Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Small-world bracelet

Here's a six-degrees story for you: Stacy, our copy editor at BeadStyle and Bead and Button, brought in this bracelet she received as a gift six years ago.

The connection: I made the bracelet, years before we knew each other. Her friend bought it at M.E. Lou (a Brookfield boutique where I used to work). And yes, that's the original tag that went with it.

Who knew that Stacy and I would end up working in offices right across from each other? Things were so different in 2002, back when I stored all my findings in 35mm film canisters and she was just graduating from high school.

About the bracelet: I've always been fond of tanzanite crystals (and I remember liking the 6mm alexandrite Czech fire-polished glass beads, too). If I made this today, I'd use a lobster claw (instead of a spring clasp), and I'd probably use more aquamarine chips — they're so subtle, you can barely seem them.

Stacy still likes the bracelet. That's one of the perks of making jewelry — years later, having a connection with people who wear my designs.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Adventures in doggysitting

Yesterday, I dog-sat for Kristin's sister's dog. Jessica wants to find a good home for Maiah and was kind enough to let me have her for a day.

And what a day it was. You know how, when you dog-sit, the dog gets the royal treatment? A long walk in the early afternoon, a leisurely stroll after dinner, and frisbee just before it got dark out. Maiah also let me brush her.

She is a sweet girl, a caramel and white lab and collie mix with dark eyes and a black gumdrop nose. She loves kisses and belly rubs. I was impressed at how she kept her cool in front of Mickey, the trash-talking sheltie. And she was nice to the mailman. (Ginger was, too, except when he was too slow giving her a treat. Then, she'd bark at him.)

My biggest concern? Her incontinence. She's very lovey dovey — but can I handle a dribbler?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Ginger's charms

Today, I made a necklace with the tags from Ginger's collar. The back of her Planet Dog tag is engraved with her name, my name, and my contact info. And I just noticed that the drawing looks like her.

Behind that, the green rabies tag hasn't retained much of its original bell shape. It's worn from years of clanging, but I attached both tags because they jingle. If I jump up and down, I can make the same sound Gigi made when she trotted around. (Or, I could just shake the necklace.) And of course I added a heart.

I got the idea for this necklace from Lisa Havelin, a metalsmith who makes reliquaries to memorialize your pet. I've been trying to think of ways to do that; it helps me deal with feeling sad.

Yesterday I went to sleep with one of Ginger's favorite toys, her fleece buddy. It was covered with dog hair and crusty drool. A few swipes with a wet paper towel took care of that, but I don't feel the need to keep any whiskers or tufts of fur. The tags will do just fine.

By the way, here's a dusty photo of her that's on my bulletin board at work. Carole, BeadStyle's art director, says this is her favorite photo. (We think Gigi looks like a dachshund. I suspect she was a shepherd/hound — beagle or dachshund? — mix.) She looks pensive here; I love the slightly furrowed brow. If you click on the photo, you can see her squeaky pork chop in the background. She loved to run around the living room, chomping and squeaking and trying to get you to chase her.

Okay. I think that's enough about Gigi for today. (She'd get annoyed by too much attention.) Thank you for all the poems, cards, hugs, and phone calls — and for reading about her. Today definitely felt better than yesterday.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Goodbye, Ginger

I just got home from putting Ginger to sleep. A few hours ago, she collapsed and fluid collected around her heart, which made it hard for her to breathe. Putting her down was unexpected — she was fine up until 8:00 tonight. My parents walked her and fed her dinner and it was business as usual. I was trying to relax in the living room while she barked at the dogs who walked by.

It’s almost 1 a.m. and I just walked into my house, to total silence. I’d gotten used to walking into a quiet house — lately, when I came home, Gigi would be asleep on a chair or the couch or, sometimes, in her own bed. She was getting old, and my arrival wasn’t a big enough deal to merit her waking up.

Now, there’s just silence. And reminders. Seeing her water bowl and her basket of toys and knowing she won’t be there when I wake up tomorrow, these are painful things. I won’t hear her Strawberry Snortcake sigh, I won’t get to flip her ears back, I won’t feel her lean into me when I give her a hug.

This is the last picture I took of her, a couple of weeks ago. She didn't care for photos or dumb antics like balancing toys on her back, but she'd tolerate stuff like that if I praised her and didn't laugh.

I think she liked having my parents and me there as she dozed off on her final slumber. We pet her and told her she was a good dog. She could be really naughty, but she was still the best. I’ll miss my cranky old lady.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Post #100 and the unexpected

It's been one year since I started this blog. In 365 days (actually, 367), I managed 100 posts. Even though most of them turned out to not be about jewelry, I'm happy that I have this place to share my thoughts. And thank you for being a reader and leaving your comments!

Today, nothing especially interesting happened. Crummy weather, an uneventful walk to the grocery store, and baking a batch of brownies. I know, a lack of blogworthy events rarely stops me, but I've been preoccupied with the first assignment for my online essay-writing class: to write about a moment that taught me something unexpected about myself.

This is a challenge.

Even though I'm constantly learning, most things I learn about myself are expected. Which is good — constant epiphanies would be exhausting ("And then I realized, I could give up booze or dessert but never fried food!").

Nonetheless, I'd like to come up with 500 words about an "a-ha" moment. Anybody got any ideas?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Changes large and small

Today I found out that my friend Jeremy is leaving Kalmbach. I’ll miss the ice cream sundae bar on his birthday and his deadpan use of French (“Enchant√©”), but I’m excited for him. Making a change that big takes guts. It's hard to leave what you know.

Yesterday, I played doubles with Judy, the captain of our tennis team. We both wanted to play the deuce side. (With our regular partners, we always play the deuce side.) Judy was willing to rock-paper-scissors me for it, but I volunteered to take the other side. (She is really good at rock-paper-scissors, so maybe I chose the inevitable.)

Even though I was nervous because I was out of my comfort zone, it worked out okay. Better than okay, actually. We won the first set 6-1. We lost the second set but stayed with our setup, and then we won the third set.

It was nice to try something new and be successful at it. The tennis was competitive and fun and my backhand only imploded once. I'd like to try playing the ad side again. Nothing to be scared of, right?

Sometimes, saying yes brings a change for the better. Recognizing the opportunity is half the battle.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Just desserts

How does karma work? If you mistreat someone, does it come back to you immediately, or down the road?

I must have been incredibly annoying in a past life (if not recently). That's the only explanation I can muster for the experience I had playing tennis on Saturday. Imagine two and a half sets with Ben, the scary guy from Lost. Except that Ben seems a little bit better at conversation.

Bad idea: saying yes to tennis because I didn't want to be unkind.

Other than that, my weekend was pretty sweet. On Friday, Katy made a fruit tart with peaches, blueberries, and blackberries. It was excellent and it helped me with my eat-more-fruit resolution. And on Saturday, I went to Balistreri's with Joe and Sarah. Things always seem better when you're laughing with friends.

Also, look what I found at the grocery store: four-ounce cups of Haagen-Dazs. Delightful! I probably didn't need to eat dessert for the third time this weekend, but I couldn't resist. Bad idea? (By the way, you probably didn't need to see the plum, but it was there and I wanted to show how tiny the tubs were. They're about the size of a tennis ball. In case you don't know how big a plum is.)

I'm an ice cream purist; I don't need gummy bears or candy bars or granola mixed in. (Though, I did like the mochi balls at Pinkberry.) Haagen-Dazs is so good, I'll eat flavors that I wouldn't usually want (like coffee or strawberry) in other brands of ice cream. I just wish the spoon was wood instead of plastic. Not that I used it — I needed a regular spoon to scoop the ice cream out of my waffle bowl.

I hope you're occasionally doing things that are against your nature. And having a good time of it. You can always try change in small ways — like in four-ounce minitubs. Those help alleviate the effects of karmic retribution.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The power of yes

I just finished reading Yes Man — Danny Wallace’s book about saying yes. Some of what he found was good (a new girlfriend and trips around the world). And some, not so good (credit card offers and internet scams). He made the leap of faith anyway and saw his adventures through.

For a reason I can’t remember, Lindsay has dubbed this my Summer of Bad Ideas. I’m not sure where to start. A few years ago, Denise did Summer of Denise, where she said yes to every social invitation she got. (I think she was busy all but one weekend that summer.)

I am intrigued by potentially bad ideas. Or ideas that might seem bad at first glance but are actually exciting little gems of experience. Any suggestions? I'm open to the possibilities, but I'd definitely prefer love over debt.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

No downward dog

I tried to do yoga tonight, but Ginger was suspicious. She paced, wheezed, and stepped on the foldout poster that shows the poses. She also rattled the blinds trying to nose her way to a view of what was outside. None of this helped to quiet my mind.

When she sleeps, she’s unaware of what’s going on around her. I can rub her nose or stack a toy on top of her. In this photo, the toy stayed for a few minutes, even after she opened her eyes.

I wish you a deeply relaxing 4th.