Tuesday, November 30, 2010

“A man is what he thinks about all day long.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Happy Tuesday everyone! I am glad you are here with me! Well, sort of with me... mostly just here! Thank you for coming to see what I do and hopefully being entertained by my adventures.  

Ok, so here are some pictures of the huge pieces I made on Friday:
 Tricky bottles!
 They are supposed to be taller and rectangular, but I couldn't get them that tall yet, hopefully soon!  The next ones are the huge ones:
 Free blown pieces!
 Super thick!
 and heavy! I plan to do some facet cuts in them!
 I didn't want this one to feel bad, it is so cute!
I like the colors.  The purple one is also light blue, the two colors makes it super hard to work with but very pretty!

On Monday I worked in the cold shop in the morning doing some facet cutting on a clear piece I made to practice for those big ones:
 It has 8 perfectly straight sides!
 Kind of a beer mug without a handle...  I don't know what to do with it now...
 The sun came out for a little while in the morning! It was very exciting! First sun in weeks it seems!
It is hard to see but the snow is up past my knees at this point.  In the morning I was the first to go outside our building and I saw there was no path, I stood there for a moment trying to judge how cold and deep it was going to be.  Finally, I just closed my eyes (I don't know why) and jumped off the steps.  It turns out it was VERY COLD AND VERY DEEP!  Then I trudged to school through the snow! Luckily we have a path now!!  My toes were numb within the 2 minutes trudge to school!

In the afternoon I worked on making bubbles with a "steam stick"!
 It was Vegard's idea, he had read about it in some book.  Rebecca sent him outside in the snow to find a stick and he brought back the skinny ones.  You just get it wet, poke a narrow spot in the glass, jam the stick in and the steam creates a bubble around the end of the stick.  It grows when you move it around and burns the shit out of the stick.  VERY COOL! It was super hard but fun.  Årka (still not sure how to spell that name "Orca") showed me how in Kosta they make bowls with this technique! You gather a ton of glass, put a color blob on it, then start the steam stick bubble from the color and it makes the bubble colored and you don't need a pipe or separate punty because it opens from the outside end.  It is hard to explain...  Maybe I can make him do it again and video it!
This little idea quickly grew and started to involve 3 teachers! Stig-Allan went out into the snow and got this thicker stick, craved it up and made a bowl too! They kind of look like medieval pencils in this picture.  It was a lot of fun, but super hard and I only made one piece worth keeping but it cracked in the annealer and I threw it.  Oh well, it was really fun and a cool technique to have seen!

Today, being Tuesday... which often reminds me of this Eddie Izzard quote “We have archeology on television, and I quite like it; it’s a sort of detective thing, but it’s really true, you know it’s there… But it’s kind of slow on telly, it has this problem of, “We’ve been here three weeks on live television, and we’ve taken off about a millimeter of top soil so far…” There’s men with brushes and beards… maybe they’ve just got beards, I’m not sure… “We found this and carbon-dated it to last Tuesday, so we’re very excited…”"  Weird, now I don't know why this paragraph is going to be skinny... sorry.

So, today was Tuesday, I had a lot of my mind (hence the quote) and thought maybe I was going to have a hard time working today.  It was OK though because at the beginning Vegard suggested we work together at the big glory hole and he even went first for once!  I made 2 very thick pieces again and he worked on making some bowls with color on the outside that he will later cut away to show the clear some.  Should be really cool.  The morning went quickly and fairly productively.  I am always so exhausted after the thick pieces I never really know what to make next... I tired a few reasonable sized bowls and they were OK, we will see them tomorrow!   In the afternoon I worked in the cold shop.  It hard to be in there for hours on end when you are not motivated about what you doing.  I was excited about the final piece, but weary of the amount of time and work that it would take to complete it.  I tried to cut that big purple/blue piece into an upside down diamond... I didn't get very far, but hopefully it will go more quickly next time.  This was kind of mindless work which was good because I didn't have to concentrate, but bad because then my mind wandered all over the place.  I guess I needed something that required attention to detail but not difficult... 

Then home, a chat with the boyfriend and finally to the gym.  This was my first time going to the gym with the guys, Martin, Kresten and Bjorn go together very often.  I was a little worried I would look like an idiot but pretty much I just did my own thing and the did some heavy lifting and then we all stretched and they groaned and whined while stretching.  I am sore and tired now which is very nice.  Hopefully I will sleep well tonight and be able to be at school with a clear mind tomorrow! Hot shot all day!  Hooray!

Monday, November 29, 2010

"It is the difficult horses that have the most to give you." ~ Lendon Gray

Yesterday was the horse show/practice competition.  It was a real horse show for the little kids and a practice opportunity for the more advanced people.  Does that make sense?  I woke up to more snow... not necessarily on the ground but flying through air.  It was pouring big, heavy flakes and wasn't supposed to stop all day... fun.  I got a taxi to the barn because I am an idiot and forgot to order the FlexBus (a bus you can order between specific times on specific days since there aren't that many buses in the area) and the guy in the taxi is starting to get to know me.  He goes "is something important happening at the stables, you don't normally go on a Sunday do you?" "No (stranger taxi man) I don't normally go on Sundays, there is a little competition today."  "OH HO! Good luck!!!" the stranger taxi guys says.  I have ridden in the taxi maybe 4 times since I have come here to Orrefors, and they weren't all that recently, he is kind of a stranger.  The good thing is when he hears my voice on the phone he goes "Yes, Hello!!! Do you need a ride to the stables or Orrefors?" and I don't have any awkward moments.  As I slide out of the car and promptly onto the ground he goes "OH HO!!!! Not a good start! Ride Carefully!" and then drives away.  Weird.

Luckily I was wearing ski pants and a million other layers so it didn't matter that I fell so early in the day.  I had to get to the barn at 9 o'clock and everyone participating in the show was to help set up the ring.  I go and start carrying in standards and taking poles out of their place.  Then I realize that no one is in charge, there is no sketch of the course and it is pretty much just a Swedish version of a cluster fuck.  Classic horse show! Finally Ingrid comes and shows us the sketch, everyone argues over which side is up and then starts trying to tell others what to do.  I started following people who moved the standards with poles and just kind of winged it.  Finally we are all set and they have somehow managed to fit 8 jumps into a tiny ring.  As I looked at the course and noticed they started putting numbers up and red and white flags on the top of the jumps that this wasn't going to be a hunter show, no it was definitely jumpers.  There was one line in the course and start and stop lines set up... def jumpers... not something I do every day.  I asked someone would we be timed and they said no and looked at me funny.  I was then really confused and had no idea what was going on.  Ingrid finally takes me to the side and says there aren't as many people coming as originally thought and there wouldn't be enough time for me to ride two horse.  I had to pick! OH NO! So, quickly thinking, I like Poseidon more, he is nice and sweeter and doesn't pull  my arms out of the sockets, but Lady isn't scared of new jumps and can jump from any distance and sometimes bites me... I decided on Lady.  I gave Poseidon a bunch of carrots anyway to make up for not picking him.  Here is the jump course:
 Here is little Matilda all ready for the show.  Under the blanket she has a tiny saddle and a pink saddle pad that matches her ribbons in her hair. Tres cute!

I went to the stables and cleaned her up, luckily she is such a dark bay she is nearly black and you can't see when she dirty! I tried to comb her mane over which she did not approve of and then gave up, found a clean saddle pad and decided she was clean enough.  I went to watch the little kids go!
 She looks pretty much the same as she does for our lessons...
 The warm-up arena (smaller then the normal ring and a pony ZOO at the moment)
 Here is our first rider of the day.  This is Hållogen or something like that but I call him Tigger but because he reminds me of the little pony I used to ride.
She made it through the whole course with one refusal and then we all clapped and pony almost dumped her on the ground.  Classic pony behavior!

So, when it is finally my turn, the jumps get a little higher, I go and tack up Lady.  We then ride through the pouring, knee deep snow to the warm up area.  I jump a few jumps, trying to call out which ones I am jumping in Swedish... difficult.  The small one was easy: lilla (little).  The oxer was also easy: oxer (same dur).  But the verticle proved to be a challenge: skränkskär or something like that.  We say the same word in glass meaning a straight scratch on the glass... but google thinks I am trying to say Horror cut, which can't be right.  I ended up just calling it rosa (pink).  After I jump maybe 4 times, she was being good, even though everyone else was jumping a million times, it was my turn to go into the big ring to do my course.  

So, I go outside and wait in the pouring snow for about 2 minutes.  Just enough time to start freezing again and both me and the horse are covered in snow.  We walk into the ring, shake off the snow and I start going towards the other side of the ring, give Lady a chance to look around.  The announcer says "Lady och Theresa Jöööööörgensen, Theresa you are welcome" which I didn't expect, I had watched the little kids to know what happened so I wouldn't have to understand, just do...  So, I got all confused and was like "What?!?" and the crowd laughs.  Great. Then the announcer goes again, "you are welcome, you may start when you are ready" and since I was already having a conversation with the announcer I went ahead and said "thank you."  What an awkward way to start!  But! I had a clean round and Lady was very good, a little strong, but that was expected!  I was super pleased and the announcer says "Theresa has a clean round, good job" and I walk out with another "thank you!"  Why can't I just keep my mouth closed?!?  Then I went back again at the higher level and had another great round.  She brushed one jump but didn't knock it down and I even took some of the inside turns this time!  I think Lady enjoyed the challenge and I did as well.  I was really pleased and I think Lady had a good time, or just really enjoyed all the carrots.  When we went in for the second round were even more white then the first time from the snow except the orange drool hanging from her mouth from the carrots! 

We ended up getting 2 blue ribbons! Everyone that had a clean round and did it in a reasonable amount of time got ribbons.  I wanted to get a picture of us in the snow with the ribbons but it was too cold to ask anyone to take it!  So, here is Lady with her ribbons:

She was more interested in more carrots then showing off her ribbons.

After the show everyone helped put the jumps away and take out the horses.  The poor horses had to go stand in the SNOW! Most of them didn't seem to mind but a few, you could tell, also thought it was a bad idea.
 Tigger was up to his wee knees in the snow!

But the only one diligent enough to find food!
 White out!

 Can yous see the horses in the woods?  No, there is too much snow? I know what you mean.
Looking at that makes me cold!
 Sheridan looks good in the snow!

 Tigger has decided it is cold and is begging to come in.
 Look how high the snow is on him! Poor guy, I wanted to wrap him in my jacket or tie my scarf around him. Luckily my ride finally arrived and I got to go home!
 The river/lake at Orrefors is starting to freeze! Usually it is water all the way to that little building you can see.
 The Christmas tree at the factory! Soon I will go out when the lights are on to take a picture!
My happy blue ribbons on my happy comforter! I hung them on my wall and now feel like I am 12 years old all over again!  I can't wait until I can do a real competition! I think there is on in December but from what I understand it is for yucky dressage.  Boo.  I don't think I will be doing that one! But in the spring they are supposed to start having real shows at the stables! 

Once I got home I sat next to my space heater for the rest of the day eating warm food and watching movies! I was in bed by 9 and asleep by 9:30 I think! I didn't wake up all night and woke up feeling great, which was WONDERFUL!  I will tell you about my Monday tomorrow, now I am off to do some Swedish studying and then bed :)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

"Weekends don't count unless you spend them doing something completely pointless." ~Bill Watterson

Calvin and Hobbes

Apparently, thanks to Calvin I am having a very cold and white winter so far.  But it is November... NOT WINTER YET!!! I haven't seen the sun for DAYS and it isn't in the extended forecast :(

Oh well,  I went out to enjoy it anyway by doing more cross country skiing! I just looked on GoogleEarth and I skied about 3 mi (4.8km) I can't tell if my legs are sore due to the skiing or from the riding lesson yesterday! I am going to have thighs of STEEL when this winter is over with!  I put on the skis and went around the block towards to Kirsten and Anniina's so I could stop by and ask them if they could give me some pointers.  I had ideas of grandeur of course and had planned to go into the woods to the the beautiful trail I used to run...  I stopped by and Kirsten was in Kalmar but I convinced Anniina to come down and at least help me figure out which feet the skis went on.  I had noticed this time that they have little arrows on them.  While going around the block I had thought "should the arrows go together? or should they point in the direction of the feet they go on?"  Both seemed like logical ideas and the more I thought about it the more undecided I was... Annina said she thought they should point together... So, with my skis on the correct feet for probably the first time I decided to go down the road instead of the woods.  
 Arrows pointing towards each other!
 Look how nice and straight I keep them!
 I am taking these while actually moving! Then I fell over.
 Concentration face!
 The road to Stugby, the camping area.

 Little adorable red camping houses in the snow! The river is super high these days!

 I love the look of the snow on the big evergreens here.
 Then I took the road less traveled... ok, there was no road.. just snow.

To get here! This is the damn for this lake.
 The water is ROARING through the damn.

 Back on the normal road!  I had to stop and pause and look around to breath and I realized I was looking down the whole time and not enjoying the view properly.
 Completely frozen mini lake! I wonder if we can skate on it soon!
 I made it the whole way you can see without falling! Even down that big hill! 
 "Over the river and thru the woods, 
To grandmother's house we go; 
The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh, 
Thru the white and drifted snow, oh!"
 This is that tree with the hole all the way through it.
 I love this house's gate.  This is the best shot I have gotten of it since the background isn't grass/gravel for once!
 Looking towards Orrefors! This is the view that means I am nearly home!! THANK GOD! I was exhausted.
 "walkin in a winter wonderlaaaaaaand!"
 Icicles of death continue to grow.
 There is a double layer of killers!  Interestingly enough this is the ONLY building in Orrefors with icicles... not ever the school or factory has them... What is going on in there?  Are all the rumor of drug production true?  Maybe the icicles are their defense against snoopers! haha  absurd.
Here I am very happily home with healthy pink cheeks! Haha I was sweating by the end of the trip.  I promptly put  on a pot of coffee and got the cookies out! 

Tonight I am cooking a bacon parmesean pasta (very similar to carbanera I think) for dinner then going to Kirsten and Anniina's for a little party.  But home early to be well rested for my ride tomorrow! I am very excited! I have already ordered a taxi and laid out all of my clothes... It is a lot of clothes!  Wish me luck! I will tell you all about it tomorrow!!!