Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentines Day ~ 2014

Happy Valentines Day - 2014

The craziness of November, December & January getting ready to exhibit for 6 days and teach for 3 at the To Bead True Blue Show is done. It was 12 to 16 hours a day in my studio working away, pounding, melting and fusing metal to my will …

Right in the middle of January, while prepping for the show I had a 3-day workshop in my house that was really a great deal of fun. It was nice to settle my mind back in to teaching for those few day and take a break away from the grind of just producing. I feel that I really made some wonderful pieces. I’ll take pictures in the sunshine tomorrow and post images.

As always it is wonderful to go back to Tucson, after all, I spent almost 5 years living there and there is a part of me that misses it so very much. I totally miss my friends and there is a stillness to Tucson that I really loved. It truly is a small town that has a lot going for it as a community. The town has this rustic quality that it embraces and yet there is a “we can be up-to-date with the rest of you but we don’t have to show it off” kind of thing that makes me smile. I love what is happening downtown, there is a real resurgence of nightlife. Downtown could be deserted and just too quiet. Now it is bustling and vibrant.

Right now, I am watching all of the Sochi Olympics that I can. I will freely admit to being a totally geek when it comes to believing in the Games. I can remember so many of the amazing moments from my childhood from the Olympics. To this day, when ever I watch the re-play of the Franz Klammer’s EPIC downhill run from 1976, I believe that this time …he will not make it and he will fly off the edge of the mountain.

There are so many new events, Slope Style, Pairs Figure Skating, Mixed Team Luge, Slope Style Skiing .. I am sure that I am missing 1 or 2 others … I love the majesty that surrounds the Games. Even amidst all of the turmoil in the world there is this bastion of hope that burns even brighter than the flame in the Olympic Park.. These competitors believe in the responsibility of doing your best and competing in this arena before the entire world and promote the beauty of each of their sports. They believe in the possible … All that is possible.

I am  taking 2 or 3 days off to recuperate and to get over the cold that my booth mates and GF gave me in Tucson and I am enjoying knowing that I have a few weeks to get back into my studio and work on several ideas that I had during my time in Tucson…

So … Images of new work will be posted this weekend.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Wisdom Highlights

The week has been one of ups and downs in the studio as I get ready for the To Bead True Blue Show in Tucson.

Have made some really excellent chains. I had a breakthrough on a pair of old aluminum gears that have been sitting on my bench for over a year awaiting for inspiration and had a major catastrophe while attempting to set an Ammonite into a pendant.
Hash Tag - Total Frustration
~ Gears of Inspiration ~

The signups opened for the Bead & Button Show and so far it looks like my classes are doing fairly well. I have always loved that show, the entire experience is like old home week when I get to spend time with friends that I only get to see once a year.

As an instructor, I have decided to make a huge change. For almost 15 years, I have maxed my class size to 20 participants and since I started teaching metals, they shared 10 complete workstations that I provided. Well, this year I have invested in an additional 4 complete stations and I will max my class size to 14. I have simply made the decision to be a better “teacher”.  There is a meat market mentality that can overcome instructors at these shows, the opportunity to move the greatest number of students through your classroom to maximize profit. This has led to a get ’em in and get ‘em out process that does not give the participant a fulfilling experience. Projects are not completed and most likely will end up in an “unfinished project” drawer.

When I teach at guilds or at shops I usually keep the class sizes down. I have discovered that I enjoy teaching more and that everyone gets more out of the experience. As I have matured as an instructor I have found that this is truly the best way to pass on the techniques that I treasure and that I want to empower my students with. I take pride in my abilities and I love to see students in my classes have that wonderful “Ah Ha” moment when a technique “clicks.”

I have one mission as a metal worker, “I try to learn something new everyday I spend in my studio.” I have even been teaching class’ when I have discovered something that I can pass on immediately. There is no better feeling than having those moments and I hope for many more years of doing what I love.

Remember to follow my continued work and my travels on my Facebook page Anne Mitchell Metalworks.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

~ I Welcome 2014 ~

I needed to take a long break.

I realized during a very tumultuous 2012 that I had to reassess the reasons I felt is was necessary to have this page and I also needed to reassess what it was I actually wanted to share. I want to thank all of you that have messaged me to get back to sharing and I decided that 2014 was going to be a new start here for me.

2012 was a year of curve balls thrown and more than a few bumps along my path. Those frustrations kept me from the desire to write, it no longer seemed to give me the pleasure of release that it once had and as the year passed I found the desire for some introspection.

2013 dawned brighter and clearer and my path of revelations and reorganization on both a personal and professional level truly was at the core of my path. I am not saying that 2013 was a smooth journey by any means. In fact, 2013 was a truly insightful experience on so many levels.

I sat down on many evenings with the genuine desire to start sharing again, but it seemed that I was still not ready. I think that at the core of much of my journey was the loss of my two fuzzy companions of the last 18 years.

Just after my last post in 2012 one of my beloved cats Alex got very sick, we cared for her diligently for the last remaining months of her life and guided as gently as possible on her way. Then, just 4 months later her littermate and sister Niki started showing signs of weight loss. We lost Niki 8 months after loosing Alex. These two beautiful creatures had been with me for close to 2/5's of my life and the void left has been vast.

I plan on sharing more new work and my travel/teaching plans and share insights into my life. 

I welcome 2014 with genuine excitement. I am pleased to have the desire to write again. Let's begin the journey anew with a fresh sense of adventure. My goal for 2014 is to post every Wednesday.. (No Laughing Now!) I make this announcement with full acknowledgement that this first post of 2014 is actually being posted on Thursday.... It really was started yesterday.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Monday May 7th ~ 2012

Well April shot by and my 5722 mile 3 1/2 week east coast teaching tour was excellent. I had a blast with my friend Gail Moore at Bead Fest Spring, I had way to many laughs in South Carolina with Heidi at the Beaded Frog and my time in Cleveland with the Northeast Ohio Metal Clay Guild and my friend Gail Lannum was way to much fun and way to short.

Even though these last weeks traveling have been long their have been many highlights. The best one for me is that, through Face Book, I have gotten back in contact with my childhood best friend. You could not ask for two people are that are more different, then or now. Even back then our parents really could not understand what it was in the other that we each liked so much. But our friendship was very close for close to a decade.
A picture my father caught of us in TN.
We both had a love of tennis and would play for hours at the local park and at the pool both of our families belonged to. I could get Connie so mad when I would play "tennis golf". Which would be me yelling "four" and hitting the ball well out of bounds and making her run after it. We were both Master Lego Builders and could spend hours creating cities, buildings, cars, people and just weird contraptions! The thing that we shared most was our enjoyment of long walks, especially after rain storms. We would journey for hours, jumping in puddles and scouring through the damp woods.

What we really shared was simply a love of quiet. We could spend hours in each others company not saying anything of consequence. Our walks were usually in quiet reverence, enjoying the peace that was around us. Looking back, we each simply accepted the other exactly as we were, made no demands and were the others solace and strength in many respects.

This image totally sums up our friendship. We were in Gatlinburg TN on a family vacation. We had finished playing around on the tennis court and were hanging out and looking at the mountains. I simply have no excuse or explanation for the outfit, especially the socks.

We got separated in 4th grade due to each of our older sisters going into Jr. High School. The Jr. High was over crowded and going through an expansion so they instituted a year-round policy. The student population was divided into 4 "tracks" and rotated on a 12 week cycle. This meant that at any given time, 1/4 of the students were on a 3 week break. It would work out like this; go to school 9 weeks get 3 weeks off. Connie's older sister was put on Green Track and my older sister was put on Red Track and so we would go weeks without really seeing each other during the days.

It got worse in when we both got to Jr. Hi as we each developed other friends to fill the void our separation caused. By the time we hit high school we were simply very good acquaintances. We were always nice and very friendly to each other but that closeness had gone. During the years of Jr & Sr High we were each tackling our own inner teen angst ridden turmoils and that also caused a distance that was not broach-able.

About two weeks ago we got together, drank a bottle of wine and actually talked about why we drifted apart. We each turned inward due to the distance and we each built a wall to keep people at bay. Neither would let anyone too close for fear of the assumed loss due to the passage of time. It was not until I sat on her back porch, sharing our stories, hearing her voice again, hearing her laugh did I realize that I missed my childhood friend and I was grateful for her reaching out and clicking on the "friend" button.

We are still just as different and I would assume that not many would understand the connection. If I had to look to closely I might not either. But I have trust the feelings that I had as a 5 year old and know that we share something that is beyond words, beyond explanation and accept the other exactly as we are.. no demands, just enjoying the moment and perhaps the quiet!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The last 2 weeks have been crazy busy and I am still in recovery mode.

It took a few days to prep for four days of classes up at Bead Fest Santa Fe. And one of my nearest and dearest, Gail Crosman Moore, came to stay at my house while she taught there as well.

The classes went very well indeed and I could not have been more pleased at the accomplishments of all of the students, everyone made some beautiful things. I get a great deal of satisfaction in teaching and seeing each person do things that they could not do at the start of the day. To me, there is not much that is more exciting.

I had one or two disappointments during the weekend, each professional as well as personal. My biggest disappointment came when I discovered that I had a full tool set-up removed from my classroom after I had closed up my room for the day and locked all of the doors as I left.

For any of you that know how I teach, I provide ten full tool set-ups for students to use. I max my classes at 20 so the ratio of tools to students is really very good and each set-up has cost me about $485.00. Times that by 10 complete set-ups and you can all see that I have invested a great deal in making sure that the students that take classes from me have an excellent experience. This hit is a big one and more than anything else it just saddens me deeply.

I had a great time hanging with my friend Gail and getting to spend time just with her before and after the craziness of teaching.

Now don't think that even through all of the busy times that I have not had the chance to keep up with all of the craziness that is happening in the world around me. Man has it been a fascinating week or so…

The GOP still is acting like a bunch of self important self absorbed, self aggrandizing jack-asses. It is truly amazing to watch as their dialog is solely centered on annihilating anything that is not a mirror image of themselves. I find it depressing that the only thing that matters is this touted ideal of smaller government that actually has nothing to do with smaller government and everything to do with them prescribing my morals. What ever happened to "The Land Of The Free?" I guess it is just freedom for them and not for anyone that does not agree with them.

We are all Trayvon Martin

What I cannot accept or even come close to understanding is the senseless death of Trayvon Martin. I have listened in stunned amazement to the details of what Mr. George Zimmerman did leading up to his gunning down this young man for no justifiable cause. All Trayvon needed was 2 minutes to get home to safety. Is was a mere 70 yards that stood between him, the door to his house and his continued existence.

Let's break down 2 minutes out of one day… there are 60 seconds in one minute and 60 minutes in one hour and 24 hours in one day, this breaks down into 1,440 minutes or 86,400 seconds in one day. All this young man needed was 2 minutes out of 1,440 minutes or 120 of those 86,400 seconds. 

All Mr. Zimmerman had to do was heed what the 911 operators requested and not follow him.
All Mr. Zimmerman had to do was show a modicum of restraint and not pull out a gun and pick a fight.
All Mr. Zimmerman had to do was be a responsible citizen and not act like a Neanderthal.

I was hopeful that after the shootings last year in Tucson, after so many lost their lives, that we might actually be able to have a dialog in this nation about real gun control. But if you have followed the laws that have been passed it is just letting things get worse.

There are now places in our nation that let people carry concealed weapons onto the grounds of elementary schools and pre-schools. There are now laws that let faculty and students carry concealed weapons onto college campuses. The Bills keep being passed, the Governors keep signing them into Law and it just goes on and keeps getting more extreme. When is enough going to be enough. When are we going to stop allowing a lobbying group decide what is good for our nation and let the people say what is logical.

This really does come down to the NRA having too much clout. I do not see the need for extended clips or semi-automatic handguns or the need for hand guns that can fire the 30 plus bullets from that extended clip in a matter of seconds. No "hunter" needs that… I grew up with and around hunting.. no true hunter I knew growing up or know now, needs or uses that type of firearm to "hunt" with. That firearm is only used to hunt one thing…. another human being.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Thursday March 8th ~ 2012

International Women's Day
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
International Women's Day (IWD), originally called International Working Women’s Day, is marked on March 8 every year.[1] In different regions the focus of the celebrations ranges from general celebration of respect, appreciation and love towards women to a celebration for women's economic, political and social achievements. (click on the link above to read more!)

  I started reading about IWD when I opened up Google for a search this morning and was greeted by a very fun GOOGLE image. I love it when they do fun stuff like this. I was barely aware that this "day" existed and as I read on I was amazed with evolution of this day and how it has taken on so many forms of expression, from political statements of suffrage to other nations version of Valentine's Day.

I feel that this year the day has taken on a deeper mean of many of us. This has been a year of taking away a woman's rights of choice and access to essential medical needs. Time and time again, the GOP led state governments (all led by males, I might add) have taken it upon themselves to tell women how best to take care of their own medical needs.

Everything came to a boiling point for many, two weeks ago, with the Transvagonal Ultra Sound Bill in Virginia. The passage of this Bill would, in essence, forcibly rape a women with a medical device, require her to undergo a procedure that is not medically necessary in order to procure a medical procedure that has been guaranteed to every women since 1973 with the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade. Furthermore, the passage of this BIll would also place every Medical Professional in an absolutely untenable position regarding the Doctor/Patient relationship.

Then to my absolute amazement, well, not really, Mr. Limbuagh opened up his Pie Hole, inserted his foot and did not stop chewing off his foot for the next thee days. His tirade stemmed from the testimony of Sandra Fluke, a graduate student, whose testimony regarding the importance of keeping contraceptive drugs available and affordable for women seemed to anger Mr. Limbaugh.

His characterization of Ms. Fluck was, in no uncertain terms, reprehensible. He called her a "slut" and a "prostitute". And In return for the taxpayers giving her this "free" access to  this contraception Mr. Limbaugh demanded that she post her sexual encounters on You Tube for all of us to be able to watch.

Sandra Fluke, not once brought up the need for sexual contraception, her testimony talked about how these drugs were necessary for a female friends medical condition and how the lack of this medication causes great harm to her friend. That was the extent of her testimony and nothing more.

The ensuing firestorm has not let down during the past week. Mr. Limbaugh has seen over 40 of his sponsors leave, he has had 2 stations drop his show and there is loud outcry for the Armed Services Radio Network to drop him as well. Needless to say, Fox News has called foul and even a conspiracy. Amazing!

But I feel that the most important part of this narrative that has received little to no attention is the fact that the "men" who are running for the GOP nomination have not had the backbone to stand up and disavow Mr. Limbaugh's 3 day tirade. This was that moment that could have shown each of these men as caring fathers, as men who would stand up for women and show that women are an integral part of the fabric of our society, not a disposable after thought.

Mr Romney was quoted: "I would not have put it in those terms."
Excuse Me? Does that mean you AGREE?
That is what your comment sounds like to me...

Mr Santorum was quoted: "What he said was absurd."
That is all you can say? Really?
You are supposed to be a man of God and that is the best you can come up with?
How about bearing false witness…
Come on Mr. Theologian and Chief Wanna Be!

Each of these men are fathers, each of them have daughters, each of them have families and yet, each can tolerate that kind of hate speech against women?

John McCain had his moment and he proved the kind of moral and decent man he was when he stood up to that idiotic woman who said that Barak Obama was an Arab. Mr. McCain showed us all how to behave and none of you could muster the spine.

Mr. Romney, Mr Santorum, How are either of you supposed to lead the country, when you can't even join the voices of outrage. You disappoint me more than you could ever know. I applauded President Obama's phone call to Ms. Fluke and I applauded Mr. McCain when he stood up as a decent man and I despise each of you more than you could possible know.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wednesday February 29th ~ 2012

All of the vitriolic rhetoric, all of the hate mongering, all of the pandering to the extreme right wing religious bigots, all of the self serving, self righteous, egotistical, ego maniacal crap that we witnessed over the last two weeks was endured for what? The net gain of this was a split of the 30 delegates, each GOP candidate got 15 out of the required 1144 delegates required for the Republican nomination.

Hundreds of millions of dollars wasted on smack talk and double talk and slandering. Can anyone think of other ways that this money could have been spent in Michigan where the real unemployment rate is still one of the highest in the nation? I sure can!

I am not saying that either party is better or worse at this game. It just seems that the GOP is nastier and that the swing to the extreme right is making it harder and harder for any candidate to come out of this unscathed and able to mount any sort of a credible campaign.

I listen to all of the GOP hate speech and I am so sad and so tired of it. None of it is positive, none of it is spoken with encouragement and hope. All I hear is negative and depression. Then later on this evening I listened to President Obama give a speech to the auto workers and I actually found myself smiling at his positive message and at his optimism.

THAT. my friends,  is what we need to be focusing on. There are things that are going in the right direction if we would only take off the blinders of hate and bigotry and actually see the path that we are all on.

Rachel Maddow had an amazing opinion piece this evening about where and why the GOP is acting the way that has been for the last decade..

I leave for Concord at 4am on Thursday morning and I have a weekend of and classes. I hope to be able to post but if I don't, have a beautiful weekend and always remember:

Teach this simple truth to all: A generous heart, kind speech, and a life of service and compassion are the things that renew humanity. - The Buddha -

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tuesday February 28th ~ 2012

I have spent the last few days slamming getting ready for my trip to California for this weekends show in Concord, The Bead & Boutique Arts Show. If you are in the Concord area over the weekend stop by and say hello. It promises to be a fun weekend and a great show.

I have gotten loads done and still have loads more to do before I take off before the dawn to get to Concord in a days drive. I know to is a long drive but I just have no desire to be away any longer than I have to be. As much as I love teaching and as much as I love my job, I can be such a home body and I love being home with all of my fuzzy creatures and my GF just doing all of those nice home kinda things.

I have also spent my week scratching my head at some of the most amazing quotes from the GOP candidates all leading up to the primary in Michigan and Arizona.

Mr Santorum in his own self righteous arrogance called our President a "Snob" for wanting this nations youth to be better prepared for life with some sort of advanced education.

Mr. Santorum out and out lied to a group of his uninformed listeners about the Netherlands euthanizing it's citizens against their will in an attempt to instill fear in a social health care system that is actually on of the best in the world.

Mr Santorum slammed President Kennedy in his '64 speech about the absolute necessity for the separation of church and state. He actually said on a Sunday talk show that Kennedy's amazing speech made him want to throw up. ••• (I am sorry sir but the separation of church and state is totally the fundamental tenant that this country was based on... REMEMBER?)

••• (I guess it is okay for the church to tell the Government what to do but it is not okay for the Government to tell the church what to do. I am sorry Rick but you cannot have it both ways.)

What I find amazing is that his extreme religious views stand in direct opposition to what the Organization of American Catholic Bishops have stated publicly and believe. Like the needs for unions, and health care for all, care for the elderly. Just to name a few.

Mr. Santorum actually asked in a speech on Tuesday evening: "Do you want smart people, do you want educated people running your country? ••• (My answer the that is.. Hell Yes Please!)
Mr Santorum simply scares me to my core. He wants to dissolve the foundation of this Nation and remake it in his own image. He truly wants to be the Theologian & Chief.

Mr. Romney is just so out of touch with America. I have never seen a person look so out of place in a pair of jeans trying to look like a "regular dude." He just cannot deliver a line to save his political life.

Mr Romney spent a week just looking like a fool. He had a HUGE rally speaking to a crowd of 1200 in a stadium that hold 65,000. He looked so ridiculous and so small in this stadium.

Mr. Romney talked about how much he love Michigan, how he loves the lakes and the streams,  how he loves cars and how the trees in  Michigan are "the right height". ••• (WHAT?)

One of Mr. Romney's campaign commercials showed him driving around Michigan talking about how it was like coming home again driving a car that was made in Canada. ••• (Good job Mr. Let the Auto Industry go bankrupt, if we had listened to you all we would be able to get is a foreign made car.)

Mr Romney tried to connect with the voters in this nation by talking about how his wife has a "couple of Cadillacs" that she drives in his several homes.

Mr Romney took a quick trip to Daytona Beach to glad hand the NASCAR crowd, saying that he was not a truly passionate as some and summed it up by saying up how some of his friends are the owners of the NASCAR Teams.

It just seems like the more he tries to connect the further off the mark his aim seems to be. If this is actually what the majority of this nation want them I am truly afraid for our Liberties  and our Freedoms.

All of this crap has landed in front of of over the last week and I have not even touched on the ongoing battle against a women's right to contraception and basic healthcare as well as her right privacy in regards to her childbearing. We need to keep our eye on Alabama and not let up on Virginia.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Friday February 24th ~ 2012

Take your seat and be prepared to just be amazed, because I just have no words… you have to watch & listen to pure evil. 

The bold face lies that this "man of deep religious faith" sat there and touted as truth just leaves me wondering how far the right will go to terrorize people into believing the label "liberal" means "death panels."

But other than that… I have no words…

“In the Netherlands, people wear different bracelets if they are elderly. And the bracelet is: ‘Do not euthanize me.’ Because they have voluntary euthanasia in the Netherlands but half of the people who are euthanized — ten percent of all deaths in the Netherlands — half of those people are euthanized involuntarily at hospitals because they are older and sick. And so elderly people in the Netherlands don’t go to the hospital. They go to another country, because they are afraid, because of budget purposes, they will not come out of that hospital if they go in there with sickness.”

The Government of the Netherlands is demanding an official apology for these outright lies about a peaceful and liberal nation. Right..This is the man that I want to be in charge of our foreign policy… NOT!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Thursday February 23rd ~ 2012

The GOP political agenda for the last few years, with the rise of the Tea Party and the GOP agenda to not lose this voting base, has been to set women's rights back 50 years. As a woman, I have never been more scared for my rights in what is supposed to be a free nation.

What I am pleased about, is that in one week, the voices of social media, rose up and seem to have halted the destructive legislation that was to be signed into law in Virginia. The fight is not over but with continued pressure our voices will not be ignored.

The silent protest by thousands, in response to the two pieces of legislation that would have relegate women to the back of the bus where issues concerning their own bodies did its job. It caused the Governor to step back and reevaluate his hard line stand and do an about face. He is caught in a huge lie but at least he has been shamed into recanting.

Silent Protest in Virginia
What disturbs me most is the rise of Mr Santorum in the GOP race as the answer to anything but Romney.

His hate speech, is divisive and pandering to a segment of this nation that I believe is in many ways isolationist and bigoted. The evangelical base that he is bringing to his cause is in no way a representation of the cross section of this nation. It scares me to see this happening. So many have fought so hard and for so long to bring women out of the shadows and to fight for our equality.

I find this conversation about interesting, considering that there is NO mention of vasectomies and that this procedure is covered by faith based insurers.

His medieval stance on a woman's place in society not only relegates a woman to be barefoot and pregnant, it keeps every woman in s subservient role in every regard. He would take away a woman's right to control her own body and let the "male" in society to decide what is best for her. (As if woman are just not smart enough to understand the ramifications of their choices.)

His idiotic belief that mans actions are NOT adding to the issue of global warming is just beyond my ability to understand. When science and real statistics only confirm what we have been warned about for decades is just an individual who is living in a dream world  and clinging to "faith" to deliver us from evil. This is a battle that man must take responsibility for and must win for himself. It is my understanding that this is why man was given self determination.

In a speech to Tea Party conservatives on last Saturday in Columbus, Ohio, Santorum had dismissed Obama's politics as being based in "some phony theology."

Theologian and Chief Wanna Be
"It's not about you. It's not about your quality of life. It's not about your jobs," Santorum said. "It's about some phony ideal, some phony theology. Oh, not a theology based on the Bible. A different theology."

An incredulous Bob Schieffer, Face The Nation, began his interview with Santorum Sunday by asking, "What in the world were you talking about?"

"I was talking about the radical environmentalists," Santorum said, suggesting that they believe man should protect the earth, rather than "steward its resources." "I think that is a phony ideal. I don't believe that's what we're here to do ... We're not here to serve the earth. That is not the objective, man is the objective."

Mr. Santorum is supposed to be a devout Catholic, a Catholic in the extreme. I guess he decided to disregard the Pontiff's speech to the United Nation on January 9th of this year in which His Holiness states the following in closing his remarks to the General Assembly.

"Finally I would stress that education, correctly understood, cannot fail to foster respect for creation. We cannot disregard the grave natural calamities which in 2011 affected various regions of South-East Asia, or ecological disasters like that of the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan. Environmental protection and the connection between fighting poverty and fighting climate change are important areas for the promotion of integral human development. For this reason, I hope that, pursuant to the XVII session of the Conference of States Parties to the UN Convention on Climate Change recently concluded in Durban, the international community will prepare for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development ("Rio + 20") as an authentic "family of nations" and thus with a great sense of solidarity and responsibility towards present and future generations."

I guess he did not get this memo.

Here is a link to the entire speech: ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS

If the above link does not take you directly to the English Translation of the speech Click on TRADUZIONE IN LINGUA INGLESE  at the top of the page. This will take you directly to the Pontiff's speech in English.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wednesday February 22nd ~ 2012

Remember to see the beauty that surrounds you!

On January 12th 2007, the Washington Post set up a social experiment. The newspaper placed concert violinist Joshua Bell incognito on a Washington, D.C. subway platform and performed classical music for passersby for 45 minutes to gauge the response of passerby's.

Just to put this in perspective, Joshua Bell is one of the best musicians in the world and he was playing one of the most intricate pieces ever written on a violin worth 3.5 million dollars. Two days prior to this experiment, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston and the seats average $100. per person.

How did the populace respond? Mostly, not at all, the ones that really noticed were the children but they were pulled along there way by impatient parents who were too busy to notice what was happening.

Watch and Listen to this beautiful music.

I have found that this is actually an issue for many. When I lived in NYC I loved to stop and listen the tunnel musician's in the subway system. They were usually Julliard students trying to get extra cash playing during rush hour in the Lexington Station.

There is beauty that surrounds us all but the blinders of everyday life that people have harnessed themselves into have limit their field of view. The goal that I have set for myself is to try to see the beauty that is around me.

In my early and mid 20's, I was doing a great deal of traveling in between NYC,  SF & Boston. When traveling, I would take the Red Eye from SF to get into Boston in time for a full day of classes. I would usually end up flying through O'Hare and taking off before sunrise. There is this moment, at 40 thousand feet, before the sun rises and a blood red band stretches across the horizon. It is so amazing and one of my most favorite colors.

Sunrise at 40 thousand feet

Then, in the early 90's, while I was living in the East Bay, I had to drive over the Bay Bridge every morning to work and I would always marvel at the sun rising over the Golden Gate or the fog over the city. I would find myself wondering if anyone else was watching the glorious colors unfolding before them.
Sunrise over the Oakland Bay Bridge

In 2006 I moved to Tucson AZ. Living in a ring of mountains and seeing the AZ colors during the seasonal changes was a time in my live that I would never give up. I loved and lived for the feel and the smell of the summer monsoons. I would search for the winter storms that would grow in the mountains and expand over the Tucson Valley and see them swallow up the day. I hiked the trails taking in the nature of the area, loving every cactus and taking in the wildlife of the high desert.

But more than anything else, during the last 15 years, I have cherished the time that I have spent driving the width and breadth of this country. My travels have given me some of the most amazing images that I always carry with me.

I have actually driven through a rainbow and seen one grace a field with it's touching down to earth. I have seen the fiercest of thunder storms grow on the horizon before me and driven through the windswept blizzards over mountain passes. The sunsets and sunrises have been my companions through there miles and I greet each one with the anticipation of the possible grander.

I have been blessed to see the country unfold before me and watch the changes in the terrain as I drove from the deserts of the southwest, to the mountain ranges of the Colorado Rockies. I have driven the straight long miles of the plains of Nebraska and Iowa east to the metropolis of Chicago. My drive from Tacoma, WA to the mountains of Montana and Glacier National Park last summer was like nothing I have ever experienced. I love the drive through the Appalachian Mountains south towards the Carolinas then on through towards the Everglades of Florida as it reminds me go my childhood travels with my family.

Colorado River Gorge

 I find solace in the solitude of these quiet moments in my car as the miles tick away. It clears my mind and I solve the problems of the world. I will depart on my journeys hours before the sunrise and drive well into the sunset all the while trying to take in all of the majesty that unrolls before me. If I find a view that I must take in, then I stop to soak it all in and hope that I can retain the memory.

As I drive, I search the skies and the trees for the hawks and falcons on the hunt that soar on the thermals and watch patiently as we all pass by and this year I have been blessed with the sightings of two American Bald Eagles soaring in the early mornings.

Red Tail hanging out on thermals

 All I can say to any who reads this post is to take the time to listen to the music of the world around you. See the wonders as you pass by and find time to pause to watch the sunrise, sunset and moonrise. These moments will enrich your soul in ways that you cannot fathom.

Shoe Tree in Utah in my rear view mirror

 P.S. Don't forget to look in the rear view mirror occasionally.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Thursday February 16th ~ 2012

The GOP's War On Woman Rights ..

Highlights from today & yesterday:

The GOP House Oversight and Government Reform Comity, held hearings today on Woman's Contraception and was headed and it's participants were gathered by it's Chairman, Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) There was a panel assembled to discuss and answer questions concerning these women's issues.
Now let's take a look at the panel.
Do you see the same problem with this as I do?
I am asking one simple question..
Where are the women!
Read the entire story here:
House Democrats Walk Out Of One-Sided Hearing On Contraception, Calling It An 'Autocratic Regime'

On The Andrea Mitchell Reports news show:
Mitchell interviewed Rick Santorum's sugar daddy, Foster Friess. This was his response to the question of his candidates opposition to contraception "Back in my days, they [woman] used Bayer aspirin for contraceptives... "In my day, the gals put it between their knees and it wasn't that costly."

Watch in disbelief:

Rick Santorum was campaigning in Idaho:
In Boise, Idaho, on Tuesday, Santorum compared contraception to deodorant and soap when making a point about why he believes birth control should not be covered by health insurers.

"Let's mandate that every insurance policy covers toothpaste. Deodorant. That might be a good idea, right? Have everyone cover deodorant, right? Soap. I mean, where do you stop?"

Virginia Legislation Issue #1:
Virginia lawmakers took a step toward outlawing abortion on Tuesday by approving "personhood" legislation that grants individual rights to an embryo from the moment of conception.

The Republican-controlled House of Delegates voted 66-32 in favor of defining the word person under state law to include unborn children "from the moment of conception until birth at every stage of biological development."

Virginia Legislation Issue #2:
The second measure passed in Virginia requires that women seeking an abortion be forced to undergo an ultrasound, which would mean a more physically invasive transvaginal ultrasound in the cases of early pregnancy. The Virginia Senate passed an ultrasound bill earlier this month, as Reuters noted. Gov. Bob McDonnell has indicated his support for the law, and is expected to sign it.

Virginia's Republican governor Bob McDonnell

invasion of privacy?

I find it amazing that there has been absolutely NO discussion and NO problems with the Insurance Companies covering Viagra or Vasectomies. Don't You?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wednesday February 15th ~ 2012

"Danger! Danger! Will Robinson. Danger! Danger!

Can someone please explain to me how and why the GOP is moving to so far to the right? Can they not see that the "base" that they are reaching out to is in no way the majority? Can they not see that there is no way that they will win a national election and that their new "hero" only desires to take away many of the freedoms that have been apart of our democracy for over a generation?

Mr. Santorum is probably one of the most dangerous candidates that I have ever seen. In this nations last Presidential election cycle, I thought that Palin was a dangerous idiot, and she is. And I totally blame John McCain for this country having to endure her vitriolic rhetoric. Then in this election cycle, when she announced her candidacy, I thought that Bachman was someone that just desired the limelight and was an egomaniac and I was right about that too. To this day she still says that "SHE. was the perfect candidate."

Well, now in the last few weeks, riding some of the weirdest Primary Elections I have ever seen, Mr. Santorum is sending his message further and further to the right to garner the support of the religious extremists and fundamentalists that see the future of our nation as "Their Way of the Highway." His stump speeches in Iowa had none of this current rantings on the elimination of our social freedoms.

I cannot abide any candidate that has the unmitigated gaul to tell me how to have sexual relations. You have to see this video in order to believe it. He touts a smaller government yet his ideology dictates the implementation of the "Big Brother" that he says he despises.

Watch in horror what could become the GOP candidate for President of the United States of America. I thought that the last election was imperative to win but now I am even more afraid of what would happen to our freedoms and our individual rights. 

I realize that this interview is over 44 minutes long and a great deal of it is rambling but here is the dialog that wants to make me scream.

Rick Santorum:
"One of the things I will talk about that no president has talked about before is I think the dangers of contraception in this country, the whole sexual libertine idea... It's not okay because it's a license to do things in the sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be. They're supposed to be within marriage, for purposes that are, yes, conjugal... but also procreative.

That's the perfect way that a sexual union should happen. We take any part of that out, we diminish the act. And if you can take one part out that's not for purposes of procreation, that's not one of the reasons, then you diminish this very special bond between men and women, so why can't you take other parts of that out? And all of a sudden, it becomes deconstructed to the point where it's simply pleasure. And that's certainly a part of it--and it's an important part of it, don't get me wrong--but there's a lot of things we do for pleasure, and this is special, and it needs to be seen as special. Again, I know most presidents don't talk about those things, and maybe people don't want us to talk about those things, but I think it's important that you are who you are. I'm not running for preacher.

I'm not running for pastor, but these are important public policy issues."

Read the Editorial in The Atlantic by Conor Friedersdorf

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Tuesday February 14th ~ 2012

Happy St. Valentines day to all. May this day bring friends and family together to reaffirm those bonds and may lovers remember to open their hearts to those that they adore. I am blessed with both in my life and on this day and every day I hope that I have done my due diligence with expressing these feelings.

Just some interesting history:
Wikipedia: Saint Valentine's Day, often simply Valentine's Day, is a holiday observed on February 14 honoring one or more early Christian martyrs named Valentinus. It was first established by Pope Gelasius I in 496 AD, and was later deleted from the General Roman Calendar of saints in 1969 by Pope Paul VI. It is celebrated in countries around the world, mostly in the West, although it remains a working day in all of them.

The day first became associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished. By the 15th century, it had evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as "valentines") 
One of my favorite poems that I wanted to share.
I carry your heart with me


E.E. Cummings
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in my heart)
i am never without it
(anywhere i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
                                                      i fear
no fate (for you are my fate,my sweet)
                                                      i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)