Monday, May 18, 2009

"If I die, you can have all my stuff."

If you have any respect for me as a confident, healthy and in-shape fitness instructor--please do not read this blog entry.

Mr. Haycock took me on my first mountain biking ride. (We were in Midway for the weekend where we watched Dana's kids as she incredibly accomplished a triathalon.) As we drove to the trail head along the bumpy dirt road I verbally willed everything I owned to Josh. I didn't want to but I felt it was important to make sure that I wrapped up any loose ends by securing all my belongings to someone if I were to die on the trails.

Josh mapped out an easy path for us along the Sage Trail. I'm sure that it was actually an easy trail but I had my bike gears as low as they could go before we'd even gotten all the way out of the parking lot. The trail was not what I'd expected. It was kind of sandy, rocky, narrow, and bushy, prickly, and stabby on either side. I was so scared that I was going to either hit a rock and flip over my bike or that I was going to tip over because of exhaustion and be acupunctured to death.

Josh, very fittingly, was wearing my "Fitness Instructor" shirt. I was feeling huge and fat that day--like 300 pounds fat. (Guess we shouldn't have had pigs in a blanket and cheesecake before we left.) I was trying so hard to use Pilates breathing mentality: the more oxygen you take in, the less your muscles will hurt. It worked for a good pedal or two. But still, I was taking 3 minute breathing breaks for every 2 minutes I rode the trail.

This whole physical experience was comparable to a hippopatamus with one lung riding a bicycle on a rocky balance beam with porcupines on either side. That's how I felt.

I finally met up with my patient husband at the top. It was such a relief! All downhill from there! But wait. Now I had to go fast down the rocky trails with angry porcupine bushes waiting on either side? mercy... Josh, with all of his bouncing energy, took off down the trail. I could hear skids and "Woo-hoo!"s fade as he raced down the path. As I white-knuckled the brakes I learned something about myself. I'm very cautious. But can you blame me? The trail was very steep and S-curved all the way down (and remember those pin-cushions along the trail--with the needles poking UP?!). I am proud to say that I never fell off. Ever. But I sure did stumble alot. And nearly got mowed over by another zealous rider behind me.

This is me coming down the end of the main trail. Sure, it doesn't look that bad but trust me, it was! At this point Josh and I split up so he could go on a "real" ride by himself. He guided me to the Aqueduct trail which followed the creek down to the trail head. The Aqueduct trail was a dirt rode with deep tire tracks. This trail was even rockier! It was still downhill but not nearly as steep and it was void of any S-curves. I kept at my cautious, brake-gripping pace until I rode through a spot over the creek. Glancing down at the mud splatters all over my bike and clothes, a renewed sense of excitement and adventure overcame me. I loosened my grip on the brakes and rode faster through the next creek crossing, making an even bigger splash. Pretty soon I was jumping over big rocks and keeping a slack jaw and very juvenille-y letting out a loud "aya-aya-yayayayaya" as I took the very bumpy trail down. This trail was awesome! I crossed the creek five or six times and steered all over the trail. That last leg of the ride down was a blast! Made the whole trip worth it.

And I didn't have to give Josh my stuff.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Ugliest Thing I've Ever Made

So, I didn't think it was possible to do this after all the creative juices that have been flowin' but....I did it. I made something really ugly. Not that it's so un-normal for me to have made something that doesn't look that good but...this is ugly.

Last week I took a couple of classes at Joann's to learn how to use my sewing machine. It scares me. It scares me like driving down I-75 in Atlanta when I was 16. White-knuckled the whole time. I think I need to talk about this. I'm scared of sewing my finger. My anxiety always kicks up a notch or four when I'm around needles (ask my mother-in-law). I'm scared because I don't understand which way the fabric is supposed to flow right. I'm scared that I won't be able to fix the machine if something goes wrong---like I run out of thread on my bobbin (can I have a word point for that term?).

The teacher and the class were great. I felt more comfortable with the machine--really stupid but more comfortable after the week was over. The teacher was very patient with me. I think she saw me as her "special" student. But I ate up the extra attention, slow talking, and patient explanations.

I learned how to make a button hole, hem jeans, make a cuff for a men's pant leg out of wool material (mens, obviously. not womens). I sewed on "delicate" fabric--don't ask what it was called. I made a shirt collar but didn't know what it was until the teacher turned it over and traced it with her finger. And all of that was on the first day.

The second class was all about sewing appliques. I sat in my chair, leaned back, cleared my throat, and winked. "Excuse me ladies, but I hand sew my own designs on shirts. I think I'll know a little bit about how to get this done on a machine." Aren't machines supposed to make things easier? Okay, so maybe I just said all of that in my imagination. In actuality, I probably just stroked my machine so it would think we were friends.

First, we tried a certain stitch (the satin stitch?!) on a heart on a pink piece of fabric. (This isn't even the ugly one.) I placed my not-cut-out-so-pretty heart on my fabric straight. And it turned out like this:

a crooked pocket.

So then the teacher has us cut out another heart, iron it onto special paper, flip it inside out, sew it onto fabric with batting behind it, and then sew a decorative stitch around the whole heart. This is it. The ugliest thing I've ever made.

Now, let me explain. 1) I was using two different thread colors. 2) I managed to sew the iron-on paper to the wrong side of the fabric--hence why the fabric is backwards. 3) I couldn't coordinate the direction I wanted to go and the direction the machine wanted to go. And 4) Okay, I was cocky and it was a lot harder than it looked.

Talented, huh.

Other than this disaster, the rest of the class went well. I sewed a piece of lace onto linen cloth and cut away the linen strip so it looked like the lace was created with the linen. That looked really good. I'd post a picture of it but this entry is dedicated to the ugly things I made in class--and that I adore. Thanks, Ugly Stuff, for making me laugh!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Selling at a Craft Show: CHECK

Okay, so selling at a craft show has never actually been on my list of Things To Do Before I Die but I'd say putting yourself out there with handmade product is a solid accomplishment. Alright, I'll say it: I'M REALLY STINKIN' PROUD OF MYSELF!! I AM SO COOL! I AM DROP DEAD GORGEOUS! I AM....

Fine, I'll stop.

Setting up the show was exciting. We got there early but ended up getting a less-than-ideal
area. Well, okay, I just didn't like the lighting in the room. But Thursday night was so packed that I was glad I wasn't in the center room.

Josh was a life saver. He picked up the trees and dropped them off at the show. Then went back home to pick up the bar table and chair and dropped them off at the show. Then picked up the perfect dinner and dropped it off for me at the show. (PS--The dinner was Lunchables and a heaping load of yogurt from Yoasis....It was delicious!)

My beautiful friend Willow helped me come up with the idea to hang my baby shirts from trees. I was able to rent a couple of bare trees (natural branches with white lights which were potted in cement) for a steal and hung the shirts with clothes pins.

Having admired the other displays, I was glad to have my goodies hanging up and catching attention.

The show was really exciting! Thursday night they had food and hired a DJ who actually played great music. The atmosphere was fun but the whole place was a frenzy. Most of the people who came that night were college-age folks who snatched and grabbed a little bit of everything. Most of everyone's stock was sold that night. It was great!

I had fabulous friends from the ward and family members who stopped by. They were so encouraging and really supportive of me. It meant a lot. Some of them slipped me sweet little notes on my display table.

The show continued until Saturday night. I never saw a bigger crowd than on Thursday night but I met some nice customers and vendors. I even caught a glimpse of the fabulous "Nie Nie" who has a famous blog here out of Utah.

All in all, it was an exciting but exhausting show.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Viva Las Vegas!

Clarissa has had an exhausting weekend with the Beehive Bizarre. So she is passed out beside me on the other couch. I know that she is a much better writer than I am but I will try to hold to her high standard of clever writing. This week has been one to remember. Clarissa and I went on one last whorahh with our good friends the Simpsons who are moving to Nebraska soon. We traveled to Las Vegas to visit Josh and Willow, our mutual friends.

On the way up Clarissa and Lisa (which proved rather frustrating at times because I have taken to calling Clarissa nothing but Issa which sounds very much like Lisa) anyway. Clarissa and Lisa worked on Clarissa’s onesies for the Beehive Bizarre. While Clarissa sewed the patterns on the front, Lisa helped by sewing the labels on the back. They worked furiously on both the ride down to Vegas and the ride home. A word of caution to any of you who are riding in the back seat of the Simpson’s car: There was more then one needle lost back there, so tread and sit lightly.

While the girls sewed their little hearts out in the back seat, Roger acted as the rugged pilot Han Solo while I was the hairy co-pilot Chewbacca. We found that with our powers combined we could rival tom tom, the GPS system.

When we arrived in Las Vegas we planned on going through the temple but it wasn’t until we pulled into the empty parking lot that we remembered that all temples are closed on Mondays. However not all was lost--we were able to get out and stretch our legs and warm our faces in the beautiful 80 degree weather. We walked around the grounds and enjoyed the beautiful flowers and view that the Las Vegas temple has. Clarissa followed in her father’s foot steps by taking some very cool close up pictures of the flowers that surrounded the temple.

That evening we went to Josh and Willow’s beautiful home. The girls went and took a hip hop exercise class, Josh sang at a cadaver ceremony for his medical school, and Roger and I watched an NBA play-off game. After everyone reunited at Josh and Willow’s we went out for ice cream at a casino near their house. After ice cream we went and watched the Bellagio fountains which was really cool. Tuesday morning Josh had to go to school and Willow had to work. So the rest of us braved the greater Las Vegas area and found the outlet mall so the girls could do some shopping while us guys just walked around. At 3:00 we were able to check into our hotel… the MGM Grande… it was awesome! We were able to get a great deal on a really nice room. After we checked in we went down to the pool complex. There were something like 4 different pools, a lazy river, and a water fall. It was amazing. So we enjoyed to sun for a while (my upper lip was the only part of me to get sun burned…jerk), then we went to the amazing Studio B buffet at the M resort. There was bamboo salmon, sushi, steak, shrimp, fruit, and all kinds of really nice food. Then they had a succulent dessert bar that was to die for, with little pastries and crepes and gelato. My shoe especially liked the cream from the little ├ęclairs. The reason the buffet is named Studio B is because there was a little cooking studio where they have cooking shows. Martha Stewart had been there recently and done a cooking special. So of course we had to get some pictures in there pretending to do a cooking show of our own.

Then, unfortunately, we had to leave Wednesday after a farewell lunch in the MGM Grande food court. We loved being with the Batts and enjoyed the brief 6 hour drives with the Simpsons. Thanks for making it so much fun, guys!