Friday, July 12, 2013

Thinking back to peaceful moments

I am listening to a cd that I used to play in my card reading room during sessions with clients. Yes, I read Tarot Cards six days a week. I stopped when I felt I no longer needed the cards. For awhile,I answered clients questions by reading shells that I cast onto a reed tray. I stopped when I felt I no longer needed the shells. Sometimes, the guiding spirit draws people who are in need. Sometimes, that same spirit asks more than can be held in one's heart. Like a sponge that can retain only so much moisture, then it needs to be wrung out.

My card reading room has sat empty long enough. Now, the room will be used for cutting turquoise and other gems and rocks. The room will be used for handcrafting sterling silver jewelry of my designs. I remember the feeling of being one with the great Creator as I cut into an ugly rock and beheld an artistic scene painted and hidden by whatever God may be. I remember the joy as I sliced through a rock and saw what no one else had ever seen, a picture made for my eyes to behold. And knowing that cutting just a little to one side or the other could have resulted in no one ever seeing what had waited  for millions of years to be seen, well, it is such a dramatic moment in time.

I wonder how much time I have left to discover more art within the rocks of ages. The time will be spent in solitude. I think the time will be like wringing out a saturated sponge. I wonder if my eyes will be able to focus on work held so close. I wonder if the tremor in my right hand will allow me to work the gentle flow of silver solder around the delicate pieces of silver.

Perhaps the great Spirit will allow me a bit more time to be artistic and creative. I longed to draw and to paint, but those muses escaped my grasp. And yet, if called upon to counsel through the use of  cards, shells, runes, or other devices, I wonder if I can once again stand up against the ridicule of locals. If people ask out of genuine need for my counsel, can I still be willing to respond to that gentle Spirit that guides my thoughts.

Oh, Great Eagle in the Sky, guide me yet awhile.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Blog Update July 9, 2013

I am working every night on a back room at my store. I have a room
that used to be an office, but I am converting it into a Silversmithing/Turquoise Cutting and Polishing/and Flamework Bead Room. I cannot even count the number of times in my life that I have built in work shops for my Lapidary and Silversmithing work. I expect this will be the last time. Thursday night I will start moving the Silversmithing tools and supplies to the new room.

Yeppers, it may be too hot to open the store with the old air conditioning system down for the count, but the heater should not be a problem in the cold months. I think I can get enough cool air into this small room to be able to function. I sort of came up with a little solution. I may be an old 66, but I'm not dead in the water just yet.

Our little town has its yearly celebration on the Square this weekend, so I won't get much done Saturday. I usually avoid the square that day. People don't attend the Settler's Day Celebration to shop in local stores. They attend for the parade, the food, the activities, and I learned several years ago to just not open. I used to go up to my store an try to keep people from leaning on my big display windows, but people are simply don't care about other peoples' property.

I have a small class this last semester of summer. I guess I will find out tomorrow if the admin is going to let the class make, or not. If it makes, it certainly isn't going to pay squat for the time I put in on the class, but it sort of keeps my foot in the door for the Fall. If I am allowed to teach in the Fall, and I am scheduled for four classes again, I will be lucky. The new changes coming to the education system is about to take the fun out of teaching.

Okay, so it's time to come up with a name for my new shop. Just haven't made up my mind yet. I always dread trying to pick a name. Once picked, I'm stuck with it. The funny thing is that it does not usually take but a day or so to figure out why my choice was wrong. Well, that's the way it is today. "There is no such thing as an original thought."  I don't remember who said that, but it is certainly true.

With all the thousands of pieces of body jewelry in my store, I see no point in even thinking about displaying my silver work out in the main shop. People around here have little to no appreciation for the time and skills involved in handcrafting not only the silver, but also the turquoise and other gems and minerals. It will be nice to be able to actually have time to cut a turquoise cabochon and then make the silver piece to go with the stone.  I guess the one big negative is having to photograph the finished piece, then list it on Etsy. I remember how time consuming that was. Ebay was worse. The companies are always "improving" their sites, which means more time spent on the learning curve.

I am trying to be prepared for not teaching. That's a shame. I really enjoyed my time teaching. I guess if I get this summer class and even one Fall class, I should be happy. Teaching was not supposed to be the way I retired anyway. My retirement was supposed to be working in my store. I'm going to try to make that work out. Seems like every day, when I look in on Facebook, I see classmates getting sick, disabled, and dying. We Baby Boomers are at that time. Many of us have lived longer than we may have expected. Last night, I dreamed that I had a stroke. Oh, good grief. I don't want to live that way. I am doing what I can to keep my health as good as I can. My brain still functions, my eyesight sucks, my right hand has a slight tremor, but I think I can continue to function as a silversmith and lapidary for awhile yet.

I won't have as much time to play on Facebook, but I will be looking in to be sure everyone continues to misbehave. I am spending more time on Pinterest so that I can lead potential customers to my Etsy shop once it is in place. I don't believe in overloading my work on  Pinterest, but I will have pieces begin to appear.

I certainly appreciate being able to view my Friends' photos and the lively events in my Peeps' lives. I really don't have much of anything exciting to share, but I really enjoy what everyone else is doing. Not everyone has exciting lives, but I enjoy bonding with people who share their ups and downs in life.  Sometimes, all a person needs is to just be acknowledged.

May God bless us all as we go into the rest of this year.

Friday, May 17, 2013

     Another semester has ended. I have already begun to set up the new online Writing Lab. Since the Summer Semsester is only nineteen days,  I really have to cut back on the workload of the students an myself. Classes are Monday through Thursday, noon -1:55. I will be teaching students who want to get the class over with as fast as possibe, so they take a short Summer Class. In my class, short does not mean easy. I hold my students to a high standard.
     I have the only Writing Lab set up. I will probably make a few minor changes as once the class begins, and I determine what quality of students will be in my class.
     With Pat having retired, the pressure is on for me to not spend as much time working on the Lab. I really need to open my store a few hours each week. I went up to the store tonight and cleaned the front walks and curbs. I was going to work inside for awhile, but with the air conditioner off, the temperature was entirely to hot. I can turn on the a.c. and the building will cool off rather quickly. The downside is the electric bills are set to go up on our businesses and my building already cost a lot to cool, just because of the size of the building. I have overhead fans, but they just blow hot air around in the building.
     I noticed the square was pretty dead for the time of the night. Many of the buildings were burning almost no night lights. All I burn at night are three 75 watt bulbs in the front windows when the store is closed and the bill is still high. To make matters worse, the gas bill has gone to over $35.00 a month, even with the gas turned of back at the heater. Seems especially high, since no gas is being used during he summer months.
     I think the idea way to go into the semester is to be open Friday- Sunday. I may can use the other days to be working in the closed store, which means I will need to close off the display widows. I like the idea of working in the closed store because it would allow me to work on my silver and lapidary, candles, skill saw, flamework glass beads,  stained glass, or online listing without the interruption of incoming customers who come in and stay forever..
     The next step is to set up and Pay Pal, which I am not happy about, but it seems a necessary evil. I will also begin  to work on a page for my store, including a Facebook Page. With the local economy being down and this being a small country town that pretty much rolls up the sidewalks at five pm, I need to come up with a serious plan of action. I expect I may teach the same hours the Second Summer Semester, and though I am scheduled for four classes again in the Fall, none of us know what the Fall Semester changes will bring.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Semester Ending

The Spring Semester Finals have begun. This is the last week of our Spring Semester.  All grades must be submitted by next Monday. This will be a busy week. Today Shelby gets her cataracts checked. Wednesday, I get a cracked tooth repaired. Today is Pat's last class. The yearly banquet is Thursday night, followed by the Nurses' Pinning Ceremony at which Pat plays the piano. Then the weekend brings the last stretch of submitting grades and grade books. The next step will be to move out of Pat's office. I expect that to be a very emotional time for Pat. Having taught for 42 years, then retiring all at once will be hard on Pat. I worry about how she will react. I guess I will be teaching both Summer Semesters, and I am scheduled for four classes in the Fall, but Texas is about to institute some major changes to higher education. I have no idea how that will affect me as an adjunct instructor. For the first time in a long time, I have no idea what the immediate future has in store for us.
Deep breath in, deep breath out. One day at a time.
It is sad to think how hard we have worked and done without, only to find ourselves insecure at our age, while illegals and misfits have everything handed to them by the very government we have supported.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

First post from Samsung Chromebook

This is my first post from my new Samsung Chromebook. I am listening to music that I already had on the Google Play. The sound is really nice. So far, I am pleased with the Chromebook. the keyboard is full size and I can actually feel the keys. This is the eleven inch model, so the type is  bit small, but that can be easily adjusted. Of course, I should be wearing my glasses. The Chromebook connected immediately to my home net as soon as I give the password. My Google documents and pictures are already here. This should be a lot more fun than using the larger laptop, and the HP Netbook keyboard was too small for my fingers and the memory was not enough to work properly.
Well, it's off to Stephen King Audio Book The horror awaits.
Good night too all.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Comes what may

Comes the morning and I lose control.
People say live one day at a time.
What else can we do?
Get up and move from point A to point B.

Comes the late night and I take the meds.
People say to retire early and to get up early.
I've done that when life demanded it.
Now, I control the night.

Comes the sleep and I am in a different world.
People say dreams are but combination of our day.
I don't think so.
Dreams are unique and more exciting than my days.

Comes the end and I welcome it.
People say to look forward to heaven.
Some say I'll reside in hell.
I doubt neither will be the case.

I've been in hell; it's no big deal.
People say to live a good life.
I tried that for many years.
I think it was all a big joke.

I've been good,
And I've been bad.
Karma kicks butt,
And never stops.

Comes the next life,
I'll be a dragon.
I'll be big and green.
I'll breathe fire.

Or, perhaps a worm,
Crawling through the earth,
Eating dirt all through the day,
And pooping dirt all through the night.

And if there is a god,
We will sit and chat.
He will set me straight,
Or She will punish me yet more.

Time is a blanket,
That covers all.
All that is,
Will be no more.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Sandy days in town

The view is down one of the streets that border our town square. My store is to the left, but not visible.
The sand blows into every crevice of our buildings. I was looking around up above my front ceiling one day and discovered a pile of sand about two feet deep. I have no idea how the pile got into this one spot, but I bet there's a good ten pounds of sand.
My wife and I were in San Diego one year for a Modern Language Convention. We visited the old Settlers' Town. Most of the shops had displays sitting outside. I kept leaning over looking at items on display. I guess I looked weird staring at the leaves on plants. I was really up close. One of the shop owners asked me what I was looking for. I told her I was curious about how she kept sand off of every leaf. She looked at me like I was crazy. I told her where I was from that sand got on everything, even in our stores. People who don't live with sand simply don't understand. We breathe the sand almost every day. Today, we got a bit of rain over in the city. At first, I thought it smelled kind of nice, then I realized I was actually smelling mud.  I remember how clean the air smelled in Charleston, South Carolina during and after a rain.  Not so much here.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Texas Tech was a great time in my life.

     I took this picture while sitting on a bench at Texas Tech University. My daughter, Shelby had broken her ankle, so I was driving from Levelland over to Lubbock to pick her up. As I sat in the shade, I thought back to the time I was studying at Texas Tech.
     I walked all over the campus for over a year, before transferring over to Lubbock Christian University where I completed my degree.  I remember the long walks from out near the Dome all the way into the center of the campus. I remember the days when the weather was so hot that the sweat ran down my face. I remember other days when the rain poured and I tried to stay dry under a huge umbrella. I arrived at campus by seven am. Many days I had late night classes and did not see the sun come up or go down.
     I was such a cool dude carrying my briefcase. . . for a month. By the end of the month, I realized why the smart people did not carry briefcases. I refused to carry a backpack, so I used a bag that I could sling over one shoulder. I suppose I refused to use a backpack because as a young boy in junior high, I did carry a backpack, but back then, no one else really used a backpack. I bought mine at the Army/Navy Store at downtown  Fort Worth, Texas. I carried my school books in that pack. I carried my baseball gear in that pack. I also carried fossils that I dug out of the creeks near Seminary South. Back then, I rode my bike everywhere. I even remember that one road on the way over to Seminary South was gravel. The hill down to the creek was super steep. Going down the hill was fun, but going back up hill was a struggle. With a pack loaded with about thirty pounds of fossils, Mike and I had to push our bikes back up hill. From the top of the hill back to our houses was probably about five miles. I guess a backpack reminds me of those fun times.
     Texas Tech was a wonderful experience. I had waited twenty-seven years to go to a University. I enjoyed every day of my time at Texas Tech. I probably enjoyed my hours in the stacks at the Library. We  still had the card files back then. In fact, computers were just beginning to appear about the time I left. I even enjoyed sipping coffee at the Student Sub while waiting for my next classes. I drank lots of coffee while studying and observing the younger students. Time is like a blanket that covers us during the night. I will lose these memories of days filled with learning at Texas Tech. No one will ever know the joy that I experienced during my time at Texas Tech. It's a shame that such joys fade with time.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Blankets cover past pains

I remember the feelings of youthful adoration for a lovely girl. Oh, my goodness, I was such a happy guy. I was dating a girl that I thought the world of at that time. She was so pretty. I could not believe she actually agreed to go out with me, more than once even. Her smile lit up my days and nights. Her songs made my heart leap out of my chest as I felt so secure in our relationship. We enjoyed many  happy times together, at least I thought so. A young man is not always the brightest person in the group.

Well, I enjoyed the time we had together. I suppose we were not romantic. God forbid, I should have not been a gentleman with her. I respected her and her family. Once again, my church influence was a problem. She went to church with me once. At least that was the way I choose to remember it. Or maybe that didn't happen. I do know one of my good church friends asked her out on a date and that was the end of that relationship. That hurt. Of course, something similar happened again and again in my life.

Time is a blanket that covers past pains, but not completely.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Artistic Endeavors

     I wish I could have lived somewhere near my artist friends. I know that I could have learned to paint, if I had a bit of personal training. Where I live, I lack those friendly people who love to share their skills. It's a shame since I have a large store in which I could have displayed their works. I tried buying online at Ebay, but by the time I paid the Ebay fees and Pay Pals fees, and shipping and handling fees, the art was simply to expensive to try to resell. I have many collectible prints, but no one wants to pay a reasonable price for the art, let alone want to pay the high fees for framing.
     I would enjoy turning my store into my own private studio, but I can not produce work to sell. That's a shame. Gosh, I would spend endless hours painting, if I could make it worthwhile. Oh, I could go back to my silver and turquoise work, at which I excelled. However, today's ladies spend their money buying cheap jewelry, then comparing it to handmade pieces. There is no competing with imports. I learned that many, many years ago. I had thought about selling on again, but even their site is totally flooded with "stuff."
     I guess I will have to make a decision soon. My wife is retiring and God only knows how much longer I will be allowed to teach at our local college.  For now, I enjoy teaching. With all the coming changes to the higher education system, I have no idea what will happen. When the fun is gone, then I will go back to opening my store. The future is so unsure for so many people. And to make matters worse, just today, I heard that United Health Insurance will more than double our rates in 2014. I don't see how that can be met with all the other problems coming.
     I am so happy to see some of my artist friends being so successful. I have watched several as their skills have increased. I hope they are making enough money that they are still able to continue their artistic endeavors for a long while yet. I really can't complain. I had quite a few years of great fun and success cutting turquoise and other stones and gems and creating pieces of jewelry that people still knew to appreciate.
Nanu nanu.

There's nothing like a blanket.

     A blanket was such a welcome relief on cold nights when I was in the Marines. We were only allowed one green wool blanket. I don't remember ever having more than one blanket. It's funny that I can't remember any of us fighting over an extra blanket. I remember two sheets, but only the one blanket that covered me from head to feet. One blanket to provide protection from the cold at night. One blanket to provide a windbreak when we camped outside.
     So, why did I choose Timeblankets for the title of this blog? I see time as a living blanket that covers our existence. As I approach the last years of my life, I feel time closing in on me. Whereas in the past, I held that blanket away from my body, now  I find a feeling of protection from time. I feel time approaching me in ways that I did not recognize until recently. Time covers all heartaches, problems, and unhappiness. Time also covers all love, success, and happiness. In the end, all that we have is time. I wonder what time will be like on the other side of this earthly existence.