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…