Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween!

Josh and I are spending a nice low-key Halloween at home. Josh has carefully picked out a few very scary movies for us to watch. I carved up a pumpkin to light and roasted pumpkin seeds for a salty snack to go along with our ever-so-bad candy stash. I love holiday traditions. I hope that each and every one of you has a spook-errific holiday.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Feeding my body & my soul

I am celebrating the end of week 4 of intense, morning boot camp. As with most, I struggle from time to time with my diet and exercise regimen. Things get busy, I travel, I eat out......eventually, I have a problem. So to get back on track my best friend and I have been meeting up every available week day morning for a faux boot camp. We committed to 8 weeks. We hike most mornings and sprinkle in some weight training here and there. We are building up our endurance so that we can tackle some of the big summit trails in Phoenix - Camelback & Piestewa Peaks. I can't say that I entirely love waking up at 6am each day, but I've managed to make it work. Spending time with Erin each morning is priceless. So yesterday, I hiked the majority of the Circumference Trail at Piestawa Peak. This is not for the faint of heart. It is long with some pretty nice climbing areas (3.2 miles / moderate level). I hiked for a little over 2 hours straight. It felt GREAT! I definitely think that I am well on my way to accomplishing the summit trails in a few weeks and I am already feeling the benefits of regular exercise.

In other news, I've been feeding my soul with a little volunteer time. Yesterday morning, I spent time at an elementary school in Phoenix. I helped with the AR Store. It is a program that celebrates kids reading by offering them prizes that are ranked by the amount that they read. It is always a fun day to spend in the library. I look forward to their next RIF day (Reading is Fundamental). I love reading out loud to the kids. It is always fun for them and fun for me too.

Today is "Make a Difference" day. Josh and I celebrated by volunteering together at Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area, south of downtown Phoenix. There was an event for World Water Day. I got to spend the morning talking to children about the things that they can do on a day-to-day basis to conserve trees, water and energy as well as waste and pollution management. With all of the neat technological advances we have made over the past 200 years, come some basic responsibilities to not abuse them. Reduce, recycle & Reuse! Joshua explained water surface tension to little ones by letting them us a dropper to add drops of water onto the top of a penny. Most kids were able to add 30 drops to the top of a penny and see the water dome. They LOVED it. I even met a fellow beader who was also volunteering.

Now, I think is a good time for some rest and relaxation. I hope that you have a lovely weekend.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

SoftFlexGirl in the Big Apple

First and foremost, check out VAharoni's blog entry about her visit to the Soft Flex Glass Art and Bead Festival in NYC. It is always a joy to meet online friends in person. I was very glad to meet Valerie in person. I actually recognized her by necklace! She was wearing one of her Flex Your Creativity Beading Contest entries.

It is always a treat to visit New York for the
Soft Flex Glass Art & Bead Festival (annual October). This year was cold and wet, two things that I am not accustomed to since I live in the desert. I can't say that I was particularly thrilled to tromp through the streets shivering and doing my best to hold my umbrella at just the right angle so that the wind wouldn't destroy it. But, I do have to say that Monday's weather made up for the 3 or 4 gray days. The sun was finally out and it was amazing how my whole attitude adjusted. I guess I am really, truly meant to live in the desert. I love sunshine. Rain or snow are okay for a short time, but I can't imagine dealing with it everyday.

The bead show itself was stellar. I'm not just saying that because I'm a Soft Flex'er. There really is a great mixture of different types of exhibitors at our
NY Glass Art and Bead Festival. There is a little bit of everything and it makes it very fun to look around. I definitely felt inspired. I picked up a few choice items for my bead collection. Some Soft Flex gemstones. I'm absolutely in love with our short strands. It really makes buying nice gemstones affordable. I don't normally need an entire strand because I like to mix and match beads. This works out quite well for me. I also picked up seed beads from Jane's Fiber, an adorable owl and bird toggle from Green Girl Studios and then a few clasps from Soft Flex. The new FIT location was really nice.

Lisa Kan gave me the most gorgeous set of earrings. They are beautiful. I am so appreciative to have such talented and generous friends. Thank you, Lisa!!! Thanks to Andrew for his generosity as well. I'm so lucky!

We use vacation rental by owner to stay in NYC each year. Since we need a fairly large staff to pull off this show, we have found that this is the most affordable option for us. We usually rent 2 condos and split the staff between the two spots. This year, I was designated to stay in an apartment on 58th St., near Central Park. Unfortunately, the location didn't work out so the rental owner upgraded us into one of the many Trump Towers in Manhatten. It was on 70th Street and Riverside. Here is our subway stop at 72nd.....

My home for the week was on the 19th floor of the tall building at the end of the block. It was a nice walk home from the subway stop, when the sun was out on Monday when this picture was taken.

The best part of our apartment was the view. We had a gorgeous view of the Hudson River. Here is the sunrise view....

Here is the sunset view.....

I spent quality time with my cousin Loretta. She started attending Copper Union in Manhatten this fall. She has been in NYC for about a month and a half now. It was great to see her dorm room, meet her roommates, check out her neighborhood and shower her with winter items like hats, gloves and socks. I don't want her little fingers and toes to freeze off. She is from the desert just like me.

I also got a chance to visit with my boyfriend's brother and fiance. They live in the Bronx and always go out of their way to visit me in the city to have dinner and catch up. They are working hard on their wedding arrangements for a Tucson wedding on January 2, 2010.

All in all, I was cold from the weather but warmed by the love of friends and family. Gave and received gifts, shopped and ate too much good food, enjoyed the bead show and the's not too shabby. The hardest part of traveling is missing Josh & Honey. I was really glad to be back home with them.

One last thing, our friends at the BSGNY are selling tote bags. I use mine all of the time. It is sturdy and fashionably chic for carrying around a bundle of stuff. It is lightweight and washable. So many tote bags look so cheap. Not these! They are really nice! It is only $30.00 plus shipping. All of us Soft Flex ladies love our tote bags. You should get one too and support the Bead Society of Greater New York.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Nobel Peace Prize

From: President Barack Obama
Subject: A call to action

Friend --

This morning, Michelle and I awoke to some surprising and humbling news. At 6 a.m., we received word that I'd been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009.

To be honest, I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who've been honored by this prize -- men and women who've inspired me and inspired the entire world through their courageous pursuit of peace.

But I also know that throughout history the Nobel Peace Prize has not just been used to honor specific achievement; it's also been used as a means to give momentum to a set of causes.

That is why I've said that I will accept this award as a call to action, a call for all nations and all peoples to confront the common challenges of the 21st century. These challenges won't all be met during my presidency, or even my lifetime. But I know these challenges can be met so long as it's recognized that they will not be met by one person or one nation alone.

This award -- and the call to action that comes with it -- does not belong simply to me or my administration; it belongs to all people around the world who have fought for justice and for peace. And most of all, it belongs to you, the men and women of America, who have dared to hope and have worked so hard to make our world a little better.

So today we humbly recommit to the important work that we've begun together. I'm grateful that you've stood with me thus far, and I'm honored to continue our vital work in the years to come.

Thank you,
President Barack Obama


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