Monday, March 31, 2008


Have I mentioned my fascination with trains? Several of you may be aware of it, but I love watching trains. While others are sitting in their cars, fuming at the wait as the long line of train cars (literally) crawl past I sit there happily wondering where these cars have long they've been doing it....whose freaking graffiti tagged THAT one and was it supposed to be legible? Really, trains send me. I have no idea what it is that thrills and interests me so, but Sunday, on my way home from Jason's I stopped at a railyard and snapped like a hundred pics. Sadly, as you've probably noted from the above shot, it was raining and I didn't notice rainwater beads on my lens in time. The above (sadly) will have to be doctored (if possible) because it was one of my favorites from the shoot.

This one and the one below are actually posted on Deviantart, but I loved how they turned out. All-in-all I ended up with several nice shots, and a few more that will look good once I crop them down a little. I learned a lot with some of these shots...I ended up with some interesting ones of springs, wheels, hitches and brakes that I need to go through before posting, and had a great time "sneaking" into the yard, being rebellious enough to ignore the "Keep Out" signs posted by Canadian Pacific Railways and crossing tracks (looking both ways first!) in order to get these shots.

Did I mention that I love trains?

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Germ-y Fingers.......

can get you a ziplock bag full of hot tamales!

I went to Jase's place this afternoon for some homemade tortellini soup (yum!) and, not thinking, helped myself to some hot tamale candies from the glass jar on the counter. Not long after Jase asked me if I had washed my hands first. Uh (cough cough) Without further ado out comes a large ziplock baggie and the tamales just poured in. Zip went the bag and they landed with a hefty THUMP onto the kitchen table for me to take home.

I can honestly say "sorry" for making Jase have to buy more for any company that shows up--but not so sorry that I won't enjoy eating them over the next few days!

Jase, I promise I will buy you more the next time I come over!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Bronchitis Part 2

Yesterday I was snuffly, sneezing, coughing, aching.... boogers and phlegm freaking everywhere....yeah, I was a mess. Today....still sneezing a little and coughing a little but I feel great! Isn't it amazing what a good night's rest will do for you? I bought some Theraflu Severe Cold liquid (sorry Debbie, I couldn't bring myself to buy and drink that lemon drink-me-hot crap)(not that the cherry syrup tasted any better!) but WOW that stuff freaking works! Sure I still was stuffed up a bit but I didn't wake up once last night feeling like I was suffocating! Seriously....for those of you sick out there, try this stuff....its like a little miracle in a bottle!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Every morning

I get up. I take a shower. I get ready for work. Simple enough, right? Well there is an addition to my morning routine now. I get up...check. I take a shower....check. I get ready for work....whoops! No, now I have a chaperone making sure I get it done right. That's right...its that cat. No sooner do I open the door to let the steam out and to get my hairdryer, etc out of the hall closet, but I have a little purrbox zipping into the bathroom. He'll meow at me to pick him up (if I don't he climbs up anyway which is rather painful at times)and he'll sit on one shoulder like a parrot watching me put on my makeup. I figured the hair dryer would give him fits but he just gives me a dirty look if he gets air blown on him. So we've come up with a compromise: I blow dry one side of my hair, transfer him to the other shoulder and then blow dry the other side. Sadly, what once took me 5 minutes from start to finish now takes like 20, but the purring more than makes up for it.

Utah blessings....

Boy you can say whatever you want about Utah but I love the fact that I can walk over to the office next door and ask for a blessing with no questions asked, no funny looks and they are willing to take a few minutes out of their busy work schedule to help you. Comes in handy when you have no idea who your home teachers are! (Seriously guys....does anyone get their home teaching done?) The guy who assisted was more comfortable speaking in spanish and it was beautiful. For a language where they speak a couple million words per minute, its amazing how much it can sound like poetry (or is it just the cough syrup talking?)Between that and the NyQuil I plan to buy on the way home, maybe I can get some sleep tonight!

On a side note: I sound terrible and feel horrid....but I am still perky and happy.... Hmmmmmm....I had a swig of cough medicication this morning...darn that alcohol content!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Hello sports fans.....yes, I have bronchitis. Nothing to do for it but to wait it out but its not fun; my chest burns, my throat is raw, luckily there is no fever but I feel completely wiped out and exhausted when I really haven't done anything yet, and (my personal favorite) I feel like I can't get enough air in. The last one is the scariest...I panic and it doesn't help having thoughts that you are suffocating when you are trying to pull in oxygen!

Funny though, despite this I am actually in very high spirits and feel great (mentally anyway...the physical has taken a momentary leave of absence!) I want to run home and finish all the projects I have lying around...unfortunately I have homework and actual job-related work that needs to be done. Still, its nice to feel creative, regardless of how the rest of me feels.

Side note: one great benefit of being so tired is that I went to bed early last night but couldn't sleep so I finished that biography I was reading on Fred Astaire! Yeah, yeah, I should have been reading the next chapter of my logic book but Fred's life was much more entertaining!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Saturday Wanderings

Well Saturday marked the day that an intrepid explorer rose from her bed and ventured forth to see the world through her camera lens. With roommate in tow, Annie and I drove up past Sundance to where the road ends (literally...the road ends in a dump of snow just past Aspen Grove). We hopped out of the car, climbed up a snow bank (no easy feat in sneakers!) and then set off across a snowy field towards Stuart Falls. We didn't make it as far as the falls but did get probably a half mile up before we started sinking into the snow a bit. It wasn't bad in the wooded portions but once we hit the second meadow all bets were off. We came to a fork in the trail and I was surprised to see the trail marker standing only about a foot up out of the snow. I looked down at my feet and realised that the pine tufts I was seeing in the ground weren't dropped from local trees...they were the tops of some of the local trees! Silly me hadn't thought about the fact that hey we'd just climbed about five or six feet up onto that snowdrift to get here....we were wayyyyyyy above the trail here (as you can see for yourself in the photo)!

We turned back not soon afterwards and I hoped some of the tons of pics I had taken turned out. Even if they didn't, it was beautiful up there...the sun was shining, the sky was blue and, despite all the snow lying around, I was out there in a t-shirt and feeling fine...I will definately go back out though once the snow melts!
We then drove up Vivian Park canyon to the end and snapped some more pics...I definately need to buy another camera battery because this poor old one runs out of juice too fast. I honestly could have filled both memory cards Saturday without losing a beat. As it was my camera died all too soon and I was left to come home, promising myself I'd be out that way again soon.
On a personal note, I did look at my pics and there are a few redeeming shots amongst a lot of crap ones....but I am still learning so I am okay with that. I will take the gems and treasure them, dump the dross and get back out there for more! I really do need to keep track of what I snap pics of though...I took way too many of the mountain that all look the same. What a waste of battery juice!

Happy Easter everyone.....

I couldn't resist putting this one up....someone sent it to me and I have been chuckling for the last couple of days over it. doesn't seem as if we should be this far into the year....but then I am also still getting used to the idea that Easter hit us in March this year instead of its typical April setting. Went to sacrament meeting and was surprised that there was no real fanfare in church this year...usually the primary kids sing a song or two but nope, just our usual speakers and the choir performed our closing song so there was a last second scramble for us to sing something else at the end of the meeting.

Went to Jase's afterwards...some of his friends came over for a BBQ. I know, I know, its not your typical Easter fare but I don't like ham and didn't feel like preparing something I wasn't going to eat. We ended up with teriyaki chicken breasts that we made into sandwiches with thick bacon and swiss cheese, potato wedges, grilled pineapple, devilled eggs and topped it off with homemade brownies. Dang it was good. I could only eat half of my sandwich so I brought the other half with me today for lunch (yum!). We watched "Enchanted" on the projector and I must say I enjoyed it a lot more the second time around. It still doesn't live up to all the hype though. I bought "Tin Man" last week and I enjoyed it a whole lot more...

Still, time spent with family is what makes it all worth while...including those "family" groups we form with our friends!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

My day as a college instructor.....

Isn't as oh-la-la as it sounds. Last night our instructor announced his mother was in the hospital and that he would be leaving early. He gave us a brief lecture on deductive vs. inductive thinking (did I mention I am taking a logic class?) and then popped in the video "An Inconvenient Truth". We were to watch the video and then he prepared to leave. He stopped by my chair, left me the roll and asked me to give roll again after the video, advise everyone they were to write a brief 1-2 paragraph essay on whether Gore fufilled his goal of reasoning the rise of CO2 levels being the reason for global warming. He asked me to take the essays from everyone once they were done and to give him the roll sheet, essays and his dvd back to him in class on Monday. Whoa. Boy were there some grumbles after he left about the dvd, and even more when I called roll afterwards and told them they had to turn the essay in before leaving. Not surprisingly, several students had bailed early, a couple snuck in late and I had to explain to them the instructors policy on latecomers (he droned on about it several times both Monday and Wednesday). I admit I peeked at some of the essays that were submitted. One gal wrote "I don't believe in politics and don't believe in this assignment." Other than her name that was it on the paper. Dang. You'd think some people would take college a little more seriously...especially when they are paying for it!

All in couldn't pay me enough to get me to do that job! Teachers around the world...take a bow and kuddos to you for having the patience for the job.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The world's first, unintentional, pirate cat....

Actually you wouldn't be able to tell by just looking at him but Jasper is blind on one side. I thought it was cute how he'd cock his head funny to look at you sometimes, and I'd noticed he'd get so focused on one thing and then freak when something snuck up on the other side, but it wasn't until last night that Annie and I began to suspect anything. Actually she's the one who mentioned it. I was commenting on how that one eyelid was partially closed again and we started talking about how he needs to see the vet for a check-up and shots and then Annie wondered if he had problems seeing out of that eye. Sure enough, several "tests" where I'd hold up a finger to the bad eye just out of the good eye's range brought on zero reaction. Fingers up close to that eye won't have him blink and he shows no recognition there's anything there. Poor thing. It doesn't seem to have slowed him down any...he ricochetes through the room like a bat out of hell and seems to have no problem with depth perception, which tells me he's probably been that way since birth. I will still schedule him an appointment and we can find out more about it, but I will just have to be more careful about which side I approach him from from now on.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Late nights and horror movies....

Really do not mix. And it wasn't even that scary of a film....

Stayed up late on Saturday to watch "30 Days of Night"...vampires in Alaska. How could you go wrong? I want to go to Alaska and I like vampire movies (bummer then that they had to film it in New Zealand).

Good movie....except that by the time it was over it was after midnight and Jasper kept climbing up the back of the bed to pounce on me. I also had to use the bathroom....bad. My hallway is like 2 feet long at the most between my room and the bathroom but dang if I didn't turn on every freaking light along my path (well..the living room light was actually out of my way but I wasn't taking any chances!) I peeked behind the shower curtain, feeling like an idiot, and then couldn't bring myself to shut the bathroom door. Can anyone say pathetic? I even had to stay up and watch a few minutes of Disney-type fare before feeling confident enough to switch off the bedside lamp!

Jasper is definately not allowed to watch vampire movies anymore as he spent the next 2 hours chewing on me (same thing goes for Animal Planet....I swear he gets ideas from watching the big jungle cats!) Finally, around 4 am I drifted off, still glancing nervously at the dark hallway, watching for a darker-than-dark shadow to make itself known. Jasper, completely clueless, continued to run in and out of the room with no concern for my stressed out state...insensitive male!

Got up at 10 the next morning actually wanting to watch that movie again, just to prove it wouldn't scare me I did. It didn't spook me this time. In fact I found myself really enjoying it enough to consider owning someday once the used copies go on sale....

I am a glutton for punishment I guess.

Isn't it sad when something you love has to change?

Believe it or not but this torn up "road" that extends into Provo Lake was once a wide pebble-strewn path with willows, trees and underbrush along both sides. This braken was thick enough that you had birds nesting in them and they provided shelter from the strong winds that can come up off of the lake. Towards the end there were sections where the lake would rise up over it and you were literally "walking on water"...well, through a few inches anyway. I loved walking the levy.

I went out last night, excited to walk it again since I hadn't been since last fall when, to my dismay, it is blocked off and torn apart. I am sure the change is because the levy was slowly erroding but the bulldozers have taken something I thought beautiful and turned it into a muddy gray mess, devoid of vegetation. Trees have been uprooted and the birds will have a hard time finding shelter in what little is left. The winds actually froze me through as I walked a few feet onto the "road" in stunned shock; nothing left to block its icy progress.

I will continue walking out onto the levy...but it will be with steps of longing and regret for the march of progress.

And the reason I want a Mac is????...part two

Okay, I trashed on the Mac in my last blog. Here's the rebuttal.

Called the Mac Docs and they had said they wanted $75 an hour to look at it, right? Wrong! There was no way I was gonna pay Annie and I drove up to the Gateway Mall in Salt Lake after work on Friday so they could take a look at my malfunctioning little monster. Whoa. Like the mall a lot...for those who have not strolled its walkways, its a freaking outdoor mall. Never seen one of those before...

Anyway, walk into the Apple store and holy freak it was busy. No, let me redefine was BUSY. Had to wait about 15 for my name to be called and then I was helped by this kid who couldn't have been 2 minutes out of high school named Piers. Very nice kid. He ran a diagnostic and it turned out there was something wrong with one of the updates my computer had downloaded that was freezing it up so he removed the old download, loaded it again, gave me a patch that should have my adobe software running smoothly and working properly, and then happily answered my Mac questions without making me feel like an idiot. He showed me how to do this one effect I wanted my dock to do and explained just how that warranty thing worked (and its half price since I am a student). From soup to nuts I was in the store for about 40 minutes and walked back out with computer-in-hand. All-in-all it was a very good experience and I want to extend my personal kuddos to the Mac boys in Salt Lake because they managed to turn a lousy experience into a good thing.

I even let Piers talk me into a book...kind of a MacIntosh 101 if you will that was created to teach PC peps (like myself) how to effectively play around with their Mac. It shows me all the options, bells and whistles that my little baby can do and shows me all of the shortcuts that don't translate from PC to Mac (which is pretty much all of the ones I know!) Kuddos again for actually helping me find a book that I can use (translation: understand) and not the most expensive one on the shelf!

Well done Mac.....

Friday, March 14, 2008

And the reason I wanted a Mac is?????

Cause the school made me take one. Seriously, the sucker has been a pain since I got it...the software doesn't run properly, it is unfamiliar to a PC girl and now this latest travesty! I rarely take the thing online but when I did for a class on Tuesday Apple insisted there were several manditory updates waiting for me that needed to be addressed I told it to go ahead. Now the stupid thing will not get off of the "restart your computer" screen no matter how many times it gets turned on and off. Apple is stumped, but they kept me on hold forever to finally give me that piece of information. First they transferred me to the wrong customer service (they sent me to the IPod branch). The gal who "helped" me troubleshoot my computer ended up chastizing me because I didn't have my installation hardware with me at school when I called in. Yeah, right. She then told me I had no choice but to go to Salt Lake as I only had 5 days left on my warranty. I asked for a closer alternative and she finally admitted that there was a local guy who could fix it under warranty but gave me the wrong address for this company. I call the local boys this morning and they tell me that warranty or not they will charge me $75/hour to try and fix it! What?!?!? It comes to me not working, stops working on its own accord and they expect me to pay them for the privilege? Don't think so. So we're back to the "drive to Salt Lake" scenario only now I am being told it may be a few days before I get my laptop back and so not only am I going to be without a laptop (with my final project on it for this class that was due yesterday) for who knows how long, I also have to drive to Salt Lake and back two times over this.
Customer service these days completely sucks.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Momma told me there'd be days like this.....

Whoa. Massive stresser day yesterday. I could literally foretell that I would spend the night up eating Rolaids right from the bottle, and gee, I was right! Just a lot of problems all coming up at once and everyone wanting their problem taken care of first. Nothing you can do but hang onto your sanity while you wade into the mess, hoping you can clear things up and be back to shore before the end of your work day (actually it wasn't, I was here for an additional hour "cleaning up").

Thankfully, today was incredibly busy, but positive and productive. Nice counterpoint karma....thanks, I needed it!

And yes, I still love my job.

Which character are you....

Saw this on Yancy's blog and had to try it....not sure about the result. To date I have not been in love with a blonde Australian or done drugs (shhhhhh...don't tell anyone about the rock band!) but then the rest isn't bad. I'm still sniffling over you Charlie!

I actually preferred this one for Firefly....oh yeah, I could soooooooooo be a Wash-type (and lets not overlook he's my fave of the Firefly gang!)I definately fit the profile on this one! "I am a leaf on the how I soar!" (sniff) Dang, the good always die young.....

Friday, March 7, 2008

World's biggest dunce....

I am so steamed right now....a certain adult I know sat down with his senior-in-high-school child yesterday and basically said, "I know its kinda late for this but I wish I had never allowed you to enter high school and we could have explored the alternatives. School is not for everyone, plenty of people have been successful without high school or college. I don't think you have the confidence it would take to attend college; I wish you'd just have the spunk to decide to drop out of high school without graduating".

What the freak????? I knew this guy was a world-class ass but this just takes the cake. It ranks right up there with his self-esteem talk of "your body is all you have to sell yourself on". Now this kid is not a bad kid, does not get into trouble, has good grades, and has a decent career goal in mind. What is this idiot thinking?Mr. Motivational himself. Wow. God forbid he should ever start working for a suicide hotline. Graduation can not get here fast enough. That idiot (and that's the nicest thing I can say about him at the moment)really deserves a medal pinned to his chest with "World's Biggest Idiot" in neon blinking lights all over it....but then he'd probably take it as a compliment that someone gave him a medal and wouldn't bother to read what it actually said.

Ever have days when you just want to ask God "what are you thinking letting a neanderthal like that around children?" But then I also thank God for this kid having the intelligence to know that this person is an idiot and to still go ahead with their plans anyway....

Thursday, March 6, 2008

A girl and her camera....

are a beautiful thing! Pics are being posted again on Deviant but not sure how long the new batch will last.....I will try to get out this weekend for more material!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Sometimes you strike gold.....

Here I was, sitting in my Illustrator class, feeling like 7 shades of idiot because i was just not getting what was going on. Pat (instructor) starts walking around the room checking out how we are doing, making comments, and then he gets to me....

Inst: So how's it coming
Me: (wailing) I don't get any of this!
Inst: What don't you get?
Me: Everything...I did the assignments but I have no idea how I got the results I did and I am not even sure this is what you are looking for.
Inst: (looking at work) You did this looks good. But have you tried this? (reaches for graphic pen and tries something...gets wrong result) What?
Me: (sighing) The program doesn't always work last instructor told me to uninstall and then reinstall everything but I haven't done it yet.
Inst: THAT shouldn't have happened! Why isn't this working?

I admit I was feeling a lot better that it wasn't just me having issues with this @)(#&_@#$)* program

Inst: Well let me show you a couple of things here...move this there and hit this command key (etc etc as he gives me a mini tutorial on the joys of live trace)

I admit I felt a lot lot LOT better as several other students crowded around to see what he was showing me because, as they admitted, they didn't understand this either and hadn't wanted to say anything.

Why is it that we clam up when we should really just raise our hands, open our mouths and admit, "look, I really don't get this". No, we'd rather sit there in class, feeling stupid and about to burst into tears because EVERYONE else must be smarter than you because they aren't asking dumb questions (yes, I felt like crying in class last night...must be something hormonal....) My admitting I didn't understand, and my instructor coming over to help me opened up Illustrator to me. Now I admit, I still have no idea what most of those icons mean or would do if I were to start playing with them, but I have a much better idea of how to manipulate the small corner of Illustrator that I was playing in last night. I am in school to learn, I am paying for the privilege of what these instructors can impart to me, the classes are deliberately kept small for more one-on-one collaboration. I am sooooooo going to open my mouth from now on.

Sitting in class I managed a small piece of brilliance last night though. Our challenge was to create a logo using our name or initials. Well I pulled together some lame little thing on my laptop and was fussing around when the instructor mentioned the most amazing logo he'd seen was a gal took an oval with a line in it and, using a couple of breaks in the oval, managed to make the initials ANJ appear. Well I wasn't going to sit still for that....I opened up another document, started fiddling around, and came up with a logo that I plan to use for Etsy....I was debating on my shop name and I think this will work great. Since its not in a compatable format to include here let me just say its a turquoise rectangle with an old-fashioned 52 at one end in white. Brilliant. My instructor looked at it for a moment, the wheels turning in his mind and then he started between laughs he coughed out "you HAVE to save THAT!"

Note: for those of you who are not familiar with my initials....they are S.Z..... 5.2....get it???? So yup, I do believe my Etsy shop will be called "fifty-two".....

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Goals and deadlines....

While wonderful guides to keep us on the right track, boy they both can be pains-in-the-butt sometimes. Case in point: Etsy is being delayed by a month or two (or three or four)...I have been too busy with everything else to get this thing really going. I am going to say it will be up and running before my birthday this September but other than that, no guarantee as to date. School has me going nuts (I should say Adobe Illustrator is driving me nuts!) though as a side note--Miya that Wacom pad you suggested is actually quite nice.

Jase and I are thinking about doing the Sundance Harvest Market at the beginning of October so I will need to figure out what I need for that, I have also been running around with Jase a bit lately with his photography plans. I just adopted Jasper (who is teething) and keeping me up nights chewing on whatever finger, hand, nose or toes happen to be sticking out from under the blankets. I also agreed to create/stitch 2 missionary return samplers for a friend of my aunt's (I can do it without having to buy the pattern and she doesn't embroider) and then 8 stitched sayings patchworked onto pillows made from grandma's old shirts for my aunt to give to all of my aunts and uncles (she cries at the idea of cutting the clothes up and has been wanting this done for two years now)....not to mention everyone that wants me to come visit whether I have a spare moment or not! My photography is getting behind again...I have a file of pictures on my desktop I haven't had the time to look through yet, and I need to get out and snap some more.

Sadly, I took a three-day weekend to organize my room and supplies, catch up on homework, room got cleaned. Homework? No. Unpack my craft supplies? Nope. Relax? Heck no. I need to slow down for a moment, catch up to myself, and then start again.

Oh, and Jase? That glass paperweight was an inexpensive way to tell the manager of the Art Shack "thank you for the time you spent answering my questions when you could have been doing something else". Its just a quirky turn of fate that this marketing tactic also happens to look nice in my office!

Funny that with all this running around I still am incredibly happy (if a bit overly-stressed) and actually feel pretty productive (considering how far behind I am!) Other than chew marks all over I am even sleeping better--thank goodness for new mattresses!