Friday, June 24, 2011

A Record Breaking High Wire Walk

Wednesday night I watched Nik Wallenda make a record breaking tight rope walk on the Discovery Channel's "Life on a Wire".    I wish I could embed a video for you but for some reason I can't get the blogger video to work ... maybe it's just me or maybe its blogger... again!

I must admit that the information I had gleaned from the June 22nd edition of the Sarasota - Manatee Herald Tribune was not completely correct.  It was stated that the premiere episode of this new reality series would be in San Juan Puerto Rico where Nik and his mother, Delilah, would walk across a 300 foot high wire.  In truth the episode was filmed in the Bahamas where Nik, his family and crew set up his high wire rigging between two high rise luxury hotels ... spanning a distance of 2,000 feet and over 200 feet in the air. 

I held my breath as he went across the wire and can only imagine how suspenseful and terrifying it must have been to watch live from the audience far, far below.  Nik first went across the cable on a bike and then later ventured across this huge expanse on foot and holding a balance pole.  Afternoon tropical winds had picked up, the warning of an approaching storm.  Nik's shirt flapped and fluttered about him but he was on the wire and now committed, there was no turning back. 
Meanwhile, on the ground below, his wife and mother rushed about frantically giving commands to the men holding the stabilizing cables that kept the high wire from swaying.  "Pull back tighter !  See the the way that cable sags?  Lean that way, take that slack out to the cable."  The two women had a lot at stake here, Nik was a husband to one and the father of her children and to the other he was a beloved son.   Both women knew that a fall from such heights meant certain death and the Wallenda family was no stranger to death.  In the past, through 7 generations of Wallendas, there had been several injuries and a number of lives lost in fatal falls ... one of which was a fall that involved a multi person high wire pyramid.  The fear factor was extreme and very real.  Breaths held, hearts stopped until Nik finally reached the safety of the building at other end of the cable.

As I said, I wish I could have embedded a video for you, however I did receive this from Delilah this morning on facebook :

Delilah Wallenda, a circus high-wire acrobat and the seventh generation of the Flying Wallendas circus family, walks across a 300-foot-long wire suspended 100 feet in the air between two towers of the Conrad Condado Plaza Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Saturday June 4, 2011. Delilah's grandfather, the German-born Karl Wallenda, tried to perform the same feat in 1978 but fell to his death at age 73. Delilah and her son Nik Wallenda commemorated the famous family patriarch by successfully completing the same stunt simultaneously Saturday. (AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)


Wednesday, June 22, 2011


The Flying Wallendas ... they fly through the air with the greatest of ease those daring young men on the Flying Trapeze.
Delilah, beautiful, vibrant, light, breezy and clever. It was hard to believe that this lovely woman could actually be a grandmother but the fact was she’s not only a grandmother but a high wire artist as well. A member of the famous "Flying Wallendas" that performed world wide and astounded audiences with their tempts of fate. Perched high above the ground the Wallenda family do their amazing acts of showmanship, flying from trapeze to trapeze, twirling, turning and somersaulting through thin air.  But this is not their only fame, the Wallendas are especially famous for their performances on the high wire, far above the ground and without a safety net. Risky? Definitely !  However these are professionals, the Wallenda are artists that never take their skills lightly, theirs is a life of constant practice, practice and more practice.  Performing high in the air is in their blood and the gene, if one wishes to call it that, is passed on from generation to generation.

In 1978 Karl Wallenda, the patriarch of the Wallenda family, performed in San Juan, Puerto Rico. It would be a performance that no one would forget, one that would make news world wide. Karl would plummet to his death ! 73 years old at the time, Karl was sharp, stable and knew what he was doing, his death was not caused by diminished abilities but by improper rigging.  Rigging is the link between life and death for a high wire artist,  just one cable not in the proper position or not tighten enough could spell tragedy.

I first met Delilah in the early 90’s at the Palm Aire Country Club and Restaurant where she worked as their charming hostess. She was one of those rare dark haired beauties that turned heads when she walked by and whenever her name Wallenda was mentioned people would quip; "Oh are you one of the Flying Wallenda’s ?". To which she’d respond; "Yes I am". You could only imagine the jaws that dropped. "Are you serious?" Delilah would smile ever so sweetly and explained that she is the granddaughter of the famous Karl Wallenda and that , yes, she performs on both trapeze and on the high wire.

Tonight, June 22nd, the Discovery Channel will be airing a new series about "Life on the Wire", a true reality series featuring Karl’s descendants his great-grandson, Nik Wallenda and Nik’s mother, Delilah Wallenda. The first episode airs at 10 PM tonight and will take the audience back to San Juan where the grandson Nik will walk across a 300 foot long cable, stretched across a span between two tall buildings, 100 feet above ground ... Delilah will accompany him.

I intend to watch this show as I’ve never seen Delilah perform before. Though it was well known that at the Wallenda house their backyard was home to a full rig of trapeze and high wire equipment and that at certain times the public could witness them during practice sessions. I was never so fortunate to witness this, each time we drove by their home I’d glance into the tree tops to see the high wire rigging empty but filled with promises of an amazing family with incredible abilities.

If you can I suggest you tune in the program, I have a feeling Nik Wallenda will be making his great grandfather very proud.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

How to Show Your Ankle ?

Show a little leg ... show a lot of leg! It’s summer and the season is perfect for shorts, Capri pants and short skirts ...  and ankles!  Nothing looks quite so nice as a cute pair of sandals and a pretty ankle sporting an attractive ankle bracelet.

Recently I beaded two anklets and I’m pounding my head against the wall wondering what I should do.   It’s summer in South Florida so local galleries and boutiques have seen a drastic drop in business and, as far as my etsy shop goes, well I could list sterling silver beads and findings all day long and they’d sell like hot cakes ... as long as I list them for almost what I purchased them for ! If I list my jewelry it sits there ignored and no one even gives it a heart. So what to do ?
Photo above ... I beaded this from #11 Delica seed beads in Cobalt blue and Gold adding a picot trim in #15 cobalt blue Charlotte beads.  Wire heart and  extender chain are also handcrafted by me and links are embellished  with light cobalt blue firepolished Czech glass 3 mm beads.  Measures 9.5 to 10 inches depending upon which link is used for the 14k gold filled spring clasp.  Price $16 (includes shipping and handling.)

Photo below ... Sunflowers.  I love sunny, summer sunflowers and I had some pretty matte green Toho glass seed beads that were in the perfect shade of those big, green sunflower leaves.  So using bright yellow seed beads and a glass seed bead color called Rainbow Rootbeer, I beaded a row of happy sunflowers against a lush green background.  It reminds me of the fields of sunflower we drove past as we crossed the state of Kansas.  My handcrafted clasp is made from a perky yellow glass disc bead and has 3 beaded rings that measures from 9 to 10 inches.  The last ring is embellished with a pale yellow glass teardrop bead.  Price $14 (includes shipping and handling) 

If anyone is interested you can contact me either through my blog profile or my etsy shop AlmostPrecious and I'd be happy to list it specially for you.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Look Ma ... No Thumbnails ....

I've done some dumb things in my life, matter-of-fact I've done a LOT of dumb things in my life. I'm sure I've done enough stupid things that I could dedicate a whole blog to them; "All the stupid, dumb things I've done in my Lifetime Blog".
So what's one more thing to add to the ever growing list ?

I have thin, fragile fingernails and when I do wire work my nails take a beating. I tend to use them as a fulcrum to bend the wire into the "neck" of a loop. After making several wrapped loops using my thumbnail as a bending point I usually end up with a chip or a notch in the middle of the outer edge of my thumbnails. That's not normally a problem until I try to do seed bead work and then the tough nylon beading thread always finds its way into that notch and most of the time it causes the nail edge to split down towards my thumb. Recently, like a couple of days ago, I had this happen and I thought I'd take care of it before it got worse or before it got painful. I've tried bandaides before but they're awkward and it's hard to do bead work with a bandaide wrapped around the tips of ones thumbs. I recalled hearing that some ladies used super glue to help hold a cracked or split nail into place until it grew out but this was a little different since it was right down the middle of my nail. Anyway I devised a plan, I found some gauze and carefully cut it to fit the top part of my thumbnail and then I glued it down with a healthy dowsing of instant glue (Loctite 454) . When it was dry I coated both nails with clear nail polish and thought I was all set. It was the next day as I was washing some dishes that I realized that one of the make shift nail splints had come off in the wash. No problem, I'll just reattach a new one.

The first thing I did was take nail polish remover to remove the clear nail polish and any traces of the old 454 ... OMG ... the upper part of my thumbnails have dissolved. No joke, the glue had etched half way through the nail and I could see and feel a very distinct line where the healthy nail is and where the nail USED to be. Insert very strong curse words here and a whole lot of them !!!

Now instead of a week or two to wait for the split to grow out I will have to wait 2 or 3 months for half of my nail to grow out. Yeah this HAS to rank right up there with some of the dumbest things I've ever done.
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