Friday, October 26, 2012

Body Art

I have three tattoos.  One is in honor of my husband.  All three of us present at his death got the same tattoo.  It's a really nice memory of a life-changing event.

I also have a tattoo on each forearm.  Something that reminds me every day of how blessed I am, and that I've made a commitment to a purpose greater than myself. 

On my left arm, I have "destiny."  On my right, "free will."  I wore bracelets with these words for several years before I got the tats.  I think of it this way.  In palmistry, one's non-dominate hand shows what you've been given at birth, what your destiny is.  Your dominate hand shows what you've done with our destiny.  I think of this as making use of my free will.

So I have this flow going - energy comes in and energy flows out.  Having the tattoos keeps me conscious of this every day.
A Leap of Faith - Jane Evershed
I love the symbolism.  Plus, I love words.  

Lately, I've been thinking of another tattoo.  I'd love to get a wren in a lilac bush on my left shoulder.  Reminds me of my maternal Grandma and of spring, new beginnings connected to fond memories.  And, I'd love to get a tattoo to honor my education - a tree of knowledge with the school symbols of my alma maters hiding in the leaves.  My back would be perfect for this.  But it'd probably end up on my leg, since I like seeing my tattoos.

something like this Klimt clip.  Love the spirals.
But this will be my next tat, on my left wrist.
joy can whisper.

Monday, October 22, 2012


This past week, I had a discussion with my students about "Women and Work."  Perfect timing on behalf of the second Presidential debate, in which a question was asked about the Lilly Ledbetter Act.
 The students were somewhat engaged in the conversation.  But, as I reminded myself while listening to them discuss, they don't yet have a lot of experience in the workforce.  Most of them work entry level jobs, for low pay.  Their living expenses are still fairly low.  At this point in their lives, money is still an abstract.

What is real to my students is sexual harassment.  When I asked them to raise their hands if they had experienced sexual harassment, all but 3 out of 30 did.  (The other 3 may just not realize what sexual harassment is.)  And the floodgates of anger and disbelief and disgust opened as they began to share the assaults on their bodies.  On their self-worth.  On their spirits.  On how they view themselves as women.
 What I heard was a group of young women who desperately wanted to know how to protect themselves.  To be able to say - Oh, hell NO!, to any unwanted look and touch and disrespectful comment and/or suggestion.  Comments often made, I might add, by men old enough to be their fathers.  Definitely old enough to know better.

I wanted to go all Valkyrie.  
Valkyries Ride
Get out my sword and fight their battles for them.  Slay all those dragons that dare to minimize the wonderful, powerful women they are all becoming.  Cry for their pain and confusion at a world that enforces the silencing of girls and women, teaching passivity rather than power, and submission rather than the right to say NO!

I took a deep breath.  I let the students vent for a few minutes.  Then, I started to talk to them about power.  About how when a man makes an inappropriate comment, he knows it's wrong.  He's likely not after what he's asking for.  (I hope not.)  What he's after is their power - their youth, their innocence, their spirit for life, their openness, their love for life.  Their joy.  But, mostly, their power to control what they do and how they feel about their bodies, about who they are as a woman.

We don't talk about this enough in society.  Especially as women.  I wonder if it has to do with the lack of power that many women of my generation, and even of older generations, feel.  We've been taught to stay silent.  To stay submissive.  And even if we don't follow that lesson, there are daily reminders of what some members of our society expect of us.  (Watch a political commercial lately?)  

Last night, I dreamed about a man that I had a long relationship with.  It was a nice dream.  We had lots of fun together, he and I.  We also had plenty of not-so-much-fun history.  And I realized something, twenty years too late.  Those times we had fun?  I held my own power.  The not-so-fun drama?  I gave away my power, to him.  I allowed myself to be used, to be taken advantage of, to be minimized and dismissed.  Why?  

Because I didn't know that I had my own power.  Or that I had a right to use it.
Now, I am reminded that what I teach is intended to give my students the tools they need to empower their lives.  I think I need to be more explicit about this.   We've talked a lot about how and why power is limited - through gender socialization and race and class and sexual discrimination.  Through a system of patriarchy that we are all complicit in.  

Now, it's time to have a conversation about power - what it is, how to use it, how to protect it as if your life depends upon it.  (It does.)

Friday, October 19, 2012

Clip Art

I worked for a long time to come up with a way to make my own cabochons, using art prints under glass.  I love the versatility of this.  Plus, it's something different.

Etsy has wonderful clip art/mixed media artists that sell downloadable images.  Really wonderful diversity.  They come in all shapes and sizes.  And, with a good editing program (I recommend Print Shop), you can create your own sizes, mix up your own clips, and even change colors.  Endless!

It's changed the way I approach beading, removing any limits.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Thick Chicks

'Cause I love this video.  And 'cause once in awhile, it's good to be reminded.

Makes me proud to be a thick chick.

Saturday, October 13, 2012


Today, I'm spending the day with zombies (a two-day Walking Dead rerun marathon, since the new season starts Sunday) and beads.  What a combination, I know.  I don't really pay that much attention to the zombies.  They're creepy and honestly, silly.

But beads.  Yes, I pay attention to beads.  And I like to do challenges.  Gets me out of the overwhelmedness of my school life.

So today, I working on this:

This bead soup was sent to me by Wicks and Stones, a bead shop in Wyandotte, MI.  It's part of the Kalmbach Books celebration of Lori Anderson's new book.
I love doing the Bead Soup Blog Hop that Lori hosts.  Have met some really wonderful bead friends that continuously inspire me.  So I'm excited to be involved in the Kalmbach Hop.  Look for them on Facebook to see more designs.

Check back on November 2nd and see what I come up with using my soup.  And don't worry, it will not be zombie inspired.  :)

Monday, October 8, 2012


It's obvious now.  When the peoples are away, the cats play.
On the bead table, no less.
It could have been worse.  But everyone (cats and dog) scattered as soon as I walked into the living room/studio and said, "Naughtiness!  Naughtiness!"

Surprisingly, no one took credit.  But here's our culprit, I'm pretty sure.
Sparky, in the throes of kitty-olympics.  Witnessed by Heather and Rhea.

Of course, Rhea is not impressed.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


 Oh, the colors of autumn!

I admit, I'll always be a springtime girl at heart.  I like the idea of winter being nine months away.

But nothing beats the color explosion of fall, here in the Midwest.

Right now, I can look out my front window and see a big ole maple tree - red at the tips, still green in the center.  Gorgeous!  And the birch tree in the front yard is tipped with gold.

Lots of inspiration for jewelry.

My roommate J beaded the two large cabs.  Love!  Lots of color and tiny tiny detail.  And longer lengths, to go with sweaters.

I couldn't resist mixing the pretty picture agate above with the red jasper.  I just want to go take a walk through the woods that seems to be inside that agate.


In the words of Emily Dickinson:

The morns are meeker than they were,
The nuts are getting brown;
The berry's cheek is plumper,
The rose is out of town.
The maple wears a gayer scarf,
The field a scarlet gown. 
Lest I should be old-fashioned,
I'll put a trinket on.

Monday, October 1, 2012


Who knew that when you washed your windows, it changed your view.

Yesterday, my big front picture window looked something like this.  Reminiscent of an old witches cottage.  And trust me, there were the cobwebs inside to match.

Not my favorite decorating style, but (shrugs in shame).

So I spent $200 on new curtains and curtain rods.  And broke out the windex.  And the dust mop.  And lots and lots of paper towel.  And even more elbow grease.

Huh.  Who knew this view was waiting for me?

 And when did the neighbors remodel?