Monday, December 12, 2011

A Birthday Gift

Earlier today, I took a break from the studio and ran to do a few errands, one of which was stopping in at a huge store to pick up necessities like toilet paper and paper towels. Needless to say the place was packed with people and baskets piled higher than high, many people had two baskets in which they were piling things. It’s no secret, I do not like to shop…blasphemy, right?

Thursday, December 01, 2011

World AIDS Day

It was on this day, in what now seems like a hundred years ago, that the Tamarind Foundation planted the first Hope Garden in a small park in the financial district near the World Trade Center. Rose bushes were donated in the memory of loved ones who lost their lives to AIDS. It was a sunny but chilly day but that didn’t stop the volunteers and the kids from neighboring schools from coming out to support and help in the effort.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanks & Gratitude

For as long as I can remember, Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. I think it all stems from the fact that this holiday, unlike others, is nonexclusive in nature. Everyone from all walks of life, no matter their beliefs or background, gets to join in the festivities. Over the years I've been really fortunate to share this day with a mix of family and friends around whatever table I happen to be sitting.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

From There to Here

It's no secret -- the move from New York City to this little tiny town in Oregon took quite a bit of adjustment on my part. After several years, I think I have finally settled in and don't have the overwhelming discontentment I felt in my earlier years of Oregon living. While I do miss so many things about my life in New York, with friends being at the top of the list, for the first time in years I feel okay knowing that I will probably not be returning to the City to live. I know you are probably thinking that I am nuts. Well, I am nuts, but aren't we all in one way or another?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

How Do I Love Thee?

Let me count the ways. It's the best way to spend a Saturday morning...playing with jewelry. Thank goodness I have a business that I absolutely am head-over-heels in love with -- otherwise, I would be sitting here complaining to you all the time. Now, that would be fun, right? I was posting a few new pieces to the site this morning which, as you know, usually includes pix of different ways I like to style the piece. It hit me today that the options are limitless, really, limitless. I thought it would be fun to show you a few ways I styled one of my favorite styles -- the soft bangle.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Veterans Day -- Remembering

Today we take time to honor the veterans who served in the military to help protect our right of freedom. My list of people to thank and remember, is long, but it always starts with my dad, a World War II veteran, who served in the Navy and was stationed on Iwo Jima. I remember seeing his pictures from there and hearing his tales about his time during the war. As a young kid, I didn't quite grasp the seriousness and danger of it all -- but as an adult, I treasure my memories of his story-telling.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

The Changing of the Time

Today was that nutso day where, if you live in this part of the country, you change the time to PST. Even after all these years...I just don't get it. I did watch an entertaining video about it all posted on YouTube. I would be more than happy to post the link here if I could could remember it since it explained all the hoopla in a very witty way. It just seems like such an archaic system to me and one that doesn't make much sense at all. But, like lemmings, we follow along and do it.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Year -- 1998

You might remember, the day I got my iPhone I was fiddling with the camera and out of nowhere, I discovered this Bergdorf Catalog circa 1998 in a stack of catalogs in the studio. Today I had some time to sit and leaf through it. With the exception of two silk charmeuse dresses, out of the eighty-seven pages, there is not one thing I wouldn't buy today.

Monday, October 24, 2011

L'interruttore è Completa!

Yes...I survived the "do-it-myself" switch from BlackBerry to iPhone 4s over the weekend. And, I lived to tell the story! By now you pretty much know that I love to figure out and do things on my own...even when it might not be the most efficient way to get things done. It's in my genes and so it's how I roll.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Most Wonderful Time

It's true -- it's the most wonderful time of the year. At least for me. Fall -- always marks a time for new things, new beginnings, of sorts. School, new clothes, new friends, new studies, and new adventures. Even that new perm my mom insisted on giving me before the start of every school year couldn't put a damper on my anticipation of the exciting new things coming my way. Although, I do still wonder what in the heck she was thinking, since my hair is naturally why the need for the Tip Toni totally escapes me. But...back to the wonders of fall and the glorious pre-holiday time.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Unexpected Delights

Even after years of the being in the creative flow of things, I am always surprised when the unexpected happens. Well, maybe I need to qualify that...the unexpected in jewelry design is what delights me, not so much as in the unexpected like in a BlackBerry outage. So, now that we are clear on that point -- yes, I love it when an unexpected thing happens in the jewelry studio.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Dreaming in Chocolate

It's that time of year again when the aisles in the grocery stores are lined with bags, and bags, and bags of orange and black treasures busting with all kinds of chocolate-laden treats. Oh so tempting. I have learned over the years not to bring those treats home too early...under the guise of preparing for the cherubs knocking on the door and holding out bags to be filled. Why? Well, for's just too darn tempting and before the end of the first day I have managed to rip open a bag or two and start my own kind of trick-or-treating.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Oh Boy -- Here Comes Fall!

As much as I grumble about the rain and gray skies during the non-summer months here; these past few days I find myself feeling happy that the weather is changing and fall is upon us. I think what I like most about the cooler days, is the fact that I can wear my uniform: t-neck lightweight sweaters -- the perfect canvas for jewelry. Today, I donned my uniform for the season. As you've probably figured out by now -- I love bracelets -- mainly because I can admire them all day long. Talk about self-absorbed; but it's true! However, when I put on a oatmealish heather-like sweater this morning, I figured it was the perfect day to give my poor old neckline a treat. So, that's just what I did. I started with a rutilated quartz number (#0302) similar in style to the yellow jade one shown here. Then, I added the yellow jade dazzler. Thinking that would be plenty of pizazz, I stopped there...for a moment. Then it hit...a flash of brilliance; and, it wasn't from the light coming off of one of the stones on these necklaces! It dawned on me that I don't remember in ever...layering the rainbow hickoryite necklace with either of these two necklace styles. In the blink of an eye, I had my sample nestled in with the other two and I love the look. If you like the look of wood, which I do, you'll love the look and feel of rainbow it looks much like wood, but has gemstone weight which makes the entire piece feel rich to me. I tried to get a pix of all three necklaces on Monica the Mannequin; but they wouldn't stay as I think she doesn't have the strong square shoulders I do (!!), so I finally gave up and went for just two. I think you get a pretty good idea of how they all came together.

While I was taking the first shot in the natural light of the studio, I had another flash of brilliance. (Do you think it could be all the Pure Inventions green tea I've been drinking lately making my brain fire a bit faster?) The second pix is the result of that moment -- yellow jade meets carnelian -- in a lovely mix of vintage-inspired gold links. You know, when it comes to jewelry, I do think the styling options are limitless. That's what I love so much about it all. I don't care what the particular piece is -- there will always be a variety of ways you can wear it. It's my hope, that all of you are encouraged to be as creative as you want -- like I said in my last post -- I never color within the lines -- why would I want to do that when there are so many unique options just waiting to be discovered?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Color Outside the Lines

Clearly having one of those days where I am working the split personality deal. But, in a good way -- at least I think it's in a good way. As you know, I love to layer bracelets -- case in point, while chatting with a jewelry buyer this morning about carrying my line in their chain of stores, I kind of snort-laughed when she asked if I really wore more than one bracelet at a time. Once I regained my composure (honestly, no one likes to snort during the first conversation with a potential buyer) my response was "isn't that why there's so much space between my wrist and my elbow?" There is no real science to it, I just like to get them all stacked so they feel good while they are in place.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Follow the Yellow Brick Road

Yesterday was a good day -- I spent a few hours at the Beck Farm playing with Cairn Terriers, visiting with good family-friends and eating a chicken Oktoberfest sausage sandwich and finishing it off with apple strudel. Yum. The Cairn Terriers in the pix here were rescues from a variety of different sources.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Special Souls of Firefighters

Today I remember those special souls that I loved and lost ten short years ago. Their spirits reside within my soul. I remind myself to be grateful for, and cherish, every moment we have with the people we love. This morning I cut these beautiful roses for an arrangement in the studio.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Diversity -- it's a Grand Thing

I'm in the studio today, checking inventory and doing some odds and ends -- nothing unusual for Monday. In the silence of it all, I had another one of those "it was there all the time you just didn't see it moments." While all of my jewelry designs are similar in that they have a distinctive feel to them (at least I think they do), in many ways they are really quite diverse. Case in point -- this gorgeous pearl, aquamarine and patina starfish number (which sorry to say is not for sale) keeps me company on a bust across from my workbench.

Friday, August 26, 2011

National Dog Day!

I don't know about all of you, but my life just wouldn't be right without my little Beatrix Potter in it. I just heard that today is National Dog Day - so figured it was the perfect time to sing her praises. As many of you might remember, after 14 years of life in New York City and here in the the Pacific Northwest, my sweet Agatha Christie left this earth. My heartbreak and feeling of total emptiness in trying to have a life without her was overwhelming.

Monday, August 22, 2011

OHSU & Mt. St. Helens

At the beginning of summer, I posted a pix of Mt. Hood popping up in the distance while I was outside of Fessler's. While I told you that I could also see Mt. St. Helens that day, I did not post a pix as you would not have really been able to see it...and so you would think I was nuts!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Cauliflower? Yes, Cauliflower.

Yes, that is cauliflower in purple, yellow and white. Mother Nature...once again pulls our all the stops. If I was going to do something with this inspiration in gemstones...what would it include?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

"Everybody's gone surfing..."

Seems to me that there are a lot of little reminders of my past around these days. Today I pulled into the gas station and this VW bus pulled in at exactly the same moment!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

All Things Miniature

I think that one of the biggest reasons I love designing and making jewelry is because I am a fiend for the details on little tiny things. As long as I can remember, I have had a fascination with all things miniature...okay, maybe not miniature golf...but most things miniature. And, now I'm trying to keep my mind out of the gutter -- that being said, I think you might know where that might have gone. Now...back to my original thought.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Gift of Song

Back on February 24th, I talked about unexpected gifts and how I had been given one that very day. Today, I got the way of these pix I found in my dad's desk that now sits out in my garage. My oh-so-talented nephew, who I had the great pleasure of giving the guitar that my dad handcrafted for me in 1964, showed up today in a spot where I least expected him. Looking at these pix just confirms my thinking that we are connected to our passion very early in life.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

A Pickle and A Pix

Yesterday a friend shared a jar of homemade pickles with me which I happily welcomed with open arms -- both friend and the pickles! It's interesting how powerful the sense of smell is -- at least my sense of smell. When I popped the seal on the jar and got a whiff of dill and vinegar I was transported back to my grandma's kitchen on Flower Street in LA; I immediately felt her warmth, the sense of safety and the love I always felt when I was with her. She was an amazing spirit and even as a young kid I knew that about her. I was a tiny one and the youngest of all the cousins -- so needless to say I think I got special treatment -- but maybe all the cousins got the same treatment and thought they were getting treated in a special way -- whatever it was, she made me feel loved in a very unique way. I can close my eyes and see the big kitchen that always smelled of fresh vegetables, freshly canned pickles or something wonderful baking. I see the deep sink and can almost reach out and count the tiny tiles that lined the back splash and counter tops. Boonya (as we called her) would tie an apron up under my arms and push a kitchen chair up to the sink so I could stand and help her do whatever it was she was doing. In her eyes, it was about the process, not so much the end product. If I broke or spilled something -- it didn't matter. We'd clean it up together and go on with whatever it was we had been doing. If we were cooking or baking - it really didn't matter if it didn't look right or taste all that great in the end -- it was all about doing something together. I know that my love of cooking and baking started early and with her and I thank her for that.

Stay with me here -- this is related! I spent the better part of yesterday cleaning out part of the garage -- my dad's desk is now out there and as I looked through one of the big drawers I found a cluster of old photographs and this one was in with the bunch. While my Boonya was my mom's mom, she and my dad had a special connection of some sort. I think she really understood my dad on so many different levels. So I wasn't surprised to find this image in with the others. I think this pix captures Boonya's caring spirit -- sitting in the pasture at my mom and dad's old place feeding a cow and the geese. Honestly, who sits in a pasture feeding the cow? That was Boonya. I am so grateful to have shared a life with her that was rich and full. As I write, I do so hope that when I am physically no longer in this life, people whose paths I've crossed will have nice memories of how I touched their lives in some little way. After all...isn't that what it's all about?

Sunday, July 31, 2011

There's Something About Berry!

Yesterday I made my first-of-the-season trek to the Boone's Ferry Berry Farm on Boone's Ferry Road. (Yes, that Boone's Ferry!) While it's just a few miles out of town, I feel as if I am entering another world. On the small two-lane road, I pass sheep, a commercial nursery that grows bushes-topiaries and manicures them into all kinds of shapes (yes, people do seem to like bushes that look like deer, bears, and fish),a variety of tree farms, filbert (aka hazelnut) orchards in full bloom, sod farms that are the most heavenly shade of emerald and look magical when the large sprinklers are rolled out and the sun glistens through the droplets of water 20 feet above the green and, of course, berries. Berries of all types -- this is after all, the "Berry Capital of the World." If there is a berry to be found, I am sure you'll find it here. While I love them all -- blueberries are my favorite. If you haven't had the great fortune to taste a blueberry fresh picked some the field, I feel really bad about that. You see, picked at their peak, and eaten when they are still a bit warm (I never put mine in the refrigerator unless they will go into jam) I'm telling you, they are better than the best bon bon you can imagine. And, what's better than that? No calories...well, some calories but not enough to worry about. Okay, so there is a downside -- little teensy tiny black seeds that get stuck in your teeth. So, just a word of warning...when you eat them, there's a good chance you might look like Huck Finn if you smile.

If you've been following for a bit, you might remember my post about the quaint little berry shack from last year. Yesterday, my heart dropped as I came to the big barn that is my landmark to turn into the farm, and the spot that normally houses the old shack was empty. I was so old friend was gone. Luckily, I noticed the hand painted sign posted on the side of the commercial entrance -- the retail "store" had been moved just a bit up the road. Making a quick recovery, I found the gravel entry that leads into the fields and there it was -- my little berry shack all grown up. Very cute little iron tables and chairs out front and when I walked in, it was a nice little surprise. It seems that the young families that own the berry farms are quite entrepreneurial -- inside there were all kinds of "Boone"s Ferry Berry Farm" branded specialities. Berries, dried and fresh, filberts from the tree and in butters, and pickled garlic. So it was an unexpected little shopping adventure. I couldn't stay long since Bea was in the car and it was quite warm, so I picked up my flat of blueberries along with a pint of Marionberries and called it a day. Of course, I will be back next Friday, to replenish my supply. I drove away with mixed emotions. While I am all for progress...I have to say, I missed stepping back in time I felt with the old berry shack; but really happy to see that the young women who are running the new store are visualizing something more than a seasonal shack and I wish them nothing but success with it all.

Friday, July 29, 2011

A Dog and Her Grandma

My mom had a wee accident this morning, so Bea and I ran over to check things out and make sure it didn't require a trip to the emergency room. Thank goodness all is well and good. My mom, who is 87, now lives in an independent living facility here in town. It's not easy to watch our parents age -- much harder than I ever imagined. When we are young our parents seem so vibrant and strong -- they could do anything. As we age along with them, at some point there is a bit of a role reversal -- where parent becomes child and...well, you get it. My dad passed in 2001 and while I watched him grow weaker, I was living across the country so didn't really see the day-in-day out of the progression even though I talked with him daily. But with my mom living in the same little community that I now call home, I do see her frequently, and I will say it doesn't get any easier. The shining star in all of it, is little Beatrix Potter, the wonder Cairn. You see, Bea lives for people, which I am told is a strong Cairn characteristic. However, I think Bea has been blessed with a spirit that is all-knowing. Don't ask me to explain what I mean by that, because I am not sure I have the words. But, I do know this, whatever the situation, Beatrix knows exactly what is needed to soothe the soul of whomever is in her company. Today, that was my mom. As soon as we arrived, Bea asked to sit in my mom's lap, where she totally distracted my mom from the pain she was feeling. We stayed long enough to "doctor" the wound and the patient; and, we knew we had succeeded when my mom wanted to go have lunch with her friends. So, we walked her to the beautiful dining room, visited with everyone who loves Beatrix, and then said our good-byes. Since returning home, Bea has not left my side here in the studio -- I think her concern has shifted to me -- so she is staying close by just in case I need another hug.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Just a Small World Tale

While waiting for calls from clients and vendors, I thought I would take a run to Bauman's Farm -- you know about that place by now. I have been out of cherries for several days and needed to replenish the supply before they are out of season. Oh, that's always a sad day for me. Anyhow, on the small road that goes through the fields I always see the top of this Russian church off in the distance. So today, I took a little detour to explore a bit more. It took a little doing to get there, but when I finally figured it out, this is what I found. It is very small, looks like it might be a manufactured home type building but proudly, on top of what would be called a steeple on other churches, is a golden onion-shaped dome and cross. The onion-shaped architectural feature is found on the Russian Orthodox cathedrals in Moscow. There is a huge Russian population in this area -- a very long history which, sadly I don't know much about. I do know that my Grandma and Grandpa on my mom's side came from Russia to this country a few years before the Russian Revolution in 1917. Their story was much like that portrayed in Fiddler on the Roof, they fled their homes hoping to find a new world that gave them the opportunity for a better life and freedom to practice their religion. (Don't quote that year please, it's just the one I am remembering at the moment -- okay the writer in me couldn't let it go without researching and bingo! it was 1917.) While my relatives eventually settled in Southern California many others came to this part of the world. In fact, I have distant relatives that live right in this little part of the country. Small world, as they say. Just another little side trip in my day-in-the-life tale. If you are wondering when I took this pix, it was today July 21 and yes, those are rain clouds in the sky. Rain clouds and cool temperatures -- surprised? Well, you shouldn't be, after all, it is the Pacific Northwest.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Life is Really Good

We have been having a bit of summer spotted here and there with a few days of rain. But, I'm not complaining...for once. I don't mind the rain so much as long as there are bits of sunshine and warmer temps scattered throughout. I was out working in my little garden a few days back and snapped a few pix of my little furry muse. Beatrix Potter, the wonder Cairn. For those of you who know me, you'll know that Beatrix is the third rescue dog that granted me the greatest gift of all -- sharing their lives with me. First was Molly, an Australian Shepherd in SoCal; next was Agatha, a shy Norwich from Maryland and now, this little Cairn who came when I least expected it. As you may know, when rescuing a dog, you must be prepared for dealing with some "issues." None of which, I'm certain, can't be overcome with lots of love, care and patience; and most importantly, the letting go of any expectations. Since Bea was a bit younger when she came to me, her issues were not as great as those of my other girls; but she did and still does have issues. She was "tippy-tripod" for several months, while her back hip healed; and most of her issues now are around a fear of small places (which presents a bit of a challenge when she travels in the cabin with me on an airplane) and her flinching if I raise my hands too fast and too close to her head. We don't know the cause of the hip problem, but we do know that she was made to stay in a small kennel 24-7 and the woman who had her smacked her a lot during grooming. Don't get me started down that path -- however, I will say that any person who abuses an animal of any kind should be made to experience the same treatment as punishment for their inhumanity. I know...not very Zen on me...but there are some things I just can't tolerate and this is one of those things. Thank goodness for karma.

That being said -- you probably guessed by now that life is good for Bea and me. She loves her little hammock, which keeps her from the grass so her feet and tummy don't get so itchy. Yes, I have a dog with allergies -- just like her mom! What you can't see is that just to the right of where she loves to lay, Tess, the neighbor's rescued Brittany Spaniel, loves to snuggle in. She loves to be as close as possible to Bea when she is out in her yard. Bea and I were here a bit before Tess came to live with her new family and, in some unspoken way, I think Beatrx helped Tess make the transition from puppy mill breeder (enough said) to a life full of love and people she could trust. She and Bea are like "old friends, sat on the park bench like bookends." Yes, I did just quote a Simon and Garfunkel tune. But when I see them chatting between the fence or just enjoying the peace and quiet and the birds, the song just comes to mind and it makes my heart happy. What makes it even better is that my studio looks on to the patio and out over the back -- so I feel as if, even though I am the only one in the studio, I am not alone. Little Bea is my muse and my family. So, you is really, really, really good.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

It's a Beautiful Thing

Summer in small town -- I went to a very small vintage-classic car show today and this was one of the entries. A beautiful LaSalle; and, if I remember correctly, there were only 25 or so of them built back in the day. But, please don't use me as your Dial a Friend should you find yourself on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire or Cash Cab because I can't be trusted to remember facts or figures any more. Are either of those shows still on? See, what did I just tell you! In my mind I can picture the women who rode in such an automobile in those days -- lots of long beaded necklaces and bracelets up to their elbows day and night. Just watch a few movies from the 30s and you'll get the idea. Anyhow, it is a stunner -- I can only imagine that lots of hard work, determination and energy went into the restoration of the car. Of course, I liken the restoration to life. While it's true that life just happens...I think we have to work pretty hard to make it the life we want...not just the life we are given. That being said, there are days when I just want to give up, call it a day, and just go for "average." Luckily, there is something in me that isn't willing to settle for average -- so even on days when I might not want to do my best, I know that I will regret not doing so tomorrow or the next day.

Totally unrelated, but it's a weird thing -- I sit down to write an entry in the blog and I have no idea what I will say, so I post the images and then just let the words come -- something like a free-association game, I suppose. Some days, I end up in the most interesting and unexpected today. Well, at least it is interesting to me...all this talk about life and working to make it what we want it to be. Maybe, all those years long, long, long ago, in psychoanalysis somehow do keep coming back to me on some level. Yes, it's true...I admit...six long years...on the couch every day...but in the end I think it was a very good thing. Did I just share that with the universe? Yeah, me and Woody Allen -- we do have something in common. That and the fact that I landscaped a terrace for a friend who lives in the same building on Fifth Avenue as Woody. So...there you go. But hey, I think Woody is actually old enough to have hitched a ride in this car and, luckily, I am not.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

All Roads Lead to Rome

Weird how things work out, isn't it. Several weeks ago I read Bethenny Frankel's latest book, A Place of Yes, and found it quite inspiring. While I have read many books in this same arena over the years, this one sparked a renewed inspiration in life for me. Not sure what that really means at the moment, but those are the words that came to me in order to describe it. Anyhow -- one of the rules she talks about is "All Roads Lead to Rome." In a nutshell, all previous experiences in some way or another gave me a specific skill to help me get to my "Rome." Today, while I was in the photo studio (aka garage -- yes the same garage that houses the shipping department for Tanya Lochridge Jewelry), I was thinking about my love of photography, in general, and how past experiences over the years have helped me get pretty good images of my jewelry designs for use on my site and in my blogs today. (Yes, I know they are not perfect...and that was part of the getting out of my own way project we'll share another day!) Don't worry I won't bore you with a litany of jobs/experiences but I will say that there have been many opportunities for me to work closely with photographers, set designers, graphic artists and other creative types -- both in front of and behind the camera (both moving and still), at the art table and in front of a computer, all in a wide array of studio settings. And, Curious George that I am, I always paid close attention to what the other people on the project were doing and I was always asking questions about "why and how." I never had anyone tell me to mind my own business, so I just kept at it. Little did I understand at the time that all of those jobs, even those I didn't like (well "hated" would be more accurate), prepared me to be where I am today, making it possible for me to be fairly self-sufficient in areas that I might otherwise have to contract out to someone far more skilled than me. Why do I feel the need to post this to my blog today? Good question -- perhaps just as a reminder, to those of you who follow me, to seriously think about the "All Roads Lead to Rome" rule. Overall, I think it helps put a positive spin (see I learned that term while working in public relations) on a job or task that might seem dull at the time. Actually, it could make it all rather exciting knowing that at some point in your future "Rome," you will be really happy that you paid attention and did the absolute best job you could on that incredibly inane task you have in front of you! I don't know...but for today, I just felt the need to say it.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

The Boys are Back in Town!

Sing along with me "the boys are back in town, the boys are back in town" and you bet there are plenty of "buckle bunnies" (the rodeo equivalent of "snow bunnies") that are happy as happy can be about that. Some of those cowboys are pretty darn cute. Wait, before you remind me, I can't forget to mention that there are plenty of cowgirls competing these days. So, I'm not slighting anyone. It's true, in small town USA, nothing says summer and the 4th of July like a rodeo. And, living in this little community -- there are two rather large and well-known ones going on in neighboring communities, Mollala and St. Paul. I say "neighboring" but each is about 15 miles from town center in opposite directions. And since riders compete in events at both venues -- the sight of horse trailers being hauled back and forth on the road that runs between the two cities is a common one during the holiday weekend. The driver hauling this rig was kind enough to let me ease into the traffic -- maybe hanging out my Jeep window and snapping his pix with the mobile got his attention! That is a gift I learned from my brother -- do what it takes to get the shot. I just don't take it to the extremes that he does.

I honestly know very little about the rodeo other than it can be pretty tough and dangerous at times for rider, horse, bull or cow. My brother, who is a photographer (and a fabulous one at that), was the official photographer at several rodeos around the state. And, being one of those kind of guys who doesn't want to snap pix from the sidelines -- he would be in the arena so he was sure to capture the action up close and personal. Yeah, that's my brother...nuts; but boy does he enjoy life. After several years of running around the arena, one day he decided the job was best suited to a much younger person -- so he handed in this boots, so to speak. He still continues to capture the spirit of whatever he sees such as this working American cowboy and the wild mustangs below -- and his love of the skill shows in his work. It's just that these days, he's not diving behind barrels in an effort to not get kicked by an animal! Wisdom comes with age...isn't that the line? Anyhow, hope you are all having the happiest of holidays. What a joy to celebrate our good fortune to live in this great place....this country.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

It's Summer Somewhere.

Cherries for me have always meant summer -- after all what can top a big bowl of fresh cherries right off the tree? As a kid, growing up in SoCal, cherries were only to be found in the grocery store and then, rationed by my mom. The rationing was a strategy she used so my brother and I wouldn't fight over who got more!'s always something. But, I am getting ahead of myself. Today on my jaunt to Bauman's Farms here in Woodburn, I was so excited, just thinking I would get the last strawberries of the season. Weather being what it has been here, strawberry season was oh too short. I guess strawberries need a lot of sunshine and warmer temperatures to truly mature and sweeten. And since we've had neither of those two things in any quantity to mention, strawberries were on the short list.

But don't despair -- even better than strawberries fresh from the field -- Bauman's had Rainier cherries to delight my senses. Piles and piles and piles of beautiful red, just waiting to be bitten, cherries. Now, I know there are all types of cherries in the world...but those of the Rainier variety happen to be my favorite. Lamberts take a close second and Bings are third. And, please don't even think about offerring me a cooked cherry anything -- in my mind cherries are meant to be eaten raw. When in NYC I waited for the first sign of Rainers in the green grocer's on the corner in my neighborhood. Then I would buy them every day until they were gone; but honestly, they never tasted like those you get fresh-picked from the tree. I never saw any at the Farmer's Markets which leads me to think that they are only grown in this part of the world.

So -- lucky for me -- Rainier cherries for breakfast, lunch and dinner until I can't find them any longer. I have to stop now, it's very challenging to type with one hand and eat cherries and spit out pits with the other. So...cherries rule today! It's a bit of a consolation prize for putting up with gray skies and rain and temps in the low 60s. In case you doubt my weather-reporting skills -- the picture of the weather vane at Bauman's gives you a pretty good indication that I don't speak untruths.

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Power Has Left the Building

I was heading out this afternoon to mail a few parcels and run to the grocery store when I heard the postage meter reset itself and then I heard the printers click off; but it still didn't register as a problem. A few minutes later, I heard the ringing of the phone from the garage and immediately thought there must be a problem with the answering machine. Sure enough the answering machine was off, along with all the electronic equipment in the office, lights were nonfunctional. Handygirl that I am, I checked the fuse box and flipped a few response. I picked up the phone in the garage (aka shipping department) and got a dial tone. There is something to be said for the old technology -- the phone out there is from the 60s, a "Princess" style wall phone that is ugly avocado green and requires no electricity to function properly. When I moved in to this place I couldn't bring myself to change it up -- you see I have a penchant for things of the past. I thought about going my way and running my errands but stopped when I realized not only would the garage door not open, there was a good chance they would not be able to check me out at the store. So I was pretty much stuck here for a bit.

In the silence of the power outage, I flashed back to 1967 and life in Sunset Beach in SoCal. I used to shop at Woody's Market -- times were much different then. Woody's was a little mom and pop store that had been in operation for years and was now run by the son of the original owners. To get what I needed, I just had to leave my front door, walk across what used to be the Red Car tracks and enter the back door of Woody's on the corner of 10th and Pacific Coast Highway. Every thing I wanted was right there -- and here's the kicker. When they checked me out on some old-fashioned kind of register, they handed me the receipt, I signed the back, they then slipped it back in a paper envelope and at the end of the month, I went in, they totaled the receipts and I paid what I owed. They simply knew me so they trusted me. Sounds crazy, but I hold fond memories of that little store. One day while passing the meat counter I overheard Mrs. Turner, who must have been a hundred years old and was one of the longest living residents of Sunset Beach, ask Dave, the butcher, for a chicken chest. Yes, a chicken chest...she was a proper woman and just couldn't bring herself to say the word "breast!" I looked at Dave we both smiled and went about our business. I visited with Mrs. Turner several times a week -- she had the best stories of rumrunners on the beach during prohibition, old beaux and a life well-lived in that little corner of the world. I know people say you shouldn't look back, but I like looking back. I think it is important to look back and to hold on to dear memories. So, to better fit my personality, I've changed up the saying -- "it's okay to look back, but you just can't stare."

When I think about it all, I really feel fortunate to have lived the life I have...through it's ups and's all been very good and truly wonderful. I don't think there is one thing I would least not that I can think of a this moment in time. (Okay, so there are a few men I wish i hadn't dated and I am sure they feel the same way about me.) So, that being said, once again, I find myself at the end of a post feeling grateful and content. It's a very good place to be.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Mountain is Out!

First day of summer and this afternoon I was gifted this view of Mt. Hood. Taking a break from the office and studio I thought it would be a perfect day to take a quick run to Fessler's and gather just a few more plants before they closed for the season. This was my view as I pulled into the parking area. I grabbed my mobile so I could share it with all of you. For those of you who don't know, this is Mt. Hood -- which I have had a love hate relationship with since about 1980 when I took a tumble while skiing at Timberline, thus ending my formerly enjoyable skiing adventures. While the years have come and gone, I still have the achy shoulder and hip to remind me of that day. But maybe it's time to put that all behind think? That being said -- whenever I do get a glimpse of the mountain it still makes me gasp. Yes, rises in all its glory unlike the mountains I was so used to seeing in SoCal, Mt. Hood just seems to pop up out of the flat ground -- I guess the rise to the mountain is gradual enough that from a distance you don't really notice. The fact that, with the weather being what it is in this part of the world, we don't get to see the mountains all that much...clouds you when I am given the chance I usually take full advantage. Today was no exception. In the distance I could also see the top of Saint Helen's, well, if you can still call it the top after it erupted about the same time I was zipping down a glacier on another mountain (hm-m-m wonder if there is a connection?) and, in the other direction I could see Mt. Jefferson. Sadly, there was enough haze or dust in the air that I knew the mobile wouldn't capture those images so I stuck to getting the best and quickest shot I could of Hood. While I do a lot of grumbling about the rain and gray weather here, I totally get why people are attracted to this area. If you are an outdoors type then this is the place for you. There is such a wide variety of locations. So wide, in fact, that you can be at the beach, the mountains or the wine country all in the blink of an eye. And, what's more interesting is that all of those spots have something to offer year-round. Yes, snowboarders of all types, flock to Mt. Hood throughout the summer months -- it's one of the few places that they can "represent" no matter the season. I wonder how many of them will be complaining about hips and shoulders thirty years from now? Just a thought. Anyhow, in the grand scheme of things there are some pretty spectacular things to see no matter where you are. As I am known to just have to keep your eyes open.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Morning Moon

Trust me when I say that I am not a morning person. But, living as far north as I do, this time of year the "nights" are very, very, very short. The sun does not go down until a bit after ten in the evening and then, when it's not shrouded in the clouds, it comes up again about five in the morning. I hate having heavy blinds or curtains on the windows in my house, makes me feel very closed in for some reason. It's true, even when I lived in NYC, I did not have window treatments that cut off my view or the view of others (as in those looking into my place) -- so I guess it's safe to say I'm a bit claustrophobic. I digress here but one beau that I dated for a few years while living in NYC told me that he paid his rent my renting binoculars to the guy who lived in the apartment across from my place! Sorry, I just can't seem to bring myself to cover the windows. In this house, my bedroom faces east which means when the sun comes up on a non-cloudy day it streams through my window and across the bed. While it gives me a cozy feeling, to Beatrix, the wonder Cairn, it means she should be up and exploring the yard; tracking the critters that came through during the dark hours while she slept .

Well, this morning, when I sleepily got up to open the door for her -- this is what greeted me. A beautiful morning moon. The glow on the back yard was so beautiful -- enough so I actually stood out there and gazed up at the glowing orb. I tried to capture the spirit of the moon with the camera on my cell phone. Remember it was 5:23 a.m. so my brain was not functioning on full throttle and I didn't think to get the "good" camera and snap a few shots. So this is what I got. The back of my house faces west so the moon was on its way down while the sun was slowly rising in the east. I think the color of the moon reflected a bit of the morning glow of the sun. Whatever it was it made me stop, stare, snap a few images and then sit out back and simply breathe in the morning air and enjoy the moments before the moon disappeared. Working on moonstone today -- it just seemed like the right thing to do.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Beatrix, Fesslers and Weekend Plans

Guess what's on the agenda for the weekend? We drove over to Fessler's Nursery today and picked out the plants for the patio. Fessler's is a wholesale nursery best known for fuchsias, geraniums and azaleas and is located out in the "country" a few miles from the center of Woodburn. After living in NYC and buying plants for my terrace every year, I am still surprised at the fact that I can get about five times the number of plants for about one-fourth of what I paid in the city. And, I don't have to load them in a taxi to get them home! Today I loaded them into the back of a friend's car. Beatrix, the wonder dog/gardener, had to supervise to be sure that I didn't forget to get her favorites, too. I mostly go for the Martha Washington variety geraniums primarily because they remind me of my grandma. She had what seemed like thousands of all different colors in her yard. And, since it was in SoCal, they bloomed all year long. To me they look inviting and old-fashioned. I also like them, because it seems that I can actually keep them alive throughout the summer months here. I like to underplant some smaller little plants like alyssum and lobelia and some tiny little things which....wait...I have to go get the label to see what they are called. Be right back. Good Lord....calibrachon is their proper name. To me they look like tiny petunias and I like the white and coral colors with a few pinks to blend with the geraniums. Oh, since I couldn't find the Chinese lantern plant that I had last year, I found brown-eyed Susan's that are a soft coral color and the vine-like branches look as if they will climb up the patio posts in a similar fashion as the Chinese lantern. So keep your fingers cross that they all survive. The nurseries here opened very late this year because of the unusually cold and cloudy days we have had in this area. Even in the greenhouses, they depend on sunlight to grow -- so without sunshine -- no plants! I've been anxiously waiting for the Fessler's outing and today was the day. Even though the sun is not shining...the plants look happy sitting in the patio just waiting their turn.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Celebration Time is Here!

Why am I dancing around the studio today? And, why am I doing it without any music? Once again -- I am reminded that it is, indeed, the little things in life that are so very important. What little thing happened to me today that has me jumping for joy? Today, after all these long months, I was actually able to put my bra on like it was intended. Yes, I know...weird. But I was able to reach around the back and hook it without pain! Remember me telling you about my rotator cuff injuries way back in 2010, and how I wanted to avoid surgery if possible, and how disappointed I was when the local accupuncturist gave up on me? Well, with lots of patience and some slow but beneficial exercises, I finally see the light at the end of the tunnel and guess what, it's not an oncoming train! While I am still being very careful with what I do and how I do it when the shoulders are involved, I am beyond thrilled that this day has finally arrived. Let me just say this, you don't realize how much you use your shoulders in common every second activities. And, to have them functioning in a healthy way makes me feel like dancing. So I am celebrating in the studio while wearing the perfect "Pop the Bubbly" bracelet and enjoying a fresh raspberry scone from the bakery at Bauman's Farms and a freshly brewed cup of Peet's French Roast (decaf of course) from my very own kitchen. Grab your coffee and get your celebration on. And, remember to be grateful for every little move you make.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Capri and Magnificent Surprises

People often ask me where I find my inspiration -- not only for the styles of my jewelry pieces but for the color combinations. My response is by "simply keeping my eyes open." Mother Nature is the perfect provider for tons of color combos and ideas. In my mind, there is no better model. Case in point. When I first saw the lampwork beads that eventually found their way into this necklace, my mind immediately went to crystal clear Caribbean oceans that truly captivated me years ago. I just remember diving and snorkeling in the waters of St. John's (which was a fairly remote place all those years ago) and being in awe at the colors that surrounded me. Having grown up on the beaches in SoCal, up until my first brush with crystal blue waters, I think the clearest water I had ever experienced was around Catalina Island. While it was beautiful in it's own way -- it is nothing like the color of the waters found in the Caribbean. I knew that I wanted to try and capture that memory with the aqua lampwork beads that have been sitting in my studio just waiting to fall into the perfect piece. This necklace is the result of that long wait.

It's funny how paths cross -- no, hang with me here, this isn't a random thought. Over the last few days, I have so been enjoying looking at the pix posted on Facebook by the editor of Gladys Magazine, Andrea Patrick Forte. She and her husband have just returned from what looks to be a glorious time in Italy and lo and behold -- this image from Capri was included in her photo posts. Wow -- pure and simple. For a writer, my response was pretty lean. The captivating colors in the waters of Capri left me speechless. This time however, my thoughts went to the lampwork beads -- remember, when I first saw the beads on the vendors' table in Tucson, my thoughts went to water. This time around...the water directed my thoughts to the beads. Obtuse, I know...but i'm just wanting to be sure that you haven't dozed off. When I first had the experience of the Caribbean waters, when I first laid eyes on the simple yet stunning aqua lampwork beads, and when I saw the waters of Capri, my beliefs in the unsurpassed talents of Mother Nature where reaffirmed. I guess what I am trying to say with all of this is that if we really pay attention to what comes in and out of our lives, no matter the size, we are gifted with so many magnificent surprises -- miracles of sorts. And, in my mind, that is something to be very grateful for...and, without doubt, I am.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Golf -- It's Just a Game

On my way out of town I decided to stop and snap a pix of one of the three golf courses in this little community I call home. Yes, folks, that is the "clubhouse" of this public golf course. I have no idea who maintains this little piece of green -- since it is out of City limits -- but I do see people playing there whenever i pass permitting. I am not sure if it is just a driving range or a 9-hole course or something in between. What I do know is that Beatrix, the wonder Cairn, has many golf balls from what I am sure are disheartened players. You see the Beck Farm we frequently visit is located just across the highway and without missing a day there are new golf balls to be found in the fenced portion of their property.

I learned to play the game way back when -- in my first years at Cal State Long Beach physical education courses were still a requirement. Yes...students were actually required to stay in shape. I figured that golf would be the easiest since it required no special clothing and the minimum of equipment that I could easily carry, so it was my choice for several years. While I never gained any real skill at the game, I did, over time, learn to appreciate it for being much more than what it seems to the innocent onlooker. Golf is a game of consistency -- therefore it is my feeling that unless you play every single day, it is really hard to excel at it. That being said what I did love about the game was the camaraderie of the group I was playing with. In those days we did a lot of hitting the ball and walking (yes, we carts were we covered the course the old fashioned way...with our feet) which left us a lot of time to just talk about life in general. Those early years came and went in a blink; but the good times associated with golf never left my memory. Over the years, I dated many a man who fancied himself the golf expert -- hey, now that I think about it, one was a golf pro at a beach side golf course, wonder what happened to him? I have memories of riding along -- not really playing -- at some beautiful courses, usually in the early morning hours, in the desert of SoCal and the beaches of NoCal (well, more central than north). It seemed that no matter where I was at the moment, there was a place to play golf -- case in point, this tiny little golf course. As I went on my way to Dundee, I wondered if people around the world really play for the "score" or if they play for the friendship that comes out of sharing a game together? I'm going to have to ask my brother-in-law who, as far as I know, still gets up at 4:00 every Thursday morning to meet his friends on a local golf course for a friendly game. Yes, they do wear hats with "headlights" on them -- and yes, they are all crazy, but wouldn't miss a game. I have to believe it is for more than just hitting a ball and driving around in a golf cart...don't you think?

Monday, May 16, 2011

A Look Back & A Glimpse Into the Future

I drive by this historic building several times a week. Located in the historic part of the City of Woodburn, this beautiful building once housed the City Hall. Today was the day I decided to stop for a few seconds and study the building, snap a few images and jot down the information on the For Sale sign that has been posted on the corner in front of the building for several years now.

When I think about expanding Tanya Lochridge Jewelry at some point in the future, I always envision a property of some sort that harbors my home, outbuildings for the jewerly studio/factory and a childcare center that includes a kitchen for preparing the kids' and employees' meals. Grandiose, I know...but it is good to have a dream. While this building doesn't fit into the "farm-type" property I have been thinking about -- with some careful renovation it would be an interesting environment. After checking it out online I figure the top floor would include my living space and the bottom floor would house the jewelry studio/factory, the child care center and the small kitchen. This particular property is zoned commercial so not sure it could be converted into a live/work space and since it is a historical site, the exterior of the building can not be changed...which is fine with me. While there is significant water damage to the interior, there is something about the stately nature of the building -- today surrounded by much newer buildings with little personality and graced by several 100-year-old Victorian homes. While it's historical nature makes it an interesting option -- the best thing is that it is right around the corner from my favorite taqueria in town. Boy, oh boy -- the best food in the world...well not that I have eaten all the food the world has to offer -- but for me, at this moment, it doesn't get much better than Luis's and to think it would be a stone's throw away. So a little something to think about.