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It’s a quarter to one. In the morning. I’ve got a lot on my plate this summer. Early in the summer (don’t even get me started on how the summer has flown by) I decided I had PLENTY of time to take on the kids being home, teaching some kids yoga classes in addition to my normal yoga teaching and practicing, plus take an (awesome) earring class AND a (wonderful) business building course designed specifically for artists. Piece of cake, right? sigh.

True confession: I’m behind on EVERYTHING. And I felt it tonight. Or last night rather, right before it turned into this morning.  I listened to Module 3 of the business class (even though we’re technically on Module 4 but now I’m only ONE lesson behind). Let me say Tonya’s class is SO full of an incredible amount of useful information. Which is precisely my problem. After I listened to the class: I immediately went to where I always go mindset-wise: I’ll NEVER catch up; it’s too much; why oh why am I doing this, et cetera, ad nauseum. At the end of every class Tonya reminds us to GO TAKE ACTION. So I did. I quit whining and made a mind map for all my major projects; that way I can actually see what needs to be done and TAKE ACTION. And then I went and made something (well, sort of).

A major component of the earring class is drawing a bead on wire. (for those of you that don’t make jewelry: you heat the end of a wire up until it just about melts, the metal draws up into a bead. Please hold & I’ll show you what I mean). So I cut lengths of sterling silver, copper and bronze wire. Turned on the torch and trial & error’d my way into feeling proficient at drawing a bead on all three types of wire.

These may look like little burnt sticks. They are, in fact,  full of the potential to turn into the hoops (and a few other types of earrings) you may have seen in this post.  See those little tiny balls on the ends of the wires? That’s what I was practicing. I’ve got to say, I’m not nervous about that particular task anymore.

I don’t know why it’s so hard for this procrastinator to realize that just taking even the tiniest bit of action makes me feel better and not so overwhelmed. And now I have lots of earrings to work on. And I’m feeling rather full of myself; I’m even thinking I might LIKE this take action stuff. I certainly feel better about a whole mess of things than I did a few hours ago. With that, I’m off to sleep, I’m going to take a yoga class in the early morning. I feel SO productive (what a fabulous feeling to end the day)!  😉

Sweet dreams!

Happy July!  This summer I’ve been taking an online course to learn to make some new earrings. The class is taught by Deryn Mentock and she is an AWESOME teacher. I’ll also be taking a class (in person) from her next March at Adorn Me! 2012. I canNOT wait! For now, have a look at a couple of the earrings I’ve made:

These hoops are forged sterling silver. I made every bit of them, *including* the ear wires (confession: after working through some of the lessons in the class, I’m chagrined that I haven’t always made my own ear wires. That will be changing.). It always amazes me that I forget how much I love hammering metal.

Aren’t these lovely? Same hoops as above but I’ve added a metal clay medallion and some very pale Aquamarines.  I’ve got lots of ideas for embellishing these hoops. Lucky for me, there was a bead show in town this weekend. Check out my haul:

I wanted garnets and I was so happy to find some in the perfect deep, deep red that I adore. Also there’s some labradorite that’s going to be lovely paired with black leather for a wrap bracelet. See all the ‘white’ beads? It’s faceted moonstone! I usually see smooth moonstone & it’s kinda, meh, to me. But I fell in love with the faceted variety; the faceting highlights the colors & lights in the stone.  You’ll be seeing more of it in my designs. Yes. Those are skulls. I haven’t figured out *exactly* what I want to do with them but I was drawn to them, so now I own them. I’m really looking forward to working with all this loveliness!

Sidenote from the bead show #1: If you’ve ever seen my arms, you’d know that I’m NOT the customer that needs the how-to-build-a-collection lecture.

Sidenote from the bead show #2: Many of you have asked me about what to use to clean your silver jewelry. My first choice is my tumbler but since I know that’s not an option for most of you here’s my second choice:

I’ve used this biodegradable metal cleaner for years & years. It’s from that booth that’s always at any kind of show (Home & Garden, Holiday Markets, etc) & they offer to clean a ring for you. Both of their products are great but I was more interested in the metal cleaner this trip. It really works well, it’s safe for your fine & sterling silver jewelry & it lasts forever. If it ever dries out just add water & it’s ready to go! They also told me if you put some in a jar with water, soak your silver overnight, it’ll be shiny by morning. Fabulous! Email me if you’re interested in a jar ($10) and I’ll ship it to you. Or later this summer…

You can place an order for it ON MY WEBSITE! I’m [this] close to actually having a real, live, working website WITH a shopping cart! I spent time today loading the earring category. Really! My goal is to have it up and running by my birthday. That gives me just over a month. Stay tuned. Of course, I’ll be mentioning it EVERYWHERE once it’s ready.

Hope you’re having a great summer. We’re having a hot (normal), dry (not so normal) one here in Houston but I’ll take the heat over the chilly any day! It’s going by so quickly, the kids will be starting school in no time. Stay in touch, say hello anytime!

yogaposter

The 7th Annual Texas Yoga Championships is around the corner, November 8th will be here before we know it.  This year will also feature The Texas Fitness & Wellness Expo promoting all aspects of the health and wellness industry and supporting the well being of all of our neighbors across Texas.  (disclaimer: some portions of this blog will be borrowed from the promotional literature about the event. Now you know.)  Why am I telling you this? Studio 219 will be there.

Quit trying to make a link between jewelry & yoga. I *do* make The Yoga Earrings and I *do* practice Bikram Yoga and perhaps I have connections. No matter. Moving on…come on out and enjoy the day. Get a start on your Studio 219 holiday shopping.

The competition will be amazing to watch. The official description goes like this: The competition gives health and fitness enthusiasts the opportunity to learn more about yoga and see some of the top practitioners in the state showcase their talents. My two cents: a jaw dropping display of flexibility, strength (both the mental & the physical) and all around wow!

All the details are here at the official website.

Tickets for the event start at $10 for general admission (free admission for children under 12). VIP packages can also be purchased including premium seating, tickets to event parties, and gift bags (I’ll let you in on a little secret here the gift bags will include, among other fabulous offerings, a $20 gift certificate from Studio 219. I mean, really what further incentive do you need?)

Questions? Need tickets? Want to RSVP with me so I’ll know to look for you? email me: info@studio219designs.com

Everyone’s doing it. It’s all the rage. Fan pages on Facebook. Studio 219 now has one. And I’d love to see you there. We can chat, I’ll be posting events, links when new posts are posted (surely there is a better way to say that? When a new blog is posted? Someone set me straight).  You can add pictures, the idea being pictures of Studio 219 jewelry out & about, in the wild. Not your latest pictures from the state fair. Unless we can get a good look at your Yoga Earrings while you’re downing the deep-fried butter.

So come on over, be a fan of Studio 219. It’ll change your life and bring about world peace. Potentially. But we won’t know for sure unless we try. 😉 www.facebook.com/Studio219

P.S. I understand that there is a way to add a ‘badge’ to this blog to alert people to this fan page business. I can’t get it to work. If you can provide the technical assistance, send me a message on Facebook (ha!) or e-mail me: info@studio219designs.com

*UPDATE* Great news! Remember the twins that I mentioned down there, in the orginal post? Well, Keith & Angela welcomed Athena Catherine & Luke James to the family on Tuesday, September 8, 2009. Scroll down for pics of the babies! Warning: They are *really* cute!

 

 

First & foremost, I’m not a Lance Armstrong fan. But I love my brother, Keith.

This is Keith and his wife, Angela

Keith & Angela at his medical school graduation

This is my Mom

Mom at the Louvre

You’re on your own for a Lance picture.

Mom’s been fighting ovarian cancer for almost 13 years (!!!). Keith has ridden for the last three years in the LIVESTRONG Challenge. The LIVESTRONG Challenge benefits the Lance Armstrong Foundation. The foundation strives to raise cancer awareness and funds to help inspire & empower those affected by cancer (it kills me to type his name it really, really does but I’ll get over it since it*is* for a good cause.).

Keith will be riding again this year in October: a 100-mile ride outside of Austin, TX. He’s put together a two-man team with his friend, Jonathan Chapelle. The team is named Osteofight (Keith & Chapelle met in medical school & are currently Orthopaedic Surgery residents {but will he look at his aging sister’s bum knee? No, he will not}). If you’re interested in riding with them, e-mail me & I’ll forward your information to Keith.

The kids & I will be donating our July, August and September $30 Challenge funds to the cause. And remember it’s not because I love Lance Armstrong but because we love my brother & my Mom. Plus we love Angela, Keith’s wife. This is important to add because when Keith goes to ride this year in Austin, he will be leaving his lovely wife and their newborn twins. Twins that will be two, maybe three weeks old. So go visit Keith’s Livestrong page and if you can, please make a donation to help Keith meet his fundraising goal. I’d love to see Keith make his goal both to honor my Mom & make it worth Angela’s (and those precious twins) while.

Thanks a million for your consideration. And thanks to me for temporarily suspending my dislike of that Lance Armstrong to write this post. Now scoot on over to Keith’s page & help him out. You’re a doll. But mostly, thank you. 🙂

Proud Dad

Keith and babies

Athena

Athena       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luke

Luke Yawning

If you want to get all bean-counter-ish, my last post here was on June 5th. Before that I had been promising via Twitter & Facebook some pictures of some new pieces that I made using my newly acquired Precious Metal Clay (PMC) skills. That was back in May. Please hold while I blush.

Here’s the thing: shortly after I took the metal clay class, I got involved in a stand-off, a skirmish, if you will, with my camera and laptop. I took some lovely pictures of the new metal clay pieces, attempted to upload them to my computer for editing and disaster struck. My laptop refused to recognize my camera. Just like that.  There had been no argument that I was aware of , no angry exchange of pixels. My laptop just decided Nikon drivers were drivera non grata. So I tried to mediate: I re-installed drivers. I started and re-started my computer over and over. I traversed the terrain of Nikon technical service. All to no avail. My laptop and camera were no longer speaking to each other.

So I pouted. I stamped my foot. I tossed my head and turned my back on them both. That’s where I left it: all of us backs turned on each other, flashing cold shoulders and determined not to give. Then my camera whispered to me: Hey, you could buy a new computer. I responded with a: Zip it, Camera! The camera slyly reminded me that the kids could use the old computer and I could get a new one & everything would work like a dream. Me: Camera, silence!

But the seed was planted. Just shortly under two months later here I am posting this from my new laptop. My new laptop and my old camera get on like gangbusters. Which means I have photos to edit & posts to blog. No more technical excuses (but did I mention the kids are out of school for the summer? They require lots of care, watering & feeding, you know). My old laptop will soon be punished for its uppity ways by spending lots of time at webkinz.com and drilling math facts.

As a tiny consolation for those of you that were actually waiting for this blog to actually update (Thanks, Mom!) here’s a couple of pics. Up first: a sampling of the metal clay pieces:

First try (fronts & backs):

firstpmcFront

First go at PMC, backs

Next, the army of  The Yoga Earring samples I sent to BlogHer ’09 with Amy of MomSpark:

BlogHer '09 Samples

And one more metal clay piece, The Bee:

The Bee

All right, so just like that the blog is updated. Will you believe me if I say: See you soon!

'Wood Block' Prints from MFAH Creation Station

Okay, I took the kids down to the Museum District yesterday. We wanted to check out the creation station the Museum of Fine Arts was hosting. I basically left it there as far as planning went. I though we’d be in and out and home before rush hour even dreamed of starting. So we got down there about 11:30 am (no direct flights from The Woodlands to The Museum District. I mean, it *is* spring break…) Long story, short, we didn’t leave the area until almost 8:30 in the Post Meridian. I underestimated the stamina & just plain wonderfulness of my own children. We had the *most* fun! I’ll spare you the middling details (but if you want some leave me a comment or e-mail me). Pictures are below.  There are a lot them, I wasn’t feeling particularly in the mood to self-edit.

Though I will say one of the funniest things I’ve heard in a long time came from a conversation Carol Anne & I were having about art (all my art history & art education neurons were glowing & firing. Well, the ones not withered from lack of use or destroyed by pregnancy brain. But the other three were on fire!) Before I leave it where I leave it, please know that in ‘real life’ the conversation didn’t end where it does below. So here it goes, hoping you’ll find it as amusing as I did. Especially, after all this build-up. Since I’ve gone through the trouble of mentioning my art history/education background, I’d hate to come across as terribly irresponsible. 😉

We were talking about some of the things we saw, what we liked & didn’t like…and she says, “Mom, do you *get* art?” I said, “well, some yes & some no. And some I just like to look at whether I get it or not.” Carol Anne replies with, ‘Well, I don’t get a lot of it. I mean like when someone paints a banana dressed up as a pickle or something, I just don’t get *that*” 

I just don’t have the words for this. The idea, the fact that this is possible is horrendous to me as a mother and a sister and a human. I’m sharing it with you, hoping you will share my outrage and want to take a minute to *do something*

Briefly there’s this: In 1992, the year after we graduated from high school, my friend’s sister, RaLynn, was brutally murdered by her boyfriend. I can’t even begin to imagine living in the aftermath of such a violent crime. To pour salt in the wound, this convicted, confessed murderer is eligible for parole every two years. Every two years, my friend Rachel & her family have to go through the ‘trouble’ of asking the state of Texas to keep this man behind bars.  They have to protest his release, reminding the parole board why he should serve out his term. Rachel & her family need letters to help keep this man behind bars. Apparently, each time a person comes up for parole, their chance of release increases.  Additionally, if he has managed to keep his nose clean during his incarceration, once again his chances for release goes up. If no one protests the parole of this man, he could go free. Again, a possibility that boggles my mind. If you can find a moment, a short letter or e-mail of protest to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice would be appreciated.

I’ll stop talking now and let Rachel speak for herself.  Here is her recent letter requesting protest letters to the parole board followed by the letter she wrote just two short years ago:

Hello friends and family,

I am sending you this urgent request.

Please help me keep a murderer in jail. I have attached a very long an extremely personal and emotion letter that I wrote 2 years ago in my efforts to keep my sister’s murderer in jail. She was murdered by her boyfriend in 1992. Many of you probably remember the situation. We were successful that time but we received word this week that he is being reviewed again for parole. It is normal for convicted criminals in our system to obtain the right for parole after serving only ¼ of their sentence and then they get reviewed every 2 years thereafter for another chance to get out and walk free. The address, fax number and email is listed below if you would like to send a letter on our behalf requesting he not be released. Once again this information is very personal and it is a long story. You may not even want to read it. I cry when I have to think about this and I have not written my new letter yet since I received my notification last week. If you do decide to mail, fax or email a note in protest of his release, I would like to thank you in advance for your time and efforts. BE sure to include the convicts name state ID and TDCJ ID in your letter. It does not have to be long protest, a few short sentences will do. Thanks for reading this.

Send letters of protest to:

Victim Services Division
Angela McCown
8712 Shoal Creek Blvd.
Suite 265
Austin, Texas 78757-6899

Re: Rex Andrew Alexander
State ID # 04433725
TDCJ ID # 00648577

Victim.svc@tdcj.state.tx.us

Fax 512-452-0825

My letter from 2 years ago

Dear Sir/Madam:

I knew that these parole hearings would soon be forthcoming, but when we received the letter last week and it became real, I was overcome with grief, and then anger. I was also scared. We were provided this information 3 months into the parole process. What if we were never informed of these proceedings. Even worse, what if he gets out? Rex Andrew Alexander, the murderer who took my sister from me, is being considered for release. I am sick. The thought of his possibly being released causes me a great deal of pain. It has taken me over a week to write this because it is too emotional and difficult to see through the tears that begin to fall immediately from my eyes.

We knew him as Andy, and I will refer to him as such in this letter.

I cannot believe that a person who has the capacity to commit such horrific crimes can be rehabilitated. There is no such thing for those that murder. Andy killed my sister. Andy disposed of her body by hiding it in the trunk of her own car then left her in that trunk and dumped the car in a field. Andy returned later to set her body, and then the car on fire. This is the calculated actions of a very sick man that feels nothing. He obviously does not know right from wrong. Andy never once showed an ounce of remorse during the entire ordeal 13 years ago. Rex Andrew Alexander does not deserve a second chance. RaLynn does not get a second chance at life. I will never get to see my sister again. I will never get to talk to her again. She will never have a family of her own. My children will never know her. I miss her terribly. I cannot stop crying as I write this. It would simply be unjust to allow Andy the things he denied to my sister RaLynn. He took her away from us and it is so unfair. Andy’s family can visit him, write to him, hear his voice. I will never, get those opportunities with my sister. Never again!!

The last time I saw my sister she was on her way to work. She told us she was going to stop by Andy’s house. He had called and wanted some things that she had. We never got to see her again. She did not make it to work, we reported her missing and everyone was worried for the next few days. That worry turned to terror when we were awakened by the police one morning around 3:30 a.m. RaLynn’s car was found ablaze in a field with a charred body in the trunk. The police officer held out his hand. When he opened it, he held my sister’s jewelry in his palm. I crumbled into the arms of my husband, who immediately extended his leave from active Naval duties. I was 19 years old. My mother was out of town. I had to deal with this. It turns out that RaLynn was so badly burned that even the dental records I had to drop off at the coroner’s office were insufficient in the identification process. It was the jewelry that was taken from her body that provided the positive identification, that, and the confession that was later taken from Andy.

After the police left, I drove to Cleveland to get my grandparents to help me since my Mom was out of town on a previously scheduled business trip. They came to my house along with many other family members. Later that day, Andy joined us in our home. He walked around yelling angry words in the air, swearing he would find out who did this. He sat at the kitchen table. He put his arms around my Granny and Paw Paw acting as though he could console them. He ate at our table and then less than 24 hours later confessed to the murder of my sister while being questioned at the police station. How dare him come into our home, accept our hospitality, talk to me and my family, eat at my table. He was probably laughing at us the whole time. I am sickened that he entertained himself at my home in that way. He is a monster. I feel nauseous just writing this and still cry when I have to talk about it.

My parents are divorced. My father went into a deep depression due to this situation. He was an alcoholic and then became a sick alcoholic, unable to work or function. Because he lived alone, he had a very difficult time coping with the loss of his daughter. He became more reclusive and withdrawn and is still that way.

Additionally, we were forced to worry about the stress on my younger sister Roxann, who was due to deliver her baby within days of this news. Luckily she delivered a healthy baby boy. His name is Justin Tyler Alexander. This child is related by blood to the man who murdered my sister RaLynn. I have two sisters, RaLynn and Roxann. They were dating brothers, twins. This forever ties us to Andy’s family. It is very difficult to see Justin’s family and not think of Andy and what he did. We will never be able to have a normal relationship with Justin’s father’s family. An additional thing Andy has stolen from us, and an innocent, then unborn, child. This entire situation is totally unfair to Justin. We were sickened by the fact that Justin’s father would take him to the jail to see his uncle. Because of Andy there has been stress in the relationship between Justin’s mom and dad. I do not even want to imagine the strain that would incur if Andy is set free. The trauma Justin could be subjected to will be totally unfair. He is a child and does not have the ability to avoid this murderer, especially if he is visiting with his father. I wonder if Andy will see the resemblance that Justin shares with his Aunt RaLynn. Would Andy mistreat his nephew if he reminds him of RaLynn? Will he hurt him too? Will he come after one of us? I will fear for myself, my family, and my own children.

RaLynn had recently acquired a night job, so that she could care for Roxann’s newborn. She planned to take care of the new baby during the day while Roxann finished high school. RaLynn and Roxann were inseparable. RaLynn was so excited about being an Aunt. We had just had a baby shower for Roxann. RaLynn totally planned it and couldn’t wait for delivery day. RaLynn was murdered 9 days prior to the birth of her nephew. She never even got to see him. Roxann had a difficult time the following semester having to acquire a job to pay for daycare so that she could finish school and provide for him. She did not get the help she deserved from her baby’s father since we were caught up in legal proceedings concerning this murder. It hurt her too deeply to see the father of her baby, to fight in front of her child, because her child’s uncle killed our sister. Andy also burned our car. We did not have money to replace that car. This left Roxann with no transportation.

The night my sister was murdered, before she left to go work, we were discussing my upcoming wedding ceremony. RaLynn had formerly been in choir and I wanted her to sing in my wedding. We were discussing what songs she might like to sing and during what part of the ceremony she could do it. We never got to finish that conversation. Six months later, as I stood at the alter reciting my wedding vows, looking over at my friends and family, I could not help but notice the empty spot where she should have been standing. Friends of my husband sang during our ceremony. I was thinking, I wish my sister was singing right now. When I look at the pictures of my family she is not there. She is supposed to be there. RaLynn did not get to see me get married. She did not get to stand with me. She did not get to see her nephew be born. She did not get the chance to get married herself or have the babies she wanted to have. She did not get to do so many things we had planned for our futures. Andy took all that away from us.

As I sit here writing this, crying, my daughter who is 7 asks me, ”Mom, why are you crying?” I have to explain to her again that I am upset and miss her Aunt RaLynn. The aunt she will never know. She asks me again, “Why did Andy kill our Aunt RaLynn?” I tell her that there are just some very bad people in this world and that we are safe from him, he is locked up in jail. She says, “Don’t be sad Mom.” Now I am crying more. I wish my daughters could meet her. I hope to never have to explain to her why he is not in jail.

If Andy is released I will feel sick and disappointed in our system. He is a danger to our family and to society as a whole. Please do not release him from jail. Andy deserves no less than to serve his full punishment, which is much shorter than the punishment everyone who knows RaLynn will be subjected to. The short time in jail in no way compares to the lifetime we will be forced to live without our sister, friend, etc…

Sincerely,

Rachel Ramirez

My  blog has been bugging me lately. It clearly needs to be updated more than once a month. That in & of itself was causing me to overthink, overanalyze and over-just-not-do-anything. So I’m breaking my fast with the silly, irrelevant 25 random things note that has made the Facebook rounds. Effectively killing two birds with one stone: quieting my friends on Facebook that have nothing better to do than wonder about me (tag me again & you will suffer) and make me address my blog again (even if I apparently show it no respect).

1. Salmonella be damned, I *heart* peanut butter.

2. Not a fan of chocolate. Unless it is wrapping its smooth arms around peanut butter.

3. I’ve felt virtuous since I started putting spinach on my sandwiches instead of plain ol’ iceberg lettuce.

4. I vary rarely deviate from red nail polish when getting a pedicure. When I do, I find myself counting the days until it is acceptable to go get another pedicure (10-14 days, in case you’re wondering).

5. That being said, I have a collection of red nail polishes that are mere shades apart in hue, yet seasons apart in wearbility.

6. I don’t believe in the yellow Ferrari or his cousin the yellow Lotus. If you are going to spend six figures on something the color of a school bus or sandwich condiment, I can’t see you.

7.  I happen to know that the word avocado has it’s roots in the Aztec word for testicle. And as also been referred to as the alligator pear. Enjoy your guacamole.

8. I don’t believe there is anything natural about High Fructose Corn Syrup. Suck it, Corn Refiners Association.

9. Social settings sometimes make me nervous. If I’m not talking, I’m deciding when a good time to join in is. I’d hate to underwhelm you.

10. I’m on a life-long quest to find the perfect fountain pen.

11. I *love* to get mail.

12. I’d love to organize or take part in some sort of postcard sending and/or handwritten letter exchange.  Seriously, don’t you love to see your name handwritten on an envelope?

13. Sometimes wish I was a librarian. Just to get my book, organizing and research fix.

14. I  do not like Dave Matthews, coffee or Jim Carrey.

15. I do like Matt Costa, vanilla rooibos lattes & The Kids in the Hall.

16. I  think napping is a worthwhile activitiy, even, maybe especially, for those over the age of 3.

17. Love these flowers: poppies, anemones & peonies.

18. I’m suspicious of the aging process. If yoga doesn’t help, I hope I realize it before the surgery options are off the table.  Well, not really. I just plan to be over my suspicions by then.

19. My half-birthday is February 19th.

20. The butter sugar sandwich is the only reason white bread should exist. Though I can’t remember the last time I actually ate this tasty sandwich, it lives in nostalgia for me. My sister & I swear my Dad would make these for us when Mom wasn’t around. Then we would secretly make them in the middle of the night, only to be busted in the morning when Mom stepped in the tell-tale sugar dunes we left on the kitchen floor. Good times.

21. I love, love, love Clinique’s Black Honey. The correct nomenclature is Almost Lipstick in Black Honey. See technically, I don’t put lipstick, per say, on before yoga. It’s *almost* lipstick. (I am convinced it is the *only* universally flattering lipstick shade out there. I don’t care what the magazines try to sell you.)

22. I’m not good at keeping plants alive.  My children don’t know how lucky they are to have made it to 7 & 4.5.

23. When I like something, music, food,etc. I want it over & over until I’m tired of it or go back to one of my old favorites. See: Chipotle, Old 97’s

24.  I re-read books. Sometimes I devote the whole summer to visiting old favorites: Gone With the Wind, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, the Harry Potter series (hope to get the kids in on this one soon), The Outsiders, etc. It is interesting to me that when I was 16 I loved Scarlett O’Hara; in my twenties, she was okay but her selfishness grated, now I love Melanie.

25. I don’t like movie adaptations of books. My imagination is fine, thank you.  I’ll decide how the characters look & sounds and what places, like the inside of houses, look like. If I like a book, it is highly unlikely I will watch the movie, so don’t even ask.

(Did my blog just jump the shark? Is the blog/facebook tie-in like the Grey’s Anatomy/Private Practice crossover? ‘Cause I totally ignored that.)

Now, back to deciding how to best describe the bracelets I make from old wedding rings (first one I made was for my Mom with her Dad’s ring) and to figuring out how to explain my version of  the mother’s bracelet (so you have to have one).  And to working on the bracelet for Lend4Health.  And to deciding if I’m going to subject y’all to a weekly series based on my personal boycotts. (And that’s just what I came up with without consulting my to-do lists.) See,  I really *do* have work to do.

This time of year, everyone is making plans and resolutions. We’ve reviewed the past year and are mapping out how to make 2009 the best ever. Fine.  These days, personally, I have been reviewing the past decade and a half or so. I have two little personal anecdotes that keep running through my head as I continue on my Studio 219 journey (the ones for my regular life will require a password protected blog 😉 ).

I now have a business selling my jewelry, some of you are reading this with a Studio 219 bracelet on your wrist or a pair of Studio 219 earrings dangling from your earlobes (and if not, well you need to fix that & I happen to know just the girl to hook you up!) I can’t pretend this was a life long goal of mine. I’ve never really been a life-long goal type of girl more like a let’s give this a try & see what happens. When I was at the University of North Texas, I decided I had to have a degree in Art History. Well, there were two degree plans back then for Art History majors: Bachelor of Arts & Bachelor of Fine Arts. Long story short, my decision hinged on this alone: BA=math & science courses, BFA=no math. I would do whatever it took to avoid the math classes, so art studio hours it was for me. I needed like 12 studio hours and at the dawn of my sophomore year, I figured I had *plenty* of time to get around to them. I took my 3 required drawing classes and nearly died. Taking a three-dimensional object (be it a plant, a building or some random nude person), lopping off a dimension and smashing it onto paper was not my forte.  I started to get a bit nervous about my options. I, clearly, was not going for anything related to painting or drawing or printmaking. The sculpture department was sort of testosterone fueled & since I run on estrogen, didn’t feel like waging that particular battle. Fiber arts, well, I was already getting an Art History degree & fielding lots of underwater basket weaving-type comments, so I skipped that, too. Which left me with ceramics & metalsmithing. Sign me up! So my last year in college I took beginning metalsmithing & beginning ceramics in the fall, the intermediate dose of those two in the spring and graduated on time (if you put a four-year degree on a five year calendar). I also wanted to change my degree and be a metalsmithing major. But my corporate sponsor (thanks again, Dad) didn’t think it made a whole lot of sense to start at least half-way over at that point.  So graduate & move back to Houston it was for me. But even as I sold tower packing and apparently adopted (some of) the vocabulary of a chemical engineer*, I still kept an interest in the arts. I visited museums, got a Master’s in Art Education and tried to figure out ways to make jewelry without a full studio. And eventually the sophomore that couldn’t imagine lighting a torch is now selling her jewelry and teaching herself fine silver fusing (which clearly cannot be done without the flame).

My point is that after almost 13 years I finally feel able to let myself recognize the value in my degree. I mean *I* always saw some value (though not the kind of value that comes with dollar signs) in it: I loved it, I’m not afraid of museums (don’t laugh, lots of people harbor anxiety about art), and I know some really cool tidbits that have enabled me to become a supreme repository of random information. But with the benefit of time and experience I  can now see how my decisions and choices lead me down to the path I’m on now. Basically, all I’m sayin’ is,  it’s just interesting to look back every now and then at the threads in your life that come together to make your tapestry. (I hear that’s how tapestries are made, since I skipped the weaving courses, I have no direct experience 😉 )

My intention here is not to distill out a life lesson, ’cause I’m not comfortable assuming my life has lessons for you. I could start with all the hindsight’s 20/20, never give up on a dream, live for the moment, find your passion business but other people have build their fortunes on selling you that. But this more along the lines of how fun/beneficial/therapeutic it can be to look back and see the threads that connect the past to the present  May I also add that perhaps my let’s just give this a shot and see where it ends up is not necessarily the worst philosophy on the planet…it just sometimes takes a while to be able to actually find out where you end up. Maybe I’m not as impatient as I thought. Trying to force the future doesn’t seem to work for me.

And the other anecdote is much shorter. In graduate school,once again browsing the class catalog trying to figure out some elective courses,  I came across a class offered through the art department called something like Writing for Artists. I remember asking my professor what on earth that was, she said it was to help artists learn to write about themselves (like for artist statements, bios,etc.) and about their art.  At the time, I conceded that well, I guess sometime those that express visually may not be as strong with verbal expression. My program focused pretty heavily on verbal expression, so at the time it didn’t apply to me at all. But over the past few months trying to write all that kind of stuff about myself and my work…well, it’d be nice to have that experience in my arsenal.

And here she is, the one & only drawing to survive my adventures in drawing at the University of North Texas. And she only exists because I figured out that I could only begin to approximate life on paper if I drew with my left hand (I’m right-handed) and in red. True story.

 

*True story, take 2: One day I was on the phone with a customer trying to explain how and why he need to be treating his water with sequestering agents to keep the minerals from precipitating out of the water and finally he says, well, since I’m not a chemical engineer like you are, could you run the data and let me know what I need to fix this problem.  I almost laughed out loud/fell out of my chair/fainted dead away. I could run the numbers (thanks again, Dad for the calculator program) but he was no more talking to a chemical engineer than, well, I was. He had an art history major that was working on a Master’s in art education that had *never* even set foot in a chemistry class room on the other end of the phone. Poor guy.