Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wednesday December 30th


Can you believe that this year is now over but the first decade of the 21st century has passed? Look at what has ingrained itself into our Lexicon that was not there 10 years ago. We knew nothing of Blogging, Twittering, Instant Messaging, YouTubing, Blackberry SmartPhones or Skype. Our world has changed so quickly and it constantly amazes me how quickly we human beings are capable of mastering these new techniques and make them our own so they show off our individual styles.

 When 2009 started I would never have imagined that I would be where I am now. I never considered the notion that I would be in a relationship that is 500 miles from where I live nor would I have ever imagined that I would have found a group of people in Tucson that I could be this close to this quickly.

It has been an amazing year for me on many levels. For me this was a year that had as many trials as it had successes. Each year, I pick word to focus my plans on for the year. My word for 2010 is to be ~DETERMINATION~. Not matter what goals I set for myself the focus on the path to each of those goals is ~DETERMINATION~. Choose your words wisely and make sure that they are words of strength and not words that put up boundaries for you.

This New Years Eve we are to be treated to a ~Blue Moon~ A blue moon is a full moon that is not timed to the regular monthly pattern. Most years have twelve full moons which occur approximately monthly, but in addition to those twelve full lunar cycles, each solar calendar year contains an excess of roughly eleven days compared to the lunar year. The extra days accumulate, so that every two or three years (on average about every 2.7154 years[1]), there is an extra full moon. The extra moon is called a "blue moon." an astronomical rarity that occurs just seven times every 19 years, hence the famous phrase "once in a blue moon." The last time was in 1990; the next one won't come again until 2028.

What's more, this New Year's Eve, people living in the Far East will see a lunar eclipse, making this an even rarity. A blue-moon eclipse only happens once roughly every 15 to 20 years.

Revel in the festivities, have a safe and prosperous 2010 and I wish much happiness to us all.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Friday December 25th

The Sound of Music / Central Station Antwerp

Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time. ~Laura Ingalls Wilder~

The holidays arrive each season and families gather and we all eat way too much and then it is all over and for another year the obligations have been met and everyone goes back to their own lives. Sounds rather pessimistic right? Well, in some simplistic way this is just the way that it is. It really does not matter how much we care for our families, how much we love them or enjoy seeing them, the simple facts are just this; we get together for the briefest of times and then return to our own lives.

I find the passage of each Christmas amazing to witness. My niece and two nephews are all pretty much grown but it was not that long ago that the youngest of them still believed in Santa Clause and this meant that the insanity of presents on Christmas morning was a joyous occasion. There is still some of that wonder and amazement in the morning but I as the years pass the traditions continue but the mornings and the day grow more subdued and the conversation a bit more in depth and interesting.

I leave to go back home on Monday and back to my life and I leave these simple traditions for another year.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tuesday December 22nd

I am all packed, the house is clean and I leave tomorrow for Dayton. The only hitch in my day was the fact that the winds kicked up early and ripped part of the  roof off of my home this afternoon.

Luckily, my handy man Monte was not busy and he spent several hours patching the issue to get me through the rains that were due to hit this evening. And hit they did… The rains came with a vengeance and they smelled so good and all of the vegetation in my yard has been very thirsty.

I have a very cavalier attitude about the plants on my property. I do not water any of them, no matter what genus they are (well except for my Oleander plants)… my philosophy is "Live or Die" If they can get through the heat of the summer and make it to the monsoons then survive the dry of the fall till the winter rains hit then they are the hearty vegetation that I knew they were and they can stay … other than that … sorry.

Did you know that today is Puccini's birthday? … this dude was an amazing composer and is responsible for one of my favorite operas … Manon Lescaut. originally produced in 1731, this was one of the first operas that I ever listened to and I was introduced to this opera with the voice of Maria Callus singing the role of Manon. The opera takes place in France and ends up in Louisiana. The last act takes place in the desert outside New Orleans. Puccini never made it to America and just assumed that Louisiana was part of the Wild West. That story makes me smile every time I hear the score, just pondering Puccini's image of all of the cactus in the desert outside of New Orleans. I guess he had never heard of Lake Pontchartrain.

Listen here to one of the most famous arias ever, preformed by one of the most amazing voices to ever sing the role of Manon …

Monday December 21st

Happy Winter Solstice to us all.
The days will get shorter and these dark nights will not seem quite so dark for so long.

The Winter Solstice occurs exactly when the earth's axial tilt is farthest away from the sun at its maximum of 23° 26'. Though the Winter Solstice lasts an instant in time, the term is also colloquially used like The first day of winter to refer to the day on which it occurs. More evident to those in high latitudes, this is the shortest day, and longest night, and the sun's daily maximum position in the sky is the lowest. The seasonal significance of the Winter Solstice is in the reversal of the gradual lengthening of nights and shortening of days. Depending on the shift of the calendar, the winter solstice occurs on December 22 each year in the Northern Hemisphere, and June 21 in the Southern Hemisphere.

Worldwide, interpretation of the event has varied from culture to culture, but most cultures have held a recognition of rebirth, involving holidays, festivals, gatherings, rituals or other celebrations around that time.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sunday December 20th

I have spent the last 2 days getting projects set up for me to take on my trip to Dayton for the holiday. Yesterday, I wound, cut and fused 10 troy ounces of fine silver jump rings to weave into loop-n-loop chains. I do realize that I will get a good 8 to 10 necklaces from this day of preparation but I just look at these 2 very small bags of rings. I nod & just sigh at the hours of assembly line work that went into getting me to this point.

But once I do get to this point not many tools are required to finish up the necklaces, so it is a perfect travel project. I do this every year so I do not feel that this time away from my bench it totally wasted.

I also have set my sights on some Dendritic Agates that I picked up at last years gem show. I am gonna set these into square wire wrap settings. I will post images as I get them done.

The only thing that I am not looking forward to is the weather that awaits me in the midwest. On Christmas Eve morning I have to drive from Dayton, OH to Ft Wayne, IN. For the last several years the weather has been horrible either coming or going and the extended forecast it is not looking good his year. I just am hoping that the predictions are wrong. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

It seems I did make a better travel choice this year. Well, the choice was actually made for me… Last year I flew Frontier and all connections take you through Denver. I beat a blizzard out of Denver back to Tucson by 15 minutes. If I had not made it out I would have been stuck at the Denver airport for 24 or 36 hours. This year my flight connections take me through Atlanta. There are two down sides to this travel scenario. The 1st bad part  is the Atlanta Airport (nightmare) and 2nd is the fact that I am having to fly Delta.

I despise the larger commercial carriers these days. There is not one thing that I like about any of them. They do not care about the traveler anymore all they have done is jack up the prices over the holiday and apply Tack-On-Charges to nickel and dime the traveler to death. The ONLY reason that I am traveling this way is that I got a practically free ticket. Oh what we do for family… right?

I am looking forward to seeing my niece and my 2 nephews. I usually only get to see them for these few days each year and I look forward to catching up with them. We are all on FB together and I do have to say that I really like to see what they are up to and just generally keeping in touch every so often. I will admit that it is sometimes hard not to be an adult with them and not just the "cool aunt."

I hope that every ones holidays have started out wonderfully and will only get better as this season progresses.

It is important that all of us remember this time of year is not just a Christian holiday season. It seems that a good many celebrations converge during this time of year...

Hanukkah was in the early part of December this year.
Kwanzaa is celebrated from December 26th to January 1st.
Eid El Fitr - marks the end of the fast of Ramadan
Festivus, a secular holiday created by writer Dan O'Keefe is celebrated on December 23rd.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Thursday December 17th

Today in 1903 Orville & Wilber Wright made the first heavier than air flight at Kitty Hawk North Carolina. Now even though the flight took place in NC, it is Dayton Ohio that calls itself the birthplace of aviation and lay claim to the Wright Brothers. I even attended college at Wright State University. 

Just think of the 1900 to 1999, what a century our parents lived and my generation got to see the last 30 + years of. I do not think that there has been a century that ever saw such leaps and advances.

If Charles Duell had had his way the 20th century could have been a bust. He was the Commissioner of the U.S. Patent Office and in 1899 he declared "Everything that can be invented has been invented" and he actually considered closing the Patent Office for good.

I think that if we can go to the moon, defy gravity, explore the depths of the ocean and dream of creations that have gotten us to the heights that we have attained, I truly feel that we should be able to find the answers that we are struggling to find now. All we have to do is decide to do it together.

An excerpt from Kennedy's Speech in 1963 about going to the moon sums it up pretty well.

"We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too."

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wednesday December 16th

Washington Irving: "There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief...and unspeakable love."

I approach each holiday season with trepidation. It was 4 years ago, Christmas Eve, my father was admitted into intensive care and I rushed home Christmas Day to be with my mother and father. My parents friends rallied around my mother and were there for her and for us. I spent the next week at home, spending my days at the hospital and evenings with my mother in my childhood home that I had not seen in over a decade. As I was getting ready to go back to California, I kissed him and told him I would be back as soon as I could. At that moment I looked into my fathers eyes and held his gaze as I never had before. I hesitated, knowing what I did not want to know, that this was the last moment that we were going to ever see each other. The depth of his gaze will be with me forever, he knew.

I dream of my father often. Mostly we are doing stupid stuff, regular things, then we always end up walking side by side talking. My most vivid dream of him came months if not a year ago when I turned to him in my dream and just simply told him that I missed him so much, he just continued walking and replied " I know, I miss you too."

I share this story now for one reason only, the holiday season can bring so much family tension. Cherish the moments that you bring those you truly love together and always look your loved ones int he eye, make contact & tell them how much they mean to you and how much they mean in your lives. There is nothing more intense, screwed up or more precious than our families. They know our past, our secrets, our weaknesses and our fears and yet… they are still family…nothing can replace them, no matter how hard we try...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tuesday December 15th Part 2

Just so we are all aware.
On this day in 1791 the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution, know as the Bill of Rights was ratified...

The U.S. Archives & Records Administration

The Bill of Rights: A Transcription
The Preamble to The Bill of Rights
Congress of the United States
begun and held at the City of New-York, on
Wednesday the fourth of March, one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine.
THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.
RESOLVED by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, two thirds of both Houses concurring, that the following Articles be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States, as amendments to the Constitution of the United States, all, or any of which Articles, when ratified by three fourths of the said Legislatures, to be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of the said Constitution; viz.
ARTICLES in addition to, and Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, proposed by Congress, and ratified by the Legislatures of the several States, pursuant to the fifth Article of the original Constitution.
Note: The following text is a transcription of the first ten amendments to the Constitution in their original form. These amendments were ratified December 15, 1791, and form what is known as the "Bill of Rights."

Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment II
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Amendment III
No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Amendment IV
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment V
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment VI
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

Amendment VII
In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Amendment VIII
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment IX
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Tuesday December 15th

I went out of town to visit my girlfriend and to relax for a few days and it turned into a few more days. I got some work accomplished and the biggest thing I did, other than install new lighting in her kitchen, was to get my mind wrapped around the new version of Dreamweaver CS4 that I had to get to replace the older version that my web site was built on.

To say that I had an uphill battle is an amazing understatement. Just the simplest tasks had and entire new command sequence and to just simply change the color of some basic text became a battle of wills that almost cost my poor wireless mouse it very existence in this world as I came very close to throwing it across the room in frustration.

As you can see, I feel that I won this particular battle, I have updated my calendar for next year, updated my front page and soon I will have a new work for sale on my jewelry page. I am also working on a very cool slide show that will be the new introduction to my site… Keep  a look out!

All through these last days I have been mildly amused to absolutely frustrated by our current affairs.

First:  This childish war that AT&T has tried in vain to wage against Verizon. To me this idiotic bantering and name calling is endemic of the same problems that we are facing on a larger scale. While the iPhone is the device that put AT&T back on the "MAP" so to speak…it is now complaining that the users of the device are taking up too much band width and slowing down service for the rest of their customers. Verizon is not lying about the coverage and AT&T is upset because the truth hurts..

There is a trend to not try to be the best…the desire is to do just enough to get by is the trend that most are trying to skate by on. There are so few that are willing to stand up, hold true and be accountable. When we do find an honorable person, one who is truthful and does not flinch, we hang them out flap in the breeze to fail instead of honoring a person for being honest and trustworthy.

Second: We have people in the country that are trying to use their influence to murder gays in Uganda. Can you actually believe that "religious" individuals from our country that are supporting Uganda in this referendum? Who are we and what are we becoming?

Third: We have some members of our Senate that are so full of their own power and self importance that they do not even remember that they actually tried to institute anti-filibuster legislation and now all he wants to do is to filibuster the most important reforms our country has tried to take on. I would really like to find out who is paying for his retirement and I want him to go without health care and to have to sign away coverage because of a "pre-exhisting" condition. I wonder how he would feel if he had to clean out his retirement account to pay for a surgery that insurance would not cover.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Saturday November 28th

Well, as so many of my friends know I am a totally gadget geek. I got a Blackberry Storm 2 years ago, the day that they were released and I have really liked it so far. Just 2 days before my birthday last month I spent about an hour doing the recommended upgrade that was to fix some of the bugs the phone had. Blackberry also finally got the interface for the DeskTop Manager for the MacBook.

The majority of the update worked like charm and I was pleased with the better speed and better battery performance. But it did create a few small "issues". I knew that fixing these "issues" was going to take some time and today it took almost 3 full hours and 4 different tech support people. I kept getting up graded to the next level of assistance because I kept asking questions that they did not know the answers to…

Well, now that my entire afternoon got shot to smithereens I decided to sit down and watch a good movie with a glass of wine. I decided to watch Forrest Gump. It is such a wonderful movie and has been one of my favorites since it first came out. Tom Hanks rocks.

My bench is beckoning and I am glad that it is finally calling me again. I have not felt like working for these last few days and I have been filling my time with all of the other tasks that I have needed to get done. I have loads of ideas that have been floating around and I am now feeling the real urge to get back to work.

I saw this video a few days ago and I have to say that I am really rather saddened by these Ohioans. I was born and raised in this state for the first 20 years of my life and I have never seen so many ill-informed individuals in one place. Can anyone offer me any reason why people refuse to grasp even the simplest notions and refuse to look beyond what they are spoon fed by Fox news?

After you watch this video please click on the following link at the Christian Science Monitor and read the article.


Friday, November 27, 2009

Friday November 27th

It is the fact that it is hard that makes attaining it worthy.
The easily won prize is never honored:

The following quotes by Martin Luther Kings seems to mean more today that it did in the 60's when he spoke these words.

Quote #1
"Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think."

Our society has shifted to one of instant gratification. TV, controlled by a remote, that requires no dedication to a plot. "News" that is spoon fed to us without the requisite facts to back up the false statements on a crawler that runs 24/7/365

For a brief shining moment, we grasped the fact that is was going to take someone that was way smarter than us to help guide us towards solutions. But we are a greedy nation, we have gotten lazy again and we want our problems solved immediately and painlessly and we are unwilling to face the facts that this is gong to take some serious time to fix the mess that we are in.

Here is the answer to the problem.

Quote #2
"Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love."

We are entering the holiday season and it is a time of year that tells us to be thankful, giving, forgiving, kind & caring.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thursday November 26th

Happy Thanksgiving to you all.

I have been home for just 48 hours from a tiring 2 weeks away. Many classes, Many days of exhibiting and shows and many friends and way to much driving.

After my drive up to Washington I got to spend a day with Andrea Guarino-Slemmons and Whit and I finally got to meet Towanda, the coolest calico cat in all of Washington I am sure. She is a love muffin.

I got to take the Edmonds/Kingston Ferry and truly enjoyed the ride. The weather was grey and foggy but the water was calm. It was a nice and relaxing 45 minutes in the middle of lots of rain and bad driving conditions.

The Bellevue Show got under way on Friday morning for me bright and early. I had a one day Low Tech Metalsmithing class and we had a blast. Everyone did such a great job, created amazing pieces and i think learned loads. We even got to play with resin at the end of the day. Saturday nights Viking Knit class was also a success, everyone did great and totally had all of the kinks worked out by the end of the 3 hours.

The show on Saturday & Sunday was very fun. For a smear show the crowds were there and the attendance was more than we could have asked for. There were lots of familiar faces and made a few new acquaintances.

I decided not to start driving after the show. I got some much needed rest and was on the road by 6:30 am. Monday morning. Not as early as I had hoped but I did not catch any of the areas morning rush traffic.

I pulled into my driveway at 9am on Tuesday morning and had to rush to get the car back to the rental agency by 11. There was much unpacking and much sleeping all day Tuesday. The only other task I had to do was to make sure that I had food in the house. I had NO fixin's for coffee and that can border on catastrophic even on the best of mornings.

Wednesday was spent doing laundry, unpacking all of my boxes and getting the orders that came in filled and sorted out. Recuperating from such a long time away from home actually takes a few days and the desire to get back to work ebbs in slowly. My bench beacons me and the creative juices are starting to kick in. I will see what the day brings for me.

My horoscope is calling for alone time for me today and I have to say that I am in total agreement. As the end of another year starts to draw to a close I find myself reflecting on these past 12 months and all of it's adventures. If asked, would be where I am now from this time last year I would have to say no. The year has brought many surprises, twists and turns and as always, each of these give me something to ponder and consider.

I am grateful for friends and family on this day and I look around and my wish on this holiday season is for tolerance, acceptance and peace in the coming year. We are faced with so many obstacles and challenges and if we search out the goodness and kindness in ourselves then that can be passed on and built upon. We need to find common ground to fix these problems. We need to come together and face our them head on, without fear and we each need to find a way to come together.

On November 19th 1863 the following words were spoken by one of our nations most courageous Presidents. These words mean more today than they may have meant even then. Read them and let them ring true.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. 

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.  

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tuesday November 17th

 This is a sample of the view we have of San Francisco from our hotel room.

This last week has been a whirlwind. Wednesday was an 15 hour day that was spent trying to make sure that I had everything that i needed to get out of the door and driving to Oakland by 3:30am on Thursday morning. I know that this sounds crazy but there really is method to my madness. If I do not leave that early I get caught 120 miles later in the nightmare that is the Phoenix morning commute. To say that it is painful is an understatement. So by leaving early I am up in the SF Bay Area missing the Phoenix & LA traffic insanity. It is worth it in the grand scheme of it all.

Class on Friday with Gail Crosman Moore was excellent. It was an all day extravaganza and we have a great time teaching it. We had a very full class and everyone did an excellent job creating some excellent components with Gail's brass bits and parts and some very fun cold join techniques. I had several of my "old time" bay area students that always keep me on my toes and I know that I am doing a good job when I can impress them and show them something new or solve a problem that stumps them. Whew… seems I am not a poser Cris…

The show on Saturday and Sunday was an absolute success. The crowds were steady all day long. I guess the best part of this show is seeing so many old friends and getting back to the bay area for a few days. I got to have dinner with two of the most lovely woman that I am graced to know. I have not seen my friends Ruth and Lise for over a year and we got to have a real meal and spend some real time together on Saturday night. It was wonderful to catch up and just relax and talk like no time has passed since we had last seen each other.

I was supposed to take of early Monday morning to my friend Andreas house to visit for a few days before I was to teach and exhibit up in Bellevue WA. All I could think of doing on Monday was sleeping and NOT getting into a car. I was so tired and the thought of being in a car for another 12 to 13 hours was not an option. So I did just that. I had some work to do and I napped and relaxed for the better part of the day.

It was good to spend time with Gail and Meesh, they always make me laugh and these are just the type of people that you can just be with and be totally at ease.  I was not feeling totally up to par this weekend and needed to just be quiet and listen to them be silly.

I drove off early Tuesday morning and drove till I got well into Oregon. The weather in northern California and over the Ashland summit took a toll and I stopped just out of Portland for the night. I am off in the morning to Washington and then teaching and exhibiting this weekend at the Bellevue Bead Festival.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tuesday November 10th

I have been slamming and getting ready to depart early on Thursday morning for my 13 hour drive to Oakland. I have been making jewelry, making kits for classes, packing, printing, ordering and all of the other things that I do in order to leave town for almost 2 weeks. I am looking forward to seeing many friends in the Bay Area and getting to spend some serious time with them.

I have to admit that I am really rather tired. I always get this way at the end of a year of traveling. I usually get most of December and January off but January is booked solid for 2010 and I will be traveling for a good portion of December as well.

There have been some pretty huge things that have been happening in our world this last week. The horrors of a prolonged conflict and the cruelty of mans behavior to his fellow man has come to slap us right in the face. These things sadden me down to the very core of my soul.

We are a nation of immigrants and those in this country whose families have been here for a few generation seem to have forgotten this simple fact. Too many in this country do not tolerate and too many are unwilling to listen to a differing opinion. A majority of this nation elected a man of African American decent to be the leader of the of not only this country but of the free world and there is a portion of this nation that have taken a stand against the man solely  because of his heritage. I am astounded by the fear mongers and the conspiracy theories that continue these unfounded attacks.

It was the eloquence of his speech, the strength of his character and his desire to bring our nation back onto the world stage as a source for positive goals that gave so many of us hope. Can we please focus on these goals and remember what it is that actually makes this country of ours an ideal to attain.

The issues that confront us cannot be solved in one year and God knows if they can be solved in his first term in office. It takes so little time to cause a mess and it usually takes a great deal more time to dig oneself out of the hole.

We need to recall several other very important elections in our nations history that have caused division in our country. Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected to a 4th term by the narrowest of margins. He beat Dewey by just over 3.5 million votes. Carter narrowly beat Ford by well under 2 million votes. Al Gore won the popular vote by 543,895 votes yet lost the electoral college number required for victory and Obama beat McCain by over 8.5 million votes. In the grand scheme of elections this was a landslide that was only seconded by Reagans defeat of Mondale. I bring up these elections to show that this narrow victory is an illusion. Most of our elections are won by margins that are slimmer.

There is a speech that is given by Michael Douglas in The American President that always resonates with me on many levels.

Realize that this is what we are as a nation..
There are few words that are more true…

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Thursday November 5th

Whew...Loads done today and loads more to do tomorrow before the weekend hits and I will be forced to stop.15 orders filled and dropped off at the post office and only a few more to get done. Paperwork getting done and articles getting written. I have to wait for some wire to get in so I can make a few kits but that's about it.

Tomorrow is Tools… Bricks…and Torch Orders as well as getting the printing all finished up.

There are 2 things that have been fun today.

1st - This week marks the 40th anniversary of Sesame Street. I spent the better part of an hour on YouTube laughing at videos of Elmo and Cookie Monster and the Counting Count…Man that is good stuff..And Cookie Monster got a HUGE nod from Google today...

 2nd - Today is Guy Fawks Day in the United Kingdom. It is the celebration of the failure of the Gun Powder Plot to blow up Parliament. But what it really makes me do is watch "V for Vendetta" with Natalie Portman. I love that movie, the only reason that I ever saw it was because I got a really bad cold this summer and I could not reach the clicker so I just watched it. I know that is a really bad reason to watch a movie but I really did not feel well at all.

Now I am sorry to say that I need to express some serious stuff.

I am very dismayed and disappointed by the turn of things these last few months. Just a year ago we were so optimistic and so full of hope. The nightmare that this nation had endured for 8 years was finally over and the promise for change and cooperation seemed so very real. And now we are all just back to the same old CRAP. No one wants to REALLY do the job that needs to get done. All anyone wants to do is blame the other for not accomplishing anything. I just do not understand why they can't  stand UP for the democratic ideals that they claim to espouse...try being REAL for a change maybe it resonate with the people and we could get behind it

These morons are actually not allowing for a woman to be able to choose in the latest version of the health care bill. Can you believe this? There is no access for contraception and a woman who cannot afford to terminate an unwanted pregnancy will be forced to carry an unwanted birth to term.  They are forcing a woman to choose dangerous options and even worse all of this is going to end up costing all of us huge amounts of money when these unwanted children end up in the welfare system. These legislators are sidestepping is a right that was guaranteed to us by the Supreme Court.

But I'll be damned if a man want to get an erection he can sure get his get Viagra and any other thing necessary to make sure he can have all the sex he wants. I'd bet everything I have to anyone on this planet, any amount of money, that if it was a man that had to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term this would not even be an issue. The double standard that exists is so terribly unfair. 

Good Job Congress!
I could not be more disappointed in ALL of you.
Democrats and Republicans alike.

Wednesday November 4th

I had the best birthday week a girl could ever want to have. The week was a much needed time to recharge and to spend some quality with my gal. It was so nice to just wake up slow in the mornings, walk around and see what interesting adventures we could find. There was much art explored, sites seen and great food eaten.

The most terrifying portion of the week was when I was taken to the top of the old Sears Tower to get a view of the city from the SkyDeck Ledge. Just like the time I went into the pyramid in Egypt and I was sure that because I was in the pyramid on that day this was going to be the day that the darn thing collapsed and I knew that if I stepped out on that glass bottom ledge it was gonna fall off the side of the building. So scooting my rear out on the ledge and keeping one foot "inside" was the irrational option that I came up with…

I got home very very late last night and it took forever to unwind and fall asleep.My eyes got sleepy around 3am. UGH!

And to add insult to injury, I was up very early this morning getting right back at it. I got all of my images submitted to B&B for the catalog, I got final images submitted to the Great Lakes Bead Workers Guild, I got several samples made Then my energy level hit the Great Wall of China and could no longer think. I really find those times exceptionally frustrating. I am now in the process of getting a list made of the things that I MUST get done before I eave for Oakland and the BABE show.

Gail Crosman Moore and I are teaching a very cool Color & Patina on Metals with Metal Joining Techniques. We did a shorthanded version of this last year, Gail asked me to drop in on class and demo a few cold join techniques and this class was born right then and there. We have also had this class accepted at next years Bead & Button as well as the Bead Fest Shows.

This weekend is getting exciting as well. I am going over to hang at Margaret Zinsers home & studio on Saturday. We hare having an open house from 3pm to 7pm. It promises to be a very fun time for sure. If you are in the area stop in and take a look at some very cool beads of Margaret's and some fun metal stuff from me. The studio is located at 5322 East 19th St.

Then later on Saturday evening I am gonna go hear gHosTcOw at Vaudeville Caberet in Tucson. I am sure that it will be a blast. It is always a good time to go hear them play.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Saturday October 31st.

Happy Halloween

And here is to an extra hour of rest this evening as we set out clocks back.

I do realize that it has been a week since I have posted and I have a very good reason. Really I do. It has been my birthday week and I have been taking a few much needed days off to relax and enjoy the wonderful & windy city of Chicago with my gal.

I arrived in Chicago on Wednesday, October 21st and today was the first day that I have see blue skies and the sun since I arrived. I am not used to all of this grey and rain. I live in Tucson, all we ever have is sun. I think I was starting to get that funky no sun disorder, I have no idea how the people in the northwest do it year in and year out. 

But now to catch everyone up on my past week. The Viking Knit class last Sunday was excellent. I had a full classroom and everyone did a fantastic job. There was much laughter and silliness as the day went along and that is the fun part of this class for me. As each student gets more comfortable with the weave they relax and start engaging their neighbors in conversation and I have to say that I love walking around and just dropping in on them when they are funny.

I cannot thank the owner of Bead Haven, Cindi Slater, enough for putting together the class and the snacks and a wonderful group of individuals. I am looking foreword to coming back in January for a full day chain making fusing class. Keep an eye out for the class sign-ups link…

My last few days in Chicago have been excellent. I love walking all over this city, enjoying the amazing buildings and the most excellent food. We went to the Field Museum and saw the Diamond Exhibit. I earned a great deal and I got one more bit of really cool trivia…

 Did you know that the term "carat weight" was derived from using the carob seed? It seems that the carob seeds in the pods were uniform enough to guarantee the weight of a diamond and precious stones…
Carob became Carat…
How Cool is that?

Terri & I got to spend a bit of my birthday with my friends Scott & Elizabeth Bartky and it was wonderful to  see them again. I got a wonderful bag of the most  amazing pistachios from Lebanon as a birthday present. I have no idea why these are so much better then any other but they are and that is all there is to it.

The other bonus highlight has been that we have gotten to spend a bit of this visit with my friend Joe Butcher. It has been wonderful to see him, spend some time together and just hang out for a few good meals.

Tomorrow is an early morning in the Lincoln Park area to go explore and then it is off to the Chicago Art Institute for the better part of the afternoon. We are looking forward to many of the exhibits that we have been exploring as well as the new modern wing.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Thursday October 22nd.

Is it already Thursday?
WOW… if it is Thursday I must be in Iowa City….
Guess What I am in Iowa City.
I arrived yesterday and had a relaxing evening with my fiend Cris and her husband Paul and the kitties Miss Sophie and the newest addition to the family.. Little Miss Lilly.

We had a working day today in Cris' studio…Believe it or not I actually got to use Cris' personal hammers and several of her very special tools…I am honored. We have had a very fun day and we are both getting final things ready for our trunk show on Friday & Sunday at Bead Haven.

Monday was spent finishing up paperwork, orders that needed to get mailed and starting to pack up all of my display. It has been so long since I have traveled just to exhibit and flying with all of that stuff has always been a hassle. At least I am on Southwest and I get to actually check 2 bags.

Tuesday was spent finalizing my sat few tasks and cleaning the house before I left. Now I have to say that I love to clean my house before i leave so when I get home I know that I get to walk into clean sheets and a clean house. (well except for the cat fur that will be deposited over as many surfaces as possible)

Well, I am getting all set for a weekend of events and I am very happy to be spending time with Cris. we really only get to see each other a few times a year and even then it is a shows when we are busy and stuff. So, time like this is really excellent and I cherish it.

I have been totally entrenched in the playoffs these past weeks. it was amazing to see all of the teams in the division playoffs be settled in 3 game sweeps. The Phillies are in for the second year in a row and that  has not happened in the National league since the Reds did it in '75/'76. Now I have to say that since my Reds traded Pete Rose to the Phillies I am not a fan. Well actually, I have never been a fan of the Phillies…so I am relegated to rooting for the Yankee's cause I rooting for the Angles is not an option. Oh well, the continuing dramas of the Fall Classic. Next week starting on Wednesday we have the Word Series…I hope that it will be a good series and goes the whole 7 games.  That would be sweet!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sunday October 18th Continued

Some things are just too true!


Sunday October 18th

I spent weeks getting ready for this event, getting all new table displays and working huge hours to make sure that I have a wide variety of price ranges and jewelry to offer….and I have spent the last 2 days exhibiting at the Arizona Ultimate Women's Expo. offering up my wares...

Now for the hard truth…I will say that I will never again participate in this event. There is not one thing that was promoted about this event that has come to fruition. I am surrounded by cheap pyramid scheme type sellers of prefabricated jewelry and the few of us artisans that are here are just amazed by it all. The over whelming question that I have been asked is if I actually made the things on my table. This is a crowd that has never contemplated the notion that someone actually has to sit down, design and create jewelry. I am stunned at the response I get from people when I tell them that I "MADE" everything on the table…(well except for the gemstones & lampwork beads of course.) And honestly, the only thing the attendees of this event are interested in are grabbing all of the "give-aways" from the product booths. I have to say that the experiment in this type of show has been an unmitigated failure of the highest order.

Each person that has stopped by and actually looked has loved what they are seeing but no one is prepared to shop at this event that is not what they came to do.

So, I sit here in the Phoenix Convention Center on this Sunday afternoon and I am remembering the last time that I was here and how different my life was back then. I was exhibiting at the BeadFest Phoenix show and actually had a blast with friends going to a ball game and goofing off. The show itself was not that great but man did we all have a fun time.

There are times that I feel I am still sort of trapped in between two worlds. It is a force of habit, I look up at ceilings in any room that I enter and I instantly revert back to my old profession. I am looking at the convention center with the professional eye of an event designer & out of pure boredom and my minds starts to inventory the space.

•I locate all of electrical hook-ups?
•I take inventory of truss hang points are there and what type of truss would I need to have?
•I count the Source 4 pars and ellipsoidal lighting units that are hanging in the air…
•I check out the catwalks and note that it would be easy access for the chain motor hang points.
•I take stock looking of the possibilities that the venue offers…

And then it hits me… I do not do this for a living anymore. It is amazing the paths that life offers and all of the course corrections that we take during our lives. 

Well I am off to Iowa next week for a big trunk show at Bead Haven in Cedar Rapids on Friday & Saturday and then I am teaching the Viking Double Knit for them on Sunday. If you are in the area… stop by and say hello. My friend and AMAZING artist Cris Leonard will also be exhibiting along with me at the trunk show...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tuesday October 13th

Wow, my horoscope from the other day was so right on the mark…

You're tired of the same old, same old. The routine; you're so tired of it that in the middle of your intense little heart, you're quite sure that if you don't do something to change it soon, you won't be any good to anyone. Not yourself, not your loved ones and certainly not the people who depend on your keen intuition and impeccable work skills to get them through the day.

I think that I am tired of the same old same do. I know that once I figure out a project and work out all of the kinks I cannot wait to get onto the next creative endeavor. The one thing that I will say it that it keeps my teaching fresh. I am always learning. I had a student in Portland that was a graduate from a Silver Smithing Academy. She was talking about the instructors and how they seemed a bit distracted and bored. It dawned on me that these instructors were "old school" they have not questioned their techniques in all of the time since they started teaching. They have just taken what they were taught and have never looked at it again. I was amazed and disappointed by the thought that with these instructors the same old same old was just fine. In the last few years I absolutely changed several of my working techniques and when I shared these techniques with this student they were amazed by the difference that it made in the quality of the work that they produced.

I guess that my mantas are "never be satisfied".."always try something new".."look for a better way"…

I have been slamming getting ready for my show this weekend. If you are in the Phoenix area come on by and see me  at booth 1414 at the Arizona's Ultimate Women's Expo. I have loads of new jewelry and am pleased with all of the new pieces. I have finished cuff bracelets, necklaces, earrings some new pendants and all I have to say about that is WHEW!

I had a huge setback yesterday though, I could no longer take the catastrophic nature of my house so I got up early yesterday to do a quick clean & straighten up and I gashed the back of my foot near my Achilles tendon. I actually considered going to urgent care but gave it a bit of time and I am glad that I did. It is healing nicely but I lost hours of work time at my bench because I needed to keep it elevated for a bit of time..

I got totally sucked into all 6, yes count them 6, episodes of Star Wars yesterday. The marathon lasted all day. I love working to movies that I know so I can come and go from them at will. It's not like I have not seen each of these movies a dozen times or more. I love it when movies ice these stand the test of time and I have to admit that I like the changes that George Lucas made when he released them as the complete set.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Saturday October 10th


This first one made me laugh out loud for about 5 minutes...I had to watch it 3 or 4 times. ENJOY

This next Video just impressed me to no end. All this and in heels too!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Thursday October 12th Continued

This is just for fun this evening.
Thought that this was just way to COOL.

Thursday October 8th

I have become very aware of the demise of communication!

At the beginning of the personal relationship I am in now we would write long and amazing emails about everything. Then the process of getting to know each other was replaced with long sessions of instant messaging and now even a good portion of that has been replaced with Skype. As we got closer and got to know each other better we required a more immediate manner of interaction. 

I love to write and I will always have a Victorian love for the written word. I love to read poetry, verse and philosophy. I miss writing those long letters and I struggle to find the time to write them again.

In writing this post, I recalled a wonderful PBS series by Ken Burns "The Civil War" that was very beautifully narrated by some amazing actors. The thing I loved about this documentary was that the entirety of the piece was delivered to the viewer with the reading of letters. These letters were poetry and eloquent, the images that were evoked from these words strike you to your very core and you could feel what the writers felt and in your mind see what they saw.

I do not know of a single person that writes letters like that anymore. We have entered an age where we communicate with emails. Now I will say that I do tend to write more in emails that I ever wrote letters but only very few of these are even remotely close to those beautifully written expressions of life.

It has been said that the rise of the type writer killed the art of letter writing. Then it was the fault of the word processor, the computer, email and so on and so on. We, as a society, have taken to wanting and demanding things faster and faster.

Remember Dial-up and how fast we all thought that was? Now nothing else will do but High Speed DSL. If the desired page does not load in 5 seconds we get all frustrated and start hitting the refresh button as if it is actually going to help the situation.

HINT: Just remember, pushing the elevator button does not make the car show up faster, nor does pushing the cross walk button make the light change faster either.(well..mostly)

I stated a few months ago that I liked FaceBook because I was able to see what is happening in my friends lives more regularly. Then I realized that I am now viewing my friends lives in two or three sentence snippets. These are quick interactions followed with short bursts of communications. This is now being replaced with even something faster, quicker and even shorter. People are now Twittering their lives into cyberspace and the interaction time is cut even shorter.

If you think about it…our television viewing has taken the same downward spiral.

We no longer are enticed with smart writers and good casts of actors making us think or laugh. We are inundated with "reality" TV. My question is… what is REAL about any of it? There is nothing REAL about the Housewives of Atlanta nor it Dog the Bounty Hunter what I would consider thought provoking viewing. I miss good dramas and funny comedies. Where is the 21st century version of The Mary Tyler Moore Show and where is our new Hill Street Blues? (I do have to say that I to love TNT's Saving Grace… that is my personal junkie show that I will bend over backwards to see.)

There were so many brilliant shows that captured our imaginations and kept us riveted weekly and actually caused insightful conversations and dialogs. Now we are asked to watch as former congressman try to dance their way back into the public's good graces and "wanna be" important people ranting and being cruel to one another. We no longer have to hire writers and actors that actually are masters of their crafts we are forced to the lowest common denominator. I take GREAT pride in stating that I have never watched one hour of Reality TV.

We have lost and are continuing to lose these things that we will not be able to retrieve. Our culture, our humanity and our history will soon be placed on the endangered species list. Are we strong enough as a culture to demand better of ourselves and of those that are asking us to lower our standards? Refuse to be placed alongside the lowest common denominator, refuse to stand by and be dumbed down...

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Thursday October 1st

If you ever want to experience a day of frustration just call the Adobe Customer Support Line. It took me 3 weeks and 3 hours just today alone of talking to a dozen different people who sent me off on wild goose chases with an average time on hold of 30 minutes each time, all to no avail. It took the Cool Dude at the Apple Genius Bar 15 minutes to solve my Dreamweaver issue. All thanks to Macintosh & Apple for their belief that good customer service is a corner stone for happy customers. Well done Adobe.

So after being unable to update my web for almost 5 weeks I am getting ready to institute some real updates. I know that it is about time. Thank you all for being patient.

My hard drive crash of a month ago has revealed many new issues. I have lost more data than I had originally thought. It is data that I need to access on a regular basis and I am discovering new issues daily. I now have to recreate all of this data. Many of my iMovie files were corrupted and a great deal of the finished DVD is a jumbled mess of snow. I had a great deal of it backed up but now I am faced with continuity issues. I sort of sat there and just stared at it a few days ago and was rather dumbstruck with the enormity of it all.

These are the times that I just gather my Taoist center and tell myself that there are just things that are out of your control and realizing and accepting that is just one more step on the path to understanding.

I just keep telling myself that the more I try to control the less there is that is controllable. Just step back and view it all and let understanding come to you. I know that I have a great deal on my plate now and the helping just got infinitely heftier. It will all get done and it will be done well.

I welcome October. The cool evenings that settle in and I love that soon I will be able to watch the MLB playoffs and have it culminate in the Word Series. I wait eleven months for October to come again and no matter what teams end up vying for a spot in the Fall Classic this is the buildup that I have been waiting for all year.

In the American League…it looks as if the Tigers will join the Yankees, Angles & Red Sox all desiring the American Pennant. The Phillies and the Cardinals are setting up to take on the Dodgers and Rockies for the National League Pennant.

I find it amazing that I follow the transition of the seasons with my favorite sporting events. The New Year brings me tennis' Australian Open, then I await Spring Training and the first pitch of opening day. It is only then that summer has begun for me. After that first pitch the rest of my summer revolves around The Tour de France, The French Open, Wimbledon &The US Open, all of these events are entwined with my undying love for Baseball.

Fall is bitter sweet for me. While I love the play-offs, at the end, is almost 5 months of waiting for the first pitch of spring training and in that 5 months all I have to look forward too is The Australian Open.

I am a geek. I embrace it…

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wednesday September 30th

Well, I am caving in. After opening and reading the 20th or 30th email asking me to allow comments on my blog I have adjusted those settings. Scroll down to the bottom of an entry and comment away. All comments are welcome...Well only nice, kind and caring comments that are in absolute agreement with everything that I say and feel. Joking...

I have been recuperating for the last 36 hours from my marathon drive back from Portland. Taking care of a great deal of business and to that nasty task of organizing. As good as I am at organizing I can procrastinate like no bodies business when I really have no desire to actually organize anything at all. Right now all I desire is to rest for the next few weeks and have all of the work that I need to get done at my bench just magically appear. (It real is a shame that I had to lay off my bench Gnomes.) I do realize that the chances of finished work magically appearing in my tumbler are ZERO, it would still be nice… no?

Just a short paragraph on this next bit of business and I will be done for the day I promise:

***I am tired beyond tired of all of the grandstanding that is happening in our nations capitol. DUDES….JUST GET IT DONE AND STOP THIS ADOLESCENT BICKERING…Each and every one of you look like a bunch of idiotic fools. Just get your job done and do the right thing OKAY? 'nuf said….Just do your jobs please!***

I am spending the next few days in absolute isolation getting jewelry made for Arizona's Ultimate Women's Expo. The dates for the event are October 17th and 18th in Phoenix at the Convention Center. A few weeks ago the Expo actually got my private cell number (how is a mystery to me) and asked me to participate in the event. After some hemming and hawing I have decided to make a leap and give it a try.

This is an entirely NEW type of event for me and I must admit  that I am really rather nervous about it. I really do not believe that I am the typical kind of vendor that they have. To say that I am casual to the extreme is an understatement and I just do not want to feel out of place. The bead show circuit and teaching has been my world for the last 9 years and to cross over into a new circle is always a bit nerve wracking. I will be pacing a great deal and wondering if I have made an egregious error in judgement until after this event ends. Wish me luck and cross your fingers that I have not made a huge mistake here. I am not a big fan of making a fool out of myself.

My semi cool news is that I got an email from an Associate Editor of Again, I have no idea of how or when, but they started reading this BLOG and have asked me to become a contributor. I have looked over the site and I have to say that I was rather pleased to be asked. I guess that I now have to be really careful about grammar and syntax and spelling and punctuation and all of that other silly stuff that writers are supposed to be aware of.

I was going to joke around here and spell everything in that last sentence incorrectly but I have no desire of giving my self appointed editor-in-chief an aneurysm with bad spelling and bad grammar. So I will behave for the time being.

Hey the last bit of good news is that I got all of my classes accepted at Bead & Button's 2010 show and I spent some time talking scheduling with one of the organizers. These people have such a huge task on their hands it is unbelievable how they manage to keep it all organized. I am taking a break from my normal class structure this year. I normally teach all three hour classes and I leave Milwaukee a ZOMBIE. So I have decided to take a few of the three hour classes away and teach full day classes on Thursday, Friday & Saturday. I feel that all of the students will get a better experience from me and I will ultimately enjoy a bit of a slower schedule. Keep an eye out for the release of the 2010 classes I am sure that there will be some amazing ones.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tuesday September 29th

Sundays class was fun and totally enjoyable. There are these 2 huge & amazing Tibetan bells that chime randomly. I have worked at this convention center for over 10 years and I have never heard these bells sound once. I actually was blessed to hear them chime 3 times that day.

I boxed up my tools, jewelry and loaded up the car and started driving by 4pm. I had every intention of stopping at a hotel and resting for at east 6 hours. But I got so sleepy after 6 hours of driving around 10pm, that I pulled over at a rest stop for a break and woke up 90 minutes later. I started driving again & I still had plans to get a room but once again I pulled over around 2am and slept for another two and a half hours, I repeated this one more time and really started driving again at 6am. I pulled into my driveway 23 hours after my departure from Portland.

I unloaded the car and unpacked every box and crashed on the couch with a beer for the better part of the evening. I got caught up with emails and planned out my next 48 hours and was in bed as soon as possible.

I slept HARD and woke with the sun and 2 grey fuzzy monsters that were very happy to have me back home.

Well, I guess it actually does happen in 3's…right? Today was a strange day and an unsettling one at that. There was a tsunami in Samoa, the Senate denies the public option & much to my personal pain the former governor of Alaska has named her book.

I said my thanks for the warning system that was sounded that perhaps saved thousands of lives, in these small islands. At this time there is little out in the news that I can find about the damage but the number of casualties seems to be in the dozens. This is so very different from the nearly quarter million that perished on the morning of December 26th 2004. My thoughts and prayers are with those people and their recovery.

Why, or I guess I should say, how… could the Senate deny this? It is JUST an option, not a requirement. Are these over stuffed, in the pocket of the insurance company, politicians really going to do ANYTHING that opens up affordable care for lower income people?  Oh, I think not, there is just to much back door lobbying of all too powerful companies that do not want to have no desire to provide real health care. They just care about profits.

It really is my firm belief that health care should be Not-for-Profit. There should not be share holders in an insurance company. Any profits that are accumulated should be invested for continued better care. I am a total believer in the American phrase "to make money" I believe in and strive for the American Dream and I work my ass off to get ahead. But I have to say that being an independent artist and a self employed person is not an easy choice at times. These corporations make it almost impossible to succeed and most of us are dancing as fast as we can to make it from year to year.

And finally, this morning I was sadly greeted with a headline that declared the title of the Former Governor of Alaska's new book. The title is going to be "Going Rogue" Well, I actually laughed out loud. It will be released soon and I have no doubt that it will poison more minds. Once again, I feel that this obviously under educated, journalism degreed, person needs to actually open up a dictionary and read the definition of what "rogue" actually means…

rogue |rōg|
1. A dishonest or unprincipled man.
• a person whose behavior one disapproves of.

2. An elephant or other large wild animal driven away or living apart from the herd and having savage or destructive tendencies.
• a person or thing that behaves in an aberrant, faulty, or unpredictable way
• an inferior or defective specimen among many satisfactory ones.

I do not think that I need to say anything else here. Do I?

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Saturday September 26th

Ah, Portland! & BeadFest...

I know that I promised pictures but I have not even had the 20 minutes to download them from my camera yet. They are forthcoming...

I left Tucson on Wednesday morning at 10am. Can you believe that I did not start driving at 4am like I normally do? I wanted to meet with my friends for our Wednesday morning get together. I had not seen them for a few weeks and I knew that I wanted to at least see them for 45 minutes before I started the 20 plus hour drive up to Portland. I got past Sacramento Wednesday night, found a hotel and slept for 6 hours and was on the road again Thursday morning by 6am.

I have to keep asking myself the same travel question over and over. Why is it, when I see a hotel and I decide that it is a good price & then I start driving the next morning, I find a hotel for 1/2 the price one exit away. It is those kind of small things that while they make me smile at the irony of the situation also make me very irritated as well. All I could say to myself was, "Damn..there went 30 bucks."

I had to cut this trip down to the wire, I needed to cut back on the car rental and the hotel stays. I timed my arrival in Portland down to the hour. Got in at 3pm, got over to the convention center at 4:15 to set up my classroom, and got that done 20 minutes before the Meet the Teachers gathering from 6pm to 8pm.. I crashed SO hard on Thursday night that getting up on Friday to teach was a little hard.

Classes yesterday, while small, were fun and everyone did a fantastic job. I went to an early dinner with my friend Charlene Abrahms and we spent almost 2 hours just talking and getting caught up and sharing stories. I came back to my hotel and sort of vegged out for the evening. I am tired and I needed to relax before I passed out for the night.

I have a class this afternoon and I am looking forward to that.

I am constantly surprised by how changes can sneak up on you. I am finding the shifts in my life over the past 10 months have been eye opening and revealing about my character. What is it that makes a life happy? What choices do we make both professionally as well as personally that fulfill us, make us whole and content in lives and in our own skins? Finding that balance…finding the time to remain creative and productive as well as being contented personally is my new path. I am like everyone else, I want it all and I am trying to find that balance in my world. I know what I want and I am focused on that goal.

There is much that I need to do, much that I need to finish and much that I need to learn how. I am, as always, eternally hopeful that I can discovery and accomplish these goals because I feel that the happiness that I have experienced these past months is all part of the path that I am on.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Monday September 21st.

There is something to be said for the phrase "there's no place like home." I am home for two and a half days before I take off to teach at BeadFest Portland. It is not long enough and yet at the same time  it is too long. I took what was in effect, my first true few days off almost 2 years. I had virtually no internet access, limited TV and I had the best and most relaxing time. It was wonderful not to worry about work or about the world for a few days and just enjoy the company of my girlfriend.

So to say that I had the most excellent 5 days in Toronto and taking in films at TIFF.. (The Toronto International Film Festival) is a bit of an understatement. Got to see 2 really excellent movies and 1 so so flick. The first was an Israeli entry "Phobidilia." about a young mans descent into agoraphobia and subsequent attempt to climb out of its grip after the loss of his girlfriend in a car accident. The second movie was a wonderful animated feature "My Dog Tulip." This was the story about an older man's absolute devotion and love for his adopted soul mate, a German Shepherd. The movie was based on the novel by J.R. Ackerley. The third movie was "Tanner Hall," & this movie was a formula coming of age movie set in an all girls prep school. There were some very funny moments and poignant scenes but all in all… formula to the end…

I will upload & post some pictures of our adventures tomorrow…

I got home on Sunday night, had a beer and crashed pretty hard. It was a rather rude awakening on Monday morning, having to jump right back into the grind. I had to get all of the fine details ready for my trip to Portland. I leave on Wednesday. I have the Meet the Teachers on Thursday night I teach Friday, Saturday & Sunday and will start my drive home on Sunday evening. This has to be a very budget conscience trip. The sign-ups for Portland are not so good for many of the instructors. Portland is experiencing an unemployment rate that is higher than the national average and it is taking its toll on sign-ups and attendance I am sure. I am going to head up there and hope for the best….

Mass Ascension

 After I get back to Tucson on Monday, I feel that I am once again going to be drawn away for a few days to Albuquerque. I was separated for almost 5 weeks from someone that I am so deeply fond of that I find that I am unwilling to let that long a span of time pass again. We are going to the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta and I am making Terri get up well before dawn to see what they call the Mass Ascension and stay up later in the evening for the Balloon Glow. I am looking forward to another 5 day together before I am required to get back to my tasks in Tucson for several weeks.
Balloon Glow

I have discovered a very nice handyman "Pete" that has a wife & family to support, he came up to me several months ago and asked for work. I have never met someone that works harder or is sweeter. I have hired him a few times over these past few months to keep my yard groomed. This is a task that I despise SO very much that I am more than pleased to pay this man a very honest wage to take care of my grounds and to prune back my palm trees that have become a bird condominium. I waited till now to prune the trees to make sure that all of the little birds that were hatched have flown the nest. So far so good on that count… and it may cut down on the bird droppings on my walkway.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Thursday Sept. 17th

Sorry I have been so slammed this past week.  It was a very event filled week indeed. I exhibited at the Best Bead Show's Fall Tucson event & shared a booth with the amazing Margaret Zinser. The weekend's highlight was a glorious event at Sonoran Glass for Beads of Courage on Saturday night.

Beads of Courage is a group that assists kids living and dealing with catastrophic illness' and through the therapy of beads and creating necklaces as each patient goes through each stage of treatment. Terri Caspary Schmidt & I donated a Flying Heart Bead (Terri made that) with a Fine Silver bail and chain. (made that part…) A group of local artists that I am involved with all got together and each of them gave me a handful of charms or glass beads that each had made & wire wrapped them & put them on a fine silver chain as well. Each piece brought in bids that will provide funds for this AMAZING Charity.
Donate please… it is a worthy cause.

Monday was crazy busy with packing for my trip to Toronto. I am actually taking 4 days away and I am not gonna work all that much. I am tired and need a break. Terri & I are going to take in a few films at the Toronto International Film Fest and do some serious shopping and antiquing. This is a much needed break and I am looking forward to these few days immensely.

I stopped for a number of minutes & took in Sept 11th this year and looked at all that has happened in our world since that day. Our country is almost completely unrecognizable to me, it just does not seem like it is even remotely the same place. Why are we angrier and meaner as a nation? Where has our civility gone? I remember the 60 to 90 days right after that awful day and people driving were courteous, kind, away and I had never heard so many pleases, thank you's, excuse me's, pardon me's or kind responses in return. Doors were opened for others, seats were relinquished for others and if the person behind you in line at the grocery store had one item in comparison to your cartfull you let them check out before of you.

It takes nothing to be kind, smile, say a nice word to a stranger. These things are easy, these things make you and the other person feel good but more importantly, these acts are contagious. Kindness begets kindness and a smile begets a smile. It is my humble opinion, but I feel that the general uncivil nature that we have witnessed of late, (especially during our Presidents address to Congress..) is a direct and fearful reaction to a man that epitomizes civility, grace and an understanding that these are necessary requirements for our nation to maintain our stature. We have lost this understanding during the last administration and we are struggling to understand why we no longer have the respect that we once engendered. We, as a nation, cannot expect the respect of the world if we do not offer these niceties to our own citizens or our own leaders. 

I have tried to live my life over these past few years by making a conscious choice to be nice to those around me, to the strangers that I encounter and to be a courteous citizen of the world. I have found that a smile, just a simple smile, can disarm and a kind act can be greeted with amazement. I love to see these reactions and I just hope that in return the kindness that was shown can be sent out into the world and spread unchecked.

I am enjoying these few days off and I have, for the first time in years, have very limited access to the internet. It is an interesting phenomenon to wake and not be able to grab my laptop to check out the happenings of the world, check out the long list of blogs that I follow or to interact with my FaceBook  world.

In closing… please remember that silly little thing call the Golden Rule... The Ethic of Reciprocity... Do unto others....can we all try to remember what it means to be nice to others, to be kind and to occasionally open a door for a stranger. You will feel better for it and who knows… it just may catch on…that would not suck at all.