The Perfect 15th Wedding Anniversary Gift : Glassblowing Workshop in Astoria, Oregon

David and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary last week. The traditional gift is crystal, but the modern one is glass or a watch. So David came up with a truly unique idea. He took me to Astoria, on the Oregon Coast, and treated me to a workshop at a glassblowing studio where I made a glass pumpkin. It was my first experience learning the craft of glassblowing.

We made an appointment at Fernhill Glass Studio where we met Claude and Chris. Claude let me choose the glass colors, and explained the process of making a glass pumpkin from beginning to end. It was a lot of information, but Chris made sure I used the right tool the right way at the right time. It was a lot of fun. At one point, I even used a blow torch half as big as I am tall to heat the glass stem, giving it its mirrored finish. I’d never used a blow torch before. There’s no photo of me with it; I suspect David, who took these photos, ducked for cover and I don’t blame him.

Click on images to enlarge.

I love my new Fall decoration! I had a blast, and can’t wait for our next trip to Astoria and trying my hand at another project.

If I Could Save Time in a Bottle

Oregon agates in their natural state. photo: jparadisi 2011

It’s late Sunday evening as I write this post. Usually I’ve already written one and clicked the “publish” tab by now, but what the hey, I’m not a trained seal, you know?

Anyway, David and I went to the Oregon Coast for a brief trip to celebrate a family birthday. Surprisingly, it was sunny there, and sunny days are as rare as agates on the beach this spring. Now we’re back in Portland, and the clouds darken the sky as if someone put a gigantic hat over the city. However, my day was brightened to find that Dr. Dean Burke mentioned my post from last week among those of other talented nurse bloggers in The Millionaire Nurse Twitter Chat edition. Thank you!

Normally, when I know I’ll be out of town, I plan a post in advance so it’s ready to publish on Sunday evening, but this week time flowed away faster than a spilled latte at the nurses’ desk. First, work was crazy busy: the kind of shifts that make you come home and go bibbety-bibbety-bibbety, while drooling. Despite this, I felt strangely fulfilled. My colleagues and I worked well as a team, and we made some significant improvements in the lives of our patients. Being busy is not the same thing as being frustrated. Hard work resulting in good outcomes is its own reward.

Speaking of which, I was accepted into a juried art exhibition this week. I really wanted to make it into this show, but now the work begins. There’s an artist statement to write, a résumé to update, and framing to do before the show. Achievement comes with a to do list. Being an artist requires a level of professionalism similar to any other career. It’s not all crayons and finger paint.

Added to this week’s frenzy, my favorite 11 year-old had a band concert. He plays trombone, and shows promising talent. I wouldn’t have missed it for anything. In fact, I showed up late for a gallery reception I promised I’d attend months before rather than miss it.

On the drive home from the Coast, David asked me how I was doing after such a busy week. I told him I am tired, but content. If I could save time in a bottle, this is how I would spend it: in meaningful relationships, and doing meaningful work. David said, “What else is there to spend it on?”