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Saturday, August 30, 2008

proud mom

My son, Danny, is a Volvo tech in Seattle. But he's so much more than that. Sure, he fixes cars. That's what he went to school for, and it's a pretty good job, as far as I can tell. Stuff will always break, and we will always need people to fix our Broken Stuff. But Danny is also an artist, although I don't think he really knows it. He has an eye for design, beauty, and quality, and he uses his skills to make everything he touches wonderful. He bought a funky old Volvo a few years ago, made some modifications, and came up with something he's now known for all over Volvodom. In fact, his car is so cool, it's on the cover of the latest IPD Parts Catalog. So what, you say? Hey man - this is like the cover of Rolling Stone in the Volvo world!

Creativity comes in many forms. It drives me nuts when people say, "Oh... I wish I was creative like you." Absurd! Everyone is creative in their own sweet way, whether it's making beads, baking a killer batch of brownies, growing a prize rutabaga, raising kind and caring children, or fixing cars. We all have something to offer.
Yay Danny, for finding his own bit of magic. Here is his cover shot, also photographed by him, which makes him a darn good photographer too. I'm a very proud mom.

Order a free copy of the catalog here:
IPD 2008 Parts Catalog
Then take it to Bob Byers Volvo in Seattle, and ask Danny to autograph it. He'll be thrilled!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

ethiopia fundraiser!

I told you a few days ago that we're going to Ethiopia with the HOPE Bracelet Project. This is so far beyond exciting I'm just flat out of words! I've spent several days putting together a fundraiser to help pay for this trip, and since I've already written about it all so nicely on my website, I'm just going to paste it in here for you.

If you already know about the HOPE Bracelet Project, and want to help, you can skip all the reading and go directly to the special Donation Page on the Cunningham Foundation website.

Feel like reading? Here you go!
Thank you for all your help!!!

I have some super exciting news!
Rick and I have been invited to go to Ethiopia in November, to teach beadmaking for the HOPE Bracelet Project! This is so amazing to me, to finally be able to meet the people we've been working with all this time. This year, for the first time ever, there will be bracelets available made with beads from the Yetebon Studio at Project Mercy. This is huge, as it means our goal of helping the HOPE Bracelet Project to become self-sufficient is becoming a reality. More than ever, teachers and mentors are needed there to encourage the students and help them become awesome, creative beadmakers. This is where I come in!

As you might imagine, a trip like this is not inexpensive. We don't want funds for the project used for our travel expenses, and we're not wealthy volunteers who can actually afford to do this on our own. We're just simple beadmakers, making our living bead by bead.

So, I'm holding a fundraiser, and asking for your help in making this important trip possible. I've gone through my personal jewelry collection, and have chosen several wonderful pieces that I think you'll love as much as I do. I will be holding a Thank-You Drawing at the end of this fundraiser, just before we leave for Ethiopia, randomly picking new owners for some of my favorite jewelry. Every $10 donated will get you a chance to win! The dates of the trip are November 19-29, 2008. I'll mail everything before we leave. Sure, it stings a little, but this means a lot to me!
I'm asking a lot of you, and I want to give something of myself in return.

Our goal here is $6,000. This will cover our travel costs, but not any personal expenses along the way, which we will, of course, pay for ourselves. If we bring in more than we need for our own trip, the rest will stay with the Cunningham Foundation, either directly benefiting the HOPE Bracelet Project,
or to help with the travel expenses of other volunteers.

To make a donation of any size, please visit my special page on the Cunningham Foundation website.

Thank You So Much!!!
Here are the pieces of jewelry I'll be giving away. I wish I had something for each and every one of you!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

wanna dance?

One of our favorite annual events is coming right up, and I'm telling you now so you have some time to get here. It's Michael Hearne's Big Barn Dance Weekend on September 4, 5, & 6. I know... it doesn't sound like my kind of thing, does it? What can I say? My tastes in entertainment run wider and deeper than the old Rio Grande. (Tonight we're going to a poetry reading. Yesterday we went hiking.) You just have to trust me on this. Even if you're not a country music fan (I despise much of the contemporary stuff), there's something so feel-good about this little festival, I just bet a bucket of beads you'd love it. Be the first on your block to discover it. I'll bet you come back year after year. Here's the link: Michael Hearne's Big Barn Dance Music Festival. Let me know of you're coming so I can be sure to say howdy.

Monday, August 25, 2008

falling forward

I saw it before I felt it this morning. The slant of the early morning light was just that tiny bit different, that first hint that fall is on the way. I've been expecting it, sniffing for it every morning for the last couple of weeks. It comes early here in the high desert, and it always makes me a little bit sad. I love summer so much, and winter last so darn long. I'm not ready to think about fire wood and snow boots already. But since it looks like we'll be here for at least part of the winter now, we need to prepare. Drat! Double drat! We so wanted to be in Oregon by now. Sigh...

At least we have the Ethiopia trip to keep us excited and occupy our thoughts. There's so much to do to get ready, and like it or not, November is right around the corner. I'm putting together my fundraiser now. I hope to have it ready to roll sometime this week. It will be sweet and simple, and you won't believe the awesome stuff you might win as a Thank-You Gift. Some of my very best necklaces... another sigh as I let them go in the name of a wonderfully good cause. This year there's something more exciting about November than just turkey. Thanksgiving in Ethiopia is a pretty big deal!

Would you like a little preview of some of the fundraiser prizes? OK!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

happy birthday karena

Rick and I had a most wonderful time at Karena's earthship last night, celebrating her birthday. The following slide show is mostly for her, and for us, but I hope you'll enjoy it too. At some point you might notice some extra guests at the party... Weee! No hints! But I will say this - We're in Taos, for goodness sakes. Interesting, not quite explainable things happen all the time. The more they happen, and the more we notice, the more they keep happening. A tasty tidbit of Quantum Physics is that consciousness is required for anything to become "real". Chew on that one for a while.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

body surfing new mexico

For as long as we've lived here, I've wanted to go river rafting on the Rio Grande. It looks like so much fun, bobbing along on the water, screaming over the rapids, jumping in for a swim in the calm pools. Swimming in the Rio Grande sounds so romantic, like something from an old cowboy movie, or if you're farther south, it's a good way to get arrested for illegal border crossing...

Yesterday Rick and I met up with some friends after our hike, at a popular spot under the John Dunn Bridge, where the Rio Hondo meets the Rio Grande. We set up chairs and dragged coolers full of food and beverage out of our cars, and proceeded to relax in the shade. It was one of those perfect 90 degree days that gets pretty hot, even under and old cottonwood tree, so some of us started to talk about a swim. The best spot for a dip is on the other side of the bridge, so we wandered over there to cool off. Katy said she wanted to float back to camp, and I jumped at the idea, thinking it was as close to rafting as I was likely to get any time soon. Rick, Karena, and Heidi decided to just swim a bit and walk back, telling us we were flat out crazy to go drifting down the river without a boat. But did we listen? Noooooo...

Katy George has lived on the Rio Grande most of her life, except for a short stint in Paris. The Rio is her heart's home, so I figured she knew what she was talking about. We hopped in and drifted slowly at first, chatting and giggling and feeling oh so brave and adventurous. As we got to the bridge, the water started to move a little faster, and Katy said it would be best to go through those little rapids up ahead, and get out on the other side of them, where it's an easier beach to climb out on. So OK, I followed Katy The River Guide as the water sped up, and we were swept into the rapids. Fortunately, she remembered to tell me to keep my feet in front of me, but I quickly saw that no matter where my flip-flop clad feet were, I was totally out of control. I watched Katy ahead of me, bobbing and bumping along, as I did the same. My feet found the very large rocks that created the rapids only a split second before my butt did. I bumped and slammed and dunked and sputtered along, thinking it would never end. One of my shoes came off, and I calmly announced out loud, "Oh. Lost a shoe", feeling pretty happy that was all I'd lost. The next moment I was able to reach out and grab it, and made the follow-up announcement, "Got it back." Finally, after thirty seconds that seemed like three days, we made it to the calm water at the other end. Our friends on shore were worried and sent John and a large dog to rescue us. He helped us out and we stumbled back to camp, laughing maybe just a bit too hysterically.

Once we caught our breath and surveyed that damage, I asked Katy what in the world made her think that was a good idea. I was sure she had said she'd done this before. Her smooth Texas/French reply was something like, "I never said I'd done it without an inner tube!"

This morning I have more bruises on my backside than I can count. There is not a comfortable position to sit in, so I'm writing this in considerable discomfort. I do have a new theme song though, at least until the bruises fade... I think it's an old Cold Blood song, in which Lydia Pense belts out, Talk about your lowdown blues, I got 'em. I do believe I've hit rock bottom.

Next week we all plan to meet there again. I think I'll stick to the swimming hole.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

you wanna piece a me?

A trip to Ethiopia is no small feat. As the detailed information rolls in, I realize that like any other volunteer venture, this is going to be expensive. Looks like about $6,000 total for the two of us, not counting time away from work. This isn't terrible, but that kind of cash isn't just hanging out in our bank account. The obvious solution - a FUNDRAISER! I've done it for enough other people that I feel pretty confident. And since this is not a vacation (which we haven't actually had, except for a quick road trip now and then, in over ten years), but a volunteer gig where we'll be working hard and helping lots of lovely people, I also feel OK about asking for help.

I spent all afternoon digging through my rather large personal collection of jewelry. I have a lot. I love it all. And I've been collecting it all my life. I've decided to part with several favorite pieces in order to make the money required for this trip. In a few days, I'll have a page on my website devoted to this project. I'll be asking for donations of $10 or more. And while this is not technically a raffle, I will hold a drawing at a designated time, and pick new owners for these favorite pieces of jewelry. My way of saying thank you for helping!

This isn't easy, giving away these pieces that are some of my favorites. But you know... the way I chose the ones that will be offered was to pick them up and see if I got that twinge of "I wanna keep this!". If I still want it, it's a good one to let go of. Not easy at all, but this trip means a lot to me, so I feel I need to offer something meaningful in exchange.

I'm cleaning everything up now, and I'll have nice pics of the goods soon. For now, this is what it looks like when I pull out (almost) all of my jewelry and spread it out on the dining room table...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

piecing it together

Still waiting... yeah, yeah, yeah, blah, blah, blah. But while we wait, we're doing interesting stuff that keeps us from climbing out of our skin.

The other night, we went to help with a patio mosaic project at Deborah and Thomas's. Several friends were there to cover two big concrete walls with something pretty. We divided up and just started sticking stuff on. No plan, which can sometimes backfire and become a nasty mess. But I think we did pretty well.

I think maybe you can tell which end was mine... the one with all the teeny, tiny pieces... Hey - it's all beads to me, baby...

Hiking is getting easier and more fun every time we go out. We've even taken Heidi with us a couple of times, and she does great. Who would have guessed those short little legs could scramble up a mountain so easily?

By the time we get to the top, she needs a rest and a snack, just like we do. But after a few minutes, she's off exploring our picnic site. Amazing.

And, if you haven't heard yet, we have some Very Big News! Rick and I are going to Ethiopia with the HOPE Bracelet Project in November!!! I can hardly believe it! I'll be talking more about it as we move through the planning, and of course I'll tell you all about the trip. And stay tuned for a fundraiser! No way can we do this without some help, but it'll be a fun one, I promise. I'm going to pull out some of my very favorite pieces of jewelry from my personal collection and raffle them off. That's how much this trip means to me! I'll keep you posted. Meanwhile, read more about the Hope Bracelet Project and Project Mercy at the Cunningham Foundation website.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


Look what Rick found in the yard. Normally a little stick wouldn't catch his attention, but this one was clinging to the adobe wall, which is uncommon behavior for a stick. It turned out to be some kind of stick-bug. But not being Bug People, we have no idea what its actual correct stick-bug name might be. Pretty cool though, as bugs and sticks go.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

loose change

If you want to change everything, just change something.

We're still here. Still in Taos. Still wishing, hoping, praying to move to Oregon before the snow flies. Still wondering why in the world we're being detained here... But what we're not doing anymore is being pissed off about it. At least most of the time...

Our whole focus has been so zeroed in on moving, that we actually became more and more stuck and stagnant. We realized the other day that we hadn't even made the hike to Williams Lake this summer. Ridiculous! Granted, Rick's injured back has stopped us from doing a lot of things, including hiking. But he's better now, and the doc gave the go-ahead to try it out and see how he felt.

So on Saturday, we dug out the day packs and hiking boots, made some sammiches, and hit the trail. I watched Rick closely, and monitored him like he was a little kid... You OK? Want to stop? Want to keep going? Let me carry the pack... Man, I really didn't want him to damage himself, you know? We were both surprised and delighted when we made it to the top and looked over to see that beautiful little alpine lake.

We sat there at the 11,000 ft. elevation and decided right then and there to stop waiting, and start moving. We made a deal with each other and ourselves, to do the stuff we want to do, here at home at least. All the crazy things that cross our paths and grab our interest are in the running. Wandering off to Italy is not an option just yet, but a lot of other things are...

Next day we went to see the Roller Derby. I've always been fascinated by roller derby. I was an awesome skater as a kid, and my mom went to school with Ann Calvello. (Check her out. You really should know who she is, as part of your well rounded world education.) We'd watch roller derby on TV on weekends, and Mom would point out Ann, saying she was one scary girl to be in school with. I thought the whole thing was too fabulous, and for a long time I wanted to be Queen Of The Roller Derby. Life got in the way, and though I've had skates, and even used them over the years, roller derby never presented itself as an option. I'd never even seen it live until the other day. And even though it was a rather funky New Mexican brand of derby, I was immediately smitten all over again. If they start a Taos team, I'll join. I'll be the Roller Granny, but I'll be hot!

After resting up for a couple of days, we decided to hike to Williams Lake again. In fact, we've decided to go up there twice a week until there's too much snow to go. We have snow shoes too, and we're not afraid to use 'em. We figure it's cheaper than a gym membership, and way more fun. And I know me... there's no way in this world I would ever manage a two-hour workout on a treadmill. We're in training for Being Old, which in turn is actually making us younger. How about that.

And to make it even more fun, we also decided it would be cool to write a book. Together, sort of. Even though we're still in Taos, our Next Adventure has already started. Our life is not like most people's, so we think we can tell about it in a way that will interest more than just a few blog readers. (I love you all, but there really aren't that many of you.) So as we sat there yesterday, gazing off across the lake, we pulled out our notebooks and started. It's true - if you want to change everything, change something.

Tonight, we're going out to hear some music. And today I plan to make some killer beads. I think it was Will Rogers who said something like, Even if you're on the right path, you'll get run over if you just sit there.

And then there's Wayne Gretzky - I skate where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.

Well there you go.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

just hoping

I just joined a cool site called Beaders Showcase. It's a little like MySpace for Beadists - a place to showcase your work, meet some nice folks, and mix and mingle if you feel like it. I don't have a lot of time for all the social stuff, but if I ever feel lonely, and in need of some good beady banter, that's where I'll go. And it's interesting to me to be going through all my bead photos, and see what I've made over the years. I don't actually own most of my best work anymore, but I do have pictures. I'm sort of sad that the market for great beads has fizzled so badly in the current economy. I'm forced to dumb down my work in order to make it affordable for the average bead buyer. I do hope I'll be encouraged to make the good stuff again someday. For now, I just need to focus on making a living... I'll bet a lot of people don't realize that my beads and I have been supporting my family for years. It's a tricky little juggling act, and sometimes there's just no room for Art.

But, I also just found out about's Manifest Hope Gallery Contest. (Thanks Joyce Rooks!) I decided to enter a necklace, even though I think I have very little chance of catching the judges attention. One of them is a curator for the Guggenheim... where Real Art is probably not a string of beads. But everything is worth a shot. How do we know if we don't even try? Here's the necklace...

I think even McCain supporters can wish me luck on this one. Don't we all want things like Progress, Hope, and Peace? Man, I sure hope so.

Monday, August 04, 2008

cover girl

I keep forgetting to mention that I made the cover of Simply Beads this month. Sheesh! What a doof! It's awesome to get a cover. And there are two big pages of my work inside too. Quick! Run out and get a copy before they put the September issue on the stands!

And how about a little music to go enhance your reading pleasure? We saw a great band the other night, here at the KTAO Solar Center. Check out Hot Club of Cowtown. I'd describe them as Django Reinhardt meets Bob Wills and sits down for a beer with Bob Dylan at the Mickey Mouse Club... I liked them so much, I just created a Pandora Station for them. Yay for new music!!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

mistaken identity

I haven't been around here much lately. Part of it is that it's summer, and the busy-ness that goes along with it. And part of it is that I seem to keep disappearing. I wonder if it's something on some weird cosmic level. From where I sit, it's just plain weird. The sequence of events went something like this...

Sometime last week I agreed to make some Memorial Beads for a woman in Ireland. I sent her a PayPal invoice, she paid it, and then PayPal decided to hold the PayMent, "pending further investigation". I figured it was just routine security stuff they do at random. I'm still not really worried about it. But then things got weirder.

I went to renew my driver's license, which is always so darn much fun. Rick, the darling man that he is, came along to keep me company. When my turn finally came around, it all went as expected, until it came time to take my picture. They have a new system here now. It's probably everywhere. The fancy new computer technology that reads your facial structure for more accurate identification. Well, we're a little behind on most things here, so we just got it. I sat there and moved my hair away from my face, which was difficult, as it's so short now, and kind of springy. I move it, and it goes right back to where it started. But she took the picture, and we went back to the other end of the place, where the computer said, Nope, that's not Kim... So, back to the camera, more hair arranging, a little head tilting, a smile comparison - Smile bigger. Bigger. OK! Hold it right there. Snap-o. Another picture. Back to the computer, and Computer says, Hmmm, it might be Kim. Guess we'll call it close enough.

I want to know how this fabulous technology is going to keep us all safe and secure. I want to know how it's going to stop the bad guys from being bad. If it can't even agree that I am indeed me, when I'm standing there in the very office that issued my original license, what's going to stop some creep from arranging his face just so, and convincing Very Important Officials that he is who he isn't? Total absurdity.

But I got my temporary license, and in 20 days or so, unless it's disapproved, they'll mail the real one to me... after careful review of the potentially dangerous beadmaker's background, of course.

The upshot is, by the time we were finished, the woman behind the counter, who generally scares me because she's always so stern and grumpy, was actually laughing along with me. That in itself was a personal triumph.

So back home, a quick Friday afternoon email check tells me that PayPal is still suspicious of the scary Irish bead buyer, and now, to make it even more fun, Blogger has informed me, in a not very friendly manner, that I'm locked me out of my own blog. They suspect it of being a Spam Blog, because it has so many interesting links to other places. The remedy is to request a review, and then to wait for an actual human to look at my blog and determine its validity. I requested, and waited. After 24 hours went by, I hadn't heard a peep. So just out of curiosity, I went to my Blogger account, and whaddaya know, I'm back in. But I'm still kind if pissed off. They didn't even bother to send an email saying something like, Oops, sorry for the inconvenience. Blog on my friend! Nope, nothing. I really think someone should make amends. Fat chance of that I guess.

But anyway... as of this morning, I appear to be me, at least for the time being, and I'm able to babble on here all I want. Still not sure about the Irish PayPal Connection, but I'm in no hurry. I haven't even made the beads yet. Today I'm going to lay low and keep out of the way of anyone who could complicate my world. I heard that the eclipse the other day was supposed to unstick everything that's been stuck up till now. We'll see.......