Friday, September 23, 2005

Friday Book Review

Gee, I'm suddenly having good luck with new authors! I loved, loved, loved Linnea Sinclair's Finders Keepers

Not only does this book feature a terrific heroine in the persona of freighter captain Trilby Elliot, it's one of the few books I've read besides Alan Dean Foster's ”Splinter of the Mind's Eye” that manages to TRULY capture the feeling of the original "Star Wars." Seriously, if Trilby were a man, she'd be Han Solo. And yet, the book doesn't come off as a cheesy rip-off, either. Which is good because heaven knows the stores are already hip-deep in cheesy Star Wars rip-offs. Whatever happened to building your OWN world?


Anyway, RUN, don't walk, to pick up a copy of "Finders, Keepers."

I also finished re-reading the second book of Tanya Huff's ”Keeper’s” series, “Second Summoning”, which I already mentioned in a previous blog entry so I won't say much more about it except that if you need a laugh...this series is so worth the bucks. I'm usually not a big fan of talking animals in stories, but Austin the cat is a really outstanding character. I've never even owned a cat (damn allergies), but I'm pretty sure if I did, this is what he'd sound like!

Lastly, I've started Holly Lisle's ”Talyn : A Novel of Korre”and all I can say so far is "yawn." That’s a big disappointment because I usually love Lisle's work. I'm already a third of the way into the book and the two main characters haven't even met each other yet. I hate when that happens.

Get the action going already!

And what is it with the authors today who think we need 17 chapters of background explanation before there's even a hint of a plot developing? Didn't your high school English teacher explain how important it is to grab your reader's attention early and never let go of it? Sheesh - get to the point!

Besides, the whole storyline (such as it is thus far) has a definite reek of a certain "Star Trek" episode about two factions who've been warring forever because they've managed to make war sort of clean and distant (no property damage - people just get identified as casualties and report to be disintegrated as requested). I don't know the name of the episode (hey, I'm not THAT big a geek!) but anyone who’s watched much "Star Trek" is sure to know what I'm talking about. Well, if this story ever turns around and gets going, I'll give it a full review.

But I'm not holding my breath.

This weekend will involve car washing, kid and grandparent transportation duties and a baby shower. Boy, somewhere, Paris Hilton is jealous of me!

Happy weekend all!


Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Plum...or Aubergine?

When I was working on a new necklace last night, I thought the colors in it sort of reminded me of the dress that Felicity Huffman wore to the Emmy's on Sunday night. I've heard that color being described as "aubergine."

But, before I went running off to name my new creation "something aubergine," I thought I better double check that the commentator who used that word to describe the color of Huffman's dress actually knew what he was talking about. Apparently, he didn't because Webster's defines "aubergine" as:

"n 1: hairy upright herb native to southeastern Asia but widely cultivated for its large glossy edible fruit commonly used as a vegetable 2: egg-shaped vegetable having a shiny skin typically dark purple but occasionally white or yellow"

Soooo...I don't really think I want my jewelry designs to be associated with anything "hairy" or "upright" or any combination thereof. That description is more aptly applied to the lovely e-mail spam I get each day. (insert rant about useless Hotmail junk filters).

Besides, even if you make the leap to "aubergine" being used to describe the COLOR of the the plant it actually refers to, the dictionary says it's closer to eggplant. Which is a dark, dark purple. Which is most definitely not the color of Huffman's dress NOR of my new design.

So, I've decided to call it "Plum Perfect":

And yeah, I know, it's not really plum, either, but I already have a design called "Pink Perfection" so I can't go that route.

This design is a result of seeing some leftover beads (the peacock pearls I used this weekend and the darker pink shell disks from last week) together in the "go back" pile and thinking hmmmmm...those might be interesting together. Add in some leftover sterling silver chain and this pretty little "Y" necklace was born.

And no, I'm not going to change the name to "Leftover Perfect" either.

This may end up being one of my hurricane auction pieces...if not, I'll have it up for sale on the website later this week.

In other news, I'm off today on my lunch hour to sign up for booth space at an upcoming local craft fair. Hope I get a good spot so wish me luck!


Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Why Bill Maher rules!

In case you missed HBO's "Late Night with Bill Maher," here is his open letter to the President:

"Mr. President, this job can't be fun for you any more.There's no more money to spend--you used up all of that. You can't start another war because you used up the army. And now, darn the luck, the rest of your term has become the Bush family nightmare: helping poor people. Listen to your Mom. The cupboard's bare, the credit cards maxed out. No one's speaking to you. Mission accomplished.

Now it's time to do what you've always done best: lose interest and walk away. Like you did with your military service and the oil company and the baseball team. It's time. Time to move on and try the next fantasy job. How about cowboy or space man?

Now I know what you're saying: there's so many other things that you as President could involve yourself in. Please don't. I know, I know. There's a lot left to do. There's a war with Venezuela. Eliminating the sales tax on yachts. Turning the space program over to the church. And Social Security over to FannieMae. Giving embryos the vote.

But, Sir, none of that is going to happen now. Why? Because you govern like Billy Joel drives. You've performed so poorly I'm surprised that you haven't given yourself a medal. You're a catastrophe that walks like a man. Herbert Hoover was a shitty president, but even he never conceded an entire city to rising water and snakes.

On your watch, we've lost almost all of our allies, the surplus, four airliners, two trade centers, a piece of thePentagon and the City of New Orleans. Maybe you're just unlucky?

I'm not saying you don't love this country. I'm just wondering how much worse it could be if you were on the other side.

So, yes, God does speak to you. What he is saying is: 'Take the hint.'"

Monday, September 19, 2005

This Weekend and Northern Lights

I wish I'd had a more exciting weekend to report about, but it mostly consisted of chores, church, working on jewelry and taking Ryan to the zoo. Where I learned that a pile of dirt to run and slide in is FAR more interesting than 16 different varieties of monkeys.


Although, I can't really say that I blame Ryan all that much...I wanted to get out of the monkey area pretty badly myself. Did you know that the smell of monkey piss can actually strip the lining of your sinuses in about 30 seconds flat? Neither did I...til Saturday.

Oh, and I also got complaints that this zoo doesn't have a lion. But then again, this is the same kid who asked me today for a "broccoli milkshake" and insisted that that's his favorite so I suppose I can't take the lack-of-lions complaint all that seriously. Where on earth did he come up with the idea for a broccoli milkshake?

My plans to exhibit at a hurricane relief benefit show on the Queen Mary this next weekend have fallen through, but I'm still planning to do a show in Irvine on Nov. 12th so stay tuned for details.

In the meantime, here's the one piece I managed to get completed this weekend:

I call it "Northern Lights" but I'm not in love with the name so if anyone has any suggestions...lemmee have 'em. As usual, the scan doesn't really do it justice. The pearls are peacock pearls and are actually all shades of purple, plum, mauve, green and blue and the labradorite pendant has a nice spot of blue flash right in the center of it that the scanner didn't pick up at all.

And yes, I know, I need a good camera. Just as soon as I win the lotto...

Both this piece and the black bangle bracelet from last week are now up on the website and available for purchase!

C'est tout aujourd'hui! A la prochaine...


Friday, September 16, 2005

Friday Book Recommendation

It’s time for the Friday Book Recommendation(s)! Remember last week when I mentioned Wen Spencer’s “A Brother’s Price”? Well, I enjoyed it so much that I went looking for her other books. I had hoped to get the Ukiah Oregon series, but as usual $()#&@)!! Barnes and Noble let me down. One store didn’t have any of the books and the other store only had the LAST one in the series. I am sooooo not going to start reading a series by picking up the last book. That’s just dumb.

I really miss the days when book shopping meant more choices than just Barnes and Noble and ordering on-line from Amazon. Here’s to the memory of Crown, Walden, Bookstar and all the other wonderful stores that used to actually carry a wide selection instead of, as B&N does, just the bestsellers and most recent books (except that they can’t even get that part right as I often have to wait a month or more for a “new release” to hit their shelves).

Okay, rant over (at least temporarily). Back to my story. I had to content myself with another Spencer book, ”Tinker.” It’s a stand-alone so it solved my whole series dilemma. And wow…Spencer hits another home run! I really enjoyed this book! It was a great blend of science and fantasy and nice to see the female character being the techno-genius for a change. Add in some handsome elves and some pan-dimensional bad guys and voila! Lots of fun. I have to admit there were a couple of false notes regarding the romance between Tinker and Windwolf. I felt it blossomed a little too quickly and that there were some important questions that Tinker should’ve asked that she never seemed to get around to, but then again, Windwolf is awfully H-O-T so I might’ve forgotten a few important things myself given the chance to hit that.

Also, regarding last week’s discussion on Michelle Sagara’s “Cast in Shadow”, I have to admit that the conclusion turned out to be a little more satisfying than I thought it would be, but still, it wasn’t enough to really turn me around on this book. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll be picking up the sequel. Still, it’s a shame because the world-crafting is really top-notch. One of the more interesting backgrounds I’ve come across in a long time. So, if deliberately unclear and mysterious conversations that go nowhere don’t bug you…it might still be worth picking up.

I’ve moved on to a couple of other books this week, but haven’t finished them yet so I better save them for next week’s review. At least one of them is already looking fantastic so stay tuned!

In other news, I spent my lunch hour yesterday interviewing a pre-school for Ryan. A friend gave me a 3 page list of questions that she used during her search for pre-schools and I put this poor school director through the ringer. How is that I can be totally doing the “good mom” thing and still feel like a total dork in the process? The one good part is that I took Ryan by there later in the day so they could assess whether they’d put him in the 2 year room or the 3 year room and he was just awesome! He followed all the directions and when they got out shapes for him to play with…the kid named ALL of them correctly, including “octagon” for heaven’s sake! I try not to brag on him too much, but I was SO proud of the little guy. Of course, they said he’s definitely ready for the 3 year old room. Now, DH and I just have to come up with the $$$$!

Damn, pre-schools are expensive!

So, looks like we’ve got a typical weekend coming up. The car needs a smog check, the carpets need to be shampooed, I’ve got jewelry to make and organize for a possible upcoming show and the piece de resistance? I get to spend part of a day fighting the crowds at Babies R Us looking for a shower gift for my sister-in-law’s shower next weekend. And, according to the registry this morning, some b*tch already bought the gift I was going to get which means I’ll have to actually SHOP AROUND to find something instead of just running in, grabbing and checking out.

Sigh. I hate that frickin’ store.

I need a drink already. Cosmo’s anyone?

Happy Weekend, all!


Wednesday, September 14, 2005

How Bush Blew It - Newsweek Hurricane Katrina Coverage -

Yet again, Newsweek provides one of the better articles I've seen on what led up to this catastrophe, where the failures were and who was responsible at what level. With all the competing stories in the media, it's difficult to keep up with what happened when and where. "How Bush Blew It" does a great job of pulling it all together in an orderly fashion with a specific emphasis on the response (or lack thereof) by Bush and his immediate circle. This is thought provoking and well worth the read.


Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The Other America - Newsweek Hurricane Katrina Coverage -

I just had to share this article: The Other America - Newsweek Hurricane Katrina Coverage -

Since Katrina hit, there've been so many stories on "what went wrong" and "who's to blame" that it's almost dizzying. I tend to believe that no one particular party or level of government was solely responsible. Rather, this was a systemic failure on every level from local to federal in preparing a city the size of New Orleans for a disaster of this magnitude.

But, there are other elements besides just disaster preparedness and evacuation plans at play here. This article really brings to light some of the deeper underlying issues that led to this scenario.

I only hope that people are listening...


Link Updates and New Bracelet

I just added a couple of new links here: CLuny Grey Jewelry and the Jewelry Trends Blog. Be sure to check them out...lots of beautiful jewelry and photos!

Speaking of which, here's a pic of my latest creation:

This is another brick stitched bangle bracelet over 14 gauge sterling silver wire with some Bali silver accents and a star charm. I made my own simple pattern for the zig-zagging line design and used some new palladium-finish delicas for the silver beads. By the way, the palladium finish is FANTASTIC. No more of the finish degeneration problems that existed with the galvanized-finish beads. I LOVE these beads now. Of course, they ARE more expensive, but this is one instance where it's definitely worth it.

In other news, it looks like I've got a chance at a couple of shows coming up in the next few months so stay tuned for more information on that.


Monday, September 12, 2005

Katrina Aid and Random Ranting

A friend of mine who lives in Louisiana has been working her fingers to the bone at a local shelter since the Katrina disaster occurred. She has provided specific examples of the types of items the people in the shelter need so I thought I would post the list here along with the address to the shelter. I've confirmed that mail IS being delivered there with no problem so please feel free to send anything from this list if you want to help. Monetary donations are gratefully accepted as well, but sending the actual items will help relieve some of the burden from the shelter workers of having to go out and do the purchasing and transporting. If you need a receipt for tax purposes, put a note in your package (make sure to include your return address!!) to that effect and you'll receive one.

Here's the list:

"Our big needs right now are:

1. New undies for men, women and children. The women need plus size panties, bras in the middle of the alphabet and training bras for the girls. The men are asking for XL, 1X plain white t-shirts.

2. We have about 20 school age children and we have all but 4 registered to start school on Monday. They all have to wear uniforms here so we need belts of all sizes in black, brown, navy or khaki. We also need socks in black, white, or navy. The shirts they need are just standard polo uniform shirts. The colors vary by grade and school but the one color that works for everyone is white.

3. We’re able to get plenty of bottled water and we offer it freely at every meal but some of our guests would really like a soft drink now and then.

4. We also need large trash bags, everything from tall kitchen size bags all the way up the commercial bags that fit 55 gallon drums.

5. We have plenty of paper plates but we could use bowls, like those Styrofoam kind.

6. We go through tons of plastic utensils every day. Do they make plastic serving utensils? Someone should, I’m tired of washing serving spoons.

7. We need small boxes or bottles of laundry detergent, fabric softener and dryer sheets. We’re helping our guests do their own laundry at a nearby laundromat and the smaller containers are easier to handle.

Here's the mailing address:

Trinity Bible Church
Katrina Shelter
130 E. Broussard Rd.
Lafayette, LA 70503"

I'll add a little something to sweeten the deal, too. For anyone who mails or e-mails me a copy of a receipt from this shelter, I'll send you a free pair of Silver Parrot earrings worth at least $25 or more as a thank you for your generosity in helping the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Thanks in advance for your help!

And now, on to my rant! I took the kidlet over to the big entertainment center at the Irvine Spectrum yesterday. We met up with a friend of mine and her two kids and had a great time riding the little train and the carousel and having lunch. We went to the bookstore (where I learned that Sept. 19th is official "Talk Like A Pirate Day" and found some pirate books for the kidlet). The kids got a lot of exercise running around like crazy and one of the places they ran to was a pet store. So, cool, we're in the store looking at all the animals and enjoying ourselves when I see this guy pick up a gorgeous scarlet macaw parrot and walk outside with it on his arm. I asked a store employee about it and he said "well, it's okay because he's buying the bird and he's just hanging out with it so it gets used to him." Okay, great. We go back to looking at puppies and fish and guinea pigs.

Then, it's time to leave the store and I start to take Ryan over to where this guy is sitting with the macaw so Ryan can see it up close when I suddenly notice something. This man (and I use the term loosely because what I really want to call him is $*($&(#&!! imbecile) has lit up a cigarette and is sitting there blowing smoke into the bird's face! I wanted to cry for the bird and beat the shit (see, Jenie, I do know some bad words!) out of this moron all at the same time.

This beautiful, amazing creature is going to end up a bedraggled, feather-picked mess with a racking cough that will eventually shorten its life. All because the moron with more money than brains (apparently) has no clue about how to take care of a parrot. The respiratory systems of birds are far more efficient than those of mammals which means they are far more susceptible to airborne contamination than mammals are. Idiot asshole with the cigarette has obviously never heard of the whole "canary in a coal mine" scenario.

Why are people so $()#&@)!!* stupid? I just don't get it. I desperately wanted to confront this guy, but since I had Ryan with me, I didn't want to start something that might turn ugly. So, I compromised by going back inside and saying something to the store manager about either re-considering the sale to this guy or AT LEAST talking to him about proper care of a macaw (or any bird) and that it most definitely does not include cigarette smoke.

I'm sure it was probably a waste of time, but at least I tried something. Later, I went home and gave both my birds extra head scratches and some fresh fruit and veggies to eat.

And here I thought I couldn't possibly loathe smoke any more than I already do, but this was far worse than having my dinner ruined by smoke or having to walk the gauntlet of smoke by the front door of my office or receiving smoky bead supplies in the mail. This poor bird has no choice in who buys it or what they do to it.

It's not even "Talk Like A Pirate" Day yet and I'm already saying "ARRRGGHHHH!"


Friday, September 09, 2005


I can’t believe its Friday already! Seems like the week just FLEW by – probably due to the Labor Day holiday, I guess. So, that means it’s time for the Friday Book Recommendation, but I’ve got a few announcements first.

I’ve definitely decided to do two hurricane relief auctions – one to support human refugees and one to support animal refugees. Really, the situation with the animals is just so appalling. I’ve had to stop reading the reports because I couldn’t take it any more.

I hope to get both auction pieces finished this weekend and put them up on eBay on Monday. I’ll make an announcement here when I do. I realize this is taking a bit of time, but my take on it is that that’s okay. Firstly, jewelry isn’t something that you can just crank out in a spare 15 minutes. Well, okay, you can get crappy, poorly made jewelry done in 15 minutes, but that’s not what I do. This is an important cause and I wanted to create something that would really encourage bidders to open their hearts and their pocketbooks for the relief effort. Secondly, the people and animals affected by this disaster are not going to recover for quite a while. While there will initially be an outpouring of donations, I can’t help but think that the flow will taper off over time. As Dennis Miller once said “the attention span of the American public is that of a rabid ferret on double espresso.” Which reminds me…I soooo miss Dennis’s HBO show. Yeah, yeah, I know he’s still on TV somewhere (Fox News channel or something) but it’s not the same.

Okay, on to the books. A while back, I mentioned my not-so-fondness for trying out new authors because I usually end up disappointed. However, that’s not always the case. This past weekend I picked up ”A Brother's Price” by Wen Spencer and LOVED it. This book is a terrific example of social science fiction (as opposed to spacecraft, robots and techno stuff) with a world where polygamy has become the norm due to an extreme shortage of healthy males.

In Spencer’s world, polygamy is the accepted social system. Unlike modern-day US polygamy, however, all the power resides in the hands of the women. The men are the ones expected to cook, clean, and take care of the babies all while maintaining a fabulous appearance. Basically, they’re Donna Reed in drag. The women are the soldiers, merchants and political powers. The few men are guarded zealously by their powerful (and heavily armed) sisters and then sold or traded to another family in exchange for either money or another adult male. The entire social system and economy centers on the selling and trading of the men. Each group of women knows that the only chance they have of ever reproducing is if they can afford to purchase or trade for a healthy male who isn’t too closely related to them.

The author has plunked this social and economic system into a frontier-era, Mississippi-river type background (complete with pearl-handled six-shooters and paddlewheel boats) and added both a romance and a murder mystery to it. Spencer’s pacing is absolute perfection as this book was one which just rocketed me along until I finished it in less than a day. I couldn’t stand to put it down!

If I had any complaint, it would be that the scarcity of the men is never really explored or explained. There’s some mention of high levels of venereal diseases among the adult males which explains why virgin males are so prized and so zealously guarded. However, the author never addresses the low birth frequency of males compared to females. I also thought that a couple of the secondary characters, like Eldest Whisper, could’ve been developed a bit more, but I still highly recommend this book and I’m looking forward to picking up Spencer’s other series of books about a feral child turned detective named Ukiah Oregon.

My other venture this week into new fiction is Michelle Sagara’s ”Cast In Shadow”. I’m not quite done with it yet and I hope that it manages to pull out a terrific ending, but so far, I’m rather disappointed. It’s a serious pet peeve of mine when an author is successful at creating a fascinating background world and a terrific main character, but then doesn’t DO anything with them. I’m ¾ of the way through the book and so far the plot (it’s a detective story) consists of go to slums, come back, go to slums, find body, come back and have autopsy, go to city, come back, get in fight, get put on suspension. Oh and there’s a lot of “getting yelled at by superior officers” interspersed with all the comings and goings. There are a ton of conversations that lead nowhere and have nothing to do with helping the storyline unfold.

And yet, I LOVE the background world and the main character. I want desperately for something exciting and interesting to happen here. Sagara has been successful at grabbing my attention and making me wonder and care about who her characters are and what happens to them which is one of the most difficult things for a writer to accomplish. Then, she’s left me hanging. There’s nothing behind the curtain. GRRR! Now, perhaps all will finally be revealed in the last ¼ of the book I have left to read, but there’s going to have to be a serious show-stopper of an ending to make up for all this dragging around accomplishing nothing. Stay tuned.

Lastly, this week I also finished the latest installment of Simon R. Green’s “Nightside” series, ”Paths Not Taken.” I’ve been in love with this series and its main character, John Taylor, since the first installment and all the books have been equally fantastic. Until now, that is. Sadly, “Paths” just doesn’t live up to the promise of the earlier books. It seems to exist mostly to tie up some loose ends and develop the relationship between John and Shotgun Suzie, which seems rather pointless since Suzie would rather shoot anything that moves than have a relationship with it.

I suppose this book does help steer the series towards its conclusion, but I’m not sure that’s reason enough for a book to exist. Shouldn’t it be an enjoyable read in and of itself and help move the series along at the same time? It made me wonder why this book and the inevitable series conclusion book couldn’t just have been one big volume. This probably has something to do with the publishing industry and what Marion Zimmer Bradley used to refer to as the “inelasticity of typeface.” Oh, and corporate publishing greed…I’m sure that’s in there somewhere, too. Speaking of Ms. Bradley, it occurs to me that I’ve been remiss in featuring her in one of my Friday entries. I’ll have to make up for that in the future since she is one of my favorite authors of all time. But for now, you’ll have to just be content with her website 

But, as usual, I digress…

Still, I recommend the series as a whole. The Nightside is a truly fascinating world as is the character of John Taylor – a man who is far more than he seems to be. Just read slowly and maybe the final book will be out by the time you get around to “Paths Not Taken” and the whole thing will make a lot more sense.

Whew! As you can see, I read a LOT this week, especially when you consider that three of my beading magazines arrived over the last few days and I’ve been perusing those as well. “Bead and Button” has a whole section featuring the winners and selected entries from the recent Bead Dreams contest and holy cow there are a lot of talented people out there. Sherri Serafini alone is truly amazing. I just don’t have any clue how she has enough TIME for all these massive beaded projects. It takes me a few weeks just to do a dinky pair of embroidered earrings and here she’s got purses and collars and oh my! I’m so jealous. One of these days I’ll be able to bead full-time instead of fitting in a few minutes here and there on my lunch hour and after my son goes to bed at night. Sigh.

On that note, I’m off to Toy’s ‘R Us to buy a gift for a 4-year-old’s birthday party tomorrow. Somehow, when pondering whether or not to have children, I forgot to include that whole “having to socialize with other people’s kids” on my Pro/Con list. ROFL! Oh well, they’re going to have a real fire engine there for the kids to ride on and since fire engines seem to be THE thing in Ryan’s world now (well, except for snails, those are still big, too), I’m sure he’ll have a good time. I can hardly wait for the cake-induced sugar high to hit. Not.

Have a great weekend everyone and watch for the announcement about the hurricane auctions coming soon!


Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Blah, blah, blah

Not much new to report around here except that my neighborhood raised over $700 for hurricane relief this weekend which will be turned into $2100 via a local company that's going to match our donation 3-1. So, way to go Harvest Neighborhood!

I'm working on my own design to be auctioned off for hurricane relief. I'm actually hoping to get two auctions up so I can send the proceeds from one to support people and the other to support animal rescue. I can tell you that one of the designs I have planned is prehnite, citrine and gold...well, that's what it is right now. Sometimes I change my mind mid-creation LOL!

This weekend we're taking Ryan to the birthday party of one of his friends from daycare. They're supposed to have a real fire engine and firemen at the party which I'm sure will be a thrill for the kids. Especially Ryan - he is ALL about anything fire engine related right now. Every morning we have to locate and call out each fire hydrant we pass on the way to daycare. There are a LOT of fire hydrants in our area ;-)

See, I told you nothing much was going on. Sometimes my life even bores the snot outta ME.


P.S. Has anyone else been watching Kathy Griffin's reality show, "My Life on the D-List?" I'm totally addicted to it and can't wait to see the finale tonight...

Friday, September 02, 2005

P.S. Comment Spam

Okay, I've just enabled word verification for comments on this blog as the result of some truly disgusting spam that was just posted (and which I have now deleted). This means that you'll have to enter a word given to you by whenever you make a comment. Sorry for the extra step, but I refuse to let spammers hijack my blog.


Oh and one more thing...

Here are the pictures of the earrings I made earlier this week. "Ancient Treasure" is African prehnite and Bali silver and matches the "Ancient Treasure Necklace":

Then I made two pairs to go with the "Mermaid's Treasure Necklace":

Everything is up on the website and available for sale as of today.

I am now IN LOVE with these shell disks. I must have more of them. And the vendor isn't selling them on their website (boo! hiss!) which means I have to wait until the October Gem Faire to get more. I may not be able to take the stress...

Oh, and now a random, "pondering the existence of the universe" type rhetorical question. Why is it that I can wear a shirt of any color except white and NEVER get a stain on it, but if I wear a white shirt, I spill something on it EVERY SINGLE TIME! Is there something about the color white that interferes with brain function to the point that I become a walking spill-a-thon? Seriously, I must know why this happens! And dude, the answer sooo better not be that it's due to the same mysterious force that steals one sock out of every pair that I put into the wash or my head my spin right off my neck and go bouncing down the hall.

By the way, you have not REALLY had to deal with this phenomenon of missing socks until you have leetle, teeny kid-sized socks in your wash. They don't just disappear one at a time. No, they disappear in packs. I'm thinking of stapling each pair together prior to washing in the hopes that I might get ONE functional pair back out of the machine. Oh, and I could insert a whole rant here about a certain male parental unit who thinks it's okay to take the leftover single socks and put them on our kid and send him out of the house looking like Rag Boy, the Motherless Wonder, but I won't. Because that would be mean.

Happy laundry day, all, and keep an eye on those socks! They're sneaky li'l suckers!


P.S. Please don't anyone think that the silly post above means that I'm not tuned in to what's happening in the hurricane areas. I just thought we could use some levity and distraction in the light of all the bad news. I hope to announce an auction of some of my jewelry items for funds to be donated to hurricane relief soon. Stay tuned for details.

Friday Book Recommendation

It was tough to come up with a recommendation this week. There was nothing new in the "to be read" pile so I'm re-reading Tanya Huff's "Keeper" series, but I already profiled her several entries ago so no luck there. Then I started watching the hurricane aftermath coverage and thinking about the city of New Orleans and how much of an effect it's had on a lot of things I've read. With it's associations to voodoo and vampires (among other things), it's been a rich breeding ground for stories from some of my favorite authors. This lead me to think about one of those authors, Barbara Hambly in particular.

She's based in Southern California, but has always mentioned New Orleans as being her "second home" and her ex-husband lived there until his recent death. She's used the city's colorful history as the background for her "Benjaman January" series. She hasn't posted an update on her site since the tragedy occurred, but I'm sure it's going to have an effect on her writing.

Although she's lately turned to historical fiction with not only the January series, but also "The Emancipator's Wife" and "The Patriot Ladies", she's written prolifically in both sci fi and fantasy. She's created her own universes as well as dabbling in both "Star Wars" and "Star Trek." She's even got a couple of vampire books.

My personal favorites are the Windrose Chronicles, the Darwath Trilogy (which is actually 5 books, not 3), "Stranger at the Wedding" and "Bride of the Rat God." Her "Winterlands" series has been popular with fans, as well, althought it's not my personal favorite.

Anyway, there's enough variety here and such a huge volume of work that just about anybody can find something to suit their tastes. Her latest fantasy novel, "Circle of the Moon," comes out in the fall.

Have a great weekend everyone and stay safe!


Thursday, September 01, 2005

Katrina's Aftermath

Well, I was going to post some new pictures today, but with all that's going on in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, it seems kinda lame. Maybe I'll save them for another day. I can at least report that my brother-in-law who had recently moved to New Orleans survived okay. He happened to be out of the country in Mexico at the time of the hurricane. He doesn't know anything about whether his house or boat survived, though, and as of yesterday, he was still stuck in Mexico. He had planned to catch a flight to Houston and try to rent a car from there, but that's the last we've heard.

I also got an e-mail from my sorority's national headquarters stating that they were activating our emergency fund to support both the collegiate chapter houses and members who were affected as well as alumnae in the damaged areas. They gave a run down of most of the major colleges in the area and their status. I think it gives a good idea of which areas were hit the hardest and what the status is so I'm posting it here in case anyone is interested:

Chapter Updates

Louisiana State - Baton Rouge, Louisiana
The chapter has reported that they are aware of at least 35 members from New Orleans, Kenner, Metairie and River Ridge whose families and homes have been affected. The chapter facility sustained some minor damage due to flooding. Classes will resume on the campus, Tuesday, September 6.

Louisiana/Lafayette - Lafayette, Louisiana
Some chapter members will likely need assistance. Classes appear to have resumed. No official university statement was available.

Millsaps - Jackson, Mississippi
Students may report back to campus Monday, September 5. Several chapter members will likely need assistance. The chapter reported that there was no damage to the chapter lodge and the power is back on.

Southern Mississippi - Hattiesburg, Mississippi
Tri Delta has not been able to establish contact with representatives from Southern Mississippi. Several chapter members will likely need assistance. At this time, the university's Web site is not accessible.

Mississippi State - Starkville, Mississippi
Classes on the Starkville campus resumed Wednesday, August 31. Some chapter members will likely need assistance. The chapter facility sustained minor wind damage.

Mississippi - Oxford, Mississippi
Classes were not interrupted. Some chapter members will likely need assistance. The chapter facility sustained minor water damage.

Delta State - Cleveland, Mississippi
Classes were not interrupted. Some chapter members will likely need assistance.

Spring Hill - Mobile, Alabama
Tri Delta has not been able to establish contact with representatives from Spring Hill. Several chapter members will likely need assistance. The university statement reports that Spring Hill College will remain closed for students until Sunday, Sept. 4, at noon and classes will resume Monday, September 5.

Alabama - Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Classes resumed Wednesday, August 31. Some chapter members may need assistance. The chapter facility was not damaged.

Auburn - Auburn, Alabama
Classes were not interrupted. Some chapter members may need assistance. The chapter facility was not damaged.

Other chapters
There will likely be other chapters in the Southeast and South Central regions that have members who were affected by the hurricane. Chapter officers, advisors and collegiate volunteers will be advised on how to work with these members and these chapters on a case-by-case basis.

I am considering putting some items up for auction to raise funds to donate to either the Tri Delta Crescent Fund (emergency relief fund) or a general relief fund such as the Red Cross and I will post details both here and on the website if I go forward with the plan.

I hope everyone out there is safe and dry today and that the area recovers as quickly as possible from this disaster.