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The trip to the bead store definitely helped recharge my creativity. I know what you've been thinking -- you've been thinking, "The firepolish and Swarovski crystals that have dominated Amy's beadwork so far are certainly lovely, but how much sparkle does one need when one's social calendar involves mostly the office, the movie theater, the bowling alley and the occasional nice dinner at a restaurant? She should really branch out into semi-precious stones, or maybe some of those Czech matte glass beads that are bold yet only, like, a nickel apiece."

Well, I heard you, folks. I scored some lovely grey-green labradorite in two sizes, a handful of black onyx cubes, several Bali silver beads, some gunmetal-colored Czech glass bi-cones, findings and myriad other goodies. Now my inability to make anything stems more from an embarrassment of riches than a lack of inspiration. I quickly whipped off a lovely labradorite and Bali-silver choker with a drop as soon as I got home, then spent an hour staring at my little trays trying to figure out what to do next. My ideas for a linked-eyepin necklace have so far come to naught. Maybe tomorrow.

Also: Any of you who've been to the apartment have experienced the phenomenon of Francesca, the five-yr-old daughter of the upstairs neighbors (and landlords). While she appears to be a normal girl, she evidently has some sort of condition by which her actual feet have been replaced by prosthetics made of the heaviest substance known to humankind. But does this malady dim her joie de vivre? Hell no! She can run! And jump! A lot! Her exuberance has earned her nickname "Stompolina" 'round our place. We haven't shared this with her parents, so perhaps we have only ourselves to blame -- today they bought her a pogo stick.

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