Monday, May 31, 2010
Charmed, I'm sure
I've been in love with the idea of charm bracelets since I was a young teen. In fact, I like the idea of souvenir jewelry in general, including lockets and hair jewelry. I had a locket that I wore through college. In it were photos of our family's cats, Crystal (who passed away my junior year) and Deedee (who is still around and fat). Every time I showed the inside to someone, they looked surprised and told me they'd expected to see photos of a guy, which I thought was odd. At 19, my cats were more important to me than any boyfriend could have been. Even though I am married now, I'd still pick a photo of our cat, Taroko George, over one of my husband for a locket (a choice I'm sure Ron would approve of, since we are both feline fanciers).
During our honeymoon in San Francisco a year ago, I thought it'd be fun to start a charm bracelet. I didn't get the chance, however, until we'd returned to Taipei and I discovered De Stijl, a store that imports vintage jewelry from the US and Europe. Several of the charms on my bracelet are from De Stijl; the rest are from Internet sources. The first was this little cat in a basket, which Ron bought for my birthday last year:
I chose the charm because I think the kitten, cozy in its little basket, represents the household that Ron and I have created together. Also, I'm a basketcase sometimes.
The next charm was the one you see at top of this entry. The typewriter represents my career as a journalist. I debated getting the miniature ad or holding out for a tiny 3-D typewriter, but in the end I decided I like the "50 words" at the top. Sometimes when I have writer's block or am stressed out by a deadline, I remind myself that everything will fall into place quickly if I just write 50 words at a time (and keeping doing it for as long as I have to).
I've always been bad at keeping a personal daily journal. Despite that, I think it's important to constantly look inward and think about how your own thoughts and actions have contributed to the shape of your life and your relationships. This tiny diary is a reminder to myself to be accountable. Also, I get a kick out of the fact that it opens and closes, like many things in my life, including my jaw.
The zebra symbolizes our wedding. We got married at the San Francisco Zoo on a platform in their African Savanna habitat and there were several animals grazing behind us during our vows. There's a zebra (or its butt) in a lot of our photos from the ceremony.
This sewing machine represents my love of needlework (and its history). It also represents the fact that I could not find a knitting charm that does not look like a silver ball of snot with two sticks stuck through it.
Photography has been a big part of my life since our parents bought my brother and me matching kids' cameras with disposable flash cartridges (remember those?). This charm is the only one on my bracelet that isn't sterling silver. I'm thinking of looking for one that is, because the contrast between the color of the metals is a little jarring for my taste.
I found this tiny bust of Queen Elizabeth II at De Stijl and debated buying it for several days. The history of the British monarchy reminds me of cultural imperialism and colonialism. As someone of Chinese descent, I find those things distasteful in a personal way. At the same time, I admire Queen Elizabeth II for her sense of duty -- and the fact that she occasionally wears thick-rimmed spectacles with evening gowns. Now that's what I call charming (rim shot)!