Friday, August 25, 2017

Embarassing Dancing and Detours to Die for

We all should have a few detours in our life- and it's even better if we have embarrassing footage to look at after it's over! (Well, This is one of mine....)

As we all do, I sometimes do google searches of things from my past. Often they are easy to find- an old boyfriend, a link to a music video, mostly things I've almost forgotten that I've just had seep back into my memory. 

This was a stumbled upon a memory of the summer when I almost died. 
Which led to the story of my one and only appearance on Italian TV.....

While watching the (excellent) TV series The Good Pope (HBO) my memory was jarred back twenty years ago, to the summer of 1998; that was when my appendix ruptured and I ended up very sick, in the hospital (coincidentally, the hospital where DaVinci did his anatomical studies) It was also the summer when I spent a month dancing with a Tuscan folk dance troupe...and we ended up on national television....

Tango, anyone?
(me in 1985)

"Una Rosa Per il 2000" (a rose for two thousand) was the name of the broadcast- it was (as they explained to me) a summer "special program" which was in celebration of the upcoming turn of the millennium. It was a typically Italian program- one which had me wonder if they just had time to fill and made up an excuse for the show. It didn't really matter- it was a little adventure and I can't believe that its actually on line! 

this is the link to the segment which has "my" dance troupe-

BLINK, and you'll miss me but I'm the shortie in the dancers that begin at 3:20. See if you can spot me! 

No, I'm not a folk dancer- I did it as a way to shake off my experience of being almost killed by a ruptured appendix and peritonitis...It's long story that I won't bore you with, the important point was I survived, but was very weak. I had lost a great deal of muscle tone, plus I was depressed from the experience. 

I needed a distraction, and a friend offered me to try her dance troupe, which needed a female dancer.

I figured, what the heck? I had just stared down the reaper...what's to be afraid of? A little light televised humiliation in a country where I had no real connections? Kid stuff, after having my recent dance with death. And so... I jumped in and danced! 

I stopped dancing with them once I decided to return to art school. It was a short chapter in my Italian life- a detour for certain, and certainly a lot of fun. I highly recommend taking detours! They spice things up and give you stories ( and embarrassing videos)

This "special" program was live broadcast in the late Summer 1998 , in the beautiful city of Viterbo Italy. it was absolutely an experience that I wouldn't have had if I didn't gather my courage and try something new. 

I tangoed with the reaper and came out dancing with a rose clenched firmly in my teeth. 
Totally goofy
Totally worth it.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Flash Flooding in the Southwest

I'm Horrified by the flash flood tragedy which took at least 9 lives this weekend near Payton Arizona, at Cold Springs. 

It hits so close to home too: I just realized that this accident happened at the exact same river and area where i went camping with friends a couple of years ago....and, as if in a horrific premonition, there was a violent flash flood during our time there, which we avoided, thanks to the warning of a local friend who knew the fickle nature of the river. 

Then, the news came in this least 9 people were swept away by that same little river- a "creek" by east coast standards.

Thankfully, in our case, we had heard from the property caretaker where we were camping that there were storms coming, which she knew could change that darling babbling brook that we had padded around in so happily just hours before- It could turn Dr Jeckyl into Mr Hyde......
And so it was, merely hours after we moved our tents , that charming cool little creek transformed into a raging, angry torrent of runoff water from the storm that was still up higher in the mountains. It had been raining where we were- a cooling drizzle which we welcomed after the heat of the day- but nothing about that rain could have predicted such a violent transformation of that creek.  
As I I said, some of us in the group had been sleeping in tents near the river- and some were actually camping directly IN the creek....where charming little flat outcrops made seemingly perfect private islands. IN FACT, There was a pair of journalists: husband and wife friends of ours who were part of the camping group, and the husband- a well known op/ed columnist for our city newspaper- wrote an article that following week about the tragedy that we had avoided...the exact thing which horrifically happened yesterday. 
A terrible coincidence/premonition....
And so, with this experience and knowledge.....
Just yesterday morning I saw someone who posted a video on instagram which showed a young kid happily scampering about a wash (dry river bed) in Tucson , as a line of water began to flow into the frame: the beginning of outflow from a mountain storm....Yes, it is a charming and magical sight- but also potentially deadly! 
I hate to be the Debbie Downer, but I decided that this was an opportunity to warn people of the potential of flash flooding in the desert. So I left a carefully worded comment which warned of the dangers of flooding. And I fretted that I had possibly offended, but I knew it was important to say. 
Anyone who has lived here and paid attention can tell you that a dry wash can become filled with runoff in an alarming rate. One of the highest causes of death in the desert during the summer Monsoon season is DROWNING, yes, in the desert. I believe this was the first "weird fact" that I learned when I first moved to the desert southwest. That a WALL of WATER can rush down these dry river beds faster than a freight train, and with even greater terrifying power- sweeping away anything in it's path, without warning. 
How tragic that once again, we are reminded of this fact of life in the desert by the senseless deaths of those people- mostly young children- who were simply having a little splash in the creek, on a hot summer Sunday. 
A reminder to : Turn around, don't drown. 
Avoid low areas in the deserts during monsoon season.
And remember- a dry sky in your area does not mean that flooding is impossible- Always remember, flash flooding in the southwest usually starts uphill, in mountain runoff. 
You cannot see it coming, so...this time of year, it might be best to forego the creek and go to the pool instead.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Chronic Lyme and painful inflammation

the short intro: I'm trying to learn as much as I can about my latest (and I dare say most accurate) diagnosis: Chronic or Late stage Lyme disease.
I've been searching for 7 years to find the correct diagnosis for my painful shoulder/neck and hip. It's a long story, but one that I've heard many Lyme patients echo. Basically, you begin with "something wrong" and then another weird something wrong...and another....with every symptom sending you in a different direction.
Oh and yes, I was tested many many times for Lyme. ELISA test, Western Blot....again and again negative. BUT, those symptoms didn't LIE!

oh what a tangled web we weave....

The way my Naturopathic Dr (Stephanie Stark ND of Blue Oak Clinic In Tucson AZ) ​ figured out what was going on with me was by doing blood testing which showed that I had high levels of inflammation. I then was tested for HLA results (honestly don't understand what these are look for a post on HLA testing in the near future)

What I'm starting to understand is that not all inflammation is equal- the remedies used for say a swollen/twisted ankle simply don't work on a swollen/Lyme ankle. (or shoulder, in my case)>

This chronic inflammation causes horrible pain....(you know, the pain that has sent me thru surgery, and 5 MRI's, four acupuncturists, three Physical therapists, two cranial sacralists, and a partridge in a pear tree......

so I'm trying to learn what I can do to make it less intense. (Unfortunately, popping an ibuprofen won't do much other than eventually hurt my kidneys....)

My exhaustion and pain are keeping me from doing much work in my studio (other than filling orders) and I've not been thinking much about my creative process, so the tone of this blog is taking a turn. No longer about creativity and metalsmithing's becoming a source point for healthcare information for chronic Lyme, CIRS (chronic Inflammatory response syndrome) and Mold Toxicity.
three things that my Drs are convinced that are the root of my problems.

At this point on I will be using this blog mostly to post links to information I am collecting for my understanding of this confusing and unfairly controversial diagnosis.

this is a link to today's reading... about Lyme and chronic inflammation:

I hope this is helpful! Now I'm off to do more research...Maureen

November 2017:
Update on my shoulder pain!
I found a shoulder specialist who (after many tests and injections) agreed to try a laparoscopic exploratory surgery on my shoulder- just as a definitive diagnosis; to really see exactly what was going on. He was really skeptical that he'd find anything- but he knew I'd been in pain for years so it would at least give me the knowledge of what to expect: a lifetime of continued pain and medication or possible healing.
Well.... I'm thrilled to say that he found that my bicep tendon was severely torn ("to sheds") which he then I'm now -FINALLY- on the mend.
How this happened is another big story- stemming from my neck surgery eight years ago. I'm not going into this now for good reasons but it might be the prelude to a legal fight.
But today I focus on good news.....the knowledge that my shoulder is FINALLY GOING TO HEAL!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Canadian Postal problems

Important news for my Canadian customers: I am not shipping to Canada at this time due to the Canadian postal worker's disputes.

How I was informed (by Etsy):
"Due to an ongoing labor dispute, Canada Post has informed us that it may halt acceptance of new shipments and delivery of mail and parcels beginning on July 2nd. At this time, all shipments to, within, and from Canada that are handled by Canada Post will be affected until the dispute is resolved. This includes shipments into Canada from other national carriers like USPS and Royal Mail" 

Sign up to receive Canada Post labor dispute updates in real time:

Visit the Canada Post press page for other news related to the strike:

I'm hoping that the disputes are handled swiftly, and I can return to selling to my Canadian customers! Until then, I'm afraid I'll have to cancel all Canadian orders made during the strike.
thank you for reading this important info!
- Maureen BZ "Cosmo's Moon Jewelry"

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

My PCC Metalsmithing Classes are filling fast!

I'm so Excited to see that my Fall Semester Metalsmithing Class at Pima Community College is 2 students away from being FULL!!
If you ever thought about taking metals lessons from me, here is your chance!
I run a fun class with lots of demonstrations and assistance; my students are from all walks of life with a variety of experience in the arts/metals. From "never worked in metal" to "I used to have a jewelry shop" and Art Majors to Hobbyists, with fresh out of High school to Retired wanting to play..
my metals classroom is a welcoming and exciting place to learn a lifelong love of metalsmithing!
One of my last demos for the beginning class is how to set up a simple home studio so students can continue playing with metals at home.

Over 55? Get a HUGE discount! A Lifelong Learner discount of 50% on the base in-state tuition for credit courses has been implemented. learn about the cost of taking classes at PCC here:
To qualify for the Lifelong Learner discount, you must be 55 years old on or before the first day of classes in the semester for which you are registering. So there ARE advantages to my greying hair!

Classes are Held at Pima Community College's West campus, the Art building in the Metals studio is remarkably well stocked with metals tools and big benches. Students registered in the class can take advantage of the many Open Studio hours during non-class time.

As I said, Only 2 spots remaining! (and then you get put on the waiting list) This is really exciting, because if the administration sees that this class is filling (with wait list) the school will most likely add another class for the Spring 2017 semester! 

again, find the course description here:

After years of uncertainty with a new teacher every semester, (due to their restrictive application requirements I never applied for the job) Pima Community College was in danger of losing it's Metalsmithing department forever! 
Thankfully, I have been given the chance to revive the class and return it to a thriving and exciting place for creative people to explore the art of small scale metal work.

 For the next two years my goal is to work on the re-building the metals department.
I'm creating new projects and demos this summer to share with my students next Fall- I hope that you are there to join the fun!


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