Thursday, January 27, 2011

Episode #836 in Which our Intrepid Author Discovers She is an Idiot.

Dear Self,

Good for you for remembering to buy milk on the way home last night. However, we should like to point out that said milk will not actually be available for consumption today due to your decision to leave it in the car.


In case you hadn't realized it, milk requires refrigeration.

We expect you will do better next time.


The Voices in Your Head

P.S. Regarding that phone call this morning - just let it go. You'll be happier.

Dude, Where's My Head

Now, I am not an Art Director or magazine/catalog editor of any kind.

And I really like Talbots clothes (leaving aside the fact that they are kinda pricey and I'm currently too fat to fit into them anyway).

But something about this is just wrong.

I mean, I get the concept of how she's leaning on the overflowing suitcase to try to close it. And okay, the blouse is cute. Skirt is...poofy-looking in the picture, but could be cute in real life. Shoes are OMG SOOOO cute (not to mention I would kill to have legs like that), but WHY IS THERE NO HEAD ON THIS MODEL?

Really, Talbots? This is the best you could do?

Oh, and if I was that model? I'd be pissed. Like I'm suddenly not looking good enough to have my face on the cover? You want to feature my ass instead? In a super-poofy skirt of all things?

I just...

It's just...

I don't even have the words (and since yesterday's post was already about poo, I'm REALLY out of words).

But help me out I off-base and this is actually a fabulous shot?


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Today's Dilemma

Warning: this entry contains severe grossness. So if you don't enjoy that sort of thing, I suggest you skip straight to leaving me a comment telling me how fabulous I am.

For those who are still here, you were warned.

If you don't now or have never lived with a boy child then you have not experienced the extreme level to which their lives revolve around all things poo and poo-adjacent.

That's right. I said poo. As in the Big #2. Poop. Turd. Crap. Dookie.

Or as my son learned in science class this week: feces.

His new favorite word.

Thanks, Science Teacher.

So, on to the dilemma. Just as we were leaving the house this morning, I discovered that the kid had stopped up the toilet in the guest bathroom (notice not HIS bathroom) with a big ol' pile.

Now, do I:

1. Take the time to plunge it and thereby make us late to school and work?


2. Leave it for when I get home knowing it will be 8 hours grosser at that point?

Which would you choose?

Oh, and don't think it didn't dawn on me that while most people go home to a husband, partner, and loving family, my option is to go home to a toilet full of poo and a date with a plunger.

What a perfect metaphor for my life!

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Lunch as a Death Sport

Overnight, the Quizno's across the street where I get my lunch 2-3 times a week has apparently gone out of business.

So, off I went to Subway down the street.

On the way there, some old guy in a beater car totally cuts me off! I had to slam on the brakes and hope like heck that the idiot tailgating behind me didn't hit me as a result.

Dude. All I wanted was a sandwich!


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Monday, January 24, 2011


Here's what I did this weekend (because I know it is keeping you up nights wondering...):

On Saturday, got up at a ridiculous hour of the morning to get the kid breakfasted and into his Class A's (formal Cub Scout uniform) so he could head off to the Pinewood Derby with his dad. Pinewood Derby is an annual event where the kids (supposedly - I think there's a lot of dads who are frustrated race car engineers and see this as their "Big Chance") make their own cars out of wood and race them on a track.

Knowing I would have a few precious hours to myself, I promptly headed out to the movie theaters to see a non-kid-appropriate movie. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy taking the kid to see all the animated stuff, but I so miss getting to see more grown-up films and hate having to wait until they finally come out on Netflix (plus, some movies you just HAVE to see in the theater!)

Once there, I splurged on the ridiculously over-priced movie food and got myself a pretzel, because I just love me some movie pretzels, and sat myself down to watch "The King's Speech."



I loved this movie. I think both Colin Firth AND Geoffrey Rush should be up for Academy Award nominations for it.

One thing I don't get is how it ended up with an "R" rating, though. Okay, so there's one scene with some bad words in it, but there's no violence or sexual content and given the degree of stuff they are getting away with in "PG-13" movies these days, I don't get it. Besides, it's British profanity which somehow just does not come across as all that dirty. I don't know if it's the accent or the actual words or the combination, but anyway, just not that bad.

Afterwards, I took care of some errands. This included a visit to Chase Bank to close an account I have there. Way back in the dawn of time when I first started buying beads and such on eBay (Etsy didn't exist yet) and books on Amazon and using a Paypal account, I thought it would be a good idea to have a separate checking account that I kept a limited amount of money in to be used for on-line purchasing. That way, if anyone ever hacked the account, the damage would be limited because it wouldn't be my main checking account.

I even set up my direct deposit of my paycheck to split a small amount off into that account each pay period to keep it funded. Plus, I'd deposit anything I made from jewelry and bead sales, etc. into that account.

Worked great for many years and, in fact, never got hacked. Ironically, my main B of A account DID get hacked last November and it had nothing to do with on-line usage.

So much for my smart ideas.

But anyway, back to my point. The small account was originally with WaMu...who got taken over by Chase last year. About a month ago, Chase sent me a letter saying that they were going to start charging $10 a month in order for me to keep that account open unless I maintained a balance of $5,000 or more in it.

Um. Yeah. So THAT's not gonna happen.

And now they've made it not worth my while to even HAVE the account any more.

So, I turned off my direct deposit at work and, having verified that that change went through, off I went on Saturday to close the account. While I'm sitting there at the banker's desk waiting for the cancellation to be completed, I ask her why Chase has made this (to me rather stupid) decision because it seems like they are just going to lose a bunch of their small customers.

She tells me that within the next six months, ALL of the major banks are going to be doing this. Free checking is going away.


I went from feeling all superior and like I was really "sticking" it to dumb ol' Chase Bank for trying to charge me this stupid $10 fee to feeling like a complete idiot that I hadn't heard anything about this.

And then I wondered what the banking industry is expecting us to do? Start keeping our money at home in shoeboxes? 'Cuz I swear I'm pissed enough to seriously contemplate that. I mean, it's not like we earn interest any more or get much else in the way of benefits out of keeping our money in the banks, now do we?

Also, how come they always have to stick it to the small customer? Shouldn't there be free checking for small accounts and fees for the big, fat accounts that can actually AFFORD it?

What about some kind of "grandfather" clause that charges for NEW accounts being opened, but keeps the accounts that were originally OPENED as "free checking" with their original status. Because I don't think it's fair to change the terms AFTER I've already been a loyal customer for YEARS.

Just wondering - has anyone else heard about or experienced this? Anyone heard of a bank that's NOT going to do this...'cuz if there IS one, then that's where MY money is going.

Even if it's "Bank of Shoebox."

I went home in a rather deflated mood.

Kept that mood going by doing chores until the kid got home then took a nap for a bit and then it was off to weekly dinner with my Mom. We try to go out to dinner with her on Saturday evenings because that is when she misses Dad's company the most. We tried Lone Star Steakhouse for the first time and I thought it was pretty good. Every 20 minutes or so, the staff all drop what they are doing and line dance to country music all around the restaurant. It would be fun except they all look so dang BORED (and somewhat annoyed) while they're doing it.

My steak was good, though.

Sunday consisted of watching the football playoffs (yay, the Packers won!) and more organizational work on the ever-growing bead stash. I had run out of my wonderful compartmentalized trays from The Container Store so stuff was just piling up everywhere. Finally made a run back in December to get more trays, but didn't have time until yesterday to sort stuff into them.

Had a late lunch at a neighbor's house and then Ryan stayed to play with her kids for a couple of hours so I caught up on my DVR'd shows: the season finale of "Psych", and a couple of episodes of "Leverage."

Tonight I'm planning to check out a new show on SyFy called "Being Human." It's a re-make of a BBC show about a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost all sharing a house. I caught the first episode last week and was intrigued so I want to see if it'll keep my interest tonight.

What did YOU do over the weekend?


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Crazy Kid Quotes

As I passed by my son's room this morning, I heard him singing the following:

"Ooooooooh....I like chicken and I like pants, but I don't like chicken in my paaaaaants!"

Yeah, I'm a little worried now...


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Creative Journey: Inheritance, Part 1

When I first started contemplating how I would craft blog entries around this ongoing theme, I tried to figure out what was the actual "beginning" of it all. Not just my first beaded project (although that will show up at some point...for the amusement value alone, if nothing else), but the REAL starting point. Why beads? Why THOSE beads? Why jewelry, even?

As I kept going farther back in time looking for answers, I kept getting a recurring image of a certain piece of jewelry. And the more I thought about that particular piece, the more it seemed right that it was the starting point.

Oh, not just the jewelry itself, but its origin. How I came to own it. The setting, history and background of what it represents and how those things have influenced every aspect of my pieces from style to color choice to bead selection.

So, let me take you back to the summer of 1972. I was seven years old and visiting my maternal grandparents in Santa Fe, New Mexico. These visits were a regular thing - usually 2 weeks in the summer and another 10-14 days at Christmas every year. My grandmother, Mimi (her real name was Ouida, but I couldn't say it so she became Mimi), loved to take us shopping (yes, my shopaholic tendencies were most definitely inherited).

On this particular day, she took us down to the center of town known as "The Plaza." One long side of this square-shaped area is The Palace of the Governors.

Originally constructed in the early 17th century as Spain's seat of government for what is today the American Southwest, the Palace of the Governors chronicles the history of Santa Fe, as well as New Mexico and the region. This adobe structure, now the state's history museum, is the oldest continuously occupied public building in the United States.

In modern times, the covered sidewalk in front of the Palace has become a traditional place for Native Americans to set out blankets displaying their handcrafted jewelry.

It's a bit hard to see, but if you look closely, you can make out people and chairs, etc., all along the length of the Palace.

My grandmother was a 4th grade teacher in Santa Fe for many, many years. It was not uncommon for us to be walking around town and be approached by people calling out "Mrs. Reiland! Mrs. Reiland! Remember me?" as she taught generations of Santa Fe kids who remembered her as grown ups. Because of her teaching background, she loved to tell us about the history of Santa Fe and the background of the local art forms such as silver jewelry.

She had her own collection of gorgeous, traditional jewelry including a sandcast silver bracelet and a traditional "squash blossom" necklace and earring set.

This is NOT my grandmother LOL! But, it is the best picture I could find of an example of a traditional-style squash blossom necklace. They generally have that upside down horseshoe-shaped pendant in the center and then the "flowers" up the sides. They can be all silver or set with turquoise or other stones.

I was always interested in Mimi's jewelry and loved to look at it, but I wasn't allowed to play with it (my grandmother was one smart cookie). But, one day, she decided I should get to pick out my own piece of jewelry - it might've been as a birthday present, but it's been so long, that I don't remember.

Anyway, off we went to the Palace of the Governors and Mimi patiently walked me down the sidewalk letting me look at all the jewelry for sale. Meanwhile, she taught me about silver - letting me feel how the higher quality pieces had a definite weight to them as compared to the lesser quality pieces. She showed me how the best of the hand-formed silver beads were highly polished with no or barely detectable seams. I learned a lot about the different forms and colors of turqoise and how it could range from an almost olive green to a deep sky blue. She even knew about the different types of "matrix" (the brown or black inclusions that can run through turquoise), how they affect the integrity or longevity of the stone and what impact they have on the monetary value of the stone vs. personal preference.

The best part about this experience is that it occurred before people began mucking about with turquoise by putting resin on it or doing various other treatments to it so I got to see a lot of the really high quality, genuine stone that just isn't around much any more.

And after all that, plus trying on a lot of different pieces and, with Mimi's help, bargaining price with various sellers, I finally wound up with my first real, official piece of jewelry:

Yes, it's a very small ring, but you have to remember, I was only seven years old at the time. Anything bigger would have either fallen off or gotten damaged. In fact, if you look closely at the sides of the ring, you can see that the silver band is a bit bent here and there. I wore this ring every day for years and years...even when I got big enough that it would only fit on my pinky finger

I was so influenced by that one piece of jewelry, that I made a point during my visits in later years (after I had a job and my own money to spend) to always seek out one special or unusual piece of jewelry each time. Over the years, I have created quite a collection so I thought I'd share a few more pieces with you:

I bought these earrings in the early 90's, but they were originally crafted sometime in the mid-1960's. They were "vintage" when I bought them and are now well on their way to becoming antiques. They remain one of my favorite pieces and I wear them all the time.

I belive the stone in this ring has been treated with resin (as has almost all turquoise on the market today), but it had a wonderful size and shape (I have kind of chunky fingers and am always looking to disguise that fact and this ring covers up about 1/3 of my ring finger). The detail on the silver work is pretty and I loved the colors in the stone. While I generally prefer less matrix, I liked the splashes of brown in this stone - made me think of the Earth as seen from space.

This bracelet is probably my all-time favorite piece. At the time I bought it, hardly anyone was doing traditional Native American sandcasting any more. It was dying out - probably due to the labor intensive process and silver prices rising. If you did find a piece, it was woefully light in weight due to the high cost of silver. This bracelet is not as heavy as my grandmother's traditional one, but it was light years away from a lot of the rest of the junk that was out there at the time. The stone has a beautifully graceful teadrop shape.

The sides are meant to look like corn plants.

I wear this bracelet when I feel the need to up my personal power factor. I call it my "Wonder Woman" bracelet. Okay, it might not stop bullets, but it has that kind of feeling to it.

Santa Fe style has definitely influenced my love of big, chunky bracelets. I have several that are all silver and others set with onyx or lapis. Other stones that are often seen in Santa Fe jewelry include coral (in shades from peach to deep red), oyster or shell (can be orange, peach or purple), and a more recent introduction: sugilite (deep purple).

Lastly, I was lucky enough to inherit these pieces after my grandmother passed away. I believe she bought the bracelet and earrings separately so they are not an exact match, but when worn, they are far enough away from each other that it doesn't really matter (I know, I know, I'm usually all about the matching, but with turquoise it doesn't seem to be such a big deal).

I think it's pretty obvious that my love of owning and wearing jewelry pre-dates any contact with beads or any notion I ever had of using beads or making my own jewelry. It's also pretty obvious where my preference for silver and for turquoise (both the stone and the color) come from. In the next installment, I'll explore a little bit more of my Santa Fe heritage and provide some examples of how this early exposure shows up in my bead selection and finished pieces.

Thanks for joining me on this early phase of my creative journey. If you've never been to Santa Fe, I encourage you to put it on your "must visit someday" list (you have one, right?) And if you do plan to go, e-mail me and I'll tell you the best stuff to do and most importantly, where to get the best enchiladas ;-)


Friday, January 14, 2011

Happy Birthday, Ryan!

Eight years ago today, I was given the most incredible gift. Of course, I had no idea at the time, that the gift would turn out to be....

An alien life form from planet Nerf-Dart.

Much less a disco-dancing alien life form from planet Nerf-Dart.

Ryan, you have been the most incredible adventure of my entire life. It is a joy and a privilege to be your mom.

Happy 8th birthday, superkid!



Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Creative Journey: Introduction

I spent a lot of time during the holidays thinking about potential blog topics in 2011. Since I'm no longer visiting the deli counter at the grocery store and I'm trying to scale back on the bead porn, the blog was promising to be a pretty barren place if I didn't come up with something quick.

I wish I could say that I was overwhelmed with fantastic ideas, but whether it was the frantic pace of the holidays or too much Nyquil, ideas proved hard to come by. Still, the one that did keep running around through my brain and demanding to make its presence known had to do with my creative journey. Sort of a "how did I get where I'm at" kinda thing.

Since I can't ever move forward with an idea without first trying to talk myself out of it by coming up with all the reasons that it won't work (yeah, my brain is a twisted, strange DON'T even wanna know), I immediately thought "isn't that kinda conceited and self-absorbed?"

And yeah, it kinda probably is. I mean, maybe no one cares.

But then I started to think about why I visit other people's blogs and it really is because I want to get to know the person behind the beads. Otherwise, I'd just buy beads and jewelry and never leave comments or e-mail people. Aren't we all doing this because we're seeking some kind of connection and community with each other?

So, based on that, I decided to go with it.

Plus, I am kinda self-absorbed AND I didn't have any better ideas.

But, I think I can still make it fun...and maybe interactive with some challenges and things along the way. We'll see where the journey takes us.

That's the introduction.

Stay tuned for the next installment: Inheritance.


Friday, January 07, 2011

The End of Porn as We Know It

As you've probably guessed from the post title, the first of the changes I'm making to the blog has to do with the Friday Bead Porn.

(pauses to duck hail of rotten vegetables from the crowd).

I know, I know, but hear me out before you riot and burn the place down. First off, I'm not doing away with it entirely. I'm just not going to have it as a weekly, guaranteed on Friday, thing any more. It takes and awful lot of time to pull all the pictures, upload them (IF blogger is feeling cooperative - which it isn't always), grab all the links, etc. And time is something that is becoming an ever more precious commodity around here.

Plus, I was starting to feel like it was a bit of a cop out just posting pictures instead of engaging in writing posts and having, y'know, actual CONTENT. Also, no more just swinging by on Friday so you can use me to fulfill all your illicit bead dreams. You're going to have to actually check in regularly, comment and WORK for your porn ;-)

So, porn will still happen - it'll just be more of a surprise, random kinda thing. I mean, ya'll know my bead-buying addiction isn't going anywhere any time soon so obviously I'll still have pics to post when time allows.

And now, turn off the lights and lock the door...because I saved the best for (temporarily) last:

Micro-faceted peridot rondelles. I bought these for some specific Christmas presents that I made last month. Of course, thanks to the deluge of rain, I didn't get pics taken of the finished jewelry before it had to go into Santa's sleigh. Everyone seemed happy with their gifts, though, so I guess it all worked out.

Micro-faceted quartz rondelles and various colors. Went into the same projects as the peridot above. All of these came from Licia's Bead Vault on Etsy.

As much as I love color, I still tend to buy crystal quartz whenever I find it. It just makes such a great "faux-diamond" in any design and really adds a lot of sparkle. The first design I ever had published was in "Bead Trends" and featured a great pair of long earrings using faceted marquis-cut crystal stones wire-wrapped onto cascades of sterling silver chain - and it's still one of my favorite earring designs that I've ever made.

Since that site was having a pre-Christmas sale on all things brio, I got some mystic green quartz ones, too. Both sets of brios are from Rubytrail.

This picture does not do justice to these incredible wine-colored faceted, fire-crackle agate jumbo beads from Excellent Gem. I brought them in to work this week to show my beady buddy, Julie, and she was on the site looking for a strand for herself practically before I left her office. What you can't see in the picture is the incredible sparkle on these. Frankly, if I didn't think it would be too heavy, I'd just stick a gold bead or spacer between each of the stones, slap on a clasp and call it done. They are THAT gorgeous! And NOT expensive...they just LOOK like they cost big $$$!

When Miss Fickle Media brings you purple like can you NOT get you some?

With coin beads to match.

And did I mention they come in peacock blue, too? Cuz...YUMMM!

I just love these polymer clay creations from Menagerie Studio. I think she's got one of the most innovative ideas using the clay and fabric or paper along with crackle medium and paint.

And now she's doing these smaller hearts with the holes on one side so they can be used as dangles.

Of course, the large hearts are still awesome, too.

Wonderful ceramic beads from Mary Ann Carroll. I just loved the earthy colors on this set.

And you can barely see it in these pictures, but this set has touches of purple in it - such a great surprise element!

Great boro glass in shades of gold and pink.

Pink, purple and yellow boro glass swirls with sparkling gold in these pretty beads

One last set of boro beads in purple and gray. All three of these sets are from Being Beads.

Wonderful lampwork from Kelley Wenzel of Kelley's Beads. Y'know, Kelley, you might want to change the name of your shop because every time I read it, I secretly think it means that I own all your beads (even iffen you do spell your name wrong) The deep pinks and purples on these ivory beads are so pretty - they've already got me thinking of Valentine's Day designs.

And speaking of heart day - how about this deep red set called "Scarlet Letter" from Juls Beads? Normally, I am not a "red" kinda gal, but these babies were just too beautimous to pass up.

With all the rain we've had lately, I guess I'm already thinking ahead to Spring and these transparent nuggets with lavender and blue frit from Blue Seraphim fit perfectly with both raindrops AND thoughts of Spring.

Lastly, some tiny gold and vanilla nuggets from Radiant Mind.

And a single lovely focal bead to match them.

I hope you enjoyed what will be the last porn entry for a while. If you get lonely, there's PLENTY of porn back in the archives to get you through.

Oh, and there are more changes to come, but between the holidays, illness and rain, I've been delayed in implementing them so check back next week. I used my Nyquil-induced-stupor time to come up with what I hope is a great idea. Of course, if it's not, y'all can still riot if ya want to.

Have a great weekend!


Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Resolutions & Reflections

I know, most people start out the New Year with resolutions, but Homey don’t play dat. I flirted with trying them out the past two years. As a result of that scientifically-based research study, I feel confident with my decision to revert to my original stance on resolutions. To wit: they are a big fat waste of my mental time and energy. I can never keep up with them and really? I don’t need any more items on my “yearly list of stuff I’ve failed at doing well” do you?

Yeah, that’s what I thought. And see? Now you have my research study to back you up on that.

I will pause while you shower me with gratitude (and presents).

It seems to make more sense to reflect on the good and bad of the past year and try to come away with some understanding of myself.

So, here is some of what 2010 taught me:

I kick ASS at “Angry Birds.”

Vanilla-scented, shea-infused lounge socks from Bath & Body Works are like orgasms for your feet.

Nyquil may be the only cold medicine that works, but it tastes like a cross between vomit and gasoline. Cherry-flavored, my ass!

Courtesy of “Glee: Karaoke” for the Wii, I learned that despite all of my years singing in choirs, I apparently can’t sing for sh*t. BUT, white girl can bust a rhyme, yo. “Check out the hook while my DJ revolves it…vanilla ice, ice baby.”

I am ridiculously thrilled by the sight of my jewelry designs in magazines.

I can live perfectly fine without a working oven, but if the AC dies, I’m going to a hotel for the night.

Danny Glover and I are BOTH getting too old for this sh*t.

I bought A LOT of beads in 2010. When I end up on an episode of “Hoarders” it will show people in Haz Mat suits tossing bins of beads into trucks to be hauled away. About halfway through the second day, they’ll finally unearth my desiccated corpse…and there will be a smile on my face.

The blog got boring, predictable and oh-so-hard to write (especially towards the end of 2010). It needs a re-vamp. Stay tuned for some announcements later this week about what I’m going to do to it!

And Happy New Year!