Thursday, December 31, 2009


Hi there. I'm back. I guess I needed a little time away, but then we all need a chance to catch our breath now and then, don't we? Stepping back and looking at this blog (and wishing there was a better word for it... ) I decided it's time to give it a new slant. A new year is the perfect time to make changes, and believe me when I tell you I'm already in the process of making lots of them.

Rick and I are more or less settled in Ashland for the time being, but the journey continues on a more internal level than ever. I don't know if we'll ever be "home", at least not until we leave this world and go back to where we all started. But until then, there's a lot to be done, and what I'm learning from this wild ride we've strapped ourselves into is that it's all about creativity. I'm not only talking about the stuff we make, but also the way we live our lives. Every day presents us with choices and options, and living creatively means to look at those choices and make the most of them. This is how I intend to practice living my life in the coming year, and years to follow. Taking the long way home is a daily journey with no clear destination, and no real need for one. We'll know when we get there, and even then, we'll probably keep moving on. I hope you'll keep reading as I shift away from the family and personal day-to-day things, and lean more into sharing my experience in living an intentionally creative life.

Tonight we'll have a Blue Moon drifting across the sky. Be sure to look up, and even howl if you feel like it! Here's to 2009, with gratitude for all it gave us. And welcome to 2010, with open hearts and trust that it will be a darn fine year for us all. Happy New Year, my friends!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

popping in

I'm back, but just for a minute. I was up at 5AM this morning, and thought I'd google "collage art". In the process, I stumbled across a snippet of this poem...

Write it on your heart
that every day is the best day in the year.
He is rich who owns the day, and no one owns the day
who allows it to be invaded with fret and anxiety.

Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could.
Some blunders and absurdities, no doubt crept in.
Forget them as soon as you can, tomorrow is a new day;
begin it well and serenely, with too high a spirit
to be cumbered with your old nonsense.

This new day is too dear,
with its hopes and invitations,
to waste a moment on the yesterdays.

~ralph waldo emerson~

Searching for the entire poem, I then found this website: World Prayers, which I find to be just absolutely lovely, and I want to share it with you. Enjoy! Carry on!

Monday, December 14, 2009

break time

I guess I need to take a break. I just don't seem to be finding the time for blogging, and when I do, I don't know what to say. My apologies to those of you who count on a little something from me each day. I just don't have it right now. So I'm going to take this one bit of pressure off my shoulders, rest up a little, and plan to come back after the Holidays, fresh and bubbly and full of good news.

Till then, Happy Holidays to you all!
xo Kim

Saturday, December 5, 2009

i rest my case

So Rick and I went out gallery hopping for First Friday last night, and because it was cold, cold, cold, and we were feeling festive he wore his Santa hat. Later, we met up with Ron and went to the Elks Lodge for beverages. The Elks bar is a No Hat Zone, a rule that's well known and strictly enforced. We're not members though, so Rick sat blithely down on a swiveled bar stool and ordered a beer, without even considering removing his fluffy red and white hat. Normally, the bartender would have politely asked him to remove his headwear, but nobody said a peep, at least not until Rick left to find the men's room. As soon as he was out of ear shot, a buzz went through the bar. "He's wearing a hat! Should we tell him to take it off? I don't know... it's a Santa hat. That's different. I think it might be OK..."

When Rick came back to the bar, they all hushed up, and the hat remained on Rick's head. I think this was a first in the bar's long history. I guess Rick is born trend setter. Or maybe... Maybe, if there is a Santa-God connection, our drinking companions were aware of it, at least subconsciously, and nobody wanted to be the one to tell God-Santa to remove his hat. Not to say that Rick thinks he's God, but you remember that song, "What If God Was One Of Us"? On the off-chance that there's something to that, I can understand their reluctance to offend the Big Guy in any way.

I'm expecting Rick to be invited to join the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks any moment now. I think he's a shoe-in.

Friday, December 4, 2009


Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed the eerie similarities between Santa Claus and God? I've been thinking about this for some time now, and I'm really beginning to wonder - Is Santa Claus God, or is God Santa? I mean really... Let's start with the beard. They both have one by most accounts. The red suit baffles me a little bit, but it did start out as more of a robe-like garment back in the day. Both Guys are, well, guys. Both see all, know all. Both have magical, miraculous talents. Both reward good behavior and punish naughtiness. Both live at the most extreme Up There address available. Both are very creative and really quite handy and prolific with their work. They both have helpers - Santa's elves and God's angels, and all of the helpers love to sing. And even though we never really get to see them, we're expected to, and want to, with all our hearts, believe in them.

I'm not looking for trouble or controversy. Really! Religious finger waggers can just put it back in your mitten please. I just think it's all kind of interesting, in a useless sort of way. And you know me, if I wonder about something, I'll likely share it with you. I'm not the only one to ponder the Santa/God Connection. A quick Google will bring up all kinds of interesting stuff. Like this...

(From Unreasonable Faith)

You can take it (or leave it) from here. Nothing important to do today? Make a nice cup of hot chocolate and ponder this one with me! It's a funny old world. Always something to wonder about. I like that in a world.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

open house

If you live in the area, or feel like taking a field trip to Ashland, let me know and I'll send you the address. It would be fun to see you all here!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

snow globe beads

I'm in such a tizzy today! Time away from home really messes with my work schedule, and I have such a mean boss! But I want to show you these new beads. What are they? Snow Balls? Snow Globes? Something like that! They're filled with all sorts of sparkly delights. I must remember to keep one for myself. Probably a pink one, because they remind me of Mom's pink Christmas Tree. It was glorious...

Monday, November 30, 2009

i'll shop later

I must be a terrible business woman, and an even worse consumer. I missed Black Friday on all counts. No shopping, so selling. Instead Rick and I were on the road, traveling from Ashland to San Jose for a family send-off for my nephew Kevin, who's on his way to the Coast Guard today. It was a terrific party, and while we're all so darn proud of Kevin, I'm equally proud of his mom - my little sister, Jill. She's raised two great boys, she went all out in throwing this party, and she held it all together with a lot of grace and good humor, which couldn't have been easy when sending her baby off into the big military world. My hat's off to Jill, and my love goes with Kevin. This is new to all of us, and we'll all stick together, as we always do. We're family, after all, and before all else.

We woke up Sunday to one of those glorious California days that come along too rarely, even here. The sun was shining, the air was soft and warm, and the call of the ocean, just over the hill, was too loud to ignore. Rick and I drove over and spent the day walking on the beach, watching the surfers, and eating fish & chips on the pier. The sun dancing on the water was so bright we both had to buy sunglasses. I guess we did our part for the economy, spending $24 on cheap-but-stylish shades. Of all the days I've spent in Santa Cruz, and there have been many, it was the most perfect day ever. I'm still beaming, just thinking about it.

Apparently today is Cyber Monday, when all good Americans should be shopping online. Normally I'd be posting new beads today, as I do most Mondays, but today I'll be back in the truck, driving back to Ashland. Is this bad business? Am I going to miss out on the buying frenzy that's been artificially set up to happen on this particular day? I guess I don't really think so. I think I have a higher quality of customer than the average WalMart Shopper. I think they like that I have a big round life, filled with other things besides business, and I think they're patient enough to wait for the beads. I'm not exactly a slacker. I work hard to bring beauty to my corner of the world, and I love how that corner stretches across the world at times. In a broader sense, my Bead People are family too. Maybe it's the season, or maybe it's just taking a few days to rest and visit and give and receive a lot of hugs, but I'm feeling kind of warm and squishy this morning. Black Friday and Cyber Monday mean nothing. Business will go on as usual when I get back to Ashland, and the Beadists will get what they need from me without ever having to set foot in a mall. I feel pretty good about that. I feel pretty good about everything.

All the Party Pics on FaceBook
All the Santa Cruz Pics on FaceBook

Friday, November 27, 2009

shower heaven

The last time I was shower deprived was in 1975. I was 18 years old, just out of high school, and a few weeks into a three-month long road trip to Alaska with two friends. (I'll save you some math - I'm 52 now) We had been driving and tent camping from San Jose through California, Oregon, Washington, and Canada, and while pay showers were available in a lot of the places we stayed, somehow two weeks had gone by with no real means of good personal hygiene. I'm sure I tried to keep the stink down with splashes of water here and there, but I'm appalled now at that kind of time going by without a good steady stream of hot water running over my young hippie body. What can I say... I was different then.

When we got to the Alaskan ferry that would take us up the inland passage for several days, the first thing I did was head for the showers. Word on the street was they never ever ran out of hot water. I peeled off my grimy army surplus clothes and stepped in with a bottle of Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Soap, and didn't come out for a full two hours. True story, I swear. I washed and washed until I was good and convinced that I was clean, head to toe, over and over. Then I just stood there and let the water run over me. It never did get cold, and a shower has never felt so good in all my life.

We drove from Ashland to San Jose today, for some family time and a big send-off for my nephew Kevin, who's about to join the Coast Guard. After five months of living in our trailer, we're staying in a hotel. The first thing Rick said when we came into the room was, Did you see the shower??? It didn't occur to me until that moment that I have once again been shower deprived. Five months of using our microscopic RV shower has gotten me used to low water pressure and minimal hot water. Sure we get clean on a daily basis, but Rick's head sticks up into the sky light, I have to wash my hair in the morning and the rest of me at night, and when I really splurge and take a "long" shower, I'm in there for about ninety seconds at the most before the water goes cold. I stepped into that great big, grown-up size shower tonight and said to myself, I am never getting out of here. I think I only stayed about six minutes, but it felt like a lifetime, and the water never went cold. What luxury. I know I'm supposed to be telling you about the high points in this search for Home we're on, and believe me, this really is one of them. One thing I know - when we find Home, it will have a really nice shower.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Today feels like a holiday already. People started arriving last night, and my darling Danny will be here this afternoon. I'll be making beads today, but probably won't get a lot done with all the action happening around me. I don't mind. I'd rather play anyway.

I got up early and made the cranberries for tomorrow's feast. I love making them, and of course I change up the recipe on the bag a bit. I cook them in apple juice instead of water, with some grated orange zest. I used to try to substitute honey for sugar, but now I figure that's kind of pointless. Some days I just go ahead and eat the white stuff.

If you've never made fresh cranberries, I so recommend that you try it this year. They're far superior to the canned ones, and really easy to make. I love how they roll around in the saucepan, and then begin to pop, pop, pop and make a lovely pink foam that quickly cooks down to a rich molten ruby goo that smells just fabulous, and thickens up nicely in the fridge. I always make way too much - a huge bowl full - because I happen to like them a lot. I treat them more as a side dish than a condiment for the turkey I don't even eat anymore. You can keep the bird. I'll take the trimmings.

Lauren usually helps me make the cranberries, but she can't be here this year. I'm missing her, and Julia too. But Lucy sat right by me as I stirred the berries this morning, filling in as cook's helper. She even ate a raw cranberry when I tossed it to her. What a weird dog. But I think Lauren will like knowing that her pal Lucy did her best to save Lauren's place for next year. This year is kind of strange and unsettled, but it's still... fun. I'm having a lot of fun. And cranberries.

Monday, November 23, 2009

new inspiration

I never get tired of pondering inspiration and how it comes to us. It's always so surprising and also so expected when something new pops up. I've known for a long time that if I let the inspiration flow, there will always be more. I know there's not a limit on creativity, except for limits we put on ourselves. People who claim they don't have a creative bone in their bodies drive me nuts. We are creative beings who come from Divine Creativity, and each of us has our own form of creative expression. It's easier to spot in some people over others, but I believe in my bones that everybody, everybody is creative.

I've been looking at the curtains in our trailer for almost five months now, thinking how the crazy flowers in them might lend themselves to a good bead design.

It didn't go any further than the thinking phase until the other day, when my friend Deborah sent me a link to

I spent an entire wash and dry cycle in the park laundry room, immersed in this beautiful site. It spoke to me. I even have some of the same gypsy images on my beautiful Bead Chest, remember?

The next day, boom, there were new beads just pouring out of my hands. I can never take credit for new stuff when it happens. I know it doesn't come from me, but through me, and when it happens this way, it's a ridiculous amount of fun. Look at this bead. It's crazy! And it looks nothing like my curtains, but the curtains are in there too. That's what I'm talking about when I say Divine Inspiration. Hooo-La! It's such a romp to sit back and watch the sparks fly!

I used to teach beadmaking, but stopped a few years ago, although I wasn't sure why, except that it just didn't make me happy. I think I've finally figured it out. I think that when I teach someone how to do what I do, in the way that I do it, it hampers their own Divine Creative Connection. It doesn't serve their higher purpose to try to make beads just like mine, and my limitations as a teacher don't allow me to be vague enough to show them just the nuts and bolts and let them run from there. Teaching is not my talent, just like knitting or cooking might not be yours. We all have to go with our strengths, and let someone else take over where we're lacking. Isn't it lucky that we all have different talents and skills and interests? Together we all keep this big ball spinning, and it spins the best when we just relax and let the inspiration flow. I have more of these beads in the kiln this morning. I can't wait to see them, and I can't wait to make more. What a ride this is. What a ride.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

making do

Sometimes I forget that this is exactly what I signed up for, this "simple" little life. Sometimes I even go so far as to wonder what the hell I'm doing here. The open road and the mobile life are meant for motion. It becomes a totally different thing once you decide to stay in one place. On the upside, rent is cheap, our diesel bill has dropped off to almost nothing, and we have zero yard work to bother with. On the down side, we live in a really tiny space, the internet doesn't work in our "coach", and I really can't make beads in the trailer after all. It's just too messy and glassy for cramped quarters. Fortunately, I have Mitzi's garage/studio to work in, and equally fortunately, she's in love with making beads now too, so I'm able to repay her for her space by sharing my torch and glass and expertise. It seems like a winning deal for both of us. I use the internet here too, which is also nice and convenient - unless I want to check my email or write a blog from my own humble home. It's frustrating to always have to schlep my computer to someplace else just to take care of business. This morning I needed to check on some bead orders before I could wrap and ship everything, so I toddled on over to the chilly Game Room, and set up shop on the pool table. I grumbled the whole way over there, feeling like I shouldn't have to put up with such primitive conditions. I'm trying to run a business, for goodnesssakes, and I feel a lot more like Mad Max than Donald Trump... which come to think of it, might be a good thing. But the point is, after several days of bitching and whining, I'm kind of OK with just making do... I can't expect things to be different than what they are, or the same as they were someplace else. Somewhere down the line I want an actual house again, with a yard I can let the dogs romp in, a pretty little studio, and internet that works indoors, all the time, and of course, whatever Rick wants too. I don't think it's asking too much. But for now, well, good enough is good enough. We really like it here in Ashland, and doing it this way, we get to keep checking things out before we make any big commitments.

Monday, November 16, 2009

dad, can i borrow the car keys?

I drove today, for the first time in almost five months. There's something pretty wrong with that, isn't there? It's not that I haven't gone anywhere, but when a girl has a driver, might as well let him drive. Rick loves to drive, so I just jump in the passenger seat without giving it a thought. But the poor guy has the flu, some kind of flu.. I don't know which one, but it's got him flat on the couch, which in itself is no fun, because the couch is actually a loveseat, and Rick is 6'4". Poor baby. I mean really. Poor baby.

So I jumped in the big-ass truck this morning to run for provisions, and ten seconds down the road I got a big grin on my face and said to myself, driving is fun. I'd forgotten. Too bad the dear man had to get sick for me to take a turn behind the wheel. But at least I didn't forget how to drive. I don't have a picture for you, for reasons that I'm sure are obvious. Now I need to power through my work day, run Lucy to the dog park, and get back home to tend to my poor sick sweetie. I left him there with sick people stuff like ginger tea, apple sauce, chicken soup, a National Geographic, and a new fleece blankie. I do hope he'll be well soon, and I also hope I stay well. There's just no time for being sick in my little world. I will find other reasons to drive.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

our 17th anniversary

Rick and I celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary yesterday. We spent the afternoon in town, repelling raindrops with the black and red polka dot umbrella we bought on our honeymoon in Victoria, BC all those years ago. Ashland is gearing up for Christmas, with lights and decorations going up everywhere. They even put up a seasonal ice skating rink in a small parking lot across from Lithia Park. This place is so adorable. It's such a community. I could get used to this.

We had no success with picture taking all day, so later in the evening, back at home, we decided to try taking one of ourselves. The kids are so good at this. We are not. My new camera even has a setting for "take a picture of yourself". We did a terrible job, but the result reminds me of an old photo booth. Silly and fun, like the rest of a silly and fun day together. After 17 years, we still like hanging out.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

first little snow

You can't see it here, but it was snowing this morning. Too soon, says Mitzi, but weather patterns have been known to change when I come around. It looked so pretty falling in the pond that Mitzi lovingly dug and built with her own little hands. There is nothing my cousin can't do. And now she can make beads too. I'll show you soon, and yes, I will encourage you to buy her beads as well as mine! The snow only fell for a few minutes this morning, but Mitzi has been at the torch all day.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

so quiet

This is weird. I don't have anything to say. Nothing. How very odd. I'm reading "Bird By Bird", in which Anne Lamott assures us that it's important to write. I agree. It's important for somebody to write, but me? I don't know. Still, I want you to get your money's worth, so I'll see if I can find my way back to my old writing obsession. Meanwhile, I have this darling new camera, so I think I'll make use of it. How about if I find something interesting in my little world every day and do some show and tell? If I can't find something worth sharing each day, it's because I have my eyes closed.

Today I looked out the window toward the creek and saw this lovely view. This is my backyard right now. Sure, I live in a little metal box, but I do love our little creek side place in the world. There we go... I feel better now.

Monday, November 9, 2009

a pretty good week

I don't seem to have enough time to work. There's too much fun going on! But maybe what's really happening is I'm finally finding some balance in my life. For years and years it's been all about work. I guess it would still be that way if I had my own studio, so it's a good thing I'm sharing with Mitzi. This way I have to be out of there sometimes so she can do her stuff. The way it's working at the moment is I do my internet stuff at her house on Mondays, instead of in the chilly game room at the RV park. Mitzi paints and makes beads (mostly makes beads... poor thing caught the bead bug...) on Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays, and I have Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday in the studio. I can't get as many beads made as I used to, but maybe that's not a bad thing. Maybe I can make just enough. I'll find out as I go, like with everything else. I know I sound awefully tentative lately, and that's because everything in my life feels tentative. Nothing is solid. Nothing is mine. It's OK. It' what I signed up for.

Anyway, we had a most wonderful weekend here in Ashland. Actually a wonderful week. Rick and I went driving on Thursday, through the backroads and hills, up about as far as Grants Pass. This is nice country, but Ashland remains at the top of the list for places to settle in. Friday night we wandered out with Mitzi and Ron for First Friday, and took in some galleries, which is always fun. There's a lot of good art here, and too many galleries to hit them all in one evening. Mitzi knows just about everybody in Art Land, so it's fun to get out there and meet some folks.

After Art Walking, we went to the Elks Lodge for a tasty beverage and a few games of pool. I don't know what it is, but I really like that place. More nice people, cheap drinks, and the only 25 cent pool table in town... maybe in the world. I tested out my new little Olympus camera, which I bought on ebay through a second hand tip from Kate McKinnon. I love it. The bells and whistles are actually useful, as well as easy to use. Get yours here...

Rick waited until I finished two beers to tell me he had something to tell me. Uh Oh... He pointed down to his leg, where I saw a lot of blood on his pants. He told me a dog had bitten him while I was in one of the galleries. What???!!! Yeah... it was a little old blind dog, and Rick had startled it out on the sidewalk. The poor thing laid into him good. Rick waited for the owner, and was assured that the dog had all his shots. Rick's jeans kept the teeth from making actual punctures, so the wounds are pretty much on the surface. The worst of it is now he'll probably be afraid of dogs to a certain degree. That's what pisses him off the most.

I worked all day Saturday, and then we all had dinner at Serena's place. Homemade ravioli. Mmmmmm. We all helped and danced around the kitchen. Tons of fun, and great food too.

Sunday seems to be a real day off. I like it that way. No "shoulds" hanging over my head. We took Lucy and Heidi to the dog park. It was their first dog park experience, so we were cautious, especially with Lucy, who can be sort of aggressive. First we had her in the isolation yard, where she stayed calm and didn't lunge at the dogs on the other side of the fence. So we put her on a leash and took her in with the rest of the pack. Heidi was a little timid, but enjoyed making some friends and romping around with the big dogs. We kept Lucy on her leash most of the time because there were kids there and we didn't want to take any chances. But we're encouraged. She played well with the other dogs, and stayed calm around the kids. There's hope for our girl, and we found that dog park people are really friendly. Maybe as the dogs make new friends, we will too. As for Rick, he didn't seem to have any trouble being surrounded by all those teeth. I'm pretty proud of him for jumping right in there like that, before the teeth marks in his leg had even healed.

A perfect Sunday afternoon for us now includes a walk in Lithia Park, followed up with a beer and a snack at the Black Sheep. Nice. So nice.

Back to work on another busy Monday, but I'm rested and ready to go. I'm still saying, although still tentatively, that I like it here. This place has real possibilities for me, for us. We'll know... when we know.

Friday, November 6, 2009

my new phone

I got a new phone yesterday. I've stubbornly held onto my old Samsung for over five years, vowing to keep it until it stopped working, and that's pretty much how it went down. The poor old thing lost its grip on the "5" key, and then started shutting itself off for no apparent reason. I suppose it was tired.

The new phone, also a Samsung, is the snazzy "Rogue" with a touchscreen and all the other expected bells and whistles. It even has a "roll the dice" setting that might be good for a little gambling amusement while I wait in line at the grocery store. I've spent several hours so far just exploring how this phone works, and I'm surprised at how intuitive it actually is. I had to load all my contacts by hand, because the old phone was too old to manage it electronically. I didn't really mind. It's fun playing with new toys. And soon enough, this fun new gizmo will be just another sensible necessity.

My next challenge is to embrace texting. I've resisted it for a long time, blaming my funky phone, but now there's no excuse. I even have a "qwerty" keyboard, which I navigate like a clumsy novice at the moment, but expect to rule before long. Gotta keep up, or be left behind. And typing on a phone doesn't make me feel so self-conscious about my three-finger typing skills. With a phone you're supposed to be "all thumbs". This makes complete sense to me.

I just need to figure out how to get a picture from my phone to my blog... maybe next week... Meanwhile, if you have my phone number, send me a text. I promise to at least attempt to answer you.

Monday, November 2, 2009

wrong number

I've had the same cell phone number for over eight years, ever since we moved to Taos, and even though we aren't there right now, I keep the number because, well, it's mine. I don't generally get a lot of calls on it. Usually just Lauren and Rick, and now that we're away from a house and a landline, the occasional call from my dad and sisters. That's OK with me. I really don't like to talk on the phone much, and I guard my number like I'm some kind of celebrity or something. If I give it to you, you better not to share it. It's private. It's mine. It's only for people I really like. At least it was until recently.

For several weeks now I've been getting an unusual surge of wrong-number calls. I can't figure it out. Most are from New Mexico, probably Taos, and a few are from Colorado, probably Denver. They're not from the same callers over and over again either. At first I thought maybe some joker had written my number on the bathroom wall at the Alley Cantina - "for a good time, call..." - because a lot of the calls come in around two in the morning, when bars are closing and the night air is cold in the high desert. I turn my ringer off at night now, and am often amused to find two or three missed calls in the morning. There are lots of lonely guys in Taos.

But the bathroom wall theory doesn't hold up well because sometimes I'll get a call in the early morning, and some woman will leave a message asking if whoever she thinks she's calling can give her a ride to work that day. You'd think when they get my voicemail greeting, saying, "Hi, this is Kim", they'd figure it out, but no... it takes two or three times for them to give up and stop calling me. There's no taxi service in Taos, and it's hard to find a reliable ride.

Just this morning, my phone rang around nine o'clock, a Denver number, and I answered it. The woman on the other end asked for Amy, and then repeated my number to me. She got what she had dialed, but there's sure no one named Amy here. She sounded puzzled too, and I found myself apologizing for not being Amy.

I cannot figure any of this this out, but now, rather than being annoyed, I'm intrigued. Maybe there's a reason for all these strangers to be calling me. Maybe they need me. Maybe I'm supposed to talk to them... I think I'll change my voicemail greeting to say something like, "Hi, this is Kim, and although I might not be the person you meant to call, maybe, on some cosmic level, you were meant to call me. Please leave a message, and I'll call you back if it seems important." Something like that. Whatever I do, I don't want to change my phone number. This is just starting to get interesting.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

halloween in ashland

Well, here we are. A month in Ashland has zoomed by, and it's time to have some Halloween fun. We love Halloween, and this town knows how to throw a holiday bash. Rick and Ron are already downtown, blocking off streets and positioning Kiwanis volunteers for the Fun Run and Kid's Parade this afternoon. This cracks me up. Rick isn't much of a joiner, but he's really having fun tagging along with Ron for some of this stuff. He might even become an Elk... What the heck. It's a good way to meet people and make connections, and you get to use the Elk's primo parking lot downtown. Mitzi and I painted our guys up to look sort of dead and ghastly, but not too scary, since the daytime is for the little kids. Heehee... this is fun.

Here are the boys, looking so fine...

And even Heidi is dressed up. She's wearing her blue velvet opera dress by Katy George with a pink silk collar and a sparkly bead necklace.

Mitzi and I will put together our costumes and head out a little later. We might even be in the parade. Might as well. Then later in the evening we'll see what the grownups do here for some spooky fun. My guess is since we're in a university and theater town, this is going to be good. More pictures later, but here's a hint... Frida Kahlo...

OK - Ashland does a kickass Halloween. Sorry Taos. I thought you were the Halloween Queen, but no... you have been hugely outdone. Here's a picture of me in my Frida Kahlo persona. The rest of the photos are on Facebook.

... and a video

Monday, October 26, 2009

boneheads - episode one

I know, I know. I've been missing in action for a few days. So sorry! I've been busy making beads, getting to know a new town, and well, some other stuff... you'll see. The plastic Boneheads I bought a while back have taken on little lives of their own. And Mitzi, being the creative, play-writing, theater person she is, swooped up the Bonehead Project and before we knew it, had us making a video. I'm not sure I want to admit that I did the voice of GOM. I think I might share some personality traits with her... oh dear! And please keep in mind that I have absolutely zero acting experience. As writer/producer/director, Mitz got exactly what she paid for! But anyway... here it is for your viewing pleasure. The first episode of Boneheads Live, or whatever we decide to call it! Be sure to share it with everyone you know. We wanna go viral with it!

Monday, October 19, 2009

there's never a camera when you really need one

I need to get a new camera. There's so much to show you, but I don't want to schlep along my big bead camera everywhere I go, and the little pocket camera died back in Seattle. I guess I should just surrender to getting a new phone, one with all the bells and whistles... and a camera. After all, my phone is crapping out on me too, as I guess it's supposed to after five years or so. Remember when a good sturdy phone came with your house, rugged and dependable and bolted to the wall? I miss that in some ways, but not enough to go back to it. Moving forward, always moving forward. Technology won't wait for the stragglers.

In the absence of a camera, imagine three fifty-ish women, setting out on a thrift shopping excursion to Yreka, California, about 45 minutes south of Ashland. Mitzi and Serena both showed up at my door wearing black and white printed tops, which they did not plan. I teased them about it, but blended in well, wearing a plain black shirt with my jeans. We all busted up though when i picked up my bag, which is, oh yes, a black and white print.

We hit every thrift store in Yreka, on the look out for all things fabulous. I found a brand new red wool, Liz Claiborne cap with a jaunty little newsboy brim for two bucks, and a nice office chair which I need for the studio. Serena found some cute clothes. And Mitzi scored the big deal of the day - a fluorescent lime-and-purple leopard print, large brimmed pimp hat. I dared her to wear it in the street, and of course she was more than happy to oblige, carrying her bags of plastic baby dolls (for use in the Bonehead Project), and a three foot long, battery operated, vibrating, blue massage tube she got on sale for a mere $1.75.

Imagine friends, these three women, causing such a ruckus that other women were following them from store to store, just for the entertainment. And imagine, at the end of the day, Mitzi in her pimp hat, Serena in Mitzi's abandonned pink straw cowboy hat, and me on my new chair, rolling down the sidewalk of downtown Yreka, laughing so hard we could barely breathe. And I swear, not a drop to drink.

I promise to start carrying a camera of some sort.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


I'm sitting in the truck, in front of the trailer, under a canopy of yellowing leaves, with little Heidi sitting beside me. I mentioned before that we don't get internet inside the trailer, but I don't always have to go to the duck pond or Mitzi's house to get online. This is a nice big truck. Not a bad size for an office.

I'm having fun in Ashland, and at the same time, feeling sort of fragmented. I have all my worldly stuff pared down to a neat little portable pile, only it doesn't all work in the close quarters we've set ourselves up in. It's OK. I just need to adjust to getting less done than I'm used to. Or maybe I'm getting more done and I just don't know it yet. Email is being answered, orders are being shipped, blogs are being written, beads are being made. This week I've gone "back to the garden", and have made nothing but flower beads. Hm. That's unexpected, and I'm really not giving it too much thought. My time is consumed with other things. The boneheads are still a work in progress, and rather than try to sell them, we have plans to make silly videos with them. It's not my area of expertise, but what the heck. I'll play.

I'm also trying my hand at watercolor. It's only fair. Mitzi is making beads, so I need to stretch my comfort zone and do some painting. I just started yesterday, and I think I like it, but it sure is intimidating learning from a master like Mitzi. I'm used to being good at what I do, and so is she. We have to laugh at ourselves a lot these days, starting as beginners in each other's worlds. We have a lot to share though, and it's fun because we both recognize that. We've loosely formed Fire and Water Studios, and now we'll just keep playing and see where it all takes us.

Maybe fragmented isn't the right word. Maybe it's more like faceted, this life I'm living right now. Lots of angles and sparkling sides, catching the light, and my attention, like a diamond. Sometimes the reflections can be dizzying, but most of the time it's pure beauty.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

lessons from sardinia

I'm not sure yet, but I think maybe I got my groove back. I was watching Anthony Bourdain the other night. (I love his show, even though he regularly jeers at vegetarians.) He was in Sardinia, and the people featured in this episode were simple country folks, doing things the way they'd been done there for centuries. Everyone worked hard, and being a food/travel show, everyone had a hand in the preparation of the food. Someone made the cheese, someone else made the wine. There were ancient looking cooks in the giant communal kitchens, making the same dishes they'd made all their lives, dishes passed down through many generations. And the flat bread that came from the wood fired oven was as beautiful and practical as it has been since it was first made for the sheep herders to carry with them for months at a time while tending the flocks.

What struck me was that everyone knew their place, knew their job, and did what they did for the good of the whole. Everybody was important. Nobody tinkered with time honored recipes and traditions, and nobody sat there whining about being tired of doing their part and wanting to change things up. Watching this, I started to feel like a spoiled bratty baby, not a comfortable feeling at all...

I started thinking... Maybe, like the cheese maker and the baker and the old cook in the family kitchen, I have been given the job of beadmaker, and it just won't do to shirk that responsibility. Maybe I've been given this skill and this talent for the good of the whole in some way. Maybe it matters on some level that the particular beads I make find their way into the world. Maybe the job of beadmaking is some sort of Divine Assignment, every bit as important as making sure the shepherds have their bread.

I planned to spend an hour or two in the studio yesterday, just to see if I could still make a decent bead. I ended up staying glued to that wobbly little stool all morning, all afternoon, and almost into cocktail time. Bead after bead seemed to form themselves in the flame with no effort on my part. I was actually kind of surprised to see all those mandrels sticking out the kiln door. I did it. I made a good batch of beads. I've been thinking I was finished with all that, but it seems I'm not. I am a beadmaker. It's not only what I do, but a big part of who I am. Maybe I'll get paid for them, and maybe I won't. Right now I really don't care. The beads I make are my gift to the Universe, and I trust that in return, I will have what I need.

Thanks Anthony, from one of your biggest vegetarian fans. I'd like to give you a bead. Just tell me where to send it.

Monday, October 12, 2009

nesting... for now

We've moved the good ship Tessie Beau to a new camp site. It's in the same RV park, but it's a much roomier, prettier site, with a little stream running through the back. I can't believe how lucky we are. I've always wanted to live by a stream. Almost can't believe my eyes...

And for those of you who are just catching up to us, we completely remodeled our trailer before we set out in July. It took about six weeks to paint the walls, make curtains, make new upholstery, and replace the floor. We even managed to fit our king size mattress in the little nest that is now, literally, the bedroom. This is the coziest little house I could ever want to live in. We even have a small electric fireplace. Fake fire is cleaner than real fire, and the dogs love it. So do I.

The only slight problem is the internet. The signal isn't very good anywhere in the park, especially if a "big rig" pulls in next door. The solution is to grab the computer and walk over to the office, where we can sit on the deck next to the duck pond and get a most excellent signal. A big storm is predicted for the next few days, so I may not be here much, but in good weather, which I'm told we'll have for most of the winter, you will often find me here with the ducks. Not a bad arrangement actually.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


It's all my fault. I bought a "dollar bag" of little plastic skulls at the local Dollar Tree the other day, and gifted several of the Boneheads to Mitzi. One thing led to another, and now we have her dining table covered with paints and glitter and beads and flowers, and spend way too many of our waking hours on the Bonehead Project. I had no idea we'd get this carried away, but there's no point in resisting. This little obsession needs to be followed to its natural end, unless of course its only the beginning of something we're not yet aware of. I'm going with my gut these days. If it seems silly and creative and fun, it's probably a good idea.

So here are the pics so far. The skulls are about golfball size, and come nine in a bag. Now who wouldn't buy that for a buck?

Since Mitzi is a painter, and she's painted Weird Objects before, she knew we needed to spray them with primer. She also had skewers handy, so now we have all these little heads-on-a-stick.

Here's Mitzi at her table full of magical art supplies. We had to make another paint run yesterday. More colors, more colors!

And here's what we have so far. They aren't finished yet, and there are more to paint. We also bought little dolls and ripped their heads off. The heads will be painted too, and their bodies will be attached to some of the skulls. Ack! I love this!

This is the Bonehead Team - me, Mitzi, and Serena, all happily embellishing cheap blobs of plastic. Oh yes, life is good here in Ashland.