Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Reaching the snow zone...

A Tuesday night with no plans, other than the need to do yard work, but since our spring monsoon season has left the yard wet and muddy I decided to take Daisy up the canyon for her walk instead. About half way up the canyon the Millcreek Canyon road gets closed for winter, becomes a cross country ski trail and is not scheduled to open to cars until the first of July. Tonight I decided to drive up to the winter gate and walk up the road a bit. We had an big snow year and a cool spring (it actually snowed at my house on Memorial Day), so I was curious how the snow melt was doing this year.

We walked the mile and half or so up to Elbow Fork. The road turns sharply there, and around that bend is when we first encountered snow on the road. It wasn't much past there that the entire road was snow covered. I ventured a quarter to half mile past Elbow Fork, and found the road covered with anywhere between one and three feet of snow, and I imagine it only got deeper in the next few miles. It will be interesting to see if the upper canyon road really opens on July 1st this year.

Daisy was a little sluggish walking up the road tonight. In all fairness, she is old for a big dog(10 1/2) and overweight (just like her "mama" LOL) and it is an uphill trek. I kind of wondered if Sarah may already walked her today and wore her out. But as soon as we hit the snow zone I got my puppy dog back. She was totally thrilled to be able romp in the snow and play a little "snowball". She really is a "mama's dog", a lover of snow just like me.

Just past Elbow Fork

My happy doggy!

The next big bend in he road.

Snow getting pretty deep...

Monday, May 30, 2011

Bead bouquets!!!

No, I never gave it up, but between taking up pottery last year, and finding a social life, my bead making time has been more limited and sporadic. And I swear, every time I want to make beads I don't have any mandrels prepped and I have a hard time rounding up any, straight ones at least, to prep. Time to sing my least favorite song... "Where have all the Mandrels Gone?" For I have no idea where they all disappear to. Some where, out there, I am SURE there is a black hole filled with my mandrels.

Knowing I had a long weekend coming up I decided to round up and prep mandrels. A bunch were in use holding beads I'd made about a week or two ago that had yet to be annealed. Other than that I could find just a few. So Friday I booted out of work a few minutes early so I could make it the welding store by 5pm (or in my case 5:01) to purchase some new rod for mandrels. On Sunday I got out my bolt cutters and am now the proud owner of 40 new, shiny, STRAIGHT mandrels, with plenty of rod to spare for future mandrel shortages.

Now that I'm beyond the mandrel crisis, I can work on my creativity crisis. I'm feeling a little technically rusty, and creatively stymied. A week or so ago I was feeling the same way so I asked a friend for color inspiration... he said "turquoise" and so I did a bunch of turquoise themed beads. I had no one to ask yesterday, so I decided to just to play, and work on things I can't do well, like raised florals. It was not a terribly productive day, but I did get some good practice in.

Later that evening I opened the kiln to start a new game of kiln-jenga with the few sessions worth of beads to be annealed. (Kiln-jenga is arranging all the mandrels full of beads in such a manner that the beads don't touch each other,or anything else.) Imagine my surprise when I found a kiln full of beads... I had completely forgotten about a whole kiln load of beads I'd made a month or so ago.... I think I must be losing my mind... or at least my memory. But now I know where all my mandrels were!!!

Looks like I have some serious bead cleaning to do... and that's a chore I don't look forward to... I guess thats my penalty for being sporadic with my glass melting fun.

But meanwhile....some bead bouquets!!!

The forgotten bouquet... I can't believe I had forgotten all about these!

The recents... happy to finally be annealed

Yesterday's, nothing notable, except my need to practice and get my mojo back!

A single long stemmed hollow... a product of my "turquoise" day. I decided to practice hollows as they are alway hard, especially when I am feeling rusty. After the first one I decided to get tricky and make a bead inside a hollow... it took a few trys, but woot, woot.... I have success!!!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

First Hike of the Season

My first hike of the year was with the meetup, a social hike followed by a barbecue up Millcreek Canyon. We hiked the Desolation Trail out to the Salt Lake overlook. It's a nice hike, about 2.5 mikes out to the overlook, and perhaps not quite as steep as many of the Millcreek Canyon hikes. A perfect first day of the hiking season hike.

Arriving at the overlook is always a little bit of a PTSD moment for me. The first time I did that hike was with cub scouts... imagine all those young boys scampering over all those rocks. Imagine me as one of the responsible adults on the trip. Imagine me being a Nervous Nellie worrying that one of kids would fall off the rocks. It was nicer today, not having anyone to worry about. An excellent start to the hiking season, hopefully the first of many more to come.

As nice as the view of the valley is, I admit I prefer the views of the mountains. And, of course, me being me, for me the real treat for the day were the Glacier Lilies that lined sections of the trail.

The view from the overlook

First wild flowers of the season

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Mouths to feed....

Another handful of pictures from my stop at Aprils house the other days. Her 19 year old daughter is a bird rehabilitator, and she and April are founding members of the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah. She has been doing this for many years, so I am never surprised what I will find when I stop by their home. A duck in the sun room, an imprinted, now pet, house sparrow flying a round the living room, a box full of chirping motherless baby birds. There is always something interesting.

Spring is baby bird season, and one thing about baby birds is that they eat all the time... like every 30 minutes to an hour all day long. So it is not uncommon to find a box of baby birds on the dining room table and container full of mealworms in the kitchen. This time it was baby starlings, mouths agape waiting for momma to provide their next snack. I was pretty amazed at how wide their mouths open. Certainly a big yellow sign screaming "feed me, feed me"!!!!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Random memories...

When I stopped by friend April's house to pick her up for gallery stroll last week I got to meet a few of her daughters pets. Corn snakes. Four of them, in an assortment of colors, inherited from a breeder who died. So very pretty. I guess I am kind of fond of snakes, so I was happy when she let me hold the gray one, who she thought was the most friendly. I love they way feel, sort of cold and soft and silky as they slither through my hand and over my arms. I always enjoy playing with snakes when I get the chance.

Of course not every one shares my sentiments, and many people are downright scared of snakes. Which reminds me of something that happened way back when I was in high school. My high school zoology teacher had a snake, a boa constrictor, about 4 feet long, named "Baby". She let us handle the snake in class, and it was a treat if you were the lucky one who got to listen to lecture with baby slung around your neck. Of course not everyone was thrilled with Baby, there were always a few people who were scared to death of snakes. Ron was one of these people.

The class room was arranged in 3 arcs of lab benches. Ron was sitting in the middle of the middle bench. On this day the guy in the row behind Ron was the lucky guy who got hold Baby that. He decided to get comfortable, leaning back in his chair with his feet up on the lab bench, with Baby hung around his neck. Baby decided go exploring and started slowly working her down way his torso and onto his leg. Then down his leg. She didn't stop when she reached the end of his foot, but stretched her head forward into the air, right in poor Ron's direction. The way the classroom was set up, most of could see, and were watching Baby and her travels. Of course we all knew Ron was deathly afraid of snakes, but kids being kids, we all sat, watching silently, because knew what would happen would be amusing. Amusing to all of us except poor Ron. So Baby's head stretches further and further forward, her tongue darting in and out, until her head entered the space of Ron's peripheral vision, just inches from the side of his head. My classmates and I remained silent. Then there was the scream, and poor Ron leaping from his chair, doing a dance in the middle of the classroom, shaking. Everyone, except Ron and our teacher, thought it was hilarious. High school kids... lets face it... are mean!

Needless to say, that was the last time, for a very long time, that any one was permitted to play with Baby during zoology class. So I guess we spoiled our own fun, at least for those of us who enjoy holding snakes. Silly kids I still enjoy the chance play with snakes (friendly snakes at least) when I can.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Up for Anything....

Yeah, that's me - "walking on broken glass"

UFA as in "Up for Anything"... that's the name of Facebook social group I belong to... a group that spawned from one of my Meetup social groups. It's also a motto I embrace... I am pretty much "Up For Anything", with caveat that it doesn't land me in jail or cause irreparable damage to my health. (Disclaimer added for my friend Joe who always raises his eyebrows and asks if "anything" really means "anything". So I guess in my case UFA really means UFAUIIIOU "Up for Anything Unless it is Illegal or Unhealthy".)

Tonight I had an interesting UFA experience. One of the groups I belong to (SLC's Liberal Minded Culture Seekers) held a Confidence/Empowerment seminar. Both sounded like things I could use more of so I decided to attend. The seminar was run by one of the group organizers, who is a hypnotist, so I figured it had to be interesting. The evening started with chat, and hypnosis exercise aimed at building confidence, then we moved to the really interesting event of the evening, an opportunity to walk across broken glass.

That's right, walking across a bin of broken wine bottles, as a "mind over matter" sort of exercise. Elias, the organizer, said he would demonstrate, and offered the opportunity to anyone who wanted to give it try. Wendy said she'd give it a try, and I figured, that since I'm always walking on glass in my glass studio anyway, I'd be game, besides, after all, I am UFA. So we signed our lives away on the legal waiver forms and took off our shoes.

Elias went first, carefully moving through bin of shards. The cracking of glass under his feet was quite audible, after all, it was a bin full of real wine glass bottle shards. Wendy went next, and she too walked through the glass unscathed. Then my turn ... my first though was that I'm not a skinny little thing like Wendy, I have some extra force working against me. This might not be easy. But sure enough I walked through the glass with out even a scratch. After seeing our success, most of the rest of the group decided to give it a try. Not a single cut among us.

The hardest part of the exercise was getting out of the box... standing on one foot, on a bed of broken glass, trying to balance while wiping stuck glass off the other foot, in order to not leave any shards behind on the floor. I'm not sure it really did much in the way of building confidence or empowerment, as it really was more of a party trick, but it was an interesting experience, that definitely gave new meaning to the "Anything" part of UFA!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Pretty and amusing....

The pretty.... a few spring photos. Usually I would have taken lots of pretty spring pictures, but since we have had a total monsoon spring, I have not gotten out with my camera very much. Heck it even snowed here on Tuesday.

But here is my amusement for the week. My horoscope again. As I have said here before I am always fascinated when I have the "accurate" horoscope coincidence. And no, I'm not really a "believer", I don't even regularly check my 'scope. But when I do, I prefer to do it backwards. That is, look at my horoscope for previous days and see if they actually match the days events. Much more interesting then reading the prediction for the day and potentially biasing the result. I also have a strict never read ahead rule, for exactly the same reason.

So yesterday I opened up my horoscope and then read Thursdays horoscope:

Your gift of gab is greater than ever today, so do the world a favor and talk to as many people as you can. Conversations about anything -- from the weather to your deepest hopes and dreams -- are going to keep you interested, intrigued and popular. This is a great day to talk to strangers, too, so don't limit yourself to the folks who are already listed in your address book. Shock a stranger by asking what his or her favorite Rolling Stones song is.

On Thursday after work I had to drop my car off for an inspection. My mechanic is not far from home, so I let Daisy hop in the car with me, dropped my car off and then we walked home. As usual we meandered through the park. It had just rained so the park was quiet, not many dogs friend for poor Daisy. Leaving the park we ran in to Layla and her owner. This ended up being my moment to use my "gift of gab" with a total stranger. Daisy's dog friendly moment turned into a 20 minute conversation between me and her owner, a flight attendant, (for my single girlfriends, a really cute flight attendant!) who had just returned from visiting his family... in Paris! Interestingly coincidental, as my son is currently living in Paris, and I spent 2 weeks there at Christmas, so it turned we had plenty to talk about. So it seems that my horoscope was right on for the day, it was a good day to talk to strangers. It even solved a mystery for me... I had always wondered who owned the house by the park with the golf green for a front yard... and now I know.

And back to the amusing... here's view from my window at work Tuesday... yup, snow on May 17....

Friday, May 06, 2011

Could I have found religion????

Well, I'm sure anyone here who really knows me realizes I am quite content as a "Seventh Day Recreationalist". But sometimes things happen that give you pause and reason to consider other options. Like this week at work, when jimmy,the catholic guy in the lab, came to me and informed me of a miracle: He found the Virgin Mary in our -80 degree freezer. Not in the freezer exactly, but formed in frost on the interior door. So is this a sign that I should find religion? Somehow I kind of doubt it, but if she wants to bless our freezer so that our lab experiments go smoothly I would be thrilled!