Sunday, February 19, 2017

Junk in the trunk show

"As its tail stretched out like a stardust streak
The papers wrote about it every day for a week
They wondered where it's going and where it's been
When Halley came to Jackson in 1910."

Have you ever thought, what if I hosted an online trunk show for handmade glass beads and nobody came?

Well, no, probably not, unless you are a beadmaker like me, a smallish fish in a pond of beadmakers hosting trunk shows day and night on Facebook.

It hasn't quite happened to me yet, but it's not such a leap from reality that I couldn't envision it.

The show I just finished wasn't a totally unmitigated disaster but it was close enough to deter me from wanting to do another one any time soon.

I had six purchases from five buyers over the 48 course of the show, which is slighter better than average for me lately during any given 48 hour period.

Still, it's a far cry from my first online trunk show, almost three years ago, when I sold hundreds of beads and sent out dozens of invoices and tens of packages.

Packages of sold beads from my first trunk show. May 2014

That's typical, par for the course these days, as I continue to struggle with what sells and why and specifically why my perfectly nice, reasonably priced beads generate so little interest.

I have a new theory. Of course I do.

People desire what's desirable. Bidding generates more bidding. If a lampwork artist is perceived to be in demand, madly talented or merely competent, her (or his) beads will consistantly sell.

Now, if someone is paying attention, they might notice that my beads aren't flying off the virtual shelves. They might be less inclined to want to own them. Even if they liked them, they wouldn't feel much pressure to get in a good bid or to buy-it-now.

They might in fact wait until the next time I list them, or until the time after that, when history might indicate that the start price could be lower.

I've resisted lowering prices too often. That's not the message I want to send. But sometimes I'm just a little desperate for the validation of a sale. And a little money coming in doesn't hurt my feelings either.

I wouldn't say I sweated this trunk show overly. I put up 20 or 30 listings. I didn't bump them, as bumping doesn't make sense to me when you are the exclusive seller. It makes sense in the selling groups, where your wares may quickly be buried by other artists' listings.

My system makes the workload lighter. I keep a word document of listings that didn't sell, so it's a quick copy and paste job to relist (or to list in a trunk show). For new beads, it's a copy and paste and a change to my one-line descriptions and the ending date. Of course I have to make the beads, clean them, string them, photograph them, edit the photos and keep them in some semblace of order.

But I've done this long enough now that it's all pretty mindless, excluding the making of the beads, which remains a venture into creativity or frustration or glee and sometimes all of the above. Yes, I'm still drawn to making, still mesmerized by manipulating the liquid state glass in the flame.

As for the rest of it, my skin has gotten thicker and I am better able to have a good attitude and not take a slow show to heart.

Sometimes I do think it would be in my best interest to take a break. A real break like a few months, not just a week or two. Clear the boards, let people forget me, and come back (preferably after having had a major talent breakthrough) and dazzle the masses.

But then I go back to my standard thinking, i.e., it won't sell if you don't list it, keep plugging away at it, every sale is better than no sale, and eventually, spontaneously my quiet brilliance will be recognized and the bidding wars will begin.

OK, so that's magical thinking. But until I can break the cycle, it's what I do.

Today, it's 83 degrees in Sugar Land, which is a ridiculous temperature for February in central Texas. I've long enjoyed our mild winters but we took a walk around the pond and it wasn't a pleasant experience. I'm still resisting, in theory, our move to North Carolina, but on days like today it's a lot easier to understand why Neil wants it so badly.

Not to mention that, when you see this on your afternoon stroll around the pond at the end of your block, as we did yesterday, you might seriously begin to think that moving north isn't such a bad idea after all.

The pond in Telfair. Sugar Land, Texas. February 2017.

It was 102 degrees in the shade on the day Chelsea was born, August 8, 1988. About a year after K.C. was born we stopped being careful and assumed a pregnancy would soon follow. I was late a couple of times and sure I was pregant, but then my period came. Once I went 40 days instead of the usual 28, but a pregancy test confirmed that I did not miscarry, I just was really late.

During the first year after Jon and I got married, I wouldn't say we were trying to conceive and I wouldn't say we were trying not to. After our first wedding anniversary we decided to get serious. The first month we did it all wrong, had sex way too often, and were surprised when I wasn't pregnant. I was a little mad too, for all those years that the fear of pregnancy colored my feelings about having sex. I grew up indoctrinated that one imprudent move and wham, pregnancy. I believed what I was taught, that you didn't even actually need to have intercourse to get pregnant, that nakendness and proximity were all it took.

After that month, I read a book and learned that it takes time for men's bodies to make sperm and that to get pregnant we should have sex every other day from day 10 to day 14 of my cycle. At the end of the month I felt some cramping that usually meant my period was imminent. We went to a party and I drank a little more than I would have if I didn't think I hadn't conceived.

Days passed and I didn't start and I joked that I was going to either buy an ovulation prediction kit or a pregnancy test kit. In the end I bought a pregnancy test kit, but it was too soon, the results were negative. In those days tests were not necessarily reliable until you were two weeks late. I tested again after waiting another week and the test was positive. I was expecting.

So, in my mind, once we'd gamed the system, everything went down just as it should have and the next time around would be no different. But months of having sex on a schedule went by and my period kept right on coming.

You are considered to have infertility issues after a year of having regular sex without getting pregnant. A year passed. I had what is known as secondary infertility. Infertility after having had a child.

We consulted my doctor who ordered a battery of tests. Jon was tested and found to have a low sperm count due to a varicocele, which is a varicose vein in the scrotum. I was tested, including a horrible test called a hysterosalpingogram to see whether my fallopian tubes were clear. I thought this was odd, as we had conceived previously, but my doctor said it was possible that my tubes were partially blocked and we'd just been lucky and gotten the camel through the needle.

The test showed my tubes were wide open and I got quite sick as the dye spilled out of my tubes into wherever dye would wind up in the space between tubes and ovaries.

I hope this isn't too much information. I haven't even gotten close to the birth story. I'll try to speed ahead. My doctor prescribed Clomid. My period was late. When it was two weeks late I did a home test. It appeared negative. I left it on the bathroom counter and when I went back there was a wavery ring in the tube. A ring meant pregnant. A few days later I went to the doctor, peed in a cup, and the doctor said, congratulations.

All was well, but something wasn't. I'd had immediate and chronic morning sickness throughout my first pregnancy. This time, I felt fine. I felt nothing. My belly was flat. My boobs weren't tender. Twelve weeks in, I started spotting. It was a Friday. I spotted through the weekend and on Monday my doctor sent me for an ultrasound that confirmed there was no heartbeat.

The next day I had a D&C ad we were back to square one. I was supposed to wait three months to try again so I didn't resume the Clomid. In December I was late again. This time I felt all the feelings. A home test showed a robust positive. At twelve weeks we heard Chelsea's heart beating.

We didn't know it was Chelsea then. Ultrasounds were not routine. I'd had one at 28 weeks with K.C. at which time the technician said that if he said it was a boy there was a 99 percent chance he was right and if he said a girl, an 80 percent chance. He said, a girl. He was right.

I had a different doctor with Chelsea and she did not recommend any routine untrasounds. So we thought that this time we wouldn't find out the gender before the birth. Everyone had a theory though. I was carrying low, which meant a boy. An office mate did a test involving dangling my wedding ring over my belly. The "results" indicated a boy. I tried to stay neutral but I was leaning toward believing I was having a boy. My mom had a girl (me) and a boy. Her mom had a boy and a girl (my mom). My dad had a sister as well as a brother. His sister had a girl and a boy. Never mind that my mom's brother had three girls, that clearly was a fluke.

It's a little embarrassing to admit, but I wanted a boy, both times, and more so the second time. Somewhere along the way I'd adopted a perception that boys were better, that the best birth order was a boy, then a girl, and the second best was a girl, then a boy. I'd already blown the best, but I had a fair chance at the second best.

Jon didn't care. In fact, I think he was thrilled to have girls. His relationship with his own father was dysfunctional and I don't know how he would have interacted with a son.

As my August 16 due date neared, I kept feeling a hard round something on the left side of my belly. Man, I thought, this baby has a hard butt.

At my first internal exam at eight months, my doctor thought the baby's head was down. In your last month you see the doctor weekly. Three weeks out, she couldn't feel the head. She sent me off for an ultrasound that showed the baby in a transverse, back up lie. In other words, Chelsea was sideways, looking down.

Oh, do you want to know what you're having, the technician asked brightly. Jon wasn't with me. I said, we were going to be surprised. Oh, OK, the technician said.

I lasted about another minute. As long as no one else knew the gender, I was OK with not knowing, but now that someone knew, I had to know. What are we having, I asked.

It's a little girl she said, and I was shocked by my first reaction. Another girl. I went through all this for another girl.

In retrospect, I'm very glad I found out the gender when I did. I would have hated to have those feelings at the birth. I had two weeks to adjust to the idea and by then the exitement of having a new baby trumped any disappointment I felt about the son I wasn't having.

And once again, I didn't quite get to Chelsea's birth story. We're nearly there though, and I'll be posting again soon, because I got my package from my Bead Hoarders' Blog Party partner and I want to share that as soon as I take photos.

Bear with me. (Pun unintended - but noted.)

Or great-grandkid, since ours will be 49 and 45 in '61.


Late one night when the wind was still
Daddy brought the baby to the window sill
To see a bit of heaven shoot across the sky
The one and only time Daddy saw it fly

It came from the east just as bright as a torch
The neighbors had a party on their porch
Daddy rocked the baby, Mother said, Amen
When Halley came to visit in 1910

Now back then Jackson was a real small town
And it's not every night a comet comes around
It was almost eighty years since its last time through
So I bet your mother would've said Amen too

As its tail stretched out like a stardust streak
The papers wrote about it every day for a week
They wondered where it's going and where it's been
When Halley came to Jackson in 1910

Now Daddy told the baby sleeping in his arms
To dream a little dream of a comet's charms
And he made a little wish as she slept so sound
In 1986 that wish came 'round

It came from the east just as bright as a torch
She saw it in the sky from her daddy's porch
As heavenly sent as it was back then
When Halley came to Jackson in 1910

Late one night when the wind was still.


(Mary Chapin Carpenter)

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