Monday, November 28, 2011

Pssst!  Don't tell Emma what Santa is packing in his sleigh for her this year!

This is an older Ashford Traditional wheel, made sometime between 1975 and 1980 according to the timeline on the Ashford website.  It's very dirty but otherwise in great condition.  The drive wheel runs absolutely true, and there aren't any cracks or even any major dings in the wood.  It's currently in pieces in my garage, being cleaned up.  A little scrubbing, light sanding, and a couple coats of Danish oil, and it will glow.

The flyer only has one speed, but that will be fine for Emma for a while.  Her biggest problem with spinning on my Schacht is that sometimes the twist gets ahead of her.  When she's ready, I'll upgrade her to the triple-speed flyer.

This wheel is the same vintage as the Traditional that was my first wheel, which I regretted selling almost as soon as I did it.  I think it was about three months from when I sold it until Emma started showing an off-and-on interest in spinning.  I bought that wheel for $300 in 2002, and sold it in 2008 for $300, after I bought my Schacht Matchless for $300 (also off Craigslist). I bought this wheel last weekend for $100.  I am the queen of Craigslist.

Now, for $100, a day trip to Portland, and some loving elbow grease, I get to spin with my girl.  Priceless.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Friday afternoon.  End of the work week.  Two whole days ahead that I can spend (almost) any way I want.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Why is it that almost every day, I look at a clock at exactly 12:34, 2:34, or 11:11?  I can go for hours without checking the time, and have no idea what time it is.  Then when I do check the clock, it's one of those "fancy" times. It doesn't matter if it's a.m. or p.m. (although I seem to see 2:34 a.m. more than 2:34 p.m., thank you so much, insomnia), and it's never one of the other consecutive-number times like 4:56.  I see either 12:34, 2:34, or 11:11 on a digital clock nearly every day.  Today, just now, I looked at my computer clock and it was 12:34.

This happens way more often than random chance would seem to indicate.  Why exactly 12:34?  Why don't I happen to look when it's 12:33?  Why 11:11 instead of 11:12?  What is it about 2:34 draws me to check the time?  It seems like if this were just an subconscious awareness that "that time" is approaching, I wouldn't hit it so exactly.

One of life's little mysteries, or a devious plot to defy statistics?  Am I a focus for some kind of energy paths that govern probability?  Should I be worried, or am I in the early stages in developing superpowers?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

“Life can either be accepted or changed. If it is not accepted, it must be changed. If it cannot be changed, then it must be accepted."
-Winston Churchill

Monday, November 14, 2011

Here's a sweet look at a sweet kitty,

who never fails to give me a cuddle and a purr whenever needed.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.

Bene Gesserit Litany against Fear
--from Dune, by Frank Herbert

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Here's a radical thought- how about some pictures?  And maybe a post that's crafty instead of me wallowing in self-pity?
I took a 2-day class last May, through the local arts center, on how to make lampworked glass beads.  This is something I've always wanted to try, so I jumped at the chance when my friend showed the beads she had made at the previous session.

It's so much fun!

These are formed on a steel mandrel, using glass rods melted in a torch clamped to the table in front of you.  You wind the molten glass around the mandrel, and can layer colors, shape the glass, poke it, press it, drag it, encase bubbles, almost anything!

I used a pretty matched pair of sparkly green dot beads to make earrings:

and some others to make a necklace and earring set:

and put others on cords for simple necklaces:

I had one blobby mistake bead that detached itself from the mandrel and tried to self-destruct. I pulled off a heroic save and turned it into a pendant, and it ended up one of my favorites:

I think it looks like a field of daffodils.  All in all, a fantastic way to spend a weekend.

Last weekend, I took another glass workshop from the same instructor, this time blowing glass ornaments.  This was the real deal glassblowing, with the scary big furnaces and kilns and cauldrons of molten glass, and 6-foot-long blowpipes.

The instructors did the dangerous parts like dipping out the molten glass and manipulating it into shape as it was blown, which was fine since it was just a half-hour workshop and not really a full class with instruction.  I did get to choose the design, roll the frit (colored crushed glass) onto the gather (blob) of clear glass,

heat it in the glory hole (scary big furnace),

and actually blow the bubble.

Then the instructors knocked the ornament off the blowpipe, added another blob of clear glass to the top, and shaped a loop for a hanger. 

Then it went immediately into the kiln to anneal (slowly cool overnight), so it wouldn't crack.

I did two of the workshop sessions, and so came away with two ornaments.  My first one is very subtle, just streaks of pale green on clear.

I think it will be so pretty on the tree, reflecting all the other colors around it.

My second ornament is a deep, deep cobalt blue.

It has bronzy-copper spots on the bottom that were dragged upward while the glass was molten, to spread the color and give it some texture.

For now I have them hanging in my living room window.  The blue, especially, is beautiful as the light shines through it.  I can't believe I helped make these!

Working with glass and seeing what it does is so fun.  It's as magical as watching fiber turn into yarn.  It's a good thing that getting a torch setup going is expensive.  Beadmaking is fun, but I do not need another hobby.

But I will be taking the bead class when they offer it again!

Monday, November 07, 2011

Dear co-worker,

Is it really entirely necessary to conduct every phone conversation on speakerphone, with your office door open?  Yes, I have my door closed.  Yes, I am now constantly wearing my ipod. Yes, I can still hear you, loud and clear.


Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Hyperbole and a Half is a blog of funny stories told through quirky pictures.  When I read the most recent post and saw this picture, though, it quite literally brought tears to my eyes.

Picture by Allie at Hyperbole and a Half.

See that miserable person crumpled in a ball behind the couch?

This picture perfectly captures the essence of depression, of feeling like you are worthless, that nothing is worth doing, and no one will miss you anyway, so why even bother coming out of the corner.

I don't feel like this all the time any more, but that dark imp is always hiding at the edge of my peripheral vision, waiting to drag me back down into the shadows behind the couch.