Thursday, October 6, 2011

Thursday Oct. 6th ~ 2011

I was driving south towards Miami Florida last week, dusk was approaching as I drove south and in front of me was the this huge cloud. It looked like that massive cloud from the movie Independence Day when the alien space craft was entering the atmosphere. There was lighting all over those clouds, just like in the movie and as I drove south I got to drive through it and at one point the light show was all around me. It was amazing. At one point there was horizontal lighting that went across the entire sky light a wave. I have never seen or experienced anything like it.

During the weekend of the show, I got to spend time with great friends and that made the long journey totally worthwhile. There is not much that can make things better then just relaxing with your friends.

I was driving north in the dark of the early morning after my few days in Miami I watched as the sky lightened and the day dawned. There is not much that can compare to a this kind of sunrise. It is just different; I love the mountain sunrise with its majesty and the desert sunrise with it's subtle changes as the sun comes up over the horizon. But here in Florida I love the way the mist gathers in the low places and rises to meet the sun.

The completion of this amazing morning was to watch an American Bald Eagle fly about 50 feet in front of and above my car. It just took my breath away.

It really is the simple things that make me happiest.  

"If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change." ~ Buddah

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wednesday Sept 21st. ~ 2011 ~

I got back from the fall Tucson Gem Show a few days ago where I was exhibiting at the Whole Bead Show. As I drove through Hatch on my way to I-10 west towards Tucson, I was totally shocked to see an amazing 5 megawatt CPV project.

The last time I drove on that stretch of road from Hatch to Demming in February there was no hint that this was to be built. I had a bit of a sense of how big each of these panels was. It seemed that each panel was about the size of a small house and there seemed to be close to a hundred of them.

Here in the Southwest these types of installations just seem to make so much sense and are so efficient. A megawatt is one million watts… that is a lot of power and here is how to put it into perspective

A typical house has a 200 amp main,
That breaks down to 10-20 amp circuits
A 20 amp circuit is equal to 2400 watts.
This installation can power 25,000 homes with ease.

This is totally cool!  Biggest CPV Project in US Up and Running in NM

Elizabeth Warren spoke these words and it is the clearest summation of what I have been trying to find words for. It is clear, concise and comes directly to the point. I thank you Elizabeth and I wish you great success in your Massachusetts Senate 2012 Campaign. I hope that your ideals catch on and I wish that I could vote for you!

"There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody! You built a factory out there - good for you.
But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn't have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory….
Now look. You built a factory and turned into something terrific or a great idea - God Bless! Keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along."

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sunday September 18th ~ 2011

One week ago this nation held vigil for those lost on Sept. 11th 2001. As I looked through the posts on my Face Book feed there was the same question asked over and over again; "Do you remember where you were when you heard the news?" Well, I do remember, vividly, yet to me, that is not the question I desire an answer to. The question that I keep asking is: "Do you know where our country has gone?"

I am dismayed at the fundamental shift that this nation has taken in this last decade and it saddens me to my core. For the briefest of moments, right after this tragedy, this nation actually cared for its citizens. We were kind to one another, courteous, aware of the people around us and took the time to see if any one needed a hand or a shoulder and I was proud to be a citizen of this Nation.

Over this last decade we have allowed a small group of people with very boisterous voices full of hate, fear mongering and bigotry to become our loudest voice, all with the banner of a God or Jesus Christ behind it to give it credence. Last week in the GOP debates, the crowd cheered as Texas Gov. Perry (with his God Driven Campaign) lauded his states execution accomplishments and a member of the audience yelled "YES" when asked if a man in a coma with no health insurance should be left to die.

Osama Bib Laden is accomplishing his stated goal. He sought to destroy our Nation from within and he may be succeeding. He has driven a wedge through the core belief in what this land of opportunity was founded on. We came together as a melting pot and this mix of people, cultures and faiths was and is our greatest strength. Our base ideal; that all are equal under the law, are all able to thrive and grow, that we do unto others as we would have others do unto us, is what has driven this nation for well over 200 years.

Yet now, I see all of that slipping away from our grasp. I see greed, fear, hate and a distain for difference eroding the moral foundations that so many generations of this nation have died fighting for. And for what? What are they gaining with all of this hatred?

To my unbelieving eyes, see a portion of our Nation that despises our President because of the color of his skin. And what blows me away is that most of these are people that claim to be faithful and God-fearing people that put God and Country first. Do they even know where this country came from? Do they not realize that their families were also once immigrants that came to these shores from another country seeking freedom and a chance to thrive? They claim to love America yet hate Americans and what this Country stands for.

Do so few see that there is no other place in the world that you can arrive, join in and become a core member of that society. One cannot move to China and become Chinese, one cannot move to France and become French or move to Germany and become German but you sure as hell can move to the United States of America and become an American. Do you not see that is what has made us great?

I despise this class warfare that is being perpetrated by the GOP. It is actually a war they may be winning. The desired goal is to destroy the middle class, by removing it's voice in our Government and to enslave the lower class of citizens to where they have no way out of their lot in life. All of this is being made possible with their hate speech and them telling you who you need to be afraid of and whom you need to hate. They are accomplishing this with vitriolic speech and the false pretense that what made this nation great is what is destroying it.

I do not know how to make it stop, then I find a quote like this: 

"We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people." ~ John F. Kennedy ~

Monday, August 22, 2011

Monday August 22nd ~ 2011

I have been traveling a bit and working on new work while getting submission in for next years tour of shows. Images of new work to soon follow...
Most importantly, I have been reading poetry again. This poet has caught my imagination....
As One Listens To The Rain
Listen to me as one listens to the rain,
not attentive, not distracted,
light footsteps, thin drizzle,
water that is air, air that is time,
the day is still leaving,
the night has yet to arrive,
figurations of mist
at the turn of the corner,
figurations of time
at the bend in this pause,
listen to me as one listens to the rain,
without listening, hear what I say
with eyes open inward, asleep
with all five senses awake,
it’s raining, light footsteps, a murmur of syllables,
air and water, words with no weight:
what we are and are,
the days and years, this moment,
weightless time and heavy sorrow,
listen to me as one listens to the rain,
wet asphalt is shining,
steam rises and walks away,
night unfolds and looks at me,
you are you and your body of steam,
you and your face of night,
you and your hair, unhurried lightning,
you cross the street and enter my forehead,
footsteps of water across my eyes,
listen to me as one listens to the rain,
the asphalt’s shining, you cross the street,
it is the mist, wandering in the night,
it is the night, asleep in your bed,
it is the surge of waves in your breath,
your fingers of water dampen my forehead,
your fingers of flame burn my eyes,
your fingers of air open eyelids of time,
a spring of visions and resurrections,
listen to me as one listens to the rain,
the years go by, the moments return,
do you hear the footsteps in the next room?
not here, not there: you hear them
in another time that is now,
listen to the footsteps of time,
inventor of places with no weight, nowhere,
listen to the rain running over the terrace,
the night is now more night in the grove,
lightning has nestled among the leaves,
a restless garden adrift-go in,
your shadow covers this page.
~ Octavio Paz

Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday July 22nd ~ 2011

To say that I had a last fantastic day of hiking in Glacier and then 3 even better days of teaching at the Powder Horn Trading Co may be one biggest understatements I have made in the last decade.

McDonald Creek- LoL
The park on Thursday was so beautiful. The weather was cold and over cast and the trails had the most unusual quite calm quite to them. It was almost unnerving at times. But I hiked a good portion of the McDonald's Falls Trail along McDonald Creek. (The word creek seems a bit understated at this time of year. The creek are more like raging  rapids.)

After the Falls I picked a trail that is not on the major lists of trails to hike. I hiked along the South Boarder Trail up to the cut off for Loneman Mountain Lookout Tower. I had to turn back at Harrison Creek due to the lack of other hikers. I did promise my GF that I would not get attacked while I was partaking of nature. This trail follows the Flathead River ultimately cuts back along the Coal Creek up to Buffalo Woman Lake. After being the total geek that I know I am and scouring the topographical map of the park that I bought this is a hike that I need to take the next time I am back in Glacier.

Benton Bridge & Flathead River
 Classes were a blast and each and every student was a total joy to get to know. I am excited about the possibility of coming back next year for another round of classes and I know for sure that Terri & I are coming to Glacier next summer for some serious fun.

Not only were my hosts Cindy & Bud, the owners of Powder Horn Trading Co, totally generous by opening up their home to me, they also fed me almost to bursting. As Cindy said she did not want me to go back and say that I was not fed well. My second to last morning the 3 of us went on an early morning horse back ride for over 3 hours that went up to what Cindy called the nose bleed section of the hills where they live. The views back towards the Mountains was spectacular.

*** I will see if I can get my hands on some pictures of the 2 horses I rode, Nada & Pepe as well as Bud and Cindy's most excellent dog Hank. ***

My drive back to New Mexico was uneventful and as the miles passed the unfolding scenery was absolutely breathtaking. Had I really paid attention to my return route I may have decided to take a few days and do some hiking in Yellowstone National Park. I had no idea that I would be driving right by the eastern side of the park. Well, maybe next time I am out that way I will figure out a way to add that into the itinerary.

It is good to be home and I enjoyed taking Thursday off to rest and gather together the memories of my past 2 weeks away from my wonderful life here. It was an action packed 2 weeks and I have to get right back at it ASAP.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wednesday July 13th ~ 2011

Day 2 in Glacier National Park did not disappoint.

The decision to hike the 7 mile Haystack Butte trail at Logan Pass was the choice for this days adventure. The departure time from the hotel was 9am on the dot and looking forward to a most excellent day.

Today, the Logan Pass was opened and it was the latest date for the pass opening in the parks 101 year history. This road is called the Road to the Sun and it is a breathtaking 50 mile drive that takes you up to the high point of Logan Pass. The elevation of the pass is 6646 feet and upon our arrival we were greeted with a great deal of snow. Logan Pass is actually on the Continental Divide which is cool.

The snow a Logan Pass

The Park Ranger told me that the Haystack Butte Trail was totally socked in with snow and was "totally scary" so the grand plan of hiking a high elevation trail was a big fat NO. So… back in the car, over the pass and off to St Mary's Falls and Virginia Falls for a 5.5 mile hike that was no less amazing.

St Mary's Falls
Virginia Falls

Even though the traveling in the car today was close to 200 miles there were amazing sites to be seen. At the end of the day there was the surprise of a heard of goats bounding down the side of a mountain. I have not laughed that hard at something that cute for a very very long time.

Really Cute Goats

The most disappointing aspect so far is that the hotel does not have the Verses Channel so I am actually missing the Tour De France. UGH, and tomorrow is the first mountain stage. I need my tour.. I am going through withdraw.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tuesday July 12 ~ 2011

After working like a crazy person for these last months I am getting 3 days of hiking in Glacier National Park before I start teaching at the Powder Horn Trading Co. in Kalispell Montana. Today was day #1 of the adventure.

"Be still like a mountain and flow like a great river." ~ Lao Tzu ~

Trail of the Cedars trail head

The hike along The Avalanche Lake Trail is a total of 6 miles. The entire trail runs parallel to the Avalanche Creek. Now, understand that the word "creek" is a total understatement. It is really the Avalanche Gorge and is an extremely fast running heavy duty stream that is fed from the lake and the lake is is fed from the glacier melt.

As you hike along the path, it is the sound that surrounds you and is the most amazing. During the entire 4 plus hours of the hike the presence of the rushing water is always there, is every present, always moving letting you know that you are getting closer to your goal. It is so powerful and so awe inspiring to be a part of it for just those few hours. 
The hike to Avalanche Lake

My last National Park experience was Yellowstone with my parents when I was in my mid to late 30's. (i know… I know…) This was a very different experience. Where Yellowstone is all about the effects of thermal features on the surrounding landscape, Glacier is all about mountains, melting snow packs & the rushing waters from the many glaciers of the area.
The view end of the trail

This is a much needed respite and rejuvenation of my soul. My camera is clicking and my creative spirit is starting to glow again.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sunday July 10 ~ 2011

Well; I stand admonished: George, a longtime student and follower of my blog came up to me today at the Puget Sound Bead Festival and admonished me for being a slacker for not positing on a more regular basis.

It has been year since I relocated to Albuquerque from Tucson and this shift in my focus and in my life has been a positive one. I have loads to say and so much to talk about. Only now, I have another person to talk to and I do not just have to type out what I am thinking and feeling. So, my drive to post has been diminished to some extent.

Life is a constant ebb and flow, as I learn how to incorporate a constant presence in my daily life am figuring out how to keep on task and still meet all of the goals that I have set for myself. It is a harder task than I thought it would be. As much as I know that I am in a totally wonderful relationship that I would never trade for anything there is some small part of me that is a hermit and loves my solitude.

So, my travels are still my solace and my time for introspection. I have spent my drives of this year contemplating my past, both professionally as well as personally. I am sure that there are things that we all wish that we could do differently or try again, but I will say with all honestly that I would not change one aspect of the last 3 & 1/2 years of my life. I have made hard choices and I have made the right ones

I am at peace and I am at home in my own skin as I feel I have not been for a very very long time, or if ever. True happiness and contentment is a constant goal and to find it, grasp it and accept it is a true test of ones self.

Bead and Button this year was fun as always and I am now hanging in Tacoma at the end of the Puget Sound Bead Festival and getting ready to head out in the morning to Kalispell, Montana to teach at the Powder Horn Trading Co. next weekend.

I have never been to Montana and I am excited that Jeannette Cook (seed bead artist extraordinary) & I are going to be hiking in Glacier National Park for the first part of next week before I settle in to teach next Saturday - Monday.

For those of you that have followed me for the last few years know I am up every morning in July before dawn to watch each stage of the Tour De France and I have my favorites and as I drink my mornings Peet's coffee, I cheer at the end of every day as the riders that are my favorites succeed or struggle on.

I am digging into all of the political nonsense again so I will warn you now that many of my posts over the next months will be politically slanted.. I know that will be a surprise for many (NOT) but get ready, there is steam coming out of my ears on so many issues.

I drive to Montana tomorrow and am looking forward to a totally new adventure. Stay Tuned for Amazing Updates.

The Simple Tao

The Way is to benefit others and not to injure.
The Way is to act but not to compete.
It does not show greatness and is therefore truly great.

~ Start The Way ~
Be still like a mountain and flow like a great river

    Tao ~ "the way", "the path": it is often represented by water because water always seeks the path of least resistance, yet is strong enough to demolish even stone when no other recourse is available. everything below flows from this.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Monday May 2nd ~ 2011

It has been one crazy week for our little world. I do not think that I have ever witnessed a week of more news worthy emotional extremes.

I am in awe of our President and his ability to multitask and not let anyone down in these past days. I know for sure that we elected the correct man for the job. Could you even begin to imagine the mess that McCain and Palin would have made of these same circumstances?

I am proud of our British and Italian neighbors, each nation put on a beautiful show that gave the rest of us a bit of a breather during an incredibly hard week.

Here is the last six days as I watched it unfold. Be amazed!

April 27th
• The largest outbreak of tornadoes and super cell storms ravaged Alabama, Tennessee and several other states.

I waited in fear of knowing the damage that these storms can inflict and waited to hear from those I know in the areas that are suffering the effects of these storms. I grew up in Ohio and watched the Xenia tornado pass over my house so I know very well the power of nature.

April 28th
•The President of the United States faces down an idiotic group of "fundies" by releasing his long form birth certificate and it was no surprise the "fundies" still were not satisfied.

I was mad. I hated that our President needed to personally address our Nation and the News agencies to focus on what actually matters. Come on folks. STOP giving time and pandering to a circus clown.

April 29th
• Prince William and Kate Middleton were married in England. An event that was watched by over 2 billion people and broke Internet records.

I got up at 2am to watch live. I had baked scones the night before to feel just a little bit British. The ceremony was so beautiful. No one does pageantry like the Brits! I loved the pageantry and I truly loved that the British accomplished the impossible. They incorporated the majestic pageantry of the day and totally made the event feel intimate and meaningful to William and Catherine.

• Obama gives the order to take out Osama Bin Laden after an intense several months intelligence gathering.
• Obama tours ravaged Alabama
• Obama tours Cape Canaveral and meets with Gabriele Giffords
• Obama gives commencement address at Miami Dade College

I watched the news live of the damage in the south that the storms inflicted and took count of friends that were in its path. I breathed a sigh of personal relief with the knowledge that the people that I knew were okay.

I waited for the Space Shuttle Launch and wanted to Giffords so I could personally see her amazing progress. I was disappointed by the delay but was pleased to know that the President met with Giffords.

April 30th
• Obama shakes a finger at the "birthers" and he Seth Meyers lambaste Donald Trump at the White House Correspondents' Dinner

"The Donald” cries like the spoiled baby he is on Sunday morning Fox News. (Who else would listen to his crap pandering?) Welcome to the Big Leagues Donald, Wanna Play In This Sand Box? Here you go! I could not have been more delighted to see these two very intelligent men rip this idiot to shreds. I love watching that jerk just sit there and grind his teeth while the President put him in his place. (All during that event, our nation was preparing for the dangerous mission of crossing into Pakistan to take out Osama Bin Laden.)

May 1st.
Obama signals “GO” on an incredibly dangerous and risky mission to take out the most wanted man in the world and the mission is successful.

Beatification of Pope John Paul II was celebrated in Rome in a truly beautiful and memory filled ceremony at Vatican City.

I watched a good portion of the beatification, it was hard to concentrate with all of that Latin going on but the music and the pageantry was so beautiful. It has always been a dream of mine to see Vatican City to be able view the amazing structures and art first hand.

At 10:30pm I was texted by my girlfriend who is away in TX to turn to the news for the President. Obama informs the world that Bin Laden is dead and his body is in the custody of the American Military. I was in a surreal state of shock for the next 30 minutes. I was concerned by the jubilant response to the news. It is not what I felt at all.

I was taken by the following quote. "I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that." --Martin Luther King, Jr.

May 2nd.
Can we all take a breath now? I am tired and need a break from "The Breaking News."

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Thursday April 28 ~ 2011

I never thought that I would see, in this day an age, in our nation, a small, ignorant and short minded group, under the guise of patriotism, refuse to admit their own short sighted bigotry. This entire "birther" issue has absolutely nothing to do with our nations President being born in the USA but it is absolutely and totally about his being black.

This resolute refusal to accept that an exceptional individual could come from a minority group in our country, utilize the system provided and attain the greatest seat of power this nation can offer one of is citizens flies in the face of the countries deepest creed; "Achieving The American Dream". Or is this "Dream" only for the "White Folk"?

When I see a *man (disclaimer: I use that term with the greatest of reservations) like Donald Trump pandering to the absolute lowest common denominator & stirring up this race based vitriolic dialog and baiting these groups to further his own fame the worst of all possible behavior for a *person (please see above disclaimer) in his position of being able to command attention and TV time.

I absolutely loved Ron Reagan's comment on MSNBC's Hardball last evening asking how we could take person with a "confectionary cotton candy combover" seriously and WHY were we paying him nay heed. I was also proud of Lawrence O'Donnell's attack against NBC's entrainment division for allowing this farce to continue when Trump may already be contractually committed to another season of his FAKE Reality TV show.

I watched the news in spurts over these last 4 weeks due in most part to the entire month of April being spent driving over 7300 miles up and down the East Coast for 3 gigs in 3 weeks AND moving my mother into her new apartment. I was actually shocked to see that this story still had ANY teeth left to it after EVERY news agency and even that flake Bill O'Reilly from Fox saying that this should end due to the fact that there has been absolutely no evidence to support these ridiculous notions.

There were no riots in 2008 over the fact that John McCain was born on a military base in the Panama Canal, ANOTHER COUNTRY, and the issue was put to rest as soon as everyone said it was okay. Is this because he is the "White Guy"? I am actually starting to really believe so and that there is a group of individuals in this country that just cannot resolve to accept that a black man is our Commander and Chief.

This ability of these hate mongers to find each other and gain momentum is due solely to the rise of the Internet. This form of information retrieval and communications devise is as much a blessing as it is a curse. It allows the insanity gain footing and yet at the same time it lets me voice my absolute dismay that it can continue.

I was as proud as I was saddened yesterday as I watched our President address this issue yet again. My overriding thought was that he was actually doing this as much for our nation as he was for his children. My heart breaks for those two beautiful young girls as well as his wife Michelle who also has to witness this attack on her husband.

I cannot abide hatred and bigotry, I cannot fathom a persons hatred for the color of their skin. I saw it first hand just over a year ago in my classroom in Santa Fe, when I was playing music for the students to work to, and a male student called BB King a "Screaming F-ing N-word" in front of my class.

We need to make a choice in this Nation of ours.
Are we a true melting pot or not?
Are we a Nation that believes in attaining the American Dream?
Are we or are we not and entire nation of immigrants?

If not, I would kindly ask those that do not believe in equality for all to leave the country and choose another place to reside.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Thursday March 31 ~ 2011 ~

Quote of the Day: "Only the educated are free." Epictetus

When I sit down to try to write after a prolonged absence from posting I get frustrated by too many things to say. Not only do I have loads to comment on in the political arena I had much to say in regards to my personal life as well.

The beginning of March found me in Oakland for the NorCal one day show with my friend Gail Crosman Moore. We had some much needed time together and as usual it was way too short.

I got home to Abq. just in time for my presence to be required in jury duty for two weeks. Now this is two weeks of not being able to get work done during the day due to my inability to take my MacBook Pro into the courthouse. (it has a camera) I actually had to get my old PowerBok G4 shipped out to my from Tucson the last 2 days of my daytime "incarceration."

With my days being shot to hell in a hand-basket, my evenings were dedicated to scrambling like a crazed person getting ready for 3 weekends of events and teaching in April. As well as driving across the country and up and down the eastern seaboard for 3 weeks I am bopping in and out of Dayton getting my mom moved into her new apartment.

My mom has decided to finally sell the house that I grew up in from when I was 3 years old. I have not lived in this house since I was 18, so I have no real attachments involved. It is just difficult timing. I only have a two days here and two days there to get a load of things accomplished for her final move. I am very happy about her choice to get out of a house that was way to large for her needs and feel that this will simplify her life in a great many ways as well as be a very great new adventure for her.

This evening I am sitting in a hotel just east of Nashville TN drinking my tea and waiting for the Melatonin to kick in so I can get to sleep.

I am watching the news and am dumbfounded by so much of the fighting amongst the two parties in the House and the Senate. The bickering just keeps going on and on. The Republicans keep talking about how they want to focus on jobs but can only see fit to take away a woman's right to affordable health care by the de-funding Planned Parenthood, to pass legislation to de-fund NPR, eliminate collective bargaining through the newly elected Republican governors in our nation and try like hell to demean our President by any means necessary.

A post from the Daily Kos that made my day:

According to most right-wing pundits, President Obama represents the demon seed of socialism. Just today, for example, Rep. Michele Bachmann said he's intentionally making Americans poorer.

But let's put aside all the hot air and just look at the facts. Based on this chart of stock market performance under Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama, can you figure out which administration had the anti-growth record?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wednesday February 23rd ~ 2011

I moved to Albuquerque last June, evidently after the worst of the allergy season had passed by. Well, 3 or 4 days ago the winds started to pick up here and I started sneezing and my eyes started watering. Not thinking that the two occurrences could be connected, I thought that I was getting a cold. I asked my health care providing girlfriend what I should take for these symptoms to avoid getting all out sick. She promptly informed me that I was having an allergic reaction to all of the pollens that were being stirred up due to the winds and to not expect it to end till mid May. Needless to say, I was a bit shocked by this pronouncement. I have never been allergic to anything and now I am on Zyrtec and I hate pills.

Sombrero Galaxy
So why the picture of a distant galaxy? I am gonna tell you.

First off, let it be known to all that, sneezing and sniffing is hard and takes it out of you. After 20 plus hours of these draining activities, I was really  tired and worn out by this newly addressed affliction. I was tucked in bed with some tea and watching a NOVA series on space. The experts were talking about all of the different Galaxies and Dark Matter and Dark Energy and how our Galaxy is part of a bigger Galaxy in a sea of Galaxies.

I was so tired and my mind so fluid that these theories started to creep into my mind and the notion of infinity started to take shape. These theories were so immense, I got totally freaked out by the concept of infinity and I was starting to grasp the enormity of this infinity and I could actually start to see it. I had to turn off the program because I was starting to feel very insignificant. I realized that we individuals are less than a grain of sand on the beach of the universe and I really did not like that feeling too much.

We live on this planet that is floating in a sea of infinity, there is no end, it just keeps going. Yet, to us, this world is so amazing and huge and intricate that we can easily become overwhelmed by the sizes of it's problems. I believe that there is nothing that we can't over come, nothing that we can't solve and nothing that we can't dare. I believe that if we can see into the heavens, look back through time to the beginnings of our universe, I am sure that we can tackle the issues that we are presented with and solve them. If there are those on this planet that can grasp something as huge as "out there" surely there are some of us that can grasp "right here" and work to solve what confronts us.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Friday February 18th ~ 2011

Arizona is headed off the deep end and Jan Brewer is the sadistic wolf that is leading the sheep off of the cliff to their doom. She actually has NO right what so ever to sound off on these issues. I am truly sick and tired of the extremist right activities that this governor thinks she is entitled.

1. AZ SB 1070:  She signed a law that systematically tried to force the police to profile anyone that  may "look" like and illegal and ask them for documentation as to their right to be in AZ.

2. AZ Health Care Cost Containment System:  She has denied transplant patients life saving medical procedures, several lives have been lost to her callus and irresponsible stand.

3. She is promoting a bill in AZ to calls into question laws that have been on the books in our country since the Civil Rights Act of 1866.

Here is what the 14th. Amendment actually says

14th Amendment to the United States Constitution

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

I lived in Tucson for a few years and was pleased to find that bastion of liberal blue in the sea overwhelming restrictive red. The people of AZ have to stand up and end this systemic dismantling of the rights that this country has fought and died for.

What I am glad to see that is that the democratic tsunami that is sweeping through middle east is igniting a fire under the ass of the people that let the Republicans gain control of the House in Congress & elect a number of Republican Governors whose only allegiance is to the top 2% wealth of this nation.

Wisconsin was to see a 121 billion dollar surplus in its budget, then the newly elected governor Walker set in place a  number of tax cuts to the wealthiest of the wealthy and NOW the state is in line for a 151 billion dollar deficit. He is now trying to lay that cost on who???? Oh yeah.. the middle class, and is trying limit the collective bargaining rights of union workers of those middle class workers.

Over the past few days, these people are standing up and telling the Republicans of Wisconsin that this is not an option. I am so proud of the Democratic representatives standing along side of the middle class and actually leaving to state to stop this steamrolling legislation from being voted on.

Now, don't get me wrong, there are some unions out there that have way to much power and can send me screaming down the street , but I will defend the rights of these unions to represent it's workers that gave a voice to those who spent generations having none.

Voices are not to be silenced and the Democratic liberal voice has to become organized or else we will be forced to live in a nation where is it commonplace for our rights to be dismantled and our voices to be silenced by those who only answer to the wealthy of our nation. Believe me when I say that the Koch family does not care about American Family Values, they only care about their billions.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Friday February 11 ~ 2011

"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."
~ Mahatma Gandhi ~

Here is to those who flourish against all opposition. My heart soars for Egypt and all of those that chose to follow the teachings of Gandhi & Martin Luther King in knowing that non-violent opposition to oppression would give them the freedoms that they so desire.

"Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swaps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all. DO not let the hero in your soul perish in the lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exhausts… it is real… it is possible… it's yours." ~ Ayn Rand ~

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Thursday February 10 ~ 2011

My week in Tucson, exhibiting at the Best Bead Show and teaching, was a great time, once we got there! Terri & I left Albuquerque at 10:10am on Tuesday morning right as the blizzard conditions were just hitting their stride. As we drove south towards Hatch, NM the storm only got worse and at times we were traveling through near whiteout conditions. The conditions cleared as we approached Truth of Consequences, NM and to say that I was grateful to finally set the cruse control and relax my death grip on the steering wheel.

Setup went smooth and we hooked up with friends for our favorite Shrimp Culichi. Wednesday was our 14 hour day and it was so freaking cold that the outdoors exhibitors and those in the tents had to close up early. In the years that I lived in Tucson, I had never experienced temperatures that cold.

The rest of the show days got continually warmer and those customers that had gotten trapped in the countrywide storm trickled into town and added to the fun. It is always so great to see friends that I only get to see just once a year for these few days and the show atmosphere adds to the enthusiasm.

Terri & I got to spend this past Monday exploring the To Bead True Blue, Pueblo and Riverview Inn shows before we started out trek home.

As always, it is wonderful to get home, snuggle with my grey fuzzy and sleep in our own bed. Spent this past Tuesday, being a totally sloth, resting from the previous week and trying to get a list together of all of the things that I needed to get accomplished before Friday

All during these few days home I have been totally absorbed in the demonstrations in Egypt. The news has been on almost non-stop since I got back to New Mexico.  I am amazed by the courage and determination of these Egyptians and the desire to fight for the freedoms that they have been denied for the last 3 decades. I am impressed that the people are demonstrating peacefully, policing the square themselves.

This evening’s announcement by Mubarak only continues to demonstrate the amazing amount of self-delusion that this man lives by. For some reason he just continues to believe that these protests will just fade away and everything will return to business as usual. He continues to try the same old propaganda, to try to blame exterior forces for causing this disruption and blaming the cable news media for inciting the hysteria.

I too, take off my shoe in disgust for this regime and yes… he must go!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Wednesday February 2nd ~ 2011

 The Rules of Being Human

You will receive a body.  You may like it or hate it, but it will be yours for as long as you live.  How you take care of it or fail to take care of it can make an enormous difference in the quality of your life.

You will learn lessons.  You are enrolled in a full-time, informal school called Life.  Each day, you will be presented with opportunities to learn what you need to know.  The lessons presented are often completely different from those you think you need.

There are no mistakes, only lessons.  Growth is a process of trial, error and experimentation.  You can learn as much from failure as you can from success. Maybe more.

A lesson is repeated until it is learned. 
A lesson will be presented to you in various forms until you have learned it.  When you have learned it (as evidenced by a change in your attitude and ultimately your behavior) then you can go on to the next lesson.

Learning lessons does not end.
  There is no stage of life that does not contain some lessons.  As long as you live there will be something more to learn.

“There” is no better than “here”.
  When your “there” has become a “here” you will simply discover another “there” that will again look better than your “here.” Don’t be fooled by believing that the unattainable is better than what you have.

Others are merely mirrors of you.
  You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it reflects something you love or hate about yourself.  When tempted to criticize others, ask yourself why you feel so strongly.

What you make of your life is up to you.
  You have all the tools and resources you need.  What you create with those tools and resources is up to you.  Remember that through desire, goal setting and unflagging effort you can have anything you want. Persistence is the key to success.

The answers lie inside of you. 
The solutions to all of life’s problems lie within your grasp.  All you need to do is ask, look, listen and trust yourself.

Tuesday February 1st ~ 2011

Well, here is February 1st and I am out the door for the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show. I am exhibiting at the Best Bead Show at the Kino Sports Complex. If you are in town.. stop by booth G-510 in the main gym.

I had one of the worst days at my bench that I have ever had today. No matter what I touched I ruined it. I have about 10 pieces that I wanted to assemble and after I totally screwed up the first 3 I decided that I needed to listen to that screaming voice in my head to "STOP" and "LET IT GO!" I have not had one of these days in a very long time and it was rather disappointing to know that I had hit the proverbial stone wall.

So I just went on with the other mundane tasks that I had on my plate for the day and got all of those accomplished in my very retentive manner and only had one minor melt-down when I could not find my jewelry pricing tags that were right in front of my face the entire time.

I am fascinated by all of the events that are unfolding in Egypt and the Middle East this last week. It is incredible what role the Internet, Social Media and Cell Phone Technology have played in the social uprising against "President" Hosni Mubarak and against Tunisia's leader. (Now, I use the word "President" loosely, Mubarak is a dictator who heads one of the worlds most corrupt and brutal Police Forces in the world.)

His regime has been in place for 30 years and even though their have been "elections" all who follow the goings on in the Middle East know that there is none of the freedoms that we hold so dearly. Over 40% of this nation lives on about $2.00 a day and these people work for pay so they can feed their family that evening.

I think that it is amazing that is was the youth of this nation that have risen up and for the most part have participated in peaceful demonstrations for the ouster of this dictator. Egypt is a very peace loving nation and there is no chance of any Islamic power struggle in this country.

I will continue to follow this action with great interest and it is my fervent hope that the protests are peaceful and that these people gain the freedoms and services that they so desperately desire.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wednesday January 26th ~ 2011

I need someone to explain this to me please...

I spent the last week getting to Florida and back so I could teach Friday, Saturday & Sunday of last weekend. I also gave a talk on "How to Find Your Creative Voice in an Over Stimulating World" on Thursday evening at the South Florida Guilds meeting.

During the 2000 mile drive from Albuquerque to Miami I drove through some of the most conservative areas of our country. As I was traveling along I started to see a very interesting pattern. I tend to drive through the center of the country a great deal and most of those states are considered pretty conservative. As I passed through these last few states I noticed something strange.

What has struck me as an odd dichotomy is the very real fact that there are more XXX rated Adult Super Stores in these Ultra-Conservative, Religious Fundamentalist Republican states than I have ever encountered in any liberal state that I have visited

My perplexed state comes from a very real double standard that is being represented. How is it that these states that lay claim to be so morally and religiously superior to the rest of us heathens, have more billboards touting the damnation that a woman will incur is she dares to have an abortion and yet have HUGE billboards for strip clubs that "bare all" & XXX rated video stores with 1000's of the hottest titles and massage parlors that I am assuming are not actually giving massages.

How do the people who live in these states reconcile these two diametrically opposing points of view? Do the inhabitants of these states find it acceptable to have such establishments open for business and having these billboards seen for all who travel along see their moral two-faced lives?

Now here is the major caveat to these observations, to me it seems that the majority of these establishments are placed along the highways so that maybe the locals can claim that it's the travelers that are passing through that visit these businesses. But as I was driving, I actually took the time to take an exit or two and look at the cars in these lots and I was not surprised at all to see that majority of the cars were locals plates.

I find the moral dilemma here a fascinating one for sure. I would truly love to understand how the strict moral right can reconcile this issue for me in a way that does not demean and belittle the moral values that they scream so loudly about.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Thursday January 20th ~ 2011

I do own the Classic black iPod.

I am in Miami after a long drive of 2 and a half days. I forwent my usual book listening routine and I decided that I needed to listen to some music during this trip.

The first day I set my iPod to shuffle and was entertained by a very wide variety of musical selections. Yesterday was dedicated to Tom Waits, his gravelly voice unique view of the world. Today was spent jamming to Prince while I finished up my trip in 80º sunshine traveling south on the Florida Turnpike. All in all a very rewarding musical drive.

I gave my talk this evening for the South Florida Jewelry  Guild and it was wonderful to see so many familiar faces and catch up with friends and even a kindred spirit that I have not seen in over 2 years. So.. to say it was fun is an understatement and that are a totally delightful group of people.

I am teaching for the next three days and am looking forward to it very much, it has been a few months since I was in front of a class of students, bending them to my will and forcing them to do what I tell them to do.. (just kidding) I love teaching, it is one of the few times in my life that I am totally at ease.

Tomorrow morning we are tackling the Loop-n-Loop chain and then we will abuse some heavier gauge wire in the afternoon. Saturday's class is the hand forged cuff and Sunday is two Chain Maille Classes. This group keeps me on my toes for sure!

I will try to remember to post some pictures of this weekends class

Monday, January 17, 2011

Monday January 17th ~ 2011

No matter how horrific as last weeks events in Tucson were, the citizens of my former city gathered their courage, faced the pain and embraced the people that were injured and who were tragically killed.

The questions that have followed have given me some very important thing to consider. I grew up in a household that had guns my father hunted when I was younger and so I have never been opposed to people that own firearms and hunt.

What I have become opposed to is semi-automatic hand guns and riffles whose ONLY purpose is to kill. I do not care what any "hunter" says, these guns are not about hunting and to say that they are actually belittles the true hunters.

I am now also very opposed to these ridiculous extended clips that can hold over 30 rounds of ammunition. Who, except one who is bent on destruction, needs to rapidly fire off 30 plus bullets in less than 20 seconds?

I found myself pondering many things on this holiday.

So, today we came together as a Nation to honor Matin Luther King Jr. and to remember all that he stood for and all that he fought for.

We lost this amazing man to violence as well as Bobby and John Kennedy and still we have learned nothing as a Nation. We have children going to schools and killing fellow students. We have disgruntled and disenfranchised  people going into their places of employment and opening fire.

How many more tragedies do we want our nation to endure till we see that the ease of access that we so adamantly embrace in our country needs to be rethought and addressed in a sane and reasonable manner and, I am sorry to say, the NRA has got to take a pill and be quiet.

So with Mr. King in mind and in true fitting tribute, I leave you with this final thought.

"Last week we saw a white Catholic male Republican judge murdered on his way to greet a Democratic Jewish woman member of Congress, who was his friend. Her life was saved initially by a 20-year-old Mexican-American gay college student, and eventually by a Korean American combat surgeon, and this all was eulogized by our African American President."

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Saturday January 15th ~ 2011

I am getting ready for a wonderful 2000 mile drive to Miami starting next Tuesday morning. I have a date with the South Florida Jewelry Guild where I will be teaching and giving a talk on Thursday night.

I am getting to drive through a few more states that I have not been through. I have never been through Mississippi, Alabama and I have only ever driven around New Orleans in Louisiana, so I do not think that really counts and I am looking forward to seeing some new sights.

As I charted out my path to Miami I pulled up a map of the US and started checking off the states that I have driven through and I have to say that I have been through more than I had thought.

I need some suggestions for going to the following states that I have yet to visit.
Let me know what each of these states has to offer for exploration. I am always up for a new adventure.

1. Idaho
2. North Dakota
4. Minnesota
5. Arkansas
6. Maine
7. Alaska

If I can get to these last few states I will have driven through all 50 states of this nation. Now I have driven in Hawaii but only on the Island of Oahu so I have some more exploring to do there for sure…

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wednesday January 12th ~ 2011

~ Well spoken Mr President, thank you! ~

"I want us to live up to her expectations. I want our democracy to be as good as she imagined it. All of us - we should do everything we can to make sure this country lives up to our children's expectations." ~ President Obama ~

These words were spoken this evening at the Memorial in Tucson Arizona. I was moved by the entire service and with the cross section of individuals that were in attendance, letting vitriolic discourse take a break for the time being. All who stood at the lectern spoke with eloquence and heartfelt humility.

It is time like these that reaffirm my faith in humanity and that there may be hope for us after all to embrace the changes that we need to make. As I stated earlier this week, it is these moments that matter for us as humans, as citizens of the country and citizens of the world.

We need to do better, we need to exist in this world with people that we disagree with and honor their right to a differing opinion. It is hard, because it is hard is what makes it so worth fighting for but it is what makes this nation an amazing place. 

My one and only partisan statement this evening:

In attendance this evening:
Barack and Mrs Obama - The President and the First Lady of the United States
Nancy Pelosi - House Minority Leader
Janet Napolitano - Security of Homeland Security
Eric Holder - U.S. Attorney General
Jan Brewer - governor of Arizona

Absent this evening:
John Boehner - House Majority Leader -

He decided that attending a GOP fund raiser was more important that showing respect for those that lost their lives and showing that he might actually give a damn.

I am sorry Mr Boehner, I do not believe your tears have ever been heartfelt.

Here is a fun thing to do for the day for a really good laugh!

1. Go to Google Maps - Get Directions
2. Write Japan as your start point
3. Write China as your destination
4. Go to the 42nd point on your route, and when you stop laughing, pass it in so others can laugh as well.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tuesday January 11th ~ 2011

Seven Deadly Sins

"Wealth without work
Pleasure without conscience
Science without humanity
Knowledge without character
Politics without principle
Commerce without morality
Worship without sacrifice." ~  Mahatma Gandhi

Think about these words and the man that spoke them.
This was a man that lived by the practice of non-violent
demonstration and forced an occupying nation to recognize
that the people of his native nation had worth and mattered.

These are truly deadly sins and we need to heed his words.
Why? Because they are the truth and these are words that fostered change!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Monday January 10th ~ 2011

We Must Choose Peace and NOT the Crosshairs of a Gunsight.

I have not spent a great deal of time on my blog last year, which I am sure is obvious. My thoughts have been focused inwards and my life has been shifted onto such a crazy busy track that even when I feel I do have something to share, I run out of time in my day to write it down in a coherent form to share these thoughts. It is my desire to get back to writing, I have missed it!

This weekends horrific events in my former town of Tucson have rekindled my desire to write and to express myself and I feel the need to share some very real observations that I have taken in over the last decade.

There were real heros in Tucson this past weekend. Daniel Hernandez, a 20 year old intern who is credited with saving Congresswoman Giffords because he chose to stay in the line of fire and not run and Patricia Maisch, 61, who wrestled the clip of bullets away from the gunman.

We honor those who acted bravely and our thoughts and prayers are with those family members and friends who lost loved ones while they were living and practicing our democratic freedoms. 
Just in the first ten of the 21st century their have been witness to some very amazing events that have caused our national consciousness to be united as one and it is my fervent hope that this weekends tragedy rises to that status and causes a real revue of how we speak and what we speak. The rhetoric and hate speech must end and we must restore our civility.

There is no excuse for a member of congress to call our President a LIAR during the State of the Union Address nor is there any reason for a citizen to yell out from the gallery in the House of Representatives during the order of business.

It has to end and we must remember that we are a civilized nation.

Right after 9/11 I remember the feeling that this country was totally united in being a nation bonded together more strongly and we would turn a corner towards a more compassionate and caring nation. I watched as people went out of their way to be kind and considerate and we were just aware of the fact that we live in a world full of other humans and that these people were aware of you in the world.

Those moments of our collective unity deserted our conscious all to quickly as we dulled our senses with the mind numbing tasks of day to day life and we did fail on a solemn promised. "Never Forget".

Then in 2008, this nation came together as I had never seen in my adult life and we chose to elect an optimistic and charismatic African American to the office of President of the United Sates. We elected a man who dared to bring out those qualities in us again and for a short while we as a nation basked in that light once again.

We existed in that glow of awareness and the aura of a conscious knowledge that we must act together as a unified nation and that if we do work together we will be able to solve any problem. But that time passed away too quickly as well, it was over shadowed by hate speech, out and out lies and a right wing TV and Radio media that made a choice to destroy that hope and that light. We chose to let lies and hate take away what we had fought so hard to bring to out of the darkness.

We need to take the events in Tucson, focus the collective nation, demand an end to hate speech and incendiary rhetoric and require that those that say they speak the truth actually do just that! Speak the Truth!
Here is your hero test for the day!

Our nation loves it's heros and yet we forget them all too quickly.

How many of you can tell me what Chesley B. (Sully) Sullenberger was responsible for in 2009 without Googling the name? This is a real test of how much you choose to actually pay attention and to place in your minds Rolodex happenings that we should actually remember.