Monday, March 29, 2010


Serendipity: the effect by which one accidentally stumbles upon something fortunate, especially while looking for something entirely unrelated (

Pretty much sums up a recent occurrence for me. Over the weekend, I participated in a local benefit event were I, along with other artists/craftspeople, sold our wares to raise money for local women who are going through cancer treatment. First time that I ever dared to sell my glass work to complete strangers. And, I did sell a few pieces, which was quite gratifying.

But as nice as it was to be able to contribute to the cause, the serendipitous event is even more exciting. I was sitting next to a co-worker who was also selling her work and we were chatting about various creative projects. And then it happened...she came up with an idea where the two of us could combine our skills, her's with fabric and mine with glass, and create a potentially lucrative product. Not at all what I had expected to get out of the event, but we're both completely psyched about making this a reality, so we've met, come up with some tasks for each of us and perhaps in a couple of weeks, we'll have our first prototype that we can start showing to people for feedback.

This same person has also requested some beaded bookmarks to be used as a marketing incentive for another project she's working on.

And yet another bit of serendipity...I was at a dinner party and happened to mention that my hobby was making glass beads. The person I was talking with immediately came up with the idea of making beaded wine charms and told me that she would commission a set of 8 if I could put some together (and I can, they're not going to be hard to make). So, I'm also really psyched about doing this little project with an eye to being able to offer this as a product for sale.

I think I've mentioned this before...I always saw my glass hobby as just that...something I did that I liked and was fun. I never believed that I could sell my things, or that there was any business potential to what I was doing.

I'm starting to believe....
Serendipity is a wonderful motivator!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Correct protocol when you're "defriended"?

With the incorporation of social media into our lives, the concept of "friend" does not seem to be what it used to be. Is it my imagination, or has the term "friend" become a synonym for "I had a 5 minute conversation with you"? People add others to their Friend list minutes after they meet them. A comment I read (wish I recalled where I saw it), compared this phenomenon to collecting nice pictures that you show off in a photo album.

It shouldn't surprise me that people are removed from these so-called Friend lists as easily as they're added. After all, it's just names, right?

And yet, there's an odd sense of rejection when you're the one who's "defriended." Maybe because it's a silent yet deliberate act. Instead of letting the person know that there's an issue or a disagreement, you can just erase them from your world. Happened to me recently. Granted, we had drifted apart, our paths rarely crossing -- as time went by, we had less and less in common. And yet, I hadn't expected to be tossed out. And left wondering what triggered the event as our latest interactions had been civil.

So, it's curious. And a bit sad. My first reaction was to contact the person and ask what had led to the decision to not consider me a friend or at least an acquaintance. But then, if the person wants no contact with me, should I not respect that and let it be? Is the removal of my name an indication of indifference? Anger? Dislike? If I run into this person (because we know some of the same people), what do I do? Pretend I don't know that I'm not on the exclusive "Friend" list? Say something? If this person's name comes up in conversation with others, do I say something - let them know that this person has removed me from their life? Or is it best to keep quiet, since the other people are still on the Friend list and there's no need for them to be put in the middle?

And, let's say this person invited you to an event prior to your removal from the list. Am I now uninvited? Should I change my RSVP to "not attending" since I'm obviously not a "friend" anymore? That seems so...well...vaguely vindictive. And silly, because obviously, it won't matter to the other person anyway (remember, they've removed me from their list of people they are about).

It used to be, people would drift out of your life silently but there would be a sense that at any time, there was the possibility of reconnecting. Or, you would have an argument or end-of-relationship conversation. Now, people simply "defriend" you act that seems colder and harsher, simply because it's done in stealth.

Food for thought...

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Creativity comes from our inner souls. At the same time, things and people in the external world can help encourage that spirit of creativity. They can, when we lose motivation, or struggle with self-doubt, can move us to reconnect with our inner creative spirits.

If you've been reading, you know I dabble in glass work, what is known as lampworking or beadmaking. I work at a torch, I melt glass, and sometimes create some pretty stuff. But, I'm not a natural artist. I struggle with focusing on the visual, I struggle with precision in design. None of it come easily to me. I learn slowly, I acquire skills with difficulty. My instructor often despairs that I will never find the one thing in this craft that provides me with focus and direction.

And yet, especially lately, I feel that working at the glass studio is some type of salvation. There are days when I want to give up, because every thing I try to create is shaped badly, or turns out ugly, or I just feel incompetent . And then, there are those moments, when I feel that there's something there for me...some creative spark that is slowly evolving.

Some examples...

I was asked by a co-worker to sell my glass work at a local benefit event. It's a small event, in someone's house. And who knows if any one will buy anything from me. And yet, it's been quite a confidence booster. First, that someone who IS an artist (my co-worker is a graphic designer and also does wire sculpture), felt that what I've created is good enough to be a vendor at her benefit. And then, there was a conversation at work where the graphic designer and another person who has purchased some of my beads in the past, were brainstorming things that I could make with my beads. And they asked me to bring in some of the things I plan on selling. They had such good ideas --- and such belief that my work was was quite uplifting.

Another boost to the ego...I recently went to a bead store to buy some supplies so I could make something useful with my beads and when I showed some of my samples to the proprietor, he said I should bring my beads in when his daughter was there, as she was the one who did the purchasing. I was floored...that someone who sees beads all the time thought what bits were worthy of further examination. Well, he may say that to everyone who comes in, but it certainly felt nice to hear someone think that my work was worthy.

In fact, when I told the co-worker who recommended the bead store that I had gone there, her first question was, "did you bring samples of your work?"

I know that what I produce is not anything more than OK and sometimes even better than OK, but still, to have people admire what I do certainly gives me motivation to stretch myself and try to do better. I've never really thought that I could sell what I make, but now, I'm starting to look for ways to create items that are salable. For one thing, the glass work is a *very* expensive hobby and it would be nice to recoup some of the cost. And, well, there's that kick to the ego that one gets when someone else appreciates something you've created.

We'll see where it all goes. Maybe , if I can ever retire, I can have a small business, supplying beaded bookmarks, glass spinning tops, and other beaded items that some people might be interested in buying. What fun that would be...

In the meantime, when I'm feeling like a total goofball, I can think of these small moments of encouragement and inspiration and smile.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Just a tad anxious...

Feeling a bit on edge these days. Not the type of sleepless anxiety, mind you. But, still I'm aware of a slight churning in the stomach and a sense of tenseness.

First manager at work. The manager who hired me left after 3 months. For the last 5 months or so, I've had no management whatsoever. Which suits me just fine. But, it certainly didn't suit the people who had to take over the management tasks (it definitely wasn't what they had signed up for). So, after a long search, we have a new VP of Engineering. On the plus side...people I respect are really excited about the new manager AND she's a woman! In a company that heavily male-dominated, it's nice to have a woman in a position of authority. HOWEVER...does she know anything about technical writers? Has she ever managed any of them? I did hear through the grapevine that she's looked at the documentation that I've produced for the product and liked what she saw. So, at least we'll start out on the right foot. On the other hand, my previous experiences with reporting directly to the VP of Engineering as a solo writer has not been very positive. This will be a time of adjustment for me, I think.

Next, I've been invited to sell my glass work at a local benefit event. I was thrilled to be asked -- at the same time, I've never done anything like that and I'm concerned that my stuff will look amateurish next to the other vendors. I'm working on putting some objects together (key chains, book marks, swizzle sticks) that will be salable. It's been tough finding beads that I feel are good enough to sell. And it's costing me a fortune --extra time at the studio, buying objects that are "bead ready" (there are all sorts of things you can buy that allow you to add beads to them). I just put together a couple of swizzle sticks and I kind of like them. I think they might be appealing as you don't see them often. But still, I'd hate sit through the benefit and not have any proceeds to donate to the cause. On the other hand, if this goes well, I might start to seriously consider finding venues where I can sell what I make. The glass work is such an expensive hobby -- having a little income to offset the cost would be welcome.

So, deep breaths for the next few weeks to keep myself calm.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

What's with the loud, annoying music?

Is it a boy thing? The loud, annoying music that suddenly blares from some guy's sound system, without any consideration regarding who might have to endure it?

My next door neighbor has a new roommate. The new guy seems to think that blasting loud, thumping music on Sunday mornings (between 7 and 8 am, mind you) is just the perfect thing to do on the day I typically try to lounge in bed, happily doing my crossword puzzle. Suddenly, my lovely, quiet morning is shaken by thump, thump, pound, pound, boom, bam. Sheesh. It's not like I can actually hear music. Nope, I just hear the bass speaker from the sound system. Over, and over, and over again. Stupid rap's about as boring as the new age music that used to make me want to run screaming out of the room.

Last week, I was tempted to resort to the amazingly immature behavior of banging on the wall, in the hopes that he would get the hint. Or, turning on my own music, blasting it lower than his.
Instead, I took the high road and just gritted my teeth. Luckily, after about an hour, he shut off the music and I could return to my nice, relaxing morning. I suppose the only benefit is that if the music annoys me enough, I'll haul my ass out of bed and get out and about instead of lazing around.

Today at work, one of the software developers decided that blasting Led Zeppelin was the perfect thing to do, in the middle of the afternoon. Here I am, trying to figure out how to take some complex technical concept and reduce it into a few easy-to-understand sentences, when hard-core metal music comes blaring out of the office next to my cubicle. Geez Louise. The least he could have done was asked me about my musical preferences. If he chose to blast Thunder Road by Bruce Springstein, at least I would have been able to sing along. He's done this before...I can't imagine what he's thinking when he does this.

If the developer was actually somewhat approachable, I might have asked him to put on his headphones, but I wasn't in the mood to get some snarky response (this one developer is usually very snarky if anyone says anything he doesn't like -- it's easier to just avoid conversations with him as much as possible).

I get that kids have no sensitivity towards others, but these latest intrusions are coming from so-called adults ...I hate to buy into that old cliche that boys never grow up, but in this case, I do wish I could put these guys in a corner for a time out. grrr...