Friday, July 31, 2009

Dreams, Friday, ProStores, Stranger in a Strange Land, Food, Going Green Jewelry, Gems, Mandalas, GMail, Gas Mileage, Jewelry

Dreams… Bah!

I'm not fond of them. I perceive them as a nuisance. I know, I know… we have to have dreams in order to stay sane (or something like that). I can accept that… I just don't want to remember them… EVERY morning… hours' worth!

Here are just a few of the topics dealt with last night in la-la land: toy horses, Swarovski crystals, war, hiding under plywood, a broken garage door, a crowd outside the house, seat belts, co-workers, twisty roads, shelves… it goes on. Droll and time-consuming. Probably would have gone on longer except that SOMEBODY decided they had to go pee and notified me by breathing stinky dog breath in my face… ew.


Friday… Yay!

The kids will probably go play tennis again today. Not sure what we'll do for dinner. I need to pick up some veggies. Maybe I'll stop at that little health food store on the way home. If I get veggies, we can make stir fry or something.

Monica was mad at me for not waking her up when I got up this morning. She wanted to make me breakfast and probably wanted to walk me to work. Hard to wake a sleeping child up for that, know what I mean? I'll make it up to her. She can meet me for my walk home and I'll let her make dinner.

I forgot to ask Gabe if he wanted to play pick-up tonight… but since people have to be signed up early in the day, I want ahead and signed him up.


ProStores

I think I previously mentioned their hosting migration (or whatever it was) and how it lost ALL my email (anything I had in there before the day of migration). Well, I just had a customer email me with the info that she tried to order some items from my site and couldn't… I'm trying to get details right now, but really… if their migration is making me lose more than just emails (as in "losing business") I will NOT be pleased.


Stranger in a Strange Land

Although I'm enjoying the book, I'm not sure yet how I feel about some of the messages. On the whole, I think Jubal and I share some common viewpoints. But there are parts of Ben Caxton that I can relate to as well. I'm anxious to see how the whole thing pans out.


Food

Had a hard-boiled egg and a yogurt for breakfast. I think sugar and flour are my downfall so I'll see if I can avoid them for the most part. I guess I'll hit up the salad bar for lunch.

I feel like making something with lentils of beans this weekend. Maybe I'll get the crockpot out.

Oh, I should make those "Darisa potatoes" for the kids before Gabe leaves. Those were so freakin' yummy.


Going Green Jewelry

BTW, I don't remember if I posted it here, but I have a project… a year long project that I started a week or so ago. Have a look if you're interested.


Gems

I prefer London Blue Topaz to Swiss Blue Topaz.

And if I were to buy them online, it'd be at maybe the only online place I'll buy gemstones. MiGems

Alex and I were commiserating (again) about the sad state of affairs regarding gemstone beads. Because of all the misrepresentation out there, neither one of us feels comfortable buying online (except as mentioned above)… and the gem/bead shows are just as bad, unfortunately.

At the last show we went to, there were only two people we talked with who I felt were honest and knowledgeable. One of them focused on Turquoise (Alex would know their name) and the other one was in a back corner and had his gems labeled (and disclosed!) clearly and properly. In talking with him, it was clear he really know a lot about stones. I will look at my receipts and see who it was. Very, very trustworthy dealer.


Mandalas

I made a page on my website that shows some of the mandalas made by my tutorial. Now I'm going to email the people who bought the tutorial and see if they want to send me some of their samples.


GMail

You know what I like about gmail? A lot. But there are three main things it does that I really like. One, you can search… you can put in a word and it will bring up a list of all the emails that have that word in it. Very handy for people like me who don't delete enough emails. Two, it keeps "reply" emails together… like if someone writes to me and I write back and then respond back again… it's all in one email. Three, you can have it bring up a list of all the emails by any one particular sender.


Gas Mileage

Wanna know how much gas your car most likely uses? Go here.


Jewelry

Here are some thumbnails of pieces I listed recently.



I also listed this, but it's already been purchased. Yay!



I already have new stuff ready to shoot and list throughout next week.


Comments

mclainjewelry said: here is a LOLcat for the crafty at heart:



Hey! Thanks… I love that one!!! BTW, when I click on your blogger name, I get the message that says: "The Blogger Profile you requested cannot be displayed. Many Blogger users have not yet elected to publicly share their Profile."

Hope you didn't hide your profile because of me posting your blog link here every time you commented to me.

BTW, I responded to you in Etsy conversations, but again I have to say how thrilled I am with your art work… I wear that brooch practically every day.


Zoya Gutina said: 100% you're a perpetual student of life, dear Laura! :) I hope you're doing well!

I am! Thanks for asking and thanks for commenting.

I must say, that piece at the top of your July 24th blog post is outstanding. Just outstanding. Russians make fantastic models.


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My cats have done this next one...

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To polish or not to polish... and photographing only once a week is a drag

The quilted pendant sold today. Yay! I feel good about that because that is definitely on the "greener" side of my going green jewelry.

Here's something interesting. All but one of the bronze metal clay jewelry we've sold so far has been polished. In light of the fact that we're told patina from the kiln doesn't last, I find that heartening.

I'm thinking of making an identical set of charms as in this bracelet, but polishing them.



Here's the latest from the kiln. Notice I only buffed one of the charms so far.



But now I have to make some of those decisions. Do I leave them au natural or do I buff them? Do I use them in something or try to sell them as components?

From the same kiln batch, I did get those tubes that I made earrings with. Maybe tonight or tomorrow I get to my weekly photo session and then I can show you those as well as all the jewelry I made in my spare minutes here and there.

I got out my box of cords (silk ribbon, suede, etc) and made one necklace (that I like) ready for a pendant. I was thinking of putting one of those electroplated leaves on it, but then I wanted to add a green bead to the pendant and in looking through my box of green gemstone beads I grabbed some for project #2… which was a simple but eye-catching necklace.

I really need to start digging into my gemstone boxes. I have a ton of beads I've been wanting to use.

I am sketching out an idea for something that's probably over my head, but I'm going to have a go at it nonetheless. I'm making something inspired by one of Tiffany's stained glass creations. I'll try to get photos along the way… it won't be a one-day project. Actually, I have to put some "ahead of time" thought into certain parts of it so I'm not left… without the right configuration(s). Some of it will be tricky… and I will need things to "lay" a certain way in order for it to look right in the end. Well, I'll keep you posted.

Comment from Alex: I admired your restraint at the show today, you followed through with your vow and didn't cave...good on ya!

And it IS a real gift, and a sentimental one which makes it that much more special to me. I remember helping you pick out the stamps...we had a great time that day!


Thanks! That day will also always remind me of my self-indulgent back massager. Ha ha ha! I love it!!!

And yeah, it really was hard not buying any beads at the gem show, but I really want to give this project a good go. Was Anil there?

Comment from Beth Boal: Definitely looking forward to that "why" installment...

Hi Beth! I certainly hope the "why" didn't disappoint. Wish me luck!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Movies, My Kitchen, My Work Space

My Work Space

How come I can’t seem to work in a small area… and/or clean up after I’m done? Yeesh! My living room looks like a disaster.


My Kitchen

Gabe has made it possible for me to be happy in the kitchen for quite some time. The other day while I was at work he cleaned the kitchen. Now, when Gabe cleans the kitchen, he really cleans the kitchen… not only doing dishes and putting things away, but he also scrubs every spot of the stove, including the burner pans. What a sweetheart!


Movies

I’m watching the remake of Planet of the Apes right now… for the first time. I wonder how it will compare to the original. Hm… so far, can’t say I’m overly thrilled with the decision to take the most famous like from the original and completely change its meaning. But oh well, who really cares?

Okay, all of a sudden I’m sleepy enough to fall asleep… gotta go… talk to you later… most likely tomorrow.

The Bead Show and a Small Gift

First super big test today… went to a bead/gem show. There were lots of beads I felt I “had” to have, but that’s just being greedy, I guess. I mean, I already have a ton of beautiful beads at home. I’m not against having things around you because you find them pretty and they make you happy, but I think over-doing it (for me, anyway) is not a good thing.

I was thinking, today, about other ways, no matter how small, that I am taking responsibility for reducing my carbon footprint.

I think it’s important to realize that all steps, no matter how little, count and matter. After all, a bucket full of water is nothing more than millions of little drops of water, and a bucket of water can put out a fire (or other things… I was just trying to make a visual analogy… sorry, it kinda sucked).

Our new apartment is 1½ miles from where I work, so I gave up my parking spot (that’s a ka-ching savings too!) and now I walk to work. Good for me (three miles a day) and good for the environment.

We recycle at home. Maybe not as much as we could, but there’s more recycling than garbage. I will try to be more diligent about washing out more of the boxes and cans in order to add them to the recycle bin.

Except on the rare occasion, we don’t buy water in those disposable plastic bottles. I’m better at that than the kids are, but I need to be a bit firmer with them… help them along.

Okay, back to jewelry. Got some bronze things out of the kiln last night. Made a pair of earrings with one set of tubes, not sure yet what I’m going to do with the other things… mostly charms.

I finally added the patina (the darkness into the recesses) to the piece I wanted to give Alex. It’s more of a sentimental piece than a real gift. Alex and I went shopping one day and I had a really nice time with her. She’s good people. Anyway, she helped me decide on some stamps I wanted to use for bronze clay so I made a pendant using one of the stamps.

I forgot to take a picture before I met her for lunch today, so I snapped a quick pic with my phone….



Well, it’s 9:30 and tomorrow’s a work day (aren’t they all?), so I’m going to clean up a bit and think about getting into bed.

I’ll try to get some pics of the other clay items as soon as possible. TTYL!

My first "green" pieces and an upcoming temptation

So, here’s the first batch of jewelry made using my current stash of beads…



These are all (except one bracelet that already sold) available at BrackenDesigns.

I have one more piece to list. It’s one where I actually made the component (the pendant)…



... also, the clasp is a refurbished earring. I didn't have any brass or copper clasps (or wire), so I took an old earring, cannibalized it, and tada!

In a couple hours, I’ll be at a large bead/gem show in Santa Clara… There will be some suffering (a bead ho unable to buy beads), but I will stick to my purpose. I must not be a bead glutton merely out of desire. I’m going for two reasons. One, I meeting up with my good friend, Alex. Love spending time with her! And two, I’m looking for a particular kind of bead for a friend who can’t get them where she is.

At Hadar’s Friday night, I made some tube beads. They didn’t all come out of the kiln the way I wanted (y’know… perfect), but two of them are pretty cool so I took those two, buffed ‘em up a bit, and am making them into earrings. I hope to have photos to show you later.

I also patina’d the recesses of a pendant I wanted to give Alex, but I just realized… it’s bronze… bronze has copper in it. If she’s allergic to copper, she probably can’t wear bronze either. We’ll she can hang it in her workshop as a decoration maybe.

Okay, Bear’s giving me the evil eye so I’d better take him out for his morning walk. I’ll report back later about how the bead show was. TTYL!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Necklace Contest Winner, New Blog, and Old Movies

SO…. WHAT DO I DO WITHOUT MY EMAIL NOW?

ProStores did a migration. I go into my email today and see that over 500 emails are no longer there. Phft!


OLD MOVIES

Gabe and I watched Goldfinger the other night. We were laughing about some of the stuff… like how they really had a doctor on the set during the scene where the girl was cover in gold paint... and how they actually left a patch on her abdomen free of paint to make sure her skin could breathe… just in case.

We realized the movie was quite old, but I thought he should watch it so that he could understand a lot of current references. He said watching it helped him understand some of the things he saw in Austin Powers.

Speaking of old things, while I was photographing yesterday I had the tv on and the movie that was playing (Just Between Friends) was a really old one with Mary Tyler Moore and it wasn’t until more than halfway through that I realized that the friend (who she ends up with at the end of the movie) is Sam Waterston from Law and Order. Wow… I didn’t even know he was an actor when he was younger.

But then… this is how Gabe felt when he realized the James Bond we were watching was “that old guy from The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen”.


WEIRD JEWELRY THINGS (IMO)

I was flipping through a beading magazine from a year ago and in it was a “how to” article with the advice to use 24 gauge wire to connect Lampwork beads on a bracelet. What?! That seems irresponsible if you ask me. Please people, if you’re making OR buying something that is connected with wire, be aware of the gauge in use and make sure it’s appropriate to the task. For the record, 24 gauge wire will bend quite easily (which is the first problem) and wire that bends and then is rebent to be put back into shape will eventually just break.

I saw something the other day, I’m thinking it was probably on Etsy… it was a bracelet (or maybe a necklace, I don’t recall) for sale and the photo was the piece of jewelry draped over a naked female rear-end as said female lay naked face down. I’m no prude… have nothing against nudity, but I’m not sure it’s good form to have a prettier background than foreground. Ha! But who knows, maybe it’s a great selling tactic.


NEW BLOG

For those who don’t know yet, I’ve started a year-long project called “Going Green Jewelry”. Here’s the blog. I don’t need to talk much about it here since the blog itself is pretty self-explanatory. Wish me luck!


HOCKEY

This weekend Gabe will tryout for TriValley 18AA. It’d be nice if there are one or two open goalie positions. Fingers crossed.

Mon just got back from Las Vegas. She had a fab time (and was talking 100mph when I picked her up… and on into the night). I heard through the grapevine that some of the coaches were pretty impressed with her. Yay! It was great to hear they worked on mental training at the camp. Personally, I think that is Monica’s main weak point. Her technique on the ice seems really good.


CONTEST

Sorry for forgetting that I was going to Hadar’s last night. I will now announce the answers to the Boston Museum of Fine Art contest as well as the winner of the necklace.



This painting is “Hope” by Sir Edward Burne-Jones





This is “La Japonaise” by Claude Monet.




This is “Dance at the Bougival” by Pierre-Auguste Renoir.




And the final one is “Ravine” by Vincent Van Gogh.

I’d like to thank all those who played the game with me. The winner, chosen randomly from all the correct entries, is Vanessa from New Zealand. Vanessa, please email me your mailing address so I can pop the necklace in the mail to you soon. Thanks again for playing!!!

That was fun… I should do more contests.


MORE FROM THE BOSTON MUSEUM OF FINE ART

This next thing (sorry, I forgot what it was… hey, anyone wanna tell me and I’ll come up with another piece of jewelry to give away… ha ha ha) is fabulous…




Here’s a beautiful vase with a dragon on it. The second photo was Gabe’s camera putting a red light on the vase just as I was snapping the pic…hmph!







Okay, I’ll show more tomorrow.

We’ll end now on our usual note of frivolity…

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Day 2... or 364 to go...

Okay, where was I? Oh yeah, you want to know why.

I’m a big believer in intuition… following it, that is. Sometimes I feel the intuition before I understand it, though.

For a while now (years, actually), I’ve had a little feeling in the back of my creative spirit that I wasn’t following the exact right path. Close, but not exact.

But you know how it is… if you don’t know what it is you’re supposed to be doing, how can you do it?

I have huge respect for beaders. I laugh at those who think beaded jewelry is synonymous with assembly jewelry. Beading requires the ability to recognize quality components, to design visually appealing creations, and to craft a long-lasting, comfortable, balanced piece of jewelry.

I love beading. I truly enjoy it with a deep passion and enthusiasm. But over the past few years I’ve begun to feel dissatisfied with my direction. Something seemed to be lacking in the process of buying beads (even if by other self-representing artists) and stringing them into artistic creations.

I had my first hint of a solution to this gnawing dissatisfaction when I realized how much happier I was if “I” had made the components in the piece of jewelry. Although I haven’t taken making my own components to an extreme (yet), I knew it was important but it wasn’t quite all.

I continued to think about many things, but it wasn’t until recently that one of those things “clicked”… felt right… felt like it’s something I’m supposed to be doing.

I’m not sure I can put it into exact words, though. But I can at least say it has something to do with recycling… or reusing… or otherwise trying to decrease my carbon footprint.

Sometimes when a problem is overwhelming, it’s easy to have the idea that whatever you do, it won’t be enough… it won’t make one bit of difference. We all know that’s wrong thinking in pretty much every instance, but I think big things tend to overwhelm individual human beings. We don’t think collectively. We are groomed to think ego-centrically. “If I can’t fix the whole problem, I don’t want to even try.”

But I am going to think collectively. I’m going to think that if I can do a little to help reduce waste, then I’m helping rather than causing more problem. I am responsible for myself.

I’m not big on bandwagon-jumping, but this is a trend I’m not only embracing… I’m also promoting.

I know I’m not the first, won’t be the last and I’ll never be the best… but I can do MY PART to reduce the carbon footprint.

A couple weeks ago, I caught an episode of one of those cooking, reality shows where chefs’ creations are judged by a panel of experts. Prior to the tasting, each chef was to give a little spiel about the dish they had prepared and served. When one chef talked about the “healthy” aspects of her meal there was much frowning. The experts said (paraphrasing), “Don’t tell me how nutritious this is for me as though that’s the selling point. The selling point should be what I think as I taste it, the flavors of the food. If the dish happens to be healthy, and that’s something that interests me, then that’s a bonus, but it’s NOT the selling point.”

I want to make jewelry the way I feel I must, but I don’t people to buy or be interested in it BECAUSE it’s an attempt to reduce my carbon footprint. I want people to be attracted to my creations as art, first and foremost. And for the record, when I say “art”, I don’t mean it in any kind of hugely important or esoteric way. Just art… like all creations. Not “artiste”… just artist.

Aside from thinking about working with recycled components, aside from thinking about the quality and strength of my piece, aside from thinking about how balanced my piece will be on the neck or wrist, aside from all of that, I MUST remember that art is art and if my creations don’t speak to others on some level then it’s all for nothing.

Can a beader go for a year without buying any beads? How would I make jewelry?

1) I can work my way through my gluttonous, already existent stash
2) I can make beads and components from polymer clay that I have and I would continue to buy Hadar’s metal clays
3) I can use recycled components from around the house, including jewelry from my extensive personal collection

While I was thinking about this, I saw a new beading component in a magazine and I thought to myself, “Oh, I should stock up on this before I begin my adventure”. Then I realized that would be like “starting my diet tomorrow”. There is no tomorrow. There is only now. I am starting now.

I even went to a bead store today… didn’t buy one single bead (even though Rubies were 30% off… Aaaaaaaaaa!!!). I bought liver of sulfur.

I haven’t made any jewelry since this started (yesterday), so I have nothing to show you yet… but I’m doubting it’ll be anything too weird to start with. Like I said, I have a ton of beads here.

Okay, talk to you later!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Welcome to "Going Green Jewelry"

I'm actually kind of tired tonight (long day), so this won't be a very auspicious first post.

The bare bones of what I'm doing here is the following project: I, notorious beader and ho of all things bead-related, am going to try to go for one year without purchasing any beads.

Now, before you think I may end up in a loony bin from the effects of withdrawal, let me assure you there are several ways to get my hands on beads without purchasing any.

1) I have a stash. Maybe not huge, but one that definitely needs whittling down.

2) I will continue to trade and barter (I often trade finished jewelry for lampwork).

3) I can make beads (some anyway).

4) I am allowing myself to buy the supplies I may need to make my own beads (wire, metal or polymer clay, etc.)


I'm thinking I may allow myself spacer beads... ONLY. No decorate beads... just my usual "staple" spacer beads.

Clasps, I'm unsure about. I will post my thoughts on clasps at a later date, but I'm leaning toward... not buying.

The only beads I will purchase in the coming 12 months are Swarovski beads for a custom order I do on a monthly basis for someone. I've been doing this for years and see no reason to stop. I will not use any of THOSE beads in my own work for sale. I have a stash I can take from for that.... and if my stash doesn't last the year, c'est la vie.

Things I will definitely not buy include:
Lampwork beads
Polymer Clay beads
Metal Clay beads
Gemstone beads
Swarovski beads (for my own use)
Glass beads
Wooden beads
Seed beads
Other beads

Wow... really?

Sigh...

If you want to know the "why" of this project, stay tuned. I'll be back (maybe tomorrow) with the reasoning that led me to this decision.

Pretty risky for someone with bills to pay and mouths to feed, but apparently it's something I feel strongly about.

Wish me luck!

Snarky Forum Posts, Necklace Giveaway, Lovely Art

I love lasagna pan kitty!


HUMAN NATURE

Have you ever noticed that a nasty, snarky, drama-laden thread will be at 20 pages before noon, while a positive, peaceful thread takes about three days to become two pages long? What is it in human nature that magnetizes us to drama and pain?


THE VACTION

So, I'm just starting to get some of our photos online. Here are the first ones.

These buildings are in Boston, over by the wharf.






Gabe took a bunch of shots at the aquarium (our first stop on the east coast). I'll get those later this week hopefully (need a cord).

After the aquarium, we went to the museum of fine art. Here are some paintings we saw.



Gonna have some fun now. Whoever emails me with the names of these four paintings gets entered into a contest for this necklace. On Friday, I will select randomly from all correct responses.




COMMENTS

I'd like to thank my friends who are trying to keep me grounded in reality (those pointing out how COLD the east coast is in winter). Bet you didn't even know I'm completely cold-intolerant. Yeah, these rose-tinted glasses get me in a lot of trouble now and again… sigh…


Cindy Gimbrone: Love the LOL Cats - the upside down crow is cute too!. I had a heck of a time photographing my "Muse" piece - mostly because I can't figure out how to take a nice shot of a long necklace. I'll look forward to seeing your piece. I'm sure it's a winner!

Whoa! You're in the contest too?! Awesome. I can't wait to see everyone's designs. I didn't know about the first Use the Muse contest, but it was great fun looking over the diverse entries. I have always been interested in that concept (people creating different things from similar components).

I couldn't agree more about how difficult it is to photograph a long necklace. I found this one (my entry is also a long necklace) to be particularly painful and I ended up with no results that make me happy. Oh well, when I get ready to list the piece I'll try shooting it again. Maybe I can use my cute little model and make the piece look better.

BTW folks… Cindy has a contest on her blog too… check it out!!!


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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Back in the Saddle

Or back in Oakland, anyway. And tomorrow, I head back to the office.

Got to have a nice, cool drink with a couple of lovely lady friends this evening. It was a short visit, but hopefully we'll get together again soon.

Also had a fabulous visit with Alex and Monica on Saturday.

Gabe did the San Jose 18AAA tryouts and didn't make the first cut. We'll try Dublin next weekend.

Mon's in Vegas at the moment.

Last night (around midnight, I think... which was the deadline) I got my entry in for the Use the Muse contest. I need to get my photo cube out and do more pictures... maybe tomorrow.

That will result in new listings. I also have another tray to send out to Texas.

Okay, now some levity... I need to relax...

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Tuesday... I'm still in love with Vermont/New Hampshire

We're staying in Vermont, but the camp we're attending is in New Hampshire. It's only a ten minute drive and the parts of each state that I've seen make them look the same to me. Although I'm leaning more toward Vermont since the population is less than 700,000.

When we were driving up here, Gabe and I were noticing the "moose" road signs. I told Gabe I'd never seen a moose. Then I shouted out, "There! Look, a moose!!!"

Hmph! Gabe explained that was a metal silhouette in someone's yard and real moose are much larger.

Fine! I got even with him later that day when we were driving up to find Dartmouth. He kept saying, "Maybe that's it," every time we passed a large building (and by "large", I mean oh about four stories high or something). I was trying to explain that Dartmouth was NOT going to be a building that we could miss while driving past.

As it turned out, it's a campus about the size of Rhode Island (or at least it seems that big). Okay, just looked it up... 270 acres.

It's so much fun watching the hockey games among these four teams. And especially fun watching my son play on a great team.

Today was the "recruitment seminar". I know $48,000 a year is a lot, but you never know. At least Gabe's "academic index" (198) is good enough. (Can't get into any Ivy League schools if your AI is below 171.)

Tomorrow the kids get their evaluations. Again, Gabe thinks they won't have anything to say to him because "no one watches the goalies". He might be surprised someday to find out that someone is indeed watching the goalies and he'd better be "on his game" at that time.

Gabe has the nine o'clock game again tonight (ugh!) so it's another late one for us. Then back to the campus at 9am. Then they'll either have a game at 10 or noon (depending how they come out in the standings for the four teams).

That afternoon, we'll have to wrap up all our sight-seeing 'cause that's our last night here and we leave for the airport EARLY in the morning.

I can't get over how beautiful everything on and around the Dartmouth campus is. It's inspiring.

No cats though. I see a lot of dogs, but no cats. We've seen one since we were here... in Boston. He was a feral, living in the park. We were watching him hunt. My cats would go nuts here with all the trees to climb. I think I'll be sad to say goodbye to such beautiful country. Yes, there are things in Oakland that make life a lot more convenient, but I'm not sure convenience outweighs other things that I like.

I'd better go now. I only brought one jewelry piece to work on. It's for the Use the Muse contest I'm trying to enter. I hope to have it done and photographed in time to enter. We get back Thursday early evening and the first commitment I can think of is Gabe's 18AAA SJ tryouts Friday evening.

Okay, hope you're all doing well. Will write more later!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Day 1 of camp, but I have no camp news to report

Because we'll be getting back around 11pm tonight and I will probably be too tired to blog, so I'll tell you what we've done so far today.

We both slept in... massively. Entirely missed the free hotel breakfast (6-10am). Got up around 10:30am. Gabe says we have no jetlag. He says it's negated by the fact that we didn't get any sleep on Friday night... so missing a night of sleep then going to bed at 9:30pm on Saturday and sleeping until 10:30am (holy cow, did we really do that?!) removes the effect of jetlag. Hm... maybe there's a funded study in there somewhere.

We were going to go to breakfast, but Gabe decided that since "check-in" at Dartmouth was at 2pm (and we didn't know what "check-in" consisted of) that we'd just go have an early lunch instead.

My navigator doesn't work up here (so it seems), so we ended up just getting in the car and going. Ended up... hm... I don't remember the name of the town, but we found a diner and had a nice breakfast. There was a very cool-looking cemetery 20 feet or so across from the diner. I took a photo, but can't show you until I get home. Just realized I have no way to upload here. Sorry.

Left for Dartmouth around 1:30pm. It's only a ten minute drive from the hotel. Wow... wow wow wow! What a beatiful and HUGE campus. And the rink (Thompson Arena)... it's gorgeous. I hope the people who go to Dartmouth appreciate where they get to be on a daily basis.

BTW, I want to live in Vermont. It's beautiful... and no smog! I know... I can't 'cause I can't bear the cold, but really... it's just so dang nice here right now.

Anyway, check-in was brief. Then we came back to the hotel and walked around a bit, then returned at 5pm for a meeting. That's it for now. The first game is at 7pm... we'll go and watch that, but Gabe's game isn't until 9pm. Four teams.

Tomorrow, while Gabe has dryland/weight-training, I'll explore the campus. I think we'll need a whole extra suitcase for all the hoodies we want to get. Hee hee. But really... it's a great souvenir. We'll just have to make sure we don't all wear them at the same time.

Oh, another thing they do different here... women's public restrooms (the ones I've been in, anyway) don't use paper toilet seat covers.

Not a complaint, just an observation.

I've been kind of surprised to see that all the seafood places offer lobster, but rarely crab. :-(

I'll get a photo of Thomspon Arena so I can at least show you when I get back to Oakland.

Well, I'd better get back to the room now. Hockey tonight... how exciting! I miss hockey.

Although the coach's speech might have let slip that they really look at the skaters more than the goalies... 'cause what they want to see is "Great passes, great plays, and lots of goals." Ha ha ha! What about great saves? ;-)

Nothing new to us in the world of hockey, which is what makes Hiroki's, Sean's and Steven's camps so nice... it's all goalie-centric. Okay, back to the real world.

Later!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

We're in Boston! But it's really Vermont.

I'm not sure WHY I keep telling people we're in Boston this week. For some reason it just seems easier.

So here's how it went, for anyone (meaning family) who wants the boring details...

While we were at the airport, heading to our gate, my phone gets a text message from the person (bless her heart and soul) who is watching Bear while we're gone.

"Bear," she texts, "chased after a skunk on my porch as soon as we got home. Now Bear and my house smell like skunk."

Eek! Man, now I really feel badly. Sigh... Hope the weekend goes better than that for her.

The only flight that went this way non-stop was Virgin America (and I must say... wow, REALLY nice airlines) and it was a "night flight". We left SFO at about 11pm and got in to Boston Airport at 7:30am (but 4:30am to our bodies/brains).

It seemed ideal. We were saving so much time (all the other airlines were three flights and almost 24 hours of travel... ugh!).

But alas, I had five and a half hours of RLS (restless leg syndrome). Blah! It was absolute torture (well, torture for me, anyway... comparatively speaking). So I arrived in Boston with no sleep and we set off straight away for sight seeing.

Today (Saturday) is our only real "free" day, so we had to do SOMETHING.

We went to the Aquarium first (well, after stopping at one of the million Dunkin Donuts... no restaurants opened until 11:30am) and it was really cool. Gabe took a ton of photos. I took some too (and will try to upload some here tomorrow, but I don't see any photo-editing software here... I'm on the hotel computer... didn't want to lug the laptop across the states). Y'all might have to just wait until I get back home before you SEE the pix that go along with this text.

Boston is a difficult place to park in. We ended up doing a LOT of walking because we had a good parking space and a mile here and there didn't seem too far.

People were telling us the weather was unusual. Lots of rain in June.

We had nice weather (beautiful, in fact) all day. It didn't start raining (and it rains hard!) until we were all settle comfy cozy in our hotel room.

After the Aquarium, we went to the Museum of Fine Art. I was so impressed with Gabe being interested in some of the artwork. I mean, when I mentioned "museum", he actually said that sounded good to him. I couldn't believe it.

We didn't stay all day, but we saw a number of cool things, and again got tons of photos.

This must be the first time Gabe's gotten to see a Van Gogh, a Monet, a Renoir, etc. up close and in person.

After that, we were trying to find a restaurant, but the driving here is... um... not my forte. So we decided to hit the road (toward our hotel) and just find something along the way. Good thing Gabe was hungry and we stopped only barely outside of Boston... 'cause after that, well, it was pretty slim pickins.

Things we observed, noticed, or were suprised by:

There are fire hydrants ALL OVER the place in the Boston Wharf area. It is really hard to find a garbage can in the Boston Wharf area.

There are a lot of elderly people in Boston. Is this a popular place to retire? I could see myself retiring somewhere around here... er... except for that thing I have about being cold intolerant. Let me visit here in the winter and THEN ask me how I feel.

Um... what else? Oh, rainstorms here are heavy and accompanied by thunder and ligthtning.

The trip from Boston through New Hampshire and into Vermont was trees... trees, trees, and more trees. I was (I have no idea why) expecting to travel a road out in the country lined with farms and ranches and great expanses of open land. Not so. It's hills with trees on them. That's it. An occasional pond or lake... then more trees.

We didn't see houses until we got right close to our hotel. Which is very nice, by the way (Super 8).

Gabe says the people here are really nice (friendly, helpful).

We don't head over to Dartmouth until about noon tomorrow.

I'm sure there won't be TOO much for me to report regarding Gabe's hockey camp, but if anyone wants, I'll come back and blab about our trip each day.

Well, I'd better get back to the room there. I left Gabe alone with a pint of Ben and Jerry's!

Later!