Thursday, January 27, 2011

"Every creature is better alive than dead, men and moose and pine trees, and he who understands it aright will rather preserve its life than destroy it." ~ Henry David Thoreau

Today being Thursday I decided it was going to be a girly day...  I am supposed to condition my dyed hair once a week with this stuff from the box.  That day is today... so in addition to the conditioning I am painting my nails, drinking some red wine, watching Pride & Prejudice (BBC) and eating some chocolate!  Haha, sounds like a good Thursday huh?!  Bet you are jealous ;)  

This morning at school I just had one of those days.  Things were going well, but I also kept f-ing up in one way or another... most of which ended up with me burning myself.  I haven't hurt myself once since coming back from The States... now I have burned myself THREE times!  First, I woke up at normal time, hit the snooze button and woke up 30 minutes later... turns out I missed the snooze and hit OK.  So, I ran to school with no breakfast and just my vitamin on an empty stomach... don't do that, by the way, feels really weird.  I was trying to put on a foot on a wine glass and then dropped a bit of glass right in the middle of the back of my right hand.  Ouch 1.  Then I was knocking some glass off my pipe and a hot piece bounced back, hit me in the lip then fell down my shirt!!! It burned the top of my chest and then got stuck in my bra... very embarrassing!  #2.  Then, some how or another, I can't remember now, I managed to burn my left fore arm. And, we have #3.  Luckily all of these are small blisters but suck all the same.  So, I decided to go to the cold shop for the rest of the day!

In the cold shop I worked on the glasses I had saved from the previous days.  These three from yesterday:
 These are a little taller and bigger then the ones from the day before.
 And, very straight!
Look at those perfect feet!! I complemented on how nice they were today!  :)
And the ones from the day before.  I popped off their tops, grinded them down and made them look like normal cups.  They are small for wine glasses so I was trying to think of something else you could use them for... schnapps, whiskey, Jameson?  Rebecca suggested that I make a small decanter that matches them and then they can be one person wine glasses.  I don't know about that... I like to drink with people... or at least chocolate!  I looked up some pictures of barley to make do some flower cutting on them to make them more whiskey cup looking... maybe?  They look kind of boring like they are I think.  We will see tomorrow!!

After school I decided to take advantage of the fact that it was a clear day (the first since I have been back) and go for a walk!  The only problem with clear skies is that they equal COLD days and nights!  I bundled up and went for a walk into the woods to scout out potential skiing for the weekend.  It was a beautiful walk and I saw MOOSE TRACKS!!!!!!!!!! It was almost as exciting as seeing a moose... almost.
 The start of the walk.
 How cute is this?!?! There is even smoke in the chimney!!!

 The climbing rocks are totally covered!
 In some places where the snow was untouched I could walk on top of it!  There is a layer of ice in there that is quite hard and makes it a little easier to walk... until you fall through and are up to your knees in snow!
 At first I thought maybe they weren't, but what else could be that big?  My foot is in the snow next to it, no optical illusion making them seem bigger!
 Here the moose appeared to have a spaz attack and that got me thinking, how do the moose run through the trees without knocking their antlers into everything?!?!?

 There were even moose tracks on this tiny trail.  A few places the tracks were crossed with other animal tracks like fox or something very cute looking.
 And, these are either baby moose or deer I guess... who knows, but they are smaller then the big moose tracks.
The end of the walked was at Tempo, the grocery, which isn't so exciting but the sky was a beautiful purple/blue! I stood outside and watched it slowly turn to all dark blue as the sun quickly went away at about 4:15 PM.

Tomorrow is an early day so I am trying to get to bed early.  I plan to go to the hot shop in the morning and then the cold shop in the afternoon.  Then to my first riding lesson since coming back!  Hopefully I will be less sore from the gym tomorrow during my lesson.  I am keeping my fingers crossed it is a jumping lesson!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

"How do you like them apples?" ~ Goodwill Hunting

First, sorry for the spazzy-ness of the font on the last post... it all looked the same before I hit the post button but now looking back... CHAAAAOS! Sorry!  I will try to do better in the future :)

On another note, I am still doing well with the resolutions... yes, it has been one day, but it is a day by day sort of process.  I will happily check off all three resolutions!

Today, I worked in the hot shop all day.  First in the morning with Maja, we made more wine glass feet.  Then we did some handles because she was getting bored with feet.  Then in the afternoon I started out working with Malin, but she had leave half way through and then I got assisted by Åke and Stig-Allan.  It was hard being assisted by the teachers, I knew they were giving me the perfect glasses and bits and if I messed it up it was ALL my fault!  Oh well, I got a few really nice ones out and Stig-Allan said he could tell I was starting to get the "feeling of it" which was good to hear!  

After school I had an in depth conversation about life, the near and far future and I am so thankful that we can have those types of conversations.  I believe that we are both being truthful and not trying to play any sort of you "of course I support you" but secretly feeling "hell no!" games.  Which I think is fairly uncommon when it comes to relationships.  So, we are lucky.  But, it did get me thinking that I need to start trying to plan my summer and not let any opportunities pass me by!   

Then, I went to the gym where I did my first official class since becoming a member!  I did a class called "Medel" which I had no idea what to expect from the name.  It turns out it was a sort of middle (imagine that... medel=middle) fitness class.  It had a TON of cardio and a lot of muscle training where you just use your body, no weights or anything.  There was lots of skipping (kind of weird), running in place and around the room, push ups and some arm twirling (also kind of weird).  It was good for the most part.  I think that I will go again, I was tired and sweaty but filled with energy when it was over, so I think that is a good sign.  This girl from my school was also in the class which I didn't expect so that made it much more nice to have some company!

But, here is the exciting part:  Here are my pictures from yesterday's glass!!!!
 Little schnapps glasses!
 Just like the picture I showed you yesterday! 
TAAAAA-DAAAA! Look how straight and round (that is confusing) those bottoms are!!!!!

Now, off to bed so I can do it all again tomorrow!!
PS: I thought of a 4th resolution, but I forgot it again... crap.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

"Resolutions are popular because everyone feels they could use a little improvement." Marilu Henner

Or this would also be a good title... but didn't win out because it was too long:

"Dieting on New Year's Day isn't a good idea as you can't eat rationally but really need to be free to consume whatever is necessary, moment by moment, in order to ease your hangover. I think it would be much more sensible if resolutions began generally on January the second." 
Helen Fielding  (in case you didn't know, i LURVE Bridget Jones)

Well, I have my own New Year's Resolutions!
1.  Continue at gym regularly, or exercise outside if possible.
2.  Cook and eat more healthy, and something besides spaghetti.
3.  Take my vitamin EVERYday.

Not very exciting I know, but I am already in Sweden, blowing glass, what more excitement do I need?  Today I did very well on my non-exciting resolutions! I took my vitamin (I have everyday since coming back to Sweden except Saturday), went to the gym and cooked this delish meal:

It is chicken, pasta and some red sauce made of salsa, tomatoes and red wine.  It is inspired by one of my favorite recipe people, Pioneer Woman and she has something called Pantry Pasta for Two (I just typed pantie pasta! hahaha maybe that is what I will call mine).  Hers has white wine and olives in it... I am not a big olive person and had a box of red wine... so I winged it... even though her recipes are always so good. Luckily, it turned out really well! At first I was eating and was like "whoooo, this Swedish salsa is spicy!" then remembered that when I added some hot sauce I accidentally added A TON because the top came off.  It was like a cartoon!  But it was totally edible and very good :)  and NOT SPAGHETTI!

Today at school I worked all day on making the wine glass feet!  I worked in the morning, with Malin, and afternoon, with Maja, in the hotshop... it was exhausting!  What I have been working on kind of looks like this:
The whole top part is blown in a mold and then I add the foot directly onto that and then shape it with that crazy tool I showed you before.  Today though, I saved 3 that I made in the afternoon. One wasn't so good I think but I wanted to save it and see it tomorrow and the last two looked very good!  But they were a little differently shaped since we used a different cup mold.  But you can see them TOMORROW! hurray!  I can't wait to see them personally.

And, since I don't have many pictures I can show you this:
Friday they changed the pot in one of the furnaces that the factory workers use.
I am not sure how, but they had already taken all of the glass out of this furnace, which I think was filled totally up to waist level like the one next to it on the right.
 They wore special space suits because, even though they had turned off the heat they couldn't let it cool completely because the one next to it is using the same heat or something... so it was SUPER hot still.
 They drove the glowing hot door a few feet away with this machine.  That is the insulation and whatnot glowing hot still.
 Then they used another fork lift, more people in space suits and put this different pot in.  I have a theory that it was already heated since it is some type of ceramic.  This will be filled all the way to that opening with glass in the near future, well once they get it up to the right temperature, which can take a while apparently.
 Then they put the door back on, stuff some insulation around it (the stuff on the ground towards the right) and seal it back up.  They poke it with long poles but also use their hands in gloves some... which looks dangerous because the gloves kept catching on fire!  
This is just like the other pot, this one is on display in the lobby.  Apparently they are made using coils and this guy stands in the middle, lays the coils around him and slowly pinches it up!  I guess he gets out when he starts to make the top?  Pretty cool and wild all at the same time.  They told me I can go see one time when they make another one, I will take pictures I promise!  Reminded me of these pots:
Made by David Stempfle, he has made some so big that my little sister fit in them!  I wish I had a digital version of the picture I have of her standing in one of this pots with just her shoulders out! I think she took this in 2005 in Norfolk, Virginia.

It constantly amazes me how similar and how different the glass and pottery is!

Monday, January 24, 2011

"As I make my slow pilgrimage through the world, a certain sense of beautiful mystery seems to gather and grow." A. C. Benson

I was sitting here enjoying Pandora Radio... but my internet is too slow! It is running at a whopping 21 whatchamadoodles/somethings... not good.  I even just figured out how to get around the fact that you are only supposed to listen to Pandora in the US!  Stupid slow internet.  Oh well, this is why I have iTunes!

Today at school we have been doing more of the same, wine glass feet.  Not so exciting... I think everyone was a little off today, but for some that still meant doing really well.  I was not one of those today... I was in the group that really wasn't doing so well.  I made a few good ones and few truly horrible ones.  Apparently this is to be expected and everyone in the school has struggled with this, some of have won the battle of the feet but many have given up I have heard.  I plan to win in the next day or so!  

Another annoying thing about this exceptionally slow internet is that it will take me HOURS to post any pictures.  Which, though I love you guys very much, I will not spend my time doing.  The pictures aren't really that exciting anyway... if that makes you feel any better.
If not, I have this:
The Far Side by Gary Larson

PS: I still haven't found the calendar... but I have re-found that push pin a MILLION times! wtf!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

"Gentlemen prefer blondes... but gentlemen marry brunettes." ~Anita Loos

How do I keep loosing things?!?!? My room is literally the size of a matchbox!!!!  I have currently misplaced a small calendar I was planning on hanging next to the door...  I unwrapped it yesterday, finally got a pushpin today and low and behold I can't find it!!! Uhg.

The other day...  thursday night maybe I dyed my hair! I haven't done this in a really long time and it used to be a regular past time of mine.  I went to get my hair cut while I was in VA (hadn't cut it since the summer) and the girl said it would be a good idea to get a nonpermanent brown similar to my own to even out the color and make it look a little nicer.  I went to the grocery with my mom, picked out a color which was very nearly the exact same in the box and my head with high hopes of getting a nice balanced hair look.  Well, since I got sick I didn't have time to do in the states so I did it here! I went to the bathroom with the box of dye, a Cosmo for light reading and got started.  What I forgot was anyway to tell time! Whoops! I figured I could wing it since I needed to leave it in for 10 minutes, not long.  Here is how it looks:
Before with box:
 After (I couldn't take a normal picture without looking like someone who hasn't gotten out of bed all day, so I went with this one):
It is a little darker, a little redder, maybe that is what it looks like on the box... oh well, it will fade away over the next 28 shampoos it says.

This week in school I told you we started wine glasses, very exciting and very boring.  Exciting in theory... I can't wait to be able to make a kick ass wine glass... boring in practicality because it is super hard and requires doing the same thing a million times in a row to get good at it.  Here in Sweden we use this "foot tool" to make the foot on the wine glass.  This is supposed to make it easier and the same size every time.  On Wednesday we got the tool and were given a crash course in what it was.  Mostly we sat around, everyone took it apart, talked about it in Swedish (with jet-lagged brain I zoned out) and then we were told to put it all back together.  It should be noted that when taken apart this thing is in about THIRTY TINY PIECES!  And.... I was the first person to get it back together correctly! TAAAAA-DDAAAAA! I beat everyone in the class, about 7 of us, half of which are guys!  I was very proud of myself :)  Here is a picture of the crazy contraption:
 Those dark bits are made of graphite.
 you hold it like this and then foot goes under the silvery part between the two bottom wing nuts.
The top piece of graphite has the curved opening for the stem and then you make the bottom part, foot, by mashing a bit of hot glass against the bottom piece where it is kind of lighter in color... very tricky to get it centered.  Maybe next week I can get a video of Vegard doing it, he is really good at it.

We have worked with making the foot for several days but I have not made any worth keeping yet.  I have made maybe 3 that could actually stand... but not straight.  I will try to keep a few next week just to see how they look when they are done :)

Also, this week while in the cold shop I worked on that huge piece that I was cutting down to look like a diamond... remember?  I think I have been working on it since November, not everyday of course!  I have got it almost done! I have decided that I can't make it absolutely perfect (it is my first try) and will be perfectly happy to accept good enough on this one.  It still needs some more polishing but here it is so far:

I tried to find a before picture, but for some reason can't find one now...  It was just really thick and lumpy if you can remember.

This weekend I plan to do NOTHING! I know, I did just get back for a vacation... which by definition is full of nothingness... but it was kind of busy at times.  I plan to sleep tons and kick this jet lag out for good and to maybe do some laundry... but maybe not.  I have managed to get new virus protection on my computer... so that is something.  Also, I have stumbled across this cool blog called Index.  It is a really hilarious look at life through graphs and charts!  Here are a few of my favorites so far:
This one reminded me of Sam and I, of course.
And this one reminded me of all my best friends I have left back in the states.

Apparently you can get these on shirts and cards and stuff.  I might have to get the friends one on a shirt one day!

I am not sure if I will post tomorrow since I will probably do next to nothing between now and then... maybe ski?!?  But I will def be back on Monday with my regularly scheduled program... err blogging.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

“There is nothing like returning to a place that reminds unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.” ~ Nelson Mandela


I have officially returned to Orrefors, gone back to school and am a full blown glass blowin' student again!  I am not going to lie, I never do to you guys, I am slightly exhausted and easily confused still.  I think this jet lag will just take a day or two to kick but in the mean time I am "le TIRED"!  I will resume posting regularly again I promise :)

Today, with my first steps out the front door on the way to class I slipped and fell on the ice... all I could think was "thank you Sweden, nice to see you too" as I slid towards the none icy area on my sore ass to try to get up again.  The snow has melted a lot and now is a mix of mush, brown grossness and ice... not so fun, but not so cold thank goodness!!  I am pleased to announce that we are starting wine glasses at school! But, more on that later... I forgot to bring my camera to school today anyway.

I think I last left you when I was about to go back to NC to see my parents and sister but was trapped in VA due to snow/ice.  Well, I finally made it! I got to my parents, Sam followed the next day and we spent a few days in Southern Pines spending time with my parents and little sister.  I also harassed the puppy Julia:

got a new pair of shoes:

did some glass blowing with my Dad, Mom and Sam in Star:

re-tiled the bathroom floor:
 me to Sam "When we have our own house we will be pros at this!"
Sam to me "we will pay some else to do this!"
 someone was a perfectionist and even broke tiles to fit perfectly into smaller spaces... it was impressive!
(that was Sam, not me, being a perfectionist and trying not to get his fingers dirty here)  

harassed the puppy some more:
 She has her hair all brushed out... that is why she looks a little extra crazy... and the flash makes everyone look a little crazy honestly.  But, here she looks like her truly adorable self:

then got AMAZINGLY sick.  
Didn't see that coming did you?  haha, me either!
I had been congested for a few days then all of a sudden I was super sick, felt awful, ear aches, sneezing and bright red nose... the usual horrors.  But, the real travesty was that I had to cancel seeing one of my best friends!  I was supposed to see Carrie (we have been friends since elementary school) and go to this great Thai place... I even had a Christmas present for her! I couldn't go, instead slept for about 15 hours the went to the Urgent Care, got drugs and tried to recover before I had to fly back to Sweden.  I am feeling much better now :)  This sickness also didn't allow me to finish the bathroom floor! Sam and I got all the tiles down but didn't get the grout (stuff between the tiles) down.  Oh well, I got better and thanks to a very patient and wonderful boyfriend was entertained the entire time I was sickly, he even went to get me a movie and some food with my little sister driving him.

On Sunday Sam and I went to Raleigh to spend the night before I was to fly out the next day.  We stayed at this nice hotel near the airport and at my request Sam hunted down a "real deal" Mexican restaurant.  He found a place called Los Cuates on Yelp and we enjoyed some delicious salsas:
 tacos (fish, with on rouge shrimpy, on left and shrimp on right):
and a mediocre burrito... it doesn't get a picture...  just TONS of ground meat in a soft taco.

We then spent the rest of time talking about life, watching bad movies and in general saying how much we would miss the other, how much we love each other and all that sappy stuff.  I know, I don't generally get sappy on here, but sometimes it is hard when Sam is so wonderful to me.  He supports me going to Sweden to learn this, puts up with my leaving for months at a time, and even talks about our future together on a regular basis.  

He took me to the airport on Monday and luckily decided that he would wait with me to get my ticket and check my bag!  I thought I was flying with Continental, maybe United... but they merged right?  So, I went to Continental's desk... they had no record of my return trip, so after looking up the confirmation email on Sam's phone I knew I was flying with Scandinavian Air (SAS) but my first flight was carried through United.  There wasn't a check in desk for SAS so I went to the United one, couldn't get a ticket there either at first and after a while finally got one printed.  Sadly, my bag was like 8lbs over the weight limit.  After learning that the fee was two HUNDRED dollars I decided to do some reshuffling with Sam's help.  I ended up getting it down to the right weight by carrying a bag of dirty laundry in my hiking bag... all I could think was "great, now if they loose my luggage all I will have is my dirty laundry with me!"  I left Sam at the security check after lots of hugs and kisses.  I will admit my eyes were stinging a little as I got in line at security check (cue the "awwwws").  

I had an uneventful trip really... well, I did almost miss my international flight because I am an idiot and can't tell time.  I lucked out and didn't have anyone sitting next to me on the long flight and slept some.  I woke up even more congested then I left and experienced the most painful headache while landing.  I had tears in my eyes for about 15 minutes while we slowly landed and invisible knives were slowly rammed into my head between my eyes and through my ears.  Then we landed and I was fine!  After about 18 hours of traveling I made it to Orrefors!!

PS: If you didn't get the "le tired" reference check out this video, short and HILARIOUS: