Monday, January 21, 2013

A Year of Transition! Letting Go

It has been nearly a year since I wrote a blog! It doesn't seem possible. The last time I blogged was about Tucson in 2012, and I am going back in about three weeks. That year sped by like a freight train. It was a year with so much packed into it that I hardly noticed it going by.
Clearing and Rebuilding
In 2012, I renovated my garage and turned it into a beautiful new work room with a bathroom/laundry room. This allowed me to free up the master bedroom and bath in the house so it could be rented out. I did rent the room to a lovely roommate, my friend Nancy's daughter, who stayed until November 1. A new roommate will move in at the end of this month. This time a male roommate. I look forward to a new adventure with another very nice person.

Letting Go
In May of 2012, after the Rocky Mountain Bead Bazaar was over, I stayed in Denver to visit my friend Nancy. She and I were at the Denver Art Museum when I got a call from Hospice. My brother Ken had been sick with cancer for 8 years and now it was time to go be with him as he passed. I flew out the next day and arrived two hours before he left this world. I was honored and touched to be able to sit with him, talk to him, stroke his hair and face. Once he passed on, I  helped wrap his body up and carry him out along with the lovely hospice nurse and the mortician. Such a kind and sweet people.

My brother's wonderful friends showed up the next day to help me with the house. We laughed at stories about my brother, then cried together at his passing, then laughed at more stories. I played the CD that was in his stereo every morning while I worked. "The Very Best of Cream"! My brother was a musician playing in several bands over the years. He belonged to a tight knit community of people who loved him and were devoted to helping care for him during the last couple of years of his life.
Ken sitting on a rock at Tetonia, ID
The music and his wonderful friends got me through lots of work and brought joy to me knowing my brother was in such good hands and so well loved. He and I shared a love of the same types of music. My brother moved away with my parents when he was 13 and I stayed in San Diego to get married and raise a family. He moved to Haley, Idaho 31 years ago for work, loved the area and stayed. We didn't see much of each other for much of that time. I am so grateful that for the last few years of his life we went for an annual hike together and met at the Russian Jazz festival a couple of years in a row. 
Pete, Kathy, Graci, me and Stella.
I traveled back to Haley, Idaho five times during 2012. Clearing, cleaning, having Estate sales. Visiting with his wonderful friends who continued to help me every time I went back. Lifelong bonds have been formed and I treasure seeing these lovely new friends each time I return. I grew to love the area as well. It is so beautiful, the pace is slow and the town's people are a close knit community.

We returned my brother to the mountains he loved in November. Pete, Kathy, Graci, Me and Stella the dog traveled to Galena, ID and walked up the snow covered road to put my brother's ashes into the Big Wood River as he requested. It was a sparkling, beautiful day full of joy, tears, laughter and love as we each took turns pouring some ashes into the river.

For me, last year was a whirlwind of change, personal and professional transitions. Traveling to bead shows and to teach bead work, five trips to Haley, ID sprinkled in between business trips. Catching up with friends and family when I was finally home. My friends and family are such a treasure to me. Since my brother died, I have become very selective about whom I spend my precious personal time with these days. I will only be with people who celebrate and welcome who I am with open arms and acceptance. Long time friends are so dear, new friends are becoming more dear and some people come and go. People move into and out of my life leaving bits of themselves, taking bits of me as we pass through each other's worlds. This is as it is meant to be with the people in our lives. Everyone has a purpose, a time to come together, a lesson to teach or learn from us. All are valuable and cherished. Some stay, some go. Allow life and people to flow in and then out again like the tide, like a river. They are here and then gone. Some come back, some stay away, some pass out of this world. Trying to hold onto them is like trying to hold a hand full of water dipped from the ocean or a stream.  Cherish the moment and the people in your life now and be at peace.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

"Lost in Tucson"

After the To Bead True Blue Show closed, I decided to stay an extra day so I could visit with Kate, Gail, Chalon and Joyce, have a massage, rest up and maybe go shopping at a gem show. It was a beautiful Sunday morning and three of us set out for a shopping trip. We set the GPS and attempted to follow the directions. Somehow, we made a wrong turn getting ourselves "lost" on the outskirts of Tucson. We could still see the city, so there was hope. Traveling down a long road through the edge of the desert, Gail realized that she had been here before. We were on our way to St. Xavier Mission!

St. Xavier de bac Mission

 This lovely mission was established in 1692 and construction was completed in the late 1700's. It is undergoing  renovations at this time and the results are wonderful. There is a beautiful little cactus garden behind an iron fence. We strolled the grounds, took some great pictures, had Indian fry bread and visited the lovely little gift shop.  We were unable to enter the church as a memorial service was being held at the time.


I love Spirals!

Beyond this lovely fence is a wonderful cactus garden!
 We entered the cactus garden and were amazed at the beautiful colors of the cacti. Take a tour with me.
Bright Yellow fruit of the cactus
Such great texture

Purple & yellow!

I am so inspired by the colors and textures of the desert. Tucson is a wonderful city to explore. Each time I return new discoveries delight my senses!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

An Artist's View of Tucson

It's always exciting going to Tucson. The drive across the desert is so beautiful in winter. It is an easy 7 hours from San Diego. My favorite thing about Tucson is staying with Kate McKinnon. She has a beautiful, creative environment. The house is filled with other artists. We share great conversations, strong coffee, good food, visual delights and lots of laughter. Beading together in the evening is always so inspiring. The support we offer each other is invaluable.
Susan & AJ Beading across from Gail, Kate and Miss Fish

Our watchful supervisor, Miss Fish

One highlight of my stay is that I get to stay in the "Barbie Dream Coach" out in the "Back Forty."

Being an Artist/Vendor in these times:

Kate's recent blog about Herd mentality was very timely. I know lots of wonderful and supportive and generous people. Then there are some who are not.

Being a self supporting artist is getting rather difficult these days. We artists have many discussions about what we will do to keep going on our paths to support ourselves with our art. I know many artists who are now looking for jobs. Some will stop going to shows with their wares. The economy is still quite tough, show promoters continue to raise booth prices each year. Hotels raise their room rates during the shows which adds to the high cost of doing business. This really puzzles me. While working at my show, I heard many people say they hadn't made their expenses and were even deeper in debt after the show due to all the expenses involved. I barely made my expenses this year and did not sign up for a booth for next year. I would have lost a great deal of money if it weren't for the gracious hospitality of Kate.

Our promoter offered to keep the prices the same if we would commit to two more years! Why not just keep the price the same anyway? Or even offer a bit of a discount for coming back? Loyalty... I know of one show promoter who was charging $2800 for an 8' table! Most vendors quit that show last year when they heard about this increase, more will not go back next year. Why not create a win/win for everyone? Wouldn't it be smarter to keep the price of booths reasonable while still profiting? We are all working to earn a living. Show promoters are working very hard and should get paid, but the greed of some is killing the shows and devastating the vendors. I believe show promoters are shooting themselves in the foot with this more, more, more attitude. People will simply stop renting booth space and the show promoters will get less, less, less. Doesn't make sense to me. If we are all successful, we will support each other for many years to come.

I love the show life for the most part. The hours can be long, setting up and tearing down and travel is difficult. But once in my booth, I have a great time! I love my customers. My fellow artists & vendors are a great bunch of people. If you stop and listen, you hear laughter coming from most every booth. Even when worrying about making expenses, people are helpful and generous with each other. We share our lunches and snacks, give each other breaks, offer each other discounts or gifts of our work, help each other with set up and tear down. Marianne Kasparian of Maku Studio for example, gave me the two pieces of her work that I had set aside. Her work is amazing. I am honored to be given these fabulous pieces.
The gorgeous Marianne and me at To Bead True Blue, Tucson
Edgy Hearts by Martianne
The good does outweigh the negative. The latter get more press. I want to switch that around. Good getting more press will promote an attitude of kindness and generosity, I believe. Of course, I want  to go on with this lifestyle! Let's think long term and help each other create successful lives. Yes, for all of us in every facet of the community. It's really not that hard to do.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A Sweeping Saga... & Harvest Time

Involving a Rake, a Broom, Lots of Leaves and a Beautiful Dinner...
My maple tree finally dropped all it's leaves, then the ash began dumping it's leaves. These trees have two different styles of leaf dropping. The maple, gentle and gradual. The ash, dumps tons of leaves each day. So, there's lots to do in the yard every day. Call me old fashioned! I am actually enjoying sweeping and raking and mowing with a push mower these days. 
Right now in San Diego, leaves are falling all over the neighborhood. We get our fall a bit late. Blowers are blowing, but not at my house. I use woman power. It feels good to move my body while doing yard work. Sitting all day beading can stiffen you right up! I am taking a page from my neighbor Buford's book. Keep moving. At 91, he cares for his house, car and truck, and yard. Once that work is done, he comes over to my place and mows my lawn for me!  I do own a blower and a weed whacker, but the way I see it, this is like a trip to the gym. I walk at the Zoo each morning. That takes care of the lower half, the raking and sweeping and mowing and trimming works the rest of me. And it's all green.

January 4 in beautiful Lemon Grove
This morning I harvested beautiful tangerines, and picked roses. Yesterday, my neighbor invited me to harvest some pink grapefruit.  We are so fortunate to be able to pick food all year long.
Grapefruit bath, so many Tangerines!
 Speaking of beautiful, look at this red chard! One of the prettiest veggies on earth.
 Of cours there are beads in these colors somewhere in my stash.
Then there is the sweet potato I had with the chard and a small steak last night. Brilliant orange.
Hmmm, what's for dinner tonight???

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Old "Stuff" New Year!

I love many things about Christmas time. Mostly the beauty of lights and smells and sparkling things. Family and friends gathering together to eat and drink and play and give and receive. It can also be quite stressful. Expectations run high for a perfect Hallmark Holiday. People get disappointed, kids have issues, money is tight. This year I strove not to get caught up in all that. Money is tight for me, so I kept gift giving to a minimum. A $20 for each grandchild plus something I made or already had around the house was given. Adults got a nice edible treat along with some good coffee beans and/or a lovely box of tea. Most were thrilled with their gifts. I had been putting pressure on myself a few weeks before to give each person more money. Then realized my mortgage was due. I snapped myself back to reality, and paid that important bill first. Each of my grandchildren have so very much in the way of possessions. Lots of relatives pile gifts onto them. I think they choose one or two favorites and ignore the rest. The decision to go minimal was a huge relief for me, and as the weeks go by and kids rooms need cleaning, my hope is that they will be happy with maintaining fewer possessions. Being responsible for so many things is exhausting. This is a small house and there is little room for things. Downsizing is very important!
I love this video of George Carlin talking about "Stuff"

Looking forward to the new year, there is still so much work to do! I am getting a roommate soon. She will be here by January 5th or so. The master bedroom and bathroom need to be totally emptied and cleaned, a hall cupboard will also be hers, so that needs to be emptied. More things need to be purged from my life. I feel like I have been wrangling things back and forth for months. With the garage to studio renovation, the bead studio and just general household possessions of 13 plus years it has been a huge task. The shed in the back yard was full of some yard work tools and garden supplies, but mostly useless "stuff". It is now cleaned out, shelves are installed and it is organized and some things from the garage are now properly stored in the shed. Each week I put out recycling as well as trash from the shed and that is almost all gone. Some construction leftovers are still on my driveway, but that pile is getting smaller each week too. The camping gear I had stored in the garage and then on my driveway for my daughter is now back at her house and the ugly tarp I had covering it is out of my driveway as well. The house will look much nicer when everything else is gone. I like a pretty yard. 

Moving forward to 2012 and a fresh start to the new year is exciting. I can plow myself back into the bead business in a large, clean and organized space. My focus can be back where it belongs, creating new designs, writing instructions, making kits and earning a living doing what I love! I hope your New Year is full of goodness and fun and that your burdens will lighten as the year marches on.
Oh, and don't be fearful of 2012. This cartoon sums it up for me! 
Laugh and have fun.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Very Fun Saturday!

The Talmadge Art Pop Up Show Was Wonderful!
The sun shone most of the day, there was a crisp chill in the air with a few clouds moving in later in the afternoon. Being an outdoor show, we were fine with clouds that didn't spritz us! The mood was happy and fun, Sharon and Alan's garden is lovely. Here's a shot of my booth. The sun was really bright. Not the most ideal light for shooting black velvet! I was so busy setting up and helping customers that walking around taking photos slipped my mind!

Two of my students from the Mastering the Curl class dropped by for a little shopping. The two Maggies. This Maggie wore her finished Curl. It came out so elegant with the color palette she chose to match her lamp work bead. It is perfect as a focal point nestled into the opening in the curl. Nice job!

Time to relax a bit and think about Christmas. My friend Ginger is in town from Santa Cruise and will be staying with me for the holiday. And my granddaughter, Kayla will be here for two nights this week for a sleep over with grandma! YAY!!!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

And The Winner Is!

Char of Homer Alaska!
Congratulations, Char. Your name was pulled out of the little basket this morning as I was drinking my first sips of coffee. I will send your box of goodies accumulated over the last 8 days to you via Priority Mail. I know you will have a wonderful time playing with this treasury.

Thank you everyone who participated in this fun Blog Hop. I hope you have a wonderful, blissful, beadiful Holiday no matter how you celebrate it!

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