deadlifts and dermabrasion

Small joys can amount to a happy life…

the feel of good deadlifts with real weight

coworkers that make work joy

a challenging and rewarding job

a squeaky clean face

finding my voice in situations where it was once lost

having experience to share

finding other humans who will expose their soft spots

an adorable kittencat who is thrilled to have you home

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Vacation

Hello… I am short on words today, probably because I was too free with words in my last post.  Yesterday I showed my soul, today I am going to show my camera roll. A sampling of pictures from our vacation… the aerial tram, hiking Lily Lake (and ignoring the admonition that no pets were allowed), knitting and sitting on our condo deck, taking a bumpy cold Jeep tour at Rocky Mountain National Park. Not pictured is when we rode horses, because, well, we were on horses.them

Gone

Driving up the mountain from Boulder to Estes Park.  Jeff Tweedy is serenading me.  I see a plane push up into the air making a fast vertical line of smoke.  Just as quickly, the plane dives, creates another line of smoke as it plummets to the ground and then pulls up right before crashing into the rocks.  And does it again and again.  It is so amazing, so implausible, I cry and holler and then sing with Jeff…

Remember to remember me, Standing still in your past, Floating still like a hummingbird

The plane wasn’t diving for me, the miracle existed regardless of me being on that road.  But it was all for me.


We are on vacation.  And the trip has been full of non-miracles.  The mountains, the tiny wildflowers, the waterfalls, the alpine lakes.  They don’t exist for me.  But they do.
On Monday, the first real day of our vacation, I woke up crazy early and drove to Boulder to meet with a woman who would take the pain away.  New pain and really old pain and loss and fear – gone.  Poof.  Pulling me up just before I crashed into the rocks.  

I think of big and small traumas from growing up.  And they don’t feel like they are happening.  My body isn’t bracing anymore.  The low buzz of anxiety is gone.  Gone.  Probably forever.

I have lost the desire to eat more than what I am hungry for.  Gone.  Hopefully forever.

I think of Laurie and feel joy and connectedness, not debilitating loss.  And always will forever. 

I think of stories of dumb things people said to me about being fat or ugly.  And I laugh.  Real laughter.  The anger is gone.  Forever.

This is a miracle.  But it isn’t.  It is a technique to fix the brain.  And it took 3 hours and it worked.  I am still me.  I still have to inject myself with insulin.  I still like a good nap.  I still have a gap in my smile.  But I am also not me.  I am not bracing for trauma from the past.  I am not eating to stop the buzz of anxiety.  I got to leave the parts that were keeping me from joy in Sonja’s office in Boulder.  She took them from me.  

Miracle.

For more information on Rapid Resolution Therapy, see here.

pneumonia and baby quilts

A bit of a ditch on the road of life the last couple of weeks.  I was hospitalized with pneumonia and a tummy infection and crud and stuff.  Prior to spending a night in the hospital, my longest and worst night was an overnight train ride from the sticks of Romania to the capital.  Pee kept gurgling up in the sink in the train car and drunk people kept crashing into our car and I spent the night willing myself to just make it to daylight without throwing up.  That night was a dream compared to the first couple nights in the hospital.  Really, truly scary and the deepest loneliness I have ever known.  Not to make too much of it, but truly horrible.

I am a week out from getting to (finally!) come back home.  And still the surreality of it all is overwhelming.  My appetite is back (boo!), I can go more than a few hours without needing a nap, and all of my symptoms that sent me to and kept me in the hospital are gone.  But the feeing of dread and fear and loneliness still can come back in an instant.  And in my dreams I still am stuck in the room with the IVs and the beeping and the pain.

All this to say, my heart goes to those who are in the hospital now.  And I am so thankful to be home and getting back to normal.

This weekend (in between marathon naps), I finished a couple of baby quilts.  Baby girl quilts that are just so darn cute.

First up is a quilt where the colors of the nursery are teal and coral.  Teal and coral become elusive colors – so easily becoming mint or aqua and orange or peach.  I think the scrappiness covers me – so many different teals and corals and mints and oranges and peaches, that at least some of them have to be right…

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The blocks are simple, but I love the secondary pattern that is created.  But the best part of this quilt is the back.  The stupendous Disco Kitty print by Ms. Pink…

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Those little kitties are just the cutest !!!!!  And this is going to a family that loves kitties, so win win win.  I did my favorite cross hatch quilting that gives a little diagonal pop.  And the binding is a teal (aqua? mint?) stripe that I think echoes the teal-and-white blocks well.  I am really, really trying to get better at the binding.  Time and practice and patience.

Next up is a frothy pink delight…

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I super sized a block from 12 inches to 24 inches and off-center framed it in my most girly pink fabrics.  This palette and flowery goodness is my jam.  Had so much fun making this  – and truly love that some people still want pink for little girls.  Very un-hip of me, but I love pink.  It just makes me happy.  And I think the old-fashioned blue-and-white floral works well with the pinks… and the big8flower sugar centerpiece makes me squeal.

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I backed this one with a peppy little floral to introduce a few more colors.  And bound in a simple solid french-ish blue.  And again simple cross-hatch quilting.

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Boo to hospitals and pneumonia and IVs and breathing treatments.  Yay to quilts for baby girls and pinks and coral and flowers and sunshine.

Bye for now… hope your summer days are filled with joy.

 

Being Essential

I have thought hard about what I want to focus on in life.  There is work and there is family.  Those are no-brainers.  And my health isn’t the best.  I have some things I need to fix.  Not want to fix, not should fix – need to fix.  I know I will feel better if I eat less and move more.  Sigh.  And I need to manage my stress.  I have gotten a fairly decent meditation routine in.  I would like to amp that up with some regular yoga.

So exercise, yoga, and sewing.  If I focus on those things I think I will get better at all of them.  Each day I can make progress.  They vicious circle is finding the energy to do the things to give me energy when I feel so zapped.  Really zapped.  I know it is my blood sugar and thyroid.  And I know seeing the doctor and moving more will fix both.  But I don’t wanna.  🙂  But I will.

Today I felt pretty low physically.  But I did sew some.  A woman at work is having a baby  and doesn’t want to know the gender and doesn’t have a particular color scheme in mind.  Hello, creativity.

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I copied the pattern from a picture of a quilt a friend recently sent me.  Her quilt is gorgeous – black and white squares surrounded by white sashing and pale pink setting squares.  I had the black-and-white squares already cut.  I decided on mint and yellow ombre.  Love that one fabric provides so many different colors.  I am still searching for a back.  J will do simple straight-line quilting and I am going to work hard to improve my binding skills with this one.  I really do want to get better at that.

In addition to the constant stream of baby quilts, I have been working on the Gypsy Wife Quilt using a new fabric line designed by Robyn Pandolph.  The fabric is very shabby chic, harkening back to when I used Robyn Pandolph fabrics in the 90s.  🙂   I absolutely fell in love with this fabric, now I am just hoping it can keep my interest for the entire quilt.  I think it will be beautiful, but right now it is feeling a little same-y.

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In other news, my kittencat still is off-the-charts cute and sweet.  Although right now he is off napping somewhere, which means I can do some beading embroidery.  Absolutely impossible when he is near.

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Essential

As long as I can remember, I have been enchanted by the idea of a Renaissance man – a person who has the time, the money, the fortitude to become an expert in science and art and literature.  That is my compulsion.  Here is what I want to accomplish in the next year…

  • speak a foreign language fluently
  • read the best 100 english-language novels
  • finish reading all of P.G. Wodehouse
  • master 20+ recipes that are heartbreakingly delicious
  • be crazy strong, a competent beginning ballerina, and make it to advanced yoga
  • make a ton of quilts, finish a lot of embroidery and cross-stitch, make a handmade gift for every gift-giving occasion
  • relearn organic chemistry
  • regularly meditate so that I think more clearly and am more resilient
  • be crazy knowledgeable in the best of americana indie music
  • join an amateur improv troupe
  • become a deep expert in modern art
  • volunteer 100+ hours
  • make eating healthier a sustained practice
  • have beautiful skin
  • create a beautiful flower garden and bountiful, eco-friendly vegetable garden
  • learn to speak credibly about wine
  • find my voice and post regularly on this blog and have hundreds of people follow and like

and the list could go on, and on, and on.

Several problems here – several reasons why completing this list in the next  year is not possible – let’s start with the obvious ones…

  • I like to nap.  I love that feeling of falling asleep and surrendering for an hour or two.
  • I have a job (a job I love, but still a job)
  • I love some people and it is important for me to spend time with them
  • There are typically only 24 hours in a day – and that is inclusive of nap time
  • My adorable kitten cat misses me when I am away.

Now, for some of the less obvious reasons…

  • I like to be at home.  There, I said it.  I have fought against this my whole life – but single or married, I have always loved to be at home.  I love the comfort.  I love the low stress.  I don’t curl into a ball and start rocking myself, but I don’t like crowds, I am so over partying, and I don’t like to wear a bra or shoes any longer than is absolutely required by decency.
  • I love people, but I reach my breaking point of social interaction through work.  I have always been a person who likes to do everything to make other people feel comfortable.  Nod when I disagree with them, laugh at unfunny jokes, smile when they say something rude to me.  I am working hard to break the habits that are not helpful for my career success.  And I am pretty sure my immediate family would laugh their butts off at me claiming to be over-agreeable.  It is that strange spot with people who I am not extremely connected to, but friends with, where my crimes against being “real” are most egregious.  I am not going to tell you how it is.  I am not going to call you on your shit.  I am not the one to ask if your sweater makes you look fat.  I don’t like this about myself… but then again, I know never to ask anybody (other than my mom or my trainer) for honest feedback about my personal life or clothing choices.  (Again, different at work – I loves me some honest feedback about my work performance – that is helpful and doesn’t feel personal.)  Anyway… diatribe ending in 10… 9… 8…  I feel exhausted and lonely and whipped after most personal outings. And I am pretty sure my husband could live a happy life without ever again having to listen to me dissect what I really wanted to say after spending time with some people.  “Can you BELIEVE she said that to her kids???”  “Who says that my barrette is out of style??  Who DOES that???”
  • There are some things that I think I should be good at, but I don’t like to do.  (Insert old trope about women thinking they need to be all things to all people and have a Martha Stewart house.)  I don’t like to cook.  I don’t like to garden.   I want to speak a foreign language, but I am not willing to put the work into it that is needed.

It feels good to write those things – to be honest with myself about who I am and what I really want.  (If I have hurt your feelings with any of the above, please text me immediately and allow me to disavow all of it so that you feel better.  I was just kidding.  LOL)

Which brings me to the point of this post.  Recently I was introduced to the ideas of Greg McKeown.  The quote that got me…

“Instead of making just a millimeter of progress in a million directions he began to generate tremendous momentum towards accomplishing the things that were truly vital.”

OMG.  Duh.  By trying to fit everything in, I haven’t been accomplishing anything.  Greg’s work is focused on career success.  And I am making some changes in how I approach my work to fit in these ideas – while being so grateful for having that sort of agency in my work life.

But where I really needed this advice was in my personal growth focus.  I can’t be a Renaissance woman.  Let it go.  Move on to a new dream.  And decide what is essential.  And then make real progress in those areas.  I can learn German and grow sweet peas in my next life.

This week’s baby quilt

My life continues to be full of baby quilts.  I haven’t been quilting much lately, but the baby quilt to do list has been stacking up.  The latest one is pictured below.  It is an enlarged block from Farm Girl Vintage book.  I ended up tying it to finish it, but didn’t get a picture of the finished front.  And the backing is MOMO for Moda.  Love, love, love that fabric.

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My birthday just happened (woot!)  I had a fabulous day.  The family took me out for crepes, gave me beautiful gifts and funny cards, and then I got to spend the whole day sewing.  It was really wonderful.

And a new year brings new commitments to being healthy, writing, and sewing sewing sewing.  I have lots of piles of projects, ready to finish.  If I do a baby quilt a week (!!), I will be caught up with gifts and charity projects in 15 weeks.  Stay tuned…