Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Shades of Grey

Last night I took the time to sit down and draw a little. Painting was my first love, before I ever picked up a bead and put it on a string. I don't draw or paint very often anymore. It's just one of those things that fell by the wayside as I started working full time and moved in with my fiance. There are only so many hours in the day once I get home from work. I often pick jewelry making as my hobby of choice, since right now it's my only lucrative (well, sort of) one. I don't think I could ever sell my artwork, and honestly, I'm not sure I really want to.

Seeing as I was alone until 10:00 PM, once I'd made it home and finished all of the little daily things that needed doing, I turned off the TV, put in the latest VAST album, and settled in to sketch a little.

It was really enjoyable. I need to do it more often, really, instead of just pushing it aside as another thing I don't really have time for. I need to drag out my easel and my paints so I can get back into that as well. I usually only draw in charcoal, so my fingers quickly turned varying shades of black and grey, as did anything else I touched.

By the time I was finished, my fiance was home, and it was creeping up on my bedtime. The days where I could stay up past midnight are long gone, unfortunately. I'm not quite sure when that happened. Somewhere between starting a full-time job and turning 25, I think. It's like once I hit my mid 20s, the ability to stay up all night seeped out of me.

I think this week I'll pay a visit to the art supply store across the street from work and buy myself some more charcoal pencils, and maybe a new sketch pad. Time to make time for more of the things I love.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Monster Mash

This month the Palace Theatre is running all of the old classic monster movies. Every friday and saturday night they show a different one. Last weekend we went and saw The Phantom of the Opera and Dracula. This coming weekend it will be Frankenstein and The Mummy.

I do love spooky things. I always have, ever since I was a little girl. I would read every book on true ghost stories I could get my hands on. I watched every episode of Unsolved Mysteries just for the ghosts and aliens. I had a huge fascination with the undead, which eventually resulted in an odd fear of unfenced graveyards (my logic being that if the shambling undead arose from their graves, they wouldn't be able to climb fences or unlatch gates with their stiff and clumsy limbs). Actually, unfenced graveyards still give me the willies.

These days it's easy to be into the supernatural. You can't swing a stick in the bookstore without hitting ten books on zombies, or vampires, or ghosts (actually, I'm pretty sure you just plain can't swing a stick in a bookstore, being as the employees would probably frown upon it). There are fiction books. There are books about "true" encounters. There are joke books, and reference books, and historical books, and field guides on every kind of spook that lurked in your closet as a kid. There are movies and TV shows and t-shirts and posters everywhere. The vampire trend has kind of always been around, but now it's even bigger. Zombies tend to go in and out of style.

My library is expanding rapidly with the sort of books I used to have to hunt high and low for. The books that you could find every so often on the clearance table because no one else wanted them. Suddenly, I've gone from the chick with the weird book collection to having people ask me to recommend things to them. It's an odd feeling.

But I'm enjoying it while it lasts. Especially the monster movies.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

All books (and pants) half off.

I love books. I love books almost more than I love my fiance. I love books so much that if I lost my job, I'd stand by the roadside with a sign that proclaimed my willingness to work for books. I love books even more than I love my blood, which is saying a lot because if you'll remember, my blood is the best thing since sliced bread.

I also love bargains. Not as much as I love books, but it's a pretty close second. So as you can imagine, a bargain book is my main reason for living (but don't tell my fiance, since he thinks it's him, and don't tell my blood, because strictly speaking that IS the reason I'm living). Barnes and Noble is my bookstore of choice when it comes to a good selection of cheap books. I buy at least two huge boxes of books from their website every month.

They had a sale recently. Bargain books were an even better bargain. Books for $1.99, and if you were a B&N member (which it goes without saying that I am, but I'm saying it anyways...yes, yes I am) you got them for $1.76. I bought lots of books. LOTS of books. I bought so many books that when they arrived, the box was so big that I'm pretty sure the UPS woman cursed the day I discovered the clearance book section on their website. She may have even placed a pox upon my household.

So when I came home to discover the box that my fiance had managed to drag into the house, I ripped into it like a kid on christmas who knows that not only did Santa bring the coveted pony, but left a few dozen kittens along with it. I pulled my treasures out one by one. True crime. Historical fiction. Ghost stories. A few fantasy books. Oh, and a book written by a police officer on how to avoid getting tickets, purchased for my sister who just got pulled over and ticketed last week. Because I care. Actually, because I wanted to poke fun at her. But we'll pretend it's because I care.

But then...I pulled something else out of the box. It was a hardcover. It had a bright pink band around it. It also had a barely clothed woman sprawled across the cover. It was..a book on how to find a man, seduce him, and then..keep him by your side with excellent sexual techniques. Written by a former porn star, in fact. It had illustrations. Very..detailed illustrations. Anatomically correct illustrations. Beneath the hardcover was another book. A paperback, this time, which featured a shirtless man. A romance novel about one woman and three brothers. I did not order either of those books. They were not on the packing slip. I was not charged for them. Yet, there they were, nestled in with all of the nice shiny new books I had ordered. What is it, Barnes and Noble? Did you look at my purchases and figure I was a lonely person who needed a little nudge in the right direction? Are your customer service people raving perverts who have decided that this is a new perk to being a Barnes and Noble member?? Did you mistake the meaning behind the word "member" and figured that when I renewed my membership, that was what I really meant??

Of course, I really assume that there was a wee mix-up, and someone somewhere is eagerly awaiting their book with a ripply muscled man on the cover and a guide on how to get one of their very own, but what the heck am I to do with these books? Call them up and say "Uh, hey guys, I don't want your pervy sex manual or the romance novel that you also thoughtfully included, so please pay for me to send these back"?

My fiance, by the way, was unconvinced that I hadn't ordered those books until I showed him the packing slip. He's showing a little too much interest in the sex manual, and I'm fairly certain his intention is not to go pick up a man and show him a good time. I guess I'll e-mail their customer service department tomorrow and ask if they'd like to have their dirty books back. In the meantime, I need to keep him away from them.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Fly away home

Yesterday evening I received a somewhat frantic phone call from my mother. It seemed that a hummingbird had managed to get itself into her garage, and was flinging itself against the skylight. Mom had opened the door and tried to shoo it out, but it was intent on escaping through the clear plastic ceiling panel instead.

I only live a few miles away from her, so my fiance and I went down to her house to find her balanced on a chair in the middle of the garage, waving a broom at the hummingbird. She was trying to get it to land on the broom so she could lower it down to the door and set it free. By the time we got there, the bird was so exhausted that it had finally landed on the waving broom head.

She lowered the bird ever so slowly down to me, and I was able to pick it up off the broom and carry it outside. It sat in my cupped hand like it did things like that every day, utterly calm (though more likely too tired and battered to do much more).

I have never felt anything so fast as that bird's heartbeat. It pittered against my fingertips like a runaway train made in miniature. I wasn't quite sure what to do. The bird seemed content to just sit there, cradled in my palm, emerald feathers trembling in time to its racing heartbeat, eyes blinking open and shut like a sleepy child's.

Finally I found a safe place to put it, in a tiny swinging birdbath that Mom never kept filled. We watched it, anxious, afraid it had flung itself too hard against the ceiling and wouldn't survive. But a few minutes later its eyes popped open, and it hopped onto the edge of the bath, fluffing itself and fanning its wings, slow at first, then faster, even faster, becoming a blur in the twilight until it lifted and flew away.

I don't think I'll ever forget the feeling of that bird's heartbeat in my hand.

Friday, July 3, 2009

As The Tumbler Turns

Right now my rock tumbler is happily humming away, churning 3 lbs of mixed steel shot and several copper pieces for hair sticks. I've taken advantage of my 3 day weekend by getting a good start on more stock for my etsy store. Sales picked up recently, and I've found that of all the things I make, the hair sticks always sell the best.

I like the work involved in making things. I love the bending of wire, hammering it, shaping it into swirls and elaborate designs. This batch is adorned with little creatures. Turtles, frogs, and butterflies are currently spinning round in my tumbler, caught in spirals of copper. Once they're done tumbling I'll pull them out, polish them up with some steel wool, and toss them back in for another 45 minutes.

It's more satisfying than any job I've ever had. There is a measure of satisfaction in my day job, my full time work in which I am a receptionist for a university. There are always problems to be sorted out, parents to diffuse, students to soothe (sometimes with limited success). But this work is the work of my heart, the thing I would give up just about any job for if I could afford to do so. No matter how good sales might be, I still have to do the daily nine to five (or in my case, 7:30 - 4:30) to pay the bills.

But as long as I can afford to do this, I'm content. I make enough off my jewelry for it to pay for itself and have a little extra left over. I make enough at my day job to pay my bills, put aside money for a house, and have enough left over for as many bargain books as I want (oh, Barnes and Noble, how I love you and your cheap, cheap clearance books). I am also lucky enough to have a wonderfully supportive fiance who would stand by me even if I made nothing for all of my twiddling with wire.

So on this lovely sunny 3 day weekend with its unsually cool weather, I am happy to sit here and listen to my tumbler spin and know that inside it, I have things that someone, somewhere, will want to adorn themselves with. On Monday I will go back to my job, and perhaps grumble a bit at having to get up so very early, but right now I consider it to be worth it.