Bettering, Not About Quilting or Sewing

Editing

“A lot can change in the editing room.” Diane Lane

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This post could have gone two major ways – been a recap of one of the most demoralizing and difficult days in recent memory.  Bad news at work. Many steps backwards in trying to correct my health issues.  And I saw a raccoon.  That is a pretty bad day for me.

After dinner I was feeling the pain associated with one of my “chronic” conditions.  I have had several friends send me pick-me-up messages after I shared that I needed them… probably clue 1 that I needed to edit today.  Despite the inflow of support, I was feeling very low.  I took two Advil PMs, crawled into bed and was going to cry myself to sleep.  Suddenly I decided I could give in or I could get up.

So I got up.  And my husband and I took a walk.  Just 1/2 an hour – but it did the trick.  I stopped crying.  My pain left.  And I found the energy to sew a bit and write this.

I am trying to do 7 specific things every day for 44 days.

  1. Wake up at 5 am
  2. Eat a salad for a meal
  3. Exercise at least 30 minutes
  4. Post a blog
  5. Take care of my skin before I go to bed
  6. Drink 100 oz of water
  7. Sew for 30 minutes

Today is day 20 for eating a salad.  For the rest it is day 4.   Well, for waking up by 5 am it is day zero.  I have yet to do it.  BUT I am waking up earlier,

If I were to give into the despair, my steak for exercising, sewing, taking care of my skin, and drinking water would have ended.  My will to not have it end was stronger than my will to give up.  Barely stronger, but stronger.

So today could be edited as strength over retreat.  Will over despair.

I still saw a raccoon though.  I really hate raccoons.  They are my spiders, my snakes, my high places.  I’ll take all of those a million times over before encountering a raccoon.  So I will need to edit out the raccoon to make today a winner.

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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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A good week, Not About Quilting or Sewing, working world

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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About me, arting, Not About Quilting or Sewing

Drawings and Writer’s Block

 

I want to write every day – but today is a day when my head and body are tired.  I want to climb into bed… but I am finding that pushing through is sometimes a better feeling.  Keeping this commitment to myself is important.  So, with writer’s block, I am sharing some things I have drawn recently.  I still have so much to learn, but these simple-line drawings don’t make me sad.  They show a basic competency I never thought I would get to.

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This is a picture of my stepson as a little one.  He is a very serious pirate.  He is so adorable in this picture.  I regret all the angst I had  wondering if I would fit into their lives.  I knew this was my one shot at any sort of motherhood so I kept impatiently waiting for it to click, to know their love.  It came, obviously.  But I was impatient.  img_3516

This is a picture of my stepdaughter.  She is bad ass.  She is so funny, generous, kind, and tough that I feel my heart expanding.  This was in response to some teasing from her brother.  She didn’t actually stab him.img_0010

This is Toby the kitten cat.  He is the sweetest little soul.  He gives me all of his love and takes years off my life with his cuteness.  He treats my like a mom who will totally spoil him rotten – and I will.  My mom and I were talking about the animals in our lives – the old souls and the new souls.  Annie was my old soul – Toby is a brand new fresh soul – and it is sweet to be so relied on to give him what he needs.  He is my baby. He is the antidote to losing my Annie – when I think of the hole she left, he will jump up to the surface I am nearest and demand attention and love.  And that is perfect.img_0012

This is my sweet stepdaughter getting int the basket that Toby the kitten cat had just vacated.  She is so beautiful – and in this drawing I come close to showing her sweet spirit.

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Self portrait.  Hard to draw – mentally.  Looking at my face that long was hard – so probably a good thing for me to do.  I drew this soon after I had fake eyelashes installed.  And my eyes aren’t really that green.  And my nose doesn’t exactly look like that.  But my lips are that big.

Not About Quilting or Sewing

Trigger (Radio Edit)

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[10/15/2016 – I got mixed feedback on this post.  I used a lot of crass language originally that I felt drove home the point I was trying to make – the pain, the shame, the visceral.  I think that language lost some readers.  And so I repost with compromise.  And since I originally posted this, Donald Trump has reiterated my message – nothing that his accusers are too ugly to predate upon.]

And god help you if you are an ugly girl

I am entirely ugly.  Feel free to stop reading, but do not give me your objections.  I have more experiences in my life than pounds of extra flesh that let me know I am ugly.  Boys at spring break, teachers, friends, family members, and total random fucking strangers have reiterated to me (unbidden) how entirely ugly I am.

I would love to tell the stories over and over again… “Who invited the fat girl?”, “Why would he grab your ass?”, “We need to walk Kate across campus so she doesn’t get raped.  See you tomorrow, Ginger”, male friends and family dissecting the hotness of a woman while I am right there, the high school calc teacher who ogled a girls’ bottom with the boys in the class and then shrugged when he saw I saw him, getting punched in the boob…  I can pull up the choking pain and embarrassment in an instant.  I can beg for you to imagine 10 steps in my extra wide shoes.  But there is no point to that. Let me just say, I am ugly.  There are not enough words or breaths in your body to convince me otherwise.

In my lifetime I have built a life –  husband, career, house, flesh –  to protect me from the pain of not being pretty.  I can completely, entirely, honestly say I don’t give a shit if you think I am ugly.

And so when I heard that video released with Donald Trump talking about grabbing pussy.  I inexplicably felt all of my ugly-girl pain triggered.  Why???  He was talking about irresistible women – I live in a different universe.

Course too pretty is also your doom
‘Cause everyone harbors a secret hatred
For the prettiest girl in the room

I have always had a complicated relationship with pretty girls.  They have this superpower they can wield with men – to be protected, to be adored, to be listened to, to have things purchased for them.  Jealousy – dark, slimy green jealousy overcomes me.  A few years ago in therapy I said, “I just wish I was pretty enough to deserve to be taken care of.”

My therapist looked at me and said that sounded like absolute bullshit.  And she was right.  Being ugly, unadored, invisible gave me space and tools to be who I am.  And I am great – I stealthily reveal my humor, my intelligence, my worth.  And I can always recognize that moment when somebody realizes I am pretty fly for a fat girl.  And I can take care of myself.

I’m not trying to give my life meaning
By demeaning you

Being invisible and being gorgeous have one thing in common.  They don’t expect much.  And at least I was mostly left alone.  That seems easier than being valued only for your looks – all other attributes ignored.

In short, it is complicated.  As we focus on getting rid of rape culture in our schools and society, there is progress in that male authority figures are no longer allowed to talk or act like sexual predators.  Definitely not the case when I was growing up.  Donald Trump’s comments have been seen as totally outside of acceptability – not just boys being boys.  Except by Rudy Giuliani, who (if you ask me) is entirely ugly  Watching male Republican leaders have to disavow gross comments from their presidential candidate cracks my flat fat ass up !!

And god help you if you are a phoenix
And you dare to rise up from the ash
A thousand eyes will smolder with jealousy
While you are just flying past

All of this is self-indulgent navel gazing, because if I was a minority, Mexican, disabled, or a muslim, I would be pissed that all of a sudden we find Trump’s words too much.  As a fat and ugly girl, I can only begin to empathize with how people in those groups must feel invisible and unprotected – not worthy of outrage.

Let’s end this national nightmare.

p.s. all song lyrics from the song 32 flavors by the totally fuckable Ani Difranco

p.p.s  don’t worry, my marriage is happy and healthy.  But one of the reasons I love my husband so hard is that he absolutely judges everybody by their intelligence – men, women, newts… not a perfect system, but refreshing.

arting, Not About Quilting or Sewing

Cups of stuff

cups_penspencilsI still want to learn to draw.  It has been challenging for me, because my brain doesn’t communicate to my hands in that way.  Which is just practicing enough in order to build the connection for communication.  But when I want to practice drawing, I don’t know where to start, what to do.

This week I drew my cup of pens and pencils on my desk.  It is so far from good.  But it is progress.  Practice Practice Practice.

This is the first in a series of cups of stuff.  Weirdly awesomely fun to draw.

Bettering, Not About Quilting or Sewing, Uncategorized

Finding Quiet

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The longer you work, I think the more possibilities you have of creating something.  At least in my case, it doesn’t come through divine touch, it just comes through just work.

– Arturo Herrera

For a lot of my life, work was home base.  Homework and then working for a living.  And then there was the work of making.  I have always felt most myself and safest when I retreat to work.

But I have lost some of that.  I work enough – and people are always telling me how surprised they are how much quilting I get done.  And I am busy at work.

Work is not home base anymore though.  I feel my brain is distracted.  It is hard for me to accomplish.  Part of that is the unavoidable complexity of life.  But part of that is the noise I create with dumb TV and dumb smartphone.

My husband has the beautiful little reading nook upstairs.  It is quiet.  It is peaceful.  It reminds me of my great grandmother’s apartment.  Bright, quiet, and invitation to play or think or read.  I want to create that same space for quiet in my brain and in my home.

I seem to need to recommit to this daily.  It no longer comes naturally or easily.  It may be too late for me to rewire.  All I can do is try.  I know, dear reader, you can’t stomach me committing one more time to work and focus.  Yet, it helps me.  It really does.

This evening I stated to my family that I was never going to play a video game or watch a dumb television show again.  The kids witnessed this and looked back down at their phones.  The role modeling can’t start soon enough.

Cal Newport has a lot of excellent things to say about focus – and how it can lead to achievement:  http://calnewport.com/blog/