Thursday, October 16, 2008

Election time

It's a cinch to see I'll never make a living writing daily editorials. When I was a kid, writing was never my cup of tea. Drawing was. I was also the one getting into trouble for drawing horses on the side of my math test. Funny tho, I don't draw these days any more than I write. Too busy making the aromajewelry it seems, or just doing business paper work.

TRF opened with a bang. The weather was great all weekend and Saturday the crowds were excellent! 26+ I heard. It was the best opening weekend we've had since Hurricane Rita came through in '05. And, since we have more perfect weather forcast for this second weekend, it looks like we are in for a very enjoyable TRF 2008.

For all of us who make a living doing renaissance festivals and art shows, the ecomomy is the most important item on our list this election year (health care being second). Obviously, the more expendable income the masses have, the more likely we are to also make a good living despite the ever increasing cost of basics like fuel, good and utilites. Larry and I are fairly devoted political junkies. Yep, we've watched all 4 presidential and vice presidential debates this year. We are excited. This has been a great campaign this time around. Politics by nature are mud slinging, platform-ranting episodes. But some are way worse than others. Take the Jefferson-Hamilton-Van Buren wars of the election of 1800 (yea, I know, some of you are old enough to rememeber them....). I think that both Obama and McCain have conducted themselves impressivly this year in staying above the mud slinging and sticking to the issues. None of that Swiftvote lies and deliberate misleading that so dominated the 2000 & 2004 elections. So, our hates are off to you, Barak and John, for showing this country that if we really put our minds to it, we really can get back to what we all SAY we want. The American dream of hard work and success, honor and fairness. Some say America is past it's prime and on the downslide. But just like this extra 15 pounds I've put on in the past few years, I don't have to just sit back and accept it. I can certianly keep working on loosing it. Only time will tell if we've worked hard enough and correctly to achive what we want.

It really IS important to vote this year. It's your right and your responsibility.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Summer musings....

Summer is half gone. That's hard to believe. Surely the biggest reason Larry and I do what we do is so we can live where we want to live, and that is in the mountains at Whitehorn. I've noticed a lot of rennies and artists we know on the circiut live in Colorado. But driving back and forth to CRF every weekend it seems like we aren't at Whitehorn as much as we would like to be. We noticed that last year when we stayed on site all during the fair. At least this summer we are getting in about 3 days a week at Whitehorn. We do get some work done - weather permitting. Life is simple even here. The internet is my only distraction, and living off a generator I don't get enough time online here as I do in the winter in Toon Town.

And the faire is half over as well. It has been a great faire and I feel totally at home here, even tho it is only my second year at CRF. Although Larry and I aren't totally involved with the rennie community, I have come to realize that it is my family. Living in Toon Town and on site make me realize how wonderful it really is to have such an oppurtunity. I'm sure there are lots of other close communities around the world such as the rennie life. But somehow I just fell into this life and I realize that, strangley, I have achived much of my childhood dreams. I get to make my living off of my art, I get to travel and meet all sorts of people, and I get to live in the mountains. The only part I haven't accomplished yet is how in the world am I going to manage to get those horses I always dreamed of having.........

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Thoughts at Waffle House

It's Monday morning and Larry, Misty and I are sitting in Waffle House waiting on breakfast. I love Waffle House, maybe because I love eggs. We had a really killer opening weekend at the Colorado Renaissance Festival and Waffle House is a common treat after a good weekend. Certianly I don't want to cook and clean up on Monday mornings. Actually, I'd rather sleep all day but the nature of our business dictates that I get up and get orders made, deposits deposited and plans for the week sorted out so that the next weekend runs smoothly. WEDNESDAYS are for sleeping in.

While we are waiting on our food a young man walks by going to the restroom. He is dressed in a t-shirts and nice shorts. But he has tattoos and is wearing a funky bone necklace. Looks like one of todays youth to me. Then I thought about the previous Friday. The faire site was busy busy busy with everyone getting all the last minute setups done. Right in front of us this year is the Mongolian Embassy. Royce and his crew are typical Rennies I guess. Long hair and beards. Funky jewelry. Tattoos. Often funky clothes. So many rennies wear skirts and pants that obviously didn't come from Walmart. Rennies make a striking image when we are in the local King Sooper shopping for food. Yet as Royce finished his work and was starting his truck to leave, it occured to me (not for the first time) that while we don't look like your standard 9-5 office workers, rennies are amazing business people and extremely hard workers. We work as hard at our jobs and buisnesses as any plumbing contractor or insurance agent.

My eggs have arrived. Time to eat.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

carbon footprints

As I watch CNN in the evenings it seems that the only topic they talk about, besides the campaign, it the cost of everything. Even if W is your boy, it seems that just about everyone I talk to is not happy with the direction things are going. Price of fuel fuels the price of every thing else. The 3" x 12" ziplock bags that we use for incense has tripled in the past 5-6 years. Why? Plastic is petroleum related. And everywhere there is advice on how to ease the crunch, or how to help soften the global warming threat. As I sit here on the Texas gulf coast today it would be awfully hard to convince me that the world isn't warming up. It sure-dang-nab-it is hot here!

So it got me to thinking. The price of everything is hitting most of us. Even if you have more expendable income than I do, you're still paying the same price for gas and groceries as I am. For the past 20 years I have lived amongst a sub-culture we call 'rennies'. We are artists and performers who travel from show to show to provide you - those we call the masses, aka "patrons" - whom work 9-5 jobs and careers - with a place to escape your world and enjoy yourselves. A place to forget that you have car payments, mortgages and electric bills to pay. We live on the road most of the year. Some of us live in nice 5th-wheel trailers pulled by Dodge cummins diesels (some drive Fords), or we travel in a Ford Econoline and pull a box trailer of our stuff. We set up incredibly creative camp sites (including Dave Love and his famous yurt - I'll have to do a chapter on him some day). We use propane for cooking and heating, plug in when we can for lights and water, use the local shower house for showers and dishes. Tons of us are online with wireless laptops. So I wonder what our carbon footprint is? We don't pay as much for electric and water as most brick home owners do. We pay a lot more for fuel to do our traveling than most office bound workers do. But here is where I think we do good. We travel with the seasons, like the native americans did. When it's cold in Minnesota, we aren't there. We're in Florida or Arizona. In the summer, we aren't in Texas.....we're in Michigan, New York or Minnesota. While we may drive a 1000+ miles to get to work once every 8-10 weeks, we like summer where it's cool and winters where its warm. Larry and I are packing up this week to head to the Colorado Rockies for the summer. It's humid and 90something here in Texas from now until fall, and this time next week we will be whiffing our first breaths of that mountain air where it will be 70something during the days and 30something at nights until Labor Day. Then it will get cold and like last year we will wake up some September morning and find our water frozen again and look at each other and say "yep, it's time to head back south".

And as for carbon footprints, during the summer since we live in the mountains, we don't use AC. We use some propane for heat, we haul our water from town once a week and run on generators for our computer and TV. Which means we don't run the generator 24/7. So we are doing what we can to keep it simple. It's it strange that simple really is the solution to all this global warming yet I can't imagine life without the internet (and I'm old enough to have grown up before the internet - I graduated in '78 and Larry in...well....longer ago). To really live simply, take an example from the Afghanistan tribes. We say 'primitive' but they live simply. And India and China - we use to revere their simple philosophy but kept edging them on to not be so "backward" and "primitive". And this is what we get. They DO want to be like us, and now we are all paying the price for global US-like consumption.

But with all this, take heart to what Carlos Mencia said "Don't worry about it until the mexicans DON'T want to come here"

*"Fear is temporary, regret is permanent"*

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Norman again.....and Misty

I hope I hope I hope.....We could never have hoped this hard. If we were to pick a goal to aim for this spring at Norman we would have fallen sadly short. It was crowded, it was sunny and beautiful, it was fun, and did I say crowded? Larry says it was "Mardi Gras" crowded. Everyone had fun, we sold TONS of aromanecklaces (so all ya'll can smell good). Thank you Linda Linn for producing yet another perfect example of a festival.

Did any of you meet Misty? Without her help, Larry and I would have been very tired puppies. Come to think of it, we were ALL tired puppies anyway! This years' Norman was a 3 person weekend - it took all three of us to run the booth. Misty is the new face of Crystal Mountain. Over the years you will see her everywhere, and eventually she will BE Crystal Mountain. Larry and I love doing the oils and incense but it is hard work (did any of you realize that Larry is going to be 70 next year?). Larry is discovering woodturning, and he wants to have more time to persue that. We won't be totally out of the picture for a long time, but you will see Misty more and more.

Misty is Larry's oldest granddaughter. She is 22, a gemini. We first introduced her to our oils etc when she was 10 and she loved them even then. She created the blend 'Sunberry' way back then, which has been popular ever since. It has taken her a long journey since then to join us, but like the old chinese proverb "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear". It was the right time for her to join us. She came to live with us last October to help with TRF since I was just starting my chemo treatments then and we didn't know how I would handle it all. As it went, she has stayed with us all winter in what she calls "grandpa's boot camp" learning all sorts of things from actually making stock to filling mail orders to what it takes to be an exceptional person. Now it's off to do her first show by herself and I think she will rock.

You like our new vardo? The first one is at Tennessee and it will stay there. This new one has been traveling with us but it might stay in Colorado. Then we might just build a third one, but we like this design best.

Like most blogs....I have other things I need to get done so I'll run for now. Thanks all for all the pretty aromanecklaces you buy from us.....

Sunday, March 30, 2008

work work and more work

I'm amazed that after doing shows for 20 years how I can still get stressed before a show. It's all about getting everything done in time and not working til 3 am the night before we leave. Certainly we've done that before, but the older we get the less fun it is. Misty - I mentioned her in the last posting - is 22 and she so reminds me of how much I would stay up all night at that age. While it seems I work harder and get more done during the day than she does, I'm out like a light come 10 pm. Is this what age is all about? That's hard to believe. And you would think after doing shows for so long I would have it all done and organized. Well, we are much better than we use to be. And this is the type of mental information we are trying to pass on Misty....gee, were my parents really so right about young people? How unaware was I back then?

I know everything will go well. Most everything is finally done. All that is left is our new wood aromanecklaces that will make thier introduction at Norman. Also, Norman is predicting some most awesomely beautiful weather for next weekend. I hope everyone comes out and has a good time, and I hope they don't have to spend all thier money on gas to get there! And, for the 17th time, I'm looking forward to the Norman Medieval Faire once again! See you there!

Monday, March 24, 2008

*sheepish grin*....try again?

As I stated in my very first posting.....I'm not in the habit of typing my thoughts on the computer. Ah Contraire! I LIVE on my computer (as much as I can) but usually I'm checking emails, answering customer questions or orders, playing with Dreamweaver or Photoshop etc etc etc. It has been a year now and all I got posted was 3 little posts last spring. SO LET ME TRY THIS AGAIN! It is the same time as before - we will be leaving for Norman next week. A lot has happened since then and I'll be talking about a lot of it as time goes by. Misty the granddaughter is living with us and she is working with taking over Crystal Mountain as time goes on. Perhaps, just perhaps, I'll actually find it easier to do this stuff. More on her later. Also, this past winter my life has been distracted by me having been diagnosed with breast cancer and going through chemo. That is behind me now. I might do some postings on that subject but probably not a lot, since that is not what this blog is all about. Larry has discoverd wood turning, I'll talk about that since he is making some really cool stuff. Let me get this up and posted and I'm going over to and get a new posting up there real quick so I can breath life into all this again. My many thanks to ~*Skye*~ for creating and managing our and for the many many friends that have logged on there. Check in this weekend for another post....really!