Tucson Arizona the Paradise of Gem and Mineral Lovers

January 30, 2019 at 4:52 pm (Uncategorized)

As I am on the cusp of yet another Tucson gem and mineral show season I look forward to seeing old friends, colleagues, and friendly competitors.

The atmosphere is both professional and circus like. On the one hand we have all the high end traditional buyers from prestigious museums, worldwide buyers from the top jewelry ateliers, and we are in giant tents with port-o-pottys. Are you getting the picture?  Coffee stands, fast food and if you are lucky someone making fresh salads. I tend to stock my cooler each morning.

In the days leading up to my particular show which is trade only and very prestigious I have time to get in my truck and traverse the far corners of Tucson for some of the retail shows selling cashmere from Nepal, purveyors of old west ephemera, Salt from Pakistan in every shape imaginable and rare and unusual minerals from the world over. The sellers are actually from the countries where the items are mined, manufactured or otherwise procured and often speak limited English. Hand gestures come in handy. There are two schools of thought when shopping for yourself or your business. Go the first days for best selection (items often sell out) or wait until the end days of these lengthy shows (some last more than two weeks) and get best prices from weary vendors not wanting to haul it all back to Timbuktu.

I used to fall into the latter category as I needed to see how much coin I had made and would attempt to consult my crystal ball on what volume of goods I may need for my jewelry business for the year. Thankfully I am mostly retired and seek to purchase gifts  for loved ones so I now prefer best selection.  last year I purchased what seemed like a wholesale quantity of cashmere scarves for my cold weather friends and family. The colors and styles made minimalist me take pause. I also procured geodes from Morocco which when tapped with a hammer yield a hidden crystal cave for my grandsons as well as other mineral specimens. I bought a much needed hand carved bench for my home and crystals for my daughter.

I’m not a big shopper so this is the big shopping trip of my year and I try to be mindful of not adding other people’s clutter but to bring a spark of joy with with my treasures.

If you have never been to Tucson for the shows you may want to put away your snow shovel and come on over. You will enjoy the massive displays of rare minerals and priceless gems even if the only thing you buy is a bag of hot candied pecans made in front of you in a big copper kettle.

 

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My recent travel article in Huffpost

January 25, 2019 at 2:13 am (Uncategorized)

https://m-huffpost-com.cdn.ampproject.org/v/s/m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_5c40befae4b041e98ffbd059/amp?amp_js_v=a2&amp_gsa=1&usqp=mq331AQCCAE%3D#referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com&amp_tf=From%20%251%24s

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Water: It’s More Vital than You Think!

September 26, 2016 at 7:30 pm ($hit I learned living off grid, Eating Nature, Freedom, Letting go, Life skills or hacks, Uncategorized)

Snow is Water Disguised as a Ground Cover20160429_105857

 

Sometimes you can’t always tell how many days water you have left as the lid is frozen on the cistern and you can’t peek inside. This is where tracking days since the previous delivery, doing some quick and dirty calculations regarding horse’s usage and whether or not anyone took a shower at home comes in.

We ran out of water during a storm and had a five gallon for drinking indoors. We needed to be able to flush the toilet, wash dishes and keep the horse trough full. Hmmm I see nearly a foot of snow on the ground and more coming every minute. We got out the big soup pots and started filling them and put them on the wood stove. As the snow became water we added more until it was enough to boil for dishes and add to the nearly frozen trough. We became quite proficient at this method and were able to carry on until the roads were clear for the giant water truck to come up with our 3500 gallons.

I started hand washing some delicates in my hot snow water at this point as the laundry mound was starting to look like a miniature mountain peak aka Blanca. Whether or not the sun is shining laundry dries here as you hang it. Low humidity combined with sunshine make for a scent the laundry soap makers have yet to duplicate. Winter Mountain Breeze with piney accents is my new laundry scent. I really started to enjoy this process and laughed out loud when the laundry was dry but stiff as a board. No problem! A minute or two above the wood stove hangers on the log rafters and it was back to dry and soft. The wind is a natural softener.

We used melted snow to water the potatoes growing in the green house…I use the term greenhouse with levity and brevity! It was colder in the winter and hotter in summer. More of a covered porch with no insulation and ready to use with complimentary chipmunks to gnaw on anything you start from seed. We once had one scurry inside and it ran in my daughter’s room. It was hollering and cussing at her as the dogs barked and she captured him eventually in a box to be released outdoors.

In the late spring after the perma frost had thawed we finally had a well dug. More on that at a later date.

Lesson: You never really know what you are capable of until faced with ridiculous situations and you may even come to enjoy not only the process but the alternate way of doing things. I learned to chop water and carry wood and be joyous in it all.

 

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Essential Needs in a Minimalist Life

September 19, 2016 at 7:20 pm ($hit I learned living off grid, Freedom, Health, Letting go, Life skills or hacks, Red Carpet, Style, Uncategorized)

20160418_113812Why Fashion No Longer Matters and Style within Function is Everything.

 

The wardrobe I brought from California included dresses made by up and coming California designers, quality vintage, business slacks, skirts and silk blouses and few pairs of blue jeans and tee shirts. My shoes included boots for riding and white leather Keds for sailing, leather flip flops and a couple of pair of high end kitten heels.

One year later I one two more pairs of boots for snow and rain, and haven’t worn most of my old life shoes. The snow boots were worn almost daily this winter as we receive a fair amount of snow frequently (November through May) and in drop loads of six or more inches at a time.

The jeans I brought were of the pre torn variety with cute embroidered flowers I had added. I had to make patches to cover the tears or freeze even with leggings underneath. My sensible daughter found this rather hilarious. Quality leggings matter as they need to be worn often. I now look at blue jeans with a different eye. Now is the weight of the cotton going to stand up to riding, barn chores, wood cutting, horse slobber, poo and getting stabbed at by unruly pinyon branches? Are there weak areas that are likely to tear? None of this spandex added for better fit! That makes for a weaker jean…I know it is a fact. I need boot cut as I am wearing them the bulk of the time and skinny jeans are just nonsense for so many chores and must be tucked into boots.

I have literally worn out most of my favorite long and short sleeve tees. They are cleaning rags now. I know that the cost difference in a quality tee versus fast fashion is worth every penny. Carrying a chicken back from the edges of danger means you may get a gougey chicken toenail poked through your shirt. Quality ones hold up cheap don’t.

Socks have taken on religious significance. Find a favorite and stock up. Comfort and quality are important far beyond the unicorn print or the frilly lace top. No microfibers or synthetics…ever. I never really wore socks much except when riding so this flip floppin’ girl had loads to learn. This isn’t about any certain number of pairs but enough to change once or twice a day and get me until laundry day…which may have been postponed due to a storm a day or three.

Cashmere sweaters rock. They are the perfect layer between shirt and jacket. I had to sacrifice three to daily wear and have mended two numerous times including making elbow patches. The third one has now become patching parts. The red sleeve is a sweater for the tiny dog to keep him warm and visible in snow. He can layer it under his winter jacket.

Cotton Knit camisoles are my religious garment. I have always got at least one on except in our delicious brief summer. Enough to get to laundry day 45 miles away in town but not so many they take up precious space needed for leggings and socks.

Hat means cowboy hat if you don’t want to fry your face off. Baseball caps are groovy and all but lack protection from sun, random tree branches your horse rides you through in the woods and keeps rain out of your eyes. I have given away most of my old hats. I have a summer cowboy hat and a winter one.

I had moments where I felt like Goldie Hawn in Private Benjamin but I too had chosen this and knew it would in time reveal many new splendors. I also felt like Ava Gabor in Green Acres and some days I felt like Eddie Albert her husband. The personal growth I have attained is beyond measure.

So I guess this past year I have learned to buy clothes for the life I have not some version of who I think I am supposed to be or a persona I represent. These clothes are the real me in my real ranch life.

 

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When Minimalism and the Simplicity Movement Meet Off Grid Homesteading you have Vitalism.

September 12, 2016 at 7:17 pm (Eating Nature, Freedom, Letting go, Life skills or hacks, organized simplicity, Relationships, simple frugality, Travel, Uncategorized)

Vitalism is the necessary, basic and crucial needs of day to day life.

 

20160217_145306My daughter and I moved from our urban family home in San Diego a year ago. We moved to a very rural part of Colorado. High in the mountains at almost 9000’ elevation in the wooded foothills of the Sangre de Cristo range. Our home is totally off grid as there are no power or water or trash services. We do have county maintained roads…sort of.

We bought a vacation home built in 2009 and finished… well, not quite yet. We have solar and wind for power and propane for our kitchen appliances. Our water was trucked in for the first ten months we were here and put into underground cisterns. We had to have deliveries once a month at a cost of approximately $250.00. In order to conserve water we joined the community center in town about twelve miles away. There we could take hot showers and wash our hair, visit the tiny library with dodgy internet and go for a swim in the Olympic size indoor pool or use the gym and full size basketball court. We have a shower in our bathroom so we can take short showers if needed.

We produce more power than we can store so sometimes we would run out at night when the horse trough heater went on in the winter. We now know to vacuum or use the blender in peak sunshine hours and not at the same time to err on the safe side.

I moved out here with a small sports car and all my sorted, sifted and downscaled belongings. In my second week I was heading to town on a sunny day after the previous night’s rain and got stuck in a deep mud pocket about a mile down the dirt road from home. It was time to trade in the eleven year old sports car for a truck with 4 wheel drive. I have always driven sports cars so this decision was not based on the same criteria as previous vehicles but rather my new found vitalism. This has been a very different driving experience.

In late October while I was on a road trip my daughter called to tell me our county’s finest had just left after she called them out because poachers were hunting on our land…er in our driveway. Yes Elk and Deer and their corresponding predators live in our area. We have “neighbors” here and some are a half mile away others several miles and not all live here year around. Hmmm perhaps a post and 4 strip barbed wired fence is in order or the dental implants I need to have done? Vitalism dictates the fence was the priority. No question.

I will leave you reader with one thought before I end today’s chapter…Why didn’t we move to an area which is on grid or move to a town or city? We wanted to be more responsible for our carbon footprint and not subject to every power price increase, blackout, brownout or other grid failures. We no longer wanted to board our horses and wanted a big garden and woods to call our own. We are conservationists at heart.

 

 

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Optimism Redefined

January 14, 2015 at 1:27 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , )

I have been enjoying a renewed sense of self the past couple of years. This year I experienced loss in a beautiful way. This has allowed me to reflect on the nature of love and loss and impermanence. I now know that love never leaves. True love does indeed last forever whether or not you are in the physical reality of each other.

Spending time alone with my horse has brought me to a new place of appreciating alone time and the optimism which comes from self reflection. I had the opportunity to reconnect with someone I used to hold dear to my heart. We spent a couple of weeks getting to know each other again and he was ready to move forward. I realized I was ready to move on. I still love him and always wish him well but our journey together is complete…at least for now. I have learned from another never to say never.

I have found surprising joy in my choice to let this relationship go. I find joy in the everyday company of myself as I plan my journey forward and my move back to France and eventually Portugal. I wake up each day excited about getting my business in order and ready to create new art in a new country. I no longer require another person to tell me how beautiful or special I am. I know deep in my heart I am unique and special in my own way and when I am ready to share me again I will remember that fact. ❤

I look forward to a healthy love with someone as independent as I am and one who understands we cannot change others to fit our mold. I surprise myself at how often I say no when I could easily say yes. My path is my own for now.

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Why not Waiting for my A$$ to heal to Play Polo is good for my Business and me.

July 25, 2013 at 12:59 am (Uncategorized)

•Yesterday was my first day back up on a polo pony after the big spill of July 6 at the Red Baron Bash (apt name in hindsight). I had been riding twice this past week Western and English but not galloping, trotting and leaning out of the saddle to get the ball. I already decided I would not force myself if it hurt and just be happy I showed up.
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•The M’s showed as did T and New guy B. All guys and all but T are my son’s age. Hmmm…T is a scrappy 50 something and is a good match to play with. I started out alright but it wasn’t too long before I was bouncing in the saddle doing neither Prada nor myself any physical favors. The real tragedy in all this is coach Kimo the Hawaiian Thunder was playing on my team against the bros and T. New guy and gimpy me made it equal I guess haha! Knowing I could easily have scored against the newbies reminded me that sometimes you may have obvious advantage over opponents but now isn’t the time to play those cards…for whatever reason.
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•Beware of false assumptions. None of them have played with me except T so they will have a false sense of their strengths and weaknesess next week when we next play. They were run up and down the field except when Kimo intervened and allowed one of them to take a set up shop while he blocks. T is great at stealing the ball, where others might just try to keep you off the ball by hooking or riding off T uses that notion to often seize the ball when his opponent is readying for what they assume is a hook. I know this so I still try to hit or dribble as I ride him off. This is not how I played yesterday. I was mostly a riding, moseying, observer except when I was near the right place the line took the ball and got a few in, even a goal. I could still hit just not aggressively ride without pain. Sometimes in business you aren’t as strong as you’d like to be but you still got to swing.
•So what I thought about while I moseyed about the arena is how I will have the advantage of their recent experience playing with me when we play next. I already know what to expect from them but, they only think they know what to expect from me…
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How to be a Non Consuming Consumer…and look good doing it!

May 20, 2013 at 9:50 pm (Art, Eating Nature, Excellence in Business, Freedom, gemstones and Jewels, Health, Letting go, Local Made, LoVe, Polo, Remanufactured goods, Sailing, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

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My own lifestyle often sparks my deepest thoughts.

I love quality well prepared food.

I love beautiful well made clothes.

I love learning new things.

J’adore bijouterie! That’s French for I LOVE jewelry (and gems).

I also love the planet and all of us on it…well most of us.

I love the creatures and the flora.

…and so I strive to live in harmony with these values. How do I do that you may wonder (work with me here I know you may not really care), well let me break it down for you.

I grow some of my organic  food such as Persian melons as they are hard to come by organic and buy at farmer’s markets organically grown and my local Windmill Farms neighborhood market. This helps limit what I buy at Bigbox inc. I like knowing my food is as fresh as I am and is employing my neighbors and compadres without coming from a hemisphere away and all the pollution that entails. I live in Southern California so we grow a ton of the food out there.

I regularly donate to the Amvets and Goodwill as well as shop there. I find some sweeet finds in USA made, Italian made and French made couture for a small fraction of what Mrs and Ms. Big buck$ paid for them and very often in near new condition. There are a zillion reasons why this is a score.

  1. I’m not paying full price.
  2. The reseller makes money to pay employees when I choose to buy there.
  3. I get to be the fashionista I was born to be…don’t judge I see you looking when I stroll by.
  4. I am not contributing to new sweat shop labor from major companies who source the cheapest available markets as well as freighters again crossing the seas leaving their oily ooze in their wake.
  5. I get to enjoy things for a season and then pass them on when I redonate them for the next lucky customer or gift them to adoring friends.

When I buy new clothes I buy from locally designed and made companies and individual designers. Here is why this is a major win/win.

Paul Rico

  • Locally made means more people locally working.
  • More local tax revenue.
  • I look amazingly stylish and not like everyone who bought this season’s offerings at Bigbox inc. or Massmall.
  • The clothes are designed with my specific area’s climate and lifestyle in mind…you know old school. I live in a temperate climate (or until global warming bakes us all I do) and I need cool breathable clothes for days and layers for early mornings and evenings. I live in a city on the Pacific ocean so beaches, boating, sailing, hiking in the mountains and desert and polo are all under an hour away.
  • The cost is not greater than many mainstream department store lines and yet surprise not made in a sweatshop in Bangladesh or China but here in my neck of the woods often by the designers themselves. Major win!
  • They don’t travel far at all. Often under fifteen minutes by car or 45 minutes by public transportation. Less global warming more great weather.
  • When I choose to give them to a friend or local thrift store they will be treasured as the gems they are and snapped up again by savvy shoppers.

Last year I went to a variety of sailing schools to learn to competently sail a yacht or dingy. I spent a year learning something so new to me my brain ached and so did my body after very windy days…and I love it! Joining a local sailing club affords me discounts on my zero carbon hobby and allows me the ability to take friends out for a beautiful day too.

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This year I am learning to play polo. All new rules all new whole body workout and balance work at its finest. Another green sport played outdoors with other humans and horses all working in teams and cooperating while competing and learning on a fast curve…as my coach says you only leave the field one way if you ignore the rules…in an ambulance or life flight helicopter. I always want to play another day so I catch on quick!

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  1. I want the earth to live another day too so I strive to live in a way that enhances everyone’s opportunity to live another day in peace and prosperity.
  2. Hobbies that are green enhance everyone’s enjoyment.
  3. Workouts outside don’t need well lit air conditioned gyms, with bleached infused workout towels and chemical soaps (but if that makes you happy who am I to tell you how to get your sweat on) but for me that was a toxic way to work out and caused allergic reactions to the chemical cleaners. I am a canary.
  4. I don’t need to take vitamin D supplements as the sun is abundant even in the early morning.
  5. I get to wear my cowboy boots more often without line dancing.
  6. I meet and bond with players versus being next to people at the gym.

On the bijouterie front I remanufacture jewelry here in San Diego so I’m not adding to the issues of conflict minerals and mining slavery and injustices. I buy broken stones and recut them, I buy mining cast off parcels of rock and use water and grit to cut them. I recycle silver and gold to make the settings and I take buy backs from my clients. Here is why buying from your local remanufacturer versus the HSN or QVC is a planetary win.

New Jewels 007

  • There are no conflict diamonds or rubies unless you are referring to the fact that your aunt wanted the ring grandma gave you. Want to preserve her legacy and make sure all the cousins have something from the family jewels. Break it up and make a charm using the stones for each or make earrings. The possibilities are only as finite as your imagination.
  • No additional stress on the planet from mining.
  • No sweatshop labor to cut the gems (sweatshop in my world is me on a hot August day).
  • No sourcing through dodgy governments or buying cartels who routinely abuse their citizens and your wallet.

So I’ve probably rambled on too long so I will release you dear reader with a question.

Are there easy ways you can lower your carbon footprint while also enhancing your individual life?

I would love to hear from you.

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L’Histoire de Ma Vie

February 4, 2013 at 8:22 pm (Freedom, Letting go, LoVe, Relationships, Travel, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

…or at least a very small piece of my story. Image

Once upon a time a divorcee went to University to get a degree as her children were grown (or nearly) and she decided one day that a study abroad was in order…not just any study abroad but one which involved living in a forest in the Calanques outside Marseille France.

ImageYes this is where I lived and is about a 30 minute walk from my dorm room. I did not have a car or bike and used only public transport, trains and my feet.

I think French towns and countrysides are best explored this way, but then I am probably prejudiced in this matter. I remember whining my way across twelve miles of Paris to the Louvre with a boyfriend who was hell bent on my enjoyment and exploration of Paris whether or not I was compliant. I had a map and was looking for the direct route from Morrison’s grave and he was was looking into 300 year old artist’s shop windows enjoying the journey. I obsessed on what I knew would be a heinous crowd on a beautiful Spring Saturday at the museum thus removing myself from the fact I was in the most romantic city in the world with my favorite man ever…FAIL on my part. 32wnBnyiJ7E3kTbPd-fexqU4XUS3KKjL0060

I found a patisserie with pecan tarts and grabbed (I believe it is my solemn duty to sample all things thus for all the world) one stuffing it into my bag for later.

We eventually made our way to what looked like the Tokyo railway and got in line. We squeezed down the escalator and decided to grab lunch. We were so enamored of all the choices and hungry after the French Foreign Legion training he had put me through we spent a small fortune on our feast. It was all pretty delicious and nice to sit and stop and enjoy. So I forgive him for tossing my map in the trash as I forgive myself for being so attached to it instead of just living in the moment knowing we would always find our way if we trusted and kept moving forward. C’est la Vie

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Local Designers Rock!

December 10, 2012 at 9:09 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

Local Designers Rock!

This dress was made for me by SYC Designs here in San Diego. Sameerha is an amazing talent. I buy local, eat local and manufacture local

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