Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Colors and numbers

"And something's always lost, the gain is always tempered by the cost."

This is my one hundred and first post. I thought that was worth mentioning.

I don't promote this blog, other than a rare post that I think has a broader message than my usual musings. I write for myself, at least for now. I know I have a few followers, although who you are and how you found me is shrouded in mystery. If I'm reading the stats right, I get somewhere between 80 and 100 views each time I post.

So if you are one of my small band of followers, I'd just like to say, thanks for reading. That is all.

I sent my 80 pairs of Team Beads to Beads of Courage (82 pairs, I included two extras) and last night I got a note asking my to make 20 more pairs (by Friday) because they only had 70 and now needed 88. Luckily I had the photo I took before I mailed them. Someone at BOC took 12 pairs for another event.

I agreed, even though it squeezes me a bit. I have only 24 mandrels in the size needed, so I will have to make 10-12 pairs today and again tomorrow to get them in the mail by Friday. It's hard for me to say no to anything that benefits the kids who will get one of each pair carried in this special event. I'm still not at liberty to reveal the event, but I promise I will as soon as I can. Which will be on or close to November 22, when it takes place.

My plan today is to spend two hours with the cats at Sugar Land Animal Services this morning, come straight home, turn on the kiln, dip mandrels, and knock out 24 beads. Then I'll hit the treadmill for my daily three miles. Tomorrow morning I will make the rest of the beads, and also practice the techniques I learned in my weekend class with Kate Fowle Meleney.

Kate calls her class "Is this Glass?" because she makes beads that don't look like glass, using enamels and metals. I played with the four colors of enamels I already own yesterday. I'm planning to order more, but my dilemna is that they come in 2 oz. and 8 oz. sizes and the 8 oz. size costs just slightly more than twice the cost of the 2 oz. size. With something like 46 colors to choose from, it would take a small fortune to get 8 oz. of each color, but something in me feels like buying the 2 oz. size would leave too much money on the table.

I could choose five or six colors and go for the larger size, but I'm a color junkie, so what I'll probably do is get the three sampler sets and maybe one or two in the 8 oz. size. I'm in love with the Dark Orchid. Of course I could buy a few of colors in the 8 oz. size and sell some of it at a price that covers my cost and still is a discount for my buyers. That might be an experiment worth trying, although my track record with glass arbitrage is, shall we say, less than creditable.

My beads from the first day of class (my second-day beads were still cooling slowly in the kiln when I left) and my first try at home with the enamels I already have plus some copper leaf Kate gave us to play with.

One of these days I'm going to go through my glass and sell off some of the premium colors I've collected but will never use, either because I don't personally especially like them (Key Lime, Tamarind, Light Marmorin) or because I don't feel like I can do them justice (River Rock, Poppy, Parrot) or because I just have boatloads more than I need (Passionate Pink, Raspberry Pink, and just about every other pretty pink ever made).

Selling glass is a lot of work, and since I don't really need the money right now, it's easier just to let it ride. Like my collection of artist beads, my heirs may have to figure it out someday when I'm gone.

Along with all my other stuff. I really do have a problem with stuff. I have so much, lots of it squirreled away in drawers and boxes and backs of closets. I have more stuff than I can keep track of of, which is why I keep buying the same lavender shirt over and over. I think I have at least three lavender shirts with the tags still on.

And we don't even want to think about all the beads. Not my lampwork beads, not other artists' lampwork beads, but the beads I've bought at bead stores and shows and online over the last ten years or so. I used to think I'd make jewelry with them, and maybe I will, some day, with some of them. But most of them will just be hoarded because I like having them more than I like doing things with them.

So someday they will, more likely than not, be donated to charity or sold on eBay for a song.

The Glassel Studio School student sale is coming up in December and I do have the intent this year to make some necklaces. Yesterday I ordered some handmade copper clasps to finish them. Strung beads in general are verboten in the student art show, but as long as mine have enough of my lampwork beads included, and handmade clasps, I'm hoping they will be allowed. As I told Sandie, the jewelry teacher and organizer of the sale, the school doesn't require it's painting and drawing students to hand make their own frames.

That's the last show I have slated for this year and that's fine with me. I have a new attitude about selling now, which is to stop stressing about it, focus on the work and just see where it takes me.

We'll see how long that lasts.

Almost a dozen years ago, on Valentines Day 2002, I was dating one man, but still drawn to another man, the man who'd thrown me over half a year before.

I was wrestling with just exactly what it meant to love.
I wonder a lot about "love" - did Marty ever really mean it when he said, "I love you so much, stay with me please, I want you, forever yours, your lover, your Marty? "

I can't believe it was just a calculated lie. I have to believe he felt the feelings when he expressed them.

So where does "love" go?

OK. I am the one who doesn't believe in unconditional love. I believe that given sufficiently adverse conditions, any love can and will dissipate. If you hit me, I will stop loving you.

But Marty and I went from "sublime" to "over" in the space of a day. That's a bitter pill to swallow.
The bottom line for me that day was that it's hard to have faith when people say "I love you" because you wonder, "how long".
Maybe that's part of why I am hardening my heart to being emotionally involved right now. It's almost as though I feel like, the minute I start to care, I will lose the person.

Self-protectiveness isn't a bad thing though. I should have been more so when Marty said, after knowing me for 18 days (just 8 days in real life), that he loved me. I said to myself, do you think this can be real - and the honest answer was "no."

But (real or imagined) the synchronicity overwhelmed me, and I let myself be swept. And when he said, a week or so later, "tell me you love me," the words slipped out of me as though I had no will of my own. "I love you, I said.

I meant it too. I would have followed him to the ends of the earth. Whither he went, I would go, and his people would be my people. I would have forsaken everyone I cherished for him, everyone who loves me and needs me.

Who needs that?!

The hell with him.

Happy Valentine's Day to me - and you - and to all of us.
I wish I could say I felt as strong as I sounded. But then something special happened. Someone new on my support forum replied to my note, and what she said brought me a measure of peace.

The gist of her message is captured in my response.
You sound so wise. Thank you so much for writing to me. Of course you are not "butting in" - this is a bulletin board.

What a wonderful thought Jo - that every relationship we have is for the purpose of personal growth - and that when a relationship ends, the lesson has been learned, even if we don't understand what the lesson was until well after the fact.

If I could believe that, it would be a great weight off my heart. I keep thinking I have to find the lesson, the meaning in the suffering, or I'm bound to repeat the lesson.

And you echo so many things I already know. Yes Marty is, or had to have been, "unaware and unconnected" to his emotional self - else, how could he have not known that Mary was still in his heart. Because I truly believe that when we met he thought he was over her.

One of the things he wrote to me was this: "I consider that relationship a bridge. It's part of how I got 'here.' But it wasn't going anywhere, and I am. And I love where I am."

I think he truly meant those words at the moment he wrote them to me. Yet, not much more than a month later, he told me that he couldn't get Mary out of his heart, that he loved her more than any other human being, that he couldn't bear to think of her with another man.

You are right. I'm still hurting. The pain isn't as deep and as wide any more, but it isn't gone yet either.

I hear what you are saying - that what Marty did was about him and had nothing to do with me. It is Marty who cannot sustain intimacy, Marty who desires what is remote and unavailable and dramatic, and Marty who goes to bed alone and wakes up alone, because no one is good enough for Marty.

But I know it is not our job to fix anyone but ourselves.

And then there is Mark, who I am not in love with, who wrote me the most beautiful Valentine's Day message.

He said: "You are beautiful to the point that I ache when I see you. I would drive 100 miles to bring you a glass of water."

And I think of Marty, and I don't know if he would have gotten off his ass off the sofa to bring me a glass of water.

Thank you for this chance to talk through my feelings once more.

You are an inspiration to me today.
In January I'd declared myself free of the albatross that was Marty.

Mark now was becoming an albatross of a different color.
I like him and he is good for me in many ways, but I'm not in love with him. I have been as honest about this as possible without being downright brutal.

I tell him I don't want to plan ahead, that I am taking one day at a time and that even that is progress for me because just two months ago I was taking one hour at a time.

He asks if I am his girlfriend, and I say, I am - today.

So I go out with him (because he keeps asking me to) and I let him come over and hang out and do my dishes and work in my yard and fix things that break around my house and cook dinner for me or take me out.

The price I pay is that he is very possessive of my "free time" and he wants all of it, or at least to know where I am and what I'm doing and who I'm with. He also has a very vivid imagination and is jealous of every imaginary competitor. In a way it's sweet that he thinks I am so irresistible.
At the time, I was still in touch with one or two people from back when I had my personal ad online. A man named Randy asked me to meet him for coffee one evening and I said I would.

That day, Mark had written me several e-mails about how he felt like I was looking elsewhere and that somewhere deep in my psyche was a voice saying, "not him!" He wanted reassurance that I couldn't give him, even though I wasn't actively cruising for new relationships, just living my life, one day at a time.

Which is what I told him. Again.

He seemed very sad. I said that I had some things to do that night, and he asked if we could talk later. I said that I'd call him back when I got home, if it wasn't too late. I did call him after I got home, about 9:15 p.m., and he wasn't home.

So I worried about him. I felt guilty about hurting him and concerned about his well being. I didn't sleep well and he was on my mind and I was concerned that he wasn't OK.

In the morning I got an e-mail from him, saying that he'd gone to the rodeo with his brother and some friends.

I was fuming red-hot furious. And I was utterly baffled as to why I would feel that way.
Why am I so angry? I am the one who keeps saying "no strings."

And there I was, putting myself in his shoes (I thought), feeling (what I thought was) his pain, and he's out having fun - without even bothering to call and leave me a message that he wouldn't be home after all.

But if I let him know that I'm angry, it will just appear to him that I care about him more than I really do. If I am going to tell him "no expectations" I have to live it.

I was getting to the point where I felt like I was going to have to stop seeing him because I was hurting him.

So isn't it ironic that I was out having coffee with someone else and now I'm angry because Mark went out and had a good time without telling me instead of staying home just in case I decided to call him?

I mean, what the hell is that all about?
At least there was one good thing. He said in the e-mail that he was "officially lightening up." That was a very good thing, because he was starting to feel as heavy as a goddamn mountain.

Nonetheless, it was pretty clear that my days with Mark were numbered.

I might not know what it meant to love, but I had an inkling what codependency meant. And that was not a good thing at all.

"I still recall the place
When I first felt your gypsy wind
Playing on my face
That summer's long since gone
But gypsy winds have ways of staying on

Voices from our past
Still insist on arguing
That love will never last
Though our hearts may turn
It's only when you listen that you learn

And I wonder at the ways
The strands of love meander
Through our close and distant days

The blood of passion plays
Burns our thirsty souls
And chases reason far away
Far away

And still your gypsy wind
Will soothe my soul and call me back again

Growing wise with age
We come to see the printing through
The pictures on the page
And something's always lost
The gain is always tempered by the cost

And still your gypsy wind
Will soothe my soul and call me back again."

Dan Fogelberg

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