Sunday, May 31, 2009

Exuberance

I always wanted to be a dancer. I'm a huge fan of modern dance, modern ballet -- fun, funky, joyous dance just for the sheer love of movement.

These days I can't move much, have been told that for now, the only exercise I can do is swim, and that I have to be careful with just about every aspect of living (I won't get into it right now). But I still have this exuberance of spirit, this stubborn refusal to let my mind dwell on the "might be" and instead dream and plan for the "will be". So when I found this picture, I thought it was perfect. I hold it in my mind, and nothing can stop me from moving like this in my thoughts.


When Lori isn't dreaming about dancing, she creates jewelry. You can see it at www.lorianderson.net

Thursday, May 28, 2009

A New Way to Use Jewelry Components


I have an article up on Watch Me Create that explores ways to take components out of their normal usage and turn them into creative, new pieces. You won't look at your bead box the same way! (By the way, the necklace above is for sale -- click here to see more!)

I hope you'll take a look -- click here to read.



Lori Anderson presents her jewelry at www.lorianderson.net and craft shows on the East coast. She also writes reviews for Sunshine Artist magazine and presents tutorials to various beading magazines.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tiger Heart Necklace

A quick blog post tonight to show you the latest necklace on my web site, www.lorianderson.net. It's inspired by my friend Lisa Liddy's heart jewelry. You can read all about it (and buy it if you just have to have it!) by clicking here.



Monday, May 25, 2009

This Is Spinal Tap

Most of you know that I've had horrid migraines for three months solid.
After I'd tried what seems like every pain killer known to man, it was obvious that enough was enough, and Rick found a neurologist who specialized in headaches. I had a month and a half wait, but that's ok -- there was at least an end in sight.

The day finally rolled around, and after an examination and a lot of "hmmms" and "huh"s and one "that's interesting", he said I had an excess of spinal fluid, and it was pressing against the discs in my eyes. He prescribed medicine to help relieve the pressure (and hopefully the headaches) and scheduled a spinal tap.

(This is the point where most readers are cringing. I have since discovered that a study was made of people to see what medical procedure they feared the most, and it was -- yup, you guessed it -- a spinal tap.)

No big deal, thought I. I've had a spinal tap before, when I was sixteen, and while it wasn't anything I'd recommend, it wasn't all that bad. To me, the worst part was the Lidocaine to numb my back, because it always burns. After that, the tap was just uncomfortable pressure.
This, however, was not going to be the same experience by a long shot.

Now is the time that I need to say, if you're squeamish, don't read any more. AND, this is most definitely NOT the norm, so if you ever have to have one, this is not what you'll get.
I show up at the doctor's office with Rick, zoning on Valium, and we go back. I curl up in the fetal position on he table like I'm supposed to and the doctor starts pushing around with his fingers on my back to find a good spot to stick the needle. He has to get between the discs and into the spinal fluid and it's pretty much by feel.

Problem #1 -- He touched one spot and I jerked like he'd burned me.
At this point I explained that I had seven bad discs back there and he proceeded with caution (and probably an "oh *%&$" in his mind).

He finally found a spot and hit me up with Lidocaine. It wasn't that bad at all, since I knew what to expect, and I relaxed, thinking the worst was over. Then he slowly started adding more numbing goodies to the deeper parts of my back.

Problem #2 -- The needle hit a nerve that shouldn't have been there and I about hit the ceiling.



The doctor said, "What did you feel? What was that?" and I told him it felt, basically, not good, like a huge big sting. It was at this point that I started to hyperventilate and my vasovagal response to unexpected pain kicked in and I said, "Guys, I'm going to pass out." Needle out of the back, cold cloth, deep breathing, ok, I'm fine, let's try this again.
So we're still in the numbing phase, and I get through that much better. Now we start the tap part.

Everything STARTS fine -- I feel pressure, a thump as it gets through whatever it needs to gets through, then -- someone shrieks. Oh yeah, that would be ME. Shooting, searing pain down my leg and across my abdomen. Who the hell knifed me? I think.
Enter a freak out. (That would be me again). The doctor asks what I felt and where, and the pain stops when he moves the needle. And then it starts again. And again. He finally takes out the needle – but no pay dirt. No fluid. He says that's because I have so much calcification and arthritis in my back, it's making it really hard to get in between any of the discs, and he adds more numbing medicine and waits for me to be ready again.

So on to spinal tap #2.

Same thing happens. Shriek, tears, doctor blanches, out comes the needle, yada yada. Still no fluid.

At this point he asks Rick to pull me as tightly into a ball as he can to open up my spine as much as possible. I try to make a joke about bungee cording me together. I keep saying, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm trying" and the doctor and nurse keep reassuring me that I'm doing fine, please don't apologize, I just have a difficult back which they normally don't see.
It's at this point that the doctor asks just what I did to have so much trauma in my back -- was I in a car accident? I reply no, I trained for in 1999 for the National Aerobics Competition, which involved a lot of hurling yourself at a wood floor at 90 miles an hour. I most certainly didn't win, and didn't place, even, because by that time my body was just wrecked, but here's a video from the year I competed to show you what kinds of things I did (and my push-up compulsories are indentical to hers)....



Time for spinal tap #3. I weakly joke that three's the charm.

This time, he adds Lidocaine the entire time he's poking around (said Rick, I obviously can't see a damned thing and don't WANT to). I get that sharp seering pain and am shrieking, "OW OW OW" quickly followed by "KEEP GOING KEEP GOING" because I know they are about to give up and they CAN'T give up or I'm screwed.

Just as the doctor says, "I think for your sake we should stop," spinal fluid starts up the vial. There is cheering in the room like you normally hear when your team wins the Super Bowl.

I hear the doctor go "Wow" and he says the pressure in there is incredible, and that it's a good thing I was taking the eye medication or who knows how high it would have been. They drain four vials off in no time.

What should have taken 20 minutes has taken us an hour and a half.

All done. Or so I think. The doctor says he'll be right back with a prescription.
He comes back and asks if we're able to go to the hospital for blood work. I look at him like he's out of his mind. He looks at me like he's afraid I'll throw something at him.

He says there's a test they can run in conjunction with the spinal fluid, but it's "technically" not mandatory. I look at him and say, "I think I've had enough today". He nods like he knows the feeling, yup, he absolutely does.

Three spinal taps. Rick quit counting how many Lidocaine needles went in around five or six. Oh, you can BET I'm flipping done with needles.

The good things:

-- I didn't get a spinal headache, a common side effect, which could have required MORE needles
-- My daily headaches went away immediately.
-- My left leg immediately quit hurting (the spinal nerves were getting pinched from the arthritis and I had gotten to where I couldn't cross my leg and was limping).
-- AND, I got to read three books while lying in bed (Her Last Death, One Fifth Avenue, and I Was Told There'd Be Cake).

So. There is my story. I'm grateful to all of you who have commented, emailed, called, and sent cards wishing me well. I'm anxious to get back to decent work, and hopeful that this treatment will hold for a while. I still have to get an MRI, see an opthamologist, and follow up with the neurologist (I'm sure he's REALLY looking forward to seeing ME again) but the hard work is done. I can see, I can work, I can read, and I know I'm loved.


.
When Lori isn't being poked by needles, she's making jewelry. You can see her work at www.lorianderson.net

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Flowers and the Little Gardener

Just a quick post today. I wanted to share some lovely rhododendron that is growing at the side of the house. I love rhododendron, not just for its color, but because when at my childhood home, we had dozens of them covering a hill. My father would go out in the woods and dig them up and transplant them.


Last week, Zack got to go on a field trip to a farm in Oxford, MD, that was nothing short of amazing. They grow vegetables and gorgeous flowers, but they also have a pond and a sort of wildlife preserve as well. The kids got to see swallow eggs, learn all about what sort of nests the guys put up for various types of ducks, and Zack's favorite part, seeing and touching turtles. We are now going to get a turtle for a pet this summer... I'm sure that will be good for a lot of blog entries!

Each child got to take home a treat -- their own basil plant. They were taught how to pull the seedling and plant it in a little pot, what it needed in order to grow, and what they could do with it when it was full grown.

Zack paid close attention ... he's definitely his mother's child, as you can tell if you click here for my blog post about my last garden.


When Lori isn't going on field trips or weeding the garden, she creates jewelry. You can see it at www.lorianderson.net.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Joan Miller -- Porcelain Beads


I absolutely adore and revere Joan Miller. She does things with porcelain that are unreal. Each of her beads, pendants, and pins are handcrafted, and the colors and designs are terrific.

I first met Joan on the airplane on the way to my very first Bead and Button show. I tried REALLY hard not to stare at her because the jewelry she was wearing was so unusual and I wanted to just walk up to her and ask for a closer look -- but that darned "Fasten Seat Belt" sign stayed on the entire flight.

Imagine my delight when I realized she was a vendor at the show! I mentioned that I'd seen her on the plane and she was just so nice, so pleasant, just a wonderful person. I bought my first set of beads from her then (nearly four years ago) and made this:

I've worn the heck out of that necklace.

What I'd always wanted, though, was her signature mermaid (do not be fooled by imitations -- yes, there are companies that have sent it off to be reproduced in a sweat shop, which is just vile beyond words). So I got one similar to the mermaid at the top of the page.

I have no idea yet what sort of necklace I'll make with her -- she is so special that it will require much consideration and special thought. But I do know one thing ... she's MINE.

If you'd like to see more of Joan's work and grab a little piece of art for yourself, you can visit her web site at www.joanmiller.com.

Be prepared to be blown away.
.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Headaches and Creativity

I have a new blog entry on Watch Me Create about how I create with chronic headaches.

In this particular case, I've had a headache constantly for three months. Yes. Three. Long. Agonizing. Months. However, there's light at the end of the tunnel (but right now I have to shield my eyes, as light hurts my head).

I finally got to see a neurologist who specializes in headaches. It took forever to wait my turn to see this guy, but it was worth it. It's been determined that I have an excess of fluid around my brain and in my spinal column, and it's pushing against the disks in my eyes. Lovely, eh? The good part is, there's a cure -- a spinal tap.

(Are you cringing right now?)

I've had two before, and no, they're not fun. But this headache feels so incredibly bad that I can't WAIT until May 22nd to get it done. The doctor WAS able to give me some medication that helps take the pressure down some, so I've lost the headache for part of the day, but by four o'clock, my neck is stiff and I get another headache. That, and the side effect is a weird tingling in my hands, which makes using pliers rather frustrating.

BUT! This could be so much worse, there's a way out, and I hope to be back to normal in a few weeks! In the meantime, I hope you'll visit Watch Me Create and read about how I've been coping.
.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Being a Mom

There's lots to be said for being a mom.

Sometimes there are tears...

And all you want to do is take them by the hand and lead them down the right path....


Holidays take on new joy....


Then they grow and you start to see them turn into their own little person...


Expressing their creativity....


And taking huge new leaps....


Being a mom means unconditional love, munchable cheeks, shrieks of unbridled joyous laughter. Being a mom also means worrying inside that your child has every single little thing go right in their life ... and being there when it doesn't.

Today Zack presented me with a flower....


A sweet carnation bud, still tightly wrapped up, waiting to fully open. He explained that he picked it specially for me, because since it still hadn't opened, that meant it would stick around longer.

That's how I feel about being a mom .... taking the time to watch the buds slowly open and bloom in their full glory.

Happy Mother's Day.
.
(first three photos taken by Jen Fariello Photography)

Friday, May 08, 2009

Step By Step Wire Gallery

In the latest issue of Step By Step Wire magazine (Summer Preview 2009) you'll see my bracelet in the Reader's Gallery. I love this bracelet, and it's a big piece -- the box clasp on it is about 1.25" across and resembles a pill box. I wish it DID open like a little treasure box, but alas, it doesn't.

The sterling silver chain is a Japanese chain maille weave that I like because it's wide and bold but still airy.

I'll be putting this one up on the web site over the weekend, but if you have to have it now, please leave a comment below!

In the fall, I'll have an earring tutorial in Step By Step Wire -- very exciting for me, as I've been in the gallery a couple of times but finally got a tutorial written, photographed, and off in the mail. Writing tutorials takes a lot more time than you might think, because you can never be quite sure how the photos will turn out, and then you're stuck making ten more of the same thing to get it just right.

If you're a jewelry artist that wants to get published, take a look in the beading magazine web sites. They all have sections with instructions on how to approach them with your work.

Hope you all have a great weekend!.
.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

New Jewelry on the Web Site

I've been working with a massive, debilitating headache every single day (more on that later) but I have been doing my level best to keep things going on the web site. Here are some of the newest offerings on my What's New page.....





You can see more of my work at www.lorianderson.net.

Happy shopping!
.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

WIN some of my jewelry (and lots of other goodies!)

I'm participating in a fun giveaway this month, brought to you by vivawoman.net. They're a fun blog out of Singapore, and this month their giveaway includes jewelry (including a pair of my Swarovski crystal, silver, and gold earrings) and various bath and beauty products.


To enter the contest, click here, and follow the directions.

And if you can't chance it and HAVE to have jewelry now now NOW, please head to my web site, www.lorianderson.net, and have a blast!