Friday, August 17, 2007

Beady Eyes

The thing about doing what you love as a business rather than a hobby is that you can't just do what you want to do. You need to keep records.

This morning, after seeing Dr. V- at Cedars Sinai, I had planned to go to a couple of bead stores in the neighborhood. First stop, King's Beads.

I don't particularly like that store, but they carry the 18 point nylon cord that I use to make my jewelry. I discussed the fact that I now had a resale license that needed to be registered with them; they told me that their policy was that a $50 minimum order needed to be placed before they would honor it. That's illegal in California, but instead of pointing that out to them, thereby souring an already tenuous relationship, I reminded them that I have spent a lot of money at their store in the past. Amazingly, the minimum requirement immediately vanished.

One of the issues that I have at that store, though, is checking out. I have to watch everything they do. They've overcharged me and short changed me in the past. Today, they failed to provide a detailed receipt. Of course, when I call them on it, they fix the issue, but it happens too often for me to assume that the mistakes that they continually make are by chance.

Once finished there, I went across the street to International Silks and Woolens. That is one of the premiere fabric shops in Los Angeles, and has a large wall of buttons. They're helpful, cooperative, and honest. Just in case you don't get the drift, I fully endorse them and hope that anyone that sews or does crafts pays them a visit.

Next stop, JB Buy Lines, a bead store across the street from Paramount Pictures. In fact, I originally discovered them while I was working for Paramount. Their attitude towards me has always been indifferent, but they're easy to work with and their inventory is a specialized niche which I enjoy.

My errands done, it was time to come home where it's necessary to record all of the expenses in my spreadsheet. I have a system. It's a simple system that's easy to follow. But working in spreadsheets is too much like all of my other jobs over the past 20 years and I don't enjoy it. It's a necessary evil.
Then there is the actual construction of the jewelry.

Everyone who knows me knows that I rarely can sit still. I need to be knitting or spinning yarn or weaving or doing something all the time. If not, then you can assume that I'm really feeling bad. Yes, my health is declining right now, but it's nowhere near enough to stop me from crafting. I have a large order to be completed and it's a very special order at that. Inability to sit still combined with product that I enjoy making is a pleasure. But there's paperwork associated with that, too.

You see, I figure out how much to charge based upon both the materials used and the time spent making the piece. My jewelry is very labor-intensive. Because of issues of health, I cannot spend more than an hour or two at it at a time before I need to stop for a while. So I can't just charge for a day's worth of labor. I have to keep close track of the actual time spent on each item so I can fairly estimate what it should cost. So I am now keeping my desk calendar in my studio with me and writing down when I start and stop working.

There are multiple entries on each day that I work. Start, stop, start, stop. It's weird to look at it. I remember when I was capable of working a corporate job. I'd get into the office at 7 in the morning and go straight through until the end of the day. 5:30 pm on Slimmons days, 7, 8, or 9 pm on days that I didn't have exercise class.

No way could I do those kind of hours now. My health issues are pervasive and I just wouldn't hold up. In fact, while in the traditional work force, I didn't hold up. I was out on disability at least once a year, generally for about three months at a time. I'm surprised that I wasn't let go over it, but when I was able to work, my work was exceptional and also there's the matter of the Americans With Disabilities Act. Just like with other laws against discrimination, employers run scared of it. I've rarely even mentioned that I fall under the spectrum of it's umbrella within the workplace, but they would have to be fools not to realize it anyway. The people that I used to work with were very, very smart...

Now I struggle financially. And wouldn't make it if it weren't for periodic infusions of financial help when the medical bills pile up. It's estimated that the greater part of American filings of Bankrupcy are because of medical bills. I have great insurance, but am still liable for thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars every year. Money which I don't make anymore.

But still, I have the innate sense that everything is going to work out well in the long run. I'm circling something... I'm not sure what yet, but something. There are many things happening in many areas of my life; too many not to think that something is going to come to fruition and both make me happy and support me. Jewelry, weight loss, writing, and media coverage (more to come on this at an appropriate time). Something is going to pop, and soon if my health does not give out. I can feel it.

In the meantime, my calendar is a mess, but my days are full.

* * * * *

Cosmos has been at the computer again, e-mailing with his best friend M-.

M- writes:

well cosmos i saw you with your choice hat on. and you look very debonair..LOL now you are watching tv. i think if you apply yourself you too can make beautiful jeweled belts with leather found in a warehouse somewhere in santa monica ca.

:) M

To which Cosmos responded:

Dear M-:

Thank you for your kind words. I did make that hat look rather good, didn't I? It's one of Mom's favorites. It says "Shaft. Still The Man" on the back. Of course, I think it should say "Cosmos. Always the Man."

I enjoy when my cousin Ian comes to visit. He knows where my dog biscuits are kept and dispenses them liberally. He also brushes me and pays me the attention that I so richly deserve.

What do you mean make jeweled belts out of leather? Leather is for chewing on.

Your friend,


M- responded:

leather is for chewing on. i agree, but if you add some really cool beads it will be a crunchy chew.LOL

Cosmos, never at a lack for words, replied:

Personally, if I am looking for crunch, I like bones better than beads. But nothing beats 'Captain Crunch.'


M- wrote back:

yummmmmmm i agree
Which perplexed Cosmos. He queried:

You bit Captain Crunch too?
M- responded:

many years ago I did , but Cosmos all of those sweet memories came to vision after your email.

Cosmos always has to have the last word. His last e-mail read:

Ah, if you knew he tasted sweet, I suppose you really did bite him. I knew that I liked you.


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