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Friday, April 24, 2009


Greetings From Taos is moving! New adventure, new blog! But I'm not going far. Just hop on over to TAKING THE LONG WAY HOME. Once you get there (it will only take a second!), you can bookmark it for future use, and add your name to the Followers list. If you already follow this blog, I think the new one will be bigger, better, and way more fun, because I'll be on the move! Hope you'll all come with me!

Monday, April 20, 2009

waving good-bye

Lauren left here this morning, with all her things loaded in her car, ready to move to Seattle in a couple of weeks. I think it caught us all by surprise when we realized that she was leaving Taos for good this time. She's come and gone so much the last few years, with college and her stint in Denver, we sort of forgot that she was actually prepping to make a big move this trip. When she took down the dusty wooden "Lauren's Room" sign that swung above her door for the last eight years, it got real for me. I don't need to tell you, this mommy cried, more than a little bit.

You'd think I'd be used to it by now. All my kids, but especially Lauren, have left me plenty of times. I remember the first time Lauren "let me go". She was seven years old, and I was dropping her off at school in Seattle. Normally, she would hop out of the car, and skip through the school yard, and up to the door, turning every few steps to wave and blow kisses. I'd watch her until she was inside, waving and blowing kisses back. But on this particular day, she hopped out of the car, spotted a friend, and darted away, forgetting about me completely. I sat there stunned, and just barely made it back home before I fell apart, sobbing to Rick. It was awful. I was in a poetry writing phase back then, and somewhere there's a poem called, "She Let Me Go Today"...

Now at least I know she'll keep coming back. With our many ups and downs as a mother/daughter team, nothing has ever gone so terribly wrong that she's left me for good. We bicker. A lot. But we also talk on the phone almost every day. And even though I'm still sitting here feeling a little weepy, I'm so happy for her, and so proud of her. Seattle will be a great place for her again, and not too scary, because her brother is there too, and will in fact, be her roommate. Now we just need to get Julia back to the North West, and everyone will be centrally located again, where we can easily reach each other, but will still have some space. Taos wasn't a mistake, but it's not where we all need to settle, if settling is possible for a family like us.

As Lauren pulled out of the driveway today, waving and blowing kisses, Rick and Julia and I all waved and blew kisses back, and nobody will forget anybody this time. We know that much now.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

one more off the check-list

Well, we did it. We bought a trailer. No surprise here, really. We feel like the Angels are flapping overtime all around us these days, and I'm not kidding when I say, "We live a charmed life". I'm convinced... the more you say it, the more it's true. If you've been paying any attention to me at all, you know what I'm talking about. If not... maybe you'll want to tune in more often.

I'll start by saying that the snowy day almost instantly turned into a sunny, beautiful day, the minute we left the house this morning. Weather reports are for sissies. We drove into and over the mountains, into Mora and on to Las Vegas, NM, where we looked at Trailer Number One. It was very nice, and the owners were lovely, but... it wasn't "ours'. We knew it right away.

We drove on... and on... through wide open spaces that looked more like Texas than New Mexico. We played Lyle Lovett in honor of the terrain. We drove some more. And finally, after a Very Long Time, we pulled into Moriarty, and called Dean, to get directions to Trailer Number Two. Cell phone service was pretty sucky there, but we found our way eventually, after several calls and wrong turns. As we pulled into the driveway of Dean's farm, I said, "I'm having the weirdest Deja Vu here...". It all felt familiar and good and trustworthy. Dean took us to the trailer and showed us around. He was soft spoken, sweet, and a little bit funny, talking about his new baby girl, and camping trips with a rather large family. He left us alone to look around and talk it over. We needed about two minutes to whisper to each other, "Let's buy it!". And that's what we did.

We spent the rest of the afternoon driving back toward home, along old Route 66, the Grandmother of Road Trip Roads, feeling we were in precisely and cosmically the right place to find the right guys to install our fifth wheel trailer hitch. We found them, of course, and will return on Monday, to "get hitched", as it were, and to pick up our new home.

Once we drag our big white box back up the mountain, and park it in our driveway, we'll begin the redecorating process. A trailer interior, sadly and predictably, looks like a trailer. We intend to make it look more like a very small house. You'll see. It will be grand, in a very small way...

Amazing what can happen in one day. The world can change, and sometimes for the better. Next on the list... who wants to rent a beautiful house?

snow, trailers, beads...

Sheesh......... more snow this morning. Is it spring anywhere? We're heading out to look at trailers today. Not letting a silly little thing like weather stop us. Don't worry. It's just little flurries here and there, and besides, we have Rosie The Truck!

Got some good news from Jean Yates yesterday. She wrote an article about me for Australian Beading Magazine, and she finally has a copy in her hands. Apparently, we can't get it here in the states, but you can read it on Jean's Blog.

This whole new life-on-the-road thing has me wondering if I might be able to make a living doing something other than making beads... Wouldn't that be weird? But I'm open to all options. Life is big. There's a lot more than I can begin to imagine. But of course it's most likely that I'll make the shift to Traveling Beadmaker, in which case, I'll take all the publicity I can get. Thanks Jean! I guess I'd miss playing with fire if I were to actually leave the torch behind...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

road trip

I had a great weekend in Denver with my kids, and now that I'm home, I can post some pictures. One big part of the fun was my new truck. It was terrific to drive up there, and then the kids took over the driving. Sure, they laughed at me, but they grabbed for the keys whenever they got the chance. I didn't mind at all. I'm a little rusty with the city driving after all these years in Taos.

This was the first time in years that the three of us have spent any time together.It was really nice, from a mom's point of view. Sometimes I get sort of nostalgic and weepy, thinking about them when they were little, and wondering how the growing up time went by so quickly. But spending a few days with my grown-up babies, I can see that even though those years are something of a blur, something must have gone right, because these are two most wonderful adults now. I love them at least as much as I did when they were small, but now I like them an awful lot too. I'm a proud mom, but I don't take much of the credit for who they are. They were built this way, and maybe I got to help a little.

So Rosie The Big-Ass Truck brought me home safely, and now the search is on to find The Trailer. As soon as we have that parked in the driveway, we'll start a serious search for Good Renters for our house. We'd still consider selling it, and in some ways would prefer to do that. So now's the time. Any takers out there? If we keep it for a couple more years, it'll only go up in price! Check it out here: . You can look at the slides, or click on the Virtual Tour, which is really lovely. If you know anyone who might be interested in buying, or renting, please feel free to share the link. June first is our target hit-the-road date!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

happy easter

I'm sitting in my 5th floor, $79 a night room at the Hilton, watching the rain fall, and waiting for Danny to get himself moving so we can go over to Lauren's to make breakfast. It was a fast paced day yesterday, and I think we're all tired this morning. And it's Easter... whatever that means to a lapsed Catholic and her two grown-up, religion-free, curiously spiritual kids. I can't speak for them, but for me it's a good day for appreciating the rebirth part of the the cycle of life. Even though it's raining, and doesn't "look like" Easter, it's still spring, things are beginning to bloom, and there's something fresh and new in the air. And spending time with my kids always feels good, always reminds me to keep an open mind and heart, and also to keep my eyes open to how somebody else might see what I'm looking at. I have great kids, and I feel completely honored to have them in my life.

On Easter Weekends Past, we would have done Eater Bunny sorts of things. Little Urban Rituals of re-birth and renewal... eggs and chocolate and bunnies and such. This is the first time in quite a few years that we've been together for Easter, and we're changing up the celebration a bit. Yesterday we went to the Coors Brewery. It's good to see the local sites, especially when there's free beer involved. Not a Coors drinker myself, I was just going along for the ride, more or less. But I have to admit, it was pretty interesting. The bottling room was cool, with all the fancy machines humming along, doing their jobs so perfectly. And a taste of super fresh, super cold Coors Light was... well, really good. Coors just happens to have the biggest brewery in the world, which is pretty impressive, considering the tiny little town of Golden, Colorado it lives in. There's a bridge in this old mining town that still has a sign posted, telling us we can't have more than 100 sheep crossing the bridge at any given time, and at no faster than a walking pace. The law is still in place. Good to know. I really enjoy dipping into these little unexpected pockets of history. And now I have a new respect for the humble can o' Coors. Kind of like when we went to the Spam Museum a few years ago... I won't eat the stuff, but I have much kinder things to say about it now. There's a lesson in there somewhere I suppose. Not a bad idea to get to know a thing... or a person... before deciding too much.

Another unexpected bit of adventure happened as we left Golden. We decided to take the winding little road to the top of Lookout Mountain, and, well, have a look. It was kind of a scary drive, but the view from the top was worth it. And from the big tourist parking lot, we strolled along the path to visit Buffalo Bill's grave of all things. How very odd. I don't even know what to say about that. The little that I know of Bill makes me tend to dislike him. He killed a lot of buffalo...... but then again, he seems to have done a lot of good in his life too. Can't be too quick to judge.

So back down the mountain, in suburban, almost "Stepford" Highlands Ranch, Colorado, a new day starts, cold, drippy, and full of promise. The rain keeps the whole thing juicy, and good things are bound to grow, even f we can't see them today. We don't have a plan for today, but I'll bet we come up with something. Might as well, huh? No matter where we go, here we are...

Happy Easter to you. I hope you're feeling juicy and renewed and curious.

Friday, April 10, 2009

on the road

There's something of a time gap here, but I can't help that. I'll skip the details of researching all the information it takes to make a Wise Truck Decision, and jump right to the important part. We bought a truck. This is a big relief to me. I thought we'd be in research limbo forever. And then, poof, we found it. The perfect truck. It's a 2007 Ford F250, for those of you who now what such things mean. To me, it's very big, has four wheel drive, a diesel engine, a nice interior, and a good back seat for the dogs. It will pull any kind of trailer we ask it to. So now we're looking for a trailer. Actually, Rick is handling that...

While he's at home spending lots of quality time with Craig's List, I'm in Denver with my kids. We bought the truck on Wednesday, and here I am on Friday, on a nice preliminary road trip in the Very Big Truck. She doesn't have a name yet, but I'm trying on "Rosie", like Rosie The Riveter, with her "We can do it" coolness. We'll see if it fits after a little more time together.

So far, everyone laughs when they see me driving this truck. It is kind of funny. But you know, I have to admit to liking this thing. I like being up high and breezing through traffic, seeing the world from a really nice seat. At home, people who would normally run me off the road move over in a most respectful way. Not that I'm trying to be intimidating. I know I'm now one of those people that others drivers say mean things about, so I'm making special efforts to be polite and friendly on the road. I smile and wave and let people in. Maybe I can change the image of Truck People...

I meant to post some truck pictures and travel pictures, but I forgot the cable for my camera. Sorry. But I guess you know what trucks look like, and you've probably seen snowy mountains before. If I get any good ones during the weekend, I'll post them when I get home. Till then, have a good weekend. Happy Easter and all that. See you back in Taos.

Monday, April 06, 2009

box of magic

Kathleen gifted me with this most fabulous old carved wooden box. Oh my... the wheels are turning now! I had been thinking I'd get some kind of portable jewelry display thingy from Rio Grande, so I can easily pull out my "shop" for fellow RVers while we're out on the road. But this box changes everything... I'm seeing sort of a gypsy chest filled with velvet and beads, with a beveled mirror inside the lid, and pictures of exotic, beautiful gypsy women set into the three round spaces on the front. I'll show it to you when it's finished. Don't you think you'd love a campsite shopping experience like this? Man, I know I would.

I was looking for pictures to use, and bumped into this website: In the Vintage Costumes section, I found some really terrific gypsy chicks. Can't wait to get started on this - just as soon as Rick makes some smalls repairs for me. It won't be long... I won't let him forget...

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

the eyes have it

Evil Eye beads have been around for ages. I didn't make them up, but this week I really feel like making them. It all started with the dogs... When little Sarafina got hurt one day, on our watch, I felt like I wanted to do something more to protect her, and the rest of the pack. OK, maybe it's silly, but then we all know I'm a firm believer in silliness. After making beads for all the dogs, I still hadn't had enough of the eye theme, so I made a bunch for people too. I'll put them up in my BeadShop in a couple of days.

Today I'm back to making beads for pets. If I'm drawn to something, it might be a good guess that somebody else would want them too. Besides, is there anyone right now who doesn't feel just a little bit vulnerable? Anyone who couldn't use a little bit of extra protection? Not that I want to play on anyone's fears. Just the opposite. I want to encourage Fearlessness!

Kathleen said - What do you call those? Stink Eye Beads? I think the name is going to stick. What could be better than giving those pesky old Evil Spirits the Stink Eye? Ha! Take that!

Monday, March 30, 2009


There's another storm blowing outside my door today, and I'm tempted to grumble and feel picked on. Then my Inner Grown Up says, Shut Up! Have you seen the news lately, you twit? There's disastrous weather all over the country!

I got a note from my sister's in-laws yesterday. They live in Fargo.
Reading this up close and way too personal view of the situation, I can't help feeling that the media is playing the whole thing down, and I wonder why...
I'm at a loss as to how to help. I don't think there's much we can do from this distance at the moment, except to send all the prayers, light, love - call it what you like - that we can. Here's the letter...

Hi all,

I know most of you have been watching the Natonal News and know pretty much what is going on around here. Believe me, when I say it's much worse than you can imagine. We are thankful we moved to West Fargo nine years ago as so far we are high and dry. They have put a restriction on the city roads for emergency vehicles so we are all pretty much housebound. Homeland Security asked to have Fargo evacuated last night but the city officials are not going to do that yet, although many people have had to leave their sandbagged home because their dikes failed. One couple who lost their home in the flood of '97 had to leave again three days ago and later that night the house burned down. So sad. Malls and stores have been closed for a week and there will not be school even here in West Fargo all of next week. I have to say the City Council, etc. have really been very good with the planning of this flood protection. So many people in this area have horses and now we have over 150 horses housed in the fairgrounds just west of us. Also, they are taking in all pets at the fairgrounds for people who have had to evacuate. They have hundreds of pets already, as hotels, etc,. are not able to take them.

Our river is normally 14 feet high and today we are at 40 feet. It normally travels at 4 miles an hour and today it is travelling at 14 miles an hour with ice chunks on it. We are suppose to have a snow storm moving in tomorrow with another 6 inches of snow. Will it ever stop. Also we are expecting high winds which will put white caps on the water which will not be good for the dikes. Sandbags will only hold up so many days before theystart taking on water and leaking. We have 5 blackhawk helicopters here that have been rescuing people and today they are going to start dropping 100 lb. sandbags. Last night Oak Grove Lutheran school lost their fight as their permanent cement dike starting shooting out water in a 4 foot opening. They lost this campus in the "97 flood and rebuilt everything with this permanent dike up to 40 feet thinking they would be safe forever.

We have offered our home to people in Fargo if they do have to evacuate and yesterday we went over to the Sunmart store, just 2 blocks away from us to pick up some extra food and the shelves are almost empty. Water has covered a lot of both I29 and I94 so evacuating 120 thousand people will not be easy. Say a prayer, we need it. Betty

Sunday, March 29, 2009

still on hold, but holding on

It got cold again here. Even snowed a little bit a couple of days ago in that big storm that dumped on Denver. The poor little daffodils shivered and pouted, but they're hanging in there, waiting for the spring temperatures to return. They give me courage.

My cousin called me last night, from the Grand Canyon. He thought of me there, remembering how much I love the place. It made me a little bit wistful, wishing I was there too, to greet the condors as they return to the south rim after a long winter away. But again, there's reason to feel encouraged. Our plans to "go mobile" are well under way. We've even made a reservation at the Trailer Village at Grand Canyon, trusting that we'll actually have a trailer by the time we're scheduled to go there.

We still need to wait for a few things to line up, in their own sweet time of course. It all sort of hinges on the house re-finance closing, and that should happen this week. Then we just need to sell two vehicles, buy a big-ass truck, then buy a trailer, then find a suitable renter for our beautiful house, and then work like mad to sort and pack our stuff so we can be on our way by June 1st. Seems doable.

This has turned into a long process, but that's OK. Probably even perfect. It actually started a couple of years ago. There's been a continual stream of puzzles and set-backs, but of course, as always, these have been useful to us. We've had all the time we need to do the research, ask the questions, and make the right choices. Flexibility and Patience are key. And I expect we'll need to keep in tune with both of those things as we roll down the road. We'll take our cues from the daffodils, those persistent little wonders, who hold their heads up no matter what, and always trust the Process.

Friday, March 27, 2009

spring break

This past week has been a little... unusual. Our friend and neighbor, Kat, fell out of bed and broke both of her arms. Yikes! Terrible! And since her partner, Kathleen, was away visiting her very ill mother, we had Kat stay here with us for most of the week, along with their two little dogs. It's gone really well actually, and lots of other friends have stepped up to help too. But I have to say, having four dogs in the house has been a most amazing experience. Fortunately, dogs like to sleep a lot. But when they're all up and feeling playful at the same time, it's total chaos. Three of the four are small, and they're all used to being in someone's lap much of the time. Anyone who sits still for more than a minute will soon be surrounded by dogs on all sides. Our big dog Lucy feels a little bit left out, but she's not allowed on the furniture because, well, she's large.

Mercedes is the tan Puggle. Sarafina is the little black one, also part pug, I think. And you know Heidi, our own little Sorority Wiener Dog.

I love this picture. I had treats and a camera at just the right time. These girls will do anything for food. Mercedes even jumped up on the kitchen table one day and ate about four bowls of dog food. She must have been a poor little starving street dog in a past life, because she goes crazy over food.

I think our doggie guests will go back home this evening. They'll be good medicine for Kat. Man, I feel so bad for her though. After the surgery she's having today, she'll have pins in one hand, a plate in her other wrist, and no use of her hands at all. It's going to take a lot of help from all her friends. I'm glad we're right here, just a few doors down the street. We'll do what we can to help at the house, and maybe we'll get to bring the dogs over for some play dates. We've become sort of attached to them.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

stringing along

I jumped right in and made something with the pretty strand of citrine I bought at BeadFest. I haven't made a lot of finished pieces in a while, but I'm rather pleased with this. Maybe I'll have time to have Kathleen Brennan photograph it for me before I sell it. It's not "logical" to make these big, expensive pieces these days, but so what. Sometimes you just gotta make something yummy.

Monday, March 16, 2009

good news from ethiopia

The following story arrived in my email this morning, from a friend at Project Mercy. It's nice to read some good news now and then. The photos were all taken at the compound. I can almost smell it! And it's particularly nice for me to see Marta and Deme smiling back at me here. I hope you enjoy the article.

(Click each image to make the pages larger so you can read them. If you want me to send the article to you as an attached document, just drop me an email.)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

signs of spring

If you were on my Beadist Mailing List, you'd get lovely messages like this one, sent out today...

Hello Beadists ~
Watching for signs of spring, I noticed the first daffodil of the season yesterday, in Santa Fe, shyly unfolding its yellow petals in the wake of an early morning snow flurry. I find courage in the bravery of flowers, and joy in the playfulness of the prairie dogs, as they yawn and stretch after their long winter's sleep. Yes, signs of spring are everywhere, if I take the time to look. The sun beams warmer on my skin each day, and encouraged by that, I find myself drawn to some of the warmer hues in my glass palette. Somehow I feel the chill begin to lift, just looking at them. I hope you'll begin to thaw too, cheered by the beauty of nature, and of course, beads...

My best to you, as the seasons change, predictably, and still sometimes, surprisingly.


Saturday, March 14, 2009

bead show & tell

I just spent two days at BeadFest in Santa Fe, where I saw lots of beads, and even better, lots of favorite friends. Times being what they are, I didn't buy the usual ton of stuff I might have in past years, but I still found some lovely things that just had to come home with me. I didn't notice until I got it all together in one neat pile that I was operating on some kind of of theme. Just look at the colors; how everything gets along so well together, in a nice sunny sort of way. I can't wait to dig in and play with all of it. Ideas are bubbling up!

Monday, March 09, 2009


Ever hear of Amigurumi? Me neither, until a few days ago. It's the Japanese art of making tiny crocheted animals and other things. When my kids were little, I used to make little bears for them, but I had no idea I was doing Japanese Art. When I ran across this the other day, something in me was instantly smitten, and I went digging for my crochet hooks. I made the mouse that night, with a pattern I found online. The next morning I made the bear from memory. Pah! Who needs a pattern! Most of the Amigurumi I'm finding online is not felted, but since I'm also currently obsessed with felting, I decided to do that too. Next I want to try needle felting. I'm not sure I'll be able to make myself stab such cute little creatures repeatedly with barbed needles. Then again, I have no trouble drowning them in hot water and scrubbing them until they're fuzzy...

Sunday, March 08, 2009

big in japan

OK. I admit it. I've been avoiding my blog. I'm just so busy just trying to make ends meet, creative banter is about the last thing on my mind. But Rick and I have a Plan B under construction, so maybe things will ease up soon. What crazy scheme have we come up with now? Life on the road with the gypsies! If things work out, we hope to rent our house and hit the road in a trailer... for about a year. That way the house can take care of itself, more or less, and we can feel free to move about the country. All this sitting here and waiting is making us feel much too restricted. Time to shake things loose... if, if, if it all works out...
I'll keep you posted.

Lots of time in the studio can be good or bad, depending on how much fun I'm having. I was needing a break the other day, and got sucked into some "Amigurumi" web sites... little crocheted animals. It's big in Japan, and apparently here too, although I'd never heard of it before. Last night I made a very cute purple mouse, and this morning, a red bear. Very small, and relatively useless. Sometimes cute is enough. And while I was absorbed in all this Japanese stuff, a snip of graphic design caught my imagination, and before long, there were new beads in the works...

I'll show you my Amigurumi pets after I put their faces on...

Tuesday, March 03, 2009


No time for blogging today. We're hosting Soup Night at our house, which is fun and low pressure, but still requires a bit of work... like making soup and cleaning up the house. But since I'm in a yarny frame of mind, here's a link daughter Julia sent me this morning: Yarnbombing. Now why didn't I think of doing knit and crochet graffiti?

Monday, March 02, 2009

amulet scarf update

A while back, I posted a pattern for a cool knitted "amulet scarf". I sent some of my Caviar Beads to my friend Maia, and she did a trial run of the pattern. It looks great, I think. She says to make your scarf longer than the pattern actually calls for. Here are her pictures. I think I'll make one too... after I make something with my lovely Twhirl yarn... I'm still enjoying the look of it sitting there waiting for me.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

when you're hot, you're hot

My friend Deborah Rael-Buckley is an amazing artist. We all know it around here, but it's really cool to see her getting some much deserved recognition out there in the bigger art world. There are two great articles out right now - one in Hispanic Magazine, and the other in Southwest Art. Wow! That's big time! And she deserves it. Congratulations Deborah!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

ethiopia slideshow

As most of you know, this past November, Rick and I went to Ethiopia with the Cunningham Foundation, to teach beadmaking at Project Mercy. In the three weeks we spent there, we formed close bonds with many of the people at Project Mercy, including the wonderful beadmakers who are working so hard to perfect their art so that they can someday (soon!) support themselves and other programs within the compound. We returned home more excited than ever about helping these wonderful people to help themselves, and found the time was right to start a dream of ours - the Milagro Network, our very own 501c3 non-profit organization. We will continue to work closely with the Cunningham's, and with Project Mercy, as a "little foundation that supports bigger foundations". We plan to return to Ethiopia in November of 2009. In order to gather the necessary funds for such a big trip, we're asking for your help! Please click the button below to make your tax-deductable donation to the Milagro Network. With hard work, and a little help from our friends, we'll once again be able to share our time and talents with an entire community of deserving people. Thank you! Enjoy the photos!

Click the caption icon below to view without captions, or pause any picture for a longer look. At five seconds per slide, it takes about 25 minutes to view our three week trip. Grab a snack and enjoy!

You can also see the slideshow on my website. Click HERE to do that.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

my head is spinning

Not long ago, I started making teeny tiny beads, with the idea that knitters and spinners and other string-oriented people might enjoy using them. I gave my friend, Ann-Marie Hillings, a few sets of these "Caviar Beads", and asked her to try them in her handspun yarn. Oh my......... what a very good idea that was. Just look at these gorgeous skeins. She gave me one of them, the rosey pink, and I love it so much, I haven't even wanted to knit it up yet. It's sitting in my Aunt Grace's antique bronze glass bowl, looking like the work of art that it is. Soon I'll make a simple scarf with it. Something that will let the yarn, not the stitches, be the star. You can see more of Ann-Marie's spun wonders at Material Whirled. Her spinner name is Twhirl. Handspun yarn is a feast for your eyes and your fingers. A true delight, with or without beads, but better with beads... like most things.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

wild beads in taos

The ISGB has just sent out a reminder/request for members to take part in "Release A Bead". I was busy with other things last summer when it started, and sort of let it drift right out of my mind. But now it sounds like fun, and since I have a bunch of oddball beads lying around, I think I'll join in.

It's sort of like a Global Easter Egg Hunt. Beadmakers all over the world are anonymously leaving beads in random places, in hopes that whoever finds one will report their discovery on the Release A Bead website.

Be on the lookout for beads packaged in plastic bags, with a card like this attached:

I'm about to release 50 beads into the wilds of Taos over the next week or two. They might turn up almost anywhere! And the Release A Bead site also gives hints as to what other parts of the world you might find beads in. If you find one in Taos, it might be mine, or it might be someone else's. There are several glass beadmakers in town, and we're not putting our names on these in any way. The goal is to raise Bead Awareness, not to advertise ourselves personally. My inner Marketing Expert doesn't quite agree with this, but I told her to just shush and go along with it, because sometimes a little bit of fun is good enough reason to do something.

Happy Hunting!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

happy valentine's day

Do you hate Valentine's Day? It's a weird day, filled with pressures. Rick doesn't like it, so I pretend not to. But truth is, I think it's sweet to see how people surprise each other with all kind of lovey silliness. I got Rick a card with a picture of Raggedy Ann pulling her dress up so her "I Love You" heart shows. He took a candy heart out of a bowl on the table, and set it next to my glasses (so I could read it). It said, "Be Mine". That's about it for our Valentine Festivities today. But it's enough.

I know a lot of people ignore Valentine's Day because they don't have someone special to share it with. It's easy to feel left out. But how about looking at it in a different way? Maybe this could be a day for reaching out and sharing some love with just about anyone. I'm not suggesting you pick up a stranger in a bar. But how about hanging out with your best friend? Or giving flowers to the old lady nexy door who never leaves her house? Or buying a turkey sandwich for a homeless person? You get the idea. Valentine's Day doesn't have to be about sappy romantic love. It's about love in its many forms. Celebrate! Love is great! Let the whole world be your Valentine.

I think I'll go make Rick some scrambled eggs. If that doesn't say "I Love You", I don't know what does.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

comfort zone

I've been kind of a studio hermit here for the past eight years. I don't get out much, and I certainly don't stretch my comfort level to places of... discomfort. Why should I? Hmmm... then again, why shouldn't I?

I am not a clothes person. I share half of a small closet with Rick, and pick from a standard selection of jeans and black things. For me, the most important part of any outfit is the jewelry, and that's where I put my attention. I'm not even particularly comfortable in my own skin, which makes shopping for clothes no fun at all. In fact those little dressing rooms feel more to me like tiny, personal torture chambers. You will put this on, and you will look at yourself, in harsh light, and from all angles! I generally cry and run away. Ask my daughter.

A couple of days ago, a friend called me and asked if I would be willing to model for the clothing store she works for. Yes, model was the word she used. And without thinking, some insane part of me said, Sure! It sounds like fun! Of course, after hanging up the phone I realized I had lied. It did not sound like fun. It sounded terrifying. And because of that, I decided to go through with it.

So I drove out to the Overland compound yesterday morning, and arrived at Blue Fish at the appointed time. Jill was there, the wicked friend who had called me to do this bizarre thing. And Karena too, who had modeled the day before, and was back for another round. Off we went, to the back rooms of the oversized log lodge, and along with four other models, we were handed layers and layers of clothing I had no idea how to wear. Fortunately, we had a stylist, who gently guided us to wear this, then this, then this, and to put us in the right shoes and check our makeup before sending us downstairs to the empty restaurant we were shooting in. All day, up and down the stairs, in endless combinations of the newest collection, all in white, purple, and green. Not a smidge of black in sight. I was, most certainly far, far outside my comfort zone.

Fortunately, some of the models knew what they were doing, and were friendly and willing to help us novices. And Carol, the photographer, coached us through, click by click, until, by the end of the day, it wasn't really all that horrible. We finished up and then went into the store to shop for our payment. They pay in clothes. And even though I'd been in the store before, I didn't own anything from there because I didn't know how to wear it. But after a whole day of sashaying around in the stuff, I was better able to poke through the racks and find some pieces that suited me. I even found something black, and went home feeling sort of pleased with myself.

As I was leaving, Carol asked if I would go back next month to model for the next collection. And what do you know - that same insane part of me again said, Sure!, and marked it on my calendar. I guess, as we go along, the main point is not to be comfortable at all times. I don't think it's to be miserable either. But maybe stretching ourselves a bit beyond our comfort zone now and then can have a ripple effect into other areas of our lives. In this case, at the very least, I might get over my fear of fashion. And if it works out, maybe I'll even fill the guest room closet with beautiful, maybe even colorful, clothes.

I'm not sure when my pictures will show up on the Blue Fish website, but I'll probably let you know...

Saturday, February 07, 2009


Remember the funny little song in White Christmas that goes, Sisters, sisters, there were never such devoted sisters...? I've been sponsoring sisters through Women for Women International for about three years now, and you know what? It makes me feel really good. I got a phone call this morning, asking me to tell three friends about Women For Women, and I said no... Why tell only three when I can tell everyone I know? So here you are. Looking for that perfect Valentine? How about a way of honoring a special woman in your life? Men can do this too. Betcha you'll get more sugar from your sweetie with this than with a bunch of roses that will be in the trash in a few days. Throw in some chocolate too and you'll be the best Valentine in town!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

my fellow americans

Still no time for chatter. I can't even begin to gather any thoughts, let alone organize them and present them in any kind of interesting way...
For now - how about another interesting diversion? Check out Kathleen Brennan's American Portrait Project. You'll find me in there. Twice, I think.

Monday, February 02, 2009

I'm frazzled and busy and have no time to talk. I don't know about you, but I could use a little comfort! Food is always good for that..... and bread is best, in my opinion! So I want to share this with you - Bread and Science have teamed up to create a whole new way of baking. and the bread is FABULOUS. Honest. We had some at friends' the other night, and Rick made a batch yesterday. It's easy, it's real bread, and it's obscenely good. This is all I want to eat until spring. Try it out. You will be converted and comforted without having to leave your kitchen.

Five Minutes a Day For Fresh Bread - at Mother Earth News!

Friday, January 30, 2009

aloha... from taos

Freezing cold? Need a vacation? Rather surf than ice skate down your driveway?
Our friends, Jerry and Janine Sprout are the authors of several wonderful Hawaii travel guide books, and now they have a gorgeous photo blog.

Take your eyes on vacation, and maybe the rest of you will think it's there too...
Hawaii Photo Bank - Adventures Deposited Daily

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

happy birthday danny and lauren

I haven't been here much, and I'm sorry about that. Really. I love my blog, and those who read it. I'm just insanely busy this week... and last... I'm doing some crazy website updates, and creating a really nice slide show on Ethiopia, with captions and continuity in one tidy package. It's taking much longer than I expected. Ha! Expectations! We all know where those get us!

But I need to pop in here quickly to wish my darling babies Happy Birthdays. Danny and Lauren both have their birthdays this week, and true to over-worked-mom form, I'm having them share the birthday spotlight one more time. They hated doing that when they were little, and most of the time I managed to pull off two happy parties with only one day in between. But this year, sorry kids, you get all my love and good wishes in one big pile here, and you have to share the best you can! Happy Birthday to my beautiful, all-grown-up children! I'm so proud of who you are, and that I got to be the one to get you here. Mmmmmwwwwaaah! Big Kiss!

OK then. Back to work, and I'll get back here soon. I hope.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Who's happy? You, I hope! Man, I know I am! I'm still floating on an Obama High, and I'm thrilled to see how many people feel the same way. Back a few months, when I had the gall to publicly support Obama on my own blog, the response was so darn ugly in some cases, I wondered (briefly) if I'd be smarter to just shut up about that I think, and switch to something safer, like shoes or favorite recipes.

As it turns out, I did lose a couple of customers over it, but I gained many, many more. And not only people who agreed with me politically - some didn't - but certainly open-minded, big-hearted people who know that we've come to a place where we need to speak our minds as well as our hearts, and work together for the common good, despite our differences. Those are the people I want to surround myself with, in my business, and in my life. I think some of the ones who left me might begin to change their minds now. That would be lovely on so many levels, especially for them, since they cut themselves off from the beads they love, hoping to teach me a lesson. In a way, they did teach me something - that it's best to be honest and real about who we are and what we stand for, and that I was right to speak up. I'm grateful, and I promise, if they come back around this playground, I will not neener-neener them. I'll give 'em a big smooch and say Welcome! We all missed you! Let's get together, yeah, yeah, yeah!

And now here we are, beginning again, full of hope and energy and a sense of community I haven't felt in a very long time. On this cold January day, it warms me to my very toes to see the proof all around me that as a nation, we're better than we thought we were, and together, we've got the stuff to keep on proving it, to ourselves, and to the world. Happy? That word doesn't begin to touch it.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

happy inauguration day!

I was wide awake long before the sun came up this morning, as excited as I remember being as a kid on Christmas. An hour later, I'm not only awake, I'm showered and dressed and ready to go to D&T's for an Inauguration-watching Breakfast. I'm so excited I can hardly sit still here, so I'll make it quick.

Today is such a big day, not only for our country, but for the world. I'm so darn proud of us for electing Obama. And for the first time in many years, I'm proud to be an American. I'm also intensely grateful to be alive at this point in time, to be here to see all this, and to feel an optimism and sense of hope the world hasn't had in a long, long time.

I even made Obama Marbles yesterday. They aren't very good, but I just needed to pour some of my creative happiness into some glass. Today is a day of big celebration. But tomorrow there's work to be done. No matter what side of the fence we were on back in November, the gates are all open now, and we're all in this together. We're playing for all the marbles, and I have faith that along with our wonderful new president, we'll do a terrific job.

Welcome President Obama!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

finding my marbles

I was the Marble Queen in school when I was a kid. Every day I'd set off for school with my big green MJB coffee can, filled with my precious collection. Mom was into making those over-sized bunches of resin grapes, so I had a "boulder" that was about the size of a tennis ball. I whooped poor Billy Halstrom on a regular basis...

I don't know what ever happened to my marble collection, same as I don't know what happened to my Barbies or my Screaming Yellow Zonkers Circus Poster. But a couple of weeks ago, I decided to try my hand at making marbles. It's similar to making beads, but since there's no mandrel involved, the finishing touches can be a tricky little balancing act. Some of my marbles come out more like eggs, but I'm getting better the more I practice. Not sure what I'll do with them, but they're fun to just have sitting there, collecting sunlight in a bowl on the kitchen table. My Work Ethic says Sell 'em, while my Inner Marble Queen says, Maybe you can fill another coffee can... just for fun.