Friday, July 31, 2009

Friday July 31st

I have been thinking of achievements and perfection these last days. I was researching what it actually meant to pitch a perfect game. In the history of Baseball, in over 130 years, only 18 men in have pitched a perfect game. The first perfect game was pitched on June 12th 1880 and believe it or not the second was pitched 5 days later on June 17th 1880. Randy “The Big Unit” Johnson, of the Arizona Diamondbacks, pitched the last perfect game in 2004. I remember watching Tom Browning pitch his perfect game in 1988 for my Cincinnati Reds. Mark Buehrle’s accomplishment on July 23rd of this year is to be counted as amazing in today’s MLB. Today, pitchers are specialized; most rarely pitch over 100 pitches and rarely work for more than 6, maybe 7 innings. Well done Mark and thank you for reminding us that perfection is still achievable in many forms, you glimpsed and held in your hand for a moment, what the rest of us strive for and dream of one day experiencing ourselves.

What is perfection to you? Ask yourself that question and remember your answers. I know that I see some things as absolutely perfect. I see perfection in nature. The Chambered Nautilus is natures example of the The Golden Ratio: Nature's Formula for Perfection and I see such beautiful perfection in the wonders of our universe, courtesy of NASA’s Hubble Telescope. I know that, as humans, we will never truly achieve perfection but I love the fact that we strive for it in so many ways.

A quote from Buckminster Fuller has also come to mind.

"When I am working an a problem I never think about beauty. I only think about how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong."

A very old high school friend of mine that I recently found again on FaceBook posted this picture today and it got me to thinking.

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.

These words, spoken aloud today, more than ever, their meaning resounds to the very core or who we are as a nation, and as a people. These words are the First Amendment to the US Constitution, which is our Bill of Rights. These words are plastered at the entrance of the Newseum in Washington DC and these words can never be spoken loudly enough nor can they ever be made big enough. For 8 years, we as a country, were forced relinquish our freedoms one after another. We can never let our fears make us less than our founding fathers knew we could dare to be. We are not bullies, we are the country that the world turns to for help and we always answered the call. We need to remember that we are a nation that is founded on the freedoms for all people. We are not perfect, we make mistakes and we can move past them and learn from them if we choose to.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wednesday July 29th

Think about it:

Even the person that believes that our destinies are pre-ordained and that the path of our future is mapped out looks both ways before crossing the street.

Had an interesting day. I do not feel that I got enough accomplished but I know that I spent some time that I needed to just figuring out how I wanted some projects to go forward. I feel that I have a better handle on what I want and how I want it my work to go forward.

So tomorrow will be a very busy day and I will get all of my work done. Life is good, complicated in logistics but it is good and I am getting it all done.

I was forwarded the latest Simon’s Cat. Totally Funny!

I just cannot ever get enough of Tom Waits, his lyrics continue to touch my soul in so many ways.

Life is a..."Little Trip To Heaven"

Song Lyrics

Tuesday July 28th

I am still working away, still getting all things ready for Philly, for my mom’s birthday & for teaching in Chicago. All of these things are happening in just a matter of weeks and I am getting all of that ready as well as getting Bead & Button proposals in, I will be teaching for the Best Bead Show in Feb and I will now be teaching for the Bellevue Festival in November…So my plate is full, getting fuller and I need to keep it that way.

The beauty of the Tao is that these chapters have had different meanings for me at different moments in my life. This particular chapter evoked a very different response from me just over a year ago. Reading these chapters over and over again emphasises to me that life truly is an ebb and flow, life shifts and suddenly there are new realities that have quickly become embedded into you and into your daily life.

Tao Te Ching
Chapter 14

Look, and it can’t be seen.
Listen, and it can’t be heard.
Reach, and it can’t be grasped.

Above, it isn’t bright.
Below, it isn’t dark.
Seamless, unnamable,
it returns to the realm of nothing.
Form that includes all forms,
image without an image,
subtle, beyond all conception.

Approach it and there is no beginning
follow it and there is no end.
You can’t know it, but you can be it,
at ease in your own life.
Just realize where you come from:
this is the essence of wisdom.

Along our journey, when that something or that someone is discovered that makes you smile from the inside out, that makes you laugh, giggle and be joyous, treasure it; make certain to care for it and make sure that it is protected. These somethings, these individuals, they are the treasures that we are on this earth to experience. Just always remember that it can be something as simple as a humming bird that makes you smile, as stunning as a sunset or moonrise that makes you pause to watch as it passes or it can be that smile that makes you melt from the inside out when it shines on you.

Just always remember to look at the world around you, take time to see all of the beauty and all of the promise that is here. Be open to the possible because you never know what may be just around the corner.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sunday July 26th

It has been a crazy week once again. I have been crazed trying to figure out how I want to spend my teaching days at Bead and Button next June. For the last several years I have loaded up my schedule with all 3-hour classes, I have been seriously considered and I think convinced myself that I am going to teach a few all day classes so I can feel that I am accomplishing more. I have made this change with Bead Fest Classes next year, each of my classes are full day sessions and I just feel that the students and I will have a better experience in the long run.

This week has also been an exciting week for me in the world of sports. I have been following the Tour De France with my yearly addiction. I am up each morning at 5am to watch it live. I am such a geek. The tour is SO exciting. I love it all, the climbers and the sprinters and all of the amazing strategy that is required to win and be competitive. Lance Armstrong has done an amazing job, after a 3 ½ year absence he has done what many thought was impossible…the 37 year "old man" of the tour came in 3rd place. Just 5 minutes behind his crappy and grandstanding teammate Alberto Contador. I was not impressed by Alberto’s tactics, which in the end eliminated the chance for a total Team Astana sweep of the podium positions. He was too greedy ignored the team plan.

July is almost over and I now actually have to get up and work in the mornings. My Wimbledon is done as well as my Tour de France. I love July; these events are 2 of the quintessential sporting events of the year. Each is steeped in amazing traditions and incredible sportsmanship. There are rules of the road for this race…that are honorable. It is a sport that demands the racers to respect each other and that each participant remembers where he came from who your friends are. These men do not break these codes because they may need these codes someday. It has taken me a few years to understand some of these but I admire these men and the codes that they race by.

My Chicago White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle pitched a perfect game the other evening. I did not get to see the game live but thanks to MLB.COM I got to watch the game in it’s entirety. It was an amazing display for the man that just 2 seasons ago fought to get a 4-year contract with the Sox. Yea, Mark…way to go…you are the man. The Sox are shaping up nicely as my Reds once again falter mid-season.

I have spent this day getting travel plans all set and plane tickets and car reservations and working at my bench after I took a very long swim this morning. I am looking forward to the next few months…I have had a wonderful year so far and I feel that the rest of it is shaping up nicely.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Monday July 20th

I spent the better part of an hour writing a post for this evening. I have NO idea of what happenned but it is GONE. I am bummed and am now trying to recreate it.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Saturday July 18th

I had the MOST excellent IKEA experience on Wednesday. I got the blinds that I have wanted for my bedroom as well as some curtains. It is AMAZING how a bunch of $10 items can add up to so quickly… I do feel that I got off easy, it ends up that my blinds were on sale and that cut a HUGE amount off of my final total. I have 8, count them 8, small windows in my bedroom and the cost of 8 blinds adds up. Kind of made me want to go back for some of the items that I passed by because I thought I was spending so much money on the blinds.

Thursday and Friday were days spent enjoying the summer heat and sun of Tucson. The monsoons have come but not the HUGE knock your socks off downpours that I so love. I was hoping that Terri would be able to experience at least one massive monsoon, there is really nothing like it…the smell of the rain on the hot desert earth, the heat radiates up from the ground as everything cools off.

We had the most delightful dinner last evening at my favorite restaurant in Tucson, Café Poca Cosa. It really is the best food in the entire city and the owner Susana is truly one of the most delightful proprietors. She goes to all of the tables and greets her guests personally and knows many of us regulars by name. The hug is always a welcome one and her cooking is beyond compare.

Sadly, we lost an American icon yesterday. Walter Cronkite’s voice was the voice of a nation as I was growing up. I can still hear his voice as Neil Armstrong on Apollo 11 first placed his foot on the surface of the moon and his coverage of the near catastrophic Apollo 13 mission. We listened to him and trusted him at a time in our country when we as a nation trusted so few.

Watch for his classic reaction around 7:50 minute mark on this video as he takes off his glasses with such joy and pride for the accomplishment.

I had the great joy of hearing his voice as I first entered Epcot Center's Spaceship Earth as it's narrator. His is the voice in the big golf ball…his is the voice of my youth and he was one of the reasons that I started to enjoy current events in Jr. High and politics as I entered college.

Thank you Walter, your voice gave courage to a nation in times of trials, showed us realities when no one else dared and to this time and far beyond your integrity is a benchmark that all should strive for.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wednesday July 15th

I love fields of Sunflowers.
I passed many on my travels this week. I really like the way the flowers follow the path of the sun during the course of the day. It just makes me feel optimistic and hopeful.

The last day of the show on Sunday was a good one, hard but good. It is hard to be all cheerful and in a selling mood after a Saturday night like the one that I experienced. I got the news from Joe two hours after Debbie passed away and all I can say is that it was the most unexpected news that I could have received. We had just had spent hours messing around in Tucson and then hooked up in Milwaukee at Bead & Button for meals and drinks. She looked strong and was all set to start her next round of treatments. This news still has me reeling and I am sure that it will for a very long time.

My friends were so right there for me, making sure that I was okay on the long drive home on Monday. It is times like these that make you so aware of the innate goodness in the people that you choose to let into your life. The night my father passed away it was my friend Anne Devine that spent hours on the phone with me making sure that I was okay. We talked and drank port and toasted to my fathers life that I had witnessed. After I got home on Monday night, I opened my bottle of port and drank a toast to my friend and remembered that she Joe & I had done just this after our last dinner together here in Tucson only a few weeks ago.

The drive home on Monday was a long one. I left right after the show on Sunday; I was on the road by 6pm and drove for about 6 hours. I slept in the car for 2 ½ hours and continued on for a few more hours, slept again for another 2 ½ hours and then powered my way home. All in all I was in the car for about 24 hours. I even managed a short break in Phoenix along the way.

Yesterday was a day of laundry, unpacking, cleaning and getting my house in some sense of readiness for my next adventures for the week.

I very much enjoyed the All Star game last night. It was a good game and yet again my National League lost to the American League. This borders on catastrophic; it has now been 10 years since the NL has won the mid-season classic. Even though I have my Chicago White Sox (American League) I am and will always be a true blue National League fan. I am not a fan of the designated hitter and that is kind of a big deal. I think that if you take the field you need to actually hit the damn ball.

I still am getting up at 5am to watch the Tour De France live in the mornings. This weekend is going to be exciting as they reach the Alps and the climbers take over the race and break up race. It is getting really exciting and really fun.

Today is an adventure to IKEA and to pick up Terri in Phoenix for a Tucson visit. Have a great day!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

You are deeply loved and will be deeply missed

A dear friend lost her fight tonight. My thoughts and prayers are with her family and her dear Joe, the biggest Teddy Bear of them all.

Saturday July 11th

Tuesday July 7th
This was hitting the road day for me. I grabbed the rental car around 7 am and was on the road by 10am. I could not take off earlier because I HAD to watch the days Tour De France. This has been a total obsession every July since Lance Armstrong won his second Tour. I had caught a small and random story in the NY Times online about this American that was expected to win the hardest bike race in world. So, ever since, each July I get up around 4 or 5am and watch the days stage.

So around 10am after the Tour was all wrapped up for the day I headed west towards to California and then turned north towards Washington state and Tacoma. I got all the way to Santa Nella and the Pea Soup Andersons on the I-5 for the night. I slept so hard and had a really slow morning waking up on..

Man was it hot in Palm Desert - and I was no where near my pool!

Wednesday July 8th
I had to miss the days stage of the tour so I could get driving. I drove 11 hours on the 7th and I knew I had at least another 12 to do today. I found good coffee at a Starbucks before I hit the highway and headed north. The drive was long and the ever-changing countryside was as amazing as always. I love to see the shift from desert to see trees and to have that change to farmland as I cross over the Grapevine into the southern end of the Central Valley of CA and drive north. I spent both days listening to books on my iPod and chatting with friends on my cell phone. I got into Tacoma around 9pm and crashed soon after watching a wrap-up of the days tour stage. Lance Armstrong was in second place, only behind by 2 one-thousandths of a second. Could not be more exciting!

Mt. Shasta in northern California.

Thursday July 9th
Got up early to accomplish my morning tasks and to watch the Tour and to achieve alertness as slowly as possible. I was tired and my back was killing me. I had to get to the venue by 11-ish to make sure that I was ready for the Preview from 5 to 8pm. This year is a bit weird. My roomies of the last 2 years chose not to come as well as the 2 people that I was to share a booth with. So even though there are totally excellent people here in Tacoma this year: my normal routine has been interrupted and I miss Gail & Meesh totally.

Once you cross the Oregon stateline trucks can haul 3 trailers. SCARY!

Friday July 10th

Got up early to, oh surprise, watch the days stage of the tour. Today was the first full day of the Puget Sound Bead Festival and the crowds were busy and people were buzzing around all day long. I have a very nice day and sales were very nice indeed. At the end of the day one of my most favorite pieces sold. My meteor pendant and a necklace were sold to a very nice lady that thought the piece was a cool as I do. I am please to see it go out in the world and to be going to a good home. It is really rather bitter sweet for me in some ways, it is really one of my favorite pendants that I ever made. I will never forget waking up around 3 or 4 in the morning and just knowing how I wanted to set the stone and I worked for several hours till I accomplished my goal.

So I am all tucked in for the night and I just need to go to sleep early and try to rest up a bit. I am going to take of directly after the show in Sunday and get at least 4 or 6 hours of driving in before I stop for the night so I can get home at a reasonable hour on Monday night and have all of Tuesday to accomplish required tasks.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Monday July 6th

This just made me laugh!

I was a total loafer all day on the 4th, each time I started to head toward my bench to accomplish the tasks that I have laid out for myself I would find something, anything else to do. I had NO desire to work on Saturday so; needless to say I have been a bit slammed on Sunday & Monday making up for my lazy self-indulgent day.

The 4th was a wonderful day of swimming and chatting on SKYPE & watching movies, and like I said avoiding my bench. (I did accomplish that with a great deal of dedication and determination.) But the biggest and most wonderful part of the day was the fact that Tucson found the funds to sponsor the "A Mountain" Fireworks. The display is launched just west of the mountain peak and the coolest thing they did this year was to have fire works set off at the tippy-top of the mountain that made it look like a volcano exploding. I would have LOVED to have been able to get a shot of it but alas, I did not have my camera with me. I am very lucky indeed that I have a wonderful view of the mountain from my back yard and we can dangle out feet in the pool and relax, watch the display and NOT have to worry about the amazing traffic jams afterwards.

So, Sunday & today have been all about packing and finishing up projects and trying to make sure that I do not forget anything. All morning while working away, drinking coffee and getting jobs accomplished I watched a most exciting stage of the Tour De France. Lance Armstrong of Team Astana jump fro 10th to 3rd today by jumping at a late breakaway that tore the peloton apart and left several of the other leaders in the dust. Well done Lance & team Astana.

I think that I have all of my ducks in a row & all of my I’s dotted & T’s crossed…I feel pretty confident that as I drive off (IN AN WESTERLY DIRECTION.. sorry to say) I am all set for a productive show. It is still a weird time, several of my friends have decided to take the hit financially, lose the booth fee and not go this year. These are super hard choices to make for sure and I feel for those that have to make that choice.

Well I am beat, my eyes are tired and I need to turn off the light and close my eyes to wonderful visions and have sweet dreams. I have made my promises to try to NOT have a repeat of last years crashing of a mini-van in LA and to try my best to get to and from Tacoma with "bells on".

More tomorrow evening after a long day of driving, I hope to get on the road around 9am and drive for about 12 to 15 hours. If I can get out the door earlier I shall. I hate driving around large cities during high traffic times and I have to be careful to avoid the Phoenix traffic as well as LA traffic. Wish me luck and I will let you all know my progress tomorrow evening!

I hope all of you had a happy and safe 4th of July.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Saturday July 4th


I have been traveling so much lately that I have missed the first few monsoon storms that have gone through Tucson. When I got home Tuesday Night / Wednesday Morning I found every palm frond, pine cone and spare branch from my neighborhood at the bottom of my pool and that took almost 2 hours to clean out. Yesterday was hot beautiful and I had the nicest swim after I accomplished the pool cleaning and then last night… a HUGE monsoon came through town dumping a huge amount of water. The thunder and lighting were amazing and it lasted for a very long time and right as I went to bed last night it started pouring again and I fell asleep to the most beautiful vision in my head and the sound of the rain against my window panes.

Today is the 4th of July and my roomy Bria & I went to the store early and grabbed a few morsels to get us through the day in style. I am going to grill a steak and I will grill her some chicken and we will have a nice feast and bemoan the fact that the city if Tucson cannot afford it’s A Mountain fireworks this evening. They probably would not have gone off anyway the clouds are here and it looks like another evening of monsoon storms.

As you may know, I have always been a fan of history and I fell in love with US history from my Government teacher from High School. I have spoken of Huff prior to this and I will once again remind us of the words that mean the most to me from our Declaration of Independence,

~But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. ~

As I was preparing this post for today I re-read those words and decided to take them into my heart with a more personal view. Say these words to yourself, take them as a person declaration of your life and if they ring true to you in any manner look at the circumstances of your life and make the changes required to provide for your own personal freedom. Make choices that are good for you, healthy for your own growth and make your life a happy one. It took looking at these words as more then a declaration of our nations freedoms and to view them as a choice for personal freedoms. Make a choice to pursue the means to your own happiness and to not live by or for a situation that never would provide for personal happiness or acknowledgment of one’s own life. Never live by the despot’s rules and never live with the abuses that bind you to an existence that is less than deserved.

Thinking about this as I am writing this has given me a few things to ponder as I drive north next week for the Puget Sound Bead Festival and I look forward to listening to what I have to say to myself.

Happy Independence Day to us all!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Wednesday July 1st.

I had a wonderful 5 days in San Francisco. Last Friday through Tuesday, I got to spend time in my favorite sections of town. Our hotel is right at the gate of Chinatown and right around the corner from my favorite little downtown sushi restaurant. Headed over there right after checking in. The afternoon exploring Chinatown ended up in North Beach and getting the required box of XOXO Truffles. Now these are the best little bites of wonderful chocolate ever. Friday ended up with a late Italian dinner in North Beach sitting outside under the heaters of the cool SF night air and watching all of the people as their conversations wandered in and out of earshot. All of the night sounds of SF are still so very clear in my mind.

Anne Devine meeting up with us for brunch.

Saturday was the birthday girl’s day and following well established birthday rules the birthday person gets what ever they want on their birthday. We started out by having a delightfully late brunch, hooking up with my friend Anne Devine and then starting off on our day of more meandering around. After much shopping we ended up at the Georgia O’Keefe & Ansel Adams exhibit at SF MOMA. Then it was off to view the city and have an adult beverage from the top of the Marriott. Dinner at Blowfish Sushi to Die For was excellent as always.

Dinner accented with a cold Saki flight

Sunday morning was SF LGBT Pride. The parade started off around 10:30 and went on for hours. Everyone ends up at City Hall, listening to music and partaking in some of the best people watching ever known to human kind. Then it was off to dinner at my all time favorite place in SF, Zuni Café. Oysters, polenta w/mascarpone & Parmesan and an oven baked chicken with black current bread stuffing. Ummmmmm Yummy!

Hanging out at SF Parade and watching all of the festivities

Monday was a sort of sleep in morning after such a very long Sunday out in the sunshine. We ventured out and did some damage at the Gap and several other shops along Market Street and then we headed to the renovated Ferry Building Marketplace to see all of the new shops and continue the meandering. After a ride on the historic F Market line trolley, our day ended us up all the way up at Fisherman’s Wharf for a nice dinner and to see the fog roll in.

view of Alcatraz from the pier behind the Ferry Building

Tuesday came around all to soon. I was not ready to leave SF. This place had been my home for over 15 years and I love parts of it so very much and sharing it with someone is even cooler. Like up at the Wharf, running into the relocated Musée Mécanique and playing with all of the old mechanical machines was a true highlight. Just sharing all of the things that I love about this city is a treat.

I got in super late Tuesday night/Wednesday morning and had to wake up and get to work ASAP. I have loads to accomplish before I take off next week for the Puget Sound Bead Festival. I am not teaching and am just exhibiting so it is going to be an interesting event this year. Many of the exhibitors have pulled out and chose not to make the trip. This year is getting hard for many and the fact that they are taking the loss of booth fees as a choice has to be very hard to take.