Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Russian New Year's Fairy Tale

As a single parent, I was always working.  I left my darling daughter in the care of my mother.  (If you have been following my blog, then you know my mother was born in Russia).  She was a hefty hard working woman, with big hands and a no nonsense kind of personality.  On very rare occasions, she would cuddle with me and tell me stories.  I can remember everyone of them. 

      On the few nights I was able to get off of work early, I would sit my daughter down and read to her.  To my surprise, she knew most of the stories I was reading, by heart.  My mother, in her diligence to be a good grandmother, had found plenty of time to read and tell my daughter the stories I would have loved to have heard from her lips as a child.

     What was amazing about the retelling of the stories, was that my baby repeated them, word for word, with a Russian accent!  I didn't have to guess who had been her teacher... 

      If you have a few minutes, please share this ancient and delightful New Year's story with me....

As told to me by my mother, many years ago.

There once was a Kingdom that grew up by a large ocean.  The people who lived there were very proud of their King.  It was said he was the wisest of men.  Other Kings would travel great distances to confer with him.  On the other side of the ocean was another kingdom with a proud King.  He wanted to meet the King who was so wise and confer with him on an important subject.  One day, he set sail for the Kingdom on the other side of the ocean to do just that.

The two noblemen greeted each other and a feast was called.  The Kings ate and drank all night long until almost dawn.  Finally it was time to talk.  The King who had traveled so far to meet with the wise King began, “I have an argument that I wish for you to settle.  It has plagued my wisest advisers for some time now.  The question is this, if a person were to become stranded on a deserted island alone for twenty years or so, how many people would one find upon rescuing them?”

The wise King thought the situation through for a long moment and the he boasted, “Three” .

“How is this possible?” the first King retorted.  He had been adamant in his own palace with his wise men.  One person on a deserted island can only remain one person to his way of thinking.  Here was this King, known to be so wise making a fool of him.  “If you are so sure,” challenged the King, “then let’s make an experiment right here and now.”

The wise King was infuriated that the second King was challenging him on this issue.  He would have to prove his wisdom in quite a big way or the local peasants might begin to question his good judgment.  To that end, he proclaimed, “I will take my first born child as the test.  When the baby is born, I will assign my large Chicken the duty of caring for the baby.  It will be his duty to fly to the island each day and bring food for the child.”

When the Queen was informed of the proclamation, she fainted.  There was no going against the King but she did trust the Big Chicken in all ways and was sure no harm would come to her child in it’s care.

A baby girl was born within a half year.  There was a great celebration in the land of the wise King as he wanted to send his little princess off in style.  The big Chicken took the swaddling of the child in her mouth and rose up into the air.  The crowds cheered as they took flight.  They cheered and cheered until they could no longer see the huge Chicken in the sky.

 When the Chicken saw a suitable island, she dropped her bundle on the beach and covered the baby with a blanket to protect it from the elements.  From that day forward, the faithful Chicken arose each morning and flew to the island where the princess was held, with food for the baby.  In time, the devoted Chicken would also bring clothing for the child.  It was a common sight in the skies over the kingdom to see the large Chicken in flight each morning.  Fathers went to work by the flight of the Chicken, so exact was it’s timing everyday.

The story of the Chicken and the princess soon moved over for other interesting events in the land.  They were forgotten completely.  People remarked on the flight of the great bird, but it was without much comment after a time.

The faithful Chicken never once forgot to collect the bundle of food from the kitchen every morning and fly the package to the princess.

The princess grew, she toddled along the beach until she learned to walk and then she ran on the beach to greet her friend, the Chicken as it arrived each day.  She would caress it’s great feathers sometimes playfully hiding inside them for warmth till it was time for the Chicken’s return.

With time, the poor Chicken began to age.  It was not as easy for him now as it had been 10 years before to fly such great distances twice a day.  It was now only able to carry food for the little princess.  As there were no others on the island, it didn’t seem to cause any harm that she had nothing to wear. 

The princess did not talk to the bird when it arrived.  She had never been able to talk as there had been no one to teach her.  If she appeared a bit unkempt of hair or nails, the Chicken overlooked this as it was the only it’s eyes that looked upon her.

Five more years passed.  The Chicken was older still.  It would arise in the morning now and gather the food bundle from the kitchen for the princess and take almost half a day to fly to the island as it had to rest many times along the way.  The return trip, without bundle was a bit easier, but still difficult.

The faithful Chicken missed not one day.  It could not forget the beautiful princess alone on the island.  No one else seemed to remember that she was alive except the kitchen cook who always prepared the bundle.

In her 16th year of isolation, the little princess awoke to see tremendous waves of water crashing along her beach.  There had been a great storm that night and it had tossed and turned the waters of the ocean threatening to engulf her little island into itself.

She ran to the beach to see the damage caused by the storm and found trees that had been broken by the force of the waters.  As the waters receded, they revealed a large package on the shore.  Worried that her Chicken had been harmed, she ran to look closer at the broken mound on the beach.  To her surprise, it was not the great Chicken but something else.  It looked something like her, yet it wasn’t, it was bigger with longer limbs.  It moaned just then and frightened her.  She ran off a bit but realizing that there was no harm in the wounded body, she began to move it slowly to the higher ground.

Each day after, as the beloved Chicken brought her food, she shared it with the wounded thing.  She bathed it and caressed it and took great care of it.  In time, the beast awoke.  The fever had broken and the beast stood on two legs as she did.

Imagine the surprise on the almost drowned sailor’s face when he awoke to find himself being ministered to by a wild, naked intoxicating creature.  He tried to explain his plight, how his ship had been bowed and broken in the terrible waves and how each of his mates had clung to the broken bits of their boat as it sank.  What happened next, he wasn’t sure but he must have been washed ashore and this creature had nursed him back to health.

She did not understand a word.  Maybe she spoke a different language he thought and he tried to speak to her in the many languages he had learned as a sailor in different ports.  Still no contact.

Out of respect to her pride, he took off his torn shirt and wrapped her in it.  It was warm and she was grateful.  He had managed to always keep a small pair of scissors and a comb in his pocket so he used them now to cut her nails and to comb her untamed trestles.  With no way off the island, he marked their existence by the huge bird that brought them food each day.

The Chicken had seen the man’s arrival on the island and knew that the meager food it brought each day would not sustain them both.  In the mornings now as the bird entered the kitchen in the palace it would peck at something nearby and place that food in the bundle as well.  The packages that it carried were heavier than before and the bird was older and older.

It took all it’s strength to bring the parcels to the young couple, but it’s devotion was without end.  Sometimes it would bring a book instead of food or some piece of cloth as the man seemed more capable of augmenting their supplies with his own wit.

So it went, time, as the sailor grew to love the little princess more each day.  He taught her to speak and they carried on great conversation.    She began to learn to read with his coaching.  The day came when the young couple could not hold back their feelings for each other, so they made a union beneath the stars and the full moon to love, honor and cherish each other.  They felt married and they lay down together.

In good time, the little princess became pregnant.  The loving Chicken soon realized that there would be three mouths to feed.  It brought everything it could carry for the young family.  Faithful always, the Chicken arrived each day and clucked over it’s charges.  They doted on it as well.  The arrival was a happy moment that all looked forward to.

As time had passed for the Chicken and his charge, so had it passed in the kingdom of the King.  Another baby was born the year after the princess.  She was as pretty as her sister but pampered and doted upon.  Many noblemen soon traveled to the shores of the King’s palace to ask for her hand in marriage.  Finally the King agreed upon a match.  It was to be a prince, the son of the very King from the other side of the ocean who had come to visit him so many years before.

As nothing had ever been said about the first princess, the second King assumed she must have perished long ago on the island and he had been right in his thinking.  He too kept silent.  The wise King had lost a daughter, why bring up a bad memory.  It was enough to know he had been the more correct of the two.

The day of the wedding , New Year’s Day, the palace was busy with preparation.  The excited cook had baked a cake, the likes of, no one had ever seen before and placing it on the shelf of the kitchen where she always placed the bundles for the princess, she rushed off to accomplish another urgent task.

When the great Chicken entered the kitchen that morning, it saw the lovely cake in it’s usual place.  Thinking that the princess had not been forgotten and this was a gift for and her new family, it wrapped the cake in a large cloth and once more took to the skies to deliver the splendid sweet.

As the party started for the wedding dinner, the cook furiously searched the kitchen for the cake she had set there in the morning.  She remembered placing it on the shelf, but then she chided herself, she must have moved it as this was the spot she usually left food for the princess on the island.  It hit her, flat in the face, what must have happened and she ran hurriedly to tell the King.

When she had his attention, she reminded the King of the first little princess and her banishment to the island alone.  She reminded him how he had directed his dedicated Chicken to bring food to the babe always and how she had made sure there was a bundle for the Chicken to take.  The memory came back to the King and he looked at the second King and called out, “Now we shall see who is right.  Before we complete the wedding supper, we shall travel to the island where my little princess has been living all these years and see just how many people are on the island.” 

And they did, and they found the little princess rocking her baby with her sailor beside her.  As a reward for his devotion, the Chicken was granted a cottage on the ground of the Palace where he would not have to fly so far to see his favored princess.  The sailor was made a Captain and given his own fleet of ships as was befitting a husband of a princess.  The marriage was annulled for the second princess as it was not befitting to have such a stupid King as a father-in-law while a much better husband was found for her.  And they all lived well from that day forward.

May you prosper, as the Princess did, in this new year....

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

My Cupboard is Empty, My Cupboard is Full

With Christmas well out of the way and the New Year just around the corner, it's time to look towards 2010.  I remember, as a little girl, playing in the front yard with my brother and the game we played was, "Where will I be ?"

We picked a number of a year in the future, did some calculations about how old we would be then and  made predictions of where we would be and what we would be doing at that time in our lives.  The trick was that we predicted for each other.  I remember a few of them with fond memories and some, I can't recall at all.

2010, is one I recall with crystal clarity.  I would be 59 years old. "Yuch!", an old woman, but his prediction for me was that I would be a grandmother of 6, surrounded by my family, children and husband.  2010 would be the year that I did something famous, my year to shine in the sun.

My sweet brother passed away at 27.  So every year, on New Year's, I pour myself a glass of wine (or a stiff drink as I get older) sit out on my back porch close to a vibrant fire lit Chimera and have a little chat with him.  I toast all the predictions I made for him that never came true, then I toast the predictions that did come true and finally, I pick another number far into the future and make a new prediction....

My prediction:

2011 - I'll be sitting here on my back porch, drink in hand, toasting yet another New Year!

Heck, why not celebrate New Years right now, after all it's probably midnight somewhere in the world isn't it?


Sao Paulo





Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays

Glitz Glitter's W. Treasury on front page of Craftcult 12/24/2009

What I stumbled upon...

At last, a few empty minutes free, I decided to surf the web.  Before, when I wanted to find something beautiful, exciting, or new, I would enter a word or two into google and see where it would take me  and go from there.

Recently, I discovered a program called "Stumble Upon".  Basically, it's the lazy man/woman's version of surfing.  Each person who has an account on Stumble Upon, marks a page or site that they found worth sharing with anyone else.  Once the button is clicked, you are taken to a new site , where, if you like what you see, you vote "thumbs up" for the page.  If you feel it might have been a waste of your time, you vote, "thumbs down".  Finally, if you happen to just stumble upon something you think might interest someone else, you mark it and it becomes part of the ring that others see.
Интересные дизайнерские решения (32 фото)
Let me take you on a virtual tour of my finds tonight.  I came across this amazing site right away.  The pictures are surreal.  If you don't believe me, click on the chair and see what else this surprising photographer has done.

My next site Exercise & Muscle Directory   
explains the musculature of the body and allows you to create a complete exercise program for yourself based on the parts of the body that needs work.

Before I got to this site, I had no idea that Toilet's could be so interesting.  Clicking on this site will absolutely tickle your fancy, as it did mine....   Toilets From Around The World

Cliche Finder

Is a place to find a cliche to fit almost any situation.  Just enter a key word and it displays dozens of sayings to make you look very knowledgeable. 

Swap a Skill

Is a place to swap something you have for something someone else needs and visa verse.  I have always wanted to swap my knowledge.  The site brags,  
* Jimmy Choo shoes for Legal advice
"I got some fantastic legal advice in return for some nearly new Jimmy Choo shoes - we were both thrilled!"

Lost In The 50's 

Need something to bring back those old memories?  Nothing does it better than music.  Maybe you won't recognize the songs, but your folks certainly will.

I Do Dog Tricks

Can't get your own pet to do tricks, try this virtual pet.  he is well trained and maybe your pet will learn something new....  Unfortunately, none of our 5 cats learned a thing from this little critter.

Font Capture 

Every wonder what your handwriting would look like as a font ( don't write it, type it)?  This site will create a TTF font of your very own handwriting.
Carol Yager in 1994, near her peak weight of 1600 lbs  
Curiosity for the bizarre and unique captured me here at  The world's heaviest people.  I didn't know Carol Yager,  yet I lived down the street from her for years in Flint.

Finally, I fell in love with the photography of Miles  Aldridge (who knew?)  I found something haunting and exciting in his subjects.... 

I literally stumbled upon some wonderful finds this time, just grateful someone was ahead of me to lead the way.

Why not try it yourself?  Let me know what you find.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The quiet of twilight

It's suddenly quiet in the house.  Everyone is sleeping, even the cat and the mice.  The sun is setting about now and the early twilight of a winter solstice evening begs to enfold the air.  The quiet, calming and serene is welcome after the mad rush to get out every last package before the US Postal service's deadline.  Staying up all night to do it, we made it.  The last mailing of packages and boxes to arrive for Christmas was noon today. 

3 trips to the post office, 1st to mail the packages, then to mail the forgotten packages and finally  mailing the packages that just got paid last minute. 

Even "twitter" is fading away in the evening's calm.  Most everyone is done with their online shopping.  A few stragglers here and there lurk in the shadows, watching perhaps, for a final sale or deal that might exist but the real rush of the last 20 days is finally over.  Any shopping that could occur in the next few days will be at local shops to be anywhere near relevant for the holidays.  No one expects a package to arrive on time by now.  The calm after the storm.

The sun fades quickly now at my back as I sit here contemplating the frenzy that had come to be a daily event in our lives.  Not quite dark enough to turn the gay colored lights of Christmas on but gentle time, the between time of anticipation.

 And I think to myself, "Somewhere all around the world, lots and lots of people are going to have a lovely Christmas because of all that work."

As for me, I think I'll give in to the silence.  A nap about now would be very welcome.  Ah, the Holidays are about to be upon us.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

I Remember Santa...

Growing up in Michigan, snow has always been an integral part of the holiday season for me.  Just about Thanksgiving, my memory paints a picture of very cold days, bright sunshine and glistening snow.  The most important detail is that it never melted.  Snow just kept accumulating.  Every street crossing was decorated with four crystal towers, tall and ever accented with black smoke.

There was always a pair of skates slung across my shoulders and finding ice was hardly the problem.  I've broken more glasses on the ice, just simply skating over them as they fell from my face in the zest of a fantasy race, beating out both Hans Brinker and the BergerMeister's daughter to the finish line (which was the end of our driveway).  Skating into the night, snow sparkling all around me, and the moon shining brightly in the sky reflecting the icy flakes made for nature's own light.

My first pair of skates came from the Salvation Army store.  They were boy's skates and black in color.  My mother,  as cause of my concern to wear boy's attire,  carefully polished them with white shoe paint until they glistened a silvery gray color, commenting that "they are your very own Cinderella skates", and I bought it.

There was no Christmas tree in our house.  We didn't celebrate "that holiday" but we did have our own traditions.  For 8 nights, a candelabra burned brightly on our dining room table.  Mama made the best potato pancakes and they deliciously slipped into our mouths hot and crispy laced with cold fresh sour cream.  On the few occasions when Christmas and Hanukkah coincided with each other, we felt a part of the season with our school mates but that was rare.  More often, Hanukkah was a few weeks short or a few days later than, what seamed like, everyone else's celebrations.  Still we enjoyed the season like all children do.

The new color TV in the dining room, played the most delightful movies all week long.  My baby brother and I cried when Jimmy Stewart got lost in Pottersville (It's A Wonderful Life),  and we commiserated with Natalie Wood when she didn't believe in Santa Claus either ( Miracle On 34th Street) and the Macy's parade on TV held us glued with bright colors and pretty people twirling on finely decorated floats.

Still... I have a secret about Christmas and Santa Claus and I have waited over 50 years to tell it.

When I was about 5 years old, I was carried to the hospital by our next door neighbor.  Her name was Dr. Hamady.  She had an office in her basement, right in her house.  With memories of Europe still in their heads, my parents were very leary of doctors.  In the concentration camps, a visit to the doctor usually meant someone disappeared and was surely dead.  

I don't remember much about that 1st day other than the putrid sweet smell of the ether that was given to me before my surgery but I imagine I must have been pretty sick for my mother to break all her vows and seek out Dr. Hamady.  

Poor Dr. Hamady, mom had to sneak her into the house through the back door while she kept my dad busy with my baby brother.

The doctor assured my mother that she had a very sick child on her hands and without rushing me to the hospital immediately, she would have a dead child by the next day.  Against every fiber in her being, mom allowed Dr. Hamady to take me away.

Let me paint this picture for you, we were new immigrants, we spoke little English and we were deathly afraid of everything based on our previous experiences surviving the Holocaust.  I don't think we were doing all that well financially either at the time.  I am certain we didn't have any health insurance.  Suddenly, in this new country, that had promised us new hopes and freedoms, I was being swept away from my mother's caring arms.

Up until this point, it was my dad who had actually ventured out into the new country.  He went to work everyday and mingled with those "Americans".  Mom worked from home as a seamstress, so her clientele were screened before they entered our house and most of them were aware of the circumstances of our lives, so they stepped on eggshells around her. This was our 1st big adventure into the strange and amazing bigger world we now lived in.

Unbenounced to me, I was taken to the "charity ward" of the hospital after my surgery.  They had gotten me to the hospital just within the nick of time, as my appendix had already burst.  Apparently, I would be confined there for the next ten days and it was Christmas eve to everyone else in world.

 Sometime, in the middle of that 1st night, I awoke.  The ether must have finally worn off.  I opened my eyes and saw that I was in a big room with many beds.  My own bed was a huge crib with metal grates on all four sides.  As I looked around, probably a bit frightened, I saw a figure in the shadows moving quietly around the room.  This big man all dressed in a red suit was stopping at each bed and lovingly laying bright boxes and bags at the foot of everyone.  As I watched him, he sensed my awakeness and looked at me.  Then he winked at me, his long white beard flashing in the dim light, smiled and said something I had never heard before, "Merry Christmas little girl".  He patted my head and soon became busy at the foot of my own confines laidening it too with shiny colored packages.

I fell asleep once more.  In the morning, when I awoke, my mother was leaning over me with a great concern on her face but I was not interested in her, I wanted to see if I had just had a wonderful dream or were the pretty wrappings still there, at the foot of my bed and to my glee, they were.

There was a lovely doll in one box and candies and a whistle and a ball and so many other things.  I was sure he had meant them for me and I told my mother that but she was adamant, "these things are not yours," she said.  I shook my head but to no avail.  She whisked them away to the nurses station before I could eat my breakfast.

"They made a mistake," she tried to console me.  "We didn't buy these things, honey." 

"But he gave them to me.  He looked right at me, so that man knew who I was,"  I pleaded.

"He was mistaken!" she concluded.  and that was that, the end.

Every year after that, as I was still small,  I waited for the man to come again.  In school, I learned his name was Santa Claus and he loved all good little children.  "Wasn't I a good little girl?", I thought.  But he never came again.

As I got older, I almost resented my folks for discouraging me that special pleasure I once was privy to.

Then, one day, I became a mother too.  Finally, I understood the lesson my own mother had wanted to imbue me with.  There were 6 other children before I was born, not one of which survived the camps or the Holocaust alive.  It would have been sacrilegious of her to allow me to  accept those gifts.  My own bothers and sisters were killed by folks who spent Christmas with their children while my siblings were begging for their very lives.

Now I am well over the middle mark of my life, my own parents have long left this world and I am telling you in a loud and clear voice, "There is too a Santa Claus and I, for one, met him one dark and sleepy night while I lay in my bed."  He smiled at me and he patted my head and I am sure he thought of me as "a good little girl".
So, Santa, if you are reading this.... 

Happy Holidays everyone and I promise you, 
He does exist!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Make Mine Vodka & Coke. No, Make it 2!!!

Maintaining a full time job, 2 part time stores (scattered out on 5 sites), and this Blog is quickly becoming overwhelming.  Add a dash of the season for gift giving and it soon becomes surreal.   

This is my schedule:

  • Up at 5:30am, checking sales from the past night, check inventory, package sold items and set aside for mailing.
  • At work by 7:30am until 4:30 pm.
  • After work, quick trip home to check if there is a second mailing and then off to the post office (long lines... It's the holiday season after all).
  • Home by 5:30pm (if I didn't have to make a stop at the grocery or any other errand).
  • 6:00 pm at the computer, updating, cropping pictures, posting and renewing.
  • 9:00pm quick prep of dinner sometimes not getting to eat until 10-10:30 pm.
  • 12 am packing items that have sold through the day for morning post. (twittering with friends as I wait for the last item to be assembled by my local artisan).
  • 1:30am Online shopping for more inventory for the next  day, days and week.
  • 2:15 am in bed... Finally, can hardly keep my eyes open by this time.
  • 5:30 am... The alarm goes off and the race is on Again!

I arrive home from work everyday to greet the all consuming coal of heat that is my daughter.  She has spent the whole day creating deliciously inviting pieces of jewelry and photographing her delights.  She is like a great furnace, afire with bubbling flames of anticipation.  We admire her day's work together,  critique, and inspect.  
When every item has passed our scrutiny, it is lovingly packaged away in anticipation of it's new owner and home.

The coffee pot is constantly perking, while we beg for 28 hour days and 12 hour nights.  Not sure if a 40 hour day would be enough but it would help.  Actually, anything would be of help about now.

The reward for this crazy merry-go-round.... the wonderful feedback we receive from our spectacular customers.  

Bless them, every one!

Just about ready for that drink now....

Saturday, December 12, 2009

When you're a Jet!

JET Jewelry On Etsy Team


What is Etsy? 

The site was launched on June 18, 2005 by iospace. 

Etsy has grown significantly to tens of thousands of sellers and five times that in buyer accounts.  Etsy passed $1.7M in sales in May 2007.    On July 29, Etsy had its one-millionth sale and anticipated its two-millionth sale would occur mid-December 2007.   In November 2007, buyers spent $4.3 million purchasing 300,000 items for sale on Etsy.

Reportedly in May 2009, Etsy had approximately 60 employees and sales of $10 to 13 million per month possibly boosted by consumer interest in cheaper and more personalized goods. 

Etsy is popular as a side-business as well as a place to buy goods made from recycled and upcycled materials along with less expensive or more unusual versions of mass-produced items. The unique nature of many of the items for sale is part of their appeal to some shoppers.  ETSY on the web 

What are Etsy Teams?

Etsy Teams are groups of organized Etsy members who network, share skills, and promote their shops and Etsy together. A Team forms around a shared location, crafting medium, or another interest.
Etsy's 450+ Teams make us not just a marketplace of individuals, but an interconnected and diverse artistic community.
Teams are Etsy’s biggest and most creative grassroots engine for support, networking and marketing – for each team member’s shop, for the Teams themselves, and for Etsy as a whole. 

Glitz Glitter Creations joined the JET's  (Jewelry on Etsy team)  last week. 

So, how did our 1st week go?


What we found was a very generous group of approx. 100 members, (25 or more who are very active) that gather in the virtual world from across the United States to support, promote and lend a hand to each other.  They are very aware of their "newbies", which is how Glitz Glitter's fresh status is described.   

We were thrust into their public eye as each JET member welcomed us into the fold.  They visited our site, left nice feedback, made a special trip to see our treasuries and left wonderful comments there as well.  By the end of the week, we began to wonder, just how had we managed without a team until now?

Everything we had been told about teams made us Leary at first.  There is a lot of work involved in being a good team member.  The list that you are sent when you first apply, is quite overwhelming.  Meetings need to be attended.  Doing the visiting and the commenting for others, can take up a good chunk of your own time when Etsying is a part-time job.  Being aware of who members are and keeping track of their progress, as well as your own can involve hours away from the family.  

Yet, we all want to succeed and that is what the group goal strives to do.

Before the JETs, we belonged to a support group and still do.  We meet regularly with a wonderful group of individuals on twitter.  

How it all came about is actually hard to say.  One person mentioned an item they were selling and then another person commented on that item.  Someone asked a question and another 2 or 3 folks quickly posted an answer or a link to an answer.  Someone shouted out, " I am beat" and someone else consoled them.  Suddenly we were meeting daily.  

We all have shops on Etsy and the shops are as different as the folks in our group.  One person sells their knitted wares, another their pottery and a 3rd, kitty collars.  We have photographers, screen printers, soap makers and card crafters in our group.  Some of us work full time jobs and sell on Etsy, others do it for a living.

If someone lists a new item, the others rush to see it and to view the amazing treasuries we create from items picked from our various shops.  We encourage our few who have not hit the 10 or 25 mark in sales and we congratulate those that have passed 100 sales.  We talk about meeting (in the real world).  We tell each other our secrets, our fantasies and we share our dreams.

Today, someone might be missing, maybe they are too busy to stop by.  Perhaps they have had a rough day and can't find the time to sit down and "tweet" or to tell us "what happened".   As a group we remark on their absence and wonder a bit and maybe even worry too!

Not sure you could actually call us an Etsy team, but don't tell any of us that.  Them's fightin words.  We welcome new folks who just stop by and we say goodbye to those who move on but we have a core as well and we're always open to meetin and greetin new folks.

It would never enter our minds to substitute one group for the other.  We've been through too much together and anticipate moving through the next wave, our virtual arms hugging one another, as we do.

Lonely, felling alienated, unrooted anywhere or nowhere.... just twitter Glitz-Glitter or BeadFrenZ and chime in.... 

You are always welcome.

Monday, December 7, 2009

What Have We Been Doing ?

Glitz Glitter Creations 
Front Page ETSY 12/07/2009 4:00 am

Glitz Glitter Creations
Craftgawker 12/07/2009

Craftgawker 12/07/2009

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Jack Frost (My Version) Was I mixed up...

The Story of Jack Frost

as told to me by my mother....

Warning, this is an excerpt from a book I have been writing for the last 10 years, memories of my mother.  As this is the holiday season and Jack Frost  is a very large part of it, I thought it might be appropriate to add this to the BLOG.  If you are not into reading long things, I won't mind if you decide to skip it.

When my mother was old enough, her father wanted his daughter to go to school.  His boys had been unable to spend many years there but both of them could read and write. The village school was a serious distance from the house.  It was on the other side of the village.  My mother would have to leave the house very early to arrive on time.  The school was run by the Party. It was not the traditional school that her own father had attended as a boy.  It was a communist school.  The children pledged their bodies and minds to the furtherance of the motherland each morning.  Words like comrades, motherland, sisterhood and Party were taught there.  These were big words for small ears to hear and understand.

Mama walked barefoot to school when the weather permitted.  Sometimes she flopped about in shoes much too large for her when the weather turned ugly. She was always hungry.

Food was scarce.  A round black pot hung suspended form a hook in the pripichek at home that boiled forever.  Into it were thrown the various meager vegetables, bones and endless potatoes that stewed and changed the flavor of the soup from day to day.  In the evenings, each member of the family and every guest were fed a ladle full of the watery stew from the pot.  Bellies were never full.  The large Samovar that stood on the roof of the pripichek held hot water flavored with tea leaves or other roots gathered in the forests.  Chicory was added when it was available.  The coals that were inserted in the middle tube were refreshed from the pripichek’s own embers.  Sugar was a luxury.  It was never placed in the cups of heated liquid.  Everyone held a cube of it in their mouths between their teeth.  It sweetened the drink as it passed the crystals on it’s journey inside and down.  A cube could last for many drink this way.

The Communist Party knew how to take advantage of this great hunger.  My mother was not the only child who came to school hungry every morning.  At school, the teachers began the indoctrination of the Party line.  They told the children that Russia was their true mother and the party leaders, their fathers.   They were comrades, brothers and sister. Then they spoke of loyalty and betrayal to the Party.  It was understood that the seeds of Communism, when planted  in the spring, would bloom heartily in the fall.  Clubs, called Young Pioneers, were organized for the children.  They were encouraged to join.  Everyone including my mama wanted to become a member.  The Comrades that supervised the clubs offered cakes and cookies as treats to the starving youth of Russia.  In exchange the children were encouraged to act as the eyes and ears of the community.  The sweet goods were rewards for the loyal youngsters who would report their own kind.

Bubba would visit the log cabin from time to time.  Bubba was father’s mother.  An old shriveled woman who would sit by their fire and mumble strange words and sing songs without tunes.  Her fascination for my mother was the onyx  black earrings she wore.  They were attached to her ears through holes that had long since become slits from the weight of the earring.  They almost threatened to slip through her ear they dangled so very close to it’s final edge.  

Mother spent many hours on her Bubba’s lap flicking the bright round spangles.  The tiny diamonds embedded within sometimes catching the fireplace light and sending sparkles throughout the small gloomy room.   As her Bubba rocked her and whispered into her ear the singsongs and sayings in foreign words, she also ingrained into her head that one day the bangles would be hers if only she would avoid the temptation of the Comrades at her school.

Bubba dispelled the words of the school in her granddaughter’s ear. Almost intuitively, the child felt that something was wrong in joining the clubs.  Bubba enjoined her back to the folds of her family.  She promised the old woman that she would always remain silent.  She wanted the earrings more.  She denied herself the luxury of the sweets at school.

The process took time, the teachers knew it. Change was in the wind when an undernourished young boy raised his hand one day in school.  He was in the same class.  “I would like a cake,” the boy said.

One of the teachers beckoned him forward.  “You would like a cake?”

“Yes, I would like a cake”, he said again.

He had been one of the shy boys in the classroom.  He lived in a cabin near my mother's.  The circumstances of his home were near to her own.  She had seen him playing in his yard before.  He lived with his mother and father and an uncle and aunt.  She had seen an old woman go into the house from time to time.  She guessed it was his Bubba.

“I would like a cake, I’m hungry” he said louder this time, his mouth already tasting the honeyed flavor.  He was hungry, as were most of Mother Russia’s children.  It had been hours since his last meal.  His tiny belly grumbled inside him.

“Come with me,” said the teacher holding out her hand to the boy.

She took him by the hand into another room in the school.  The children in the classroom began to fidget in their chairs.

“Quiet,” said the teacher who remained with them there.

The Party knew his family.  His father had fought in the war.  He had left his family to fend for themselves, as had the other fathers who were taken into the army.   They knew he had come back filled with tales of what he had seen in other counties.  It was a good omen, the boy’s hunger.

The second room had been arranged with a child’s comfort in mind.  Small chairs were placed beside an oblong table.  On the table was a plate of buns.  The boy could see and smell the treats immediately as he was escorted to a chair.  On the walls were large pictures of the Heros of mother Russia.  The flag relaxed on a pole in the corner.  It was bright in this room.  He took one of the chairs as his own.

The teacher took the chair on the opposite side of the table.  “Are you comfortable?” asked the adult.  He nodded that he was.  “Good,” continued the grownup.  “The cakes are very delicious.  Take one.”

He ate it greedily.  Crumbs that had fallen on his chin were promptly swept back into his mouth.  It had tasted as good as it looked and it left him hungry for more.  “May I have another?” he asked.

“Not now,” came the reply.  “Now, let’s talk.  Are you happy at home?”

The boy nodded his head affirmatively.  Then he spoke.  “We don’t have cakes like these at home.”  He wanted to cry now but the cake had choked his tears.

“ Are you happy at home boy?” the teacher asked again in a louder voice.

He cried then.  The drops of liquid rolling down his translucent cheeks.  He was frozen to stop them.  He sobbed and as he opened his mouth a crumb or two spit out onto the table.

“My father is unhappy.  He wants to leave this place.” he wept.  “At night, when I am laying in bed, I hear him talking with mother.”

Once the initial words had come out, it was not hard anymore for the child to open his heart and tell the good teacher everything.  He talked on and on as he felt the hand on his shoulder so comforting, and the soft voice urging him to continue.

“They have a plan.  Father is going to take us with him,” he finished.

The adult stood up.  “Eat another bun, child.  Fill your belly.  When you have had enough, join the other children in the class.”

He returned to classroom but only after eating two more cakes.  He walked in with his head down, afraid to meet the eyes of the other children.  As he sat down, he was unable to hold back the burp that escaped from his mouth.

When the school day ended, the boy got up from his seat with the other children.  He walked home alone.

It was quiet in the house when he came to his own door.  His Bubba was sitting by the pripichek warming herself by it’s heat.

“So the hero is home,” she said.  Did they give you their fowl cakes to eat?”

“The cakes were delicious Bubba, “ he replied as he ran to sit beside her.

She pushed him away from her with bony arms.  “Child, child,” she wept.  “Do you know what you have done?  They arrested everyone.  Look for yourself, the room is empty.  They took my daughter!  My precious daughter. They took everyone.  Only you and I are left now.”

He could see that his Bubba was right.  The room was in a mess, furniture and bedding were thrown around the room in frightful disarray.  He picked up his small pillow and began to cry as reality sunk in.  He tried to hug his Bubba, but she held him at arms length.

“It is no use, child,” she sobbed.  “They will never come back now.  The soldiers took them away.  They came with guns.  Maybe they are already dead.  You have cursed this house.”

He fell to the floor at her feet and cried.  His tummy was not so full now.  He was hungry again but there was no pot on the hook in the pripichek.  It had been turned over on the floor beside him. 

The village was silent that night.  The silence was deafening.  Not a word was spoken in any house.  Children were quickly bedded down.  Mothers tucked their children in bed and wondered if they might not be sold for a sweet.  Adults could not close their eyes.  They stared at the ceilings afraid to talk, lest their own children betray them.  Whole families were afraid of falling asleep.

When the sun finally rose the next morning, the village began to stir.  It was a new day but was it any less frightening then the night that had passed?  Other than to give their children brief instruction, parents remained silent, as they sent them off to school.  Suddenly it was impossible to determine who to trust.  Wives and husbands did not look each other in the eye.

The door to the boy’s house was closed all morning.  It remained closed throughout the whole day.  The child did not attend school.  His small chair was empty.

A neighbor or two thought to knock on the closed door of the house but quickly changed their mind.  The curtains on the windows were drawn.  There was no smoke or fire in the chimney.

As night fell once more on the village, the Bubba emerged from the darkened house carrying a cumbersome package.  It was heavy for her but she carried it lovingly in her arms.  A neighbor watched as she struggled with the weight of her bundle.  With deadened steps she walked into the forests nearby.

A villager found her there in the forest a few days later.  Beside her was a small grave she had apparently dug herself.  In it was the child.

The school erected a statue to the young boy in the courtyard.  His name "Jack Frost" was placed at the base of the object along with the word "Hero".  My mother past the statue everyday on her way to school.  The other children saw it too.  They marched by it in the evenings when their day was done.  His heroism was discussed by the teachers.  He was a martyr.  His memory and his deeds were recited by the children.  Mama closed her eyes and promised herself that one day she would be the proud owner of a pair of onyx earrings studded with tiny brilliant diamonds.

 And she was....

P.S. How these earrings made their way to America is  another story.... 

And the Race is On!

I once knew a couple who had immigrated to the US from Russia.  The year was 1975.  It was before "Peristroyka" (reconstruction of the Soviet economy).  They arrived in the United States with blank unemotional eyes.  Unless you have actually witnessed this phenomenon, it almost impossible to describe. These were people who knew that their very life depended on their being able to control every emotion in their body from being read and the eyes, being the window to the soul, were devoid of any feeling.  I called them "dead eyes".

Abruptly, this couple, who were well educated, found employment that led them to be able to purchase anything and everything their hearts' desired.  They moved quickly into the fiber of this country, bought a house and set out to furnish it.  That's when the disaster began.
Shops in Russia 25

Lines.... people waiting in line to be able to buy some thing.

Life in communist Russia had been hard.  It wasn't that they might not have had the kopeck to spend, it was that nothing was available to buy.  One might set out to buy a loaf of bread but upon waiting for hours for access to the store, only shoes were available to purchase that day, so they bought shoes because next week, they might need shoes and not find them. (government run commerce)

Shops in Russia 21Then once inside, not much to choose from...

My friends went shopping for furniture.  They spent the day going from one department store to the next.  They arrived home, exhausted from their shopping spree and in a foul mood.  

"What happened?", I asked.  Koyla, the husband had been drawn to the chairs and couches that were big heavy, sturdy and over stuffed while Irena, was in love with the delicate modern styles of the day.  Within 3 months, they were divorced.  Turned out, they had very little in common.

I am reminded of a story my American cousin's wife told me about my own mother.  This was the family that sponsored us to immigrate to the US after WWII.

We were brand new Americans ourselves.  They had been kind enough to rent us a small house (with an outhouse).  The first few trips to purchase necessities were done by the cousins.  This day, our cousin decided to ween my mother into being able to shop for herself.  She agreed to babysit for me, (hopefully I was well behaved for a 6 month old baby) while my mother made the trip to the local grocery store by herself.

After an hour, our cousin began to worry a little as mom had not returned.  She was just getting some basics, like milk and bread after all.

Two hours later, our cousin was getting concerned.

Three hours passed and I was bundled up and rushed to the streets with my cousin in search of my missing mom.

We found her, sitting on the ledge of the store front waiting to be told "It's your turn to go shopping!".

Our cousin marched mom and me into the store and proceeded to show mother that in America, you can walk into any store and you get to put your hands on the merchandise and even get to pick which bottle of milk you want.  Imagine that!

From that day forward, shopping with my mother was a nightmare for me and later when my baby brother was born, even more aggravating for him, (being a boy and all).

Each and every shopping trip took hours.  Mom would visit every isle, touch each and every can, box or package.  She would ponder for the longest time whether to buy the Ivory soap or the Palmolive bar.  No tomato was left without her carefully fingering it for bruises or blemishes.  

She never tired of this ritual,  practicing it up until her last days with us here on earth.  Do I miss the tedious shopping trips with mom?  Yes, I would give my "right arm" to have her back and I would be very gracious today...  if only.....

We take shopping for granted in this country.  It's the Holiday season and we all want to please our friends and family with the wonderful delights that we have thoughtfully purchased, made or assembled for them.  We scour the shops, the newspapers and the internet for "finds".  We brag to each other, how we got a bargain on this or that item.  We contemplate on the color, we worry about the size or we fret if the style is right.  

We just forget to be grateful that we live in a country where we can shop and pick and choose.

I love this country!