Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Facing another five

Me, beading at Sculpterra.
I remember turning five years old; it meant that next September I could go to school. I was so excited; I was going to read and do math all day, and it would be wonderful. My mom told me that I came home in tears the first day; when she asked me what was wrong, I let out a wail, "All they wanted us to do was PLAY!"

Not surprisingly, that one made it into family legend. And thus started my precarious relationship with half-decades.

Fast forward to age 15: now, that was another big-anticipation year. In my mind, I was no longer a kid at 15. How could I be? Magical 16 was up next, and I knew my whole life was going to change. I would find a boyfriend, stop being so shy and insecure, and finally learn how to be popular.

Erm, not. But it was a nice thought.

25, and the sudden realization that I'd passed a quarter-century on earth. How could I have felt so old when I was so young? Looking back, I can't understand why I felt that way, but I did. I had been married for two years by then, and thought that this was how the rest of my life would be. Luckily, I felt much younger by the time I turned 35; options are a nice thing to have.

35 was a fabulous year. I discovered that I had choices; I realized that I wasn't nearly as old as I thought I was, and I started over. I got out of a bad marriage, opened up to friends, and found the love of my life. Can't beat that; the fives were finally on my side.

45 was a blur. I was homeschooling my kids, and we spent 6 months of that year living in the UK. It was an exciting time, and a birthday without any real emotional baggage to carry. I hit that five and cruised on by without even really thinking about it.

And now I'm facing the big 5-5. It's been a strange run-up to it: this January I suddenly decided to stop coloring my hair and let the grey grow out (I started going noticeably grey in my 20s, so hair color and I have been a team for three decades now) and I'm trying to be comfortable with the fact that my original weight loss goal may have been just a wee bit unrealistic, and I'm probably not getting my 20-year old body back.

(ya think?)

I'm trying to be realistic about it, but failing pretty miserably. I don't feel slightly plump and grey-heaired; I still feel trim and blonde. But I'm going to be 55 this year! First-level senior citizen! I am not a hottie anymore, and I resent like hell that I didn't even know I was hot when I was!

(And I don't want to hear a word from 60-somethings; I know I'm not as old as you, and I know you're handling it better. This is my whinge, and I mean to have it.)

Oddly, now that I've written this, I feel a whole lot better. I can laugh at myself now that it's out in the open; I'm hoping that the free-floating misery that has been dogging me will go away now and let me enjoy these last three weeks of being not-55. Here's to grey hair and a pouf-y tummy.

Maybe being 55 won't be so bad.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Rockstars and other celebrities

I'm pondering the impact of fame this morning.

I think we've all had brushes with famous people; I rode up an elevator with Jimmy Stewart and didn't even recognize him; lived around the corner from Carroll O'Connor and never once saw him; and ate a hot dog at the table next to Ron Howard's table. I danced the tango in the same club as Robert Duvall (sadly, we each had different partners), and rode a horse that belonged to Robert Redford.

I asked Kirk Douglas for his autograph and got it, even though his son (not Michael, unfortunately) tried to run me off. Kirk smiled at me, patted me in a place that will not be named here, and told his son to go away; I was much younger and prettier then. And, in perhaps my greatest brush with fame, I played guitar at the Palomino Club for a Los Angeles radio personality, Sweet Dick Whittington, in the 1970s.

And that's probably as much incidental fame as I can handle in my life, though I do have great hopes for some of my young musician friends; hurry up guys, I want to say I saw you play and knew you before you were famous. I'm counting on you to make me a cool granny to my so-far-non-existent-grandchildren someday.

But that's not really the big question I'm pondering this morning. Today, I'm thinking about the real lives of famous people; about nice people who just happened to have achieved a certain level of fame in their own industry. I'm blessed to call several extremely talented and more or less famous people my friends. The way I think about fame is different when they're my friends; I forget about the fame and just enjoy them for themselves. And it surprises me when people are awed that I'm friends with these really awesome people; not because people are wrong to be impressed with what they've accomplished, but because these are really nice people who are a lot more than just famous. They're not in it for the fame, they're in it for the love of what they do, and that's why I love them. They're real people, with real feelings, and real lives.

I think sometimes we forget that.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Welcome to my ornate side

It's time for a sneak peek of my Battle of the Beadsmith '13 entry:

I've been telling you on Facebook that I've been going over the top with this one, and here's proof. This picture shows about one inch by three-quarters of an inch of what I've beaded thus far.

This section is a mix of embroidery and beadweaving attached to embroidery; it's very dimensional and most of the seed beads are 15°s or charlottes.

This piece has a Steampunk theme, and I've taken apart more than one wristwatch to get the gears and mechanical bits I've used so far. I've also used quite a few crystals and pearls; I'm letting myself go way over the top on this one. I see it as a companion piece to my Out the Other Side ring; I plan to wear the two of them together when I'm in one of my baroque moods.

It's fun to bead wildly.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Battle Begins

It's nearly the end of Day Two of working on my Battle of the Beadsmith 2013 piece, and this photo of my bead board at the end of the day is as much as I'm going to share right now. Yes, those are lots of little piles of size 15° beads; this is as close to making bead soup as I get.

I know, I know - other people mix colors together and work from a lovely mixed up pile, but not me. Not intentionally, anyway. If you look very carefully at the pile of pearl beads on the bottom right of the photo, you may be able to see that there are 2 or maybe even 3 shades of pearl beads in that pile; trust me, that was an accident that happened several years ago when I accidentally poured a pile of pearl beads into the wrong tube. I haven't been able to use that tube since; they're so close to the same shade, it's nearly impossible to sort them out. It turned into a fortuitous accident today; I wanted to give this piece an antique look, and I think that the mixed up tube of pearl beads accomplishes that. I hope you'll agree with me in 8 weeks when I can finally share it. 

See those little set stones on the bottom left? That's my nod to my metalsmith self. I'm calling this piece Rivers of Time, and I'm planning on adding as many elements from my life's journey to it as I can. So far, I've manipulated fabric, done a little bit of bead embroidery and lacy bead weaving, and set those stones. There will be more to it than that, but finishing what I've started so far is more than enough to keep me busy for quite awhile.