Answers to a few comments
Yes, my name is Sylvia. I made my first lizard (see how dorky he is?) by mistake in December of 1987; I was trying to make a triangular brick stitch earring and ended up with a peyote stitch lizard (I was running a fever at the time). In the future I'll post about the business of beadwork, contracts and galleries and editors and photographers and pattern language and vendors... There is a lot of my beadwork out there in magazines (especially Interweave), coffee table books, and private collections. The USPS has a box of it somewhere, too.
Connie. Which Connie? Connie M. from college??? Beadwork Connie?
Olympics. There are team blogs popping up all over. I've linked to a few in the sidebar buttons. For a truly great button, go here. I will be blogging over at Teyla's and Sara's group blogs.
Vision. [No photos because they are really gross.] I have a resident tumor on my left retina, a thoroughly irradiated malignant ocular melanoma, quiescent for now, but 2mm from my optic nerve and closely monitored. It's been quite a ride, especially since I have a photographic memory so I rely heavily on my eyes. If you are in the risk group for melanoma (this was my second primary), have your retinas checked when you go in for an eye exam. When your eyes are dilated, just have the doc take a peek in there. My tumor was misdiagnosed as "just a freckle in your eye" back in 1990, so by the time we figured it out (2001), the glob was hefty and thick. I had a friend die of this a few years before that and had *no idea* that I was millimeters away from the same fate while sitting there at her kitchen table, wishing there were more I could do for her.
First symptoms were a shift to orange in my left eye's vision (pigmented tumor), headaches, and eye strain. It was a very slow process, starting in my teens. Advanced symptoms included painful optical bursts while watching the symphony. Treatment was primarily radiation (helium via a particle accelerator), with a laser chaser. I spent the week of radiation treatments at a B&B up in Davis, surrounded by spinning and college friends. I am lucky. The doctors have been wonderful, truly, as has my friend Lena, who is a gifted acupuncturist and healer. Because of them, I'm here today, learning how to see with the remnants of my left eye, and regaining vision in my slightly charred right eye.
And yes, that's why I have only made a few pieces of beadwork since 2001. I still have my box of patterns, though, and the latest eye exercises should make it possible for me to do beadwork again soon. It's one thing to knit without looking, but beadwork by touch is tricky.