blue circle dotted with yellow lighted stars. The perimeter of the sky is illuminated in such a way that that the sky glows in stunning light. It is an extremely beautiful room; it had the perfect feel fo Sarah's belly dance performances, and was perfect for the gothic fashion show.

I had my camera in my bag, so I decided to try to take a few pictures of the sky in the ceiling. Unfortunately, My battery was near dead so I could only attempt a few (4) shots of the sky, and one of some of the wall detail. I didn't expect the sky shots to work, as it was really tricky lighting to capture (especially with a dying battery). I hoped to at least get a nice shot of the wall.

When I uploaded my photos the wall shot was marred with a great big white orb. Many people think that orbs in pictures are a sign of paranormal activity.(And many deny this!) I seemed to recollect that the Masonic Temple was one of Salt Lake's haunted places. A quick google search confirmed my recollection. So is my big white orb a ghostly apparition, or is it a photographic anomaly; some dust or moisture in the air? I have to admit I've never had an orb show up in a photograph before. Closer inspection of the my "sky" picture revealed a few more orbs. Interestingly, they were not blurred from the long exposure in the same way the stars in the sky were. So was I treated to ghostly images in the haunted building? Seeing as it's Halloween month it kind of fun to think so... but who really knows?!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

More from Arches

Another picture from my trip to Moab. Matt realized that he could climb up the rocks to the top of Double O Arch. The storm clouds had been blowing through on and off all day, and they just happened be nicely illuminated when Matt walked out on the arch. Once again, I can't decide which picture I like best, so what the heck here are two of my favorites.

Which do you like better?

...and here is one of the same arch in the sunlight from a different angle.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Party Time!

It was pretty good weekend for me! Party, Party, Party!!! A house warming party for a friend on Friday night, a baby shower for a good friend on Saturday, and our annual neighborhood block party on Sunday. That means 3 days in a row with yummy food that I DIDN'T HAVE TO COOK! Well, I guess that's not true as I did make food for both Friday's and Sunday's parties. When I asked Jimmy, the host of Friday's party what I should bring he said "Rum, bring something with rum!" ... so I made my favorite rum ball cookies... always a hit at a party. Crab quiche was my pot luck contribution for Sundays affair.

Saturday's party was a treat for me too. My pregnant friend was student who, many years ago, earned her PhD in the lab I work in . The sad part about working with students is that they finish school and move on so. A number of the shower guests were people I worked with years ago and haven't seen in few years, one had even flown in from New York City. It was like "old home week" and I had a delightful time with all my old friends.

Sunday's block party was great too. I know so many people who don't even know their neighbors, or feud with their neighbors, or chose to ignore their neighbors so I feel very blessed to live on a street with many, many really nice people. Should I ever have problem, and need something, day or night, I have many people to whom I could turn. It's is nice to live somewhere I know everyone is watching out for each other. I live in a 1950's era neighborhood which I've heard described as "newlywed and half dead", so the group includes young people with toddler, original homeowners that are in their 90's, and people like me right in the middle. And we all get along fabulously. The teenagers even played with the toddlers. It was a really lovely party...

I feel like such a social butterfly... It was nice to come out of my normally shyish, antisocial cocoon for the weekend!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Where's my camera when I need it?

Don't you hate it when you don't have your camera with you but wish you did? Or even worse, as happened to me today, the camera was in my purse but the memory card was home in my computer. I really wanted to take a sunrise picture this morning. We don't really get to view sunrises here. The mountains are directly to the east of us, and by the time sun works its way up over the peaks it a bright sunny daytime sun. We never get to see that lovely fireball rise above the horizon.

Today after dropping Sarah off at school I headed east to exit the school grounds. I looked up at the mountains, in the "V" of the peaks that surround Millcreek Canyon the sky was positively delightful. I didn't get to see the sunrise, but sky was pink and yellowish with light drifting through some wispy white clouds. The colors reminded my of my favorite seashell: the Sunrise Tellin. I would not have been able to see that sky from home, since I view the mountains from a different angle. Normally I despise driving through through the school parking lot, or anywhere near the high school for that matter, but today I really enjoyed the trip! I hope I have another pretty sky day when I have my camera ready!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Since I was traveling alone on my weekend trip to visit Matt I decided to take a detour, drive a a few extra hours and stop at one of the places on my someday "I'm going to go there" list: Mystic Hot Springs. My desire to stop was two-fold; I like to soak in natural hot springs any time I can, and my interest to visit Mystic was piqued by the fact that the owner is fellow lampworker. Could there be a better combination?

Mystic Mike, the owner, is a lampworker, and an artist who who worked for Grateful Dead. The springs definitely have a bit of funky, hippy feel to them. I'm a big fan of funky so I enjoyed my soak there. There are a couple of largish pools down by the building, and up on the hill there are a series of old bathtubs fed by the continuously running hot water. I sat in one of the bathtubs, enjoyed the spectacular view of the Sevier Valley and had a nice chat with a fellow springs enthusiast.

Mike is a very sharing lampworker, a group of kids from Wasatch Academy (a Utah boarding school) was there, and Mike was doing lampworking demos for anyone who wanted to watch. He makes off mandrel pendants using borosilicate glass, so it was really interesting to watch him work. I've never worked boro, and I'm not very good at off mandrel work so for me it was an interesting lesson.

I had a great afternoon, and was glad I drove the couple hours out of my way. I really like exploring new places.

The view from the tubs.

The soaking pools.

The Buzz...

The Buzz around here this week is that Mario Capecchi, one of the researchers here at the university has won the Nobel Prize. For those of us in the biological sciences it doesn't come as a big surprise as he's been "short listed" for quite some time now. His life is rather interesting; he was literally homeless and living on the Italian streets as a 4 year old child, and went on to become a PhD researcher and Nobel Prize winner. He has quite the "rags to riches" story.

I suppose this is my moment to feel "associated" with fame. It is interesting how quick we are to draw connections to the famous when we can, even when we don't really "know" the person well. As though our connection to the famous makes us more important some how. While wouldn't say it actually makes me feel important, I'm certainly not immune to that sort of thinking. I guess we all like to connected to greatness. Sooo... Mario is actually a collaborator on some of my labs research projects, and one of my friends, who earned her PhD in my lab, is one of his post docs. I will see her at a party on Saturday, it will be interesting to hear the Nobel buzz from the inner circle. I admit I don't really know him myself, although we have crossed paths enough in my time working here. I guess my claim to fame (LOL!) is that a Nobel Prize winner says "Hi" to me at the gym. Maybe next time I see him there I should grab his weights or machine when he is done... maybe some of that genius will rub off on me!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Bad trippin...

No I didn't have a bad trip, you can look at this pretty rainbow and see that! It's just that last 50 miles that stink. I think that it is universal truth that if you don't live in Utah county, which I don't, you hate driving through Provo. The traffic is always bad there. I drove home the long way yesterday so I didn't get home until 8:30, and I was suprised how much traffic was on the highway. Maybe the real problem is that after spending a weekend in desolate southern Utah the sudden congestion seems like a real shocker. After a nice relaxing weekend it would be so nice if you could teleport yourself home and skip the traffic and keep that good vacation feeling!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Still trippin...

Had a great time touring arches today. It's nice adventuring with my outdoorsy boy. We hiked out to the the Devils Garden and Matt saw the the sign that said "primitive trail" and said let's go there, so we did. It ended up being a gorgeous 7 mile hike on a trail that wasn't packed with tourists. We walked through washes and canyons and out on an enormous rock fin(tall narrow rock ridge) and then to some incredible arches.
Later we took the 3 mile round trip hike out to Delicate Arch, Utah's most famous arch. Despite waking to the morning rain it proved to be a nice day, a little cool and windy at times (at you can see from my "wild hair") but overall a beautiful hiking day.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Road trippin' again...

This time I'm in Moab, Utah. It's Matt's "Parents Weekend" at college and rather than driving the 8 hours to Durango we agreed to meet in Moab for the weekend and tour Arches National Park. I had a nice treat (for a nerd!) on the drive down. I took the afternoon off so I got to drive during the time Science Friday was airing on NPR. I enjoy that show but rarely hear it because I'm at work. They did story today about the TV show Numb3rs, and how it has helped popularize math. I'm hardly a math geek, but part of me kind of wishes I was. As a science major in college I had to take math, but it didn't exactly interest me. Then in grad school we learned about mathematical modeling of plant development; that was the first time I really had appreciation for calculus. Of course by then I'd forgotten my calculus so it was difficult, but interesting. I wish I remembered all that math I was taught all those years ago, at work it would be helpful to understand the mathematical models in scientific papers, and at times I toy with going back to school, but all the things I'd like to study require that long forgotten math. I have an algebra study guide at home, maybe one of these days I will have to indulge my analytical side and relearn my mathematics. I wish it didn't seem so darn hard!

Interestingly, while sitting in the hotel hot tub talking about school, Matt told me that he actually has been enjoying his college algebra class. Maybe math really is the new cool thing!