Saturday, June 26, 2010

Easing Back In...

Trying to anyway. These occasional disappearances must be hard to understand for anyone who isn't familiar with depression, but they're something with which many people who have depression struggle. I haven't felt awful these last few weeks, but I often find it difficult to maintain a level of social interaction that might seem normal and comfortable for most people. At these times I tend to withdraw, and I'm working on learning to recognize when it's about to happen so I can at least let people know I may be needing a break. One of the hard things is not knowing how long that break may be, and when I feel this way it seems like it will be forever.

Luckily, I haven't been in a full-blown depression, so I've been able to get some work done and haven't isolated from my family. That contact can be so important, especially when I'm already feeling less than proud of myself for not keeping up elsewhere. It doesn't hurt having a supportive family that makes me laugh. If you like to read my blog or check out my Facebook page, I apologize for the long absence, and I so appreciate everyone who has stuck with me. Hopefully I can get myself back into a healthier pattern because there are some people I really miss hearing from and talking to!

A bit of shop news - after seeing the Thank You cards my mom and I designed to go out with my orders, my friend Vee requested some customized with her shop info to send to her customers. They were so much fun to do that I've added a little section to my shop where I'll offer a handful of basic designs for other sellers. The cards make a really nice addition to the packages I send out, and they're perfect for holding my mini Moo cards. Offering them in my shop will give me a chance to do something else I enjoy besides making jewelry and hopefully help out other sellers as well. My plan is to start with simple text on the front and the seller's Etsy address on the back, but if people seem interested I can include their shop logo or avatar on the front.

I'm getting ready to fire my newest design using PMC, keeping my fingers crossed that it will work. It's a classic design, but I did do some research using pics from an old British funeral home. It's very basic, but is the first piece I've done that isn't either completely coated organic matter or made using a mold I've bought or cast myself, so I'm pretty excited about it. The cross on top is made of PMC-coated rodent bones. After the first firing, I plan to add a 'molding' between the two levels, also of coated rodent bones. I'm doing it in two steps to allow for the initial shrinkage of the clay during firing. My concern is that the bones bordering the top level will end up in the wrong place, and this stuff is too expensive for me to want to test that theory! I'm now a bit worried about what the top bones will do, so I'll be keeping a close eye on the process. Anyway, sneak peak:

Classic Toe Pincher

Chris and I went to the local college last night hoping to catch sight of a fox family that he spotted from the car the other evening. Amazingly, we did see the parents very briefly before they took off into their little woodsy area, though we weren't quick enough to get pics of them. We did hear the pups yipping and tackling each other behind the treeline, which was pretty cute.

Fox nappy area

Suspicious fur / murder evidence

Ending this one with some beautiful bug photos Chris took outside our house the other night. He submitted one to What's That Bug for their archives and some identification help, so hopefully we'll hear from them soon.

Time to feed the zoo. I hope everyone is enjoying their weekend!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Kreative Blogger, Recollections of a Riot

Almost a month ago, two of my favorite blogs passed along the Kreative Blogger to me. I know they're usually called awards, but I feel kind of weird calling them that when I'm the recipient, so I think of them more as opportunities. Thank you so much, Natalie and Deb, for thinking of me! I posted about Natalie of Scrivener's Retreat after I received an adorable stuffed rat she made for my rats, Helen and Magda. I've also received an order from jewelry artist Deb of Deb's Designs, beautiful vintage turquoise glass beads which I paired with black onyx in this gunmetal chain necklace. I hope you'll take a look at both of these blogs, as well as the beautiful shops run by their authors. As a satisfied customer of both, I can honestly say they're well worth your business if you're in the position to do some shopping.

On to the conditions! I'm to post seven interesting things about myself, then pass the opportunity along to seven bloggers I admire who are in creative fields. Starting with the most exciting [?!], my seven things are:

1. I was living in Hollywood, CA during the 1992 Los Angeles Riots. It was my last year of college, right around finals time. I remember I couldn't get to campus because the bus routes were shut down. The first day of rioting was mainly concentrated in areas other than mine, but by the next day it moved into Hollywood. I lived one street away from Hollywood Boulevard, and it was very loud but strangely devoid of sirens. I took an early morning walk around the block to have a quick look [shhh, don't tell my mom], and it was pretty chaotic. Cars were stopped in the middle of the street while people ran into stores and carried mounds of stuff back to them. I remember seeing armloads of cigarettes, beer, clothes, and electronics - looters' gold. The mood was jovial, though a bit greedy. There wasn't a cop to be seen, and in their absence everyone was 'getting along' just fine. Unfortunately they were getting along with stolen property! Of course, this was Hollywood, not South Central or some of the more violently hit areas. By afternoon of that second day, Hollywood was burning and the National Guard was moving in. Two buildings near me were on fire, including the one across the tiny street I lived on, and I finalized plans I was making to leave with my friend and our animals. My roommate and ex refused to go, thinking he was making some kind of final stand. My friend showed up about 1/2 hour before they planned to close all access to and from Hollywood, and we got the car loaded with my dog and 4 cats just in time to drive past several rifle-toting Guards on the way to the Freeway. We spent a much quieter weekend in a hotel somewhere in the San Fernando Valley, and apparently in all the stress and excitement I neglected to let my parents know I had gotten there and was okay, go me!

2. Despite the riots, I managed to graduate from USC. I started in Anthropology/Linguistics, but graduated with a BA in their newly-started SWMS [Study of Women and Men in Society] program. I had some wonderful professors throughout, as well as an interesting mix of good friends, but I have to admit that I had a hard time identifying with a lot of the people who went there. A good portion of the student body was from a very financially privileged background, and I got lots of assistance. That difference mattered to a lot of people, though not to me. It was an interesting school to go to, the so-called University for Spoiled Children [or University of Second Choice for those like myself who also applied to Stanford University], set in the middle of South Central. South Central has gotten so much bad press that Los Angeles officially changed the name to South Los Angeles in 2003. I prefer South Central, and even though I had some horrible things happen there, there was a lot to love about it. Admittedly not enough to outweigh someone getting shot on my lawn, having my house broken into, and having the house next door firebombed.

3. Because of the going to school on the other side of the country thing, I've driven between New York and California several times alone. Well, almost alone - each time was with all of my animals, including my German Shepherd/Husky and 3 cats. Two drives were with my husband, once with our iguana as well as the dog and cats when we moved from California to New York. One of the cats was being moved so she could be re-buried here. Maybe too much information. Anyway, the hardest things about the drive were being cramped for so many hours, and finding halfway decent places to stay that would accept animals. Also, the weather could get tricky. I had to drive over the Rockies during a nasty snowstorm once, and over the Mississippi River on the I-80 from Iowa into Illinois during the Flood of 1993. Despite the hassle, I really miss the drives.

4. I've lived in twelve places I can think of: two in Upstate New York, and the rest in California. In California, I lived in both on and off campus housing, plus non-university housing, all in South Central. I lived for a few months in a little artists community in Mount Washington. For a couple of months, I lived in West Hollywood. I'm not a fan type, but this is kind of cool for me - Quentin Tarantino lived in the apartment across from me and my roommate. He had just finished Resevoir Dogs and was asking around for people's opinions, so we got to watch it. :) I lived in two places in Hollywood, a half block away from each other. Chris and I first lived together in Tujunga, which was an all-around bizarre experience with crazy neighbors being watched by the FBI. We escaped to the beautiful town of Montrose, where we had a yard with loquat trees which I miss so much and can't find here. After that, we went to Granada Hills. Enough said there, other than it was good to come back to New York!

5. I love swimming. My mom got me into the water when I was tiny, and I went through the whole swimming program at our YMCA. In high school, I became a lifeguard there and taught swimming to all ages and levels, from newborns to senior citizens. I used to spend as long as I could underwater, doing laps along the bottom of the pool until I was recycling the air in my lungs just so I wouldn't have to go up. I need to find a place that I can afford to swim at again, because it's been years.

6. I love words, word games, and puzzles. When I'm stressed or grumpy, I play Word Pop on iWon. You click letter tiles that fall until you make a word, then double-click the last to enter it, while more letter tiles fall progressively faster. My highest score is over 4,000,000 points, which puts me at 7th Place, somehow with only 2 people with scores above me. I don't understand that, but it doesn't matter, I just love to play. It's something that challenges me without entirely frustrating me because I'm actually pretty good at it.

7. I love horror movies, and I don't care if they're any good by anyone's standards including my own. The only horror I actively avoid is that by Ulli Lommel. Those films are a whole different kind of horror. True, I've only started to watch a handful of the 17 serial killer movies he directed in 4 years, but a few minutes of those was plenty. Other than that, if our TV isn't on CNN [Chris' fault] or some animal/nature/science thing minus any doomed animals, it's on Chiller or SyFy. I even watch the SyFy originals because how can you beat giant mutated sea creatures leaping into the air after helicopters?

If you're still here, I know my next step is to pass the opportunity on to seven other bloggers I admire. There is no shortage of them, but I know of at least a couple who wouldn't choose to participate. I also know that quite a few people have recently received the Kreative Blogger, so instead of giving a duplicate award, I'd like to offer the challenge openly. If any of my readers would like to tell us seven things about themselves, please let me know so I can read them. It's a fun challenge, so I really do hope some people will decide to participate.

This one has tired me out, so after I quickly share my newest necklace, I'm off for napping! Click the pic if you want to see the listing.

Floating Fox Bone

I hope everyone enjoys their day!

My Dear Readers