Friday, July 9, 2010

We're Cool Man

Bob watches-- pipe in mouth

You can see the damper on the left to adjust air flow.
Up and over the back garage door, and through the wall.

It took 2 years, my threats, and the accounting firm who did Bob's taxes to screw up--for it to happen.
The shop finally has a cooling system!  Ta flipping Da!  Yes, one of the largest accounting firms in Albuquerque: "REDW" checked the wrong box on some form and thousands of dollars were overpaid to the Feds.  Doing last year's taxes my smart husband found the inconsistency.  Sometimes two heads are better than one.
 Into the shop it makes a turn to run the length of the garage.

Our main evaporative cooler is a Mastercool for the main house.  It is about the size of a small car.  I am not an HVAC expert...but when we bought the house...somewhere I read the square footage this Mastercool could accommodate.  It was twice the size of our house.  I had the idea to run a line off the main duct that goes into the house out to the shop.  After a few stops and starts...we figured a way to do it.  Bob designed a custom damper.   The guys finally finished it today.  Now to have insulation and stucco put around it.  It's a bit of an eyesore with the shinny duct work outside...but that will be finished, and painted.  No where in the house can you see it, maybe from the pool.
 The long duct has a vent for each garage bay.  One above my work bench.

Of course we had 3 weeks of near 100 degree temps in June with only fans blowing.  Now that we have a's cooled off outside. :-)   Bob spends the bulk of his day, 7 days a week in the shop.  I kind of shot myself in the it's so comfy...he'll never leave!  One day, when we sell this place...the next owner may use the garage as a garage that is "climate controlled." 
Ending with the 4th vent in the last garage bay. Cool!

One company wanted nine thousand for a different system.  One wanted to put in a separate unit and it would be five thousand, plus.  This was under three thousand, and will pay for itself in years of comfortable workers-US!  I have to say it: cool man!  :-)

Thanks for reading.  I'm still amazed that you do!


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Team Etsy Project Embrace

I joined the team when I was struggling with Dennis Hopper's illness, and got so much support when he passed.  Living with Lupus has proved to be difficult as of late.  They are so supportive of me, and of each other.  I can't wait to check our forum everyday!  We are a bunch of treasury making maniacs.  Treasuries are the front page of Etsy. Besides that --we offer support, and donate proceeds from our shops to the American Cancer Society.  And our treasuries make the front page a lot!

YAY for our wonderful team!!!

For more information about the team...check out our team page or our blog.
Team page on Etsy:

Thanks for reading. I'm still amazed that you do!


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Blade Show 2010

This little boy was a so cute!  I love it when the blade is bigger than the person!
His Dad took me to the ER. 

I am one of the few wives of knife makers who love the Blade show.  It's huge, it's crowded, and noisy.  I always go away realizing conversations were interrupted, sentences unfinished, good byes forgotten, and people I missed because they weren't at their table when I came by.  Bob doesn't have a table there any longer.  He's busy delivering special orders,  dreaming up collaborations with production knife companies, seeing prototypes, and buying supplies.  But this year I was graced with sharing a table with Allen and Valerie Elishewitz.  Allen usually sells out within the first moments of the show.  So within an hour I was placing my jewelry on their table.  I had little stock as Mother's Day had emptied me out. No complaints.
 Awesome bookmark for E&H new knives

Allen has partnered with Hogue to make some of the best factory made knives I have seen.  The price point, quality and materials are impressive.  Allen did a great job with his design, and Hogue did a fabulous job in production.  Bob praised them highly.  They have their own forum on the USN website where you can read all about them, and ask questions. (you need to sign up a user name)  Please check out Allen's website:  for all his latest and greatest.  I had a ball with Val at the table.  They had bookmarks printed and cut out of the new E&H knives.  I hung mine from my chain around my neck like a neck knife!  I kept tell people they "only get a paper cut" with this knife.  :-)  Fun...very creative idea to have them die cut.  Bravo!
Elishewitz/Hogue knife: they run $180-$220

We had dinner the first night with Todd and Tanya Begg, and Neil Ostroff of True North Knives.  Todd brought some new knives to the restaurant that were pretty wild and amazing.  They are folders...but fantasy folders...which means not really pocket knives! Cool none the less. He has his own forum on USN also, as does True North Knives.
Todd Begg's newest
Bob wants to cut his meat with Todd's blade
iPhone photos don't quite do details justice

A Long time collector of Bob's from Florida brought a set of Bob's knives in a case he had made.  He had the original knife that Bob had made for the cover of Bob's book.  He added others and calls the set: "Cover Girl and Her Three Sisters."  Black Coral, Green Jade, Ivory, and Cocobolla are the 4 handles. 

Then there were knives Bob delivered. 3 fixed blades went to the "3 Tenors."  Four guys from Switzerland, and Milano came to the show.  We had met them in Milan at a dinner that Fausto set up for us.  We went to dinner with them, and as always...they are a blast.  One funnier than the next, and constantly teasing each other. We no doubt will spend time with them in Milano this November.
Badass: Fausto, Stephano, Christian
Middle photo has Bob's posse: the "3 Tenors" and Paulo!

Bob delivered a knife that had an entire handle made of superconductor.  It was very heavy, and I call knives like these "doorstops."  :-)
The superconductor knife above.
Bottom: 5" Athena for Josh Lee from Strider

Some of our New Mexico Knife Knuts were there:  Luc Burnley, Al Trujillo, Eddie Baca and Richard Rogers.  I barely had time to talk to any of them. Luc has a forum on USN: Burnley Knives.  I bought one of Luc's first fixed blades that is a small surgical style knife I use in my studio almost daily.
Time flew as usual.

Our next show will be the Gathering in Las Vegas the first weekend in September (9/3-5).  I hope to be able to fly by then.  At the moment health issues are keeping me from doing so.  But Bob will be there for sure.  Until we meet again...  XO to all the "knifies" in my life, near and far.

Thanks for reading. I'm still amazed that you do!


Monday, July 5, 2010


Columbus in watering can on the porch. He didn't last long at a one digit weight.

I've had many pets during my lifetime.  Columbus was, and will always stand on his furry black and white paws above the rest.  We got him in Morengo Illinois, from a white clapboard house that was in need of painting.  We answered an add for free kittens in the local paper.  Kelley and I drove together in my pick up truck to get some "barn cats."  We had a mouse population that needed serious attention.

When we got to the house, it was filled with little kids.  They showed us to "the cat room" which was an unheated glass windowed back porch that one sees in typical Midwestern farm houses.  The kids had made a kitty jungle gym out of empty brown cardboard boxes.  They had a litter of 7.  6 black and white tuxedo kittens, and one brown tabby.  I watched the kittens playing.  They were having a wonderful time jumping in and out of the boxes.  One stopped and came to me. I asked the kids about "this one."
"Oh he's the wildest!" they said in unison.
"We'll take him for sure!" I answered. thinking Alex would love him.
Then Kelley chose the largest of the litter for herself.  A sweet calm hunk of fur.  I am fond of cats with M's on their forehead, and chose the runt of the litter...the only tabby and female.  When we picked up the two males they both purred.  That's a good sign when kitten shopping.
In the top photo he is under Alex's "midi" blanket.
Cooling off in a sink in summer.

On the drive home Columbus sat on the back of the front seat between Kelley and me looking out the window.  His brother "Bailey" slept in Kell's lap.  "Frances" the tabby hid under the seat.  We had our barn cats who would live in the mudroom and on the screened porch until they were old enough to venture outside on their own.  The ride home would be the foreshadowing of their personalities.  Before summer came it was clear that Columbus was large and in charge. He loved to hang from the screens on the porch to get a higher POV (point of view). He slept in a large blue watering can until he couldn't fit any longer. He greeted everyone coming and going.  He was one of those dog-like cats who was everywhere we were.  As soon as someone sat down on the porch, he was on their laps.
Frances was one of the most stunning kittens I have ever had.
She looked like a greeting card.

When the 3 were old enough to go outside...Frances got pregnant immediately.  We had been given 2 large black cats (Heckle and Jeckle) and when Frances saw Heckle it was love at first sight. No hissing. Just nose touching nose, and they went out to the field to return in three days.  She would deliver 9 kittens on the front hall rug: 7 all black, 2 brown tabbies.  Uncle Columbus loved to babysit his nieces and nephews.  He'd take them out of the box and bring them up on a large red wing chair and bathe them.  Even licking the diaper changing parts like a mommy cat.  It drove the naturally paranoid Frances crazy.  So she'd hide the kittens in places he couldn't get to...some would endanger them.  Like, behind the dryer that got very hot.  Every morning I would come down and play "find the kittens."  Columbus was the tell.  He'd walk over and get as close as he could.  And sure enough, there they were.
Mama Frances and her "7"

Bailey did not even make it to a year.  The road in front of the farm took him.  Then, as life would have it...we had to leave the farm.  Of all the cats we had, I kept Columbus and Frances.  They moved to several locations before we came to New Mexico.  On the long drive from Chicago to Albuquerque they kept me company in Motel 8's (who accept pets).   Columbus would get on the bed, Frances would hide under it.  They moved from Albuquerque to Santa Fe and back to Albuquerque without a complaint.
"Are you sure you want to delete that?"

Columbus was about 23 pounds of Maine Coon.  At one point he was down to 7 pounds. After exploratory surgery that was inconclusive, we switched foods, and he was back to his fighting weight in no time.  He ate his California Natural food morning, noon, and night.  A few years later he dropped weight again. It was because of cancer in his thyroid.  Bob said he was worth the costly radioactive material and 3 week vet stay we paid for.  He could go home when a geiger counter didn't click at 3 feet.  Once home and snuggled in my lap I fondly called him "my radioactive lap blanket."  After that he would sleep on a floor outlet that we felt kept him alive in some unexplainable sci-fi way.

If we were there...he was there.

I took a photo on his birthday as he and Frances waiting for the expensive "South Beach diet for cats" canned food I dished out.  He had gotten so fat, that he couldn't groom himself.  He had to be shaved and bathed twice.  The second time he was so cold, that Bob and I bought him a camo print polar fleece dog coat and called him "Camo-Cat!"  We never told him it was a dog coat...that could really get to a cat.

 Never met a cool sink he didn't like.  Getting bathed by "the Cat Diva."

He loved everyone and every animal.  He slept with our pot belly pigs in the barn.  He joined Ethan in the crib when he was a baby. When E was old enough to be in a booster chair, he sat right next to him IN the chair.  Boxes were his favorite. For years when we did jig saw puzzles or played a game he would sleep in the box tops.  Too big for most...they all gave way to his 23 pounds and had to be taped together at the corners.  We have so many photos of him in amusing places. I called him "the fur lined speed bump."
 Next to "the plug" he is the "fur lined speed bump"

Jenny took this picture last summer when he was visiting her house.

And now we are left with his sister Frances, and Lola cats.  I feel as if I am running the cat asylum. Frances has an over developed fight or flight response and runs away from any sudden move or noise. She is naturally paranoid.  I can say this because I have had her from 8 weeks, and she has always been like this.  Lola has an official diagnosis of "OMD": obsessive marking disorder.  Like a hand washer feels their hands are dirty, she constantly feels the urge to mark her territory.  So she is on an anti depressant...that helps (and saved our furniture).  Neither of the two crazy cats will ever be the kind of companion Columbus was.  Columbus was always where we were.  The two girls, like humans with mental disorders are in their own private Idaho. Frances is still calling to Columbus every night, and sometimes it lasts for hours.  Pitiful hearing her cry, not able to understand where he is.

I have boxes of photos from our lives at the farm.  I will have to go through them to find some pics of Columbus at stellar moments.  These boxes of photos I have avoided since leaving the farm.  But with Columbus' passing I feel somehow compelled to face the grief of losing my life at the farm.  I know that psychologically the two are tied together.  I am now ready to face the grief I have pushed away for so many years.

I bought myself a pendant from Lulubug Jewelry on Etsy. It is sterling with a black and white cat like Columbus on it. Here's the link:[]=tags&includes[]=title

Withing days of his passing...Columbus has come back to us in a special way.  Our daughter Kelley and Grandson Ethan have adopted "Ernie" a dark gray and white tuxedo cat.  His calm, loving, purring madly spirit lives on.  

We planted a fig tree in the back yard, and under it we put the ashes of Columbus.   When I water the tree I greet him every day.  Grateful to have been blessed with such a pet for 16 years.  See you on the other side, Columbo. XO
Thanks for reading.  I'm still amazed that you do.


Sunday, July 4, 2010

☆☆☆☆ 4th of July ☆☆☆☆

Happy 4th of July!!!!!!

We are having a quiet 4th this year.  Health issues have made me realize I can't do as much entertaining, as I do it all by myself.  I truly miss my days in Evanston Illinois where we built floats and went to the Evanston Parade on Central St.  Fireworks over Lake Michigan preceded by wonderful orchestras that had finales of stars and stripes music are not found in New Mexico.  In fact is seems odd to light things on fire in this dry barren landscape, if not irresponsible. From our property we can see all the fireworks around.  So I will be content to do so.  

This week I have baked pies, and cookies with the stars and stripes motif.  I made an apricot, nectarine, and blueberry pie.  A yummy combination.  Roll out star sugar cookies decorated with red m&m's as well as red & blue sugars.  I had to dye my own sugar blue.  That was fun!

We had a visitor for dinner this week.  "Jack" came with his grandparents, the Karnes who are responsible for us finding our home.  They live 2 streets over from us.  Ann and I often call each other and "put our dinners together."  Ann is one of those women who always has something in the freezer, or left overs from a PEO lunch...and it's always delicious!  At the store I got those snakes that you light on fire and they grow into black puffy carbon critters.  I asked permission  from Grandma first.  Jack went through 2 lighters on the snakes.  He had a blast.  I had fun watching him.  Buddy was so happy to have a boy after Ethan had gone.  Jack loves animals and paid lots of attention to both cats, and Buddy.  

I think Jack is saying "cool!"  

Wishing you all a safe and fun 4th of July wherever you are.  Happy Birthday USA!
Old school link on youtube:

Thanks for reading. I'm still amazed that you do!