Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Just one of those days

"To a life where I can't watch the sun set, I don't have time, I don't have time."

Well today started out as a weird one. First stop on my way to school was the post office. I guess I've never actually gone there before 9 am. I'm more the drive-over-and-drop-it-in-the-night-drop sort of person. But since I didn't do that last night, in fact I didn't leave the house at all yesterday, if you don't count taking out the trash, I stopped at the USPS on my way to class this morning.

The steel grill was down and I had a flash of unreality, wondering if today was a postal holiday. Isn't Flag Day in June? Of course it's Tuesday, not Monday, it just felt like Monday because when you don't leave the house all day, it feels like Sunday. Even crazier thoughts passed through my mind. Maybe this post office is closing. Maybe someone went postal and the grill is down because all the workers were taken out.

I opted to drop my packages in the drop box anyway. I live on the edge baby.

Then I thought about looking up the post office hours on my iphone, which is when I realized my iphone was still at home. I didn't have time to go back and get it because I still had to get gas. I was actually driving on no bars on the gas gauge. I could have sworn I had two bars the last time I drove, which I think was on Saturday. I hit the Shell station at 9 am and drove around the gas island to get a shady spot. I swiped my card, punched in my zip code and pushed the button that says 87. Nothing. Then a liquid crystal message, call card issuer.

I figured the pump was out of order so I drove around to another shaded pump. Same stuff, same day, call card issuer. Time was a-wasting, so at the third pump I tried a different card and guess what? Yup, call card issuer.

So I walked up to the little kiosk where a woman was saying something to the attendant about calling card issuer. I shoved a twenty past her and went back to pump three and started pumping, $19, $20, $21, $22 ... what the heck? Then the attendant came running out, holding out my twenty and saying, your card went through. Well, great, what about the other two pumps at which I had swiped my card? Attendant assures me those cards didn't go through. No time to worry about it, I had to high tail it to class.

My plan for the rest of day was to go grocery shopping on my way home. There were three things on my plan for the day, one, groceries, two, laundry and three, photographing and listing beads, which I am counting as one thing. I got one and a half things done and not quite in that order.

My conversation yesterday with Kandace about the baby and her emotional state was weighing on me, and I didn't like not having my phone, so after class I went straight home. When I got home I had a text on my cell with a picture of the baby and a message that she was feeling better. I called her anyway and she did seem better. Her dad is going up to see her tomorrow and her sister is going on Thursday. That will get us to the weekend when Jason will be home and I'm hoping his mom will come for a few days at the start of next week. Then maybe I will go back toward the end of next week. I think if we can get through the next couple of weeks things will get better. I hope they will get better.

I managed to kill the afternoon somehow. I didn't do laundry, I did take photos but I didn't get them uploaded to my computer. At 4 pm I made a grocery run which should have been quick and cost $30 but wasn't quick and cost $100. Because I can't buy honey without studying every damn brand. In every size and price range.

And I won't even get into the buy-five-items-and-get-$1-off-each-one exercise. I'll just say that we now have two boxes of club cracker and three packages of dark chocolate chocolate chip cookies and a whole lot of cereal because when I got to the cereal aisle, I found out that cereal was part of the deal. And I sure wasn't going to put any crackers or cookies back.

I think the heat did me in because I got home, got the groceries indoors, got the frozen pizzas and milk put away (forgot about the cheese), hauled the recycling bin in from the curb and I was just done. I made a beeline for the sofa, although if Neil hadn't gotten home early, I would have finished putting the groceries away.

Honestly, I would have.

"To a life where I can watch the sun set, and take my time. Take all my time." Dido

Monday, June 25, 2012

The grandbaby blues

"It's been a long time since I've seen the high plains of expectation."

OK, it's been 102 degrees here for the past couple of days and like a lunatic I have been torching. Partly to finish a project I am working on, partly because I'm just plumb crazy.

Yesterday, intermittently, I smelled something that smelled like fuel fumes. So I got out the soap water and painted all the propane fittings and nothing bubbled.

But I kept smelling it today and it was starting to give me a headache, so I shut everything down. Before I closed the garage doors I wheeled the trash bins out because tomorrow is trash pickup and once Neil gets home and parks his car I can't get them out without moving my car.

As I wheeled the trash bin past my car I got an extra strong whiff of that chemical fuel smell. I thought maybe my car had a gasoline leak so I got down and looked under it. Nope, nothing leaking.

And then it hit me. I opened the trash bin and almost passed out. Something inside was rotting to high heaven and the smell was just like putrid exhaust fumes.

I never put anything in the trash bin in the garage before trash day in the summer. I even keep anything that might stink in the refrigerator until trash day. The housekeeper didn't come last week, and nobody else under this roof but me ever takes out the trash.

I still was feeling queasy and baffled, but relieved that I'm not in any imminent danger of blowing myself and the studio to kingdom come. When Neil got home I asked him to take the trash out, even though that is usually my job, because there was no way I was opening that lid again.

The little mystery was solved when Neil said that there still was trash in the can when he put it back at the end of the day on trash day a week ago. He said he figured the trash people weren't coming. There wasn't enough trash to bother putting it out on Friday (since I didn't know the bin wasn't empty). I sure hope the trash collectors come tomorrow. The earlier the better.

I'm feeling a bit ruffled tonight after a call from my daughter, the new mama. She had a complete meltdown. I thought she was doing so well, and suddenly she was a puddle of hormones and uncertainty. I remember the feelings, especially that one when the baby isn't eating or sleeping or having a bath, and you suddenly think, now what? What do I do with this wriggling, breathing tiny, fragile creature who is awake but not yet old enough to play in a playpen or watch a video or even shake a rattle. The one who fusses when he isn't hungry or wet or warm or cold.

I tried to explain, and I hope she heard me, that all babies fuss sometimes for no reason. She said she doesn't know what he wants and I said, he doesn't know what he wants either. My theory is that babies have to cry a certain amount as part of their development, it probably strengthens their lungs and it is one of the limited ways that they can interact with the world and learn about their environment.

Listening to him fuss on the phone line, I thought how unique every baby's cry must be because I would recognize him from his cry every time. I would like nothing more than to hold him and let Kandace sleep for 10 hours, because I know she is exhausted and I don't think she comprehends what a huge toll giving birth takes on your body and she is beating herself up for feeling bad and tired and sad and scared. She feels guilty for handing Ryland off to her husband the minute he walks in the door and thinks she is doing everything wrong.

I think she is doing so many things right and I'm so proud of her and I'm sad that she is hurting. The baby had his two week checkup today and he gained 11 oz. just on his mama's milk, I think she is doing an incredibly good job. I wish she could feel that. I offered to come back up for a few days and she said her mother-in-law wants to come and her dad and her sister. I said, good, let them come and let them hold the baby as much as they are willing to. I was planning to go up again in July and will just work around the other visits.

In the meantime I will monitor the situation and call more often and encourage her, and remind her that it won't always be this way. It may be hard in different ways. But this stage will pass.

I just love them both so much.

"And the last time I passed through satisfaction I felt like a stranger there, now I'm leaving normal and I'm heading for who knows where." Michael Timmins, Cowboy Junkies

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Scarlet O'Hara philosophy

"They say I'm lazy but it takes all my time."

Today I indulged myself. I didn't do what I planned to do, what I probably should have done. But sometimes that's OK and today it was OK. As long as I do what I should have done today tomorrow.

What I should have done, what I had planned to do, was go to the post office, go to Ulta to buy more bath salts (yes again), go to the grocery store, and go by Art Glass and Beads, the shop that carries my beads, and return some things I borrowed for my show 3 weeks ago. OK, so I did have a grandbaby in the interim, and that gave me a pass until now.

The quandary that stares me in the face every day during summer in Sugar Land is that mornings are the best time to make beads. But mornings also are the best time to run errands. Except that if I run errands first, it's usually too darn hot to start making beads when I get home, mostly because I am notoriously inefficient when it comes to things like grocery shopping. I somehow get caught up in the experience and spend inordinate amounts of time selecting a wedge of cheese or deciding on breakfast cereals. And we won't even talk about impulse buying.

So obviously, the reasonable thing to do is to make beads for a few hours, for example from 9 am to 1 pm, wash up and then run my errands. If I do them in the right order I could even be close to home before rush hour traffic. Except it didn't exactly work out that way. It never does.

Once I am making beads it is very easy to talk myself into the Scarlet O'Hara philosophy, because, after all, tomorrow is another day. There is just so much pretty glass to melt and Neil did say the temperatures were going to be in the 104 degree range on Saturday. And see, the sun just went behind that cloud, so obviously it only makes sense to keep making beads while it is a relatively cool 98 degrees.

And while Neil did say he was working both days this weekend I think it's even odds that he will work at home tomorrow. I try not to make beads when he is home, even if he is working. When I was working at a real job, I made beads when he was home because I made beads whenever I was home. Now that I'm retired and just working my tail off running my small home-based bead business, I do try to be home, by which I mean inside the house, when Neil is home.

So it wasn't a bit hard to convince myself to make beads until I had used up all my dipped mandrels and could barely cram another bead into the kiln today. And promise myself that tomorrow I would do all the should-have-dones that I didn't do today. Which include finishing my homework for my art class, finishing the assignment I missed when I went to see the new grandbaby and re-doing the first assignment for a better grade. Yes, I have plenty of things on my to-do list to get done between now and my class on Tuesday morning.

I can't say I feel any regret for indulging myself today. Having the muse back in town is reason enough to make beads for 7 hours, and for an even better reason, last night I had my biggest online sale ever, 22 items. If that doesn't give an artist a good excuse to create new inventory, I don't know what does. I have to say, my jaw literally dropped when I got the email notification about the sale, along with the email notification of payment received.

Of course, every silver lining has a cloud and the cloud in this case is sort of funny. I had an item double-listed. I knew this. I noticed it a few days ago but both items had been hearted, the equivalent of a bookmark or watching an item on ebay. I didn't want to delete one, and one was getting close to expiring anyway, so I made a mental note that if one sold I would delete the duplicate. My buyer bought both.

I'm guilty of being tempted to just substitute a similar item and play dumb. I mean, I don't know how that could have happened, do you? But I did the right thing, treading carefully, because who wants to embarrass a customer by telling them that they just bought the same item twice? I fell on my sword, sent photos of the similar item, offered a refund as an alternative and said I'd throw in an extra item either way for the inconvenience. I'd have thrown in the extra item anyway. It's what I do.

As the finishing touch I asked her to let me know if she'd prefer a refund, otherwise I'd mail off her beads today. I waited a decent interval of hours before I printed the shipping label and if I get them to the post office first thing tomorrow it will be as just good as if I drove over there right now to drop them in the night drop.

So of course now I have to leave you with some eye candy. Here is my first Target series bead, along with a couple of my southwestern color beads. And a set in the same color scheme. With organic curdled silvered ivory. And a red plunged floral. Man, life is good.

"I can't complain but sometimes I still do, life's been good to me so far." Joe Walsh

Monday, June 18, 2012

Smitten and bitten

"The summer child is running, the summer child is running again."

Ryland is definitely a summer child. A cap of golden hair and eyes that threaten to stay blue. Peaches and cream coloring. Can you tell I am completely smitten with this child of my child?

And now I am back home and I miss the little head I looked forward to snogging for so many months. I talked to my daughter today, her first day home alone with baby, husband back at work. By chance the baby was awake when I called and even the sound of him fussing makes my heart beam like the proud grandmama I am.

Today started with a little tug-of-war over what to do first, the necessary errands or time at the torch for the first time in a week. Torch time right now is best in the mornings, before the sun passes the apex of my house and creeps toward my garage studio like a slow but relentless inbound tide. I almost gave in to the temptation to melt glass first, but decided that mailing the beads I sold while I was away and getting milk for my sweetie and kibble for the kitties was my first priority,

Five packages, including one bound for Japan, four gallons of skim milk, 10 lbs. of Purina One and a few sundry edibles later, I turned on the kiln, started the oxygen concentrator, cracked open the propane, donned my didymiums and stuck a match to light up the torch. Having a week off was good for me. For the first time in a month or more, I got my groove back.

I've been playing with colors that are atypical for me. Ivory, with and without silver, coral, turquoise, violet, yellow. Lots and lots of dots upon dots. Scroll work. A southwestern semi-organic style. Interspersed with beads that I am calling my Silver Threads and Golden Needles series, with shards over transparent glass, melted flush, enhanced with twists and finally pressed and adorned with silvery metallic and sparkly goldstone shards left raised, and a few clear crystal dots.

Of course I had to make a floral and some of my silver glass Tears in Heaven beads. And frit beads. Since I've been making and selling my own frit blends, I haven't made frit beads for fun. I've made dozens of test beads, perfecting each blend and when I am happy with the blend I have made sample beads to use in my sale listings. But I picked up some new blends this week, because being away from home doesn't mean being away from my ipad and shopping goes on wherever life takes me.

I got 4 different pink blends and a green blend, which arrived super fast, in fact they beat me home. So I played with two of the pink blends today and it was nice using something other than my own stable of 10 blends. I love my blends, I believe in my blends, but I consider using others' blends to be research and development. It tickles me to be able to identify the colors in the mixes and watch how they play together. I tried them on different base colors and I'm excited to see how they come out of the kiln tomorrow.

It's been a few posts since I shared any eye candy, so here is a peek at my Silver Threads and Golden Needles style. And a rainbow. And the cutest baby in my whole wide world.

"There is time and time to come, underneath the golden sun, and forever will melt slowly in a glass of lemonade." Dar Williams, The Summer Child

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Saying goodbye to spud

"I've been a miner for a heart of gold."

Tonight I will have to say goodbye to little spud. We leave at the crack of 8 tomorrow morning, without passing go or collecting 200 kisses. Dear Grandpa is restless and would rather go home tonight but I want to enjoy one more whole day with the grasshopper, and one more night in this comfy Hampton won't hurt my feelings at all. For the first time in a very long time I am not aching to be home, yearning for the torch, the cat boys and my own sweet bed.

I did have at least one good bead idea on the drive up. I was behind a Target truck for a stretch and all those red and white bullseyes gave me the idea of making some bullseye beads. I might start with a simple color like white. In a simple shape like a barrel, and add a simple bullseye design. I'm thinking minimalist, for instance a white base, black dot, white dot. One, two or three of these on the bead. Maybe give one or two a red or yellow center. Probably I will press the shape. I can see lots of variations on this theme, different color bases, more dots or fewer dots. Maybe interspersed with some patches of glass frit. Working name for the series, hmm.

My first thought was Mark Rothko, but a quick google reminded me he was all about rectangles. Rothko in the Round? Too pretentious? I think there was a painter who used dots, I might be able to google him up if the whole modern art movement didn't essentially paint everything in tiny dots. I am thinking about statement dots. Wonder if google would get that? Red dot paintings, now that's a hit, lots of them categorized under, is this really art? Perfect. Almost. Maybe I'll just call it the Target series.

Right now spud is out with mom and dad and one of his other grandpas getting a three generation of Williams men portrait done, maybe four generations if great grandpa is included. I'm just waiting for the call that they are headed home or noon when I will text my daughter to get an update and risk irritating her, because she did say she would let me know. My husband is happily in our room slaying work email demons but I can't wait to blow this chilly Hampton lobby popsicle stand for the peaceful kingdom of my daughter's living room to hang out with two dogs the size of lions, one small sweet older dog with a bad heart and one rangy cat who is chill about everything, and one 6 lb. and change rockstar who is the center of our universe today.

Funny the power of this little thing whose face already is mapped in my heart, whose every sneeze and gas bubble smile is an enchantment, who already has a hundred facial expressions, all of them cute. Today I need to take a lot of pictures, so I will have enough freeze frames to keep me well inebriated for at least a month after I kiss his downy head goodbye tonight. Because as soon as the buzz wears off, I am coming back for another fix.

"I've been to Hollywood, I've been to Redwood, I crossed the ocean for a heart of gold." Neil Young

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A grandson is born

"Just a little green, like the color when the spring is born."

I need to update my bio. Because, "soon a grandchild" is now a very real flesh and bone 6 lb. 3 oz. baby named Ryland.

Ryland made his appearance 5 days early, on June 10. I was melting glass on a steamy Sunday when I got the call that my daughter was at the hospital and today was the day. And a long day it was, despite this era of cell phones and text messages and Facebook, so different than when I gave birth. My parents waited at my house for more than 12 hours with no information until I was in my room and could call and let them know they had a granddaughter.

And now that granddaughter is a mother and I am a grandmother and my mom is a great grandmother, although sadly she will never really know it. My mom has dementia and barely knows me now, and thinks her aide is her daughter and her husband, my dad, is nearby. Well, maybe he is. I hope so. He would have loved having a great grandson.

Right now I am sitting with 3 dogs and a cat while my daughter feeds Ryland in her room. She is very private and I'm trying to figure out my role as grandma. Today it was mostly a matter of being a couch potato, and a few precious hours of holding sleepy Ryland who has his nights and days flip flopped. I would have been more than happy to take him for a while in the middle of the night and let the big kids sleep, but my daughter wants to do it all herself. I've read most of a book and eaten meals that my son-in-law's grandparents and the kids' friends have brought ove.

Before I came, I told my husband that I wasn't sure what I'd be doing. When my parents came for the birth of my babies, my mom cooked and cleaned. But as I told my husband, I'm not that kind of mom. His answer was, so you pick up food and bring it in. Yep, I could do that. But I haven't had to and we've barely put a dent in what we have here already.

Jason's granddad even came over at 7 am with donuts, and coffee for me. Yuban, for the coffee maker they brought over last night. I actually stopped on the drive up to pick up some instant coffee. But real coffee is so much more comforting. And it was incredibly thoughtful of the kids, who aren't coffee drinkers, to arrange for my morning coffee. I'm sure it would have been the last thing on my mind,

The first thing Ryland did when I met him was to spit up on me, reminding me of how my own kids were big spitters. Kandace wore a bib 24/7 for the first year of her life at least. So far Ryland has been less spitty, after that first annointment. He's a good little baby, at least from my perspective, having slept soundly all last night myself. Beautiful of course, fair coloring and eyes that may just stay blue, like my younger daughter's did. Chubby kissable cheeks, soft baby skin, perfect tiny fingers and toes. But all babies are beautiful I think, and remember my mom saying, where do all the ugly adults come from?

I hold Ryland and for a few moments I imagine myself again a young mother, except that now I have more patience, more appreciation of how quickly time passes, and I feel a small tug of sadness that, as much as I loved my children, I didn't treasure each and every moment then as I would now. Don't get me wrong, I couldn't do it again, as my mom also said, it's a good thing that children are born to the young and energetic. Which is sort of funny considering my mom always had more energy that I did, until she hit her 80s anyway. Now she sleeps as much as Ryland does.

And now I am sitting with 3 dogs and a cat and a baby, because my daughter is a day smarter and decided that maybe grandma could take the baby for a while and let her get a head start on a night's sleep. He was bright eyed for a few too-fleeting minutes before sinking into a milk-satiated snooze. So I have him at my feet in a little rocker seat where I can watch him and listen to him breathing, and if he gets fussy I can pick him up and walk him until it is time for his next feeding. I so well remember that the hardest time for me with my infants was when they fussed after I had slept for only one hour.

It's a good thing that I took that 1.5 hour nap this afternoon. I'm settling in with my book. I'll take the shift until 2 am or until I get too sleepy. That's the best thing about grandchildren, if you get too sleepy, you get to give them back to their parents.

"Now I feel your skin as smooth as silk, drunk like a baby on his mama's milk..." Marc Cohn

Thursday, June 7, 2012

A day on the dark side

"Go ahead, push your luck, find out how much love the world can hold."

Yesterday I went over to the dark side.

In lampworker lingo, this means I melted borosilicate glass. I've never heard it called hard glass but it is the alternative to an array of glass called soft glass. Soft glass has a coefficient of expansion in the range of 90 to 120. The most popular soft glass, including Italian glass, some German and Czech glass and USA-made silver glass, has a CoE of approximately 104. Bullseye glass, made in Oregon, has a CoE in the range of 90, while Gaffer Glass, made in New Zealand, and the balance of German and Czech glass, also known as furnace glass, fall in the vicinity of a 96 CoE. Most glass frit that I work with, including all the blends I sell, is furnace glass, which is more saturated because it is intended to be blown into things like vessels by glassblowers.

Boro is a glass of a different color, so to speak. It has a CoE of 33 and requires more fire power to melt, has different flame characteristics and is favored for sculptural and off-mandrel work, marbles and paperweights. Pyrex is one brand name for boro. Boro can be purchased as solid rods or as tubing, in a wide variety of diameters, for different applications. It requires a higher temperature kiln schedule and annealing program than soft glass. Boro color can be straightforward, such as crayon colors, but it is wildly popular for its reactive and ephemeral hues. Beads made with Boro are usually encased in layers of clear and have hauntingly beautiful depth and mesmerizing jewel tones. Results can be highly variable, which may be considered frustrating or desirable, depending on, well, the results.

Because I needed to get around that wall I'd run into with soft glass, and because my collection of boro has mysteriously (erm) continued to grow, I figured I had to melt some sooner or later, which turned out to be yesterday. Let's just say you can't make a glass cake without breaking some stainless steel eggs. Yesterday I learned that if you want your beads to be round and you don't have a clue what you are doing, the end of your mandrel (and sometimes your bead with it) will wind up on your table.

One of the reasons I think I put off Boro experimentation was that I was afraid to love it so much and then what the duck am I supposed to do with the 300 lbs. of soft glass I am embarrassed to have amassed. Boro is famous for converting its users from happy soft-glass lampworkers to fanatical boromaniacs. Based on my torch fest yesterday, my fears are threatening to prove groundless. Oh, I am not done yet, it's just that after four years and change it doesn't exactly feel great to be a novice again. My husband thinks that should be a good feeling, a new challenge. But I see wonky beads and clumsy off-mandrel hearts and my own heart just doesn't soar.

On the whole, I got some pretty color from my first foray, but nothing that I couldn't have gotten with less work, less stress and less blistering heat from soft glass. Because summer in Texas just isn't hot enough, I naturally had to choose it as the time to work with glass with a higher melting point. But that begs the question, was it, is it, worth it? Where is that damn jury when you need one? One torch session doth not a decision provoke. I am intrigued enough by my very modest success to try again soon. Because the beads really aren't all that wonky, and the colors really aren't so very bad for a beginner.

Wall, watch out, I'm coming through.

Oh, you want to see the boro beads, well all right then. They really don't look so wonky after all.

"When I went to your town on the wide open shore, oh I must confess, I was drawn, I was drawn to the ocean ..." Dar Williams

Monday, June 4, 2012

A quick wrap of my bead show

"You know - black is this year's pink."

Has it only been 3 days? I feel like I have been away longer. In fact, today has had a sense of unreality all day. That's what spending two days at a bead show hawking your wares will do to you. With a wedding thrown in for good measure.

I love bead shows. Usually. I especially like them when business is brisk and the time flies by and you are so busy you don't even have time to shop. This show wasn't like that. Traffic was steady and there were periods of busyness but there were also lulls.

Saturdays was the hardest day. I made it a little harder by not reading the setup information, instead relying on memory, which unfortunately was memory of the wrong show. So after goofing the day away on Friday, I arrived at 4 pm to set up, to find that the room had just been locked up. Right, it's the other bead show that has the 4 pm to 8 pm setup.

Other than kicking myself in the virtual butt, I didn't suffer any material consequences, since I am only 10 minutes away from the venue and had plenty of time to set up in the morning. And I went with a minimalist display this time, few props, just a tablecloth, my trays and my boxes that double as risers. I might have saved myself the trouble of bringing finished jewelry, necklaces, earrings and wire-wrapped pendants. I know by now that bead show patrons buy beads.

This is the fourth year that I have been a vendor at this show and if I had a hundred thousand dollars for every person who came up and said, I still have the beads I bought from you last year and I haven't done anything with them yet, I'd be a millionaire. Nice thought.

I used the opportunity to expound on my philosophy of bead ownership. It's the destination, not the journey, by which I mean, give yourself permission to own a bead and not do anything with it. Absolve yourself from the guilt of not having used the bead in some marvelous piece of jewelry. Revel in the joy of just owning the bead. Take it out, look at it, feel it in your hand. That is enough, that is good. And less is not more, more is more. So why not buy another or six?

This is the philosophy I apply to both lampwork beads and bead store beads. I have strands of gorgeous bead store beads, stone and glass and shell, and I keep them in glass jars or clear plastic bins and I rearrange them all the time, just for the pleasure of handling them, holding them up and seeing them catch the light.

Of course I am not a jewelry maker. I string beads but that is about it. And I find that the anticipation of the possibilities for my bead store beads generally gives me more pleasure than ownership of a strand of those beads made into a necklace. Sometime I enjoy the process of making the necklace, but most of the time, once it is made, I am happiest to give it away as a gift or donate it to a good cause. I'd be happy to sell it, but that market is super-saturated and I am an amateur when it comes to jewelry design and execution.

But enough with the philosophy, I'll do a quick wrap up of the show. The room was cold, I ate my  breakfast and lunch the first hour I was there, and I was cold, hungry and under-caffeinated, and as a result sleepy all day on Saturday. On Sunday I wore more layers, ate a better breakfast and packed more comestibles and a thermos of coffee, which made the day a lot better. The fact that it was the best Sunday show in four years was just icing. I love icing.

I was happy that my newest beads sold well and fired up (pun admitted) to make more of them today. The bead has a base that can be any color as long as it's black. Just kidding, it can be any color, black is just my preferred, but variety is the spice and I use amber and cobalt and red and maybe even pink, because face it, pink is this year's black, every year. The bead is clothed in colorful shards, garnished with twists and the final touch of magic, after the bead is melted smooth and pressed, is the addition of goldstone and silver plum shards which are left in relief.

And now that I've used about a thousand words describing it, here is an example. This one didn't go to the show with me because it is slightly off kilter, but you get the idea.

Simple enough no? No, apparently not, because I plodded today, struggling with the shape, with laying the shards down the way I wanted them, with keeping the bead hot enough without boiling the plum and burning the sparkle out of the goldstone. Who knows what I have in the kiln. Sometimes low expectations turn into nice surprises. And sometimes they merely live up to themselves.

Tomorrow is the first day of summer school, so no torching but certainly some cleaning and mandrel dipping and maybe some photos. Hopefully. Meaning, it is hoped. Which I heard on NPR this morning has been approved as an appropriate modern use of English by the AP Style guide, the bible of journalism.

"But truth is just like time, it catches up and it just keeps going." Dar Williams