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Showing posts from November, 2010

Blooming Humans

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I subscribe to several kind of "woo-woo" emails. I live in Taos, remember? We're like that here. I guess I'm sort of like that anywhere I go, but it's more encouraged here than in a lot of places. This morning I was greeted by several inspired emails that were all saying more or less the same thing, and all tied in, at least loosely, with my Hoop Dreams post from yesterday. It seems that nurturing our dreams is a popular theme these days. Well, you know me. I'm all for that!
The email from Go Gratitude, announcing the Blooming Humans project particularly got my attention, and has had me pouring over their website for the last couple of hours. The idea is to plant a Dream Seed in the Dream Seed Garden, and to nurture that seed for the benefit of yourself, as well as the the Whole. It's simple and fun, and even if you're a skeptical person who shuns all things woo-woo, I see no reason not to play. There's nothing to lose, and possibly Everything to g…

Hoop Dream

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I guess it's been about two years since I first got excited about hooping. Not those little childhood shoop-shooping hoops, but big, adult size hoops made for fun and exercise and even... Hoop Dancing! I bought a couple of DVDs from Hoopnotica, made some cool hoops, and then forgot all about them as we traveled for a year. I had all my hooping stuff with me, but I was too self conscious most of the time to practice in the campgrounds and RV parks. I'm a beginner. I'm learning. I drop the darn hoop a lot. But of course I didn't get any better by hanging up my hoop and avoiding practice. Grownups can be so dumb.
The other night we went to the Taos Feeds Taos benefit at the Solar Center. A lot of food was donated, we saw some friends, and danced to the fun band Last To Know. But the best part of the evening for me was the Hoopers. They brought these amazing LED hoops, and performed sort of spontaneously when the mood struck them. They also shared their hoops, which made me…

Gratitude Bracelet Winner!

And the winner is...

Charlotte!!!

Your comment, left on Tuesday, was the winner, picked by a random drawing on Random.org.
Please contact me at kim@kimmiles.com by Wednesday, and let me know where to send your bracelet.
Congratulations!

Everyone else, THANK YOU so much for all your beautiful, thoughtful comments. I read every one of them, and although there are too many to reply to personally, I want you all to know how much I appreciate you!

I knew you were out there, and I hoped I could entice you to come out and play. I did it!
And it was so much fun for me, I'm going to do it again this week, and every week in December.
Same rules will apply. Starting Monday, leave ONE comment on each blog post through Friday. (I hate to have to mention this, but there was a bit of a problem with multiple entries this week. More than one comment per post will get you disqualified. Sorry!) I'll pick the winner on Saturday. And if you don't want to wait to win a bracelet, you can buy one…

Resisting Black Friday

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I had the most wonderful Thanksgiving, with Rick, and friends, and candle light, and food so good we all had to take a moment to just be quietly alone with it. Waking up to Black Friday is a bit jarring to me, after all that glowing happiness. And even though I sell stuff for a living, I can't participate in all this marketing madness.

My hope is that the people who are in a shopping mood this year--and I hope there are lots of them--will at least consider buying some of their holiday gifts from the little guys like me who make beautiful things with our own two hands, infusing them with love and heart and soul. Idealistic, I know. We're up against all those Retail Giants, but maybe we can still get a few crumbs of their fiscal pie for ourselves.

My plan for today is to go into town and visit a couple of craft fairs. If I buy anything, it will be from someone local, who made that thing themselves. We're in this together, and we all need to support each other. I hope you…

Happy Thanksgiving

I love Thanksgiving because it's an all-inclusive holiday. There is no way to offend someone by wishing them a Happy Thanksgiving, no political correctness involved. On this one day, in the good old USA, everyone is on the same page, celebrating the same thing. I know that not everyone has a turkey feast, and not everyone is able to find a reason to be thankful. But I also know we have enough in this country. More than enough. The problem is in distribution.

I went to Europe when I was 19, with my friend Shauna. We left in the fall, and traveled for three months. It was the first time I had ever been away from home for the Holidays, and it was shocking. Somehow it didn't occur t me that our American Thanksgiving wouldn't overflow across the ocean and find us somewhere in Spain. When we set out in search of our holiday feast that evening, we were met with blank looks and regular menus. As I recall, we settled for a greasy chicken soup with chickpeas, and several bottles of …

I'm Not Oprah ~ Audio Version

11-24-10

I'm Not Oprah

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Did you watch Oprah's very last ever Favorite Things show the other day? I did. I watched both of them, Friday and Monday. Like so many people, I've dreamed of being on that show for years. And as those last two gifting frenzies rolled before my eyes, I was a little bit sad that my chance to be there was really, officially over. Not that I ever thought I'd actually get there, but knowing there was still the teensiest possibility was fun.

To be honest, I really only coveted a few of the things those people were given. The iPad would be wonderful, and the sparkly Uggs, in black, of course. The clothes didn't really suit me, and the panini maker would take up too much counter space, especially in the trailer. I already have a very nice frying pan, thanks. Some of the other stuff, like the huge TV and the Le Creuset cookware could be stashed away for when we live in a house again. And the diamond earrings... not my style at all, but I bet I'd wear them once or twice be…

Gratitude Bracelet Giveaway!

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I think Thanksgiving week is the perfect time to give away one of my beautiful Gratitude Bracelets. These are made with my colorful, simple Zen Beads, and one sterling silver bead, all strung on elastic, so they fit just about any wrist, and are also easy to restring of you need to.

These bracelets are a pretty way to help you focus your thoughts on the positive things in your life. Similar to prayer beads, you work your way around the strand, pausing at each bead to give thanks for something you're grateful for. When you come back around to the silver bead, offer a prayer or wish for something that's needed, or an extra big thank-you for your practically perfect life.

I'll be holding the drawing on Saturday, randomly choosing the lucky winner. The bracelet will be a surprise of my own choosing, and it will be a good one!

Please read the following carefully:

To enter the drawing, leave a comment on any or ALL of my blog posts for this week, from Monday through Friday.


ONE co…

A New Kind of Christmas

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Christmas has gotten tricky, hasn't it? It isn't what it used to be. It is what it is. So I wonder what makes so many of us long for what is was, missing the magic that's available in this particular Holiday Now. 
To be clear, I'm using "Christmas" kind of generically here, because it's what I had as a kid, and what I still have, although in a completely different way. Of course I realize there are loads of other winter holidays to be observed. I'm not counting those out. I'm just speaking my own language. 
We all have our childhood Christmas memories, good or bad. Mine happen to be good. Really good. Mom was a master at Creating the Magic, from the silly music, to the candy pink tree, to the home made cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning. Santa always filled the entire living room with gifts for my sisters and me. It was a wonderful, magical superabundance that still makes me happy. That's some powerful magic, to last all these years.
The years i…

It's Giveaway Time...Almost

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I'm working on a Gratitude Bracelet Giveaway! Why? Because it will make me happy, and it's perfect for this time of year, when we turn our attention to what's right with our lives. With Thanksgiving in mind, I want to say that I'm so very grateful for all of you who read my blog. Thank you! The bracelet giveaway is one small way I can show my appreciation. I'm waiting for a shipment of big silver beads from Thailand, so I can complete a batch of bracelets. As soon as I have them--and figure out the details--I'll post it all here on the blog. Soon, I promise! Stay tuned, and have a wonderful Sunday!

Hope and Defiance

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I don't journal, and I don't draw. I wish I did, but it's never caught on for me. I doodle sometimes, and I carry a notebook always, so I can jot down random thoughts that seem like they might want to go somewhere later. I would love to create those beautiful art journals and sketch books I imagine all "real" artists to have. I even beat myself up over my failings at this, telling myself I can't be a real artist if I don't do these things. Absurd, I know. But don't we all have these illogical confidence meltdowns now and then?
I sat at the torch the other day, notebook open to this dumb little doodle, and the words practically flew out of the pencil on their own. (I always use pencil. I just happen to like it.) I'm not sure if Hope and Defiance are the best way to approach a day of creative endeavor, but there they were. The Hope is obvious, I guess. I was certainly hoping I would make something that someone would want to buy. Thoughts of going out…

Taos Pictures For Mary

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I have an artist friend, Mary Van Kampen, who spends part of the year in Taos, and the other part in Michigan. Understandably, to me at least, she misses Taos a lot when she isn't here, and relies on her Facebook Friends to help keep her connected. This morning, she sort of jokingly commented to me that she would depend on me for her "descriptive Taos fix", and when I read that, it instantly turned into a project--Taos Pictures For Mary.


I tossed together a Facebook Album, using three photos I snapped with my phone yesterday. The plan is to add to the album frequently, with words as well as pictures, so that Mary, and anyone else who yearns for some time in Taos, can have an ongoing, living, breathing look at our little town as it changes with the seasons. There are a lot of great photographs of Taos out there, taken by real photographers who know how to get it just right. My humble offering is more spontaneous and organic. These photos will always be in-the-moment bits o…

Let It Snow

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We had our first dusting of the season yesterday afternoon. We sat in the house, by the big windows, and cheered for each flake as it danced and landed gently in the yard. I love snow this time of year. I love it a whole lot less in the spring, but right now, snow means holidays, friends, family, celebrations, calm, joy, peace, hope...
I started putting Christmas/Holiday music on my iPod a few days ago. I add to it a little every day. We have over 50 Holiday CDs, which I know is excessive, but I imagine we'll buy more anyway. I can't help it. I love it. Every bit of it, from Dean Martin to Pavarotti, and everyone in between. I used to wait till Thanksgiving before pulling it out, but these last few years, I just need more. I'll probably listen to nothing but this stuff until December 26th, when I'll sadly put it all away for another year, although I have been known to play Christmas music on a hot summer day, to help cool me off.
My cousin Mitzi sang "Let It Snow, L…

Simple Bead Photography

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Photographing my beads has always been an inexact science, with a lot of guesswork, hit-and-miss, and retakes. The challenge is getting a good, clear, close-up picture of an object that's highly reflective, and at the same time, full of depth and interior detail. I've tried a lot of things over the years; full sunlight, with and without flash, indirect sunlight on various backgrounds, makeshift light boxes made from translucent white "Tupperware", and most recently, plain, bare tabletops.

The quality of light in any given location makes a big difference. Seattle light often needs a lot of artificial help, but natural light is always better. Ashland light was good when I shot under the white roof of the EZ Up canopy I used as a studio, but I had to time it right so the tree shadows didn't interfere.


Taos light is bright, pure, and intense, because of the 7,000 foot elevation. I used to get pretty good results here if I went outside on a sunny day (which is most day…

Gifted

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Last year, while visiting our beadmaker friends Jim Jones and Lani Ching in Portland, OR, I spent a little time in their studio, showing Jim how to put rivets in beads with a Bead Press. Jim Moore Tools makes this amazing device, as well as lots of other great things for glass artists. I just love mine. I was never much of a tool girl before I started making beads, but now the perfect tool can make my heart sing like a walk in the park in new shoes.

A few days ago, a little package arrived in the mail. It was from Jim Jones. It was a bead. Oh-my-dear-lord-in-heaven-with-all-the-singin'-and-dancin'-angels, what a bead... Jim's note thanked me for helping him figure out the riveting thing. And this bead is where he went from there...


He calls these Steampunk Beads, which is exactly what I'd call them. They're every bit as intricate and gorgeous and amazing as Jim's glass beads. In fact, as I look through the Bead Gallery on Jim and Lani's  long-awaited new web…

Time Well Spent

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Today Rick and I are celebrating our 18th wedding anniversary. Amazing how the time has gone by. As with anything that's good in life, it seems like it was just yesterday that we stood in that strange, crystal-filled room in Seattle, with only our kids in attendance. Time is a funny thing. And looking back in a different way, we've done so much in these 18 years. More than some people manage in a lifetime. And we're not done yet. If we're lucky enough to have another 18 years together, it won't be enough. But as Doris, the minister who married us said, "When you're married in our church, you're married for all time." Good thing we like each other.
We're not a couple who needs to force a romantic evening. We have a pretty romantic life every day. So tonight we're meeting friends for pizza, and then going to the Taos BRAWL event at the Solar Center, where a bunch of women will gear up in silly and fearsome personas for a "woMano A woMano…

Extravagance

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I made two extravagant purchases yesterday. Even in times of sluggish cash flow, it's important to treat ourselves extra sweetly now and then. I bought a copy of Artful Blogging magazine, just for the beauty of it. I'm going through it slowly, turning every page, savoring it like a piece of fine dark chocolate. I'm looking for something, and I don't know what it is, but I know it will find me if I make a welcoming place for it.


I also bought a skein of beautiful, hand dyed, pink yarn from Weaving Southwest, which is becoming a set of felted coasters for my daughter, just because I think she should have them. This week I am suddenly, inexplicably obsessed with these coasters. I see no potential for profit in this excursion, but I'm so enjoying the beautiful yarns, the process from knitting to hand felting in hot soapy water, and the soft, finished mats, cushioning my cup, keeping it from clunking and grating on the table. It's a simple pleasure, but extravagant …

Exploring Taos - Part 3 - the Mabel Dodge Luhan House

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We had our first flurries of snow here in Taos this morning. The fall weather has been so warm and beautiful, it's been hard to realize that it's almost Thanksgiving. It's time for winter to make its way here. I'm thinking back to our first winter in Taos, back in 2001, and the things that kept us busy and entertained and happy. Curious about Taos History, and in particular, some of the early artists who came here, I picked up a book by Mabel Dodge Luhan. I've read several books about, and by her, but my favorite is still Winter In Taos.


The Mabel Dodge Luhan House is now a beautiful inn that houses tourists, and hosts workshops throughout the year. We like to visit every so often, just to walk around the grounds and imagine the people who have come and gone from there. Mabel was a "gatherer" of talented people such as Georgia O'Keefe, DH Lawrence, and Ansel Adams. She was wealthy and scandalous, and from what I've read, cared little about what ot…

A Quick Catch-Up

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I'm rattled today. Nothing bad, just a lot going on. So it's a good day for some quick updates. Some days are deeper than others. I'm all on the surface today, slipping along like a water bug...
~~~ The stinky couch is still on the patio. We can't seem to unload it, not even for free, and not even to someone who just wants it for a dog bed. I'm bummed that we might have to take it to the dump, but it really can't stay here. Phooey! The good news is, the house smells very nice without it... And, we've decided not to bother replacing it. Why buy furniture that we (hope to) have to move in the near future? The big empty living room makes a great dance floor this way!

~~~ I posted some beads on my website over the weekend. Sold a few too. I'm pleased. I guess I'll make some more. I have to admit, it's nice to have the studio back in action, in this new, low stress sort of way. Pretty things are happening in there...

~~~ The opening at the Parks Gallery fo…

Balance

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I'm wondering if allowing beads back into my world will take away from other things. I imagine so. How can it not? I guess I'll just have to find a new balance, because balance is not a thing we find once, that stays put. It takes constant adjustment, whether we're standing on one foot, walking a tight rope, riding a bike, dancing, or just getting through a regular day filled with Stuff To Do. A statue of a balancing Buddha has it all figured out, once and for all. It stands there, perfectly balanced, almost mocking, and yet encouraging, seeming to say, HA! You'll never do this, but please DO keep trying! We just have to wobble along, losing and regaining our own balance the best we can. 
I have a silly habit of standing on one foot to put my socks on, rather than sitting down to do it. I don't have time for a yoga class, but Sock Yoga is really helpful. After doing this for years, I'm actually very steady on one foot, and then on the other. Not Buddha-steady, b…

Zen Beadism

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The Question was, and probably still is, Make beads or wait tables? Those are the options I know about. There are countless others I can't see, but for now, I have to work with what I know to be available. One by one we're making little commitments here in Taos. The stinky old couch is officially unsalvageable, so it's on its way out. A new couch says, OK. We'll stay a while. Borrowing a day bed for Lauren's room says, OK. We'll stay through the holidays, so the one kid who can make it "home" for Christmas will have a place to sleep. Spending half my days pretending to be a writer is lovely, but there's still that other half of the day, which really needs to be used to replenish the bank account. I've had over a month away from the torch, ever since we left Ashland. Time away is a good thing. And now you can probably guess my answer to the Question...

A few days ago, I just decided, out of the clear blue Taos sky, to drag out the torch, the gl…

Zen Beadism - Audio Version

Thursday, November 4, 2010

We Need A New Couch

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We have begun the destinkification process on the couch. No, it's not a real word, but it's the right word. Our big, soft, brown couch became a dog bed while we were away. Maybe a cat bed too. And a scratching post. Maybe even worse. Day after day I go in the house, and see the sun streaming into the living room, and think how nice it would be to stretch out on the couch with my computer, or a book, or just a cup of tea. And then I get close to it and catch a whiff of pet stench, and go running for the door. No wonder we can't sell the house. That couch has some seriously bad juju. We only leave it there because it fills a large space and makes the place look somewhat lived in and homey. But if we're going to reclaim the house as even a part time homey hangout, we're going to have to do something about that couch.

Rick went to the tack store yesterday and picked up a gallon of enzyme pet-odor-eliminator. He put it in his big pump-up yard sprayer gizmo, and we dragg…

We Need a New Couch - Audio Version

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

What Color Is The Cheese?

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Several years ago, there was a discussion at our patio picnic table, over glasses of wine and a lovely piece of port salut cheese. As I recall, there was some difference of opinion on whatever the topic was, and to illustrate some point I was trying to make about differences of opinion, I asked my friend, What color is this cheese? Her answer was something like, White. Creamy, yellowy white. She was right. Yes, I said, and rotated the cheese plate so the orange-colored rind was facing her. Now what color is the cheese? ...

We've used the cheese analogy for years now. It's a good reminder of how a simple shift in perspective can make all the difference in understanding another person... or even in understanding ourselves.

These days, I'm considering some things I had ruled out in past weeks. Things like maybe moving back into the house. Or even just partially moving back in, like some sort of compromise between trailer life and house life. We like having friends over, which…

What Color Is The Cheese? - Audio Version

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Listening

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I'll wander away from Halloween in a moment now, after just a few more pictures to show you how much fun we had here in Taos. The crowds of kids always come out in the early afternoon, leaving the evening for the grownups to go out and play. We were out early, and back home for dinner, but I still donned my fabulous hat and my bonehead necklace. Heidi was a very popular little bee, and wanted nothing more than to snuggle with us on the couch last night. Those adoring kids wore her out.


I have to admit, we're really still enjoying Taos. Maybe we're stranded here, and maybe it's just a matter of perspective. These beautiful fall days are perfect for sitting in a sunny spot, and just listening quietly to whatever "comes through." We certainly don't have all the pieces to the puzzle yet, but little hints are managing to work their way to the surface. The trick is to shut up my own chatter long enough to hear them. 
I dreamed last night that I was trapped under …