Thursday, April 22, 2010

Trike Trials and Class 3 of 5

I ventured beyond the barriers of closed Blackdog road the other day to see how much work remained before the road was open to traffic again. The Minnesota river is well within its banks now but the flooding has left behind tons of silty sand that is still being gathered up and taken away. As I negotiated the tricky surface on my bike I noticed several nesting pairs of Canadian Geese just off the road's edge. They're fine for now as there's no traffic to speak of but once the road is reopened I'm not sure how they'll adapt.

I got a phone call from my mother last week and listened as she excitedly told me about her plans to buy a trike for riding around home. She's been having increasing difficulty doing her daily half hour walks (she'll be 82 in November) and thought that a trike would be a good way for her to be able to get some exercise. I too thought it was a great idea and one that I'd never considered.

Without telling our mom all six of us siblings pooled our money and purchased a trike for her as an early Mother's Day gift. Keith and Tracee took her to Erik's Bike in Burnsville Sunday afternoon and let her pedal it around the parking lot to make sure it was something she could handle. It didn't go as smoothly as she would've liked but we were sure that with a little practice she would eventually master it. Unfortunately it wasn't meant to be. She can't seem to coordinate the steering so the bike doesn't always go where she wants it to. She called yesterday to say that she was going to have Keith pick the bike up and return it. She sounded disappointed and shaken up by her venture away from home earlier in the day. I felt bad for her. I'd like to work with her some more because I'm certain she could learn to ride it with a little more practice but I don't want to pressure her.

Some video from a couple days ago.

Tammy and I had our 3rd glassblowing class at Foci studio in north Minneapolis last night. As we drove into the city during rush-hour traffic I took note once again of the solid double white line along sections of 35W and wondered when we can expect our briefing on the rules for using these lanes. The signage associated with the markings is lacking. We either missed the briefings or there's no such animal because they seem to be up and running already. I did a little research last night and found this link if you're interested.

We spent our first two glassblowing classes making simple paper weights as we learned how to gather and shape the molten glass. Last night was our first attempt at actually blowing air into the gather of glass and working it into a cup shape. Very basic stuff but not nearly as easy to do as it looks. My first attempt shattered in the glory hole because I fiddled with it too long during one of the phases and allowed it to cool more than I should have. One simple phrase you learn early on, 'hot good, cold bad'.

Tammy's first effort was beautiful and I was happy for her because I think she was feeling like I was catching on to this faster than she was and that's not so. She finished the night with two successful pieces out of three attempts while I managed only one. It can be a little frustrating but that feeling is soon replaced by one of determination when you take another turn at the bench and try to learn from your previous mistakes. We're both loving the experience. We have one more instructional class next week followed by our final week where we're on our own as our instructors stand back and observe us.

There are many talented glassblowers working in the studio and it's easy to feel intimidated because of our limited ability but what we both sense is an environment where people are very willing to help us learn to art and that's encouraging. When our classes are done we'll be free to rent space and work among the others. We intend to get right into it and not delay otherwise we'll be less comfortable going back the longer we wait.

Look for our paperweights and goblets at a craft fair near you!

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