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Friday, February 29, 2008

take a leap

Happy Leap Day to you! What will you do with your extra day? It should be a holiday, says me. We should all use this day to do any old thing we feel like doing. But it should be an active "doing" sort of thing, rather than power-lounging in your PJs. A leap of faith, or a leap into something unknown, or a leap out of a bad life or into a new good one. Know what I mean? Go on. Take a leap today and see where you land. I bet it will be worth it!

But first, leap on over to Barbe Saint John's Craft Gossip Jewelry Making Blog, and read a hopping good interview... with me! Learn about my earliest jewelry projects, and how I jumped into the bead business over eleven years ago...

OK, enough Leap Year Puns. I trust we'll all make good use of this special day!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

cleaning tip #1

I wish I'd taken a picture, but I didn't, so I'll just have to describe to you the ridiculous super powers of the water here. It isn't just hard water. It's strong, sturdy water, so full of minerals you practically have to chew it. I kept noticing little white bits in the bottom of my tea cup, and finally thought to open the top of the tea kettle to see if maybe we had some buildup in there. Holy Moly Batman. I mean, I thought it would take someone like Batman to blast through that quarter-inch white crust that coated the inside of our beloved red tea kettle. It really was that thick, and hard as... well a rock, being the mineral deposit it was and all.

So I'm looking at this stuff, thinking that I don't want to use some nasty chemical cleaner in there, and also don't think a chisel is the way to go on an enamel tea kettle. It was looking hopeless. Maybe we'd just keep using it until it completely filled itself with minerals, and then we could use it as a door stop.

And then I remembered Coca Cola...

Someone told me, a long time ago, when we first moved here to the land of strong bones and teeth, that Coke would remove mineral deposits from dishes. I tried it back then on a pair of crusty looking pressed glass wine goblets I'd picked up at a yard sale. They soaked in the Coke over night, and came out clear and sparkling the next morning. Amazing, I thought. I also wondered what the stuff did to teeth and intestines...

So a few days ago, Rick, my Lovely Assistant, picked up a big ole jug o' Coke. Excited about this project, he came right home and dumped it into the tea kettle. After just a couple of hours, the crusty white junk had softened to an easy to remove goo. Voila! Clean as a whistle, which all respectable tea kettles know how to do.

So there you go. My best Happy Homemaker Cleaning Tip, next to hydrogen peroxide, which we'll cover another time. For now, I heartily recommend keeping a big bottle of Coke in the house, but for cleaning purposes only! You wouldn't drink Lime-Away, now would you?

Monday, February 25, 2008

so much, all at once

It was a super busy weekend. Rick just got home from his scouting mission in Oregon. It was a good trip, and he found a couple of properties that look pretty good. The best one so far is this one...
It's 3.5 acres on a stream. The house is a wreck, and would need to be knocked down and removed, but we're planning on yurts anyway, so that's not a big deal. All we need is a quick $100K so we can snap it up before someone else does. Anybody? Bill Gates? Richard Branson? Warren Buffett? Wouldn't you just love to support a hard working artist? Bet you'd be the first Rich Guy on your block to have a yurt named in your honor!

I drove down to Albuquerque on Saturday for a "date night" with Lauren and the Kappas. Some of the girls had "boy dates", and some of them invited their moms. We went to tea at a fancy schmancy tea room, which was some good girlie fun, and an excuse to wear froo-froo shoes...

We overloaded on sweets though, so as soon as the tea party was over, we changed our clothes and headed out for pizza and beer. I spent the night in Lauren's room - my second time staying at the sorority house. Wow... that's a lot of Girl Energy. Fun for one night, but I'm way to old to live that way. After a good breakfast at the Range Cafe, we ran through Costco, picking up some provisions, and then I headed for home, making another stop in Santa Fe at Trader Joe's. On my way off the highway, a car pulled up alongside me, and the woman in the passenger seat held up a strand of beads to wave at me. HaHa! A fellow Beadist had spotted my license plate!

So I shopped for fancy finger foods to serve at our little Oscar Party last night, and dashed back through the canyon, smiling and waving to the muddy Rio Grande along the way. I like to stop sometimes, for a personal chat with the water, but it was starting to rain and I needed to get home. We got everything ready for our friends to come over and watch the Oscars. We dressed up in our best Taos Bling (which is nothing like Hollywood Bling, as it includes rubber snow boots), made pretty food, chilled the good grapefruit vodka, and shoved furniture around to make comfy seating for everyone. Then we turned on the TV, and realized that the channel showing the Oscars was not working. We only get two channels, and only one of them was working. The wrong one... Very disappointing. But we did have a nice evening eating silly puffy pastry bites and chatting with good friends about movies and other things. We got the Winner Updates off the internet, which was somehow not as exciting as seeing the Beautiful People run up to the stage. But no one here seemed to mind. Like I said, we have good friends.

So today it's back to work. I'll handle the bead end of things while Rick digs in and finishes a few last projects so we can get this house on the market. I'm not counting on the Rich Guys to send in their spare change, so that means we need to sell this house as quickly as we can. The wheels are turning. Time to get going.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

This is where I spend the first part of my mornings while Rick is away. The dining table by the big windows. I check mail, blog if I'm feeling bloggy, and eat a little breakfast. I also gaze out the window quite a bit, which might look like daydreaming to some, but I prefer to call it "contemplation". I'm practicing looking out the window at things I've seen a million times, and seeing if I can see them this time with fresh eyes. Look. Look again. Then go back and look one more time. Things start to change.

Today I have a particularly nice feast. Thomas brought me some scones yesterday, that he made with his own two hands, and a lot of heart. They have chocolate in them, and they have just the perfect moisture/crumble ratio, which is tricky to achieve at our 7,000 foot elevation. They're so cheery and perfect with tea and oranges (that are probably not all the way from China). Men who bake are to be cherished in this world. Sure, lots of men have hobbies, passions, and pastimes that they're willing to share with their friends, and we should always applaud those generosities. All I'm saying is, I very much prefer a warm foil-wrapped bundle of scones to, let's say, a taxidermied duck or a six pack of murky home brew.

I enjoy these mornings by myself. I've actually enjoyed this whole week by myself. It's something I don't get very often, and I was really feeling the need for some quiet time alone. It's been good for me. Even getting sick was a huge gift, and now I feel really good. I think I have my balance back. Rick is coming home tomorrow, and our mornings will shift back to our normal routine together... or maybe into a new one that includes a little more window time for me. It's a big table I'm sitting at. Lots of room for both of us. And if you look down to the other end of it, you see I'm holding Rick's place with the sweater I finally finished for him. Shh! Don't tell! I want to surprise him. And don't look too close. There are plenty of mistakes, believe me. But it's my first sweater, and I know he'll like it just because of that. He might even wear it. And I'm pretty sure he wouldn't trade it for a stuffed duck.

Monday, February 18, 2008

i just wanted an apple

You know how it is when you go to wipe a fingerprint off the fridge and two hours later you've cleaned the whole darn thing? We use that expression around here to mean we started something that should have been simple, but then got all involved in a way bigger job than we meant to get into...

Oops! I wiped a fingerprint off the refrigerator! Literally this time. I was looking around for something gentle-on-the-tummy to eat this morning, and reached for an apple, wondering why we keep apples in the fridge anyway, because I don't like them cold, and always have to set them out and wait two hours before they get to room temperature. So I took all four apples out and put them in a nice bowl on the counter. But while I was doing that, I noticed something was very stinky in that refrigerator, and decided to investigate. That's where the trouble started. I opened and sniffed every last thing in there... except the obviously nasty bits that went straight into the trash can. There is no tupperware container in existence worth cleaning month-old black beans out of. If you even open that lid the teensiest smidge, the house will stink for days. So the moving to Oregon process becomes a little easier as I toss out perfectly good kitchen items. I did learn one interesting thing. Old pineapple does not turn blue or green or black like most moldy oldy foods. It turns pink! A very pretty color combination, that pink and yellow.

Soon I realized that it wasn't any one thing in the fridge that was stinking, but the fridge itself. And so, in keeping with the tradition of fingerprint wiping, I removed every bit of food, every little condiment (why do we have so many?), and every removable shelf and drawer, and proceeded to wash and wipe and scrub. Two hours later, we have a sparkling clean, sweet smelling, basically empty refrigerator. The empty part is OK. I still don't feel like eating much. And besides, I do still have four nice apples, which are now at just the right temperature to eat.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

feeling better

Thank you all for the nice emails and good juju sent my way yesterday. The bug I had appears to have been the 24 hour kind, and I'm much better today. I'll take it easy, but don't feel the need to stay in bed. This reminds me of what we used to call "the flu" when I was a kid... the kind that kept you running to the bathroom for major cleanouts in all directions, if you get my drift... These days, "flu" had come to mean something different, more like a super intense cold that knocks you flat for weeks. Thankfully, I don't think I got that, and I don't think a flu shot (which I've never had, and don't intend to have) would have saved me from this one. I think I needed a day of power-lounging to clear my head and body of old junk.

More and more I find myself looking at and bringing up the energetic implications of things. Such major changes are happening all around me. Not only to me, but to almost everyone I know. And in the midst of all this chaos, I feel safe.

A friend sent the following yesterday. Makes sense to me.

Unblock me. Open me up.

Some of the people with flu symptoms don't actually have an infection. The flu-like symptoms mask what's really going on: the New Energies are clearing out old and useless energies. If we can give ourselves permission to have the flu then the clearing will happen more easily. I know, I know: Easier said than done. We all want to feel better. If you have the "flu" do what you think you need to do.

AND instead of fighting them, welcome the New Energies in.

Here's the latest New Energy:

commence your quest
have confidence
sits in the north-northwest at 11,143 Hz
arrived 2/13/08 2:32 pm MT

While I was here welcoming the New Energies, Rick was wandering around southern Oregon, looking at land for sale. He sent a video of one he really likes. Looks good to me, from here at least. I'll wait and show you what we buy, when we buy it. The move to Oregon is feeling very real. I'm excited! And a good dose of "fortitude" can't hurt either.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

oh yuck

Oh dear... what next? I got smacked down with the flu last night. Guess the Universe is telling me to rest, so that seems to be what I'll do.

I want my mommy.

Friday, February 15, 2008

walking the plank

Looks like we're coming into Mud Season here... It got warm yesterday, and all the snow that's been on the ground since November started to melt. The whole neighborhood was a swampy mess of puddles, ponds, tiny rivers, slush, and mud... with ice underneath it all, to keep it from soaking into the ground. I was in the studio for most of the day, watching things soften and drip in the driveway. When I wandered in to the kitchen in the afternoon, I was shocked to see my entire patio under water. Yuck! What a mess. Good thing I had my handy Valentine Tattoo Boots right by the door.

This morning the waters have subsided, but I suspect they'll be back. Mud Season happens every year. There's even a store in town called Mud & Flood, where you can find just the right gear to supplement your Taos wardrobe. I remember when I used to shop at Macy's...

Thursday, February 14, 2008

happy loving day

Today is Loving Day. That's what my son used to call Valentine's Day when he was little. I like that. It includes everyone and means something bigger than hearts and flowers and sappy cards. I'm all for the romantic stuff, but this year my Valentine Boyfriend is away for the holiday, so I'm looking at it in a different way. I hope we'll all be reminded to share some love wherever we can. And in the spirit of hope, I want to show you the new HOPE Blog the Cunningham Foundation has started. They're the HOPE Bracelet Project people. Lovely people doing wondrous work!

The Hope Bracelet Project is doing so much good for so many people, and now we can show you with videos! This is very exciting. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video must be worth a million! I recommend three in particular, to give you a good idea of what the project is doing...
Start with Video Blog: HOPE Heart Beads Promotion Video to see some beads being made.
Next, watch Video Blog: Ethiopia Trip 2007 Jordan Junge Interview for a young person's personal experience in Ethiopia.
Then listen to my dear friend Marta speak from her great big heart to all of us who were at the HOPE Bracelet First Pick Party in November. Video Blog: Marta Gabre-Tsadick at First Pick Party. I love Marta. I would do most anything for her. She even has me promising to go to Ethiopia in a year or so, which is something I never thought I would do. HaHa! I've never been to Hawaii, but I'd pass up a free ticket if I could trade it in on a trip to visit orphans in Africa. Not that anyone is offering either at the moment, but I do live a charmed life, so I expect it all to work out!

So enjoy the videos and the rest of the blog. If you feel inspired to help, please do! Maybe in the name of someone you love, in honor of Loving Day. It would mean a lot more that another box of chocolates.

Happy Valentine's Day!
Share some Love!
Tag, you're it!

Monday, February 11, 2008

jean's new book!

I just got my copy of Jean Yates' new book, Links. It's beautiful! And I'm in it! I've made a fair amount of jewelry in my time, but looking through this book, I found myself constantly saying, "Oh! I never thought of that before!" Looking at jewelry design through someone else's very talented eyes is so refreshing. Get the book! I'm sure you'll enjoy it!

Friday, February 08, 2008

did you feel it?

There was a solar eclipse last night. I'm not sure what time or where it was visible. Obviously we couldn't see it here in the middle of the night, but I think I felt it...

I woke up sometime in the middle of the night, and noticed that my skin was sort of vibrating. Not in a scary bad way, but more of a gentle humming that went about an inch deep. It didn't freak me out at all. I just went, "Hm... my skin is buzzing", and went back to sleep.

All you metaphysical folks out there might know more about this than I do. I'm kind of in the middle of the WooWoo Scale. I'm a total Believer in Things I Can't See, but I don't take the time to read up on all the current events that seem to be happening on the global grid. I have friends who fill me in on all that stuff. Any of you reading this, please tell us what you know!

I'm feeling really good today, although there does seem to be a lot of jangled energy zipping around me. I'm balanced in the center of it, but I don't want to get in its way! Suddenly I'm ready to clean out the office. It's closing in on me, and besides, the floor needs refinishing. So today is officially a non-bead day. I'm running with this energy flow and clearing some space. WhooWeee! This feels good! Hope you got some too!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

every stitch

I'm knitting a sweater for Rick. I've never made a whole sweater before, so this might be a really mean thing to do to him. Once I made all the parts to a sweater, but the yarn was cheap and ugly, so I never sewed it all together. I sent it to the Free Box, hoping one of the local Trustafarians (unwashed mesa dwellers with dreadlocks and trust funds) would have the ambition to put it together and wear it.

Letting that go, I decided to make this lovely thing for Rick. See? I have the front and back done, and have started the first sleeve. I think this might work out. Of course the parts all need to line up when I'm done, and there's no real way to know if it will fit him until it's all finished. I've already told him he doesn't have to wear it if it looks stupid. For me, it's more like "knitting for process". I just like to do it. I like that a piece of string can become a piece of fabric, and that I get to touch it the whole time I'm working on it. Beads aren't like that. It's not wise to fondle molten glass...

I spend a lot of time making beads, but lately I feel like I'd rather spend my time doing other things. That's not really good for business, but sales are slow throughout the Art World, so I might as well take advantage of this little slump in the economy. I have a terrible kink in my left "wing". Feels like it's deep under my shoulder blade, and it's been there for days... maybe weeks. A long time. I keep wondering if it's a message to me that I'm not doing something important. You know, I'm not flying. I have no idea what it is. But I do know that when I find it, I need to do it just for the love of it, and then see if it pays the bills.

A couple of weeks ago I showed someone the picture in the knitting book, of the finished sweater. She laughed and said something like, "Yeah... you can spend all that money on yarn, and all that time knitting it, and come up with something that looks like you bought it at the Gap." She obviously didn't get the point. A Gap sweater doesn't have love knitted into every stitch.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

get out there

Hey - you going to vote today? No excuses! If you're in one of the states involved in today's caucus/primary, please get out there and do your part. I repeat - No Excuses! It's still snowing here, and I'm prepared to head out on snow shoes if I have to. That would be pretty funny, considering my generally inactive winter lifestyle. I'll be sure to take a picture if I do...... huffin' and puffin' down the road, a mile through Talpa, the Mad Dog Neighborhood..... yes, that's how strongly I feel about this. Fortunately, I also have four wheel drive and good tires...

Anyway, come on. This is no time to get lazy. We got work to do! Nobody's gonna hear us if we don't speak up.

Monday, February 04, 2008

hooray for superbowl

Hooray for the SuperBowl... because I didn't have to watch it. Rick went to a friend's house to holler at the TV, and left me home alone for the first time in weeks. It was heaven. It was my first chance to try out my new violin in peace and quiet, without anyone there to cheer me on. It's a new dance for me, and it's going to take time to get to know this strange new partner. A violin is not at all like the guitar of my early teen years. It's much more delicate and particular about what it likes. The very first thing I did was break the E string when I was tuning it. Snappo! But I decided to press on, and continued my DVD lesson with only three strings. I learned an alternate way to play the missing "open E" on the A string, and so was able to learn my very first song... "Mary Had A Little Lamb". I have to say, I sound truly horrible. I also have to say it annoyed me a little bit when both Lauren and Rick later told me "not to be discouraged". Why in the world should I be discouraged? I'm not! I'm thrilled to hear these awful sounds. This is the beginning. It can only get better from here.

After an hour and a half of "Mary Had A Little Lamb", I was getting pretty tired, and sounding worse instead of better. So I gently cleaned my remaining three strings, cleaned the wood, wrapped "her" up in her lovely blue velvet, and sent Miss Violin off to bed. The Big Game wasn't over yet, so I put some lovely violin music on the CD player, and moved on to my next entertainment. I'm knitting a sweater for Rick. I'm also a beginner knitter, so there's no telling how weird this sweater will be. I'll bet he wears it though, even if it's totally wonky.

By the time Rick got home, I was happily sitting by the fire, just relaxing in a way I never seem to do. I've more or less forgotten how to relax. Who knew it would take a football game to remind me.......

Friday, February 01, 2008

the girls are home

Lauren and Heidi are home for the weekend... to rest... and do laundry. Hmm, they better get off that couch soon. The laundry won't do itself. I love having my "girls" here, but pampering has never been one of my strong points. At least I know that's not why people come here. Visitors to our house - even family - get something like, "Hi! Come in! Here's a beer! Get the next one yourself!" And then we talk and laugh and eat and drink until we're all full... and filled. The ones who come to be waited on don't last very long...

Ah! I hear sounds of laundry-doing in the distance. I raised a smart one.