Saturday, January 30, 2010

Ever Wondered What a Hundred Pounds of Beads Looks Like?

A hundred pounds of beads, purchased from Firemountain Gems, arrived yesterday. I ordered more than 200 items, which earned me a huge discount.Cost? $507.81 including $5 for shipping and $2.50 for handling. I've shopped all around the internet as well as local stores, spending about the last six weeks planning this order. I only ordered things I could get cheapest at this source and placed the largest order I've ever done. It was worth it. I probably got items at about 20% of retail cost. I only bought beads because I have found that the findings (clasps and other metal parts) are cheaper when I bid at Ebay.

When the boxes arrived at my UPS store, where all of my mail is delivered for security reasons, they were a little nonplussed. They asked Cameron to wait until after 5 to pick it up when the strapping teenager would arrive with dolly. With a winter storm rolling in, I didn't have that long. So I headed over, assuming that I could break the boxes down at the store into the smaller boxes in my back seat, and carry the beads out that way. 

The order was packed in two boxes, sized 15x10x7. Each box weighed approximately 50 pounds. I'm very proud to say that I was able to lug them to my backseat without a problem. Of course, I couldn't stand to wait any longer and opened them to peak at my order. Oh my, I was impressed.
Arriving home at the same time the winter storm rolled in, I quickly carried my treasure to our studio and began unpacking. And unpacking. And unpacking. Did I mention the discount was based on number of items ordered? And the biggest discount requires 200 items? Or that I spent all my money on beads and haven't yet purchased sufficient organizers?

Eight hour later, Cameron teased me that I couldn't sleep on top of the beads like a dragon does its hoard, given that I'm a princess and the pea kind of girl, and I went off to bed. But I had sorted the majority of the beads!
Which also introduced a new problem. I still have a dozen or so necklaces to post at Etsy. Originally created for the flea market audience, they were scaled down in bead types and priced low. Now I look at these simple necklaces and balked. I can't put the pitiful things on Etsy! They aren't up to my new standards. Not elaborate enough. Not rich and interesting. Sigh. Now I have more beading to redo!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Studio Pictures: Barefoot Arts and Designs by Dreamweaver

Our home is small, but we've managed to dedicate a studio to the two industries. Cameron is currently at work on a commission piece (just in time to pay the electric bill, thank goodness). So paint and beads jostle for space until we can drop the wall between the studio and the library. With her south facing window, Cameron's studio was perfect to take photos of jewelry this week. 

I typically take one weekend a month to make polymer clay beads. I had to work at the treatment center last weekend, which really cut into the process. Nevertheless, I made dozens.

Yesterday was wonderful for another reason, as well. An acquaintance came over to get some tutoring in Art Appreciation. I had a new butterfly necklace I was about to post to Etsy. The acquaintance took one look and asked how much, buying it on the spot!

I've also posted new items to Etsy.Be sure to check them out!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Holding Magick in a Mundane World

When we headed to Atlanta for this year's GAFilk, I was empty. The toll exacted by my rigorous schedule of work, classes, practicum, and starting my business had left me soul weary. I am still not quite sure how it happened, but magick occurred that weekend, and I returned to SC feeling rested, joyful and blessed.

I seemed to hold the magick longer than usual, choosing to carry that joy with me when I returned to work, saw clients, talked of death and pain. We attended Wishing Chair's concert and I shared the joy of music as I was replenished in the well of magick once again. Small miracles occurred with the feeling of powerful blessing. I had $1 in my purse and $6 in the checking account when I picked up my student loan yesterday. Our storage building is paid today.

It would be so easy to slip into the mire of mundane. Cameron continues to struggle with identity issues. The housework piles up with dirty and laundry. I've a busy weekend ahead creating a commission piece. I'm trying to do photos and get my online shop running. Through it all, the tension between mundane and necessity threaten the threads of joy that I determinedly maintain.

Today I thank the Goddess for a woman who loves me beyond measure. Today I thank the Goddess that I learned to love. I give thanks for beautiful grandchildren, sons and daughters-in-law. I delight in my son's text message last night, complete with his drawing illustrating how to read a comic book (yet another art form fading from the horizon of a younger generation). I am blessed. And today I choose to hold the magick of my life, my blessings, and my calling.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Wishing Chair

Llast night we attended a free concert at Converse College featuring folk and Roll Wishing Chair!  

Sometimes you just have to live, despite being up at 3:45am for a crazy job! We've been following these ladies since they were introduced at the local UU Church four years ago. Since Kyra recently moved to Jersey with her partner Meg, we have less opportunity to hear them. It was, as always, fabulous! I tried to steal a poster for my office, but they were gone before the end of the concert. One of the hosts promised to mail one, so I'm hoping!

songwriter Kiya Heartwood

multi-instrumentalist Miriam Davidson

Cell phone doesn't do them justice!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Adding Horror to Tragedy

May the Lady Kali find means to exact her toll on those who would use a disaster of unspeakable magnitude to their own purpose. Keith Olbermann's response says it all.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Thank you, Story Teller, I Hold Magick in My Hand and Heart

The aching weariness fades after a weekend of magick. Story Teller, your kind, friendly hand gave me hope. You pulled your stories from your pocket, and now I know that magick is still there. My pocket has filled, my colors are renewed and I hold the magick in my hands and my heart.

Every year Cameron and I attend GAFilk. This year my spirit needed replenishment, a soothing of the fear and anxiety of our recent journey. I was actually a little nervous of meeting Alexander James Adams, the guest of honor of this year. As Cameron explores her trans status, I have walked with alternating fear and calmness, sometimes simultaneously. When a transwoman was guest this summer in my Sex Therapy I was unexpectedly frozen, unable to ask questions when faced with the reality of transition. Meeting Alissia has been an amazing blessing and gone a long way to calm my anxiety. But she is clear across the nation, and sometimes instant messages can only go so far.

I loved Heather Alexander. Her clear, vibrant voice held me entranced. I had only met her in books, music, video and online sources. Yet her message of hope and faith in magick had gotten me through many challenges. So I had a hard time imagining what it would be like to be faced with the man who had become her heir. I needn't have worried.

Drawn like a lass to a fairy ring, I returned again and again to the chair beside Alec's dealer table. The first day I asked many, many questions. The second day I just listened. Alec transitioned three years ago, and says he is three years old. Apparently Kori, his wife, is a very patient woman. After hearing the story of his primal "Sasquachy" story of the woods, I'm convinced she's a goddess. Facing the transition in one's identity can be gut wrenching and terrifying. When a partner walks through the transition with the transperson, identity changes because of someone else. As a woman thriced divorced and once widowed, I happily assumed the identity of lesbian. Perhaps the shift of identity offered redemption, renewal, a new beginning. Certainly the world perception of me would shift yet again if I became recognized as heterosexual again.

Sitting at the side of that table for hours allowed me to connect with a transman whose self honesty, humor and magick offered me transformation. I could share in the humanness, the depth of person and personality that allowed me to see the qualities my own partner posses and would carry forward no matter her hormones or outward appearance.

Alec renewed my joy in magick. As he pulled tales from his pocket I laughed, I touched the magick, I believed. My heart has warmed and I have touched the magick within.

Blessed be, Story Teller. May the Lady and Lord fill your pockets with magick and joy. Know that you are are loved and held in perfect love and perfect trust.

Friday, January 8, 2010

It's a New Year

I didn't even post this entry and photo when I first put them together, relegating it to my drafts instead. But I've not written in a while, and am staring the remaining work on my desk waiting to be filed and decided I need a break. So I'll post the following paragraph, written on 1/4/10 and the photo now! 

While chatting with Cameron on the IM between signing off case notes, this fabulous picture from Flicker popped up as a background. The extraordinary colors really grabbed me, so I felt compelled to share.

The utter exhaustion from a year of work/making jewelry, flea marketing and classes has overwhelmed me in the last couple of months. While the weekend promises to be wonderful, it will not bring any much needed rest, either. We are off to the annual GAFILK convention this year featuring the Alexander James Adams, the former Heather Alexander. I expect transgender issues to be on the forefront of my mind this weekend. Visit Cameron's blog if you are curious about Filk, GAFilk or Alex!

Incidently, GAFilk (pronounced Ga Filk) was where I met Cameron for the first time. So it has been 12 years since she entered a room wearing boots with bells...many transformations since then.

Speaking of transformations, I expect transgender issues to remain at the forefront of mind for quite some time to come.  I have just submitted my syllabus to my teacher for my directed independent study. Once she approves it, the Dean of Grad Students approves it, and I will be writing a 25 page research paper based on a project done two years ago and updated to reflect new research (50 articles published in the last year and a half on transgender issues! Talk about a hot topic.). I'll also be conducting a few interviews with an eye to gaining a greater understanding of what Transgendered or Gender Variant people need from a therapist when they enter therapy.

As Cameron continues her journey of self definition and discovery, being transgender is taking a backseat with her discovery of a learning disability. Certainly the disability explains a lot of things (like why such an intelligent person with excellent grades) can't pass Spanish. But the effects of this disability are far more reaching as it affects her ability to process information, sensory data etc. I never realized, until the time to do so was taken away by school/practicum/work, that the talking we used to do, hours and hours of it, was more than dating, more than simply the pleasure of being together, but actually allowed her to process her world and find ways to relate the information together or file it away. Something in the talking, the discussion, the process of communication, makes her far more competent at functioning. And since she has learned to function so well, not even me, the woman who loves her beyond measure, realized what I was seeing all these years.

Looking ahead this year, I'm also taking my last class at Converse in the art department looking at children's art therapy. I think it will provide a much needed opportunity for deprograming as I finish my degree. Then there will be festivals and jewelry making around taking my board exam in the Aug-Sep range. What an amazing year this year promises to be!