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Monday, December 31, 2007

looking both ways

If you happened to drive by my house early this morning, you would have seen a weird lady in a pink bathrobe, red tea kettle in one hand, a carrot in the other, and a camera around her neck, standing in the snow, freezing wind blowing her tumbleweed hair all around her face...

OK... it was me. And this is the picture I took of the last sunrise of 2007. The tea kettle was for adding warm water to the bird baths, and the carrot was for the little rabbit who lives in our wood pile. I didn't stay long. It was damn cold, but worth the effort.

All the holiday guests have gone home now, and it's a quiet day here in Taos. After days and days of activity, it's nice to be sitting in my pj's at noon, looking out at the blinding blue sky, and just sort of thinking about nothing in particular. I like to take a look back at the year just passed before I put a lot of energy into the one beginning tomorrow. 2007 was good. Challenging and good. No regrets, coyote. And thanks to everyone who made it possible. If I could change anything, I guess I'd make it all last a bit longer. Of course we can't stop Time, but we can dance with it as gracefully as we know how, and we can learn new steps along the way.

I need this day, this one little day, to catch my breath and get ready for 2008. We're about to voluntarily turn our world upside down, and I can't wait to get started. The biggest plan in the works is the move to Oregon. Time to start sorting and packing. We're ready to go. We'll need to sell this house and find the New Place, but those are just details. What? Me worry?

I'm also adding a new "line" to my work. More on that later. It will be a bit odd, and will put some people off, I'm sure. But hose who like the idea will outnumber the poo-poo-ers... I think.

Then there's the violin. No, I didn't get one for Christmas. It was too much responsibility for Rick to get that for me. I shouldn't have dumped that on him. Over the years, I've learned that it's silly to expect anyone else to make my dreams come true... mommy, daddy, Santa, hubby, lottery... It's really all up to me to make my own magic happen. So I'll buy that violin when the time feels right. Listen for me down by the river or near the campfire at night... in a few years when I can play more than Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

Enjoy this day. Stand in the middle and look both ways. The traffic is clear. Throw out the map, and decide where to go next.

Thursday, December 27, 2007


HehHeh... this holiday has really gone to the dogs! The humans are having a wonderful, jolly time too, but somehow, most of my pictures are dog pictures. So here you go - a little bit of our Christmas in Taos. Woof! Enjoy!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

merry christmas eve eve

All of our guests are arriving today, so Rick and Julia went to the airport (an all day trip) to pick up my niece Kelsey, and then my son Danny. Lauren and I are home taking care of last minute details and waiting for my sister Linda, her hubby Steve, and the two dogs to pull into the driveway. Everyone will be in late this evening, so I'm going to sneak out to the annual Michael Hearne Sing-Along at the OBL, where Lauren will be working tonight. I don't really have time... There are so many things to do... You know how it is... It can become madness if you let it...

Back in my early beadmaking days, I made long necklaces on hand twisted silk thread. I knotted sections every couple of inches, and each section of beads was different. At first it was hard to decide what beads to put together. Random grabbing wasn't right. I wanted to create balance in each little segment, as well as a completed piece that worked as a whole. I learned pretty quickly to simply start with one bead, and then find the next bead that looked best with that. My early impulses to save the "best beads" faded, and I soon realized that the next best bead would always be a different bead. At some point I relaxed and always picked the best bead. Amazingly, there were endless numbers of best beads.

Today I have a million little things to do. And I'm stringing this day, and probably the next few days, one thing at a time. Kind of like those necklaces, I'm picking the most important thing to do, and then the next and then the next. It looks like I'll even get them all done, and it will probably all work together to make a darn good holiday for all concerned. That's my job this week. I'm stringing up some magic for my family, and loving every minute of it.

Here's wishing you a Merry Christmas (or other Fabulous Holiday of your choice).
I'll be back in a few days with pictures. Carry on... one "bead" at a time!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

cookie time

It's time to take a break from beads and get serious about baking some cookies! I've done a couple of batches of cream cheese chocolate chip cookies. The recipe is from this month's Oprah Magazine. I've been reading in one of the forums that people are not happy with the recipe. I dunno... the first time I made them I went by the recipe, but used whole wheat flour. They're great! The second time through I added chopped, dried cherries and walnuts. Oh my...... need to make more. I think the next batch will have a little less flour because I want them to be more chewy, less fluffy. Here's the recipe, and a picture too... on someone else's lovely blog! Just Off Magazine

Today I'll make my old family favorite, Date Balls. They're a total sugar-butter bomb, but soooo wonderful. Mom got the recipe from Aunt Camy forever ago, and I can't remember a Christmas without them. Here's my old recipe card, in my own high school handwriting...

And since several of our holiday guests will be dogs, I baked Dog Cookies too! This recipe from is a real hit with Lucy and her little pal Heidi.

4 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3 tsp. garlic powder
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/4 cup shredded cheese
1 1/4 cup milk

Combine flour and garlic powder in a large bowl.

Gradually stir-in vegetable oil, cheese, beaten egg, milk and blend well. Roll-out dough to desired thickness. Cut-out treats and place on lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake 25 minutes at 400°F.

Cool before storing. Note: cooking time may vary depending upon thickness.

Ladies and Gentlemen, start your ovens!

Monday, December 17, 2007

dan fogelberg

I had a note from an old friend in my email box this morning. He was gently letting me know that Dan Fogelberg died on Sunday. How entirely sweet of my old pal Bruce, to remember that I was a huge Fogelberg fan back in high school. Bruce was a drummer, so played and listened to different music than I did, but still, he remembered... I find that awfully touching, since we only manage to check in with each other once or twice a year now.

Anyway, yes, I did love Dan Fogelberg. Would have married him... or James Taylor... or both. Would have been a tough choice. I always wished for a beautiful man who would write songs for me. It didn't quite happen that way, but now I do have my beautiful Rick, who will sing to me now and then, and likes to twirl me in a funny dance in the driveway. I think I got exactly what I wanted.

Even though Rick is not a Dan Fogelberg fan, I know he'll indulge me this evening when I ask him to dig out the old LPs and crank up the turntable. I want to listen to that music on the same vinyl I practically played the grooves off of way back when. Of course I didn't really know him, but he was part of my teenage life all those years ago, and I want to raise a glass and wish him a good journey. He was a good part of my journey here...

Sunday, December 16, 2007

time to rest... well, in a minute...

We all work hard, don't we? I don't know too many slackers, and when I find out who they are, I generally stay away from them. So I can't whine about how hard I have it. I don't. I live a charmed life, and I take at least half the credit for making it that way. Other people and Divine Assistance do the rest, but truth is, a charmed life requires personal effort.

The year is speeding to the finish line now, and we're busy prepping for a house full of beloved visitors. It's time for me to stop work for a bit and take care of family and friends... oh yeah, and me! And it seems that even our house is telling me to just take a break already.

The other night, half the electricity went out. Only half. Some things worked, and some didn't. We went to bed that night hoping the problem would somehow heal itself while we slept, but in the morning we found that we needed to make coffee in the bathroom and toast in the office. We had running water, but it wasn't heating, and the stereo wouldn't play, and the stove would only get a little bit warm.

Thankfully, it was the power company's problem, and they sent a couple of sturdy guys out to dig a big hole in the frozen street on Saturday morning. It was fixed in time to clean up and go to a party, so no big deal... except that I didn't really listen to the "take a break message".

I decided to hold a quick last minute sale on Monday, which meant spending all say today photographing and posting beads. But really, I promise to back away from the computer and the studio for a week or so.... just as soon as the sale is over and the beads are mailed. Hey, you know what I always say... A girl's gotta make a living.

Monday, December 10, 2007

welcome to my house

This kind of says it... snow in Taos. Yay!
By the way, the house is for sale - or will be very soon.
Maybe you'll be the next owner... hmmmm....

more about the music!

This morning I got a note from one of Fred Waring's actual Pennsylvanians! How cool is the internet, that he found my blog through a Google search... this is wonderful!

I was talking to my Dad the other day. He has a computer, but rarely uses it... OK, he rarely even plugs it in. I keep encouraging him to have a look around, but so far, he's resisting. We were talking about something or other, and the internet came up again as a place to find more information. He said he just didn't want to get started because there must be hundreds of websites out there, maybe even thousands... I had to chuckle and tell him it's more like millions, which I'm sure has scared him off the web forever. And then he said, "And is it all over the world???". Oy! You know, my dad is not a dummy, and he's not senile. I guess I'm sort of surprised to learn that there are probably lots of average Americans who have no connection to or interest in the internet. Seems so odd to me, since I couldn't make a living without it!

Anyway, Pete, the Pennsylvanian, found me, and sent a nice note about his continued connection to all things Fred Waring. His quoted email follows, and I so urge you to pick up some of the most fun and wonderful Christmas music ever recorded. Now I'm inspired to explore beyond the holiday stuff. There's so much more!

I came across your blog page and was delighted to read that you are a Fred Waring fan (especially at this time of year). I have Fred's name and the "Pennsylvanians" entered into a Google News search engine, and it brings me daily listings of all the Waring postings on the Internet. Why, you ask? Well, I was a member of the Pennsylvanians for 5 years and still keep in close contact with the organization. Just before Fred died in 1984, he arranged for all his papers, choral arrangements, radio and television show air checks, photos and memorabilia to be housed at Penn State University, his alma mater. Today, the Fred Waring's America Collection is a marvelous storehouse of showbiz history of the 20th century.

As for the scratchy Christmas albums you mentioned, you may want to visit the Collection's site ( and look under "Sales." There are lots of recordings for sale, including the Christmas albums you mentioned on your site.

Shoot me a note if I can be of any further assistance...Merry Christmas!

Pete Misiak"

Sunday, December 09, 2007

in the spirit

So we went to Ledoux Street last night, and it was raining. Never seen rain here in December, and it turned Ledoux into more of a LeDon't. All the luminaria bags got soaked and the candles went out. Quite sad really. The whole town looks forward to this, and a lot of people do a lot of work to make it happen. We stayed about ten minutes, and decided it was too "Seattle" for us, so we walked through the plaza and across the street to the Taos Inn, for the lighting of the Christmas Tree.

That was predictably wonderful, and we somehow lucked into the best seats in the house, and ran into some friends too. Then it started snowing. Yes! This was more like it.

My favorite part of the entire evening was when I was outside with my little three-year-old neighbor, looking at the team of rustic, folk art log reindeer. They were almost as tall as he was, and he kept pointing to them and saying, "It's the Cwithmas Sthpiwit." Huh? The little circle of wooden deer was the Christmas Spirit? Well... OK then. Then he said, "I wanna get in!" Huh?, says me again... You wanna get in? OH! You wanna get in the Christmas Spirit! (Yay me! I cracked the code!) Giddy as a three-year-old on hot chocolate, I picked him up and set him inside the ring of reindeer, magically transporting both of us to The Christmas Spirit. Kids know a thing or two.

So, today we decorated our own little Christmas Tree, and then went to town to see the local violin school kids perform. Yes, I still want a violin. I might wait until we're in Oregon, when I theoretically will have some actual time to play it. But these kids have me all kinds of inspired. They're so good. And so real and sweet and just having fun. Not too serious, that's the way I want to go at it too. Again, I'm learning from the kids. Here's a video I got at the end of the concert. We know one of the girls in the middle (Hi Laura! Great job!), so we had sort of an excuse to go. But the truth is, we would have gone even if we didn't know any of them.

And now, since I'm on a roll, I'm going to go bake some cookies. HoHoHo!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

taos christmas

This is a big night in Taos. One of my favorites each year, actually. It's the annual "Lighting of Ledoux Street", when all the galleries along the small, winding street open their doors, serve treats, build little "camp fires" in the court yards, and line the entire street with farolitos, which are also called luminarias... paper bags with candles in them. The whole town comes out to stroll and visit. It's one of those things that makes visitors fall in love with the place, and reminds weary residents of why we came here. Now if it will just stop raining and add some snow to the scene, it will be perfect.

We'll be there. Wouldn't miss it. We'll also hit the Taos Inn for the tree lighting, the John Dunn shops for their firelight open house, and finally, El Monte Sagrado, for the African music that's happening there tonight. It's our last Christmas Season in Taos. We don't want to miss a thing.

This image by Steve Immel Photography

Friday, December 07, 2007

sugarplum beads

These are, by far, the most popular beads this week. Could be the name. SugarPlums do sound yummy, and quite seasonal, which is no accident. But maybe it's the sweet simplicity of them that has people all frenzied over snapping them up. Maybe I'm over-thinking it, but part of my job... or one of my many jobs... is to figure out what's selling and why. I love to go all over the place with mad, rampant creativity, but sadly, that's not always what people want to buy. Sweet and simple pays the bills, while art for self-expression keeps me sane. I still won't do custom orders, but just so you know, I do pay attention to what people want more of. OK... I'll admit it... I want some of these too. I might even make a whole strand of them for myself. Yep, these are good beads.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

flaming tea kettle

We woke up a little bit late this morning. Just tired in these days of so much busy-ness. Rick went in to start the coffee, and to put the kettle on for my tea. I used to drink buckets of coffee, but recently, I think it was in September, I just stopped one day without planning to. Odd. Tea is nice though, and I don't want coffee at all unless it might be a nice Eggnog Latte with a little splash of whiskey in it...

So I could hear that the water was about to boil, and wandered into the kitchen to see the cheery red tea kettle engulfed in flames. Yikes! That's some hot water! Quick - roll up sleeve of bathrobe, snatch kettle out of the flames, turn off burner, grab lid to soup pot to smother fire. You know - I play with fire every day. It doesn't really freak me out too much when stray popcorn bursts into flames.

Two memos from The Universe this morning... 1. It's time to change the liner pans under the burners, and 2. Maybe think about making some teapot beads today.

This is not my tea kettle. I was too busy to stop and do a painting of it. Besides, I don't paint, and my tea kettle is red. I just wanted a picture because pictures are nice in a blog, I think. I found this on an interesting blog called InkTracks. It's about one person's art and process. I've marked it as something to go back to. An added bonus to the Fire Messages from God.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

i love christmas music...

Yes, it's true, and I'm not ashamed to admit it... I love Christmas music. I bring it all out the day after Thanksgiving, and play it non-stop until Christmas Day. I'd start sooner, but Rick has a little something to say about it... a little.

We have a pretty good collection now. Everything from Dean Martin and Bing Crosby to Diana Krall and James Taylor. We have local New Mexico Christmas CDs, lots of Orchestral Stuff, the Vienna Boy's Choir, and even some more neutral "Solstice Music" for when we get tired of all the jingle jingle.

But my all time favorite is the one I grew up with. Fred Waring and His Pennsylvanians. I adore their silly, jazzy versions of Jingle Bells, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and Twas the Night Before Christmas. Mom had the record when we were kids. Some years later, my sister held a microphone up to the stereo and recorded it to a cassette tape - skips and all. Later, my son took that tape and transferred it to CD, so we all have copies of it now, in all it's skippy, scratchy glory. My kids love it too, because I made good and sure it became part of their childhood.

For some reason, this morning I decided to go looking for a clean new copy of it on CD. I look every year, mostly because I want to know I can replace it if I ever lose it. I've never found the album Mom had, but today I did find the one pictured above, with all the favorite old songs, plus a lot of others I don't have yet. What excitement! Oh Jolly Joy!

I ordered it, of course. I hope it gets here soon. I want lots of time to play it over and over while I make beads. Jolly Jingle Beads... ah, I wonder how I can make the beads jingle...

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

mean people

You've probably seen the bumper sticker that says, "Mean People Suck". Well, amen to that, sistah! I got a truly mean and nasty email about my new website this morning, and yes, it hurt my feelings. Email has made it "safe" to attack relative strangers, without having to look them in the eye and see the harm that "mere words" can do. It always stuns me when someone feels so comfortable being so petty and icky. I did recover quickly though, because I know that Mean People almost always have something going on in themselves that has nothing to do with the people they feel so free to offend. It wasn't about me!

But it did remind me of my always-kind friend, Deborah, who told me about some nifty "kindness" bracelets. I found the website, and ordered some, pronto! They're terrific! They have the word "kindness" printed on them in 17 languages. A nice little tap on the shoulder for all of us. A gentle reminder that it's just as easy to be a sweet-pea as it is to be a beast. Maybe easier. Yes, I think so...

This time of year we all think more about peace on earth. Every little one of us has the power to changes things. We always need to choose our words carefully. I know I need to remember that!

Want to order some Kindness Bracelets for you and all your friends? Here's the website.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Friday stuff...

I think I did it. My new website is more or less finished, and I think it's out there live on the internet. It doesn't come up on my dumb computer, but other people are telling me they can see it, so I'm guessing it will make it's way here soon. It feels like I've been working on this for months, but it's only been a week. Guess I shouldn't be too hard on myself for taking "so long"! Check it out if you want...
I'm kind of pissed at Oprah. She did all these "wonderful" hairstyle makeovers for people yesterday, with a team of hotshot stylists. Every single one of them ended up with blown-out straight hair. What is that about? There was one woman with glorious, curly, out of control hair. She needed some help with caring for it and styling it, but she didn't need it to be straight! The stylist actually said, "It looks a helluva lot better than it did before." Like curls are some kind of genetic defect that can be cured with a blow drier and a straightening iron. How rude! Oprah herself was sitting there with nicely managed curls. I wonder why she doesn't gather up some of the Curl Pros and do a show for us curlies. Somebody write her a letter. I'm too cranky to do it nicely!
It's officially Christmas Time in Taos. Tonight we're going out to the tree lighting on the plaza, and the the big, fancy, charity auction at El Monte Sagrado. It will be most lovely, I'm sure. And there's a big snow storm coming in, so the stage will be set. I love this time of year here.

Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

time for a(nother) change

I haven't been here for a few days because I've been somewhere else...

Last Tuesday I spent the longest day posting beads on Etsy. Etsy... dear Etsy... What a wonderful place. A community of people who make things with their own two hands. And a support team of tech-heads who know how to make putting together a store a simple thing. It works... but... there's always a big fat but, isn't there?

While Etsy is friendly and easy, it's also a painfully slow process to list an item, and at the end of the month, it's expensive. All those tiny fees and percentages were really adding up, and I was still spending entire days at the computer, clicking the "next" button and waitng, waiting, waiting...

I went to bed last Tuesday totally beaten up and wrung out, after a 15 hour day. That's not what I'm here for. I woke up the next morning knowing I was about to change everything. No more patches! It's time for a new wardrobe.

I've spent the last week trying out different sortware, and have finally settled (I think) on New website, new shopping cart, all in one tidy place I can call my own, and operate with relative ease. Everyone I've ever talked to who's had someone else build a site for them has been unhappy about it eventually... right about the time they want to make a quick change and that person suddenly can't find the time to do it. I have to be able to change things often because things change often. I'm so crossing my fingers that this all works.

There's only one little problem I can find so far. There's no option for International shopping. How silly is that? I'll be talking to them about it. Meanwhile, I'll just have to find a way to work around it. You know me. I can do it.

And, at first there will only be PayPal, but I plan to add a merchant account so I can take credit cards right through my shopping cart. Patience please... one piece at a time. You know I don't stop at "good enough", although sometimes I think I should!

So for the next few days, my mornings are spent "under construction", and afternoons are in the studio. Evenings, I just flop in a chair and wait for Rick to bring me food. I'll put the word out when it's all ready to go. Until then... here's a little preview of the New Look...

Sunday, November 25, 2007

silly email fun

Have you seen the goofy new things you can send by email? I'm having way too much fun with these... I'm sure it says something about my maturity level...

My favorite today is Elf Yourself. You load your own faces into up to four elves, and then watch them dance in the snow. You can also add your voice with a free phone call. I'm just cracking up here. This one should take you to Dancing Elf Kim.

If you're more of a humbug sort of person, you can opt to Scrooge Yourself... I'm just sharing - I didn't name it.

And if holiday silliness isn't your thing at all, try Monk-e-Mail. It's fabulous!

There you go. Share with your friends... but don't send them to me! I don't need a mailbox full of goofy video email, much as enjoy a good distraction!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Light Friday

We had a perfect Thanksgiving. Julia came over for breakfast and the Macy's Parade, and then we had the whole day to ourselves. Knowing all the kids were happy and well fed with friends, we wandered around the house all afternoon, and then whipped up a simple veggie feast for ourselves. Garlic-cheese-broccoli mashed potatoes, sauteed mushrooms, salad with walnuts, feta, and cranberries, and of course, a good bottle of wine. After dinner, we headed over to Deborah and Thomas's for dessert with the family. Much of Deborah's family was there, and aside from the incredible homemade pies, the biggest treat of the day was the music they made. Imagine... a whole family of musicians. I was so amazed and impressed and thoroughly entertained. My family has exactly one musician. (maybe there will be two some day, if I ever learn to play the violin I don't have yet...) This whole singing in the living room with guitars and drums and tambourines and voices that naturally blend so beautifully is completely foreign to me. It brought tears to my eyes more than once. I want to be adopted by them. Maybe I'll learn to sing too.

I'm up early again this morning, and I'm looking out the big windows to snow! The first snow of the season. It's got magic in it. The sun's not even up yet, but I can feel things starting to twinkle...

Today is known as "Black Friday" in the retail world - the official start of the holiday shopping season, when retailers hope for sales that will put their businesses back "in the black". On the other side of the cheese, it's also "Buy Nothing Day", which encourages us to resist making the Holidays more about "stuff" than "heart". I can't totally endorse either one. Guess I'm "straddling the cheese", as it were... While I think we buy too much, want to much, have too much stuff in this country, I also happen to sell stuff to make my living. A real conundrum, don'tcha think?

I'd like to propose a compromise. Let's call it "Light Friday", honoring the Season Of Light. If we want to shop, let's go shopping. And let's do it consciously, with eyes and hearts wide open. Rather than just buying a bunch of stuff out of habit, we can buy gifts of love, from the heart. Gifts that will be honored and loved in return, and perhaps, not returned to the stores the day after Christmas.

Here's to you and the snow and the Season Of Light! Do what makes your heart sing!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

how to choose a violin?

Thanks for all the encouragement on my violin dream. It seems totally loco to me. Like I have any free time. Ha! Not a smidge! But I think if I get the violin, I will somehow find time to learn to play it. Now the big question is, How do I know what to buy??? Someone suggested that I not get anything too cheap, because it will sound bad and be uncooperative. That makes sense. But now what? There's no music store here, so online shopping is what I get. I've found everything from super cheap junior high school violins to a guy in Taos who makes them. I'll bet his are beyond wonderful, but also probably beyond affordable. Here's his site, in case you're interested
And one other site that looks possibly promising...
This one looks nice - her name is Gloria...

If anyone out there can direct me in some small, simple, easy to understand way, I'd be very happy to hear from you. Remember, I'm starting from zero. I have a whole new language to learn. Gosh, maybe I am nuts! But so? Bet I'm not the only one.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

thumb print for my beads

This week you'll see the first of my "signed" beads. I know it means a lot to collectors to have their beads signed by the artist. Personally, I don't care much either way, and I don't like the way a signature in glass will often muck up a killer bead design. But I've been chewing this over for years now, and the silver end caps seem to have solved the problem... at least for the beads that are silver lined.

I have a tiny logo stamp that just fits on the larger caps, and almost fits the small ones. You have to look real close, but you can see the little heart with wings. It doesn't interfere with the look of the beads, so I'm pleased. And for those who care, it's a hint of proof that it's a gen-you-wine Kim Bead. Like a thumb print, it says I was there.

Monday, November 19, 2007

a good weekend

Man, things are spinning fast these days. Feel it? I'm dizzy half the time just trying to keep up. And now we have the Holidays upon us. We started with a "Thanksgiving" breakfast yesterday morning. None of the kids are home for T-Day dinner this year which is actually OK with me, since we're having a Big Fat Family Christmas in just another month, and I need all my energy for that. But Lauren and little-doggie Heidi came home for the weekend, so we got Julia to come over, and Lauren's friend-boy Tyler too, for a nice little get-together. I got out the Christmas cups and made our favorite baked eggy dish, with gobs of cheese and green chiles. It's beyond yummy.

And Rick made bread. Real bread! He makes the best bread in the world. His bread baking skills are part of why we had the pizza shop in Seattle. The crust was the best part, and people noticed. He says he's going to make our bread all winter..... oh my, I'm weak in the knees just thinking about it! Beads and bread - what more do we need?

This week is just one celebration after the next. A dinner with friends tonight, maybe a cool fund raiser for the local homeless shelter tomorrow night, and then Thanksgiving. We plan to sit in our jammies and watch the Macy's Parade in the morning, do some serious power-lounging all day, and then join friends for dessert later in the evening. Since I'm a veg-head, and Rick doesn't care about a big old turkey, we're going to make all the best parts of the meal, just for us. And since the weather is finally supposed to start to get chilly, we won't picnic on the patio, but will probably have our dinner sitting by the fire. Thankful? You bet! For more than I can say.

Friday, November 16, 2007

butterfly chaos

I wish I could put this bead in your hand and let you take a really close look in really good sunlight. Yesterday the glass was giving me hints, disguised as mistakes. Fortunately, I've learned to listen well, so it wasn't long before I took the hints and came up with this. There are butterfly wings, but only traces of them left in the chaos. Sort of a "butterfly acid trip"... but I really wouldn't know about that...

I'm keeping this one for a while. The style will move on from here. I wonder where it will go...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

wish list

John Eaton painting

It's that time of year... time for me to start asking Rick and the kids what they are wishing for most. I can grant wishes. I can make magic. It's been my job as The Mom for years now, and I think I do it pretty well. But his year, I have a short wish list of my own. Really short. I want a violin...

I know what you're thinking... Kim's gone 'round the bend... too many propane fumes perhaps... But no, that's not it. I really want a violin. And I want to learn to play it. And no, I do not have any previous history with playing a violin. I've just always loved it, and started to want to play it back when I was about 18, when I heard a young woman in San Francisco playing the most beautiful jazz violin, with some of my musician friends. I fell in love. Not with a musician, but with the music.

Ask Rick. Whenever I hear a violin, I get all squishy and dreamy. Sometimes I weep from the joy of the feel of that music in my bones. It goes that deep. I read somewhere that the sound of a violin is "resonant" with the human body. I believe it.

When I was a kid, I wanted to play piano. So my parents bought me a guitar, I guess thinking I wouldn't notice the difference. I took lessons from a nice Hawaiian man named Valentine Hao... for years... and I never was very good. But then, my heart wasn't in it, so I still have hope of possessing some bit of musical talent. I guess there's only one way to find out.

I know it will be hard. I know I'll sound like total crap for a very long time. I know my dog might run away, and Rick might sweetly ask me to practice in the studio... or out on the gorge bridge... I know it will take years to become even tolerable. But what the hell. If I start now, maybe in 20 years I'll play something for you by the campfire, some summer evening. I'll only be 70. And, oh yeah... I want to play Gypsy Violin. That wild twirling music that makes you jump off your rock and shake your bones in the firelight...

It's a big wish. But if not now, when? What's your dream? Maybe we can all get started on them together... hmmm??? Sure, we'll keep making the magic happen for the ones we love, but we have to put on our own oxygen masks first...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

what a nice day

We had a really nice anniversary. Went to hear some good New Mexico music last night, and were lucky to see lots of friends, some who have been absent for a while. Really nice to reconnect. Rick and I like hanging out together more than most people do... heck, we spend almost all our time together, and I only rarely feel the need to say, "Honey, I need a little space"..... We're a good team, but we also love and value our friends. Things we'll miss about Taos... friends, the music scene, wide open spaces, green chile... sure, we'll be sad to leave on some levels, but then again, think of all we'll miss if we don't keep exploring. It's a good thing we both feel the same way about this... well, and most other things too. I don't get basketball, and Rick doesn't get my "need" for really beautiful handbags, but otherwise - two peas in a pod.

The lighting was very dim last night, so all my pictures came out crummy and blurry and not worth keeping... except this one. It was also dark and crummy, but I was able to photoshop it into a pretty cool portrait. It's the only picture of us yesterday, so that makes it the Official 15th Anniversary Portrait. I might even have it printed and frame it.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

a special day

Today is Rick's and my 15th Wedding Anniversary. Amazing! Neither of us has ever done anything for 15 years! I got him a very romantic gift... shhh! Don't tell! I haven't given it to him yet! Here's to Love!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

wanna buy a bracelet?

The new crop of HOPE Bracelets are finally available online!
Here's the link to the Cunningham Foundation. Better hurry!

I'm so re-excited about this project. It's hard to explain. I just love seeing that something I'm so easily able to do is doing so much good. We all want to know where our efforts go, don't we? I mean, Rick and I, as devout Beadists, give a percentage of our income to several worthy causes, but we usually don't really know where the money goes. In big organizations, a lot of it goes to administrative costs. Sure, it takes money to keep these things going. I'm not saying it should be any different. I just think it's really great to see that so much of the Bead Money that the HOPE Project raises actually goes to the people we're raising it for. I'm all warm and fuzzy, and it's not the lack of sleep or the good red wine...

We're home from Denver this evening, and had lots of time to ponder and talk in the car today. One thing that came up over and over again among the folks in Denver is the near-desperate need for silver beads to use in the bracelets. So of course I'm scratching my head and wondering how I can make silver appear out of thin air... Ha! Got it! From now on, $1 from each bead I sell will go to the HOPE Project for silver, or whatever else they might need more. We have to give some money away anyway, so we'll just make sure a good part of it goes where our hearts truly are - the HOPE Bracelet Project and the kids who are benefiting so much from it. It's that One Dollar Principal again. Magic will happen. You watch! I can see what happens next... we'll have to visit Ethiopia. Yep, I think we will.
And if all that isn't enough to make your heart sing, visit a little restaurant called Water Course Foods, on 17th and Emerson in Denver. I do believe I found the World's Best Breakfast Burrito, with green chile better than any we've eaten in New Mexico. I'd show you what it looked like, but I ate it all up before I thought to get my camera out...

Saturday, November 10, 2007

feeling HOPEfull

Rick and I are in Denver this weekend. We attended the HOPE Bracelet First Pick Party last night, and I'm still floating on air this morning. Talk about inspiration... I came here feeling kind of tired and depleted, and I'm being filled to the brim in ways I never expected. I'm super-charged to give the Hope Beadmaker Challenge a kick in the pants, and to come up with new ways of helping. What we've done so far has done so much. It's truly amazing what beads can do. Magic! And it's easy. So stick with me here. I need your help too!

Think about the insignificance of one dollar. What does it mean to us here in the states? A bottle of water, a candy bar, a tip on a four dollar cup of coffee? Not much, right? In Ethiopia, that same one dollar will feed a child for the whole day, keep her in school, and give her a uniform to wear. One dollar can buy good nutrition, education, and self esteem. One dollar........

Most of you know me well enough to know that my brain is seriously storming right now. Ideas are everywhere. I need a little time to let them all simmer and settle and see what floats to the top. With a little help from my friends, we're going to do some really good things.

Today Rick and I are going to the Denver Art Museum. I expect more "refueling" to happen there. Tonight we'll meet with friends for dinner at the Samba Room. How cool does that sound? And now, a few pictures from last night. A fabulous party, tons of people, gorgeous bracelets, and one of the best meals ever, at Strings Restaurant, served to us by the owner himself. Boy am I "full"!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Headed for Denver...

Well, well... we're going to Denver this weekend. We hadn't planned on it at all. Weren't even considering it until yesterday. And then we started to wonder if we could go, and that led to a few Google inquiries, and then a few phone calls, and ta-da, we're on our way.

We've never been to the HOPE Bracelet First Pick Party, and that in itself just seems wrong. I'm too involved in the project to not be there for the big unveiling at least once. If I need to be practical about it - which I do - this is all work related, and can be written off as a business trip. But practicality aside, it sounds like a bucket of fun and I really wanna go!

So here we go. Are you going to be there? Please be sure to say hello!
Now back to work... lots to do before Friday. I'm posting beads today. Lots of beads. Ciao for now!

Monday, November 05, 2007

there's always HOPE!

I find the best way to stop feelin' sorry for myself is to do something for somebody else. Honest... I'm not some goody-goody who runs around philanthropizing all over everybody because I'm nice. Ick! don't call me nice if you want me to keep liking you! Truth is, I involve myself with certain organizations because it makes me feel good. Totally selfish. I admit it.

The HOPE Bracelet Project is at the top of my list because it's all about beads helping people make their own lives better. Each year, in the early fall, volunteers take thousands of donated beads to Yetebon, Ethiopia, where they're lovingly made into beautiful, one-of-a-kind bracelets by the folks in the village. The volunteers also help out in the bead studio, coaching the budding new beadmakers there as they work their way toward a self sufficient operation. "Learning to fish", as it were.

And now comes the fun part for all you shoppers. The annual First Pick Party is set for Friday, November 9th, at Strings Restaurant in Denver. Info is HERE.

If you live in the Denver area, don't miss this party! If you can't be there, there's still HOPE! This year there will be ONLINE BRACELET SALES, starting around November 10th. Info on that will be found HERE, as soon as the site is up and running.

These sure would make great gifts for your favorite people this holiday season. Better get one for yourself too. Doing "something good" for someone can also include a little pampering for you! And you might even be able to snag one with some of my beads in it!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

masked marvels

The best thing to do after a hard day like yesterday was to go to a really great party and hang out with our friends. Costumes are a tradition at this annual Dia de los Muertos/Poetry event. We spent some time with paint and glue over the last two weeks, and made ourselves some pretty fine masks, if I do say so myself. Both of theses started from plain white plaster masks we got at the paper store. Rick added to his with paper and spackle. I kept the basic shape of mine, and went crazy with lace, pearls, CZs, and silver. Pretty fun.

It was nice to be able to hide half my face, since I was still puffy from crying over the goats. Nobody noticed, and the party did our hearts good.

Someone asked why we're moving... at the moment, I really don't know. There are plenty of logical reasons... We're too far from family, who are all in Washington, Nevada, and California. Taos isn't Home. We feel finished here. We're gypsies at heart. We need/want to downsize in order to make our life less about work and more about living. If we do that, it might as well be in a place that's more convenient... blah, blah, blah.......

But right now, the truth is, it's really hard to set all these changes in motion, and then allow the inevitable feelings of loss that go along with change. The other side of that cheese is that loss isn't really loss as long as you let go. Then it's a choice made with open hands and an open heart. When we let go, it makes room for things we never imagined for ourselves to come in. Sounds like a lot of Taos WooWoo. I know. But it's true woowoo, and we trust it because it's always worked. Trust is more powerful than fear.

Thomas wrote a poem for us, which he read last night. (Again, I was glad to have the mask. More tears. He really got me.) We have a friend who writes us poetry. How many people can say that? Between that and the amazing soup Deborah made just for me (the oddball veg-head), it's enough to make me question this whole move. We don't have to go. Nope. We can stay if we want to.

We're still going... but I like knowing we can change our minds at any time. It's all about choices and trust. And I trust that friends will remain friends, no matter where we live. Isn't that marvelous?

Friday, November 02, 2007

last call at the Goat Lounge

Today was the day...
The goats moved to their new home, with their new people. It's good. It's beyond good. Still, I can't stop crying...

The whole day was pretty much about the goats. We brought them out to the apple trees this morning and let them eat all the yummy, nasty stuff on the ground. They had a little romp in the labyrinth too, and Lucy got to chase their little goaty heels one more time.

Then their new dad, Stuart, came with a beautiful trailer to move them in. We followed them out there, just to complete the transition. Somehow, waving g'bye at the driveway didn't seem adequate.

Forty-five minutes later, we were at Stuart and Robin's place. It's a wonderful 40-acre-sage-wood on the mesa. They have six horses, a couple of dogs, assorted cats, and now, three terrific goats. They fenced in a generous piece of land for them, and built a sweet little house, insulated against the coming winter. They'll even have their own water catchment system, which is nice, because goats do love lots of fresh water.

We really couldn't ask for better people to adopt our beloved goats. I know they'll be very happy there. All this sadness on my part is self-indulgent and silly. Still... I have to go through it to get out of it. These days and weeks most recently, seem to be all about letting go and non-attachment. Not easy stuff. But as any self-respecting gypsy will tell you, you can't hold on to the Things in your life, or they'll only hold you down.

Goats, certainly, are not mere Things, but valued Friends along the way. We've taught them to be gentle, loving friends by being the same to them. They, in turn, have taught us to slow down, scratch between the horns, and relax in the sunset light. A fair exchange if there ever was one.

And now, our heartfelt thanks to the Goats, and to Stuart & Robin, their new People.
Life is good. Don't avoid Love because it might hurt someday. It's all worth it.