Bettering, Not About Quilting or Sewing, Uncategorized

Marchenings

Yesterday, I posted about some crafty sewing progress in March. Today is a very brief look at some other March happenings.  Marchenings, if you will.

BLOND! (and it is ok that I wrote “blond” instead of “blonde”, per this.)

Most of my teens and 20s I spent with blond hair.  And suddenly one night I wanted it back and I found a stylist to play along.  I LOVE it!!  And I still am learning how to apply lipstick, obviously.

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Fixed bathrooms!

We no longer have  adorable, horrible, evil pedestal sinks in either of our bathrooms.  We found this little darling cabinetthat fits the tight space of our upstairs bathroom.  AND we got the shower fixed in the downstairs bathroom so we totally have one shower with first-world(ish) water pressure.  We have painted since this picture was taken, so imagine a better color of paint.

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Exercise train.  CHOO CHOO!  I exercised a lot more – not enough – but a lot more.  And I have been feeling the benefit.  There is nothing better than the sore feeling from working out.  These bad boy Mary Lou Retton calves still are kickin’ and looking forward to turning 44 in a couple of weeks. Oh, and HAI! one gold toe that really accentuates the Mortonish of it all.

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Bettering

Dance

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Two weeks ago I had a really bad meltdown.  I became overwhelmed by the “fact” that I could never be anything but a mess.

Let’s go backward a bit.  Many years ago, I saw a therapist who specialized in body image issues and eating disorders.  I don’t want to brag, but therapists love me.  #dontbejel I have pretty crippling body image issues.  They have gotten better over time, but fat is fat.  She was a good therapist and a lot of what she helped me with has stuck.  The memory most prominent in my mind was that she commented on how I was one of the most self-assured fat people she had met.

She said it differently, of course, but that is what she meant.  Most people with a lifetime of fat have self image issues that bleed into their sense of worth in other areas.  I am fat.  But you can bet your bazooka I also am smart, tough, funny, kind.  There is not much anybody could say or do to convince me otherwise.  That shit is hard-wired.

BUT – remind me that I am fat and I remind myself that I am pretty worthless despite being smart, tough, funny, kind.  What kind of moron doesn’t stop being fat?  A colossal moron.  What type of dumb dumb is fat for 30+ years?  A ginormous dumb dumb.

Yet fat I am.  And I never stop being fat.  Every day I am fat.  Every day without end.

Yeah.  So – I’m f’d.  And then breakdown.  That moment when I just couldn’t be in my skin anymore.  I couldn’t survive one more moment with the failure that is me.  No matter how loved I am, I don’t deserve to exist.  No matter how smart, tough, funny, kind I am, I don’t deserve to exist.

Uh, hi, self pity, crazy, irrational train?  Yes, one ticket please.  Sigh.

Luckily I have a wonderful husband.  Who never stops dragging me out of the ditch.  We can do this.  I can do this.  I am worth all the love and the gifts I have been given with my brain, heart, soul.  He forces me to believe it.  (sidebar: I love marriage.)

The journey has been tough the last 2 weeks.  I haven’t kept all of my eating commitments to myself.  I have kept my exercise commitments to myself.

I have signed up for two dance classes.  They seemed like such a good idea when I signed up – exercise + inspiration from Dr. Dance.  But actually going is hard.  But went I did.  Afro aerobics earlier this week.  Ballet tonight.  I am proud.  I am tired.

Baby steps.  Baby ballerina steps.  Bad-ass baby ballerina steps. I’m fat.  But I am alive.  And I dance.  And I am smart, tough, funny, kind.  And I survive.

 

Bettering, Fabric

splurge!

I have felt the joy of growing as a person the last month.  After I got over a wretched bout of flu/strep throat/major fatigue, I felt like a new person.  More energy – especially more creative energy.  I wanted to make and do more.  In addition, I am developing some great new eating habits – more on that later, maybe.

I am anxious to see what gains I can make in February.  I would like to build on new eating habits to exercise consistently.  And I am going to stop shopping for the rest of the year.  I love online shopping – and I hate it.  I have enough jewelry, fabric, shoes, clothes, and art supplies.  Plenty plus a lot more.  Online shopping, like eating, is done to fill avoid that is ultimately just made bigger.  I am not going to become a minimalist – but I am going to stop shopping.  I have a list of exceptions – gifts for other people, and supporting resources for projects – batting, interfacing, embroidery floss  – but no fabric and no shoes and no jewelry and no clothes.  I am looking forward to the mental freedom I will get from not even allowing idle pointing and clicking to enter my life.  But it is also scary.

This article (I happened on from the always awesome Saturday Seven serieson A Quilting Life blog) really convinced me of the joy and impact not shopping could have.  I am preparing myself mentally for the benefit and effort of this new adventure.  I am trying to do some things structurally to make it easier – unsubscribing from all email subscriptions – even Purl Soho!, making all my existing beautiful things accessible as a reminder of the abundance I have.

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BUT, on Saturday I had the joy of spending a really generous gift certificate to Sarah’s fabrics that my coworkers had gotten for me.  It felt great to have the money to spend – but also confirmed that I will be ok not shopping – because one always wants more than one can buy.  I spent most of the money on fabrics to back Project Linus quilts.  But I also spent some on the splurge of this gorgeous wool felt.  Nothing beats the real stuff.  And I am not sure what I will use it for – but it is oddly comforting knowing it is there.  🙂

 

Bettering, embroidery, Ta Da Done

In love and in 2018!

Hello – New year!  I love new years.  I love how bare the house looks after taking down Christmas decorations.  I love new lists, new goals, big plans, optimism.  A new year is a fresh sheet of paper.

For better or worse, I fill my pieces of paper with the same doodles every time.  I am many things – many awesome things – but I still struggle to value, protect, and better my health.  This year, this notebook, this page is not different.

I still am me in that I want to do everything.  Dance, run, speak a new language, make new friends, give art tours, draw, sew, paint, weave, garden.

That is, I want to do everything until it comes time to actually do things.  And here is the reality – all I really want to do is sew.  After work, family, friend commitments are met, I just want to sew.  I have successfully sewn a lot this year already.  A LOT.  I have not exercised once.  Not once.

So the trick this year will be to let myself sew as much as I want to – set as many stitchy goals as I possibly can.  But first, exercise.  It is necessary for my resilience and health.  So other than exercise goals, I am not going to push myself to do anything else.  One distraction from exercise.  One distraction from sewing.

But… man, the sewing be good…  some of my recent endeavors…

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This is a pattern from Purl Soho.  I bought a whole kit, but ended up not liking the color or fabric, so went with a more French color palette.  I love this more than words and really did improve my stitches working on this.  I am not a fan of the circle at the top with all of the fly stitches.  I am going to pull that out and put the word ADORE in the circle.  This is going to be a bed parasite (pillow) in our bedroom, so taking the license to get a little romantic-y with it.  Did I mention I love this?

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Speaking of romantic, I made little felt hearts for this Valentine’s Day tree.  Again, Purl Soho pattern.  I cut them out on my Cricut Maker and whipped them together.  They join some mini flowers and glitter hearts I picked up at Joann.  The goal is to have this tree decorated year round as a festive little thing.

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Did I mention I LOVE my Cricut Maker??  More on that in a later post.

I am trying to make peace with using regular felt.  I have used wool felt for so many projects, that it is hard to not use it.  But unless making a gift for a child, I think polyester felt is so fine.  It is pennies on the dollar.  So it is just fine.  Really.

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This baby quilt was the first draft of this quilt for a bestest friend’s baby.  It was in a magazine and I feel in love with it.  But it ended up not being up to snuff.  I set it aside waiting just for the binding to be done.  Last weekend I finished it and it is going into my donate to Project Linus pile.  I hope to do 24 Project Linus quilts this year.  #morethanicanchew

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Oh, embroidery!   I don’t know why it took me so long to get into embroidery.  I am so in love with it.  Can’t think about much else.  I have so many projects I want to complete.  I started this one and am so addicted.  The pattern is from the Tula Pink book.  Love love love.

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Look at that brick stitch!!  So in LOVE!!

So, I love stuff.  And I am going to exercise.  Happy 2018!

 

 

Bettering

Touchstones

IMG_4031Today was hard.  I felt easily bruised, easily offended.  One of those days where being a grown up and choosing not to take my toys and go home was hard.  I have a pit of anxiety that I can’t quite place.  And I am oh so hungry.

I have learned in my baby-steps meditation practice to expand the feeling around anxiety.  Don’t dig in, but notice it generally, as if from across the room.  I am trying to do that with my anxiety and my hunger.  Notice, but don’t fall in.

I am working on having touchstones – everyday activities that can ground me.  Tonight I exercised, sewed, and now am blogging.  I think those transform my evenings from eating or thinking about eating to something else.  I don’t feel exhausted and ashamed right now.

I made this block during my hour of sewing today.  A fairly wonky thistle.  I made every mistake – put the green strips wrong side up, sewed the leaves upside down and then backwards.  When I got everything facing the right direction with the right side of the fabric, I called it.  A little bit wonky, but done.  There is a metaphor there that I can’t find right now.

Talk to you tomorrow.

Bettering

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.

Bettering

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.