Friday, December 29, 2006


I don’t usually go in for the whole “New Year’s Resolution” thing. In fact, don’t think I’ve ever made one and have always thought them to be kind of silly. I mean, really, don’t most people kinda know deep down what they need to be working on in their lives? Y’know, we might be in denial about them or not be willing to tackle them head one, but in those fleeting, dark, still moments where we’re REALLY honest with ourselves, I think most of us at least know the general areas that we have issues with.

Besides, does ANYONE EVER actually stick with a resolution until it’s been achieved? I sorta doubt it. But then, I’m cynical that way.

Still, in the last two years, I’ve made a conscious choice to go out and pursue things that are not my natural inclinations and so far, it’s worked pretty well. So, maybe I ought to give this resolution thingy a try?

Here goes (in no particular order):

1. Spend more time with the kidlet. Being a single, working mom puts a severe restriction on how much time I actually get to spend with him that isn’t taken up with getting him dressed, fed, cleaned, put to bed, etc. I want more time where we enjoy each other’s company, play, learn, and make memories.

2. Lose another 20 lbs. Even though I met my weight loss goal back in October and have kept the weight off, I feel like I can go further in this area.

3. Expand my social horizons – both romantically and platonically. I took a couple of stabs at this in 2006, but I need to focus more attention on it in 2007 and explore more options.

4. Clean up, re-organize and re-decorate the house. Now that I no longer have the burden of having to work around someone else’s stupid ideas…er…I mean now that the divorce is final, I finally have the freedom to tackle this long overdue project. And, I can do it without losing my motivation because someone else is standing around bitching and moaning, complaining, making 70,000 trips to Home Depot because he can’t remember sh*t, just generally being a pain in the ass, and getting angry and yelling at me because he doesn’t know what the heck he’s doing and has messed stuff up but can’t admit it and therefore has to take it out on me because I dared to suggest that perhaps drinking a 6-pack while working on a project might hamper one’s ability to perform household repair tasks. Yeah, I’m so gonna miss that. NOT!

5. Add more outdoor activities to my workout schedule. I’m finding the gym is getting a bit boring so I’ve hit a couple of bike stores to price bicycles and want to start taking walks at the beach on the weekends. Hey, how else am I gonna meet a cute surfer?

6. Be thankful every day for my family, my health and my FREEDOM. Enjoy the peace in my house, make good use of the solitude, feel how much easier it is to stand up straight without the 10-ton burden on my back of being forced to live by someone else’s rules. Revel in the fact that the house is now a criticism-free zone. Well, except when Mom comes to visit, but that’s a whole ‘nother issue.

I think there are supposed to be 10 of these resolution things, but since I’m a newbie at this and since I’ve picked some pretty big stuff to tackle, I think I’ll leave it at six. I’ll have to do a “check-in” in July or something to see how I’m progressing on these things.

I’m off to see “Dreamgirls” with a friend tonight and then dinner at The Cheesecake Factory. Hey, it’s not 2007 yet so I don’t have to start working on those 20 lbs. until Monday! I’m also trying to plan some activities for the kidlet for this weekend, too. We’re either going to Legoland or we’re going to take the train to San Clemente on Saturday and walk on the beach and maybe eat at the pier.

Happy New Year, everyone!


Friday, December 22, 2006

Christmas Spirit on sale at Target!

I did a lot of reflecting about the “Christmas Spirit” last weekend. It’s not something I ever really had to think about before – I was always brimming over with it. The original Christmas Elf, that’s me. No matter how much others (aka the X) bitched and groused and made general Scrooges of themselves, I refused to be daunted. Halls would be decked, carols would be sung and there would be drinking of wassail and much general merry-making.

Even last year with the horrific events of September and October dragging at me, I was determined to enjoy the holidays. I had a momentary blip on Christmas Eve when the kidlet arrived home to announce in front of my entire family that he’d spent the evening with his dad and his dad’s mistress. The kidlet didn’t use those words, but it was obvious what was going on and since that was the first I knew for sure (although I’d suspected) that there was another woman (oh, who am I kidding…women), well, what a nice Christmas present for me. But, I buried it and soldiered on, more determined than ever to not let the holidays be ruined and I did a pretty good job of it. Support from my family and some extra-nice presents didn’t hurt.

But this year, with the divorce being finalized in the last couple of weeks, I suddenly found myself totally lacking in any Christmas Spirit whatsoever. I didn’t care about shopping. I didn’t have any reason to bake anything. I made a half-hearted attempt to put some Christmas lights on the house but only because in my neighborhood you HAVE to participate in the whole lights thing or the neighborhood mafia makes sure you quietly disappear…or so I’ve heard. I kept wondering what was wrong with me and thinking “well, things will change when I get closer to the holidays.”

Then, I tried putting on some Christmas music to put myself in the mood and found myself crying and that’s when I knew. The universe had finally won. The Christmas Spirit had finally been trampled, kicked, beaten and pounded out of me. It was just gone and I couldn’t figure out how to get it back.

I cried more about that realization than I have about anything in a long time. Something about the knowledge that I’d finally lost that last childlike spark of innocence was incredibly disheartening. I tried to put on a front. I went Christmas shopping. I bought cookie decorating paraphernalia and a gingerbread house kit for the kidlet. I even volunteered to host Christmas Day at my house because hey, no stress. I no longer cared.

Then, something started to happen. I went over to my parents’ house to wrap my presents and help them wrap theirs. On the way, I stopped at Target to pick up some extra boxes and other wapping supplies. While I was there I realized I should check out some Christmas decorations for the inside of the house to make things a little more festive since I was hosting the day. I found a small fake tree that came complete with lights (no assembly – yay!) on sale for $20 and got that. Then I realized I needed extra stocking hangers for all the guests coming and I found a really cute little table runner to put on my buffet table. I knew I was going to put my evergreen garland across the mantle, but bought a string of lights and some gold bows to spiff it up a bit. Then I remembered all the holiday candles that I never use because I don’t have bases for them so I picked up some different candle-holders and bases and a bag of cinnamon apple potpourri. Despite it being the last weekend before Christmas, I breezed through the checkout line and by the time I hit my car, I was feeling decidedly pepped up.

Then, I hit the bird store to pick up some extra treats for the parrot and some things for Santa to leave in his stocking. Yes, the parrot has his own Christmas stocking. Want to make something of it? YOU try explaining to a 3 year old why everyone except the bird got something from Santa! Of course, while I was there, I had to stop and play with all the baby birds including one incredibly sweet baby cockatiel who’d had an accident and lost most of its upper beak. Despite that, it begged for me to pick it up and let me scratch its head and then it rode around on my shoulder while I did my shopping. It was awfully hard for me to leave that bird behind – it reminded me so much of my sweet Jimmy-girl who passed away a year ago this Thanksgiving. Still, I felt really good by the time I left the store. I guess there’s just something about unconditional love – it’s obviously an essential ingredient in “Christmas Spirit.”

And while I started out irritated at having to spend a day doing nothing but wrapping, I found myself starting to really enjoy playing with the pretty paper and ribbon. I thought about all the previous Christmases where I’d helped my mom with the wrapping starting when I was about 12 or so and she first taught me how to wrap a package. Mom sat down at the table with me and wrapped a few things and we talked…which we hardly ever do unless it’s about babysitting or groceries or things I need my dad to help me with around the house. It was nice.

I spent the next morning putting up my new little tree and decorating the mantel with all the fun things I’d bought and for once, I was really pleased with how things turned out. Usually when I plan a project like this, one string of lights burns out or I can’t find what I want at the store or something gets dropped and broken, but none of that happened and everything looked even better than I had planned.

I even had enough time left over that I decided to replace the hand-painted Christmas shirts that I made for the kidlet and me to wear the last couple of years. Both of us had completely outgrown them – his were too small and mine was WAY too big. A quick trip to Michael’s for some shirts and then home to dig out my fabric paints and my patterns and I got three shirts done. Plus, I mostly finished the charm bracelet I’m making for the kidlet’s teacher’s present.

I looked up from painting the last shirt and suddenly realized that my Christmas Spirit was back in full force. I couldn’t wait for the kidlet to get home and see how I’d transformed the house and help me finish decorating the tree. I ordered some classic Christmas movies for us to watch this weekend and picked up some cocoa and marshmallows to have tonight after we finish the tree. The Christmas music is all queued up in the CD player and I’ve even got candles and the fireplace going.

I started crying again, but this time they were tears of joy because I realized that my Christmas Spirit was never lost at all. I just had to remember how to get to the special place where I keep it. Y'know, Target really DOES have EVERYTHING! And sometimes it's even on sale...

Not sure how much posting I’ll do over the holidays…I’m on full-time Mom (not to mention Elf) duty until about January 10th, but a very Merry, Merry Christmas to all and I’ll see you in 2007!


P.S. Here's the picture of the teacher's bracelet all finished. It was supposed to have more charms on it, but that shipment never arrived from the vendor so I had to improvise:

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Book Review

Whew! Haven’t had time for a book review in a while so thought I’d sneak in a small one. Part of the problem has been lack of decent reading material. Most of my favorite authors have new material coming out in the first or second quarter of ’07, but the last few months have been abysmally bereft of anything really awe-inspiring.

I read Wen Spencer’s “Wolf Who Rules” – the follow-up to “Tinker” – and found it to be pretty good. The plot got a little out of hand towards the end, but generally, it was a good sequel. I think I’d wait for the paperback version, though, as it doesn’t quite live up to the start made in the first book. Having said that, I somehow managed to buy two copies of the hardback version without realizing it (hello? blonde hair!) so if anyone wants the second one, e-mail me and we’ll work out a deal.

I’ve also been continuing to read the “Honor Harrington” series by David Weber. I’m on about book #8 or something and while they’ve been keeping me busy, there’s really no need to do individual reviews on them as basically the same thing happens in every book. The Star Kingdom of Manticore gets its fanny caught in a bear trap and Honor Harrington single-handedly (and against overwhelming odds) rescues it while simultaneously proving that she is “practically perfect in every way.” Weber does try very hard to balance that out with a lot of tough command decisions and personal injuries/losses that she has to deal with, and that helps keep her from being super-annoying in the perfection department. Still, it’s one of the things that you just sort of have to accept and overlook about the character and the series as a whole. There’s a little too much time and attention paid to starship technology, the physics of battles in space and the enemy’s internal political struggles for my personal taste, but those things are the hallmark of this particular genre so if they bug you, just skip over ‘em to get back to the action. That’s what I do and it works just fine. I do have to say that, annoying technological interruptions aside, other authors could learn a thing or two about action and intensely-paced battles from Mr. Weber. If you find yourself approaching one of the climactic battle scenes in these books at bedtime – either put the book down and wait for morning, or prepare yourself for a sleepless night as you try to recover from a major adrenaline rush.

Lastly, I picked up the first book in Lois McMaster Bujold’s newest series. “Beguilement: The Sharing Knife Volume 1” is an interesting departure from both her Vorkosigan series and her Chalion series. Although it’s fantasy like Chalion, it’s set in a completely different world and deals with “peasant-class” characters versus the nobles who are the main focus of the Chalion series. That’s a refreshing change as it’s a level of society that is too often made one dimensional or ignored entirely by most fantasy novels. The background world and the main “evil” are interesting and well-thought out, but Bujold’s true talent is in making characters come alive. Dag and Fawn are both immediately likeable and interesting and the romance that develops between them is one of the most well-written I’ve read in a long time although it is somewhat reminiscent of the one she created in “Shards of Honor” – the first Vorkosigan novel. And, let me just say, certain authors (cough! Laurell K. Hamilton cough! cough!) could learn a LOT from the way Ms. Bujold writes a sex scene. It’s absolutely clear what actions are going on and yet it’s written with a sweet innocence that makes it a delight to read. There’s also just enough detail to make it sexy mixed with just enough vagueness to allow the reader’s imagination to go as far as it wants to. This makes a nice contrast to all of the overly-anatomically-graphic sex scenes that seem to be all the rage right now. I’m tired of sex scenes which, rather than being romantic or even nicely lusty, leave the reader feeling as if she needs a long shower after surviving an overly-in-depth gynecological exam.

If I had one small complaint about the book it’s that all the “action” seems to happen in the first third of the book and the last two thirds seem to be more about set up for the rest of the series. That being said, one might want to wait for further books to come out before starting the series so as to be able to read the whole thing at once. Or not. I, obviously, was not able to wait. Oh, and as much as I enjoyed this book, I’d still rather have another Miles Vorkosigan novel, but now that he’s married off and has kids, she seems to be done with him. Which has me totally bummed.

In other news, the premiere of “The Dresden Files” – Sci Fi Channel’s take on Jim Butcher’s “Harry Dresden” - series” is scheduled for a January 21, 2007 air date. While I find it hard to believe that anything could possibly live up to how fantastic the books are, I’m still excited to check it out. Hope springs eternal – despite what the bast…er…people at this channel did to “Battlestar Galactica.” Blech! All I can say is if they do the same thing to my beloved Harry, there will not be a hole deep enough for them to hide in. And yeah, I know, BSG is a big critical success and blah, blah, blah. I don’t care. They turned my Starbuck into a CHICK! That is just so frackin’ wrong! Also, if Starbuck were really a chick…he (she?) wouldn’t be so butch and grim and tormented and complicated. Starbuck is very simple: hot, great pilot, sarcastic-playboy-devil-may-care attitude layered over a genuinely heroic core that he tries hard to make sure nobody notices.

Dirk Benedict , where are you when we need you?


P.S. Apollo is a wuss.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

No time to write much...

So here are some pictures:


Everything's up for sale on the site and I've made some other updates there as well. For anyone who placed an order this past week - they're all packaged and ready to go in the mail on Monday, 12/11.

I had hoped to get them out on Saturday, but I got sucked into the giant vortex that is the mall at Christmastime. Left the house at 9:30 AM yesterday. Got home at 8:30 PM...with a migraine and a small, comatose child in tow.

Like I said - packages will mail out tomorrow.

Hope everyone had a great weekend!


Sunday, December 03, 2006

More new items

Ahh...nothing fuels my creativity like the knowledge that USC is out of the national championships and it was my Bruins who told 'em "buh-bye and don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out."

Accordingly, I've got some new pieces to share:

This sweet little dolphin pendant is made out of borosilicate glass that was handcrafted by lampwork artist Jeff Welsh. I've added five strands of coordinating beads and finished off the ends with sterling silver cones and a box clasp set with smoky quartz.

Next is a pair of earrings using hand-painted porcelain beads by artist Kevin Chen. The deep jewel tones on these beads and their incredible surface shine do not come through very well in the scan, but they are stunningly gorgeous in real life.

I did another pair because I like them so much:

The colors in this pair are perfect for the holidays - red, green, black and metallic gold. I added red Swarovski crystals for some extra flash.

All of these items (and more) are up for sale at Silver Parrot Designs

In other news, I finally heard something from AG. Seems he was not blowing me off after all, but just got super busy with work. Hmmm...I dunno. He's definitely moved himself into the "caution" pile if not all the way out the door as far as I'm concerned. I don't have time to play these silly "he's just not that into you" games. I'm still mulling over my response to him so I guess we'll see.

I'm off to an Advent party at church tonight with the kidlet. Free food, carols and crafts so should be fun.

Hope everyone had a great weekend! Is your shopping done yet?


Wednesday, November 29, 2006


So this is it. D-day. Also known as “the day I sign the final divorce papers.” Good-bye, Kelly Osborne. Welcome back, Kelly Morgan (and don’t even get me started on what a pain in the ass it’s going to be to change my SSN, driver’s license, checking accounts, business cards and umpty-zillion other things back to my maiden name…and yet, still worth it to sever that last tie!)

I find myself strangely calm about it this morning. Okay, so last night I was bawling my eyes out at the gas station while filling up the tank on my car – thus causing the poor lady in the car across from me to give me the “are you okay” look and hand signal and to report about me to the person she was jabbering with on her cell phone. I don’t mourn th loss of him (good riddance to bad rubbish!) but I do mourn the breaking of the vows that I took so seriously and the destruction of something that was supposed to last a lifetime.

And yeah, okay, so last night my dreams were kind of on the nightmare side – something about worms with pincer jaws stuck to my skin and no matter how many of them I knocked off, more kept appearing til I realized they were coming from UNDER my skin. Sometimes it’s just a party to be me I tell ya! On the other hand, I save myself a FORTUNE in illegal hallucinogen costs because hey, I can have a bad trip any time I want courtesy of my own twisted imagination. Lovely.

But this morning, I’m calm. Or numb? Anyway, the most burning question in my head when I woke up (having finally gotten back to sleep after the fun of the worm dream) was “what does one wear to the dissolution of one’s marriage?” Sweats and a scrunchie for the “poor, pathetic me” look? Stripper heels and a party hat for that “ding dong the asshat is dead” vibe?

Decisions, decisions.

Initially, I was going to wear my new red sweater and go for that “Nancy Reagan I’m powerful and don’t mess with me” impression, but then I realized that I might end up having bad associations with whatever I wear today and I didn’t want to waste my new red sweater that way. I figured better to go with something that I love so much (and look so good in) that it will always overpower any potential bad memories. So, I chose my black pencil skirt, black and tan cheetah print sweater and knee-high black stiletto boots. The ensemble projects my chosen message of “beautiful but deadly” quite nicely.

Oh, and for that touch of power red? Let’s just say it’s present, but hidden. Thanks, Victoria’s Secret.

So, bring it on. Today is the last day of an old life. Tomorrow, I start a new one and I intend to do it with strength, grace, style…and sexy underwear.


Saturday, November 25, 2006

Site Update!

Whew! I finally got time to sit down and update the website so the newest pieces pictured in the last post are up for sale. Be sure to visit Silver Parrot Designs and do some Christmas shopping!

Now, I'm off to create more stuff. It is AWESOME having some time to make jewelry again!


P.S. I didn't get my pecan pie, darn it! We went to the buffet at the Marriott Dana Point Resort and while it was fabulous in all other ways (the roasted pumpkin bisque soup was to DIE for...and I don't even like pumpkin!) they didn't have pecan pie! Barbarians. That's all I can say. Absolute and total barbarians!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Who ate the last piece of pecan pie?

It's Thanksgiving and I just had to say that diet or no diet, I am eating pecan pie on Thursday so I recommend standing back. Don't get between me and my pie, people!

And now, this...

Look, actual jewelry on a jewelry blog. Who woulda thunk it? I’m sure everyone is sick of my male-bashing, emotional catharsis, lame song lyrics and obsession with fashion and make-up. So, instead, I bring you seasonally inappropriate jewelry such as my new “Butterfly Garden” bracelet.

I don’t know why I’m working in spring colors in November, but sometimes you just gotta go where the spirit moves you. I got out my entire lampwork collection on Saturday and decided to peruse it for inspiration. That took a lot longer than I had originally planned. I should maybe cut back on the bead-buying for a while.

Yeah. Right.

Anyway, this sweet little set in white, lavender, blue and green just jumped out at me. I THINK they were made by Alisha White, but I could be wrong. Normally, I put a little tag with the artist’s name in with the beads when I store them, but the tag for this set has gone missing so I’ll have to use my best guess. The accent beads are white and lavender freshwater pearls, amethyst Swarovski bicone crystals, spring green Swarvoski cube crystals, ice blue Czech fire-polished rondelles, moonstone rounds, faceted blue lace agate rondelles and Bali silver. The clasp is a sterling silver butterfly toggle that I bought at the L.A. Gift show last year.

I still haven’t managed to make it outside with the digital camera to photograph the lavender embroidered bracelet, but here are a couple of pictures of my latest embroidery bracelet project:

And a close-up:

For this piece, I decided to try incorporating other beads besides just seed beads. I’ve used some royal blue freshwater pearls, Czech fire-polished rondelles, and Japanese Miyuki drops and bugle beads.

Lastly, I made a couple of pairs of earrings with sterling silver filigree tops:

One pair uses Swarovski crystals and Japanese Miyuki drop beads (which are clear and thus hard to see in the picture). The other pair has faceted blueberry “quartz” briolettes along with some seed bead and crystal drops. I’m not crazy about this design and may re-do it. I think the seed beads are just too casual for the rest of the earring. Perhaps I’ll replace them with some loops of chain or maybe some crystals.

That’s pretty much it for now. I’m hoping to get some more work done on projects over Thanksgiving weekend. Kidlet will be with the X so I’ll have a lot of free time other than dinner on Thanksgiving with my folks at the Dana Point Cliffs Resort. I’ve always heard about their Thanksgiving buffet so I’m looking forward to trying it. Architect Guy is apparently “gone with the wind” so it’s back to the drawing board on the whole dating thing.


Men suck.

But, you know, Happy Thanksgiving and all!


Thursday, November 16, 2006

Red Shoe Diaries

Today is a red shoe day. There’s nothing like a great pair of red shoes to make a gal feel like she can go out and conquer the world and perform any ass-kickings that may need to be administered along the way. Don’t believe me? Just ask Dorothy. Of course, I can’t rock the sequins the way she did, but I like to think that my “kicking” shoes of choice (see pic below) have a sleek, modern feel. Because that’s how I roll, yo.

And now for the list of “kickees”:

1. The bozos who on two separate occasions this week revealed their total lack of elevator etiquette by failing to let me and the other passengers OFF the elevator before barging right on and essentially mowing me down in the process. I swear the elevator door opened and some guy was about an eyelash length away from me…TWICE! Raised by wolves, much?

2. The brain trust who decided that rush hour in the rain on a Monday morning would be a good time to turn off the main traffic light that controls the intersection to my office building’s parking lot. Smooth move, ex-lax.

3. The person who invented the words “Storm Watch.” Yeah, right. Drizzle Watch 2006 is more like it. Thanks awfully, though. Because, you know, ooooo…the drama!

4. The quite bizarre saleswoman at Macy’s who felt the need to issue elaborate commentary on each and every one of my purchases…which, considering I was in the lingerie department at the time was disconcerting to say the least. I already KNOW the underwear is cute, thanks. That’s why I’m buying it. Except I had the weird feeling that if she thought what I was buy was ugly, she would’ve commented on that, too, in the same upbeat, chipper, overly-friendly, robotic Stepford Wife-ish voice. Just shut up and bag the damn stuff. If I’d wanted your input, I would’ve asked. I’ve experienced this phenomenon before in relation to food purchases at the grocery store and it’s annoying there, too. But it never had the “creep” and “ick” factor that this gal provided with her running underwear diatribe. Not to mention her brain seemed to not be able to handle simultaneous activities such as talking and ringing up sales so the whole process took, like, a decade or something.

And now, for some red-shoe-ass-kicking music, I bring you the immortal words of Kelly Clarkson (or whoever writes her songs):

Since U Been Gone

Here's the thing we started out friends
It was cool but it was all pretend
Yeah yeah
Since U Been Gone

You’re dedicated you took the time
Wasn't long till I called you mine
Yeah Yeah
Since U Been Gone

And all you'd ever hear me say
Is how I pictured me with you
That's all you'd ever hear me say

But Since U Been Gone
I can breathe for the first time
I'm so moving on
Yeah, yeah
Thanks to you
Now I get
What I want
Since U Been Gone

How can I put it? You put me on
I even fell for that stupid love song
Yeah, yeah
Since U Been Gone

How come I'd never hear you say
I just wanna be with you
I guess you never felt that way

But Since U Been Gone
I can breathe for the first time
I'm so moving on
Yeah, yeah
Thanks to you
Now I get (I get) what I want
Since U Been Gone

You had your chance you blew it
Out of sight, out of mind
Shut your mouth I just can't take it
Again and again and again and again

Since U Been Gone
I can breathe for the first time
I'm so moving on
Yeah, yeah
Thanks to you (thanks to you)
Now I get, I get what I want
I can breathe for the first time
I'm so moving on
Yeah, yeah
Thanks to you (thanks to you)
Now I get (I get)
You should know (you should know)
That I get, I get what I want
Since U Been Gone
Since U Been Gone
Since U Been Gone

So, just a warning to everyone out there…my red shoes and I are in the house. You better straighten up and fly right!


P.S. Architect Guy (who I’ll be calling AG for short now) paid me the nicest compliment about my lips. This is extra cool because I’ve never liked my lips. In order to avoid drawing attention to them, I never wear anything on them other than lip balm (Bonne Belle Lipsmackers in Strawberry or Vanilla since 7th grade if you must know). Until very recently, that is. I made a conscious decision earlier this year to just embrace myself – real and imagined flaws and all – and went nuts buying lip gloss and wear it all the time now. I guess it paid off. If he says something nice about my nose, next, I may be in love LOL!

Monday, November 13, 2006


So, the Britster finally kicked K-Fed’s lazy, disgusting, white trash, manpri-clad ass to the curb. I don’t think anyone is remotely surprised (except maybe K-Fed) as it was more a question of “when” than “if.”

What I do want to know and am dying to find out (help me, “People” magazine!) is what is it exactly that finally pushed her over the edge? What made her wake up and smell the chili cheese fries? I can ask that as someone who should’ve pushed the auto-destruct button on her own “K-Fed” years ago. Was it the cheating? The partying? The poor hygiene…oh wait, that was her. Never mind. Maybe it was the the irresponsibility, stupidity and lack of any discernable skills or talent? Did he light up in front of the kids once too often? She finally couldn’t stomach the manpri and wifebeater couture any more? What? You KNOW you want to know, too!

Here’s my theory. She started to lose some of the baby weight, saw herself in the mirror and realized “oh YEAH! I used to be hot. I could have any guy I want. Wait a second…I could have any guy I want and I picked THIS EFFIN’ LOSER?!” Then it took her about a nanosecond to speed dial her lawyer.

My second choice is the manpris...because, DUDE! Manpris?

And now that rat bastard has filed for sole custody? I don’t THEENK so. Not in California. To get sole custody you pretty much have to prove the other party is an axe-carrying serial killer and even then they might get supervised visitation. It’s obviously a pressure ploy to extort money out of her and get around the prenup. Lame. And while I don’t really think much of her, he seems like a far worse choice as a parent. I mean, he’s already got kids from a previous relationship that he ignores.

Why am I spending so much time on this silly stuff you ask? Because my life is so danged exciting, that’s why! Although, I did get an e-mail yesterday from architect guy which was nice. I sent him a reply and cranked up the flirt factor a few notches so we’ll see what happens.

Oh wait, I do have one exciting thing to report. I am ONE POUND away from my initial weight loss goal, people! That’s right…ONE POUND! Of course, I hope to keep on and lose more weight (another 20 lbs.) after that, but even if I’m just able to stabilize right here and keep off the 64 (soon to be 65!) lbs. that I’ve lost thus far it will be a HUGE victory.

So, I was going to skip the gym tonight, but now I’m pretty motivated to go. It’s hard not to when I can practically TASTE victory!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Onward and upward

So, confession is good for the soul, right? Thanks for letting me vent the other day. Now back to your regularly scheduled blogging.

Let’s talk jewelry. The embroidered lavender bracelet is DONE! I should be able to get pictures this weekend (and Sparkle you better shut up about my photo-challengedness right now!) There are also two new pairs of earrings that I finished a couple of weeks ago, but haven’t had a chance to get scanned. Hope to do that this weekend, too, although I may be re-making one pair first as I’m not 100% satisfied with the design. I’m about halfway done with my next embroidered cuff bracelet design, too, and I think it’s going to be the best of the bunch so far. I learn a lot with each of these that I do and my technique gets better (or I like to think it does anyway). I’ll try to get that scanned and uploaded as well. I’m also thinking it’s about time for a “clean out the inventory” sale on the website.

Let’s see, what else? I had date #3 with architect guy on Saturday night. We had a great time seeing comedian Richard Jeni at the Irvine Spectrum Improv and then had a late dinner in the bar at the Cheesecake Factory (where I successfully avoided the cheesecake for once…miracle of miracles!) If you ever get a chance to see Jeni, I highly recommend him. He was absolutely hilarious (and not over-the-top dirty so okay for a date).

I wore my black jeans, black boots, a black camisole (sensing a theme here?) and a midnight blue velvet jacket. The accessories were new silver hoop earrings (made by me, of course!) and a silver clutch purse. There were some other "unseen" accessories courtesy of a trip to Victoria's Secret earlier in the week, but that's enough on that subject.

I tried something new with my makeup – my version of a “smoky eye” which is to say that I attempted the traditional smoky eye but without making myself look like a raccoon that hasn’t slept for 3 days. Instead of using black or dark grey shadow, I used a navy blue shadow that started at the lash line and then progressively got lighter as I blended it over my lid and up to the crease. I put a peachy/pink highlighter color with just the teensiest bit of sparkle in it on my brow bone for a and also smudged the navy blue halfway under my lower lashes as liner. I finished it all off with lots of black mascara, subtle blush and a light berry-colored lip gloss. Normally I’d go with a darker lip for night, but with the dramatic eyes, I didn’t want to over do it.

I think it came out pretty well for an experiment. Got lots of nice compliments from the guy and when I got home later that night (MUCH later) everything was still more or less in place and hadn’t melted down my face. Which is very important because while it’s easy to make sure one does not start out the night as a raccoon, it’s much more difficult to ensure that one does not morph into a raccoon over the course of an evening.

By the way, turns out architect guy is one heck of a kisser. I could be in serious trouble here LOL! He's blowing my whole "create a harem of lots of guys to date casually" plan.

On top of that, can I just say how nice it is to be with a guy who actually HAS a successful career, makes money at that career and knows how to budget it such that he can take a lady on a nice date. I guess I'm just old-fashioned enough to enjoy that when I (sincerely) offer to kick in for part of the tab or go Dutch, I get the (equally sincere) "thanks, but I've got it" response. What can I say? Fiscal responsibility turns me on LOL!

I’m not a gold digger or anything, but it’s been 14 years since I went out with someone who could AFFORD to take me out without me or my parents having to pick up all or part of the tab. Of course, that’s partially my fault because I stupidly made the decision to “settle” for that behavior a long time ago and I’m only recently coming to realize how much I resented the hell out of it. Y'know, at some point you've got to grow up, take your responsibilities as a man seriously and provide for your family and quit wasting everyone's time and energy pursuing things that are never going to yield any practical result. In other words, sack up, grow a pair, BE A MAN!

It becomes more apparent every minute that the person I was with was so completely unworthy of me in every way imaginable and that I only went that route because I was unaware of my OWN worth. I certainly know I’ll never “settle” ever again.

In case my point isn’t clear, I thought I’d re-state things in the immortal words of Beyonce (or whoever she had write this song for her):


To the left
To the left

To the left
To the left


To the left to the left
Everything you own in the box to the left
In the closet, that’s my stuff
Yes, if I bought it, then please don't touch (don't touch)

And keep on talking that mess, that’s fine
Could you walk and talk, at the same time?
And- its my name that’s on that bag
So go move your bags, let me call you a cab
Standing in the front yard, telling me
How I'm such a fool, talking 'bout
How I'll never ever find a man like you

You got me twisted

You must not know 'bout me
Yyou must not know 'bout me
I could have another you in a minute
Matter a fact, he'll be here in a minute (baby)

You must not know 'bout me
You must not know 'bout me
I could have another you by tomorrow
So don't you ever for a second get to thinkin'
You're irreplaceable

So go ahead and get gone
Call up that chick, and see if shes home
Oops I bet you thought, that I didn't know
What did you think
I was putting you out for?
Because you was untrue
Rolling around in the car that I bought you
Baby, drop them keys
Hurry up, before your taxi leaves

Standing in the front yard, telling me
How I'm such a fool, talking 'bout
How I'll never ever find a man like you

You got me twisted

You must not know 'bout me
You must not know 'bout me
I could have another you in a minute
Matter a fact, he'll be here in a minute (baby)

You must not know 'bout me
You must not know 'bout me
I could have another you by tomorrow
So don't you ever for a second get to thinkin'
You're irreplaceable

So since I'm not your everything
How about I'll be nothing? Nothing at all to you
Baby, I won't shed a tear for you
I won't lose a wink of sleep
Cause the truth of the matter is
Replacing you was so easy

To the left
To the left

To the left
To the left


To the left to the left
Everything you own in the box to left

To the left to the left
Don't you ever for a second get to thinking
You're irreplaceable

You must not know 'bout me
You must not know 'bout me
I could have another you in a minute
Matter a fact, he'll be here in a minute (baby)

You must not know 'bout me
You must not know 'bout me
I could have another you by tomorrow
So don't you ever for a second get to thinkin'
You’re irreplaceable

You must not know 'bout me
You must not know 'bout me
I could have another you in a minute
Matter a fact, he'll be here in a minute

You can pack all your things- we're finished
‘Cause you made your bed now lay in it
I could have another you by tomorrow
Don't you ever for a second get to thinkin'
You're irreplaceable

Just thought I’d share in case anyone else out there needs an empowering anthem to, uh, kick the trash to the curb (so to speak) ;-) Oh, Natasha Bedingfield's “Unwritten” is a good personal anthem as well.

Have a great week everyone and I’ll try to have a book review later this week.


Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Memories of Halloweens Past...

Happy Halloween! I have to say, outside of Christmas, this has always been my favorite holiday. The change in the weather. The roll-back of the clocks. The free candy. Okay, it’s probably mostly that last one, but still!

At least, this was all true until Halloween last year which turned out to be the worst day of my entire life. I haven’t written too much about it because it’s taken me a long time to get to the point where I COULD write about it. I almost didn’t write anything today, but then I realized that writing about it and marking the date could be a good thing for me.

So, for cathartic purposes and so I can take one more step towards being able to put all this stuff behind me, here’s my story.

This time last year, I was sitting in a bathroom staring with disbelief at a positive pregnancy test. My husband of almost twelve years had just moved out of the house the day before so I was already reeling from the idea of becoming a single parent to one child and now there was going to be another one. The prospect was so unbelievable that I went to the store and bought two more tests just to confirm the results. I even bought one of those tests where the actual word “pregnant” shows up in the window instead of a line. Just to be really, really sure.

You may wonder how I could let this happen considering the break up of the marriage so I’ll explain a bit. First, the break up was, from my perspective anyway, very sudden. In a three week period, I went from being in a committed marriage with a few problems that we were working on to being told it was over and that he was moving out of the house. By the time the pregnancy was detected, I was almost through the first trimester. In addition to that, I had to use fertility treatments to conceive my first child. Pregnancy without medical assistance was not supposed to be possible for me and therefore not something I actively guarded against.

Don’tcha just LOVE the irony? Yeah, me too.

As I sat there looking at those three tests, my brain was on overload. Shock. Disbelief. Anger that this was happening NOW of all times. Happiness (yeah, there was happiness, too) because I’d so desperately wanted to have one more child and the demise of the marriage coupled with my age had made that seem like an impossibility. Terror at the idea of having to go through a pregnancy, delivery and caring for a newborn completely alone. But then I remember having a moment of clarity where this voice in my head just said “It will be hard. Harder than anything you’ve ever done in your life, but you’ll do it. One step at a time and you’ll make it through.”

By the time I walked out of that bathroom, I knew I was in love with and committed to that baby, whatever happened. I planned to tell my ex and my parents that night after my son had finished trick-or-treating and had gone to bed. I didn’t know what to expect from the ex and frankly, I didn’t waste much time thinking about it. As far as I was concerned, he’d made his decision and left his family and even if he changed his mind upon hearing the news (which I neither wanted nor expected), I planned to go forward.

I put a call in to my doctor to schedule a blood test the next morning to confirm things. There were a couple of physical things going on that had me slightly worried, but that could also have been totally normal for early pregnancy. I just wanted to get checked out and make sure everything was okay.

I went on with my day and headed home to take my son to his Halloween activities. The ex arrived to participate (this was when we were still trying to do the “civil getting along” thing) and things went fine during the costume parade and dinner. Then, just before we were to leave to start walking the neighborhood, I felt a dull ache and something of a tearing sensation in my abdomen.

I didn’t know what was going on, but told the ex to go ahead out with our son and I’d catch up with them. I started having cramps and had to take some pain relievers to get them under control. I figured I was either having a miscarriage (in which case there was nothing to be done) or else it was just some wonky, but normal, pregnancy thing that would go away. Little did I know…

I left the house and caught up with the rest of our party and finished walking the neighborhood with them. While we were out there, I still wasn’t feeling too well and ended up having to break the news to the ex as we were walking. That wasn’t my plan, but it was becoming obvious something was up with me so I didn’t really have a choice. He looked stunned, but really didn’t have much of a reaction. To this day, I don’t know if he even believed me. I told him that something was wrong and that I had a blood test scheduled for the next morning. I broke the news to my parents that night, too.

The night didn’t go very well. I had a lot of cramping and had to take more pain relievers, but I also didn’t seem to be miscarrying, either. I went to the blood test the next morning and then in to work. The results came in about mid-day and confirmed that I was, indeed, pregnant. When I told the nurse about my symptoms, she scheduled an ultrasound for me that afternoon.

At the ultrasound, the tech initially couldn’t find an embryo, but commented that there was a lot of blood in my uterus. “That’s it. I’m miscarrying.” I thought, but then, I saw a heartbeat on the monitor (I’d been through this before with my first child and so I knew what to look for) although the tech tried to turn the monitor so I wouldn’t see it . At that point, I thought everything would be okay until she said “I’m going to go get the doctor to speak with you.” They never do that unless it’s bad news so I was prepared for her to come in and tell me I was miscarrying. I was not prepared to hear her say “The pregnancy is ectopic. It’s located in your right Fallopian tube and you need to have surgery TODAY. Like, right now.”

Next thing I knew I was sitting in the doctor’s office frantically calling relatives while the nurse tried to get me scheduled into surgery that afternoon. I called the ex to give him the news and his only reaction was “Well, good luck with that.” To this day, he has never expressed one word of condolence or sympathy over the death of our child and that, more than anything else including what I’ve since learned were multiple affairs, is why I loathe him and consider him a waste of skin. Under those circumstances, I would have offered sympathy even to my worst enemy and here I was married to the man for over a decade and shared a child with him and that’s all he could come up with.

And yeah, I know, he was probably shocked. I get that. But I was in the hospital overnight and recuperating at home for two weeks after that and he could have said or done something during that period. Instead, he chose to use that time to contact a lawyer, file for divorce and have me served with papers.

Where was I while he was doing all that? Well, first I was laying in a bed in the hospital’s surgical “prep” area having to sign forms to eliminate his ability to control any of my medical care or decisions should I be unable to speak for myself and to try to make some provisions for my son’s care and custody. Lovely, eh?

Then I was discussing with the doctor whether or not she would be able to save my Fallopian tube to preserve my ability to have children in the future. Then off I went to surgery.

I found out later that my tube had already ruptured and I’d been bleeding internally for at least 24 hours. It’s a miracle that I didn’t go to sleep Halloween night and bleed to death in my sleep. Of course, they were unable to save the tube due to the damage and I didn’t come out of the surgery very well so although it was supposed to be an outpatient procedure, I ended up being admitted and had to stay overnight at the hospital.

So, in a very short period of time, I lost my marriage, a baby and the ability to have any more children all in one fell swoop.

Then I got served with divorce papers when my incisions (much less my heart) hadn’t even healed yet.

A week later I went in to the doctor’s office for a follow-up visit and had a very weird experience. As I got off the elevator, I passed the ultrasound office where I’d gotten the bad news just a week before and as I did, the hallway seemed to stretch and stretch so that the door to my doctor’s office got farther away the longer I walked towards it. I assume it was some kind of post-traumatic stress thing, but it was awful. Then, as I sat in the waiting room with all the pregnant women and pictures of babies, I started to cry uncontrollably. This sounds totally normal except that I’m someone who almost never cries and I certainly don’t cry uncontrollably. In public. A nurse very quickly hustled me out of there and into a cubicle – don’t want to upset the expecting moms now, do we?

I just realized as I’m writing this that I haven’t been back to my doctor’s office since then and have missed my yearly exam. I hope by now that I can face going in there again, but it will definitely be difficult.

The last year has been a long journey for me. I’ve changed mentally, emotionally and physically…I hope for the better. At the very least, I learned that I’m stronger than I ever thought possible and that there’s very little life could throw at me now that would be worse than what I’ve already been through.

One of the final steps of my recovery is to spend a last bit of time on these memories, write them down, recognize the anniversary for what it is and then move on. Having said all that, I will never stop regretting the loss of the baby and the fact that I probably can’t have any more children. I’ve supposedly got one good tube and one good ovary left, but seeing as how I’m 41 and unmarried, chances are slim.

I’m still angry over the circumstances and the lack of sympathy, support or even plain old acknowledgment from the other party involved. He continues to act to this day as if none of this ever happened and can’t understand why I’m not just happy as a clam to see him and talk to him. I find that attitude to be completely insulting to me and disrespectful to the memory of our child (and yes, I consider that there was a child since I saw the heartbeat).

Those feelings go to the back of my mind at times now instead of being constantly there, but I doubt they will ever go away entirely. Every time I have to see him, or hear his voice on the phone or deal with his “why can’t we just get along” attitude, I literally want to hurl. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve never been anything other than civil to him (especially in front of our son) because I made a decision a long time ago that the kind of person I am is not the kind of person who exposes a young child to anger, bitterness and fighting. It’s just REALLY FREAKIN’ HARD to do.

It was a terrible thing to go through, but I like to think that I have come out the other side as a stronger, better person. I certainly know that MY honor and integrity are intact. I’m not a vow-breaker or a liar. I’m blessed with one phenomenal kid and I’m doing my best to be worthy of the honor of being his mother.

I started this entry off by saying “Happy Halloween” and I’m sure anyone who has read to this point is thinking that was a crazy intro to something this sad, but despite what happened last year, I’m looking forward to seeing tonight’s activities through my son’s eyes. There’s nothing like that child-like wonder to chase away any bad associations I might have with this date.

I’d also like to say a special thank you to all the family and friends who have been there and supported me over the last year – without you and my faith in God, I wouldn’t have made it!

So, I hope everyone has a wonderful time tonight. Enjoy the children whether they are your own or those who come to your door. Take time to see the sparkle and wonder in their eyes and recognize it for the miracle that it is.

Oh, and don’t forget to snatch a piece of candy (or two) for yourself! I know I will!


“The world breaks everyone and afterward many are stronger at the broken places.”
--Ernest Hemingway

Friday, October 27, 2006

I've got game!

But more about that later

It’s just got to be time for a book review again. I know, I promised I’d post more frequently, but then, you know, life happens when you’re not expecting it and the last week or so has been totally insane. New job = busy. Single mom (with no help from grandparents as they are on vacay this week) = busier. Work outs, errands, Halloween prep, dating (see, told you I had game) and miscellaneous other crap = insane.

Then there’s all that reading I have to do just so I can review the books later because I’m selfless like that. So, here goes. The first book is “Dragon’s Tongue" by Laura J. Underwood. I first became aware of Ms. Underwood’s work when she had a number of short stories published in various anthologies and in “Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Fantasy Magazine.” I’m surprised that she hasn’t had as much success as some of Bradley’s other protégés like Mercedes Lackey or Jennifer Roberson because her stories are equally well written (if not better), but it’s nice to see she’s finally got a novel out there. “Dragon’s Tongue” has a bit of a “Harry Potter” feeling to it as the main character, Alaric Braidwine, is a young wizard arriving for training at a mage college, but the similarities end there. He’s paired with the feckless but powerful Fenelon Greenfyn as his mentor. Keltora, the background world in this book, is well developed with a great sense of ancient history to give it shape and believability. I felt there were a few “novice writer” elements in the plot, but they were barely detectable and everything else is so well done that it was certainly more entertaining than either Lackey or Roberson’s most recent works. This is a good one, folks, and I highly recommend it.

From there, I moved on to one of the more original werewolf stories I’ve come across in Kit Whitfield’s “Benighted.” In this world, the majority of the population are “lunes” or werewolves. A tiny minority are “normal” human beings or “barebacks” who are considered to be cripples and given almost leper-like status by the rest of the world. However, it’s their job to keep control of the “lunes”, particularly on full-moon nights, and make sure they don’t rampage out of control and cause damage. The book is beautifully written with an almost poetic, sing-song voice, but sometimes I got a little tired of the main character’s endless, drippy, introspection and wished it had been broken up by more action. I also had a problem with the basic idea of the background world – it seems to me that nature would not allow for the naturally predatory species (the lunes) to outnumber their potential “prey” animals (the barebacks). Also, there’s no correlation between actual wolf behavior and lune behavior. Lunes are far more aggressive and savage than real wolves. Some of this can be accepted as peculiarities of this particular world, but there’s a point at which it stretches the readers’ ability to suspend disbelief. Still, the author has done a powerful job of exploring the theme of prejudice and it’s easy to re-characterize the lunes and barebacks as blacks and whites in South Africa before apartheid was abolished. I would sum this book up as thought-provoking and worth the read, but I wouldn’t take it to the beach or on an airplane. It’s not much “fun.”

Lastly, there’s “On Basilisk Station” by David Weber. This book is the first in the well-known “Honor Harrington” series which I’ve known about for a long time, but for some reason had just never picked up. The good part of that is that there are a zillion books out now in this series so I’ll be reading them for a long time to come. Weber has taken C.S. Forester’s famous “Horatio Hornblower” series (which, by the way, if you haven’t seen the A&E movies of this series – run, don’t walk, to the video store and rent the DVD’s…SO well done and Iaon Gruffudd is H-O-T) and translated it into space. Captain Honor Harrington of the Royal Manticoran Navy is about to accept her first command – an old, but serviceable cruiser known as HMS Fearless. Lots of action and military tactics ensue. As is typical of military novels, the character development (especially of secondary characters) is somewhat lacking but at least it’s not totally non-existent. I give this book an A+ for action, military strategy/tactics, the politics behind the scenes and the hard science behind the starship drives, weapons, communications, and the physics governing any potential battle in space. However, if you want “deeper” characters, then I recommend Lois McMaster Bujold’s “Miles Vorkosigan” saga.

In other news, it looks like the divorce will be final soon. We’re in the final paperwork stages so maybe I’ll have my maiden name back before 2006 is out. The next few days will be hard on me, though, as the one-year anniversary of everything blowing up arrives, but I hope to weather the storm by focusing on Halloween activities with my son and being thankful for all the good things in my life – family, friends, job, health, etc.

While the generic idea of “being divorced” still makes me sad, I know that I am a far healthier, happier and different person today than I would have been had things continued on as they were. The truth is, the other person involved never really loved me or accepted me for who I am and spent nearly 12 years convincing me that he was right about me. It took getting his boot off my neck for me to wake up and realize that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with me. In fact, I’m quite fabulous, a helluva catch and any guy would be lucky to have me on his arm should I deign to allow that.

The real pity is that I spent so many years letting someone else’s judgment of me as “wrong” and “inferior” so color my picture of myself when in reality, he was the one unworthy of me. It’s amazing how such a seemingly small realization has re-shaped my entire life (not to mention my body). I finally feel like I’ve been set free to be the person I should have been all along. It’s weird to be “re-born” at the age of 41!

Of course, it hasn’t hurt that I had a great 2nd date with architect-guy last Saturday night. I wore my new, size 10(!) black jeans and a short-sleeved wrap top with a black, pink and blue paisley design. I’d post links, but they’re not in the Macy’s on-line store as far as I can tell. So, I’ll have to share the picture of this lovely coat I got on sale this weekend. I fell in love with this when it first came into the store in late summer, but it was out of my budget range. Even on sale, it was still pricey, but so pretty I couldn't pass it up. Because, you know, one sooo needs a coat in Southern California. Especially during fire season.

Anyway, back to the date. We had a fabulous time at the Sorrento Grille in Laguna Beach. I had the lamb chops with some kind of sherry/maple gravy that was to die for and then we walked around and looked at some of the art galleries and had ice cream. It was a treat to be with someone not only funny and charming but intelligent as well.

I’d forgotten what it was like to converse with someone whose brain actually functions. It really made me notice how everything with the ex was just such a freakin’ major EFFORT. No wonder I was tired all the time and didn’t have any energy to do anything else. All my energy went into doing the thinking for two people.

Fortunately, that’s a thing of the past and I had a fun, relaxing, effortless evening that ended with a very nice kiss (shhh! don’t tell my mother). Here's hoping for date #3 which will (oh darn) require another date outfit).

That’s it. Happy weekend all and don’t forget those oxygen masks to keep the smoke out!


What's that smell?

Ah yes, fall in Southern California. I just love the crispness of the air (it's 86 degrees out), the bright blue sky (it's hidden in haze, smoke, orange sun glare and ashes)and the way it makes me feel (my sinuses are burning from the dry, smoke-laden Santa Ana winds and a sinus migraine is not far off).

Yes, fall is definitely my favorite time of year. Except for that pesky "fire season" thing...


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

It's Jewelry-licious!

Note to self: Stop listening to KIIS-FM. Too much Fergie is bad for the brain (apparently).

I was able to make up some earrings over the weekend and thought I'd post some pics (Sparkle - all of these should be in the mail to you today).

The earrings in this picture feature hand-painted ceramic beads as focal points and I've added Bali vermeil spacers and, on the top pair in the picture, smoky quartz rondelles.

More hand-painted ceramic beads from the same artist, but this time I've added Bali silver and labradorite rondelles.

These earrings feature hand-painted Russian lacquerwork which traditionally depicts a scene from a legend or fairy tale. This is a picture of the legendary firebird or phoenix. I've added Bali vermeil spacers. I had planned to use black Swarovski crystals as well, but the focal beads are so pretty by themselves I decided that "less is more" was the way to go so as not to detract from them.

These earrings are some smaller pieces featuring more Russian lacquerwork in shades of gold and blue on black. I've added the Swarovski crystals to these because the focals are smaller and the images are not as strong.

The lavender bead-embroidered bracelet is almost done - I'm just finishing the beaded edging and should be able to shoot some pictures soon.

In non-jewelry-related news, the guy from Saturday night wants to go out again. I'm not sure whether to be thrilled or scared to death. I'm walking the fine line in between for now. Oh, and now that he's seen the one awesome date outfit I have...what the hell do I wear for date #2?


Sunday, October 08, 2006

Site Update!

Yes, folks, it's true! Silver Parrot Designs has finally been updated. No more references to May or springtime (now that it's fall). Please pick yourselves up off the floor now!

I've got a new item of the week, an addition to the necklaces section and lots of new gallery photos so feel free to head over and check things out.

In other news, I hit the OC bead/gem faire this weekend mostly to pick staples like headpins, jump rings and earring hooks (since a certain person keeps whining about not getting her earrings yet) and then I'd planned to be outta there. But, of course, a few other things caught my eye.

What, you want pictures now? Oh, well, okay. If you insist! In addition to some pretty sterling silver beads and earring findings (which just wouldn't scan very well), I picked up these handpainted ceramic beads from Africa and pendants from an East Coast porcelain artist:

I guess I was on a "clay" roll, because then I found the ceramic artist that I love so much but who, up until now, has only shown his work at the L.A. Gift Show. Usually, he carries Russian lacquerwork as well, but this time only brought his hand-painted porcelain beads. So, while I didn't get any more lacquerwork (serious bummer!) I did get some lovely porcelain beads:

And this stunning, hand-painted pendant:

I wish the true beauty of these beads came out in the scans - they all have a highly-polished surface with touches of metallic and an almost mirror-like quality to them. Truly outstanding and unusual.

I spent the rest of today making earrings for a friend - she bought the beads from this same vendor back in July at the L.A. show. I'll post photos of them tomorrow.

On a personal note, it looks like the divorce stuff will be done soon. We reached an agreement on the final outstanding item so now it's just a matter of paperwork and signatures assuming no one changes anything (and by no one, I of course mean the other party involved). I'm looking forward to getting on with my life as this has been dragging on for a year as of the end of this month. While I know it's the best thing for me because I am much happier now (not to mention 60 lbs. lighter), it's still sad to see something like this come to an end. I can only hope that I've shielded my son from as much of the fallout as possible and that he'll grow up healthy and happy and without too much impact from this.

As for me, well, I did go on my date last night and had a very nice time. It was great to get out and have adult conversation and some nice food with a guy who complimented me on my looks (almost fell outta my chair - haven't heard a guy say that to me since...well...ever, really) and seemed to enjoy my company. What a refreshing change after twelve years with someone who went out of his way on a daily basis to make sure that I knew I was not up to his standards in pretty much every category possible. It just goes to show that there is life after divorce...and a pretty good life at that.

Hope everyone had a great weekend!


Thursday, October 05, 2006

Book Review

It’s book review time again (er, finally).

(Insert loud huzzahs and fanfare.)


(Insert sound of crickets chirping.)

Anyway, I’ve got a semi-decent crop of stuff to talk about starting with “The Privilege of the Sword” by Ellen Kushner. I picked this up thinking it held an intriguing mix of Jane Austen-esqueness along with sword-fighting and a mad duke. These are some of my favorite things (well, not the mad duke part, but you get the idea). And while it does have those, and is actually interesting and well-written, I’m just bored to death with the whole homosexual politics thing. It’s not new or shocking or even interesting in this day and age and I get so damned tired of strong female characters who “suddenly” discover their homosexuality. I mean, really, at this point, what would be new and interesting would be a female sword fighter (or fire fighter, or policewoman, etc.) who ISN’T gay. I’m over it. It’s also possible that my enjoyment and understanding of this book was affected by the fact that it’s a sequel to a previous book called “Swordspoint” which I haven’t read and which may provide greater insight into the characters. Cool cover art, though.

I moved on to “I See You” by Holly Lisle. This book features a female paramedic who, surprisingly, is not gay. In fact, she leaps into bed with the hero mere moments after meeting him and yeah, I know it’s a romance/thriller crossover, but come on, people! I’ve never bought this whole “instant mystical attraction so powerful that it cannot be denied” thing. It’s just stupid. Despite that fact, this book might’ve been pretty good had it not been a complete and total re-do of Lisle’s earlier book, “Midnight Rain,” which was much more cleverly done. At least in that version, I didn’t figure out the main plot twist during the intro.

Next comes “Webmage” by Kelly McCullough. This book is a bit newbie-ish, but still provides a fun-filled romp through a world that’s an interesting mish-mash of computer technology, Greek mythology and sorcery. I suspect that it would’ve been even more entertaining if I had even the remotest knowledge of computer programming. While the author seems overly concerned with proving just how closely he (and yes, it’s a “he” – if you can’t tell from the sex scenes, check out the bio at the end of the book) paid attention in his Mythology and Folklore 101 class. He does this by constantly tossing about bits of obscure Greek myths so brush up on your Mount Olympus Tales, folks. It is interesting to see these characters brought to life in this particular universe, though. The book is funny and action-packed and I’ll definitely keep an eye out for the author’s next novel.

Then it was time to “get my shallow on” by checking out the latest installment of Mary Janice Davidson’s “Undead” series. Betsy Taylor is back in all her blond bimbo, shoe-obsessed, vampire queen glory in “Undead and Unpopular.” Not much has changed since the last book. She’s still planning her wedding, her baby brother is still colicky, and she still has “issues” with her housemates and her fiancé, Eric Sinclair. Although the book is fun, it’s my least favorite of the series so far because it doesn’t have much in the way of plot. The question of why there’s suddenly a zombie in the attic is never resolved (the better to make us all shell out for the next book, I’m sure) and the other main issue, the visiting vampire delegation from Europe, resolves itself off-stage without any input from any of the main characters. When the book ends, you’re sort of left with a “that’s it?” feeling as you search through the final pages to see if you’ve perhaps missed a few…hundred. I say wait for the paperback edition on this one.

Last, but not least, is “Firestorm,” the latest from Rachel Caine’s “Weather Warden” series. Always well done, these books are a fun, action-filled ride with the main character, Joanne Baldwin, constantly getting in deeper and deeper er…well, you know, just deeper. This time she’s up against Mother Nature herself and, as the famous commercial once claimed, it’s not nice to piss off Mother Nature. Okay, okay, the commercial said “fool” but I figure the theory still holds. On top of that, the Djinn have gone nutso, Joanne’s sister is in the hands of a sociopathic wingnut by the name of Eamon, demons and natural disasters are busting out all over and the Wardens are getting their butts kicked in every corner of the globe. The resolution was a little too quick and I also wonder who you get as guest-star villain after you’ve already had Mother Nature in the role. That’s kind of a hard act to follow. However, you definitely won’t be bored. This one also has cool cover art. Next installment of the series is due out July, 2007. This is kind of a long time to wait. *Pout*

Have a good weekend everyone!


P.S. Oh, and Sparkle? That comment about the earrings? Subtle, very subtle (not). I haven’t forgotten! In fact, headed to a bead show this weekend and will keep an eye out for fun things to add to your focal beads. Oh, and earring hooks…I need earring hooks. Sorta hard to make earrings without ‘em!

P.P.S. I’ve been asked on a date! Now, where DID I put those red stilettos…

Thursday, September 28, 2006

It's Picture Day!

Hey, look, an actual picture of jewelry on a jewelry blog. What a novel concept.

This is the lavender/green embroidered bracelet that I’ve been working on forever (it seems like forever anyway). I finally finished the embroidery part and thought I’d do a quick scan before it gets applied to the bracelet blank because it’s so much harder for me to get any kind of a picture once this project gets three dimensional and won’t fit in the scanner any more. I have a new camera now, though, so hopefully the pictures will come out better this time.

Anyway, this stage is done and I’ve got the purple ultrasuede backing already applied to the bracelet blank. Next step is to finish cutting out this piece, glue it to the top of the bracelet blank and then do the beaded edging and I’ll be DONE.

I’ve already got the next embroidery project underway, but it’ll be eons before it’s even close to being finished. Still, I learn something every time I do one of these projects. In this one, I improved on my color selection and did a better job measuring the pieces and staying within the measured boundaries. I like the scattering of pearls throughout the piece as accents, but I’m not so happy with my idea of alternating size 15 seed beads with size 11 seed beads in the body of the bracelet. It works okay to do it in the bezel around the center cab, but doesn’t work so well elsewhere. I also need to work on not crowding the beads together too much. A little more room here and there will help improve the look of things. Finally, I need to do a few more “outline rings” around the larger beads so I get more of a “pond ripple” effect there. Overall, though, I think this project is an improvement over my first bracelet project.

These guys do take such an awfully long time. Maybe it’s time for another earring project to switch things up. Hmmm….

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

I wanna new drug...

Hi. I’m KJ and I have a shoe addiction. I’m telling you, shoes
are the new crack and is the new dealer in town.

I mean, really, “brocade ribbon AND an ornate crystal buckle.” This pair is beads, jewelry, sparkly stuff AND a shoe all rolled into one. I’m powerless to resist.

Help me.

Must...resist...lure of... shoes ...that don’t...go with...anything I own (but are really super cute nonetheless). If nothing else, I'm just enjoying the fact that shoes are even AVAILABLE in a color called "cyclamen."

And as long as I’m going to hell anyway, I may as well go straight for the hooker shoes, right? Figures this design came from JLo. Although this pair in purple is slightly less hookerish and more 40’s bombshell which, with my curves, is a look that so works for me. And now that I think about it, they would go with my new gray suit...

Hmmm...would it be, um, bad form to wear hot shoes to work?

Of course, it may be too late for me to worry about that now considering I’ve already worn red, patent leather, ankle-strap peep-toes AND cheetah-print stilettos (yes, Sparkle, on two separate occasions) to work. Hee!

But, the pair I will probably actually buy (because I’m so annoyingly MOST of the time) is this pair. Second choice is this pair in dark blue.

Now, where did I put that winning lotto ticket? Oh, and if a certain SOMEONE would hurry up and ask me out on a date, already, I’d have a place to maybe actually WEAR some of these beauties besides the office. Getting compliments from co-workers is not nearly as nice as watching a guy trip because he’s busy staring at your legs and thinking lascivious thoughts. I know, because I made the whole guy-trip thing happen once this summer by way of the Anne Klein “killer sandals” (as previously mentioned here) and a knee-length denim skirt and it was quite an enjoyable experience.

Did I mention I only have 5 lbs. to go to hit my initial weight-loss goal and I look fa-bu-lous in a size 12? Okay, conceited, I know, but I’ve worked REALLY hard to get this far so I figure it’s okay to take some well-deserved pride in my accomplishment.


P.S. As long as you’re sharing in my obsession(s), check out this totally cute purse .

Friday, September 22, 2006

P.S. Update

A little update to the post-script of the last entry. Turns out what they're actually singing is "Go ahead, be gone with it."

But my way is funnier ;-)

Have a great weekend, everyone!


Book Review

I’ve finally had a few spare minutes to put a book review together so here it is.

I’d like to review “Karavans” by Jennifer Roberson, but I’m not sure it’s fair to review a book that I haven’t finished. I’ve tried like heck to slog my way through this book for about the last month and I’ve finally given up. I just don’t care what happens to these characters. You know, it’s one thing to do gradual character development and drop tantalizingly obscure clues about the exact nature of some of the main characters, but there’s a point where it just stretches on for too long and I lose interest. I’m two-thirds of the way through this stupid story and I still don’t know what the Shoia are or what Alisano really is or does or why it’s such a threat. The book is called “Karavans” and yet the karavan has only JUST NOW left the rendez-vous point and now it’s TURNING BACK! Yawn.

It’s a shame because I always enjoyed Roberson’s “Sword Dancer” and “Cheysuli” (okay, Jenie, you can stop making gagging noises over there in the corner…I can hear ya, you know) series and I was thrilled to hear she’d finally gotten around to putting out some new books. I’m very disappointed.

So, I suppose those of you with more patience than I have could still go and give this book a try (especially once it comes out in paperback) but I’m officially calling it quits. Do me a favor, though, if anyone does check this out…come by here and let me know if it ever got any better, m’kay?

Thank goodness for the next book that, in stark contrast to “Karavans”, was a rip-roaring ride from beginning to end. Only took me about 3 days to finish this one and I had to force myself to put it down each night to get some sleep. I’m talking about “The Lies of Locke Lamora” by Scott Lynch. This book got a lot of great press prior to its release and I’m glad to say it doesn’t disappoint. The story follows the career of a gang of thieves and con-men known as the “Gentlemen Bastards.” I’d describe it as a bit of “The Sting” meets “The Godfather” set in a Renaissance-era Venice that was built by a vanished alien race and which is currently endowed with magic and lots of nasty sea creatures (don’t go swimming in the harbor!). It sounds like there’s way too much going on, but Lynch manages to pull all these disparate elements together to create an interesting and fresh-feeling background world (which is getting harder and harder to do these days) peopled with colorful characters.

This is Lynch’s first published novel as far as I can tell and it does have a few rookie mistakes in it, but they are so minor as to be barely noticeable. Lynch employs a shifting time-stream method of telling this story – flipping back and forth between “present” events and Locke and the gang’s childhood training. While not a mistake in and of itself, it’s just not a technique I’m particularly fond of. It does serve to break up the almost incessant action of the current storyline, though, so it’s effective in that sense. The other things that bugged me a bit were a couple of characters whose storylines were never really resolved. One never actually makes it on-stage in this book at all, but is just referred to very frequently. I assume she’ll make an appearance in a sequel, but still, a bit annoying. Another character gets done away so rapidly that the reader wonders why that character was even necessary to begin with. Lastly, I thought a couple of the plot points were fairly simple and obvious – which flies in the face of Lock Lamora being the most “clever” thief around. It made me wonder why he wasn’t able to “out think” the opposition on a couple of occasions or come up with better plans. Again, these things are so minor that they certainly didn’t detract from the enjoyment of the book. I had no problem paying full price for the hardcover version and I’ll definitely be looking out for a sequel.

Oh, and one small warning. There’s a definite dose of violence in this book (it is about gangsters, thieves and murderers after all) so steer clear if you can’t handle that. Also, I wouldn’t get overly attached to any of the characters…

That’s it for this week.


P.S. Does anyone else think that part of the chorus in Justin Timberlake’s song “Sexy Back” sounds like the backup singers are singing “go ahead big boner”? Or is it just me…

Monday, September 11, 2006

Kids say the darndest things

So, tonight when I was putting some 1% hydrocortisone cream on my son's face, he asked what I was doing. I explained it to him and he responded "but mommy, why do you have to put hieroglyphics on my face?"

After I picked myself up off the floor from laughing, I had to spend the next 15 minutes explaing the difference between hydrocortisone and hieroglpyhics. To a 3-year-old. I can hardly wait until he needs help with his calculus homework...


P.S. I've finally solved all the problems related to updating the website. I've got access to the server and I have Dreamworks software re-loaded on my computer. So, updates will be forthcoming the next time I have a free weekend...which should be in about 2 weeks.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Mall Redux

Overheard at the mall today:

Approx. mid-twenties Girl #1: (points to patent leather shoes) "I really hate all these plastic shoes.

Friend of Girl #1: "Yeah. Plastic is totally gross."

I swear - did the mothers of this generation teach them NOTHING at all about fashion?

But, I didn't let it bother me because I woke up to a wonderful surprise this morning. Despite having a cold for the past few days and fighting a certain monthly intrusion of Mother Nature and having therefore suspended the dieting and working out during this time period, I got on the scale this morning to find that I'd dropped FIVE POUNDS since Friday!!! I have no idea how this happened considering that I never made it to the gym after Tuesday and I ate (shhhh!) cookies on Thursday AND Friday. But hey - whatever works!

Woo Hoo! 5 more lbs. to my initial goal, baby!

And when I reach that goal - these are what I'm buying myself as a reward!

Go me!


Thursday, September 07, 2006

Bathroom Whisperers

There’s this weird phenomenon that I’ve noticed and I can’t decide if it’s just happening to me or if everyone knows about it and just doesn’t say anything? I’m talking about “bathroom whisperers.” Have you ever been in a restroom and heard the person in the next stall whispering to herself? Because it happens to me a lot. There were two of them at my last job – and they did it every time they came in the restroom. I’ve encountered them out in public (well, public restrooms) as well. And now there’s one here at my new job.

What is up with this? It’s not people talking softly on a cell phone. Although I’ve heard that happen, too, and it’s just wrong. There are some places where you should be “temporarily unavailable.” Call the person back for heaven’s sake – that’s what voice mail is for!). But bathroom whisperers are different. They’re just talking to themselves in a whisper the entire time they’re in the bathroom from the moment they enter until they come out of the stall. They only stop when they realize someone else is there. And yet, I can never understand what they’re saying. What’s so important that you have to tell yourself about it in the restroom? And repeat it over and over in a whisper?

It’s weird…and kinda creepy, too. I want to understand what causes it (because I’m all scientific and stuff like that, yo) but mostly I just want it to stop because it’s weirding me out, dude.

Just me?


{sound of crickets chirping}

Okay then.


P.S. The marine layer is back with a vengeance so that means the good hair phenomenon is history. Not to be seen again for 3-10 years (I noticed that seemed to be about the normal span between previous occurrences).

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Good Hair Days

Let it be known and proclaimed throughout the world that on this date in history, I experienced the rare noteworthy event known as a “Good Hair Day.” I know, I know, but really, it’s true. I wouldn’t lie about something like this (well, okay, I would, but in this case, I’m not). Today’s hair has exactly the right amount of “poofiness” to look like natural body without approaching either Texas Big Hair or 80’s poodleness. It’s not frizzy and it didn’t fall flat.

This made me nostalgic for the known “Good Hair Days” of years gone by:

October 31, 2003: Perfect, thick, shiny hair – brought to you by post-partum hormones. This one was actually captured on FILM! Sadly, the picture fell victim to the great re-organization project of ’04 in which I lost more stuff than I actually organized. The hair also fell victim…or rather, it just fell out when the hormones departed. Sigh. I miss that hair.

June 1, 1994: Test drive of hairstyle for upcoming wedding. Sadly, hairstyle on actual wedding day did not live up to the promise of the test drive (nervous bride = sweaty, droopy bangs). Maybe it was an omen?

February 27, 1985: Ah yes, the 80’s. When it took me 3 hours from shower to finished product to do my hair and it still never looked right – except for this one date. My layered perm was at just the perfect stage where it had relaxed enough to not be frizzy, but the roots hadn’t grown out straight yet. My perms always had about a 3-day span during which they looked the way I wanted them to. This particular span happened to coincide with the ZBT “Red Light Affair” party. So, after the appropriate application of gold-glitter-filled mousse and Sebastian Freeze ‘N Shine Spray and a skillful two-hour session of diffuser, hot rollers and curling iron, I donned my hooker costume (now that I think about it – there were an awful lot of “hooker-related” party themes in college and yet we girls just kept falling for it) and headed out. Sadly, this moment of hair perfection was short-lived due to a group of drunken party attendees who thought that “beer showers” sounded like a good idea. R.I.P. perfect hair.

December 25, 1982: Christmas of my senior year in high school – shortly before I made the fateful (and saaaaadly misguided) decision that I was “bored” with long hair and wanted to be the blonde Pat Benatar instead. I thought I was hot stuff for about 2 seconds until my boyfriend of the time saw the new ‘do and commented “Nice. How long will it take to grow back?” Actually, I don’t think my hair has ever forgiven me for that whole debacle because that’s right about the time it started to get darker and darker until I had to start dyeing it blonde.

Ah, the glory days.


P.S. Today’s great hair day brought to you by a can of Tresemme “Ultra Light Mist” hairspray and the lack of a marine layer (also known as “fog” for you non-Southern Californians).

Friday, September 01, 2006

Poll and Book Review

So, now that everyone’s had a chance to catch up on just how truly fascinating life at chez divorced single mom is, here’s the question for the day. What’s the appropriate action to take when one is approached by a guy who seems perfectly nice and with whom one appears to have things in common, but who is not so hot in the looks department?

Things to keep in mind while answering this question:

1. Number of other current prospects = 0
2. Guy is not a troll – just no initial sparks and isn’t really “my type.”
3. There’s no way in hell a guy who IS “my type” will EVER ask me out. I have aspirations waaayyyy beyond the boundary of my league.
4. The ethics of encouraging someone’s attention when you strongly suspect there’s no future in it due to lack of attraction.
5. Wondering what it would be like to be in the driver’s seat for a change. This includes the semi-bitchy and no doubt immature desire to be the “just not that into it” party (i.e. the one who doesn’t care about returning phone calls and/or has no motivation to stress over whether the other party likes her or not).
6. Number of other current prospects = 0
7. The desire not to “settle” ever again. Because look how well that turned out the first time…
8. The chance to be the hot half of the equation for once.
9. The opportunity for free dinners and adult conversation.
10. My experience with really good looking guys (which, admittedly, is somewhat limited) is that they are major jerks.
11. ANYTHING is better than sitting home alone on Friday nights watching re-runs of “What Not to Wear” for pregnant women, right?
12. Did I mention this is the only game in town right now? I mean, yes, Cowboy Guy finally e-mailed me back, but it was a kind of strange, intense e-mail and I’m thinking I may need to just back away from that situation. So Looks 3 Guy (as in “dance 10, looks 3” – it’s a “Chorus Line” reference…rent the movie) is pretty much where it’s at right now. There was one other guy who sent me a wink and I responded, but nothing back from him since then so I’m not even giving him a cute nickname for the blog.

Okay, that’s it. The polls are open. Remember, my dating future is in your hands (but no pressure).

Now, on to the books. Yes, I’m actually doing a review on Friday like I’m supposed to. Try not to fall over in shock.

I won’t bore you with reviews of the dating self-help books I read because they were, for the most part, a waste of time. However, there’s one small exception – although it’s not really a “self-help” book so I have no idea why it was in that section of the store, but it was so I suppose the store considers it to be self-help so that’s how I’ll have to refer to it. I’m talking about “Between Boyfriends” by Cindy Chupack, a former writer and executive producer for “Sex and the City.” It’s a collection of amusing anecdotes and essays about her dating experiences – I’m guessing some of these are things that were pitched as episodes for the TV show but didn’t make the cut. She’s got a great sense of humor, the stories are amusing and ring very true (which is funny and yet it’s kinda sad at the same time to know that’s what awaits me out there in the deep, dark waters of the dating world). I particularly liked her idea of the “male harem.” Always wanted to get me one of those. Anyway, if you know anyone who’s single or who is “between boyfriends” I highly recommend this book as a little pick-me-up and something to do on those Friday nights when even the losers of the world have failed to ask you out.

Next is “Kitty Goes to Washington” by Carrie Vaughn. This is the second book about Kitty, the late night radio talk show host and her (mis)adventures as a werewolf. In this installment, Kitty is called to Washington, DC, to testify before a Senate committee on the supernatural. This would seem far-fetched unless one remembers that Dee Snyder, the frontman for “Twisted Sister,” once testified before Congress and a werewolf seems tame compared to that. Along the way, Kitty runs afoul of the local vampire community, a rather sinister government medical lab and an Unseelie sidhe preacher who claims he can “cure” vampirism and lycanthropy. When I reviewed Vaughn’s first book in this series, I commented that it was obvious she was a novice writer, but she had some good material to work with and hopefully would hone her craft in later installments. The good news is that this book definitely has a tighter plot structure and flows a lot better than the first one did. The bad news is that there are still a number of “rookie” mistakes here – chief among them being a particular TV broadcast that Kitty convinces the people around her to allow under circumstances that one would have to be totally gonzo nuts (not to mention stupid) to allow a TV broadcast. This was far more unbelievable than her being called to testify at a Senate hearing. The supporting cast of characters was more thoroughly fleshed out this time even though some of them are clichés and at least one of them appears to be a direct rip-off from Laurell K. Hamilton’s “Anita Blake” books. Although, I find I’m not that broken up about it. If I can end up with a series that has all the fun and excitement of the original Anita books without all the “Penthouse Letters” style porn of the later books then I say bring it on. This book was a definite improvement over the first book so I look forward to the next installment to see if the remaining problems can be resolved.

That’s it for this week. Happy Labor Day weekend, everyone! Drive safely!!