Saturday, July 28, 2007

Silversmithing class

Oh my! I did a lot of soldering today, a lot of sawing (breaking more than a few saw blades, they are so TINY), whacking things with a hammer, sanding, using a rolling mill, etc etc etc. I made a ring and a scarf pin so far -- the ring was sort of an accident and I didn't position the stone in the direction I really wanted, but it's my first attempt. Gotta learn somehow. Tomorrow I hope to set another stone and this time do a pendant.

There are so many ideas I have, but I have to be careful and not fill the house up with tools and try to just focus on a couple of things. Working with all that metal made me feel much more creative with my heavy-gauge wire, so I made several rings tonight (non-bezel, but very cool) and a necklace that I love. I'll have photos soon!

Friday, July 27, 2007

This is today

Today's email from

I don't really like coffee, she said, but I don't really like it when my head hits my desk when I fall asleep either.


I hate insomnia. I try to gut it out, I'm awake until 3am, but have to get up at 7am. And then I'm useless. If I take one of the many different sleeping pills I've been prescribed over the years, I'm so dopey in the morning that I'm useless. I hate this! I've had it all my life -- these bouts of insomnia that can last three months or more. Lately, I can't even get a nap that helps.

Agh. Anyway.

Tonight I start my first silversmithing class -- it runs all weekend, locally, thank goodness, and is run by artist Sue Stockman. I honestly don't think that I'll suddenly become a silversmith. I really don't feel my talents or even interests lie in that direction, and heaven knows I don't need to buy MORE tools and equipment. But I really would like to learn to bezel set these antique buttons I have, and learn a bit more about simple riveting and chain making. I have NO idea what to expect, but I hope I can keep up!

IKEA hack blog

I found this awesome blog about IKEA hacks and I LOVE it. I particularly like the yarn caddy.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

I have a good kid

Today Zack did something so sweet that I have to share it.

We went to Barnes and Noble today with his older brother, Ryan (both big boys are home for a couple of weeks). Zack went to the train table to play, and another boy was there, age almost 3, and they very happily played with the trains and then some stuffed dragons that were there.

Earlier, Zack had chosen a sticker book. They had a "Buy 2 Get 1 Free" deal so of course I had him pick three.

He decided that he wanted to give the little boy, whose name was Connor, a sticker book. I asked if he was sure, that he understood that once he gave it to him, he couldn't take it back, it was a little different than sharing, and he said yes.

So we went up to the front, paid, and then Zack ran like hell back to the kid's section to give Connor and his surprised mom the sticker book.

I am soooo proud of my little guy. For the LONGEST time, he had SUCH trouble sharing, and even now, it's hit or miss. But he's improved SO much in SO many ways. This just touched my heart, and I thought it might touch yours.

Rock and Roll Pearls

I've been working here and there on bridal jewelry for a show I'm doing in January, and so have been shopping a lot for pearls. My thought is to kind of do more "anti" bridal jewelry, meaning, a touch of tradition but with a big kick of something unexpected and unique, like the person. So when I ran across these funky stick pearls, and held them up and watched them kind of waterfall on themselves, I thought, "must have". I really don't think this is bridal as much as it is edgy and great for OTHER clothes, so I present, "Rock and Roll Pearls":

Sticker Boy

I was working on my computer and Zack just nonchalantly walks in and he's got stickers all over him - no big deal, like, "oh, what, these?"

Monday, July 23, 2007

Our New Laundromat

While I was sick in bed last week, our dryer decided to die. We've been expecting either one or both of our machines to crap out on us soon, since they came with the house and were cheap, cheap, cheap. Rick has been doing tons of research, and since he does the laundry, he picked our new machines. They're fantastic, with more bells and whistles than our car.

While waiting for the machines, Rick would go to the laundromat, and Zack apparently thought that was just too cool. He learned to fold wash cloths, and he was content to watch the laundry going around and around. So when our new machines arrived, he (on his own, I didn't stage this) pulled his little chair into the mud room and watched for a while.

The only problem I have with these machines is that since they're front-loading, I can't felt things anymore. And I just bought a new Noni Bags Kit (Bags, Spring, 2006, Large Bobbles) so if I ever get the time to actually knit the darned thing, I'll have to find somewhere else to felt it. Small price to pay for kickin' machines.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

A Harry Potter Weekend

My weekend started on Friday, with a quick trip to a small bead show in Baltimore. I kept going back and forth on attending, as there weren't going to be a lot of vendors, but I'd not gone to it in a year or two, so thought I'd try it again. Boy, am I ever glad I did. I hit the motherlode of gemstone clasps -- none were cheap, but they will certainly make chain maille bracelets something ultra-special:

Smoky quartz, moonstone, pearl, larimar, turquoise, blue lace agate, and seraphinite -- and also a really cool pendant I couldn't resist. Awesome stuff!

The much-anticipated highlight of the weekend, was, of course, getting the last Harry Potter book. I thought it was coming by FedEx, but when I went to check the mailbox, there it was! So I ripped open the box and plunked down to start reading around 1pm. I had a brief nap around 6pm, and then read to page 658 and had to call it a night. I finished the rest of the book this morning, and without giving anything away, I have to call this the best one EVER, and the movie is going to be amazing. I feel like starting the entire series from the beginning again -- this is probably my favorite set of books ever.

Friday, July 20, 2007

But would this work in Folsom Prison?

1,500 plus CPDRC inmates of the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center, Cebu, Philippines at practice! This is not the final routine, and definitely not a punishment! They have done other routines, including "Sister Act" and some fancy marching drills.

I personally vote they do "Grease" next. Or better yet, "The Time Warp"!

Click here to see the video on YouTube!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Well, it wasn't a spider bite after all!

But I'm not sure if this is worse?

I just got a phone call from the doctor and it wasn’t a spider bite after all. It’s apparently an MRSA Staph infection, which means if I hadn’t gone to the ER that first night (after going to the doctor in the day and getting Keflex for a spider bite) and the ER doc hadn’t thought to prescribe a sulpha antibiotic as well, I wouldn’t be any better than I was last week. So I guess that’s something.

Apparently there are tons of different Staph bacteria on your body at any given time, and they are usually harmless, but every now and then it passes from one person to another somehow and the other person doesn’t handle it very well and you get an infection. Ah, the intricacies of the human body. The nurse was concerned that I still have hard spots under both areas, so I have to make an appointment tomorrow for another appointment with Dr. Lidocaine and Dr. Scalpel.


In case you're interested, there's a good article about Staph infections at Web MD -- I have a feeling that a mild cat scratch may have been what let the bad bacteria in, and it was interesting to read that many people think they've been bitten by a spider or an insect, and they actually have Staph. So this is my little Public Service Announcement to not let anything that "doesn't look quite right" be ignored!

Monday, July 16, 2007

We have a new park!

I've been meaning to post these and kept forgetting. We have a wonderful new park now, to take the place of the dilapidated, neglected one we used to have. The entire community pitched in to make it happen:

Here's photos of Zack enjoying it for the first time:

I, of course, had to go down this slide with him, too. No photos of THAT, though.

And here's my little man -- isn't he wonderful?

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Macaroni Shells

If you've been reading this for a while, then you know we've had trouble with Zack and Sensory Integration Disorder pretty much sense birth, and that he's overcome most of it, except for eating issues, and that we made a big decision and decided NOT to have him go to Kennedy Kreiger for the Food Clinic.

OK. So we continue to put a small dish of what we're having on his table each night, don't make a big deal of it, etc. It usually sits and dries up and has to be thrown away, but he no longer throws conniptions at its very presence.

The other night, I wandered downstairs for a glass of water and Rick had put a small dish of tiny macaroni shells on his plate. I said, "OH, those are fun, look what I can do" and I put one on the end of my little finger. He also had a dab of whipped cream cheese on his plate to dip something or other in, and I said, "Look!" and barely dipped it in the cheese. I said, "Want to try?"

At this point, he should have said, "No thank you" with a look of disdain and horror on his face (at least he uses manner when denying sustenance). This time, he said, "Just a tiny bit?"

So I held it to his mouth, and he let his tongue touch it. I asked, "See? You like cream cheese, you'll probably like this", and he let me put it in his mouth.

He immediately started the gagging, but I quietly and calmly said, "Chew, hang in there, just chew" and he did, with many shudders and no throwing up this time. I asked, "Was it good?" and he said, "Yes, can I get Moon Sand now?" (We'd been telling him if he tried a new food, he could get this freaking Moon Sand he's seen on TV commercials).

I said, yes, he could tomorrow, and how proud I was of him for trying the new food. I then went to get my drink of water and stumbled back upstairs to bed (this is all going on during spider-bite-drama).

Later, Rick came up and said, "You won't believe this, but he ate ALL the shells, and asked for more". The only ones we had left had tuna mixed with them, so he wouldn't touch those, but who cares, my kid FINALLY ate pasta for the first time in his life. I'm so happy I could cry.

The Good Part of Spider Bites

Trying as always to find the bright side of things, I realized the GOOD part of being in bed for a week is I read a lot of books.

I started with "The Monk", by Matthew Lewis. It's a 200-year old gothic horror novel, although I don't know about the "horror" part. Considering the times in which it was written, it's pretty darned racy and I'll bet it got burned and banned a lot. It was interesting, but every now and then I got thrown off by the way they put words together back then (sentence structure, randomly capitalized Vowels, different spellings than used now), and I'd recommend it for a change of pace.

Next came a book that I picked up at Coffee East, the local coffee shop here in Easton. One of the cool things they have is tons of bookshelves with books for sale for $2 each, and I think it goes towards the library fund or something. Anyway, I picked up a couple of books (one, I had forgotten I'd already read, oh well, it was $2) and the other was called "Educating Waverly" by Laura Kalpakian. It's about a girl that is the result of an affair, and how she's off-loaded to this crunch-granola-esque school on Isadora Island in Washington state, to keep her from being an "embarrassment" to the father. There are a lot of reasons why I found the book interesting, but one of them was that this took place in 1939, so the historical aspect of the war and war refugee children came into it. The book reminded me a bit of something Elizabeth Berg or Ann Tyler might have written, and I'd recommend it heartily.

I also read "The Ghost Map" by Steven Johnson. This one was non-fiction, about the cholera outbreak of 1854 in working-class London. First, I have no idea how anyone lived through those sorts of living conditions. Just the descriptions of the massive sewage problem newly industrialized, over-populated areas faced was nauseating. Second, while the book was interesting, you have to have an interest in epidemeology and molecular biology to really get through the book. Since I studied a lot of it in college, it was fascinating to me, but it's not a "beach read" by any stretch of the imagination.

And now, while I eagerly await the seventh Harry Potter book, I'm reading "Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand. I've had this book on my bookshelves for some years now, obtained when I joined one of many book clubs, but I've always avoided reading it for some reason. For one, the thing is huge -- hardback and over 1000 pages. For the other, I had no idea what it was about but had a vague idea it was going to go over my head. However, when I ran out of books to read and started poking around trying to find something to maybe re-read, I found it, and thought, ok, enough's enough, get it over with.

I'm about 1/3 of the way through, and I read the first chunk of it the first night. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I enjoyed it, like the story line, and while I'm aware that this is one of those classics that gets dissected to death in schools everywhere, I'm trying not to do that too much, but read it for what it is -- a book with a good storyline and an important message to tell. I always hated when we'd read a book like "Heart of Darkness" in school and then tear it apart looking for symbolism in every single sentence. I just wanted to READ it, and I figured that if there was a message there, I'd GET it.

I should be through that one by the time Saturday and Harry Potter rolls around -- for a brief moment this morning, I thought THIS was the morning and checked my front door for the FedEx package, but then realized I had my weeks all wrong. Bummer.

So now that I've caught you up on books, I'll start a new post on ZACK!

Friday, July 13, 2007


Oh, what a week.

Sunday night I discover a couple of bug bites -- one on my tummy, one on the inside of my thigh. Whatever. Lovely little red spot, itches, ok.

Monday morning I get up, and the bites look a bit bigger. But still no big deal. I put on a pair of linen pants (to hide the bites, with shorts, ick) and go about my work.

Rick comes home with Zack around 4pm and I'm not feeling all that hot. He says, "Let me look at those bites."

OMG. They are now about 8" across, bright red, hot, and hard. Lovely.

Fortunately, our doctor had late hours that day, so we troop across town. By this time I'm very decidedly not feeling well, won't eat, and probably couldn't have driven myself home. The doctor says what we suspect -- spider bite. Maryland does have the Brown Recluse and I've seen enough nasty photos of what those bites can turn into to be more than a little worried.

We go home with a prescription for an antibiotic and I go to bed.

At 3am, I can't stand it anymore -- the pain has gone beyond bearable, and we wake up Zack and Rick drops me off at the ER so he can take Zack back home to bed. The doctor looks at it, says, yup, nasty, adds yet another antibiotic to the mix, gives me strong narcotic pain killers (Say Hallelujah) and warns that if they're not better in another couple days, go back to the doctor to have the excised. Which means cut. Open. Lovely.

Believe it or not, those pain killers don't work for as long as they're supposed to, and they're GOOD ones. I had NO idea anything could hurt like this. We went back to the doctor yesterday (I think? I've lost track of time) and he cut one open and hoped the other one would come along.

Today is my first day up for more than five minutes. I'm completely blown away that an insect bite could throw me off like this! And it's not over -- my leg and tummy are still not right, in fact skin is feeling dead (not good) so who knows where this will all end up.

The best we can come up with, since I wasn't outside, was that the spider bit me while we took a nap on Sunday afternoon. So now I have complete creepy-crawlies about the bed! Of course, it could have happened anywhere but still. Ick.

Anyway! That's where I've been all week.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Bowling Zack

Zack hasn't quite figured out how to use the Slip and Slide in the traditional way, so Rick invented the game "Bowling Zack".


I've been playing around with YouTube so I can share videos with family and friends, and got this one to record. It's obviously from several years ago, but it's one of my favorites -- Zack had two pacifiers and couldn't decide which he liked better:

Saturday, July 07, 2007

The Hunger Site

This is a wonderful site for a great cause...

Within the site, they have The Breast Cancer Site, The Child Health Site, The Literacy Site, The Rainforest Site, and The Animal Rescue Site. Shope for a cause!

Friday, July 06, 2007

More eye candy

1- Vintage Lucite that reminded me of seaglass, done with Thai starfish pendant and closure. $68

2- I can't keep these in stock! Completely handmade chain in sterling and gold-filled. Right now, made to order as I'm out of the silver, but will be getting it in soon. Price depends on precious metal market

3- Fun lampwork bead bracelet, with beads made by famous artist Kristina Logan, whose silver-set bead necklace I just covet. $88

4- A large Tibetan pendant is graced with two amazing strands of deep purple amethyst and a strand of purple pearls. $198

5- Pristine sterling silver beads topped with 10mm red Swarovski crystals. $25

6- Another in my vintage series, vintage mother-of-pearl buttons topped with hematite Swarovski crystals with a delicate wire-wrap detail. $15

To buy, post a comment -- they aren't on my web site yet, but you can visit to see more!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Harry Potter is coming!

I am so excited about the last (?) Harry Potter book! I started re-reading Book 6 last night because it's been so long and in just two chapters I'm back to being entranced. Don't you love it when you find a book that does that to you?

Quiet weekend planned -- way too much time on the roads lately, and since we live RIGHT off Route 50, which is the way to Ocean City beaches, just getting across town is a hassle in the summer, let alone a holiday weekend. I used to love to drive for no reason at all, but those days have long passed.

Zack is very excited about fireworks tonight -- we're not going to go right on the field where everyone else goes, but rather, stop at Dairy Queen to indulge his new love of ice cream and then go to another field to watch. We could actually watch the fireworks from our back porch, but we miss some of the low ones, so want to see if we can find a better spot.

I think the best fireworks I've ever seen were shot over Lake Michigan in Chicago. That was one hell of an event. We staked out a plot of ground with a picnic blanket and cooler around 2pm. If you didn't, forget it. The traffic literally stops on the highway when the fireworks go off -- people just get out of their cars and leave them there! I hate crowds, but that was very exciting, it was a gorgeous day, and one of those events that you just have to experience at least once.