Wednesday, December 30, 2009
I will be away for a few days to deal with the obvious, to help Jasmine through this time.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
This is a great question. I think this question can be applied to all sorts of gifts. It can be anything from beads, to household items, clothing, fishing gear, perfume, you name it.
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Each day, I watched passengers come and go. I exchanged stories with many. Some were traveling to see family. Some were traveling to go on vacation, a few were traveling just to be traveling and had hopes of finding a new home. This last group of hardy travelers won a place in my heart. Like me, they were leaving a situation and a place where they no longer belonged. They uprooted themselves, and made a giant leap of faith that a new place would give them a new and better life. When they told their stories, it always began with "I had to leave......". Their stories of woe were always short, the barest of facts as to what set them in motion. They never dwelled on their misfortunes, but spoke mainly of their hopes, their excitement, and their dreams. Despite their sad stories, they were positive and hopeful of their futures. I hoped I seemed the same way to them.
As it turned out, the boxes were all unloaded. As I stood waiting for the boxes to be unloaded, all I could do was laugh. Imagine this…a train station that looked like a piece of the Alamo. A older man with a long grey beard who looked like John Muir loading boxes onto a wooden cart with metal rimmed wheels. I thought I landed back to about 1860 to the gold-rush era of California! I begged this man to store my boxes for me. It took some groveling, but he shoved them into a utility room on the promise I would claim them in the morning. I took the two boxes with our blankets and pillows and a few pots and kitchen necessities to get us through our first night, and as many other random boxes as I could fit into the taxi. The taxi drove us the short 10 min drive to our new California home.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
"I had a 6-day stay in hospital with bronchitis; pnuemonia and
asthma attack. I asked my hubby to bring my stuff up so I could work
on it and the nurse saw. She told me that she wasn't going to let me
work on it cause she thought it would stress me...I told her no it
She checked my blood pressure before I started and after I worked
on it for about an hour - and my blood pressure was LOWER
than when I started. She said if she hadn't seen it she wouldn't
So - not only did your pattern produce something beautiful - it also
helps with my stress levels!!!"
Of course, we all just knew that beadwork was relaxing, right?
Now, we have medical proof. You just gotta love it!
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Do you have a question? Please submit it, and you too can earn a free pattern!
Here is Ronit's question:
I think that the answer to the first part of this question is an obvious “NO”. At the time of this writing, I have 2093 patterns on Bead-patterns.com, plus many patterns that are exclusively on my own website that are offered as single patterns, and patterns that are in my books, plus some that I have kept strictly for my own use. Even if I did nothing other than bead, for many years, I doubt I could do them all.
I also work with the beads by my side as I design. That way, if I have any concerns about how the bead looks in real life as compared to my computer screen, I can see it.
I think Sig sits on her fat butt too much as it is! She is always working on the computer, or with her beads. About the only exercise she gets lately is moving from one chair to the other. I think she needs to work in the garden more often! To heck with beading…maybe if she would teach my lovely wife Olga to bead, Olga would have something to do and would stop ordering me around!
Just the other day, I sent the wrong kit out to someone. It was a mistake reading Dragon instead of Dragonfly!! She went bezerk, and took away my berries for the day. Gee wiz we are just bears, aren’t we allowed to make a mistake, just as she often does? She must think we are magic bears or something.
Monday, December 21, 2009
Saturday, December 19, 2009
I made the daily commute from Saratoga to Troy NY to attend Hudson Valley Community College to attend college once again. It was a commute I did not like. After several weeks of making the commute, I moved into a Studio apartment in Troy. It was the first real apartment I had on my own. It was tiny, but it was mine.
I continued my relationship with John. Mostly just seeing him on weekends when we would go dancing. I had a pretty full schedule with school, work (at the grocery store deli again) and trying to keep a relationship going.
I graduated from Hudson Valley Community College after 2 years with an Associates Degree in Laboratory Technology. I continued to work in the grocery store Deli, while looking for a job where I could use my new degree. I had moved back to Saratoga and lived with John. During the first year after my graduation, John and I got married, and I was pregnant with Jasmine.
Our wedding was an extraordinarily quiet affair. No one from my family would come, even though they only lived 20 miles away. John had no family in the US, and friends for one reason or another couldn't come either. It was just a justice of the peace wedding. Our roomates Jeff and Stephann came and John's best acting buddy and friend Marty and Bobby came. That was all. Jeff was "the best man" and Marty...well, he was my "maid of honor". The judge was a long time friend of John's, who couldn't believe John was getting married.
It certainly wasn't the wedding I dreamed of as a little girl, but still, I was happy and that was all that mattered.
When Jasmine was born, I had a short maternity leave. Going back to work in the deli was not something I looked forward to. Since John did not have steady reliable work, I had to work. As luck would have it, the Community College contacted me with a job lead with the NY State Dept of Health in Albany. I went to the interview, and got the job.
The job itself was not exciting. It didn’t require a degree of any sort. I was hired to clean labware: flasks, mason jars, and test tubes that were used in the Organic Extraction Lab. In this lab, water samples were tested for pesticides, and herbicides. Love Canal’s dioxin samples were a regular job for us.
Washing the glassware consisted of rinsing them out with Methylene Chloride and Hexane. After they were rinsed, I would have to take a sample, and concentrate it to inject into a gas chromatograph to ensure there was no residue that would affect other samples.
Keeping up with the glassware was easy. I found myself helping the other lab techs with the extractions just to have something to do. Plus, I enjoyed their company. I didn’t get paid more, but it sure made the day go by faster.
It was during this time, that I used to visit a tiny gallery that was around the corner of where we lived in Saratoga. I would go there on Saturdays just to see the beadwork on display. I loved how the light danced from the beads, the exquisite fringe hanging from the necklace, and the colors! I knew that I wanted to learn to work with beads. My creative side had been in neglect for some time. I occasionally did some cross stitch, but I really needed something that I would love to do.
One of John’s friends was a beader. She mostly did appliqué on jeans jackets, and some earrings. I begged her to teach me. I never got a lesson from her. She was either too busy, or too stoned.
One day after work, while waiting for the bus to take me back home, I went into the bookstore. Just for fun, I looked in the huge “Books In Print” catalogue sitting near their register. I looked under the heading “Bead”. Would you believe that at that time there were fewer than a dozen beading books available?
As I looked at the titles, one struck me. Techniques of Beaded Earrings, by Deon DeLange. I had them order the book for me. I figured if it was not what I wanted, $8 was not a lot to lose. I still remember the day that book came in and I went to pay for it. I was so excited! It was EXACTLY what I was looking for. I studied the book all the way home while sitting on the bus! I could hardly wait to go and buy beads to try it out.
The next day, I went to the local craft store and bought all sorts of colors of seed beads. You know the type, the silvery rocailles that must be about a size 10. They were huge (to my eye now), but they worked! I could play with beads! I made earring after earring. I was thrilled with my new hobby. It wasn’t long before I gave them away to some friends and acquaintances. I even made a sale here and there.
Eventually, the commute from Saratoga to Albany became too much for me. I hated it, especially in the winter. I decided that a move to the Albany area was what I needed, much to John’s reluctance in leaving Saratoga. At a yearly salary of $9,800, it was hard to find an apartment I could afford. I finally did find an apartment, in a renovated brick building that once was a textile factory in Cohoes NY. Cohoes was known for the textile factory. It was the largest in the world during it’s day. Rumors had it that they produced fabric for the Czar of Russia and even the Queen of England.
Even with the past links to royalty, and the claim to fame of a large Mastadon found on the banks of the River , Cohoes was bleak and run down. It looked like a city with a past, but no future. What I didn’t understand at the time I moved into the bleak, cold looking dwelling, was that I had moved into a mini-project. I just looked at the place as an apartment. It was not particularly attractive, but it was just newly renovated inside and was made available only to Section 8 families. I was one of the few that was working, most of the other families consisted of single moms on welfare.
We moved in and made the best of it. After a while, it became apparent that there was no hope of John finding a job in the area. Things between us had become difficult. I had a hard time dealing with his alcohol and drug problems. Being the sole supporter for our “family” was also something that I was starting to resent. John would often berate me for something, and blamed so much of his unhappiness on me.
One evening, when John had too much to drink, and he was unhappy with me for not providing him with something I could not afford, he began shouting at me. He told me that he was tired of me controlling all the finances, and that there was never anything left for him to spend as he wanted. Never mind that I never had more than a few dollars left each month once rent was paid, food was bought, and other expenses were taken care of. It was after I tried to defend myself that the worst words I ever heard in my life were spoken to me.
“You know that I am only with you so that I have a security blanket for my old age!”.
Those words cut me to the core. Despite our problems, or more aptly put, his problems with alcohol and other drugs, I did love him, very much. As I mentioned earlier, he had a fantastic side that I absolutely adored. But with this utterance, I was left cold, I was numb with pain. I could not look at this man who openly admitted that he did not love me, and was only using me to support him.
As a result, John and I separated. He felt that he could find work in Saratoga, and he wanted to go back, with the idea that a “separation” during the week would be good for us, and that we could get together on weekends.
I found a babysitter for Jasmine who lived close to the State Building. Because of my income level, the State kicked in most of the cost of the day care so I could remain working. It all seemed to work out fairly well.
In my heart of hearts, I knew this was the beginning of the end. I knew I could never trust my heart with John again. I found myself being much happier on my own with Jasmine, as difficult as it was. I didn’t have to worry about what I would find when I got home, and things seemed to go fairly well. On weekends I would drive up to Saratoga for a day, so that John could spend some time with his daughter. As John would say, my “dancing days were over”. I no longer went to The Rafters to go dancing with John. I am certain that John did, since he loved the place so much, but for me, I did not want to leave my daughter.
One evening after work, as Jasmine and I got off the bus at our apartment, I noticed a 10 year old girl smoking. She was just hanging out in front of the building. When I asked her if her mom knew she was out here, she said yes, and that she was waiting for her boyfriend. I just looked at her, horrified. At 10 years old, she was smoking, AND had a boyfriend!!
I knew I couldn’t stay here! That could be Jasmine 9 years from that day! What could I possibly do? I couldn’t afford a place that was much better. My salary had increased from $9,800 to $10, 500 per year, but it wasn’t enough. I couldn’t take the promotional exam to lab tech (even though I was doing the work) because I didn’t have a Bachelor’s degree. I felt trapped. “Single” (essentially), with a young toddler, what could I possibly do?
I was desperate. Then I thought, what would I do, if I had no responsibilities? What would I do if I were alone? There was only one answer. GO BACK TO SCHOOL! Why couldn’t I do that, even with Jasmine to take care of?
I started researching colleges, trying to decide on what my next career move would be. I considered Albany State for languages yet again. But that didn’t seem quite right. I wanted to use college not just as an educational goal, but also as a way out of an area I felt was choking me. I needed to leave NY. I needed to head west. Where exactly, I was not sure of.
I considered various majors. I really did not know which way I should go. It was a difficult decision. I first decided that I would choose to go to college in California. It sounded sunny and warm. It sounded like a place I would like. I had never been to California, and did not know anyone there (I had lost touch with my horseshoeing pals who lived somewhere in that state).
With that decision made, I had to choose the college and major I wanted. After a lot of time with the college catalogs, I chose UC Davis, and applied under the Park Ranger program. That sounded like a lot of fun to me. To work outdoors, in a beautiful state or federal park sounded like a wonderful career.
The joy I felt when I received the acceptance letter from UC Davis bought tears to my eyes. I wept with happiness! I would be able to leave the Projects, the horrible awful neighborhood, and the gray bleak winters! There was hope that I would be able to provide a good upbringing for my daughter….and maybe the change of scenery would be good for John too. Perhaps he could be involved with theater at the University somehow. Perhaps he too would find something that he would enjoy.
I told John of my plans. He seemed to think it was a good idea, and there was no question that he wanted to move to California with us. While I did not think for a moment that things between us could ever be as they once were, I did not want to take Jasmine away from him. And perhaps, this was a way he could pay me back for supporting him, by taking care of Jasmine while I was in class.
I looked into various options of moving. A mover would be too expensive. A U-Haul was costly, but an option. Then, I called Amtrak and asked how much the cost would be to ride the train from Albany, NY to Davis, CA. I also asked if there was a limit as to how many boxes we could take. When I added up the price of the fare, and the cost per box (I was told no limit, as long as each box met a certain criteria of size, weight, and types of items), the train was cheaper than renting a U-haul (not even considering hotel rooms along the way). Plus it sounded so much easier! It was almost door to door service!
We sold everything we could possibly sell, and packed the rest into 51 boxes. We left Albany via Amtrak on the evening of Dec 28, 1985. I had $600 in my pocket, and a month’s worth of pay that would be mailed to me. My first quarter at Davis was paid as was the first month’s rent at the UC Davis Family Housing. Where more money would come from, I didn’t know for sure, but I had to take that huge leap of faith that it would work out.
Friday, December 18, 2009
My day job office just moved. We have been in our new location since Dec 1. Already I hate my commute. I know I was spoiled, and I really have little to complain about. My original commute to the old office was just over 4 miles. Nice and short. And for a time, I even rode my bike to work.
My commute now is about 9 miles. I know, it still is not far, considering what the average work commute is. It is not far in comparison to some of my co-workers who have a 35 mile commute or more. When I made my move to Modesto, I purposely chose to live fairly close to my job, because I hate a long troublesome commute, for several reasons.
The new office is more modern than our old one. I like my personal office, it has a nice huge window with roses growing outside. It is larger than the small room I had in the old office. We now have the convenience of a toilet inside our office instead of it being outside, down around the corner. No, it wasn’t an outhouse, it was just that the facilities for the building were only accessible by leaving the building and entering another door down around the corner. We have a full sized refrigerator and a sink with both hot and cold water where before we only had a tiny refrigerator and only cold water. And we are no longer next to the medical facility that the incarcerated are regularly escorted to.
Here I am in my new office.
These are the positive things. About the only negative thing (other than my drive here) is that I will miss the short walk at lunchtime to the grocery store to buy a can of soup for lunch, or some fruit. I will miss it more for the walk, I think. Walking around industrial complexes won’t be as fun. If I forget to bring something from home, I will need to drive somewhere to get lunch. I can’t just take a 10 min break to run up to the store for a soda.
With all that is good about the new office, why am I fixated on what I consider a nasty 9 mile commute, when I know that most people wish they had a commute as short as mine? I don’t even need to get on the freeway. Maybe that is what the problem is. My commute is 9 miles across the “wonderful” city of Modesto. There is no expressway across this city. They are working on it, and it will improve, but in the mean time, I am reminded every day that people here are damned lousy drivers.
Having lived in the San Jose area where the population is much larger and as a result, traffic can be much more congested, you would think that driving in a much smaller city would be much less of a hassle. Yet, for some reason, people in San Jose seem to have better driving skills. Perhaps when facing a larger volume of traffic, drivers are forced to hone their skills more than in a place where the volume is less. Those who have lived their lives in this city, are still driving as if it were the sleepy little town that was little more than a pit stop farming community along the central valley corridor on the way to LA from Sacramento.
I will often find myself behind a tank of an SUV with one occupant who insists on driving 25mph in a 45mph zone with a cell phone glued to the ear. It frustrates the hell out of me. I can’t see around the blooming idiot to see if there is a line of cars in front of her (or him). Taking my chances, I passed on the left only to see that the nearest car was about ¼ mile away.
The other idiotic thing that Modesto has on the road that somewhat resembles an express way, is a vanishing right hand lane. What engineer devised this stroke of brilliance, I don’t know. It is not a right hand turn lane. That would be an improvement. This lane continues past the intersection for less than a block before it “merges” to the left. So all the hot rods get into this lane to race in front of everyone else. They even cut in front of tailgaters just to get one car length ahead.
Often I wish I had knives that I could fire from my vehicle to slash these idiot’s tires who like to play race car, or a horn that I could blast into the ear of the slow poke who can’t find the gas pedal. Both extremes should not be allowed to drive.
The central valley has it’s quirks. There are on ramps to the freeway that are just a couple hundred feet long. Three 18 wheeler trucks would barely fit onto the on ramp. It’s scary when you think about the dense fog we get in the winter that would give you a visability even less than the length of the on ramp. It must have been designed for the horse and coach days.
I need to remind myself every morning, as I trudge out to work, that my 9 mile commute is really not that bad and that the idiots who make their commute along side of me most likely have a longer commute.
I will practice my new mantra every morning: “I love my drive to work….”
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
On the 1st day of Christmas my bead store gave to me
A flier for a big sale
On the 2nd day of Christmas my bead store gave to me
Longer store hours
Super amazing prices
On the 5th day of Christmas my bead store gave to me
On the 6th day of Christmas my bead store gave to me
A dazzling trunk show
On the 7th day of Christmas my bead store gave to me
Longer store hours
Hard to resist lampwork
A dazzling trunk show
Longer store hours
On the 9th day of Christmas my bead store gave to me
Super amazing prices
Super amazing prices
Bead storage boxes
Super amazing prices
On the 12th day of Christmas my bead store gave to me
A sad look on their face,
***5 minutes till closing***
put the beads away,
This week’s Tipsy Tuesday question comes from Carol. For sending in a question for the three of us to answer, Carol has earned a free pattern. How about you? Would you like to earn a free pattern, or do you have a question that you would like us to give our best shot at? Just let us know!
Here is Carol’s question:
I actually have 2 favorite stitches. I love Peyote and Brick stitch. You can do so much with either of them, or both of them together. The pieces I have that are shaped, I will work in both stitches. I will begin in flat even peyote by blocking out as large of a section as I can to work it in peyote. Then, all the beads that are outside of the blocked area, I will work in brick (turning the pattern on its side to work). It is seamless. You can’t tell where one stitch ended and the other began.
Both peyote and brick are great for three dimensional pieces too. My book Three Dimensional Beadwork is based on peyote stitch. The 3D pieces are lots of fun (and a challenge) to make.
For those who are beginning beadwork, I would recommend that they learn these two stitches first. I think any beader who can do both peyote and brick can really create a lot of variety of pieces. There is such a lot you can do with them. Then, you can build on to your skill set by learning other stitches to enhance your beadwork and have even more variety.
Norm the Gnome in the Know’s Response:
Favorite stitch? I will admit, I prefer the absence of them…you know…as in my lovely wife Olga without a stitch on!!
That’s what I like!!
Barney the Brainy Bruin’s Response:
I don’t like stitches at all. The last time I had one in my side, I couldn’t even reach for the berries, it hurt so bad. I went all afternoon without eating because of that darn stitch in my side. It made me turn into a grumpy bear.
Silly human! What makes you think anyone would have a favorite stitch? They hurt like heck!
Monday, December 14, 2009
Sunday, December 13, 2009
It was just before Thanksgiving, when I returned home from Colorado. Glens Falls is a small town situated on the banks of the Hudson River in the foothills of the Adirondacks. The main industries were a paper mill, and a lace factory (where my mom worked). There are a few other small industries, but not much that would promise me an interesting career. Coming home was not easy on many levels.
Every morning I would comb the newspaper and apply for any job I could. Every day, I would call, and walk to businesses (I didn’t have a car) to apply for every sort of job imaginable. I was not having luck.
By Christmas time, I was so depressed at my progress, I was at my wits end. I was tired of not being hired, mostly because of lack of experience. I decided that the next application I would fill out, I would embellish upon my experience. The jobs I was applying for were not skilled jobs, how difficult could any of these jobs be?
The next day, I applied for a job as a waitress for this little neighborhood bar. I made up places that I worked as a cocktail waitress (hoping my 4 week bar tending class I took at Cobleskill would help). I got hired. As a cocktail waitress. To begin work on New Year’s Eve! Wouldn’t you know it! Busiest night of the year in this hokey bar, and I am one of 2 cocktail waitresses, and I didn’t have a clue as to what to do. I figured, better to have one night of work and get fired than have no work at all.
From there, my job opportunities exploded. I held down 4 part time jobs. I worked at the bar Friday and Saturday nights (yes I did survive New Years Eve, luckily they were too drunk to notice my inexperience!), at a deli in a grocery store 5 evenings per week, at a vitamin/ health store 2 days every other week stocking items that came in their shipments, and McDonald’s 3 nights a week, piggy backing on my Deli job. I had to run across the street from the grocery store to punch in and close McDonalds 3 nights per week.
I didn’t mind all this activity. I was still in my early 20’s with lots of energy. It beat sitting home with nothing to do. But I still thought of horses, of Colorado, and still I thought of Chris. Only through being busy, I kept my wanderlust at bay. But I also knew that none of the jobs I had were going to satisfy me for long.
Then in May, my luck turned. My mom knew someone who had “inside connections” at Saratoga Harness Track. I was to start as a groom for Don Bromely Stables in about 3 weeks. I was so excited! A job with horses!! And the opportunity to work with a track farrier!!
One day about 2 weeks before my job at the stable was to start, I was walking home past a car dealership from my deli job. A salesman shouted out to me, “Hey baby, wanna buy a car?” I looked at him, with his very curly hair, his 3 piece white suit, shirt open nearly to his belly button and those gold chains around his neck. He had enough aftershave on to bottle it himself (it was the 70’s after all).
What good timing! “Yes!” I said to him.
“Yes. I need a truck.”
Still baffled, he pointed to the truck across the street where they kept vehicles being prepped for sale. “How about that one?”
It was 3 year-old blue Chevy Luv truck. Standard 4 on the floor. I had never driven a standard shift vehicle. He asked if I wanted to test drive it. I told him “sure” but he would have to drive it for me. This baffled him even more, but he was “game”.
When we got back from our drive around the block, I floored him to the point of no return. “I’ll buy it!”.
The first time I ever drove a standard vehicle was when I tried to drive the truck off the dealer’s lot! It took me 15 min to do this simple task. Stalling out each time I tried to get it to go forward. I figured, I had a general idea of how to make the thing go, since I watched people drive a standard. It really can’t be that hard.
What could they say at this point, since the vehicle was mine, there was nothing the dealership could say. By time I managed to get it in gear and moving, or should I say, lurching along, all 7 salesmen were watching, and laughing so hard they could hardly stand.
I did finally learn to drive the truck after many an embarrassing mishap. Every time I drove past the dealership, they dealers would always wave, grinning ear to ear. Two weeks after my memorable exit from the dealer, I moved to Saratoga Springs Harness Track. I moved into a 10 ft X 10 ft cinderblock room at the cost of $15 (refundable) for the key. My “room” was free. And I was ready to begin my job with the Trotters and Pacers.
My Race Track and Disco Days
Working at Saratoga Springs Harness Track was thrilling for me!
I was working with horses. I sat with the track farrier in the afternoons. He thought me an oddity, and humored me in the fact that as a female I had aspirations of entering this very manly world of shoeing race horses.
After 5 months of hanging around the track farrier, he knew I was serious. So he gave me an account that he did not have time for, and that I could easily handle. The account he referred me to was a stud farm on the outskirts of Saratoga. The farm had 20-30 horses at any given time. From the Stud horse and mares to the little foals. I had to go to the farm every 4-6 weeks to trim all the horses’ feet. They were all unshod, so the job was fairly easy.
Meanwhile, I continued to work for Bromley’s Stable, and later I worked for 2 other trainers during my time at the track. It was a very physical job. I started work at 5am. I fed and watered the horses under my care (4 -6 depending on their racing status). I mucked the stalls, and exercised the horses around the track. On training days, I would get the horses ready for the trainer to take out.
The training would be done at about noon-1pm. I was free until 4-4:30 when I would have to go back to the barn and feed the horses again. Then if I had a horse that was racing, I would have to return in the early evening to ready the horse for the race. If the race was an early race (first second or third race) I would be done cooling the horse, and returning the horse to the barn by about 10pm. If it was one of the last races, and especially if the horse won or placed 2nd or 3rd, I would rarely be done by midnight. The horse had to pee for drug testing before we could leave the paddock area . Some horses just won’t pee till they get back to the barn. In that case, you had to stay for 2 hours before the officials would let you go.
Then the next day would be pretty much the same.
It was a grueling work schedule. It is something I couldn’t do now, but then….gee as youths, we all had a lot of energy, didn’t we?
My best friend Kim and I liked to go to the local Disco called “The Rafters” on Friday and Saturday nights. It was a beautiful place right on Saratoga Lake. Kim and I would hurry through our work, shower and dress up to go dancing. We loved going out. We transformed ourselves from grooms to disco divas in a matter of minutes.
It was at The Rafters that I met John Wynne-Evans. I still remember the first time I saw him. Out of the dry ice fog, he appeared, dancing alone, dressed in a way I had never seen anyone dress, with fringe flying, a hat covered in rhinestones….it wasn’t an outfit, but a COSTUME. I wondered…”What the hell is that!!??”
One night (I guessed by then John was a regular there), he grabbed me from the wall, and we danced together. Then it was about 2 months later that we began our improbable and eventually doomed relationship that did last 9 years.
John is a very unique person. I guess it was that quality that attracted me to him. He is significantly older than me, which was problem number one. But he loved being with younger people, and felt people in his age bracket to be “Old and Worn out bores”.
John was from Conway N. Wales. His Aunt was Dame Edith Evans, who was an actress in old movies. Acting was also in John’s blood. He graduated from the London School of Performing Arts. He acted in summer stock with Peter Falk, Julie Andrews, Martin Sheen, long before they became stars in their own right.
John admits to having made poor choices. He really was a great actor, and could have been a marvelous success. But his road did not allow that. Long before I met him, he became seriously ill, in fact the Doctors had given him 6 months to live, but he miraculously pulled through. To recover from his illness, a friend set him up to live in Saratoga with Lena Spencer who owned Café Lena, where he then acted and directed in. It was a beatnik sort of Café where Bob Dylan, and Arlo Guthrie and other folk musician greats got their start.
John had his charm, his humor, and a wonderful personality which won me over, despite the fact that he had his problems. I thought I could “fix” those problems. Being young and eternally optimistic, (ok….stupid) what I know now is that it was impossible, I can not “fix” anyone.
For the next two years, I continued working at the track, going to the Disco with John, and even helped out with theater at Café Lena. It was a fun carefree almost fairytale sort of time that I still look back to with a great deal of fondness. But it was not to last forever.
Having spent nearly two and a half years working at the track, I had to look beyond the “now” and into the future. I looked around me and didn’t like what I saw. In the horse world, the two “Classes” are very distinct. The haves and the have-nots. I felt I would never become part of the wealthy set, but I did not fit with the non-wealthy set who seemed to like to spend their paychecks at the bar, and gambling. I also felt that this was not the sort of job I could work at until some far off retirement date. Once again, I knew I was faced with a career change.
I knew I had to leave the track. But I also needed a plan. Funny how my plans seem to involve more schooling. I toyed with the idea of learning languages once again. A friend told me she was considering going to school to become a laboratory technician. At the time, that sounded like a fascinating idea.
Why I thought going to school to become a Lab Tech would be a good idea for me, I still do not understand. Maybe it was the idea of playing mad scientist while wearing a white lab coat. It certainly was not the idea of working in a hospital. Hospitals terrify me. It all has to do with very bad memories of my mom being very sick, very often. I was always so afraid to go into that institution, and feared what I saw my mom endure. Even today, the worst inspections I will do, are at hospitals.
So why did I think that learning how to analyze blood, urine, make tissue samples, figure out species of bacteria all for a hospital or clinic setting when a hospital was the last place I wanted to see, let alone set foot in to work 8 hours a day? I must have been out of my mind.
Yet, I did enroll in the Lab Tech program at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy NY.