2010 November Archive | Amber Jean

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Monthly Archives: November 2010

Home Sweet Home

Home sweet Home

Wind blows heavy hunks of snow off the trees dancing outside my window. Pale sky, white ground and the heaping mountainside outside the window embrace me with heart-warming familiarity. The desert trip was good in unexpected ways. Record breaking low temps kept my skin from lapping up the air and sun. We bundled under layers of sleeping bags while the tent bucked like a rodeo bull in one impressive storm after another. We mountain biked in sleet, moonlight and snow. We caught a bit of sun while climbing but found the warm rays elusive; easily nudged aside by insistent bone-chilling, finger-numbing wind.   I caught a cold. Surprisingly the trip highlight happened in the heart of the Vegas strip.
Let’s start at the beginning:

After a sleepless night of preparations, Paul and I set out before dawn in a snowstorm. Somewhere in Idaho we decided to bag our plans for Moab since storms were brewing there and seek the sun in Vegas. Scott and Leslie were game to meet us at Red Rocks, camping sites were plenty, and the forecast promising. 


We jumped on our bikes the first respite in a sleet-filled day and biked ‘til after dark under a full moon. Cactus like Suesse characters stood out in the moonlit desert scape. Fun stuff.

The next day’s headwind blew a cold right into my lungs. But we’d already booked a $20.00 room at Hooter’s Casino so the promise of a hot shower and warm bed kept me peddling. The “3 Mile Smile” downhill was a blast and worth it. We were quite a site rolling a cart with coolers and duffel bags through the blinking light casino early that evening. We were bundled up in biking/camping clothes – a stark contrast to the cleavage flashing Hooter girls. 









After the Hooter’s reprieve, we pitched our tents again.  Haunted by insomnia when much needed rest might have settled the cold lurking in my lungs, I almost took a day off for rest but we took off at dawn to tackle “Geronimo” – a fun multipitch five-hundred-and-something-foot climb. Climbing pitch after pitch up a rock face is one of my favorite kind of adventures. I coughed and sputtered my way up in the wind, froze during the four repels, but wouldn’t have missed the memory and adventure of a day on the rock with good friends.

Gifted with a beautiful post-climb sunset, we hugged Scott and Leslie goodby before finding another cheap Vegas Strip hotel room.  I needed a warm dry place to nurture the cold which had taken hold.

We settled into Circus Circus and set up camp.  Paul cooked elk spaghetti in the bathroom while I thawed in the tub. 

We returned to the rock but kept basecamp at Circus Circus.

Zaydee camped in the truck, under the topper, in her cozy bed and soaked in a bit of sun outside the Vegas Strip:

The nasty cold kept me from taking on the planned big adventures but it may have been a blessing-in-disquise since we decided to take advantage of our surroundings, splurge and see a show in Vegas. Thanksgiving Evening we ate warmed up Elk Spaghetti leftovers and fresh salad in our room before driving down the strip to MGM Grand for a  soul slurping, creativity engorging feast at “KA.” Cirque du Soleil can change your life. Serious. Four days after returning from the desert I still feel as if I am being fed intravenously from the experience of “KA.” Beyond words, I cannot think of the experience without goosebumps and an electric charge.  

What a gift!!! 

Mixing Mud and Emotions – they pour the floor

Insomnia kept me stirring late these past few nights, wide-eyed and blinking at the stardust. My heart has been extra soft, gushy and pained these past two weeks as if all the sunshine in my life has illuminated the path of grief and loss. I feel more now than I did those first months after my father’s death. A friend offered some enlightenment; perhaps as I move out of pure survival mode I find myself in a place where support is strong, gifts are abundant and thus the grieving process amps up since I can process more. 

The Cosmos is right there with me, spinning an ever-perfect web. For instance, just last week Hospice held a special memorial tribute in the beautiful stained glass adorned chapel at the hospital. All those who passed away under Hospice care during the first six months of this year were acknowledged. A young pregnant musician accompanied the service with her sweet clear voice and guitar,  two ministers conducted the memorial. My mom, Paul, the kids and I took up a whole row in the tiny chapel.   Sun shone through the two story stained glass chapel wall. Stunning. A fountain splashed soothingly – a water whisper affirming life; cycles, continuity and comfort. 

Just a few moons ago I spent time alone in the chapel during my father’s brief hospital stay. After a routine doctor appointment Dad had been admitted to the hospital for tests. That evening Dad and I were told that he had fourth stage pancreatic cancer. Early the next morning I visited the chapel just after the sun came up. I completed a series of Sun Salutations (yoga) right there on the chapel floor with the soothing fountain coaching me to take deep breaths, find my center and focus on love. Here I was in that chapel again for a memorial service surrounded by my new family, sitting next to my little mother and listening to the fountain while taking deep breaths.

My own health has really turned a corner during the past month or two. Finally my middle is more like its old self. I no longer feel like a wide chasm cut my body into two disconnected parts with an echo bouncing in the wide open space between. The dark disappointing void is filling in.  Creativity burns bright and strong along with a notion that despite my inability to reproduce, I can still produce. Create. Give and receive. Lift, love, and laugh from my center. My “chi” (life force) once again burns bright and strong. Unsevered.
On top of the feelings and healings there is the whole gift of a studio. Blessings abound. Three weeks ago my patron and friend gave Paul the go-ahead to begin the project before she broke the news of her amazing gift to me with a phonecall.  I pulled over, listened as she told me her plans, hung up and cried. I couldn’t tell anyone that first week without crying. Happy tears. 
Since then the ground has been scraped, road made, hole dug, foundation poured, heated slab plumbed, poured and backfilled, septic put in, approved and buried. Power is to the site. The plans for a custom hoist system have passed inspection by an engineer, steel beams are ordered AND they have drilled for water. We haven’t found water yet but luck continues to shine since they got the floor poured and completed just hours before another winter storm.
During the last two weeks I completed a new carving which has gone to the foundry to become the first bronze edition created by me in oh-my-gosh-way-too-many-years! Feels good.  Pictures of the sweet little bunny-themed carving will be posted soon.  The Devil Woman Saloon sculptures are still in the works with some exciting developments. Challenging fun stuff. 
Energy and emotion buzz thoughts during sleepless nights. I must breath deep, feel all of it, field some of it, smile and take large drinks of sky – stardust and all.  

Studio Site Progress

You won’t manifest it unless you can visualize it,” Paul said to me several times during the past two years. He would push a blank piece of paper under my nose after breakfast or get out a pen to draw on a napkin during dinner – each time coaxing me to draw my dream studio. Deeply impressed that he actually used the words visualize and manifest (seriously…this coming from a man with work hardened calloused hands) I realized with shock that I had lost a bit of my own belief in magic. Somehow my optimism lost its polish these past few years while faced with financial challenges, major surgery, no insurance, large medical bills, a bank which seemed keen to take my home and no studio to work in. Paul’s belief in manifesting fueled my imagination. I started taking pictures of old barn buildings, sketched and talked about my dream studio.  He began to salvage wood.

A shift occurred. Tarnished tired places began to beam. Polished. My belief in the BIG picture strengthened me during my father’s sudden terminal illness and death. I grieve. I embrace blessings too numerous to count. 

Now this:


The Universe has stepped up and drawn aside a huge heavy stage curtain with relish and a big “TA DA!!”


Dream Come True…

A rather recent client bloomed instantly into a friend.  Now the beautiful bloom has sprouted into patron who hired Paul (without telling me) to build a studio for me on the mountain!!!!!

Did you just have to reread that sentence?  I can hardly believe it myself!!!  My very own studio.
A gift.
Blink       Blink      Blink
Warm fuzzies, speechless and ecstatic!!!!