A Day O’ Beaded Jewelry

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Saturday was the annual recognition of small businesses everywhere. To celebrate, my local bead store (Fat Cat Beads) had a raffle for door prizes and offered a huge sale on everything from kits to precious stones. I was there for the day. Besides hanging out at my favorite bead-n-bitching locale here in town, I offered to make samples of a few kits, too. Truth be told: I needed the break. I have a lot on my mind and a ton of writing to do. Now that the weather has cooled off, I don’t need to hide in my cave anymore: I am planning on making great use out of my office.

But I digress. The first picture you see here is the Lotus Ring. This took me about a half an hour to make. The time-consuming part, is to decipher the instructions and figure out your ring size.

The second picture you see here is the Sunburst Ring. This ring took me about an hour to make; you can see from the close-up the reinforced stitches as I weaved back and forth through the transparent crystals.

I started (and stopped) two other bracelets that were a lot more stitching oriented. Those require counting and focus, so I didn’t finish them. This last one is my favorite of the day. Citrine gemstones were on sale, so I picked up these and made a bracelet with Size 6 Clear Crystal Japanese beads. These are often used as filler in between other beads or in a beginner’s kit of beaded kumihimo. I love the texture of this one and — better yet — it’s supposed to signify “focus.” Whether or not that’s the case. . . Well, the sentiment is a nice one, anyway, and it feels good to wear natural stone.

I’m also working on some original designs, homemade Pandora beads, and a “few” holiday-related gifts. No pics until AFTER the holly-days, ’cause that’d just be rude! (Apologies for the camera phone blurry-ness, by the way. I’ll probably make some rings for myself and upload pics after the calendar new year along with the others.)

    Mood: Back hurty.
    Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: One with the potential for several more.
    Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: I lifted a needle and thread. That should count…
    In My Ears: The dishwasher.
    Game Last Played: Dragon Age: Origins
    Movie Last Viewed: Spiderman the new one.
    Latest Artistic Project: In progress!
    Latest Release: “Dig” The Lovecraft eZine Issue No. 19

A Black Friday Sermon

Dear Holiday Shopper,

On this auspicious shopping day, when thousands, nigh millions of lemmings people make the annual trek to ye olde shopping malls and outlet centers in search of that elusive great deal, let us remember those invisible, stressed-out souls that make Black Friday possible.

The average Retail Worker.

Never has there been such a brave, brave animus. This downtrodden human being willingly sacrifices their happiness for not just one, but all the sheep customers who flock through the doors of their humble shop. While they may earn a paltry sum for their efforts, the Retail Worker does not brandish a sword to control the crowds nor do they have the ability to stand up for themselves. No! They have no weapons at their disposal other than their wits and grit and uniform.

Remember, this person of exceptional might tolerates endless hours of screaming banshees children, Christmas music on infinite loop, crabby (and argumentative) shoppers, and frantic bosses with even more frenzied district managers for you. Why? Why would anyone subject themselves to such madness? The average retail worker does this in order to make a sales goal and provide excellent customer service in order to keep their job and have a holiday of their own, with their own family, friends, and loved ones.

Your symphony of deals did not magically appear. Many human-hours have gone into training, reshelving, restocking, and sprucing up store shelves to entice you. The presents there that beg to be exchanged and placed under your tree didn’t pop into being. Did elves work tirelessly to infiltrate brick-and-mortar shops? (Okay, I’m sorry to tell you this, but Santa isn’t real. . .) No! This accomplished feat had been undertaken by many Retail Workers under the direction of their Grand Lord/Lordess, the Retail Store Manager, who answers to a Higher Power(s) — The District/State/Regional Director of Retail Management. Together, the Church of [Your Favorite Retail Store Here] combines their efforts to set the stage for a very stressful day.

So, on this day of days, the blackest of any weekday every imagined ( which, incidentally, belongs to Freya ) I implore you to smile a little brighter and bitch a tad less.

When you see the Retail Worker, wave! When you have a question? Don’t yell at the Retail Worker for being stupid, ask them politely. Stop fighting over that last doohickey on the shelves — designate a replacement gift. And if you can’t find anything to buy? Think the deals are crap? Don’t scream at the Retail Worker — it’s not their fault, they’re just doing their job. (For extra karma points, you could thank the Retail Worker for their efforts.) Want to fight with your fellow customer? There is nothing more horrific than to watch two grown adults engage in a bout of fisticuffs over L’il Suzy’s Talking Furry Doll That Also Realistically Poops. Also, at that point, fair warning but? When fingers grab and fists punch? Store security and the police may be called.

And so, we come to the close of this ye olde sermon. On Black Friday, there is no worse possible place to be, than to ring up sales behind the counter or walk the aisles to drone on and on about sales.

A fact that Black Friday shoppers should all do well to remember.


    A Recovering Former Black Friday Retail Worker

Thankful Thanks for Thanksgiving

Celtic Wheel

To those of you in the U.S., Happy Thanksgiving! May this be a day of culinary delights and subsequent naps. We’re having a hipster Thanksgiving; no turkey here today. Instead, we’re having marinated steak tips with portabella mushrooms, pumpkin cheesecake, monkey bread (a holly-day favorite here in our house), mulled apple cider, and other savory treats. (Oh, and some other vegetables, too. But we won’t talk about those. OH NO.)

Let’s see, something deep that I’m thankful for. . . Not related to house or home or cats or friends or love. . . I am thankful for new beginnings! Yay!

There. Mission o’ thanks accomplished. Off to the eatering!

    Mood: Hungry. Feeeeeeeed me.
    Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: What? I swear I didn’t drink all the coffee!
    Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: Walkin’. Jivin’. Spinnin’.
    In My Ears: I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor
    Game Last Played: Dragon Age: Origins
    Movie Last Viewed: Spiderman the new one.
    Latest Artistic Project: In progress!
    Latest Release: “Fangs and Formaldehyde” from the New Hero anthology through Stone Skin Press

Gangnam Lo Pan Style. Hee.

You're An Idiot, Starscream

Yes, the past few days have been an exercise in blogging philosophy. Enough with the thinking! Away with the thought police! Ban the Care Bear Stare! I give you, the one. . .the only. . . Lo Pan Style (Gangnam Style Parody).

While I’m quite certain you’ve already seen this, WATCH IT AGAIN!

    Mood: Badly quoting Big Trouble In Little China. What of it?
    Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: I need me a Rayden. (Wrong movie.)
    Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: BENDY TWISTY THINGS.
    In My Ears: Lo Pan. Duh.
    Game Last Played: Dragon Age: Origins
    Movie Last Viewed: Spiderman the new one.
    Latest Artistic Project: In progress!
    Latest Release: “Fangs and Formaldehyde” from the New Hero anthology through Stone Skin Press

Seriously, Ladies. A Discussion About Clothes.

Shiva Final Fantasy X Avatar

Writing The Red Door has forced me to examine feminist issues I normally take for granted. There are a few pieces, like sexuality, which are embedded beneath the plot. Or, in other words, it’s not a story about feminist issues but I felt forced to address them because of the story. And that, as they say, is all I’ll say about the writing portion.

One of the issues that came up is the difference between what we, women, feel we have to do to make ourselves attractive to the opposite (or even same) sex in a traditional sense. And, on the flip side, what we stereotype or envision our potential partner feels is attractive.

Sexuality? Really? Yes, really. This is often where I feel the arguments for/against make-up, for/against dressing in revealing clothes, for/against wearing something other than sweat pants all day comes into play. And, many times, it’s based on stereotypes of mate attraction rather than what women really dress up for. It’s a fascinating issue, really, which is part of why I’m exploring this with you today. (Please understand, too, that I’m *trying* my best to not define a woman’s sexuality as “just” woman-man here. I may not have succeeded in all concepts, so forgive me.)

When I was younger, sure, there was the recommended attire to go out to a bar. Girls would wear the black body suits and tight jeans; the guys would wear flannel or polos. Sometimes I went with the flow; often I didn’t. Now-a-days it’s the daily wear of Ugg boots with the sweat pants or tights tucked in and the baggy sweatshirts and the variety of 80s or vintage attire — but almost always, almost always, clothing had something to do with how visible one was to a potential mate and what social tier/group/class you belonged to. For me, the only uniform I have now is the one I put on because I want to. (Once I figured that out, it was very freeing to be able to do that in all situations.) Mind you, I still consider myself to love fashion, perhaps even more than most, because if I gotta wear clothes, might as well like and appreciate ’em — especially the ones I feel look good on me.

As I write this story, I’m also exploring the possibility that for some? Clothing is also worn as a shield to avoid getting hit on, to be protected from potential threats. (For example, when I used to drive alone at night, I’d often wear a baseball cap to hide the fact I was female.) In some cases, yes, women are afraid and I think it’s something that isn’t really talked about very often. I feel this underlying fear is what’s causing new and interesting discussions of sexual harassment — sometimes at cons, sure, but also at work and whatnot. How scary is it, after all, to be in a position where you could die if you didn’t abort and be told that you have no control over your own body? (That happened not too long ago, too.) How frightening to think that you’ll be labeled a whistle-blower and unhireable because you didn’t want to constantly hear about how tight your abs were? Or how big your boobs were? Or how you weren’t attractive enough?

I have to wonder if the issue is exacerbated by the social acceptance that comes from sexy women’s attire/poses often lauded in the media. We see people whose careers are based on how in shape they are; so many believe that they have to be them in order to be attractive or desirable. (Which isn’t realistic at all.) So some women just give up after a while because they don’t have to dress up anymore; they have a husband or wife, right? They had the career and maybe they’re working-from-home now. (Mind you, what clothing women wear is cultural, too, depending upon where you live in the country and in the rest of the world.) Well, they got their “mate” and now they don’t have to dress to impress anymore. Or maybe they’re too tired to always dress up or nicely (a sign of depression/low self-esteem in some cases). Or they can’t afford good-fitting clothes. Or they are too proud to fit their current body shape.

The idea that clothing is worn specifically to attract a mate is very interesting to me from a storytelling perspective. We’ve lost a lot of other “mating rituals” over the past century. I think one of the ones that survived is the “ring” in the sense that it’s a promise of a deeper commitment, but there really isn’t anything outside of that to my recollection and even that’s not a requirement anymore. Still, wearing an outfit “to” signal you’re available fascinates me — because that’s assuming a LOT about women and a LOT about potential partners, too — especially since the “rules” of what’s proper to wear are so relaxed now. Remember, jeans started out as tent material and were only worn on farms. Sweatpants were for sweatin’ in. Not anymore!

Makes you think, doesn’t it? Why women wear what we do and how it relates to what we feel about ourselves, the Tango of Looooove, and social pressure? Be interesting to hear your thoughts, below. If we get a good discussion going, I’ll follow-up with another post about this.


    Mood: Back hurty.
    Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: Caffeinatin’ on up!
    Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: A walk. Some necessary housework.
    In My Ears: Body Paint from the Buffy soundtrack.
    Game Last Played: Dragon Age: Origins
    Movie Last Viewed: Spiderman the new one.
    Latest Artistic Project: In progress!
    Latest Release: “Fangs and Formaldehyde” from the New Hero anthology through Stone Skin Press
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