2014 Year in Review

Is it really 2015? 2014 went by in a whirl. We knew it would be a lot of travel and planning would be the key to survival; much less enjoyment of the experiences.

The first event of the year, aside from our normal medieval 12th Night, was a trip to Left Coast Crime in Monterey during March for a long weekend. Left Coast Crime is the western mystery reader writer conference. About 800 people decended on Monterey and the lovely Portola Hotel. It was a great opportunity to see friends, learn about new books, make new friends, and enjoy the ambience that is Monterey. We did get to see seals, otters, and seagulls -- lots of seagulls.

Then it was time to hop in the car to drive to Taos by way of Albuquerque and more. I had the opportunity to get into a class with 2 major fiber artists - Jan Beaney and Jean Littlejohn for a week in Taos at the Mabel Dodge Luhan House. We decided that it was a perfect opportunity to meet the members of my family that I had recently discovered and see parts of the southwest that had been a large part of the stories about my mother's youth.

The first stage was a 2 day drive to Albuquerque. We stayed at a B&B in Old Town and spent time roaming around the Old Town . Yes I frequented the fiber shops and the sock shops. We went to the Church Street Cafe for dinner. It is an adobe home and they made enchiladas the way I have always had them growing up -- flat, layered, with an egg on top!!!!! We meet my cousins Roseann, her son Paul and cousin Betty Jo for dinner as well. My grandfather's generation kept the families in touch, but something happened and the connection was lost and now has been refound. We also learned that in New Mexico there are 2 sauces - red and green chili sauce. A key piece of information.

We left Albuquerque and drove to Tucumcari. Another cousin Yetta and her husband Philip own the T4 Ranch. Her grandmother, Yetta, purchased the original parcels over 100 years ago. It seems several parts of the family were into ranching.

We then drove to Las Vegas, New Mexico. Cold and windy. My family has roots in Las Vegas and we visited the Jewish cemetary there and the historical museum. Then on the way to Taos we took a detour to Ocate - a "T" of 2 roads and half dozen buildings. My mother, and her family, used to tell lots of stories about the Ranch at Ocate expecially about visiting during the summer. There are 2 surviving buildings that were the Weil or Goldsmith & Weil stores in Ocate. The farm house is there too. Tony, whose now owns the land, store, and house, took us on a tour of the house. His family purchased it all and added onto the house but the fireplaces are original as well as some of the room details. It truly was a special treat. As we left Ocate, it began to snow lightly. It made for a lovely drive to Taos. [For more information on the family, farm, house, cemetaries check out our trip pictures.]

The Mabel Dodge Luhan House and conference center made for a lovely place to hold the class. The food was wonderful. The rooms small but quite adequate. The conference room well light. The place is very atmospheric having been the home to many famous artists in Mabel's lifetime, and since. The class was one to grow as an artist and stretch the boundaries of mixed media fiber art. The class focused on taking elements of design in nature and transforming them into 3 demensional fiber art. Many in the class were professional fiber arts teachers, and well over half the class have taken from Jan and Jean many times before. This was my 2nd class with them and was, as always, very inspiring. We also visited some places in the area that do or foster fiber arts. Will spent some time with a couple of the other husbands on walks or drives, including visiting the Toltec and Cumbres Railway (still mostly closed down for the winter), that his Dad works on as a volunteer. He also went hiking at 9000' in the slushy snow.

We left Taos for a quick visit to Santa Fe. It was snowing in Santa Fe so just spent some time walking around the downtown - and yes visiting the fiber and sock shops. We also stopped to see the Harvey House which is now a hotel.

May was spent recovering and then doing our annual medieval immersion weekend at our friend's home in Columbia. The fighting, the food, the costumes.......the pagentry. Food for our souls.

June was my Embroiderers Guild of America Region Seminar in Sparks (Reno) Nevada. I was chair of the conference. My team had been working for the past 2 years to make this event happen - 4 days 5 nights. I took 3 classes in beading - embroidery and freeform peyote from Leah Ready. The first was a basic bead embroidery class but each kit was a bit different so we could make it special. The next was the rather fluffy bracelet in spiral base with free form peyote additions. Again each kit was different so we could make it our own. The last class was embroidery but each of us had to design the cuff style bracelet. Mine is still in the works. We made it a fun conference and every one seemed to have a great time. Will was a trooper, despite catching a cold, helping every day to facilitate the events.

July/August/September was mostly planning the programming for Bouchercon. It was the conference that ate Will's and my brains for the better part of the next few months. I was corraling the information on panelists - about 700 panelists, with programming over 4 days and frequently 10 - 14 events happening at the same time. Fortunately we had a good team. Bouchercon is the national mystery reader writer fan conference. It was planning for Long Beach in November with 1500-1800 participants, 5 hotels, and and and........Will was handling the website updates including all the programming information and making the website interactive.

In September, Will and I stepped up as the territorial Baron and Baroness of our local area. What this means, is that we help provide the focal point for our group's activities.The event was marked by tournament fighting, archery, arts and sciences activities and classes, a large potluck feast, and bardic circle. In many ways it was quite magical. Our stepping up outfits were quite colorful - black and gold cotes (dress for me, tunic for Will). Plus I had a white coif and veil, purple tippets for my dress, and red hood. Will had purple hose, red hood, and white coif. The colors of our Barony are Black, White, Red, Purple, and Gold. Unfortunately pictures of the event were lost. We will hold our positions for a 2 year stint traditionally. It also means that we will be attending more events and adding to the ambiance as a type of sitting "royalty".

This year I also took my first Apprentice. In our medieval organization, those of us of certain rank sometimes take a student. The relationship is set by the parties. At October Crown, in a small short ceremony, in front of friends and family, I took my first Apprentice - Derile. I hope I can provide the guidance that she needs for her studies. We like and respect each other; and frequently discussions dissolve into giggles.

October was the EGA National Seminar in Pheonix. We drove to Pheonix and took a couple days to visit things in the area - museums including the Desert Botanical Museum. I grew up hearing Mom talk about the desert but between driving through it a couple times and this fabulous botanical garden, I now have a much better appreciation of what desert means. We also took the time to go to a James Beard award winning restaurant - Binks. Well worth it!!!! I took a class from Tanya Berlin in goldwork. Learned lots of new techniques and really added to my comfort level with the medium.

5 of us capped off the Seminar with a trip to the Grand Canyon. We managed to see 2 sunrises and 2 sunsets; as well as the Harvey House connection. A friend of Will's from way back now works as an historic architect for the Park Service. We meet up with her for breakfast as El Tovar. She really helped us understand the place and map out how to use our 1 day there for the best. We went to Hermits Rest and stood under the bell so we will return some day.

Returned home to a flurry of Bouchercon work. Got the App up and running. I had pushed from the time I signed onto the project to have an App so was pleased to see it so well used - not quite 50% of the attendees downloaded it. Not bad for the first time this paper loving group had an App. Bouchercon was also a family affair. Will's sister Karen was the Treasurer and Registrar for the conference. It was all hands on deck for stuffing the bookbags for all the participants. We became very familiar with our corner of Long Beach which did include a tour of the Queen Mary and dinner at the Starlight Lounge.

Will and I treated ourselves to the new Cirque du Soliel show Kurios. Think it is the best yet and urge anyone to see any Cirque show that comes your way.

Christmas was at the Ranch with all of Will's siblings, spouses, and children and his Mom. Lots of good food, fun, craziness and all that a large family visit should be.

We started 2015 with our traditional 12th Night celebration. We also managed to meet up with yet another cousin (Henry) and his wife from the Goldsmith line.

Will's work was challenging this year with new technology, lots of deadlines, and of course constantly being interrupted for travel. I have had a couple cases, which is quite sufficient for me to keep my hand in the field. I still am active at the Region level for EGA.

We hope 2015 will be less challenging. I would like to spend more time with my art and finally get back to working on family history stuff. We hope you have a great 2015 and that it is everything you want it to be.