Thursday, September 17, 2015

Enough isn't enough

"It's tough to be somebody, it's hard not to fall apart
Way up on Rehab Mountain we learn these things by heart."

In case you were wondering how my austerity program - no bead buying, no glass buying - is going, wonder no longer. Right up through the bead I bought today, it's been off to a dismal start. Within a couple of days of my last post I bought both a bead and glass.

First the excuses. I needed to restock a few of the frit colors I use in my blends. The vendor was having a sale. Part of the sale included overstock discounts on glass cane. I don't use cane in my blends but since I was paying for shipping anyway, another kilo of cane in appealing colors just made sense.

The bead. It was just one, at a reasonable price, and until today it was the only bead I slipped up on. The bead I bought today is by the same artist, a companion bead in a way. And now I'm done. Again.

The amazing beads are by Latvian artist Ivete Linde. Front and back views. I have two daughters. A blue eyed girl and a brown-eyed girl. And the fox. The mushrooms. The white cat. With brown eyes. I'm hopeless.

Continuing with the excuses, Double Helix Glassworks sent out an email that "garage sale boxes were back." The only other time they offered them was when they moved from the Pacific Northwest to Virginia. Double Helix makes and sells silver glass in the $80-$100/lb. price range. Garage sale boxes are 15 lbs. of test batches and seconds for $150.

They went on sale on a Saturday at 9 am eastern time and I was sitting at my computer, part of a global sisterhood of glass-crazed lunatics, persisting through multiple server errors until I scored a box. I still have some glass from the first round of garage sale boxes, but no matter. My box came on Monday and I'm thrilled with what I got. Even if 80 percent of the colors are duds - which they aren't, but for arguments sake - the glass still is a treasure and well worth it.

But putting it away - because the cleaning lady was coming - underscored how ridiculously excessive my glass stash is. I shifted things around and made room, but I also renewed my resolve to just stop it now.

At least I dodged the bullet of the listing for 80 lbs of glass - including silver glass, vintage colors and premium brands - for $515. I did inquire about shipping, I was first in line, but the reality of storing another 80 lbs. of glass, the majority of which was likely to be common colors, actually penetrated my hard head. So someone else got a great deal and I got to feel virtuous and regretful at the same time.

Bead sales have flagged again and once more I'm wondering if this time the cash cow is really dead and not just napping. I have an online trunk show next week. I didn't sign up for either of the two October shows I've done in the past. I might start listing on Etsy again or I might open a shop on Squareup. I didn't apply to Amazon's new handmade venue because the fees daunted me. My beads don't sell for big enough bucks to make it worthwhile.

I think I'll have a good clean out soon and send a box to Beads of Courage. I've been toying with some new designs but nothing has wowed the buying public. After tomorrow I have a couple of days off, and some time to think about where to go next with my bead work. A few days off sometimes jump starts sales too. I can dream, right?

Lately I find myself thinking about death. I'm not depressed, life is good, but there is this nagging seed in the back of my mind that I'm too lucky. I have everything I want. I have a happy marriage. Right now both my girls seem to be in a steady state, in good relationships, in good health. My grandson seems to be thriving.

If I had three wishes, one would be that I don't outlive Neil or my kids or grandkids. That encompasses the wish that no one of them gets sick with anything worse than a stomach bug or the common cold, and that no one gets their heart broken.

Objectively, I know that if anything bad happens, Neil and the kids are better off having me than having me gone, so wanting to predecease tragedy - to avoid pain and heartache - is a chickenshit strategy.

I watched a TED talk the other day, What really matters at the end of life, by BJ Miller, a palliative care and hospice physician. He's also a triple amputee, after an accident during his college years when he got too close to a shuttle train power line and high volatage arced to a metal watch he was wearing and through his body. This tragic event eventually led him to attend medical school and ultimately to find his calling - helping patients prepare for death. Most people are not afraid of death, he says, but they are afraid of dying. They are afraid of suffering, discomfort, indignity, being burdensome.

Miller thinks it doesn't have to be this way. Because in a sense parts of him died when he lost his arm and both legs, he learned in time to accept this fact and redesign his life around it. He affirms that you cans "always find a shock of beauty or meaning in what life you have left" and if we can "love such moments ferociously, then maybe we can learn to live well, not in spite of death, but because of it."

I realize that every minute I spend anticipating the terrible things that I fear are bound to happen is a minute when I am not present in the here and now, a minute I could be cherishing and celebrating. I need to work on seeing the beauty and meaning in life and loving it ferociously. Bad things will happen. Bad things do happen. Life goes on. Until it doesn't. Which will be soon enough.

A few new beads of mine that I love, and that haven't sold or even gotten a lot of Facebook comments.

"I'm gone to Detox Mansion
Way down on Last Breath Farm
I've been rakin' leaves with Liza
Me and Liz clean up the yard

Left my home in Music City
In the back of a limousine
Now I'm doing my own laundry
And I'm getting those clothes clean

Growing fond of Detox Mansion
And this quiet life I lead
But I'm dying to tell my story
For all my friends to read

It's tough to be somebody
It's hard to keep from fallin' apart
Here on Rehab Mountain
We all learn these things by heart

Well, I'm gone to Detox Mansion
Way down on Last Breath Farm
I've been rakin' leaves with Liza
Me and Liz clean up the yard

What goes on in Detox Mansion
Outside the rubber room
We get therapy and lectures
We play golf in the afternoon

Well, it's tough to be somebody
And it's hard not to fall apart
Way up on Rehab Mountain
We learn these things by heart."

(Warren Zevon, Jorge Calderon)

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Thanks for your comment! I will post it as soon as I receive it. Liz