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DISCLAIMER: Despite evidence to the contrary, I prefer cash.


Last week, before going to Will Henry and Matthew
shows at Butler/Borden Gallery, I stopped in at the Gem and Bead
in the Rice Village. 
Although not a gallery in the traditional sense, it’s the perfect one
stop-shopping place for all your holiday needs.


Speaking of holiday needs, I love Christmas.  I would love Chanukah if I were Jewish,
but I am not, and I would love Kwanzaa too if ears of corn didn’t’ figure so
heavily into its symbolism.  Now
that I am thinking about it, maybe I am disqualified from loving Christmas
because I am not exactly a Christian, although I was baptized twice, twice in
that they drowned me the first time and had to wait for my resurrection to go
at it again. A few years ago I tried getting behind the whole Winter Solstice
thing but was rejected from the Celtic fold when I said hell no, I am not
getting my labia pierced again. Seriously, anyone would have thought 16 times
was enough, but apparently they are really strict about their rules. 


What I love the most about the holiday season is the buying
and giving of carefully selected gifts. 
This love came to me naturally, as my family is known throughout the
state as the model of thoughtful gift exchange . 


One of the tried and true adages my family always observes
when selecting gifts is Listen with your eyes and not with your ears.  
By this, I do not mean that in order to be a successful gift buyer you
will need to learn to read other people’s lips.   Nor do I mean that you will have to have a tympanic
and/or a cochlea implanted in your eye. What I am trying to say is, it’s not important what the
other person says they like or dislike, but rather what you gather from a
highly subjective, cursory observation of the person you are shopping for. 


A perfect example of how this failsafe method works is as
follows: As an infant I inexplicably developed what was to become a life long
phobia of buttons. This fear was so pervasive that for years I could neither
utter the word, nor touch the objects themselves. On visits to my grandmother,
my sisters and cousins delighted in playing with the buttons she kept in a tin,
while I, removed to the furthest possible corner, would amuse myself playing
with a box of empty spools .


A few years ago my sister Susan and I sat over coffee
discussing the upcoming holiday celebrations.   In the course of the conversation I mentioned that I did not
have many decorations in my home, a situation I very much prefer. As is our
custom in my family, my sister paid no attention to my words, but rather looked
at me
intently, as though she were trying to plumb the depths of my very
.  Having divined what it was I
really wanted for Christmas, imagine my delight when I opened her gift a week
later  – a box full of tree
, including a Raggedy Ann and Andy, two candy canes and two angels,
each and everyone covered from top to bottom in an array of retchingly colorful


With this method in mind, may I suggest a strawberry or
cherry geode obelisk
(photo above on right) from Gem and Bead Gallery for those of
you with friends or relatives who hate the San Jacinto monument and who suffer
from vasovagal syncope.


Another holiday tradition my
family abides by is An Accident Well Planned Is An Accident Wrapped in
Everybody knows accidents are at an all time high during
the holidays. According to the Center for Disease Control, injuries such as
tree decorating falls, turkey garroting, and ribbon tying hangings rise
significantly during the holiday season. 
Why not gain control, and plan for these accidents before the relatives
arrive?  Knowing what kind of
injury will occur ensures you will have plenty of tourniquets, surgical
and prosthetic devices on hand.


Each member of my family has an
accident of choice.  I, for
example, prefer poisoning by mistletoe, keeping
plenty of activated charcoal on hand. 
My sister Leslie, moreover, favors cut hands or, in a fix, the severed finger.   One
year she gave everyone in my family cheese knives wrapped in thin paper; as we
opened them you could hear everyone’s squeals of glee.  Another year she presented me with a
cane she had carved with loving care. I will never forget that gift, as its
handle was embedded with shards of broken glass, one of which I carry on my
body to this day.


If you are like my sister
Leslie, there are plenty of sharp, broken looking objects for you to choose
from at the Gem and Bead Gallery.  
My favorites are the hand carved Brazilian geode toucans and cockatoos
perched atop, you guessed it, more geodes.  Maybe they aren’t geodes, but they are, nonetheless, g-o-o-d


Do you ever worry about people
regifting the presents you buy?  My
family doesn’t, because they wisely buy gifts that nobody else would want!!!  For example, one year Susan gave me the holiday
, a life size Cabbage Patch Man
made out of pantyhose, and replete with Geri curls, polyester sansabelts, and
cowboy boots.  I couldn’t give this
gift away for love or money.  But,
as in the case of all things, I grew use to it, and yes, even fond of it in my own way.  Let me tell you, Real Dolls got nothing on my man.


And like my family, you too can be wise in your gift giving
purchases.  From gigantic,
overwrought looking necklaces to split geodes resembling vaginas, the choices
are endlessly yours to make at the Rice Village Gem and Bead Gallery. 



Next? Possibly the newly revamped Deborah Colton Gallery.


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