Thursday, March 31, 2011


It's time once again for our family's annual Spring Break pilgrimage to Palm Desert. And after almost three weeks of at least one person in the family being sick, I am SO READY.

All seems to be coming together perfectly as everyone is, at least momentarily, healthy. Even the mail is cooperating since my new swimsuit arrived in a slightly squished but okay package yesterday.

The laundry is done. The bags are 90% packed - minus the last minute stuff I have to throw in tomorrow morning like toothbrushes, etc.

Bird sitter is set up (although I just realized I forgot to tell her about the hermit crabs but all she has to do for them is make sure the water dish hasn't dried out).

I invested in a new system for totin' beady stuff so tonight I get to pack up some potential projects and see how it works. I've been in such a TERRIBLE slump lately and I'm hoping that doing some beading on vacation will help break me out of it.

The only thing that has me a LEETLE bit worried is the phone calls I've been getting all week that basically run as follows:

ME: "Hi, Mom."

HER: "Have you been watching the weather report?"

ME: "Yes. Why?"

HER: "You know it's going to be in the upper 90's on Friday, right?"

ME: "Yes. Why?"

HER: "Well, I think maybe we shouldn't leave until Saturday then."

ME: (rolling eyes and thinking of the wasted day of vacation) "You think we should leave a day late? Because it's going to be HOT? In the DESERT?"

HER: "Yes. It might be dangerous."

ME: "But we'll be driving. In an air-conditioned car. And the villa is air-conditioned when we get there."

HER: "The heat might make the car break down. And you know what air-conditioning does to my allergies."

ME: (thinking - I'm not going to be like this when I get older, right? please tell me I'm not going to be like this.) "Mom, have you checked the temperatures for Saturday?"

HER: "Yes. Why?"

ME: "Well, Saturday is going to be 89. That's only 5 degrees less than what they're predicting for Friday so I don't really think it's worth wasting a day of vacation for a difference of 5 degrees."

HER: "Oh, but 89 is TOTALLY different."

ME: (TRYING to remember that she's elderly AND she's taking US on vacation for free) "Okay, what if we drive out after dinner on Friday. It will have cooled off by then and we can wait until rush hour is over."

HER: "You mean DRIVE IN THE DARK???!!!"

This may be a really loooooooongggg week of vacation. Oh, and God help the people at the resort if they haven't given us one of the TWO UNITS ON THE ENTIRE PROPERTY that she deems acceptable to stay in.

KJ - Already looking forward to the alcohol by the pool.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Surprise Bead Porn!

I said I'd still sprinkle a few surprise bead porn posts throughought the year and after two straight weeks of illness at my house and with Spring Break coming up in two weeks, I thought now would be the perfect time.

So here goes:

Delicate sterling silver hummingbird and flower links.

Sterling silver round floral and branch charms. Both of these items are from Sweet Rock Candy.

Pewter dragonfly and flower toggle clasp/pendant. I just fell in love with this as soon as I saw it - so unusual. It's from Mamacita.

Muscovite squares. You can't see it in the picture, but these stones have a glittery sparkle to them in real life and a lovely rose/lavender color.

I already have a few strands of aqua terra jasper, but nothing in this unusual marquis shape. These and the muscovite are both from Mint DeStash.

GORGEOUS kyanite tubes - in a nicely substantial size and great quality. These were a bit more than I usually like to pay for a strand of stone beads, but they had such great glow and color that I couldn't resist. These came from Sweet Rock Candy - sort of unusual because that store mostly carries silver items.

Rose garden floral ceramic pendant from Yolanda's Clay. I've already got a necklace partially created with this one, but somehow the design stalled out halfway through. I've got it sitting on a stand on my work surface hoping that if I keep looking at it long enough, I'll get the right creative inspiration to figure out how to finish it off. I hate when the muse decides to be difficult!

Heart striped pendant also from Yolanda. I had one similar to this in blues and greens, but I like the red tones in this piece since I don't often design with that color and thought it might be nice to do something different.

Sweet ceramic bouquet pendants from The Classic Bead.

I snapped this one up from her as well because I'd never seen her do anything in pink before and I loved it!

My friend Julie turned me on to these unusual boro glass beads from Ronsick Originals. The pictures don't do them justice - all those clear bubbles sparkle and throw off rainbows of light in real life and there is a silver metal core down the center of the bead.

Plus, they look like candy ;-) And, he was having a sale so I had to get more than one.

Pink and ivory pansies from Serena29.

And some mint pansies, too. I bought several different shades because my original idea was to make an all-pansy bracelet with different pastel colored-flowers, but I forgot to pay attention to the fact that the holes aren't running the right way on these beads to allow them to work with my original idea so I have to figure something else out. And no, Erin, you can't have them ;-)

Gorgeous color mixture on these beads from Beeboo.

A new style of fairy skirt from Mermaid Glass. These are a little more "ruffle-y" than the original style. Plus, great color combo.

Of course, the original version is still gorgeous, too.

As you can see from my inability to resist them. I am DYING for the colors on this set.

These beads had my fingers clicking the "buy" button before the page even finished loading. Ocean colors? Drops of silver? Etching? A moonglow finish? I'm so IN!

And look - a matching focal bead. This set is on my worktable just waiting to be turned into something fabulous. I already have the idea - just need the time to execute it now. These beads are from Radiant Mind.

Donna Millard makes the most gorgeous lampwork pieces I have ever seen. They are truly amazing. Sadly, that usually puts them totally out of my price range, but I still go by her shop all the time just to drool and dream. And every once in a while, I come across something like this set of leaves which she had listed for a McCrazyPants price of less than $20! I was so happy! These leaves are really stunning in person - take them into the sunlight and you get all different shades of purple, lavender, amber and more. They are going to be luscious in a fall-inspired design that I haven't thought of yet (but will!)

Thanks everyone for hanging in with me through the recent Plague Days. Hope to get this blog back on track now!

Enjoy the weekend.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

In the Valley of the Sick

And for those of you who thought it was "Death Valley"...sorry to disappoint. I'm still here. Still breathing (sort of).

After having been sick myself for more than a week, I had to deal with (predictably) a sick kid. He missed an entire week of school and has one of the nastiest, most persistent coughs I've ever heard. I mean the poor kid is coughing NON-STOP (literally - I tried timing him to see how long he could go between bouts and he couldn't even last 60 seconds) even with cough medicine.

I took him to the doctor (except, of course, that there were no appointments at our regular office so they sent us to their satellite office to see a Nurse Practitioner) on Friday to see if I could get something stronger to help calm down the coughing. The OTC medicines were just not getting it done (and yes, I tried about 5 different brands). Thursday night he coughed so hard he gagged up half his dinner.

The NP listens to his chest and tells me it's clear. His sinuses are also clear.

Um...okay. But what about the cough?

(Oh, I should mention that the ONLY time the cough quieted down a little bit? The hour that we were in the doctor's office. Excellent. Just like how that weird noise your car makes goes away when you take it to the mechanic)

So the NP tells me the cough is from "drainage" (but his sinuses were clear?) so she's going to start him on an antibiotic (why?) and Nasonex (an allergy medication - again, why?)

I ask her for a prescription cough medicine and she says that these two things will dry up the drainage that's causing the cough so he won't need it.

Now, in hindsight, this is where I should have let my inner bitch off the chain, but I was trying to remain reasonable while reminding myself that *I* didn't go to med school and I should at least give this plan a try before I go all Tasmanian Devil in this small room.

Plus, after two straight weeks of illness (mine and then the kid's), I was TIRED. And the brain was not really functioning at full capacity.

So, we started the antibiotic on Friday and I proceeded to listen to poor Ryan cough and cough and cough and cough and cough for the next two days. It was so bad I was even hearing it in my dreams. In addition to the medications, I was using a humidifier, shoving him in the shower to inhale steam, trying to get him to swallow tea with honey and lemon (and eight year old boys? not so big on the whole tea thing it turns out) and whatever else I could think of to help soothe his throat.

Made an attempt Monday morning to take him back to school (at this point he hadn't had fever for 5 days and had been on an antibiotic for 4 days) - that lasted for two hours until the school called me to tell me I had to come pick him up because his cough was "disrupting the class."

By this time, my mother was sick, too. Having caught it from the kid when she sat with him last week so I could try to put in a few hours at the office to save my job. And she was too sick to come over and watch him any more.

Called the doctor's office again and this time? The Inner Bitch was not taking any more BS. Finally (after multiple rounds of phone calls with advice nurses and waiting while the office was closed for lunch) I got his actual doctor on the phone and insisted she give me something stronger for his cough.

She agreed (glory hallelujah). BUT...the medicine can only be used at night time because it will make him too sleepy for school. However, at this point, I was desperate so I went with it.

The kid was not at all disappointed to miss school again yesterday.

After two nights of relatively cough-free sleep, he's finally sounding SLIGHTLY better today (I would say he's gone from a 10 down to an 8.5 on the coughing scale). So, off he went to school again...and so far, so good. They haven't called me to pick him up.

MAYBE we're finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

Oh, and the magic cough medicine? Not covered by my craptastic insurance. How can they not cover COUGH MEDICINE???!!! I know it's prescription strength and all, but it's not like it's an experimental cancer treatment or something. It's freakin' COUGH MEDICINE.


I'm back.

At least until the next catastrophe occurs.


Friday, March 11, 2011

Surf's Up!

Nothing like waking up to a freakin' tsunami warning!

I thought I'd finally overdosed on cold medicine and lost my mind. Lived here 40 years and never had this happen before.

I was going to stop by the bluffs to take pics on the way to work but all the roads are shut down. Seems like a bit of overkill, but then again, this is the place that goes to Defcon 5 if a stray raindrop is sighted so I suppose it's to be expected.

Have a great, giant-wave-free weekend!

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Thursday, March 10, 2011


I just wanted to thank you all for your comments last Friday. You have no idea how much it helps to not only have a place to vent, but also a place to receive support from friends. You guys are a great coping mechanism - I read some comments before I got out of the car to head to the meeting and the rest afterwards when I needed to recover. And it helped so much! I'm sure I sound totally crazy for saying this, but I really did get some much needed strength from reading them so THANK YOU again from the bottom of my heart!

Now, if y'all could only invent the cure for the common cold, I wouldn't have been sick for the last 5 days (and counting). That definitely WAS a sore throat coming on...just in time to make me totally miserable during Friday's critical event (as if the event itself wasn't enough to do that).

The good news is that I did survive. Going through it sucked, but at least it's over now and the issue has been tabled until June so I get a reprieve (or another period during which to stress out as June gets closer - depending on how you look at it).

If nothing else, I'm hoping that now that the pressure is off, I can get back to things I love like blogging regularly ('cuz yeah, I know, it's sucked around here lately and I do appreciate everyone's restraint in not pointing that out more often LOL) and jewelry making. I have not made ANYTHING since, like, November or something. I have, however, repeatedly stood in front of my bead collection and WANTED to make something, but haven't been able to summon up the creative energy to actually DO it.

Totally lame.

Anyway, I hope that feeling will wear off. Maybe after close to 13 years of bead and jewelry obsession, the brain just really needed an extended break. I hope it ends soon, though.

In other news...

While I was busy stressing out and getting sick, the kid passed his latest Tae Kwon Do test and has advanced to Senior Blue Belt. He broke a two-board stack with a back hook kick to do it which is pretty darned impressive.

Also, he's decided he wants to learn to play the drums.


However, being that he's only eight, before I go lay out money for drums (and start saving up for my future hearing aids), we're going to do a li'l test run. He's going to have an introductory lesson with a friend of mine this weekend to see if he's really excited enough to commit to any kind of practice schedule.

I want him to have a different experience than what I had as a kid. I was about his age when I started having piano and organ lessons and I was required to practice several hours a week including spending most of my Saturday in the church practicing the hymns for Sunday's service. Yep, at eight years old, I was the church organist.

And I HATED it.

Not the music so much, but the enforced practice when all my friends were out playing and enjoying their Saturdays. So, when I got to junior high, I switched over to the flute for a while and played that until I was about 14 or 15 and then I quit completely.

I can still read music but I can't play anything except a C-scale with my right hand on the piano.

Now, if the practice schedule had been less stringent, would things have turned out differently? I dunno. It's possible that I had the skill but just not the drive. However, I would've liked the opportunity to find out. I suspect that if I'd been allowed a more relaxed introduction to the instruments and playing then maybe I would have developed the drive and interest on my own so that I would have also developed the commitment to a more rigorous practice schedule.

Also...dude, playing the church organ at 8 years old? SO TOTALLY NOT COOL. I mean I might as well have walked around with a giant "I am a loser so feel free to torture me" sign on my back. At least with drums...Ryan won't have THAT problem. Drummers are cool.

So, I'll be interested to see what happens on Sunday. Will Ryan bang around for a few minutes and then be "over it"? Or will a seed be planted...


Friday, March 04, 2011

The Lion's Den

Heading off to do something I REALLY don't want to do and have been stressing about for months. Woke up at 1:30 this morning in SUPER WARP SPEED HYPER STRESS mode and proceeded to not sleep the rest of the night while also noticing that I was developing a sore throat which means a cold is coming on.



Anyway, wish me luck or good vibes or whatever because this is going to suck.