Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Driving Miss Crazy

"You may grasp at the illusion, the confusion of your mind, but soon you will remember to surrender one more time."

I wonder why I drive myself so hard and why I find it so impossible to cut myself the least little bit of slack.

I have a theory.

It explains why I feel compelled to have the maximum number of auctions running on Facebook at all time, which is 15 at a minimum, because there are always new groups popping up on Facebook for selling beads. Right now I am limiting myself to the four groups I have the best track record with.

Intermittent reinforcement.

It's the strongest kind.

Ever since behavioral scientists demonstrated that pigeons were more responsive to intermittent reinforcement than continuous reinforcement, it's been surmised that people are more motivated when they only sometimes get what they want than when they always (or never) get what they want.

So because I only sell some of my beads on Facebook, I'm more or less addicted to listing beads on Facebook. It's that intermittent little buzz of satisfaction and affirmation I get when I get a bid, or I sell a bead or a bead set, or especially when I get a buy-it-now.

If all my beads sold, if I knew that any time I wanted to sell a bead, all I had to do was list it, I might be able to relax and take a break now and then.

March for some reason has been a bit of an emotional challenge for me. The time change came earlier and the darkness in the mornings threw me off. I can't quite get going every day and the extra helping of gray gloomy weather hasn't helped. I know it's all first world problems, but knowing and feeling are not the same thing as I long ago learned.

This morning I got up to see an empty dishwasher. The problem with that was, I hadn't run the dishwasher, but Neil had emptied it. Our email exchange went like this:

Me (at 7:27 am)
Did you run the dishwasher? Because I didn't.
Neil sent three replies.
No. I assumed it was clean and put everything away this morning to surprise you. Surprise!
In retrospect, that makes some sense and enforces "don't do anything of potential import at 6 am."
All the silverware is contaminated but I can probably sort out the cups/dishes/glasses from memory and the stuff on the granite has got to be washed. Yay!
And me again (at 8:14 am)
Good about the sorting out.

I always rinse things and clean gunk off, but if the tops of the cups are dry that is a clue.

Thanks for the thought anyway. Yay.


P.S. Other clues are, the silverware basket is on the counter, or I say something like, the dishes are clean.
God, I'm a bitch.

I can tell I'm an emptional mess. We're still reading The Lord of the Rings. We're in the first book of The Return of the King, the Rohirim have just reached Gondur and I cried when Theoden died. I know Theoden dies. I read the Tolkein trilogy in my teens and at least twice since then, I've seen the movies, but it was just so sad. Or I was sad and it was something to hang tears on.

But as Mr Bennet so wisely said, upon marrying off Lydia to Wickham at little trouble or expense to himself, "I am heartily ashamed of myself... But don't despair, it'll pass; and no doubt more quickly than it should."

And just now I got an email from my friend Tom, the friend who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer late last year, and who had a pancreaticoduodenectomy on March 9.
Hi y’all

I’ve returned home from MD Anderson today. Everything is still going well. I have a gastric tube remaining after having 2 IVs and a JP tube removed this morning. I’m on a low-fat, low-carb diet with 6-8 small meals a day. I tire easily and need to rest after about 20 minutes. Tonight hopefully I will be able to have my first uninterrupted sleep in 10 days.

At this time I really need some quiet time and rest. Being in a hospital can really be hectic. I’m hoping not to have any visitors for a few weeks. Feel free to call though.

I got the final pathology report this morning. It turns out that I didn’t have pancreatic cancer after all! Instead I had duodenal cancer. It’s a rarer cancer with a better outcome chance. The tumor was between the duodenum and the pancreas so the Whipple procedure was still the preferred procedure. My follow-up chemo will be using a different agent.

Thanks for all the best wishes and support,

Kind of puts it all into perspective again.

Now I just have to decide if I can give myself permission to not make beads for one day. I do skip days, rarely, if Neil is home during the day, which is about one day in a fortnight, or if we are away on vacation of course. But on an average day, if I don't light the torch I feel guilty. And once the torch is lit, it is easy to get sucked into "just one more bead" or "might as well use up the dipped mandrels." Guilt is not a good catalyst for creativity. Today I made frosty blue beads with gold leaf - because they sell well - and because they are easy.

But that's not the motivation I want for my work. I want to create art. Then again, I'm still getting over the clown debacle.

Clowns. I thought it was an inspiration. No one makes clown beads that I know of. I looked at clown images online and found lots of ideas within my skill set to execute in glass.

I was stoked with my first clown, who was a bit of a zombie clown, but the potential was there, I thought. They'll get better, I thought. People will love them, I thought.

Sound familiar. Yeah, I've been down this road before. With the hearts and flowers. With the cats and owls. With the fantasy fish.

It doesn't work that way. Correction. It hasn't worked that way. For me. So far. But I'm pretty sure it won't be the last time I go down that road.

So here they are, for your amusement. They got no bids. They got few likes. They got almost no comments.

Looking at them now, together like this, I can see that I might have worked on the design a little more. More hair maybe. Finer features. Better mouths. The hats are good though.

Maybe they just weren't ready for prime time. Maybe clowns have some sort of bad juju. Maybe it wasn't the right day when I listed them. Maybe, maybe, maybe.

Maybe I won't chuck the idea in the fuck it bucket just yet.

You know, it's funny. I still revisit the hearts, cats, owls and fish. I still have blue and orange stringer pulled for clown hair.

There ought to be clowns. Well, maybe next year. Or next week. Or the day after tomorrow.

"There's a long and winding river
From the darkness to the dawn
It will carry and deliver you
When you walk on

No one here can say for certain
What lies in the great beyond
You'll pass through that parted curtain
When you walk on

You may grasp at the illusion
The confusion of your mind
But soon you will remember
To surrender one more time

You may fade out the doorway
Fly away above the throne
Those who stay carry your story
A little glory lingers on

Though the world you leave behind you
Will become a distant song
Every soul you loved will find you
When you walk on."

(Eliza Gilkyson)