Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The long overdue update!

Whew! Long time no post. I should perhaps mention there’s been a small blip in my life. What’s that, you ask? Well, see, it wasn’t enough for the universe that I go through the h-e-l-l that is divorce. No. The lords of karma (along with some help from Toshiba) thought that now would be a good time for me to get laid off from my job of eight years.

Yeah, because having no salary will really help me with my goal of keeping my house so my child has a place to LIVE!

But, I’ve chosen to view this as an opportunity to move on and hopefully UP in the whole career sector of things so I shall not dwell overlong upon my woes.

Hmm…I guess it shows that I’ve been re-reading the entire "Amber" series by Roger Zelazny. That last sentence was PURE Corwin! These books are such long time classics that it’s not productive to review them. I’m just mentioning that they are all now out in one convenient, albeit super-sized, volume. If you’ve never read them or missed a few along the way or have an incomplete collection, you really owe it to yourself to pick up this version.

So, let’s move on to the other books, shall we?

I read the latest installment of C.E. Murphy’s "Urban Shaman" series. Joanne (Siobhan) Walker is back…still way too powerful and way too clueless. The story itself was okay except that I felt the villain was way too obvious and that Joanne was far too easily taken in by him. Also, early on in the book, Coyote, who is one of the more interesting secondary characters disappears very mysteriously and doesn’t come back. Yes, I know, set up for the next book, but it was a poor choice in my opinion. These books NEED Coyote for humor and interest. The rest of the story is dullsville without him. Overall, I feel like Murphy has a diamond in the rough with this series, but I would’ve liked to see more progress in the “polishing” of it from one book to the next.

Then, of course, there is the beauty that is Jim Butcher’s "Dresden" series. I just finished the latest installment, “Proven Guilty”, and I’m still at a loss as to how Butcher manages to get it right time after time with this series. Harry is back with a new mystery to solve, new villains to fight and gosh darn it but the White Council is STILL on his back although in a new and inventive way. This book is set at a horror movie convention so fans of the scary movies will enjoy the inside jokes sprinkled throughout and the book opens a number of interesting new possibilities for Harry’s future and yet is still a self-contained piece with enough of an ending to be satisfying. I’ve talked about these books before so no need for too much more detail. Frankly, if you haven’t picked up the first one and gotten well and truly addicted by now all I can say is hie thee to the nearest Barnes & Noble and get lost in the wonderful world of Harry Dresden!

Oh, and did I mention that the Sci Fi channel series based on the books has had 11 episodes picked up and that they’ll begin airing in January, 2007?

{insert fanfare and fireworks here}

As long as they don’t screw it up!

In other news, Daisy Jewelry is not long for this world. My supplier will no longer be carrying these beads and I haven’t been able to locate another source so that means when they’re gone…they’re gone! I’m already down to the last few pieces in the “clear” background color, but I have slightly more left in the blue, green, gray and red backgrounds.

Anyway, get ‘em while they last, folks! I’ll be updating the page as availability dwindles.

That's all for now. Take care, everyone!

KJ

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Mental "take out the trash" day

It’s been a few days since I updated the blog and I’ve got….nothing but a few meaningless bits of mental trash to kick to the curb so here goes:

First, and most importantly, the mediation appt. at the court today was cancelled. As in…it’s no longer necessary. Woo hoo! I was seriously dreading it so am glad I didn’t have to go. I may have to do some celebratory shopping at lunch…

Secondly, I dressed for the appointment because I didn’t know it had been cancelled until this morning so I look really cute today: dark rinse denim blazer, crisp white shirt, aqua/lime/white patterned skirt, chocolate brown Joan & David T-strap sandals and the sun is even coming out so I can take off the jacket and still not look too summery. Yay, me!

A few more songs for my embarrassing mix tape:

37. “Cherry” – Neil Diamond

38. “Cracklin’ Rosie” – Neil Diamond

39. “Sorcerer” – Stevie Nicks

40. “Kentucky Woman” – Neil Diamond

41. “I Am I Said” – Neil Diamond (I think I may’ve mentioned in a previous entry that I went through a “Neil Diamond period” in my life? I just discovered the CD in the car the other day LOL!)

42. “You’re So Vain” – Carly Simon

43. “Magic Bus” – The Who

44. “Mama’s Got a Squeeze Box” – The Who

Honorable mention goes to the theme song from the 1967 animated “Spiderman” tv show. To which I know ALL of the words (which either makes me super-cool OR an incredible dork…I’m not sure which) and which I, of course, taught my 3 year old son to sing and he, in turn, (and in a great spirit of sharing, I might add) taught to his entire daycare class. So, now, when I drive up in the afternoons to pick him up, I am serenaded as follows:

Spiderman, spiderman.
Does whatever a spider can.
Spins a web. Any size.
Catches thieves just like flies.
Look out!
Here comes the Spiderman.

And yeah, there are several more verses and yeah, Ryan and I both know ‘em all, but if you want ‘em, you’ll have to Google for them. Neener neener.

What else? Oh, yeah. Finally found this picture on-line of the killer Anne Klein sandals. It doesn’t do them justice, though, because the leather upper is actually a bronze-brown with a bit of a metallic sheen to it that doesn’t show in the picture. Also, I didn’t pay that much for them (insert insanely gloating and self-satisfied giggle here). I’m picturing them with a pair of dark rinse, boot cut jeans and this top.

Now, if I could only be successful in my search for the PERFECT pair of jeans to wear with them! Why does shopping for jeans have to be so damned difficult? GRRRR!

Oh, I also need a great date on which to wear this fabulous outfit. Just think of the romance that will happen when I fall off the killer shoes, sprain or break an ankle in the process and need rescuing…

What? It could happen.

KJ

P.S. For all those who are laughing themselves silly right now…cut it out! Sparkle, this means you. Hey…at least I didn’t buy the gauchos, right?

Friday, May 05, 2006

And another thing...

...and this one's for the guys...

Don't, I repeat, DO NOT pick your nose on international (or any other) television! I saw this guy being interviewed on CNN (hence the "international" part of this commandment) this morning and right in the middle of the interview he reaches up and goes digging in his left nostril. HE DIDN'T EVEN STOP TALKING WHILE HE DID IT!

I was all "wait, did he just...no, I don't believe...oh man, that guy JUST PICKED HIS NOSE ON CNN!"

I mean, these interviews are like 60 seconds long. He can't wait that long for the red light to go out before he goes nose-spelunking?

Ugh.

KJ

P.S. You know his buddies Tivo'd this and will replay it ad nauseam for the rest of his life and you know what? He deserves it because he PICKED HIS NOSE ON CNN!

Book Review and PSA

Not much reading going on this week in the “House of Kelly’s New Life.” I’ve been busy returning a bunch of clothes I bought that are now too big (yay) and had my first meeting with my trainer at 24 Hour Fitness and she totally kicked my ass.

Ow.

No one told me thin would be so painful LOL! She seems to think I can get down to a size 8. I’m not against the idea, but I’m not holding my breath, either. On the other hand, I’d probably have been a lot more into exercising a lot sooner if I’d known how many HOT guys my age are hanging out at the gym! Yummmmmmmyyyyy!

Okay, mind out of the gutter and back to the books. Except, the first book quite probably BELONGS in the gutter…or maybe the trashcan. I picked up Michele Hauf’s “Seraphim” against my better judgment and I really need to stop doing that. It almost never works out well. This book is of the done-to-death “rape and revenge” variety, but I did find the setting of France in the time of Jeanne d’Arc to be an interesting choice. Also intriguing was the idea of a woman as the infamous “Black Knight.” Those two things are what convinced me to pick the book up rather than pass it by. I still think that, in the hands of a skilled writer, those two elements could have made for a fascinating tale. Michele Hauf is not that writer. The dialogue is stilted as are the overly clich├ęd descriptions of “violet eyes” and other passages of that ilk. I did like the secondary character of Baldwin Ortolano, though. He injected some much-needed humor into a book that was otherwise dragging on and on.

Sadly, despite all of its obvious flaws, I might have kept reading this book except for one thing that pissed me off so badly I threw the book across the room. Here we have Seraphim who has successfully killed two of her enemies in the heat of battle and proven her mettle as a knight and as a strong woman and yet what does she do when a man comes on the scene? HE HAS TO CARRY HER IN HIS ARMS ACROSS A NEST OF SPIDERS! Now, I’ll admit I hate spiders as much as the next person, but come ON! The read is expected to believe that this character has survived the destruction of her entire family and estate, a rape, a grievous wound to her own throat that should have been fatal, and has take up arms against her enemies, ridden into battle and decapitated two of them but she has to be CARRIED BY A MAN OVER SOME SPIDERS???

Give me a freakin’ break.

So, I have no idea how the book continues and if you want to check it out yourself, be my guest. Just make sure to have some man carry you across the nest of spiders in front of the book store. Ugh.

Fortunately, the next book on my nightstand saved me. “Throne of Jade” by Naomi Novik is the second in her series about Temeraire, the dragon who fights for the English against Napoleon’s attempt to conquer all of Europe. I love this series. Not only is Laurence a terrific main character, but Temeraire, is fascinating as well. The relationship between the two of them forms a strong core for the rest of the story. And the third book comes out at the end of this month!

Well, that’s it for the books. I do have a PSA I’d like to post, though, so bear with me.

Ladies, can we talk? There are a couple of issues going on in the world today that are not only obnoxious but also appear to be approaching epidemic proportions. I’m speaking, of course, of the proliferation of hang-toe and lojeancrack.

Hang-toe is the term for a foot that has been crammed into a too-small sandal (usually of the platform variety) thus causing the toes to “hang” out over the edge of the shoe. What’s the cause of this strange and aesthetically displeasing trend? Have shoes suddenly shrunk? Are women’s feet suddenly swelling to elephantine proportions? Have shoe manufacturers stopped making anything larger than a size 5? Studies are underway to determine the actual cause. In the meantime, here are a few simple steps you can take to ensure you don’t fall victim to this vicious disease.

1. Go to the shoe store.
2. Get your foot measured.
3. Request shoes in the size determined by your measurement.
4. Try those shoes on (if they don’t have them in your size, pout prettily
and ask if they can be ordered from another store).
5. Once the shoes are on your feet, CAREFULLY observe your toes. Are
they hanging over the edge of the front of the shoe?
6. If you answered no to question 5, go ahead and buy the shoes.
7. If you answered yes to question 5, ALERT! This is NOT how shoes are
supposed to fit and you are in the early stages of “hang-toe.” But, you can
be saved. Ask the clerk to bring you a half-size LARGER.
8. Repeat steps 4-7 as needed.

Let’s all work together to stop the spread of this silent killer.

Equally as awful and yet far more widespread is the lojeancrack plague. Since this disease has been around longer, its origins are more well understood. Lojeancrack is caused by mothers who failed to give their daughters adequate instruction in how to correctly try on and purchase the right size of clothing and also how to determine what clothing is age-appropriate. Fortunately, a simple treatment program is available without a prescription. Simply follow this easy regimen:

1. Low-rise jeans and midriff tops are verboten for anyone over the age of
25. I don't care if you have the body of a supermodel - you look silly.
2. Understand what size you are and try jeans on accordingly (i.e. if you
wear a size 14 dress, you should not be trying on size 6 jeans).
3. Carefully observe yourself in the mirror when trying on jeans in the
following ways:

a. from the front – be alert for any sign of “muffin top” as it is a good
indicator of lojeancrack syndrome.
b. from the back – turn around and view your butt in the mirror to make
sure there are no early signs of lojeancrack.
c. practice sitting and bending over in the jeans while observing yourself
in the mirror.

4. If muffin top or lojeancrack are observed at any time – get a larger size
of pants or a style with a higher rise.

Ladies, if we all work together, the tragedies caused by these conditions can be eradicated for good. Let’s make hang-toe and lojeancrack go the way of polio and smallpox. Only YOU can prevent the spread of these dangerous diseases. Remember, just because you CAN wear it, doesn’t necessarily mean you SHOULD wear it.

And if you’re really, really, really that confused about the whole thing with the shoes and the pants and all…just ask yourself “what would Stacy and Clinton do?”

The preceding was a public service announcement brought to you by CWWWEPWHLB (the Coalition of Women Who Want to Eat in Public Without Having to Look at Buttcracks).

We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

Okay, I was attempting to be humorous, but seriously, people, what is UP with this? It was one thing when I could say “oh well, that’s a teenager and she’ll learn better over time” but I’m seeing grown women doing both of these things all the time now! I even saw “hangtoe” in a very glamorous clothing designer’s ad in a top magazine. The model’s toes were completely hanging over the front edges of her shoes. Truly unbelievable. And last Sunday night in a nice restaurant? Buttcracks everywhere. It was like they were the chef’s special du jour or something.

Stop it! All of you! Just stop it!

And, lest you think it is just me and my puritanical prejudices, I took a poll amongst the men present on Sunday evening and here are their responses:

“Cheap”

“Slutty”

“Trashy”

“Fat” (note: this was said about a woman who was most definitely NOT fat, but who had chosen a pair of jeans in the wrong cut and probably two sizes too small thus giving herself the APPEARANCE of being overweight when she was actually probably a decent size 8 or 10)

“That’s your one night stand right there”

“I wonder how much she charges?”

“If she has to show something off, how about a little cleavage?”

And okay, so none of them noticed the toes-over-the-shoes thing until I pointed it out, but once they noticed, they all agreed it looked stupid. And, you’ll be happy to know, at least two of them said they will probably always check out a woman’s feet/shoes from now on and be less than impressed if they don’t fit.

So fair warning…I’m out there edumacating the men of Orange County.

Y’all can thank me later.

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

KJ

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Semi-sucky

Y’know that feeling when things are not going great, but they’re not awful either? When life is semi-sucky and you just feel kind of blah and find yourself making up stupid phrases like “semi-sucky?” That’s me today.

The court date has been set. I got the draft papers in the mail last night and I guess it’s just hitting me all over again that this is really happening. I’m going to be divorced. I’m going to be 40+ and divorced with a child.

Is it just me or can anyone else see the big flashing red “D” over my head?

I guess it’s just hitting me that this is not something I want to be. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want the ex back. In fact, can’t get rid of him fast enough/wish he’d fall off the end of the earth/hope the door DOES hit him in the ass on his way out. But, I don’t want to be D-I-V-O-R-C-E-D either. Or maybe it’s just that I don’t want to be A-L-O-N-E (although it’s certainly preferable to being coupled to the wrong person).

Of course, there are some positive things to the situation (in no particular order):

1. I’ve lost 45 lbs.! I’ve got more to go, but I’m starting to look pretty darned good if I do say so myself.

2. I joined a gym and hired a personal trainer and have my first session later this week.

3. I’m looking into yoga and pilates classes and I’ve heard there are some great new dance/aerobic classes coming (salsa, hip hop and even striptease!) that sound like fun, too.

4. I get to spend more time with Ryan which is just the best thing in the world.

5. I have a terrific family and great friends.

6. I’m healthy.

7. The house is peaceful.

8. No one’s pissed at me and I’m not afraid any more.

9. I can sleep at night (well, okay, not last night but that’s a rarity).

10. I LOVE LOVE LOVE my new DVR that the cable company installed this last week.

11. I’m planning a complete redecoration of my bedroom and I can’t wait!

11. I even get the occasional chance to make jewelry…

…although my hobby du jour seems to be clothes shopping to replace my wardrobe with smaller sizes. Ummmm…anyone know a good tailor? I’ve got about 4 pairs of pants, a skirt and a bunch of tops that all need to be taken in and/or hemmed.

{Can I insert a mini-rant on a completely different topic here? I hate being 5’5.5” Pant lengths are all based on someone who is 5’6” which means that all average length pants are too long for me. However, petite length pants are too short. So, I either have to constantly wear 3” heels with my pants (looks good, but not so great for the feet to do it on a daily basis especially at work) OR I have to get stuff altered. Which I always SAY I’m going to do, but I seriously don’t have the time to be constantly running stuff back and forth to the tailor. Not to mention it’s hard to find a GOOD tailor who won’t ruin my clothes. Of the few things I’ve had altered, NONE have been satisfactory. I even have a pair of pants where the legs are COMPLETELY DIFFERENT LENGTHS now! GRRR! Oh, and then there was the chick who did the alterations on my wedding dress and re-attached the skirt (wedding dresses have to have the length taken up at the waistline rather than the hem when there’s decoration at the hem) BACKWARDS. Hmm…maybe I should’ve taken that as an omen? Anyway…getting stuff altered sucks. Okay, back to your regularly scheduled blog now.}

So, there’s a lot to be happy and thankful for, but I’m still mourning the end of something that wasn’t supposed to end and wishing that it had been possible to save it. Oh well, I’m sure that feeling will pass with time.

Here’s to the rest of my life – may it be fabulous and filled with unbelievably hot shoes (and hopefully a hot guy or three LOL)!

KJ

Monday, May 01, 2006

Leftovers

I had wanted to post a detail picture of the glass pendant from the last post, but blogger was being stupid and wouldn't let me add another picture. So, here it is:

The heart and leaf spray are done in an iridescent aqua foil on a black glass background. The front is encased in clear glass which gives depth and gives the piece the feeling of looking through a window at the design. Simple and lovely.

KJ

And on the 6th day she created...

...JEWELRY!

Yes, I actually got some pieces made this weekend. Yay for me!

I'll post pics below, but thought I'd take the time to mention that now is a good time to buy anything from the site that you've got your eye on because the prices of silver and gold? They are a-risin' most dramatically. I've already received price increase notices from at least two of my vendors and expect the others will follow suit shortly.

All this means that MY prices are going to have to go up, unfortunately. So, head over to the website and get yourself a deal while you can.

And now on to the pictures...

Back in January, I attended the L.A. Gift Show with a friend and was lucky enough to come across a vendor selling pre-made leather necklaces at a great price. I thought it would be a good way for me to cut down on my labor while making some cute summer necklaces so I could offer them at a nice price. Sadly, they've been languishing in a drawer lately because I've been so busy with divorce stuff and custom orders that I didn't even have the minutes it takes to zap a pendant on and get the finished piece photographed.

That all changed this weekend when I was doing some tidying up in the bead room and found this great Jeff Welsh glass pendant. I saw it and thought "that REALLY needs to be worn by someone" so I grabbed a leather necklace, zapped the pendant on and voila! Done.

Here's the necklace:



After that, I worked on a custom order. The two necklaces I posted the other day were for a particular customer to match a pink sweater set. She took them both and also commissioned something to match a couple of mauve sweaters (one lighter and one darker). After looking through my bead stash, she settled on some faceted, coin-shaped shell beads and I came up with this design for her:

In addition to the shell beads, I used some faceted Czech crystal rondelles in a pale amethyst color, some Bali vermeil daisy spacers and deep mauve Swarovski pearls. The total length is 24" and the clasp is a vermeil toggle clasp.

Although the customer is only going to be buying the necklace, I had enough beads left over to make a bracelet and earrings so those pieces will be up for sale on the site later this week.















That's it for now. I still have another embroidered cuff bracelet in the works and maybe I can get in some more jewelry-making time this week. Drat those pesky chores that have to be done all the time!

KJ