I got a Nikon camera, I love to take a photograph.

I finally got the camera I was lusting after (thank you Tommy G), and I am celebrating by taking copious amounts of Cooper photos. Look at her. She is so damn pretty.

Merry Christmukkah.


Pretty. Shiny.

I don't know what happened, but this year I realized I was a girl. I also realized that I like girly things. They don't have to be expensive, just as long as they mesmerize me with that special, magic sparkle. Seriously, it's like I'm having a late puberty. About 20 years late.

Anyway, I'm experimenting with the creation of such items, such as this, one of my newest glass pendants.

I haven't really been selling them (although I now offer a couple in my Etsy shop.) Mostly I've been wearing them. They look nice with everything. And they're shiny. I like shiny things.


Nintendo - nurturing addictive behavior since 1985.

If you've seen the commercials lately, you may have noticed that Nintendo is trying to turn girls into "gamers". When I happened to look through my junk email and found an invitation to host a Nintendo party for ladies only, I was intrigued. When they mentioned that it included free electronics for me and all my friends, I didn't hesitate.

Dangling the proverbial electronic carrot was a marketing firm (www.brandabouttown.com) who had read my blog and decided I was the perfect demographic for this marketing experiment.

Their invitation stroked my ego gently, applauding my coolness, and suggesting that I must have a wide range of influence over my friends. Because a party sounded like fun to me, I did not correct them.

I must start out by saying that, once upon a time, I gave 2 years of my life to a dark world of Super Mario Brothers, Tetris, and speed. Imagine a young me, living at home, an unemployed, unshowered tweaker on a 3-day Mario bender. Not unlike this:

On one such day, my sister walked into my room and quietly observed me playing my one-hundred-thousandth game of Tetris. I was doing that weird thing that people on drugs do with their mouths (we called it 'eating invisible sandwiches') and thumbing the controller violently. Scrutinizing my deranged state, my sister said simply, "Are you serious?"

Not too long after that, my mother hid the controllers from me (only back then they were called "paddles") and demanded that I get a job. With that, my extended bout of loserdom came to an end.

Today, I am a model citizen. I haven't done drugs in many, many years, and my Nintendo habit has long been kicked. Until now.

So my job as party hostess was to gather up to 30 of my closest female friends and invite them to my 'Girlfriends Guide to Gaming' party. I had to employ the assistance of my friend Tawnia to round up some bodies, because, contrary to what I let the marketing folks believe, I have only a handful of girlfriends. And like me, they are all agoraphobic. But between Tawnia and myself, we were able to round up a very nice bunch of ladies, all lured by the promise of a free Nintendo DS.

The event was held in a cool little loft-type space downtown, which was thoughtfully decorated and stocked with ample food and beverages. Upon walking through the door, each guest was provided with a gold charm bracelet. The room was divided into 4 stations, each featuring a different Nintendo DS game. We were instructed by the lovely assistants how to play each game, and upon completing a round or two at each station, you were given a charm. Once you had collected all four charms, a shiny, new Nintendo DS was yours to take home. Make no mistake about it, it is their hope to turn all of us women into video game addicts. Fait accompli.

It was a lovely, stress-free soiree, completely planned and orchestrated by the Nintendo/marketing reps. So pleasant was my party, that I won't even begrudge them the fact that this happened downtown during a bloody Padres game, and the traffic made me want to go home and hide under the bed.

I am not under any obligation to promote or blog about Nintendo, but I am now considered an "enthusiast." And as an enthusiast, I do hope I get more free gadgets and accessories sent to me. Otherwise I'll have to score them on the streets.

To see all the pictures from the party, click here.


Lifting the Curse

As long as I can remember, I've wanted a tattoo, but kids with protective Jewish mothers typically don't get them. My mother told me specifically, "If you get a tattoo, it will kill me." I am grateful now, as I would have been covered in bad, homemade tattoos by the age of 15 had I not respected her wishes. But I still want one.

Recently, my mother made a friend at her knitting group who is adorned with many lovely tattoos. She talks about her friend's artwork with great admiration, so I asked her if it would still be traumatic to see her child's flesh marred with ink. She replied, "Go ahead and get one." And with those few words, the curse was lifted.

The trouble is, I am deeply ingrained with the notion that getting a tattoo will kill my mother. The only way I can get one now is if she draws it herself. That would be the ultimate blessing. So now I am waiting for her to actually complete the design I requested, or perhaps she will sneakily put it off until we are all dead, and then HA! She wins!

In the meantime, my talented mum has only recently begun to hit her stride as an artist. For example, this amazing tree she drew, which is now available for sale in my Etsy shop.

The tattoo I want will hopefully look something like this, if she in fact ever does it. To be fair, she will soon be too busy to do my artistic bidding, as she was recently asked to illustrate a book of Tibetan deities.

So, Mom, before you're neck deep in graphite dust, hurry up and draw me some trees. Quick, before I change my mind...


Inhuman Remains

I have always been a walker. I walk the dog, I walk to the store, I walk when I'm pissed off, and I walk when I'm cheerful. One day, many years ago, I noticed something that was consistently lying around in the suburban streets where I lived: doll parts.

G.I. Joe limbs, Barbie heads, tiny plastic shoes, arms and legs with bendable joints, small plastic fists that held nothing - all these things I have found while taking a neighborhood stroll.

I started keeping a collection of these wayward appendages in a glass jar. It was never a goal of mine to collect plastic body parts, but the proliferation of doll carnage made it a pretty easy hobby. (Not to mention the fact that early in my adolescence, I made it a habit to steal the hands off of mannequins at the mall, so this collection was only a natural progression.) Before long, finding a dismembered action hero or dirt-smudged Barbie arm became something of a huge score. My jar of parts overfloweth.

When you move a lot, as I do, you start to look at your stuff in terms of how easy it is to pack up and move, and how necessary it is to keep. During the last evaluation of my belongings and their importance, the jar of parts just didn't make the cut. It was time to pass it on.

Fortunately, I was able to find them a good home on a friend's shelf where they are quite happy. That was a few years ago, and I stopped finding doll parts after that. Until recently.

Several weeks ago, Cooper and I were out for a stroll when I saw this, lying innocently on the sidewalk:

Yup, that's a finger. And then, a few days later, down a different street, I stumbled upon this:

The fingers of mannequins were suddenly littering the streets where I live.

By force of habit I collected them and left myself a mental note to call The Keeper of the Jar. I was excited to have new items for the collection.

Then a week or so ago, Cooper and I were on one of our Saturday marathon walks, when we passed a sunny neighborhood alley many blocks from my house. Imagine my absolute shock and delight to see this:

The rightful owner of those fingers stared eerily at me as I stood there transfixed. But because of my rule regarding frivolous junk and the space required to store it, I walked away. This was unthinkable for me a few years ago, but alas, I guess that's what people mean when they say, "Grow up." It means you must resist the urge to take home creepy, mangled mannequins. Sigh.

But then! Later that week I remembered that I needed a nice, smooth neck upon which to model my new line of pendants. WHAT WAS I THINKING?!? I MUST GO BACK AND GET HER RIGHT NOW!

In a panic, I hopped in my car and sped to the alley where I'd seen her propped up against that fence. But sadly, she was gone. Someone got to her first. Damn my slow thinking.

But the story doesn't end there. Two days ago, Cooper and I perused the streets again, looking for a place to poop. No, not for me, silly. We turned down the alley behind my apartment, and Coop wandered into some weeds that run along the side of an empty building. There I saw a new wonder. Bones.

A big pile of them, bare and filthy and covered in dirt. Unbelievable! Is that a femur? An arm? Are those cow bones? Dog bones? PEOPLE BONES?!?! Then I saw a piece of skull and got ready to call the police. But I had to make sure what I was seeing was real, and bent down to pick up the piece of skull that for all I knew was once one of my neighbors.

Drat. It was light as a feather. Bones are heavy. Further inspection revealed the truth - the damn things were made of styrofoam. Who leaves a pile of styrofoam bones in an alley? I won't lie to you - I was terribly disappointed. I really wanted to be the walker that found the remains of a missing person. And no small jar would hold a collection of parts this big. I heaved a sigh and continued with my walk, wondering what on earth I might find next.


In My Uttermost Bones

"There will always be times when you feel discouraged. I too have felt despair many times in my life, but I do not keep a chair for it; I will not entertain it. It is not allowed to eat from my plate. The reason is this: In my uttermost bones I know something, as do you. It is that there can be no despair when you remember why you came to Earth, who you serve, and who sent you here."

Clarissa Pinkola Estes
American Author, Poet and Psychologist

Who do you serve?


...the tough get crafty.

A wonderful way to kill time when you suddenly have loads of it, is to make stuff. This I learned in kindergarten, from whence was born a slew of macaroni pictures and finger paintings.

I come from a family of women who, when the going gets tough, get crafty. Divorce, financial woe, misfortune of all kinds, is merely fodder for our creative juices. My grandmother, may she rest in peace, left behind a treasure trove of her creations and craft supplies. She was a brilliant seamstress, but her primary inspiration was hats and hat pins. An incredibly fashion-conscious woman (a trait I did not inherit), she loved all things sparkly and pretty. Her hats were big, glamorous fedoras and stetsons, extravagantly decorated with hundreds of tiny Swarovski crystals.

For a brief time, I worked with JR (we were not to call her "Grandma" but by her initials,) helping her to assemble these awesome hats. The thing I loved the most was using the small tweezers to delicately place the crystals on the hat brim with a dot of glue. I loved looking at JR's hands as she worked, her carefully manicured nails and fingers moving so expertly. I was always glad that I inherited, if not her sense of style, her small hands.

My sister, in addition to being talented musically, has always had a special genius for what I like to call "mental patient projects," such as making lamp shades out of chop sticks and drawing fairies. She also inherited the sewing gene, another attribute that passed me over. (Let us not forget that she was the only one in our family capable of programming a VCR.)

My mother has only recently realized her immense talents as an artist, and is in the process of putting together pieces for her first art show.

She recently drew a tree that is blowing everyone's mind, and it will soon be for sale in my Etsy shop, which brings me to my original point:

I have an Etsy shop! Etsy, for those of you who are not familiar, is basically a store front for artists and crafters. It's a venue for people to sell their hand-made goods, and the amount of talent showcased there is completely overwhelming.

My store, Legion Creative, features my latest creative distractions: polymer pendants, small heads, illustrated books and small 'zines. Over time I am going to feature my mother's art prints as well as other creative projects conjured up by the talented people I know and love. It's been a great excuse to use those tools that JR left behind.

Have a browse, drop me a note, get a gift for your sister or a pal who isn't speaking to you. And if you're feeling blue, go play with clay. It's pure therapy.


Fun with Mental Health

Remember that time my best friend stopped talking to me, my apartment flooded, I became homeless, and then my boyfriend and I broke up? That was, like, the most fun I've ever had.

Self pity is a marvelous luxury, one that I have indulged in often. Right now, I want to hide in bed (if I had access to my bed) and wallow in it, along with some chocolate ice cream. But it isn't productive, and it's just not as fun as it used to be.

When things fall apart, what do mature, well-balanced people do? I am now going to do my best imitation of one of those people. Just as soon as I'm done crying and breaking things.