Status Reports & Other Ramblings

temptation, thy name is... Earring Club

As you may or may not know, for the past nine or ten years (I'm slightly uncertain when I actually started doing this) I've been making a lot of earrings every month for a little thing that I verrrrrry creatively named the Earring Club. (Catchy, yes?)

The Earring Club is a lot of fun, because you get new shinies in the mail every single month just like magic, and I get an excuse to buy new beads on a very regular basis.

(Oh who am I kidding, I'd do that anyway. But if you're in the Earring Club you frequently get to see new beads before anybody else does, and sometimes I buy small quantities of special beads juuuuuust for the Earring Club.)

Not a subscriber already? We can fix that. For the next four days, use coupon code NEW when you sign up to get $10 off your first shipment.

I don't offer discounts on the Earring Club often - I think the last one was probably at least a year ago, so if you've been considering joining, you should do that between now and Friday. Just sayin'.


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new shinies & a springtime sale!

Happy Spring! There's still rather a lot of snow on the ground here in New Hampshire, but today was a beautiful sunny day - I went for a 2.5 mile walk with a friend at lunchtime today and it was gloriously warm. If it hadn't been slightly windy I wouldn't even have needed the light leather jacket I grabbed on my way out of the house. 

I made a bunch of new shinies last week and finally got them up on the website today, and in the process I discovered that I am extremely low on empty inventory bags, which means there are too many shinies in the inventory bins right now. Which means it's time for a sale! Coupon code YAYSPRING will take $15 off any order of $75 or more, through this coming Friday. 

I'm also thinking it might be time for an Instant Gratification session soon. Not this week, probably, but maybe next week? We'll see. 

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coming up for air

As you may have noticed, things have been pretty quiet in Shinyland lately. So far this year I've had two nasty respiratory infections that left me basically bedridden for a week at a time, plus my pain levels have been shooting off the charts every time the weather shifts dramatically, and we're having a late winter with more moodswings than I had during IVF and pregnancy combined, which is saying something. 

I was interviewed about being a disabled working artist and single mom last week for a project that I'm very honored to be part of (more on that as soon as I can share it) and I was asked to provide some photos of what my day-to-day life looks like, and I realized as I was putting these together that I show lots of photos of my studio space, and being out and about doing things... and none of where I actually spend the vast majority of my time, which is in bed. So I took these. 

(Few things annoy me more than the oft-cited "your bedroom should be for sleeping ONLY" sleep hygiene rule, because it's incredibly ABLEIST. My bed doubles as an office, and a place to eat dinner and watch movies and play card games with my kid, and a recording studio, and a desk, and whatever else I need it to be on any given day.)

I've been fighting my way back up out of depression, which I haven't wanted to talk about, except that I think I do need to talk about it because see also "mental illness stigma" and "fuck that noise" and... maybe somebody else needs to hear that they aren't alone in this struggle, so. Here I am. Talking about it.

My brain ain't right. I mean, you knew that already, but in addition to the brain damage, I've been living with depression and anxiety for... pretty much as long as I can remember, actually. I have a weird sort of imposter syndrome about it, because I can hide it well enough and it's easily managed with medication and it usually doesn't completely debilitate me, but it's there, and sometimes it gets heavier than usual.

This winter has been one of those times. I've been aggressively fighting it with medication and self-care, but it's been a struggle just to keep moving some days, and it's hard to be creative when all you want to do is sleep and watch cat videos. 

This very timely Twitter thread popped up on my timeline today, and that's actually what made me decide to talk about this - when I was much younger I bought into the "tortured artist" trope, but as it turns out, I do my very best creative work when I'm on antidepressants or mood stabilizers. (See also "hard to be creative when all you want to do is sleep and watch cat videos.")

I pre-ordered the Bloggess's latest book somewhat on a whim (okay, it was because I could get a free tote bag, and also she makes me laugh and it looked interesting) and... it arrived at a good time. I've been calling friends and reading them bits of it, and eventually I'll have the energy to figure out where my colored pencils went.

(I'm not sure where I was going with that tangent, because people keep trying to talk to me while I'm working today and JUST NO STOP I AM AVOIDING EYE CONTACT MORE AGGRESSIVELY THAN USUAL PLEASE GO AWAY NOW I AM TRYING TO WORK HERE. But anyway. I digress. Again.)

Tuesday was a snow day, and some friends invited me to get snowed in at their house so our kids could play together and we could try to avoid losing our minds, and I sat on their sofa for most of the day and put my hands on autopilot while we talked and mediated squabbles between the kids, and it was actually really good for me. I made a bunch of new shinies, and today I finally got around to uploading them. 

This has been a super rambling blog post and normally I would go back and edit it into something a little more linear and coherenty, but I need to go get the Short Person from school shortly, so I'll leave you with a song. The first one isn't directly about depression, but I've listened to it a bunch this week since it popped up in one of my playlists on Monday, and it keeps hitting home in all sorts of ways. Maybe somebody else needs to hear this too today, so here you go. 


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Be Your Own Valentine

I have a very fraught relationship with Valentine's Day: on one hand, I'm secretly a hopeless romantic; on the other hand, I'm presently single and more than a little jaded about relationships, and on the third hand (shut up, I never said I was logical or good at counting) I am really not a fan of holidays that manipulate people into spending money on things. (Yes, I know I run a retail business that relies on people being willing to spend money on things. See also "never said I was logical" and "I have taken a lot of sudafed today".)

So it's Valentine's Day, and I am sitting in bed with a bag of cherry m&ms and a box of tissues and the aforementioned sudafed because there are aliens trying to occupy my sinuses again, and I totally failed at pre-Valentine's Day marketing for something like the seventh year in a row, and I have decided that it's time for a Be Your Own Valentine Sale.

Everything in the ready-to-ship section is 25% off with coupon code BYOV. Go get yourself a little something if you want. Or get something for somebody you love, whether romantically or platonically or whatever. (Smash the patriarchy and all that.)

I'm hoping the sinus aliens will be gone by the time I wake up in the morning, because I have shipping to do before the next blizzard arrives. So much shipping. I finally located my car underneath about a foot of snow today and the snowbanks are truly impressive at the moment. if you hear reports of a woman setting snowbanks on fire in New Hampshire, it's probably me. I know I have a blowtorch around here somewhere...

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on surviving

As I mentioned yesterday, I'm having a rough week. Some of that is the state of the world, but a lot of it is much closer to home: four years ago tomorrow, I had brain surgery.

For those of you who weren't around back then - in the summer of 2012, about a month after my hysterectomy, I went in for what should have been a routine ENT workup, including a CT scan of my sinuses. I got a call less than an hour after I got home from the imaging center: "we need you to come in to discuss your test results."

It is never good when they call you back within an hour of performing a medical test.

The good news was that there was nothing wrong with my sinuses. The bad news was that I had a brain tumor. The original imaging report said it was 3 cm at the largest measurement; when I had a follow-up MRI, it turned out that the largest measurement was 5cm and the SHORTEST was 3cm. 

For those of you who don't speak metric as fluently as I do, here's a visual:

[image: female hand holding a brown and orange beach rock approximately the size and shape of a chicken egg]

(If you're really curious, here's what a 5cm tumor looks like on an MRI. The midline of the brain is NOT supposed to curve like that, just for the record.) 

So on January 28th, 2013, I had brain surgery. There was no alternative. It was horrible and extremely non-consensual and it took about two years of therapy to get my PTSD under control enough that I could function like a normal human being again, and it also undoubtably saved my life. I didn't start having seizures until 5 days before the surgery, which unto itself was nothing short of a miracle.

I got lucky. I didn't need rehabilitative therapy. I didn't have any more seizures. I got back all of my fine motor skills. I eventually got back most of my language and music skills, and while my memory is still terrible, I've figured out how to compensate with external data storage well enough that most people who don't know about the brain damage just think I'm slightly scatterbrained. 

Anniversaries are rough for me. I've been having more nightmares than usual, and I'm definitely seeing heightened hypervigilance. I'm coping, more or less. I have a support network in place. I'll get through it, and life will go on. It always does. But yeah, this is rough.

Today's escapism is a Firefly marathon while I work with Roman glass. Because there is something utterly amazing about holding something that was made by human hands two thousand years ago, and, well... Firefly. 

[image: ornate glass bowl on a wooden surface, full of blue, green, and yellow ancient Roman glass shards, many with heavy patina or encrusted with dusty white soil]

Take my love, take my land
Take me where I cannot stand
I don't care, I'm still free
You can't take the sky from me

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