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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

books and wine

Read any good books lately? I have stacks of how-to, self-help, travel, dog training, zen stuff, but no novels that make my heart sing. I need a couple for the Africa trip. Any suggestions? I tend to choose a book by the cover... I also choose wine by the label. If it's pretty, I'll buy it. Sometimes I'm terribly disappointed with both books and wine...

So give us your Favorite Books List! And your wine list too for that matter!



Welcome to the Group Gratitude Journal!
(What's this about? Read the Gratitude Alert post!)

Please make your entries in the "comments" area below.

Today I am grateful for...

Bead Buyers!

Super Glue.

Sharpie pens.

Your turn!

Monday, September 29, 2008


Yes, I know it's a little bit school-girlish to be so sad at the loss of Paul Newman. But he was more than just a pretty face. He was a Very Good Human, as far as I know. If he was a scoundrel, don't tell me. I need to keep my illusions about a few things.


Welcome to the Group Gratitude Journal!
(What's this about? Read the Gratitude Alert post!)

Please make your entries in the "comments" area below.

Today I am grateful for...

Paul Newman.

Faster than usual internet.

Hollyhocks still in bloom.

Your turn!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

on the run

No time to talk today. I'll be on my way to Kathleen's on a bit. (See yesterday's post) Tomorrow I will add loads of new beads to my BeadShop. Lots of Birds and Hearts and Cupcakes. Nice gifts for your nicest friends, and your own sweet self! See you tomorrow!


Welcome to the Group Gratitude Journal!
(What's this about? Read the Gratitude Alert post!)

Please make your entries in the "comments" area below.

Today I am grateful for...

Pink lilies in a vase, greeting everyone who steps inside.

The hummingbird who's, amazingly, still here this morning.

Red cowboy boots, whispering that they would like to go out dancing.

Your turn!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

art, art, art!!!

This weekend is the start of the Taos Fall Arts Festival. There will be events of all kinds going on for weeks, but this kickoff is pretty impressive. We've gone to almost everything in years past, but this year we'll be missing most of it. I have stuff to do, you know? I just don't have time to prance around town looking at art. I'm working in the studio today, and taking time for dinner with friends tonight. On the way, we'll stop to visit the ever-fabulous Katy George. She's stop #23 on the first ever, super big Taos Artists' Studio Tour. Tomorrow I'm helping Kathleen Brennan at her studio, stop #9, just up the street from me. I decided not to participate in the tour. I didn't particularly enjoy the one I did last year. All those people tromping through my studio. All the "on" time, doing demos and telling the same stuff over and over. I'm sure some of them enjoyed it, but for me, two steady days of it was just too exhausting. I even got sick, which I almost never do. So tomorrow I'm a helper, and today I'll get my own work done, relatively uninterrupted. I have two friends dropping by, but that's OK. I know them!

Anyway, if you're in or near Taos, and want some culture, this is your lucky weekend! You can visit 128 artists in their own studios, prowl around down town at the Taos Open and Invitational at the Civic Plaza, wander through endless galleries, and shop at the Craft Fair at Kit Carson Park. Man... I'm making myself want to play hookie and get out there!

"Midnight on Lower La Lomita", by one of my favorite Taos Painters, Greg Moon.


Welcome to the Group Gratitude Journal!
(What's this about? Read the Gratitude Alert post!)

Please make your entries in the "comments" area below.

Today I am grateful for...

A town full of creative people.

Another sunny New Mexico day.

A good cup of Earl Grey tea.

Your turn!

Friday, September 26, 2008

gratitude alert

A couple of years ago, Stacey Robyn and Ken Herbert started a small, kitchen table project called Go Gratitude. It's a 42 day series of email messages, focused on Gratitude and what it does for our lives. We've all been hearing this stuff for some time now, in things like The Secret, What The Bleep Do We Know?, Heart Math, and the Global Coherence Initiative. A central theme of all of these is that we can affect, and change, and improve our lives and in fact, the world, when we focus on what we want rather than what we don't want, and by centering our hearts in gratitude for what we have, as well as for what we want to have, seemingly miraculous things can happen. What we say to the Universe is what it hears and echoes back to us. What we focus on, we feed. "Thank you for all this wonderfulness!", comes back as more wonderfulness. "Everything is terrible!", comes back to us as more of the same. Terrible!

Gratitude is key here. And it's especially important in times like we're experiencing now. The world is nuts, and it's difficult to navigate through the day sometimes. But it's even more difficult to remain discouraged and unhappy when your focus is on what you're grateful for, rather than what you're dissatisfied with. Give it a try. I bet you'll be surprised.

I've signed up for Go Gratitude's latest project, World Gratitude. It's another 42 day focus on Gratitude, and as the name suggests, the entire world is invited to participate. Imagine what we can do! If this resonates with you, or merely makes you curious, please go to the World Gratitude page, read more about the project, and sign up. (There's a place to make a donation, but if you don't want to, scroll past it to link to the members area. I gave them money. They're working hard and doing a lot of good!)

Now I want to try something here. One of the many ways to remind ourselves to sit calmly in Gratitude is to keep a Gratitude Journal. I'm suggesting we all do one together here. I'll probably keep one in a note book on my own too, but let's try this as a group project! Are you with me? At the end of each blog entry, I'll add a Gratitude Journal section. I'll put down three things I'm grateful for on that given day, and then you all can enter your own Gratitudes in the comments area. I don't know exactly how many people read my blog, but I think there are 100 or so. Wouldn't it be great if we all did this? I think so! And don't feel like you have to come up with big, earthshaking things to be grateful for. The small things count just as much, like, a good cup of coffee, a kiss from my dog, the warm sun at lunch time, a big pink flower next to my computer, a little kid at the grocery store smiled at me... stuff like that. This is not a competition. We're here to encourage each other!

The actual World Gratitude project starts on October 1st, but we might as well get some practice in early. The section below is what to watch for at the end of all my upcoming blog entries. Add your list in the comments section. If you have trouble posting there, send me an email and I'll post them for you!

Ready? I'll start!

Welcome to the Group Gratitude Journal!
Please make your entries in the "comments" area below.

I am grateful for...

All of you who read my blog!

Rick bringing me vitamins every morning.

The hope I feel, that everything will be OK.

Your turn!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

a little bird told me

You saw the picture of the bird landing on my hand while we were hiking a few weeks ago, right? The follow up is, Rick and I were outside a few mornings later, enjoying our coffee/tea in the sun. I heard a fluttering above my head, and turned only my eyes to Rick and said, "Honey, is there a bird on my hat?" And sure enough, there was a big, fat bluebird on my head. True story, I swear. I can't explain it. Birds seem to like me. So to repay the compliment, I've made some little Bird Beads. I love them more than I can express. If nobody buys them, I'll still make more, and I'll keep them all. But to be fair, I'll make some available on my website later today, or maybe tomorrow. Maybe you'll love them too.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

still dreaming

Another dream: I am in a public place, walking with a large, sleek tiger. It is pale in color, and very graceful and powerful. The tiger transforms into a small, thin boy. I look to him, knowing he is still the tiger, and say, "Hold my hand. A lot of people are afraid of tigers." His small hand grips my larger one, and he only says, "OK", walking beside me like a little blond buddha...

All this hoopla over politics and opinions... Are you tired yet? I know I am. I will drift away from it for now, having said what I want to say, and feeling no need to hammer on it any further. My wish, my waking dream, it that we will all take the time to check our facts, open our minds, and let our hearts play a bigger role than our heads in what we say to each other. Can we all get along? I think so. Those who would rather not should probably spend their time someplace else.

In response to whoever it was who called me "dismissive", I disagree completely. I'm being realistic. Those who won't buy my beads because I'm up front and honest are missing some great stuff, and there's nothing I can do to try to win them back short of being less than I am. I value all of my customers, past and present, but the truth is, I can't make all of them happy. An interesting thing happened this week. In the midst of all the turmoil here, I sold a record number of beads to a record number of new buyers. I don't know if there's a connection, but I do feel confident that things will balance out just fine.

So my suggestion is that we move forward from here. Anyone interested in hanging out with me is more than welcome. We have far to travel and I'd love the company.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Last night I dreamed I was swimming in a beautiful, enormous aquarium, with a large koi fish that had once been a tiny goldfish, and an alligator, which made no attempt to hurt me. I could breathe underwater. Seems like it all must mean something...

Monday, September 22, 2008


Since this morning's generally light-hearted entry, I've had a bit of "hate mail", for lack of a better term. I feel it's right and necessary to respond, so here are the two brief messages sent to me, one anonymously, which bothers me even more than the message itself (my reply on the topic is in the comments section of the blog just below this one), and one from a long-time customer, who I will not name here, because I like her, and she at least didn't hide behind the anonymous name tag...

From "Anonymous":

"Gosh, Kim, I know you are a big Obama follower, but this latest tirade against Palin is by far the most childish I have seen yet. I honestly never expected this kind of kindergarten behaviour from a woman of your caliper.
Why is it that Obama followers need to be so juvenile in their support?
I remain anonymous so I don't end up in one of you blog slams."

And from "S":

I had thought of many ways to communicate this, my first choice to be just go away quietly. But today was too much. Some one must stick up for the unborn. If you believe as I do, that life begins at conception, you can not take abortion and the killing of innocents lightly. To mock someone who lives this value is not at all respectful.
I like your beads and have enjoyed your site. But will no longer be a customer. Your message today is not agreeing to disagree, it is hateful behavior. Not something I want to support with my hard earned dollars."

What do I think of this? Well, it hurts first. I read these things and my heart pounds and my blood pressure goes up, and I wonder what in the world people are thinking out there. Then I calm down after a while, and realize it won't do any good to slap back the way I initially want to. What will help is to shine our little lights, speak clearly, and wish each other well.

Have we all read The Four Agreements by now? I hope so. And I hope we all go back and read that gold nugget of a book again and again. My favorite of the Agreements is "Don't Make Assumptions". Ever. We can never know what's in another person's head unless they tell us. Period. Once they tell us, we should believe them. So that puts the pressure on each of us to tell our truth. I feel that assumptions are being made about me, so here's my truth...

I stand firmly opposed to Sarah Palin as Vice President of these United States because I think she is dangerous. I think she will do her very best to whittle away at our Constitutional Rights. I think she will set women and wildlife back decades. I believe these things because they are what she tells us.

For the record, I am not for abortion. I am, however for choice. I do not favor abortion as a convenient form of birth control. I favor sex education in schools and homes. I favor informed, responsible birth control for everyone who's out there makin' whoopie. I favor adoption over abortion. And I also believe there are situations such as rape, incest, and extreme health problems for mother or fetus, when abortion should be a legal option.

I also do not take lightly the lives and senseless deaths of Alaskan, or any other, wildlife. And I do not support the banning of books of any kind, anywhere. It's not for the government to tell us what we can say or what we can read.

I know not everyone agrees with me. I don't mind that. But I am saddened by the view that I should be punished financially for my beliefs. I wish only good things for those who would shut me out for taking seriously my right to Freedom Of Speech. I'm here to shine my own little light, and hope that in response, more and more people will shine brighter too.

whirlwind weekend, and i worked too

We had a fun weekend with Rick's sister Vicki, and her lovely daughter Brianna. I'll tell you more in a sec, but first, a quick note on an idea that's too good to ignore...

A friend sent it to me, and I checked a little further, to find that this brilliant little plan is spreading like wildfire on the mesa. Simply put, if you'd like to send a clear message to Sarah Palin and her little pals, make a donation of any size to Planned Parenthood in her name. Oh I just love this. Clear details are here on The Huffington Post. Count me in, Sarah.

And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming...

Yes, a fun weekend with family. We don't get a lot of visitors. It's too hard to get here, which is one of the reasons we're moving... some day. When we do manage to get someone here for a few days, we whirl them around town, doing all the fun things we can find, hoping they'll come back someday. Most don't. Maybe it's us...

Brianna spent some time with me in the studio, and of course came away with a bag of Beady Loot. At some point I glanced over from the torch and asked if she'd ever gotten her ears pierced. Her dad was opposed to the idea, but here we were, in Taos, with no Dad in sight. One thing led to another, and before long, Mom was calling Dad, and an expedition set off for the local tattoo shop. There is a distinct difference between having your ears pierced at Claire's in the mall, and at Talisman Tattoo in Taos. They don't use that nice little piercing gun. They use a looped hemostat and a needle. This is body piercing. If you're going to go for a ritual rite of passage, this is the way to do it. And even better, she got hoops instead of posts. Far superior, in my opinion.

Next day we decided to check out the Taos Trade Fair at the 200 year old Martinez Hacienda. Cool place. Loads of wild west history. We wandered through the rooms and exhibits, saw Aztec Dancers and axe throwers, sampled biscochitos from a wood fired kiva (warning to vegetarians - these are usually made with lard.), and chatted with our friend John Le Bleu. He's a Mountain Man in his everyday life, so he was really in his element here. What a guy. He even posed with my doll, Lily. Long story, the doll story. If you haven't heard it yet, it will wait for another time. For now, how sweet of John to stoop to such silliness for me. We bought one of his lovely wooden crosses, with hand stamped copper conchos and rivets. It's now hanging by our front door, a blessing to those who head out into the Four Directions, and a nice reminder of a fun bit of Time Travel on a beautiful fall day.

While we were off having fun, Lauren was home sorting through all her stuff. She has much. Too much. And it was beginning to take on a life of its own, filling her room and spilling out into the shed. She got inspired to drag it all out to the front of the house and sort through every last box, weeding out years worth of crap, and preserving precious mementos. She even found my old collection of dolls, or what's left of it. A few Madame Alexanders, the Lady Doll in her shredded pink off-the-shoulder dress, and Shirley Temple. She's great, and still has her hairnet! I can't imagine why I never took that off of her. So unlike me. It really looked like Lauren was having a yard sale out there. I'm surprised the neighbors didn't pull into the driveway and start picking through boxes with her. The good news is, she got rid of a lot, and put the rest of it away in a tidy manner. Well, most of it anyway. There's still the issue of storage in her room. Tiny room, tiny closet. I think she's yearning for a bigger job in the bigger world, so she can have a bigger life of her own. I feel her pain!

We got up at Ridiculous O'Clock this morning, to see Vicki and Brianna off. Guess I get a good jump on the day this way. Next stop, as soon as the sun is high enough, is to take bead pictures and post some new beauties in the BeadShop. See you there later!

Friday, September 19, 2008

back to busy-ness

Good Morning! Thanks for allowing me my political moment yesterday without a lot of fuss. Today I'm back to the HOPE Bracelet Project. You know about my fundraiser, and many of you have pitched in already. I'm thrilled! Thank you! By my count, we've raised over $2600 already! We still have a ways to go to hit that $6000 mark, but I think we can do it. There's still time!

There's been another fundraiser started by Laurie Maves. It's Poppies For Ethiopia. Look at these beautiful paintings! They'd be great next to your other new painting by Mitzi Miles-Kubota!

And while you're at the Cunningham Foundation website, click on Buy A Bracelet, and add your name to the HOPE Bracelet List. They'll send you a notice when new bracelets are available online!

The First Pick Party is to be held at Strings Restaurant on November 7th. Rick and I will be there! We'll be flying off to Ethiopia the next morning, just the two of us, so if you can, come see us off at the party!

OK - busy weekend ahead. Rick's sister and niece are visiting from the Seattle area. Better go clean the bathroom!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

i have to say it

Rick is on his way to see Obama in Espanola today. Very exciting stuff! I would go, but with less than two months before we go to Ethiopia, I feel like I need to work as much as I can now. No more hikes, no trips to the big city... Well, Espa, as we lovingly call it, is anything but a big city. For us, it's that town we have to get through on the way to Santa Fe, stopping only for a pee break at the big new Lowe's, the cleanest public bathroom in New Mexico. But today, Barack Obama will be in beautiful downtown Espanola, and many a Taoseno will be there to greet him.

There's a lot of political email flying about these days. I don't forward most of it because I know I'd be preaching to the choir. Most of my friends are on my team here, and the few who aren't are polite and respectful, as I am to them. OK, honestly, I can't imagine by any stretch why anyone would think those other candidates are worthy world leaders. One is old and ill and showing clear signs of dementia, and oh yeah, lying. The other is a clueless killer with a pretty face. I hardly see how the possession of a vagina and a rifle qualify one to run a country...

Notice I'm not naming names here? I'll tell you why. We feed and give power to what we focus our attention on. So as those political slams hit my mailbox, more and more I'm deleting them without reading them. I don't want to add to the frenzy that feeds them. Negative or positive, it's all energy, and I think it's time to remind ourselves to focus more on what we want than on what we don't want. Not so simple in practice, but certainly worth a ponder. That's why getting large groups of people together at political rallies is useful. It whips up a froth of loving energy around the candidate, and keeps the crowd focused on what they want. I trust that there will be a big infusion of good there in Espanola today. I'll be joining in from my seat at the torch, wearing my Got Hope? t-shirt. It's a pretty powerful place, the Hot Seat!

A note to those who want to scold me now. Go right ahead. I'll be generous and post your notes and names here, so you can speak to the whole audience. But let's remember, we're not here to fight. There's enough of that out there already. I believe our collective purpose is to find solutions to our national conundrums, and to practice, every day, living together in peaceful respect. We have the responsibility of choosing new leaders who will put the needs of the average citizen, and the greater good of the Whole, ahead of the greed of the Corporate Kings. After all, aren't we all the us in the U.S.?

I read something the other day that made sense to me: Think with your heart, and love with your head. Our job right now is to look hard and deep for Truth, and then get out there and vote.

Register To Vote!
Register To Vote
or here:
Vote For Change
or here:
Rock The Vote
or here:
Declare Yourself

And for some very stylish buttons and such, visit Democratic

I promise not to linger on this topic. There are beads to make and trips to plan, but I felt this was important to get to today. Peace!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

typhoid for breakfast

It's official. Our trip to Ethiopia has stretched from 10 days to 3 weeks. This is great news! We'll get to spend time with Marta and Deme, who we have met before, and dearly love! We would have missed them if we'd waited and gone with the group as originally planned. It would just be wrong not to see them, and they asked for us specifically to come early, which is hugely flattering and a great honor. They want us, they got us. So now we'll go to Denver on November 7th for the First Pick Party, and fly from the Denver airport on the 8th. We land in Addis Ababa, and will be picked up by someone from Project Mercy and taken to the compound - about 60 miles and a two to three hour drive away. Is this crazy or what? Two years ago there was no way in the world I ever wanted to go to Africa. Things change...

We're getting serious now about planning and packing. I hope I can find internet near the compound someplace, so I can keep the blog rolling while we're there. I'm checking into that. Also looking into phone plans that will keep us connected to the folks back home, and wondering just what sort of electrical adapters we'll need for all our technology. We might decide to just leave it all at home if it looks like it will be too distracting. We have jobs to do over there. This is no vacation.

We're also continuing with all the vaccinations... man, there's a lot of stuff, and it's all expensive. We're over $700 into it now, and we're not done yet. I'm normally a "take your vitamins" kind of girl, and this much medical stuff is really creeping me out. This morning we started our course of typhoid vaccine. It has to be taken an hour before food, with cold water, every other day for four doses. I got up this morning and started making tea and toast, when Rick dashed into the kitchen and said, Don't eat! Oh yeah... I forgot it was the morning for Typhoid Treats.

I felt a little weird for a while, but maybe that was just hunger and lack of caffeine. It's been about 3 hours now, and I feel OK, so I guess I'll go make some beads. Once we get done with the typhoid, we move on to the polio booster! Weeeeee!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

canyon de chelly

Our trip to Canyon de Chelly for Rick's birthday was wonderful, inspiring, and exhausting. What more could we ask? Well... beer would have been nice. Naive white folks that we are, we didn't know that the entire, enormous Navajo Nation is dry as a bone, and I'm not talking about only the climate. If you go, and I hope you will, be sure to bring along your own liquid provisions, because you won't find a sip of anything anywhere. We had eight beers along in the cooler, and managed to ration them throughout the weekend. On the bright side, there was no chance for a hangover, and we were reacquainted with the refreshing taste of Fresca!

We stayed at the Thunderbird Lodge in Chinle. Nice, retro sort of place with a gift shop and marginal cafeteria. Not much in town either, but the food at the Holiday Inn was decent, and Pizza Edge was not too bad. Chinle is a weird little town. Dry and dusty, nothing to do, no street lights, and cows and horses wander loose on the roads. You have to be pretty careful if you go out at night, but since there's nowhere to go, it's fine to sit in the white plastic chairs outside your motel room and enjoy the evening breeze and the resident dog and cat who will become your new best friends if you have a bite of pizza to offer.

The only reason to go to that part of Arizona is to see Canyon de Chelly, and it's well worth the trip. We spent one whole day at the top of the canyon, driving along the rim and stopping at all the lookout points, camera and binoculars in hand. We also took a short hike that first day, a mile down to the White House Ruins. That little taste of the view from the bottom, in contrast to the view from the top, was enough to get us to sign up for the all-day truck tour the following day. Oh man, what fun that was. It's a big, gnarly, open-air truck that could climb just about anything, and our driver, Davidson, knew how to handle her. It was rough and bouncy, and the next morning we were feeling pretty beat up. It was like riding a sprinting rhino for eight hours. Totally fun. And the locals call it the Shake n' Bake for good reason. It's like an all day Disneyland ride. Something only a crazy tourist would do. But imagine spending a day winding through that long deep canyon, in knee-deep powdery sand one minute, and hard packed mud the next, surrounded by rocks and cliffs the colors of chocolate, cinnamon, and soot, fields of corn and sunflowers, dense groves of shiny green cottonwood, silvery olive trees, and willows just starting to yellow with the change of season. Imagine crossing winding streams over thirty times, eating lunch at the foot of an ancient Anasazi cliff dwelling, and pondering rock art hundreds of feet over head. Imagine what it must have been like to climb your way home to those rocky cliff houses, or to farm the land below. It's hard to comprehend, but a little bit easier after spending a day or two there.

Here are some pictures, starting with the drive, which took us by the Brazos Cliffs in New Mexico, and on to a short detour around Shiprock, to get a closer look. Every single minute on the road was worth the extra drive time.

Do you feel a little like you've been there too? I hope not. I want you to feel like you want to go there. Go everywhere. It's a pretty amazing world once we turn off the TV and head out the door.

more help! yay!!!

Before I get my Canyon Pictures going, I want to thank my friend Julie for her support! She's donating a portion of her sales for the next two weeks to the Ethiopia Trip Fund. Fabulous! Thank you Julie!

Please visit her Etsy Shop, Finntastic2006.... and do some shopping! She makes wonderful jewelry! Here's a sample...

Monday, September 15, 2008

hit the ground running

Hello! Happy Monday to you! We are back from our little Birthday Trip, and it was wonderful. I'll be back with words and pictures later today or tomorrow. For now I'll quickly say that I'm tired and rested and raring to go, go, go.

This morning I am besieged with email, and really need to take care of some business before sorting through pictures and sharing Canyon de Chelly with you. It's going to be a long day. Well, really, it's going to be a long six weeks... that's about how long we have to get ready for our trip to Africa. Africa... I never would have guessed I'd be going there. But now that the wheels are in motion, the ride is moving along faster and faster, with an energy of its own pumping away like a happy heart. It now looks like Rick and I will be going over earlier than originally planned, and staying with the rest of the group once they get there. Our ten-day trip is turning into almost an entire month! I'll explain more when I know more. Soon!

For now, I want to thank everyone who has donated to the Ethiopia Trip Fund. I love you all in a big, big way! And if you haven't donated yet, please consider doing so. We need help more than ever now to make this happen without tapping the resources of Project Mercy.

Help is coming to us in lovely, unexpected ways. Friends and relatives are kicking in very generous amounts of money, saying they are proud of us for doing this. Truth is, we're so very proud of you for helping to make this happen. We're the ones going over there, but you all are part of it.

There is a new off-shoot fundraiser being put on by my dear cousin, Mitzi Miles-Kubota. As an artist (and a darn good one, I might add), she's short on cash, but long on love and creativity. She has committed to donating a portion of all her painting sales through October to our trip! Art is like air and food to many of us. So if you're hungry for some soul-nourishing beauty, please visit Mitzi's website and buy her art! I have a wall full of her work, and I never ever get tired of looking at these brush stroke wonders. Mitzi's paintings inspire my beads, and Mitzi herself inspires my life. Thanks Mitz! I love you!!! Here's a sample. Wish I had this one too!

That's about it for now, except for a gentle reminder for those who want to give my beads as Holiday Gifts. I hope many of you do! A handmade gift holds much more love than a plastic gift card! And since we'll probably be gone for almost the entire month of November, now is the time to get the beads in time for Christmas, or whatever your Winter Solstice Holiday of choice might be. I'll be making what you seem to want as fast as my little hands can go. So snap 'em up now! The Bead Shop will be closed in November!

OK! Thanks for listening! I'll be back!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

let the festivities begin

What's today? Wednesday? OK - we're leaving tomorrow morning on a quick road trip to Canyon de Chelly (pronounced Canyon de Shay), to celebrate Rick's birthday. We haven't been out of town all summer. Fortunately, there's a lot to do around here, so we've been pretty well occupied, but sometimes you just gotta get outta Dodge, you know? Besides, this is a significant birthday, and deserves to be recognized with a little more than a howdy-do and a beer on the patio. Yes, all birthdays are significant. They mean we're not dead yet, which in itself is always worth celebrating. But we think the ones ending with "oh!" are even more worth making a big deal over. So here we go, off to explore another southwest canyon. It's not the Grand Canyon, but I bet it will still be just grand.

We began the festivities last night over a fun dinner with our dear friends, Deborah & Thomas, at Doc Martin's in the Historic Taos Inn. Man, they make a good chile relleno, all crunchy and crusty on the outside with nuts and crumbs, and cheesy-gooey on the inside. Perfection. Craig, the Wine Guy, turned us on to a wonderful tip. German reislings are perfect with spicy food. I can't remember why, but he was right. Try it out. But be sure you're drinking German with your hot food, or it'll be too sweet. Ick.

So anyway, here's Rick, the Birthday Boy, waiting in the driveway for D&T to pick us up last night. He's with his favorite sunflower. I have no idea how he can choose one over all the others. Maybe it's a height thing. Rick is 6'4", and this flower can just about look him in the eye. It has cute bangs too...

And here he is at dessert time. Of course we sang to him. The regular Birthday Song, and a bit of the Beatle's one too.

So that's it for a few days. I'll be back Monday with pictures of the Canyon, and beads on my website. See you then!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008


My darlin' Rick takes great pride in his gardening skills. Taos, on the other hand, delights in making gardening more of an extreme sport than a gentle pastime. The soil is hard and rocky, water is in short supply, and the growing season is about twenty minutes long. Still, when a man wants to grow stuff, he'll find a way. And what Rick has discovered here is the beauty and cooperation of the sunflower. They grow wild all over the valley, and if you take a drive this time of year, you can see oceans of yellow for acres and acres in all directions. Rick started to cultivate sunflowers here a few years ago, and this year he's really outdone himself. The wild sunnies have begun to mingle with the ones he plants from seeds, and now there's a most wonderful yellow forest of different sizes and shapes growing in our very own yard. It stretches from front to back, all along the driveway, and then along the fence back to the guest casita. They're at their best right now, this very minute. If you're in the neighborhood, drop by and meet them in person. If not, here are some samples...

If you click this one to make it bigger, you might see the pink and purple cosmos growing all over the place, and hollyhocks, geraniums, petunias, and fat orange marigolds blooming around the front of the house. I think the whole place looks really beautiful. Can't even consider snow at this point! I wish I could freeze time right here for a while...

And here's the Garden Guy himself, resting up after a lot of happy work this summer. That's my Boyfriend. He's so dreamy.

Monday, September 08, 2008

we came to dance

When we moved here to Taos seven-plus years ago, part of our plan was to learn to dance in the local two-step scene. It's really jumpin' here, and there's always live music somewhere in town to dance to. Shyness, laziness, and self-consciousness got the best of us though, and we found one excuse after another not to dance. We even took a lesson once a couple of years ago, and that set us back even further. Overwhelmed with all the intricacies of the Taos Two-Step, we just decided it wasn't for us, and made ourselves happy to sit on the sidelines tapping our feet and sipping our margaritas.

This past weekend was the annual Michael Hearne Big Barn Dance Music Festival. It's one of our favorite events of the year, even without the dancing. The music is all singer-songwriter kind of stuff, and we just enjoy the heck out of it. This is one of those small town things that will probably go big in the next couple of years. But right now it's more of a Hearne Family Picnic than a major national draw, which is fine with us. There were members of the Hearne family all over the place, many of them musicians. There was ongoing music outdoors at the OBL restaurant for three days, along with a sunny little dance floor, a bar-b-que, and a Bud Light truck to keep folks from drying out like chiles in the New Mexico sun. There were dogs and kids and lots of beautiful boots and skirts and jewelry. There was a tiny three-year-old kid name Zeke who brought his little green guitar and "played along" with every single band from his seat in the front row. There was even a grab-your-hanky-honey surprise marriage proposal from Michael Hearne's son, Travis, who is heading off to Iraq next week. Not a dry eye in the tent, I'll tell you. She said yes. And then it was back to more amazing music until the milky way had moved half way across the spangled black sky. What's not to love about a thing like this? Even Heidi enjoyed it, playing with the other dogs, getting lots of attention, and napping in Rick's chair.

The grand finale is always the actual Barn Dance itself, on Saturday night. This year it was held at the KTAO Solar Center, in the giganto tent they have out there. Not a real barn, but it does have a lovely dance floor. Rick and I went out there ready to give it one more try. I wore my magic red boots, hoping they would somehow become self-dancing. We sat around on a hay bale for a while, sipped a beer, and then Rick jumped up and said, Come on. Let's get out there. We were pretty clumsy at first, but after a couple of songs rolled by, we started to get the hang of that weird counting and stepping. Slow, slow, quick, quick makes no sense at first, but the dance was invented by saloon girls so they could easily teach the cowboys how to dance with them. It can't be that hard. We persevered. And pretty soon, we weren't counting out loud anymore and we began to stumble over each other less and less. Well, what do you know... we were dancing the two-step.

We stayed on that dance floor for hours, laughing at our mistakes and having a terrific time. We weren't the only novices out there either. There was a newlywed couple who were starting their marriage off right by learning to dance their way fearlessly through the crowd together. There was an old tie-dyed rock n'roll couple who refused to give up their 60's style. There was a swingin', skinny pair who somehow mixed some jitterbug into their two-step. And there were plenty of really good, practiced two-steppers to show us how good we might be someday if we just keep trying.

We plan to practice at home now. We're inspired. And it feels like maybe now we can sell this house and move on, because we've finally completed the list of things we set out to do here. The Mountain does not take promises lightly. We came to Taos to dance and though it took a while to do it, there we were, dancing with all our might at the foot of old Taos Mountain. Now maybe she'll let us dance on down this sunflower-lined driveway and on down the road.

Thursday, September 04, 2008


I found this in the yard the other day. I showed it to Lauren, and she said, "What is it?" We also find pot shards and arrowheads in our yard. So many cool artifacts...


I'll be spending the weekend Barn Dancing and working, plus we're hosting one of the musicians here. So much fun compressed into a few short days. I might find a sec to check in with updates, or I might wait till Monday to spend the day with the computer, posting beads and telling you all about my adventures. Till then, hope you find something nice in your own back yard!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

a shot in the arm

The weather is changing quickly, but we still have time to get some hiking in before the snow flies. We went up yesterday with Heidi, because she gets so happy-dancy when she sees me put on my hiking boots. She did great again. Made it all the way to the top all by herself. Here we are, shrubby-haired woman and short-legged dog at high elevation.

When we got back to the ski valley, we noticed signs of life at the medical clinic, which is always an encouraging thing, so decided to check in with the Travel Doctor there. He's the only one in the area, and he travels a lot himself, so we took a chance and popped in. Not surprisingly, things are slow at a ski clinic this time of year. Not a broken leg in sight, and the nice doc had some time on his hands. So without actually planning to do anything but talk to him about our shots for Ethiopia, we ended up getting the shots right there on the spot. Maybe it's all in my head, but I feel a little bit "off" today. I didn't sleep well with a pain in my arm, and thoughts of yellow fever, morphing into a dream-state rendition of "Yellow River", running through my head all night. But it was good to be sort of caught off guard with the shot thing. And it was as pleasant as it could have been, considering the needles and all. Even little Heidi was invited inside to join the party. Nice place, if you should ever need a doctor while visiting Taos. I'd definitely choose the ski valley over the local hospital. And you can walk across the parking lot and have a nice green chile burrito and a beer afterwards, which is just what we did.

So plans for Ethiopia are moving right along. The fundraiser is going to help a lot in paying the cost of the trip, so the foundation doesn't have to pay for it. We have to pay our own medical expenses and other personal stuff, which is not cheap... those shots were over $600 for the two of us. Yipes! I guess I'd better go make some beads! But at least we're done with that, and now we're set to travel anywhere we want to. First Ethiopia, and then the World!

Monday, September 01, 2008

labor day sounds like work to me

What's Labor Day for anyway? A day to reward American workers for working so hard? Nice thought I guess, but it sure doesn't include everyone. What about the people in all the service industries who have to stay on the job to make sure everyone else has their hot dogs and beer and hotel rooms and gas? When is their special day of rest? I say Here's To You! to all of them. Maybe the rest of us can be a little extra nice to them when we see them today, hmmmmm?

Rick and I have been grasping at the last bits of summer as they slip past. Soon it will be too snowy to hike our favorite trails, so we're up there a couple of times a week now. The other day our pal Thomas came with us. I don't think we hurt him.

On the way down, which is everyone's favorite direction when it comes to mountains, we saw these birds... very friendly birds who have obviously become too comfortable with humans. Still, I did enjoy feeling like Snow White...

Another day , earlier in the week, we decided to head for the waterfall we'd heard about, just above Williams Lake. We got to where we could hear it falling, but realized we'd have to climb this if we wanted to see it...

It was definitely worth the extra effort, but I sure felt it the next day.

And Hurricane Gustav... sheesh! Enough already! Haven't all those folks endured enough? I'm spending a good portion of my day sending Heart-Thoughts to everyone who's dealing with that. May you all make it through safely and with minimal loss, and let's hope the fine US Government does a better job of assisting those who need it this time...

This afternoon, after my own clean-up work around here, Rick and I are going to a party at the home of some friends who lost their New Orleans home in Katrina. I wonder if this will help them, or if they really don't feel much like celebrating right now. We'll do what we can to keep spirits lifted, but boy, this is just an odd holiday weekend.

Stay safe everybody. Take good care of each other.