To start, we lost our beloved Lily on Saturday. Losing anyone is painful, but pets just wipe me out, emotionally. Lily was smart, yet sometimes crabby, demanding, but understanding. She was the perfect companion, and her 13 years went by way too swiftly.
I can't tell you how different our home feels without her. But the show must go on, so just 48 hours after her passing, the first woodworking class commenced in my new school.
Wow... it feels very odd to say "my school" but that's what it is. It's been a dream for a very long time of mine. See, I've taught in I-don't-know-how-many different woodshops over the last 15 years. In some cases. I've had to bring in my own tools, clamps and even a tablesaw, when the school's saw was broken. I've kept a running list in the back of my head - when I start my own school, I'll have this or that. Well, I finally have the opportunity to do that, and while it's still a work in progress, I'm finally setting up things the way I want them to be. It's WAY cool. But on top of doing things MY way, I've had to rely on the generosity of friends and aquaintences. And let me tell you, these people in my life have been absolutely amazing. AMAZING. I'm blown away at their generosity, and I'd like to give some thanks here to the many people who have been great in my time of need. In no particlar order, I'll just jump in. Oh, I take that back, I'll sort of run through the list chronologically. It might be the best way for me to not forget anyone.
First, I really have to thank my family - mom and Jill, who have been there since the beginning, listening to my mania and whining, until I decided to take the plunge and actually get this thing going. They endured more discussions and played devils advocate better than anyone else, answering me honestly, and giving me a few "snap out of it!" Cher moments. I thank them from the bottom of my heart for putting up with me during this time.
Sharon Gainsburg has been a mentor, a friend, and a peer, offering her wisdom and encouragement in ways that only another artist and teacher could do. Sharon runs her own school here in town - a marble carving studio - and you can feel the love in her classroom. She's been invaluable for educating me about the ins and outs of the Las Vegas licensing system, not to mention giving me amazing support when I hit a few bumps in the road.
Dan Layman and his office manager Rick L'Esperance of Exotic Millworks used to occupy the space that I moved into. They were so helpful with tips and trivia about the space, names of people to call, and general support for what I was attempting. They said they felt like there was a good vibe in their shop, and hoped it would stay in the room for me and my tools. I think it has. Along the way, Dan loaned me everything from scaffolding to tools, shared misceallaneous remodeling tips, and even pitched in on a couple of tool repairs when he could see I was exhausted. These two run an amazing local cabinet shop that is growing by leaps and bounds. I wish them nothing but smooth sailing and continued growth in that endeavor, they're great guys.
My good friends Charles and Adrienne couldn't have been more helpful, or more supportive, and for that, I am so very thankful. Charles is a master electrician, and let's get this straight - you know that line about "diamonds are a girl's best friend?" Not true... electricians are. He was kind and patient, helpful and generous with his time. Adrienne was a constant source of encouragement from the very beginning, and kept us fed while Charles and I worked together. I don't want to think about how much harder the woodshop set-up would have been without these two in my life.
Larry Yule, of AG Yule & Sons Custom Woodworking, has been incredibly kind, helpful, and freely offered the depth of his experience to me, to which I am completely indebted. Larry is a great woodworker, he's a straight shooter and such a nice guy, I wish he was my brother. When I couldn't get my jointer adjusted correctly after knocking it around during my move, Larry was johnny-on-the-spot for me, stopping by and helping me out. Even sweeter, Larry presented me with a "studio warming" gift of an awesome H. O. Schumacher & Sohn Saw Blade. I'd never used one before, but now I'm a big fan. I've only known him about six months, but he's really one of those great no-BS kind of people that your rarely come across in life. I'm lucky to have met him.
I'd be forgetting a big part of my success if I forgot to mention my buddy, Dave Tome, back in Ohio. He's an electrical genious, and more geeky about tools than I am. I can't count the number of times I called Dave for advice, with an electrical question, or just to generally complain about life. Dave gets me, and I get him. Life would be a just a little more dull without hearing Dave's stories or speaking to him during our weekly bitch sessions.
I mentioned in a recent blog post that I'm especially grateful to Stacey Campbell, whose amazing artwork now adorns my walls. After our four day painting marathon, we were both exhausted but so invigorated by what she'd accomplished. Stacey's work is a treasure waiting to be discovered, and I know a gallery or two are going to snatch up her work and spring her headfirst into the LA art scene. She deserves every bit of that attention, her work is that good. While Stacey was in town, her family including Janet, Helen and Terry kept us fed, and gave us much love and support. Once again, I'm so blown away by people's generosity.
Speaking of generosity, sometimes out of the blue, someone comes along and just does something sweet "just because". One of my current students, Larry M. unexpectedly stopped in while Stacey and I were painting, with pizza and sodas in hand. I get a warm feeling just writing that, it was just such a sweet (and unexpected!) gesture.
And finally, I'd like to thank the students both past and present, that have enrolled in my classes. Without these current students, all of these efforts would have been for naught. It takes a lot of trust and a leap of faith to enroll in a woodworking class with a perfect stranger. I'm humbled by their trust, and pledge to make every class a great experience for every single person. I miss my old group of students, and it's testament to our bond that I still correspond and visit many of them when I return to Ohio. I can only hope to work with such a diverse, friendly group of people here, in Las Vegas.
So - here's a sincere thanks to all of you, you've truly made a difference in my life.
If I've forgotten anyone here, shame on me.