Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sunday March 28th ~ 2010

Dare! Dare to Believe! Dare to Have Faith! Dare!

I signed up for one of those silly applications on Face Book called Daily Zen. Each day words of wisdom and guidance are posted on my wall. I have to say that the zen given for today had sounded so true in my ears.

"Where there is no vision, the people perish."

If we take this in the context of our country, in this time and in this moment in history I can find no truer nor more insightful comment.

"Where there is no vision, the people perish."

I am tired of the hatred, I am tired of the rhetoric and I am tired of the falsehoods and I am way too tired of the lies that are being touted as truths in order to scare those that are not informed.

I got into a war of words with a complete stranger the other day. A FB acquaintance of mine posted an image of Sarah Palin that was in no way flattering, she was voicing her opinion about how distressed she was with Palin attending rallies in both AZ and NV. My verbal advisory from Alaska stated that that we just needed to spend time in Alaska and get to know her. I found myself adding my 2 cents to the conversation.

What disturbed me the most about this woman was that she had no interest in the truth nor any desire to listen or to learn. She accused me of not seeking the "real" story. I responded that I actually read from the extreme left and the extreme right and from the middle. When I asked her if she read "The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, The Christian Science Monitor, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post or The New York Times, her retort was to belittle my comments as uninformed. I had to say, in a rather "hoity toity" phrase, "I took umbrage with her remarks". To be just a little "snotty" I am sure that she had no idea what the word umbrage meant either.

I was raised in a very conservative household, in the conservative state of Ohio and it was not until I moved to NYC and traveled outside the boarders of my country to see the rest of the world that I understood that we are just a small part of an entire community of the world and that to be isolationistic is to doom ourselves to perish. 

But here is my point for this spring evening: now, on this day and in this time we have a person with a vision in the seat of power and for that I could not feel more secure. For the first time, in a long time, I take pride in my leader and I believe in his mission and his vision. Change cannot happen in a week, in a month or even in a year. Patience is our ally and with it the vision for brighter future is truly within our grasp. We need to believe in what 53% of this nation voted for on that wonderful November day.

Do not let the hateful and the angry gain enough voice to win. Do not let what we have fought for wither and perish with impatience.

Dare! Dare to Believe! Dare to Have Faith! Dare!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Saturday March 27th ~ 2010

Wish me luck: My plate is full to over flowing and I leave my home for almost a month in less than a week. There is a great deal to update here. I have been negligent on several levels especially in the professional realm. So, here we go.

 Several months ago I was asked to submit and article and give an interview for Kalmbach Publishing. The publication is the Art Jewelry Special Wirework 2010. The magazine hit the newsstands just over a month ago and is still very much available. It is loaded with some very fun projects, I highly recommend that you all give it a thorough once-over.

While giving the phone interview, I was grateful to have the opportunity to attempt to give credit where credit was due. I would not be where I am today without the guidance and mostly gentle prodding of Kate Ferrante Richbourg. (Who is now associated with the totally awesome Beaducation.) I look back over these past 10 plus years of teaching and I will always be grateful for that fateful evening, when we were laughing while trying to puzzle out the mysteries of Chain Maille. A great deal of the silliness & humor of that night was lost in the final editing and that is just a sad fact of trying to fill as much information into a very limited space.

 Also out this month is the April 2010 issue of Bead & Button Magazine. In this issue the staff of Bead & Button ran a survey to ask the respondents to give up the names of their favorite instructors. When the top 10 were announced, I was blessed to be included with some pretty amazing company. These women: Marcia DeCoster, Celie Fago, Diane Fitzgerald, Mary Hettsmansburger, Lisa Niven Kelly, Laura McCabe, Cynthia Rutledge, Kim St. Jean & Sherry Serafini are some pretty heavy hitters in our world and to be in their company on any level is an honor.

If you take a look at the calendar on my website it will be noticed that I am a crazy traveler for the month of April. I am off to Interweaves Bead Fest Wire, April 9th - 11th, in King of Prussia, PA. I am teaching 3 classes and am really looking forward to participating in this show for the first time. The following weekend I drive south to Miami FL for Best Bead Miami, April 16th-18th. I am teaching there as well and will also have a table in the show. If you are in the Miami area please stop by and say hello. Then I am off to the Cleveland area to teach for the local guild the last weekend in April. Then I drive home and fall over for a few days before I get up and dive into the heart of the summer travels.

I have to finish up my tutorials for the Master Muse Series with Whole Lotta Whimsey. I am working away and trying to give Tonya all the images that she requires. It is a funny thing, I am a minimalist  when it comes to images for projects like these and it in direct contrast to what is required here.

I have classes to get up and moving for CraftEdu as well. Keep a lookout for them as well.

There is so much creativity out there right now, it is hard to keep up with it all. It is especially hard when the daily running of life just keeps interrupting.

What a day of fun is in store!

Anne Mitchell and Gail Crosman Moore will be teaching a "Coloring Metals, Assembling Outrageous Components" class the day after the NORCAL Bead Society Show in Oakland at the City Center Marriott on May 16, click on the link above which will direct you to my site to sign up.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tuesday March 23rd ~ 2010

Is it a right or is it a privilege?

Edward Kennedy: "Affordable health Insurance is a fundamental right and not a privilege."

For the first time in nearly century this country has taken on the great challenge and has started down the road of providing affordable health care for every person in this country. I watched as our President signed the House Bill this morning and I see us on a road that may actually have a light at the end of a very long dark tunnel.

I am one of those stories that has been talked about. I was laid off from my job after the dot-com crash and 9/11. I used the California COBRA system for as long as it was available to me and at the end of that insurance I had my regular checkup. I was in surgery for the removal of a lump in my breast within 14 days after my insurance ended even though I regularly had my checkups. I was one of the lucky ones, the lump was benign and all I had to do was empty out my retirement account to pay for the surgery. But for the next 5 years I was uninsurable and lived in constant fear that the next mammogram would show another problem. 

I watched Obama sign the bill and I listened to both Democratic and Republican responses to its passage. I listened and weighed out both the praise and the condemnation. I cannot fathom the reason as to why there is so much opposition to this and to a public option and to why there is so much opposition to a person being required to have mandatory health insurance.

The Republican Official response this morning stated that there are just a great many people that just do not want health insurance, are healthy and do not need it. I have a very simple and complete response to that imbecilic notion.

1. We are simply a nation of drivers, it is how a great many of us get around. A drivers license is "mandatory" in order to operate a motor vehicle. It mandatory for several reasons, but mostly it is to insure that everyone is as safe as possible, knows and observes the rules and to keep the roadways safe for us all.

2. We are required to carry drivers insurance. WHY? We are required to have this insurance in case there is an accident, if you as a driver hurt someone and that the bills can be paid for and that this person can have health and property restored. This insurance is required for the safety and security of all on the roads.

The Obvious Answer: So, the logic of this mornings argument follows… if I as a driver have never had an accident, never had a ticket I should not be required to have a drivers license and I should not be required to have insurance. If I do not want it I should not be required to get it.

All I can promise you that if this person who does not want insurance has an accident they would expect, hell, they would demand that an ambulance show up in a timely manner and get them to the hospital, they would demand that they receive the proper care at that hospital. If this happens to be a catastrophic accident and this person did not have a large stash of cash then we would rest of the country pick up the tab in the form of raised premiums.

We need to have a nation of people that are healthy and that understand that preventative health care will make the costs of a universal health care system so much more affordable than the horrific system that we are faced with now.

It is a RIGHT for every person in this country to have access to affordable health care. We are a diverse and complex nation and to believe that not having these fundamental basic services not what we stand for as a nation.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Monday May 22nd ~ 2010

Haters and Big Ol' Meanies Not Allowed

Sorry for being away for so long.

Whew! Santa Fe is over and I have absolutely no time to properly recuperate till I turn around and leave my home for 3 weeks. I am heading to the East Coast for Bead Fest Wire in Valley Forge PA, then off to Best Bead the following weekend in Miami FL, then finishing up in Cleveland the weekend after than one. Right now I think I am going to be leaving Tucson in 12 days for a visit with my mom in Dayton and then on my east coast tour and then finally back home somewhere around the 26th of 27th.

I had one experience in teaching this time that totally shook me to my core. In the safe haven of my classroom i was not prepared to be confronted with pure hatred and bigotry. I turned on some music for the students to listen to while they were working and I chose BB King and a student stated very loudly for all to hear "TWICE" that they could not listen to BB King because he was just a "screaming n_iger". To say that I was shocked, shaking and ashen faced was an understatement.

It took me a day or two to really figure out what it was that had shaken me so badly. While I was taking to the girls about it a word that I had not used before slipped out. I said that I felt violated in some way. I have witnessed hatred, bigotry and the downright stupidity that comes with this kind of ignorance. But, to have it face me in my own classroom in a world where we welcome all individuals shook me to my core.

This experience has changed me as a teacher and as a person. Nothing about this persons appearance or demeanor could have clued me into their extreme levels of ignorance and bigotry. I wish that there was an option for teachers to insert into the class description…


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wednesday March 10th ~ 2010

Time passes to quickly and there are never enough hours in the day to get done all that I desire to get done. It is the constant struggle to find that balance between what needs to be accomplished and that which I desire to do.

Just to be clear, I do cherish my solitude. I long for a long and romantic journey on a train, I have slept peacefully and alone under the stars on a beach in Greece and traveling to far and distant lands is a desire beyond desires. I do follow my instincts and always sort of kick myself when I do not listen to that little voice in my head. My only desire is to be true to myself and my friends and to have them to be true to me and the "fitting in" will figure itself out.

I totally believe in kissing for hours on end.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tuesday March 2nd ~ 2010

All I can say is that I am so ready for March to be here. The beginning of this year has been way too intense on so many levels. It has been a non-stop whirlwind of one thing after another and each of these things is an obstacle that had to be overcome. I am hoping that with the beginning of this month we can start from scratch and sort of have a do-over for the beginning of 2010. Is that okay with everyone?

To say that I have had a blast watching the Olympic for the last fortnight is a huge understatement. I have been a fan of the Olympics since I was old enough to understand what they were. I have been witness to some of the most amazing sporting events in history because my parents instilled in me the importance and passion of the games.

Franz Klammer
- The most famous downhill run in Innsbruck 1976.
Dan Jansen  - Speed Skating collapse in 1988 and his glorious victory in 1992.
Olga Korbit - the Russian gymnastic darling of the Munich games of 1972.
Nadia Com─âneci - the Romanian gymnast that was the first to ever score a perfect 10 in scoring in 1976 Montreal Games.
Mark Spitz - the American swimmers 7 gold meals at the '72 Munich Games.
Brian Boitano & Brian Orser - Mens Figure Skating - The Battle of the Brians at the Calgary games of 1988.
Dorothy Hamill - American Figure Skating Gold Medalist from the 1976 Innsbruck Games.
Greg Louganis - The American diver that smacked his head on the spring board and went on to win gold at the 1984 & 1988 Games.
Michael Edwards - Eddy the Eagle - The horrible English Ski Jumper who was so bad that he had all of the coaches from every team giving him advise in 1988.
Edwin Moses - American Hurdler who won gold in 76 Montreal and 84 Los Angeles and bronze in 88
Seoul - He could not compete in 80 due to the US boycott of the Moscow Games.
American Hockey - The Miracle on Ice - the 1980 Lake Placid American win over the Russians in the semi-final match. These were college athletes because this was before the inclusion of the professional players inclusion into the games.)

One of the most horrific memories I have is from the 1972 Munich Games and hearing Jim McKay saying through a strained voice "They're all gone" upon hearing that 11 Israeli  athletes had been murdered by the group Black September, a militant Palestinian splinter group of the PLO terrorists. I was nine and it was trying to grasp what was happening.

What I have grown to care about over the years of these competitions is that it does not really matter to me who wins. I love that all of these athletes come together and are competing to try to claim a dream that they have striven for. Even through the Eastern/Communist Blocs usage of steroids and the boycotts of the Moscow and Los Angeles games the dreams have endured and the desire to be an Olympian remains such a height to attain. The history of the games is that the Greeks stopped wars to assemble to compete and I believe that this desire to come together in peace and good will still exists.

It is the smiles of the athletes as they attain personal goals that keeps me coming back for every gathering and my heart breaks for each athlete that suffers disappointments. It is the humanity of the games that has captured my own imagination and I love being allowed to take the journey with them.

So, in closing for the 2010 Winter Games, thank you Canada for hosting such an excellent gathering. I await the London Summer Games of 2012. Let the games begin!