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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

the last day of July...

I love July. I'm sad that it's over already. July has always been a safe haven in the summer. It's firmly planted in the middle of the season, protected on both sides by June and August. School couldn't come anywhere near it, and it always meant fun, rest, vacation, bike rides, fresh peaches, cute boys, silly summer love songs, and giggling sleepovers........ guess I miss being 14..... maybe I'm a little extra nostalgic this year, having just turned 50 and all...

July still feels same to me in most ways. It still feels like the best month of summer, but now I don't see the endless ocean of possibility out in the distance of "someday". Now I'm more in the middle of that deep blue sea, on a sailboat of my own creation. I depend on the wind, but know how to steer the thing by now, and all the time I spent learning to sail was important, because now it's time to get someplace. All the things that freaked me out about this recent birthday really boiled down to one important message from the Universe. There's no more time to dink around. Now is "someday".

I woke up at 5:00 this morning. Not because I wanted to, but because a dog was barking outside my window. After a while, I decided it was a sign from God, which it Dog spelled backwards after all... I figure Dog is God, looking in the mirror, and so maybe we should pay attention when Dog speaks... Anyway - I got up, left Rick snoozing, started the coffee, and sat in my Favorite Chair with my simple notebook and pen. And with the just-less-than-full-moon still peeking through the window, on this last day of my favorite month, I started to write a book...

I've had false starts on this all year. It's hard to get going, but this time it felt different. I won't talk about it much as it goes along. The risk of embarrassment is too great. But if I finish it, you know I'll tell you. Getting published isn't even a concern. But I've always intended to write something... "someday"...

Welcome to the last day of July. What might you do with it?

Monday, July 30, 2007

swamp boogie

We went to see Buckwheat Zydeco at the Solar Center last night. What a time! I kicked off my shoes and danced on the grass until my feet turned green. Next time you feel like you need a little something, just get yourself one of his CDs, whip up a pot of etouffee, grab some friends, and everybody shake that thing.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

odds and ends

The neighborhood is buzzing with noise this morning. Power tools and hammers and various working motors of all kinds. Rick pointed out that people who do the regular Monday through Friday, nine to five gig, need Saturdays to catch up on things around the old homestead. Even though I work and live and spend almost all my time on the old homestead, I still do my own version of catch-up on Saturdays. I make the last beads for the week, finish up silver work, allow myself to try some ideas that might totally bomb, and then try to knock off early to enjoy the evening and my one day off.

I'll add to that today by sharing some links here that have been tugging at my sleeve all week. I'll let them do the talking, so I can get a jump on the day. You might be interested, might not. Either way, have a great weekend yourselves!
First up - my sister, Jill, asked me to "vote" online for her young friend Karlee, who wants to be a "Warrior Girl" for the Golden State Warriors basketball team... I had to look it up, because I had no idea what a Warrior Girl was. But it was easy to vote, and I've met Karlee, and she's a good kid, so if you want to help her get the job of her dreams, just follow this link, and Vote For Karlee!

Next - this is cool - Rick visited this place the other day, looking for some new "green" technology we might use in our new place in Oregon. Boy did he find it!
Check out This place is in Taos! I had no idea!

And last up today, something of social and political importance. Beadist friend, Nancy, sent this to me. I have to admit my ignorance on the subject. I barely pull my head out of the studio... this is a simple-to-sign petition asking Taliban officials to release South Korean aid workers who are being held hostage in Afghanistan. This world makes me just crazy... why, oh why can't people just be their best, instead of their worst? Here's the site - Two seconds to sign. Thank you!!!

Now go get some weekend!

Friday, July 27, 2007

dogs and hats

Another day, another party... and another storm. Geeeeeeze, I'm getting tired of the Daily Downpour... The fluffy buildup is often quite dramatic, but then it just socks in and dumps buckets of water on our heads. We had to build a little doggy tent for Iris, since she's an "outdoor dog"... which means she's not house-broken. I don't get the whole idea of outdoor dogs. If they aren't pets that come inside, they aren't really part of the family, are they? So then what's the point of having them? This little girl is so sweet, and just loves all the attention we have time to give her. But we don't have time to potty train her by Sunday, so the tent will have to do.
Julia and her visiting-from-Washington friend Megan came over for dinner last night. Of course Julia's dog, Larry came along too... are you keeping count? Four dogs! I think that qualifies as a pack... And who knew that puppy love would enter into the picture? Larry and Heidi seem to have a crush on each other... awww, so cute...

The girls were cute too, in their new cow-chick hats. They won't do much to keep the rain off, but sometimes cute is enough!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

dog blog

It seems our happiness at having Heidi here translated into some kind of Universal Invitation to all dogs and kids in need of love, food, and entertainment, to converge in our yard... Meet Iris...

Like Heidi, Iris is technically in Lauren's care, because my big-hearted girl agreed to watch her so her friend could go on a family trip to Denver. Iris is a very sweet 5 month old red heeler. But she has a small medical need - a nasty abscess on her neck was cleaned up by the vet, and now has a rather icky drainage tube in place. It needs to be watched and she gets a pill every day, and of course we can't let her scuffle with Lucy or Heidi... It's challenging having three female dogs who don't know each other well all staying here at camp. I think we can get it to work, but close supervision is in order!

We got Iris more or less settled in last night, put Lucy in the bedroom to reduce the stress load, let Heidi out to meet Iris, and planned a "relaxing" evening on the patio... hahaha! We are SO funny!

Here's how it really happened... Lauren's friend Jade, and her two kids came by to visit and see the goats. We love them. Glad to have them. And then the three boys next door popped over to meet these new kids, and suddenly our quiet evening included 5 kids, two extra dogs, a lot of sticks and rocks (we don't have toys anymore), and one tiny bike. At this point we figured we might as well order some pizza...

Ta-da! Instant party!

The boys brought over pizza their mom had ordered. (She was smart enough to stay home and enjoy her own quiet evening!) Our pizzas arrived and we got beers out for the grown-ups, and pop for the kids. Jade, the Awesome Mom of the Year, was a lifesaver, drinking nothing but bubble-water and herding kids the whole time. We needed someone who was used to having that kind of energy around... it's been a while since Rick and I had so many young ones in the house! As my Granny always said - Where's my drink?!

The play got kind of rowdy, as it tends to do in herds of kids, and Iris enjoyed doing her job as a herding dog. I told them it was all good until someone cried, and then the party was over. Wouldn't you know it, Alyssa, the tiny girl in her pink swimsuit, was the one to hit overload first and burst into tears. I guess the boys believed me, because they headed straight for home. Jade made sure no one was hurt, and took her two home for baths and bed. Poof! Five minutes later, we were back to our quiet evening on the patio. Iris herded Lauren's feet, in her Uggs sheepskin boots, back into the house, and Rick and I just sat dazed for while. Man.... what was that? As I fell into bed, I thought, hmmmm... it was actually okay... even kind of fun... and I didn't mind that, for a while, we were able to be here for what someone else (or many someone elses) needed, and not just what we wanted...

Of course, there are limits to all that! ;0)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Heidi ho!

Lauren went to Albuquerque yesterday, and brought home a little surprise... Heidi! We all helped dog-sit this funny creature a couple of weeks ago, while her "mom", Barb, the Kappa House Mom, was on vacation in Alaska. Rick and I became very attached... we considered stealing her, but thought that might be over the top, so sniffed and pouted and let her go home. But it turns out that Barb is really busy getting the house organized for the return of all the girls, and thought it was terrific of Lauren to offer to keep Heidi for another week or so. Yay! Our little friend came back to the farm.

She was a pure City Girl before she met us. But here at camp, she's learned to romp with the big dogs, play with the goats, and who knows... she might even learn some crafts this trip...

So here we are... Heidi and the Goats... and Lucy, who's being very understanding. Maybe we should load them all in the car and drive up to the Bavarian Restaurant for lunch. Maybe I could even learn to yodel! OK.... I've wandered off... back to making beads... (did you notice Heidi's cupcake?)

Monday, July 23, 2007

cheap thrills

I sometimes spend too much time with fashion magazines. I pick them up with the intention of seeing what's new with jewelry out there in the big world, but I'm usually bored and disappointed with what I see, and always grumble something like, "...wish somebody out there would notice lampwork for a change.... all these diamonds.... snore....". But then, against my better judgment, I continued to flip through the pages, sitting on the patio, drinking coffee in my funny glow-in-the-dark cookie pj's (thanks Jean!) and worn out rubber Crocs flip-flops. A fashion statement of a different kind, to be sure... It's not healthy for me to read about the Rich and Famous romping around the world in their private jets, wearing shoes that cost as much as my mortgage payment. It makes me feel envious and icky. And eventually I have to close the glossy cover, splash some water on my face, and move on to something real...

This happened to me this weekend. In a moment of insanity, I pointed to a big shiney picture of tall pointy shoes covered in delicate fuchsia plumes, and said to Rick, "I want new shoes." Blame it on menopause if you must, but I think Girls are just nuts sometimes, and there's nothing any of us can do about it. Thankfully, Rick is a very level sort of person, and knew it was time to get me out of the house...

Cheap Thrills in Taos are everywhere. No need to be Rich and Famous to have a good time. The Friday night Fiestas on the plaza were all we expected...

Hoards of people, loud, wonderful Mariachi music, the smell of deep-fried-anything-you-can-imagine, and lots of cheap, tacky stuff for sale. I bought some. It was my mission to find something just awful, but also wonderful, and at a bargain price. What I ended up with was a bracelet.... jewelry, of course! It's made of wooden disks with different pictures of the Virgin Mary, badly decoupaged and varnished, and strung together on elastic string. I liked it so much, I bought two, and will send one to Jean, because while not Catholics ourselves, we understand that Mary, in her many forms, is a good mother-goddess-friend to have on our side. And all that Goodness for only two bucks!

Saturday night was dinner with Deborah and Thomas. There's nothing better than time with friends... especially friends who cook! We often have people over here, but our parties tend to be more "bread, cheese, wine" than actual planned and prepared meals. Sure, it's mostly about the company, but nothing beats a lovingly made salmon and salad feast!

Sunday is my Day Off. Rick knows I'll look for excuses to work if we stay home, so he stuck me in the car and drove up to the Ski Valley. Fresh air, and a short hike were positively medicinal. We found patches of tiny wild strawberries that tasted like jam, and saw alpine butterflies that never venture down to our lowland altitude of only 7,000 feet.

A breakfast burrito lunch at Tim's Stray Dog Cantina convinced me that I could carry on for another week... well maybe it was the beer...

And so we headed back down the mountain, and into town, where we bumped into the tail end of the Fiestas Parade. Remembering my happy shopping excursion on Friday night, I had Rick find a parking place, and we headed back for more Mary Jewelry. This time I got hand-knotted Virgin of Guadalupe rosary necklaces for myself and my girls. I feel like Madonna in it, which I guess is fitting.

And then... shoe shopping! Fortunately I'd come to my senses by this time, and didn't waste my time looking for fuchsia feathers. Instead we went to the Crocs store, where I splurged on beautiful new turquoise rubber clogs, and went all out and got a little plastic rose decoration to pop through one of the holes. I'm stylin' now.

Later, Deborah and I went to have our palms read - a $5 deal! - but Miss Marks was not in at the time, so we'll have to save that particular bargain for another day. An evening back on the patio brought me full circle, complete with cookie pants and Crocs, but minus the fashion magazines. Instead, Karena came by for one of our not-fancy dinners. We sat outside and watched an incredible thunderstorm in the near distance, and she gave me a wonderful hand-made birthday gift that was so perfect it made me cry.

This morning, back on the patio, looking out where the storm had been last night, things seem calm and pretty and just-washed. If I avoid the dumb magazines, I'm off to a good start to the week.

And look! First thing this morning, I find I've been given an award...
Thank you Jean Yates!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Fiesta Time in Taos

This is the weekend of the annual Taos Fiestas. It's a family time, full of fun, music, food, parades, and Taos Royalty. They've been doing this here for a long, long time, as you can see from the 1940 photo above. These days, it's bigger and more colorful than ever. And even though Rick and I don't really fit in with the local Hispanic culture, we never feel excluded, and so, we'll be on the plaza tonight too, listening to music, cheering for the new Queen and Princesses, and looking for something good to eat.

I'm in a bit of a blue mood since returning from the Grand Canyon, so I think a little time out in the noisy world will do me good, and maybe even inspire my work. One can always hope!

And here's a heads-up for you! I've decided to participate in my first-ever Studio Tour on September 15 and 16. More info later, but if you're pondering a visit to Taos, this would be a great time to come. There will be loads of terrific artists welcoming you to their studios, and I just might have a little party here that Saturday evening, which you would of course be invited to! Let me know if you're going to be here, and I'll work out the details soon..

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Did you Fire The Grid this morning?

Huh? Bet most of you didn't hear about this global event that took place this morning. Because I live in Taos, one of the woo-woo centers of the Universe, it was practically front page news. There's a lot to read on the official web site, but to distill it down to a few drops for you, the idea was that people all over the world were requested to join together at precisely the same time, to send healing prayers/meditations for the planet. Many "miracles" of human scale are documented, based on the simple use of energy as a healing tool. Energy. We're made of it. It's all there really is. Look closely enough at cells and molecules of "solid matter", and all you get is a bit of stuff held together by empty space... energy. So it makes sense that directing energy in specific ways can cause shifts in energy. It also makes sense that if a group of people work together in this, energy shifts will be greater. So just imagine the possibilities if the whole world focused on the same healing intention for the planet!

Woo-woo enough for you? Yeah baby, this is the kind of stuff they used to burn "witches" for. But if this is new stuff for you, start asking around. I'll bet you hear a lot of stories you won't readily believe. Here's one of mine... Rick and I took the kids to Mexico for Christmas some years ago. On Christmas morning, Lauren and I were sitting on the beach in folding wooden chairs. She was happily sitting there eating candy, and sharing it with local kids who came around to see what the tourists had to offer. She tried to move her chair a little bit in the sand, and it collapsed with her fingers between the heavy wood sides. Since she was sitting in it, her own weight crushed her hands and kept her from pulling her little fingers free. It seemed to take forever for me to jump up and lift her off the chair. She was crying and crying, and I didn't know what to do. I sat her in my lap, and recalled a workshop I'd taken in Seattle on Therapeutic Touch. Because the "touch" isn't actually touching at all, I thought it was worth a try. I cupped my hands around hers, without actually touching them at all, and we just sat there for a few minutes. No special Secret Words. No Deep Thinking. Just the simple concentration and transfer of energy. Before long, she started to wiggle to get out of my lap. We looked at her fingers, and there wasn't a sign of any damage at all. She felt fine, went back to the candy, and never had any bruising or redness at all...

When I heard about the Fire The Grid plan, I thought, great idea, but I don't think I want to get up at 5:11 AM to join in. Lazy! Yes! I said - Hey, there's really no such thing as linear time, so any time I feel like sending my part will be fine. Well... I was pretty surprised when I popped awake at 5:08 this morning! Even more surprised when Rick woke up just moments later. Man, it was "loud" out there, and we clearly knew we were being requested to participate at the designated time! So what could we do? We stayed awake and sent out loving juju to our ailing planet, along with millions of other people who were doing the same thing at the same moment. Will it help? I hope so. I like to think so. The world has some badly crushed fingers, and I feel pretty humbled and honored to have been asked to help out.

Want to know more? Visit the Fire The Grid website. And remember to be careful what you wish for... that's energy, and where we focus it is what we bring into our lives. Good juju, my friends! Share the good juju!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

and then, an evening at the opera

Maybe we didn't plan our time very well, but since we bought our tickets to see La Boheme at the Santa Fe Opera months ago, we decided to just keep going, forget about unpacking from the Grand Canyon, and head back down the highway to get some culture the very next day after coming home...

This was our first time at the Opera. How negligent of us to wait so long! I think they do things a little different here than say, at the "Met"... it's a well-established tradition here to "tail gate" before curtain time. People bring tables, fancy crystal, beautiful food and wine, and eat in the parking lot! Sounds weird. Is weird. But it was fun! I also had two amazing, fragrant flower leis, which my friend Sally had sent from Hawaii for my birthday. I wore them to the opera instead of pearls, darling!

Our seats were way up high, so we had a sweeping view of everything. At one point I noted - quietly to myself, of course - that it was really strange to be sitting there in Santa Fe, surrounded by the perfume of my tropical flowers mixed with the desert breezes that blew through the open-air opera house, listening to an Italian opera that happens to be staged in Paris, and watching it all through binoculars that were peering out at the Grand Canyon only one day earlier. Today I'm staying home, so I don't get any more confused!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Here I am...

Back from the Grand Canyon, but not because we want to be! It was so wonderful, we even stole and extra day and headed to the South Rim. I can't explain it, but I love that place more than anywhere I've ever been. And as always, photos abound! This was exactly how I wanted to spend my 50th birthday. And as my friend so sweetly reminded me - I'm only half-way to 100... still lots to do!

The first long, hot day of driving took us through Farmington, NM and Shiprock. That afternoon we found ourselves in Marble Canyon, on Navajo Bridge, looking out over the Colorado River. It was over 100 degrees down there, so we went down to dip our toes, and to see the famous Lees Ferry, where the river rafts launch and land.

We spent that night at the Marble Canyon Lodge, which I don't recommend.... it's worn out to a point long past quaint... gone 'round the bend to shabby. I'd say stay at either the Lees Ferry Lodge for it's cuteness, or Cliff Dweller's Lodge, where we had a terrific dinner, with a great view of Vermillion Cliffs, and a cooling mist spray keeping the outdoor deck tolerable.

Next morning we were heading into the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. But we like to stop at interesting things along the way, so we pulled in at this old stone house that was built by a woman who was stranded with car trouble, and just decided to stay. It's falling down now, but her family now owns Cliff Dwellers, and local Navajos sell jewelry in front of the old stone house. Yes, of course I bought something! A silver and inlaid turquoise bead!

The North Rim Lodge is a beautiful old stone cliff-hugger, with great big views of Bright Angel Canyon and beyond. The North Rim is a smaller, less built-up area than the South Rim. It's quieter, less crowded, and has fewer options for lodging and dining. But it's nice for a relaxing stay in the trees. We got used to it pretty easily! There are no actual hotel rooms inside the lodge. It's all little cabins. We were lucky to get one very near the rim, with a porch and rocking chairs. Ahhhh...

The first thing to do was go for a little nature walk and check out the surroundings...

After that, pizza and beer on the stone porch of the lodge, and a really red sunset, caused by a fire about 30 miles away... and pollution from California. Fires happen in the forest... It makes for hazy air, but is really an important part of a forest's overall health. Locals don't seem to get to freaked out about them. It's just nature!

And then... there it was... my birthday. My 50th Birthday. Holy Cow - I'm 50! I can't explain how weird that is to me. But I was the kid who cried and cried the day I turned ten, because Mom told me I was a decade old. I'm not particularly graceful about these numbered landmarks in life. And I'll admit to feeling a little edgy about it all day. We hiked the Uncle Jim Trail, chatting with the animals and flowers and even super-ancient sea-life fossils. I was quiet... not sure how to "be" my new number. OK - I didn't like it a bit. But I knew the queasiness would pass, so I tried to be brave, and hiked on, camera and notebook in hand... Rick was a big help. He always is.

Tired and hot, we got back to the cabin to find a mysterious delivery... a huge, beautiful gift basket. After a little bit of sleuthing, we found out my baby, Lauren had sent it. Perfect timing! We were in serious need of refreshment!

Rested and feeling better, we shined ourselves up for a nice dinner at the lodge. We had frou-frou drinks and a wonderful meal. And I actually insisted that the staff sing to me at dessert time. Maybe the pink drink helped... I was beginning to feel better about the whole birthday deal...

That night I had a little clip of a dream... I was sliding down a steep hillside, digging my heels in, trying to stop before going off the cliff... but as I went over the edge, I found I was able to fly...

I guess I'm processing the age thing better than I thought.
I went to the gift shop, looking for a bracelet - something regional. Something to remind me of the trip and the Canyon. Something to remind me to be Fearless... This is what I found - it's perfect! It's Navajo "pawn", sterling and coral, in a style I've never seen in the southwest. Sort of medieval... like the architecture of the castle-like lodge. It's as close as I'm going to get to carrying a sword!

We spent the rest of the day "car hiking" to far off view points. The air was smoky from the fire, and it was really hot and sticky that day. We just took it easy, and spent time meeting the locals... like Brighty, the donkey. Cute little guy. And I met Shirley, a Beadist who spends part of the year in Washington, and the other part at the Canyon. I was wishing I could spend more time there, and she suggested I apply for the Artist In Residence Program. A.I.R..... yes! I'll give it a try!

We just weren't ready to head for home, so Rick did his magic, and got us a reservation the next day at the South Rim. Oh happy day! It was stormy and dramatic when we arrived after a 250 mile drive around from the North to the South Rim. That didn't bother us though. We know how fast the monsoon rains can drift through. So we watched the show for a while, and then went for a little hike down the Bright Angel Trail. I learned that every step you take down into the Canyon is a 20,000 year trip back in geological time. I couldn't go too far in flip-flops, but we did go past the tunnel, and then down to the sharp point in the trail on the right.

We had plenty of time to watch the condors, which can only be seen at the South Rim, have beers on the deck of El Tovar, and just gaze off into the big side of the Canyon.

Too soon it was time to get some sleep. We had to go home the next day, but our stolen day was well worth the effort. As we said good-bye to the Canyon in the morning, two condors flew right over our heads, circling twice, as if to say good-bye. I cried and laughed and thanked them, and can't wait to go back again... and again...

Happy Birthday to me! We celebrate BirthMonth in my family, so tonight... we're going to the Santa Fe Opera! I'll tell you all about it later!