Thursday, February 28, 2013

All About ME, ME, ME!!!

 Today is MY day to show my All About Me project.    Thank goodness for Madame Samm and Marlene, because I never would have tried this sort of thing without them.    They have helped me stretch my mind in so many crafty ways, and I am grateful.    I have a friend who tells me I am "such a cheerleader," but these ladies make me look like a Debbie Downer.
I have never before made anything like this fun pattern by Amy Bradley, and I'm so glad I tried it. I got to use fusible interfacing for the first time, and (a version of) machine applique, and lots of other techniques I'd never tried before.  I got to discover the limits of my old sewing machine.    And (blush), most fun of all, I got to think about ME and what would best represent me to all of y'all.    I decided to use only what I had in my stash because, even though I am very new at this, I have a stash that is taking over my craft/guest room.    Sigh.
 
Now I dare say I have as many life-biases as anyone, but I am not an accomplished seamstress, so the play on the word “bias” didn't really describe me. I wanted to find something I could claim as my own, something I could hang on my wall that will make me smile.
My resolutions for 2013 were to make it the Best Year Ever, and have a Ridiculous Amount of Fun. I have been trying to look at every experience and decision through that 'lens,' and to learn and experience things that I'd never considered before.   So far the year is going well.     I wanted my “Me” to reflect those choices.
You'll notice that my “Me” is toting a pistol.   I am enjoying a lot of target shooting lately and, although I have always enjoyed shooting by myself, these days I also shoot with a couple of friends and that has turned out to be more fun than I could have imagined.   They are getting better and better, and I struggle to keep up.    As one of them reminds me, it's not about losing, it's about trying harder.   Whenever we shoot, we end our range time with an informal competition and it is my goal to beat them as often as I can.  

The heart is a reminder of all the love in my life: my family, my adorable Grands, the patients and families I work with, and my friends.   I want to remember to keep my heart right out there on top, because I want people to be able to find it, no matter how vulnerable that makes me.
I also added a fly fishing rod because I am hoping to improve my fly fishing skills again this year.   I am better at tying flies than catching fish, so I embellished my “Me” with one of the flies I tied this winter.
The embroidery that forms the “scales” of the fish says FUN in Morse Code, that elusive language that I decided to learn as a joke and that has become a huge personal challenge for me.   I am getting better and better at “talking,” but I still have a lot of work to learn to “listen,” which has made me consider whether that might be true in Real Life, too.

Finally, instead of using hanging rings or hardware to hang my Me, I decided to practice my fishing knots and made a couple of small perfection loops to use for hanging it on the wall.   I stitched the finished loops on the back and up I went!
I wanted to add a million other things, like Family and Travel and Learning and Crafts and Food, but decided it could all be summed up in the caption Best Year Ever and the badge that says Life Is Good.   For so many reasons, it truly is.
Thanks for stopping by!    I hope you'll check out the other amazing Me's that are on display today!   (My earlier post lists ALL of the Hops, and it's really worth it to go back and check them ALL out!)

Shedding the Wolf  (That's me!)



Tuesday, February 19, 2013

All About Me Blog Schedule!


Today is the first day of the All About Me/I'm A Little Biased Blog Hop -- check out the participating blogs; it's sure to be another inspiring Hop!  Amy Bradley's design is so much fun to work with, and I know there will be lots of creative variations.    Special thanks to the amazing Madame Samm and Marlene from StitchinByTheLake!  My day is Thursday, February 28, I hope you'll stop back to see ME then!  I am NOT a little biased, and I hope I don't get in trouble for it!    :)

Tuesday, February 19


Wednesday, February 20


Thursday, February 21


Friday, February 22


Monday, February 25



Tuesday, February 26


Wednesday, February 27


Thursday, February 28

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Happy

Several times this week, while doing nothing in particular -- driving, working, sitting by myself -- I've been overwhelmed by the knowledge that I am happy.    This will sound awful and pathetic but honestly, although I often feel happy with family and friends and activities, I can't remember just feeling happy for long periods of time all by myself for no reason.    It feels good.

It's been a good week.   No major disasters at work, at least none that involved me.   Valentine's Day, which can be a land mine for us single folk, was good.    That's all I have to say about that.     And today I'll go looking for discount candy to make up for any lack in that regard!

I had time to play with the Grands, and that is always good.   My grandson seriously explained  to me that, although my Morse Code pillow is "clever," Morse Code is not intended as a written language -- the same information that Mr. Morse Code lectured me about, which made me laugh.   My granddaughter and I made paper food.
My fly tying class -- 150 miles away -- was good enough.   
I still have (what feels like) a million projects in the air.   I've been so busy at work that I had to turn down two invitations to shoot -- aargh!     That is the DEFINITION of TOO BUSY!!!   I finished listening to the Psychology "Great Course" lectures and learned a lot.   I am still doing code work and making myself crazy.    I forced myself to slow down and am holding back at half the alphabet until I get those sounds under control.   Although I know the difference between the symbols, my ear can't always HEAR the difference between A and N, sometimes even mistaking it for I, and the same problem is happening with D and R.   They are SO DIFFERENT on paper that it makes me nutty that I can't always hear the difference.   But I'm getting better, making fewer mistakes, and have no intention of quitting.   I laugh when I pick up code letters in music.     It would be good if I could find another newbie to practice with and I've put out some feelers on that idea.

My "All About Me" project is still a work in progress; I am definitely making it about me, and seem to be going pretty far afield of the pattern, which I hope won't offend anybody.    My other sewing projects - purses, bags and quilts -- are in various stages of not-nearly-done.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

When You Throw a Request to the Universe, You Never Know What You're Gonna Get

So.   I wanted a new hobby that I wouldn't have chosen myself. And I wanted more opportunities to shoot.    New friends have provided versions of both.    I easily learned the Morse Code written symbols as a joke, and didn't expect it to have any application other than a laugh, but have now been told in no uncertain terms that it is NOT the Morse Code if it's done on paper, it has to involve the audio signal.    Fair enough, I responded (with my big mouth), so I'll learn that too.    Friend lent me a keyer and sent me a bunch of study files, with instructions to (1) listen, (2) say each letter out loud and (3) write each letter down.    He challenged me to have it under control in two weeks.     After a day of study I am ready to SCREAM!    This is super hard, my head is about ready to explode from all the 'dits' and 'dahs' I've stuffed inside.    I am told that it will become second nature, but I suspect that's only if it doesn't cause a stroke first.    This is definitely not the hobby I would have picked for myself, but I'm going to give it a good faith effort, if only for the sincerity of the teacher.

And my shooting, which I do enjoy, is only getting worse, despite a lot of practice.   Thank goodness my shooting companion also shot badly this weekend.    Loser buys dinner and I haven't had to buy yet.    But the guy who didn't make it for this week's shoot is consistently scoring a lot higher than I did, and I only beat my very competent companion (in a two out of three contest) by one lucky point, so I'm pretty sure my days as a freeloader are numbered.
And this is how I filled my weekend, this and playing with the Grands.    I didn't do a lick of work, and I don't seem to have missed it a bit.

I'm a Winner-Winner-Winner!

I've neglected to post several prizes I've won over the past few months -- I love being a winner!

First from Selena Quilts, I received these adorable rice bags, the kind you can heat or chill to soothe your achy body -- this is what they looked like when they arrived (complete with adorable little candy bars!), before I filled them with rice and microwaved the heck out of them when I was sick at Christmas-time.   What a great gift idea, and what a comfort to me!
Selena told me that she makes little bags to put in her mittens, and I loved that idea as mini-gifts for next year.     Now I'm experimenting with different fillers, to see what holds the heat the longest.   
Next, I won this amazing fabric, with all kinds of sayings, just begging to be fancy-cut, from Quilt Doodle Designs.    It's a huge cut, with tons of different little sayings about faith and home and life.    What a generous gift,  I was so excited to receive it and have a million ideas for how to use it!
And THEN I got this cool package from Pauline the Quilt-n-Queen!   A daily 2013 journal -- which I really need because they didn't give us appointment books at work this year --  and a spool of silk thread (which, it turns out, is also good for tying flies. :)  )    Beautiful -- thanks, Pauline!

What have I been telling you?! -- BEST.  YEAR.   EVER!     And it's only February!  :) 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Snow Day


We had snow last night, a bunch of it.    Now, I am not a fan, but it really is pretty.     I'm not sure how much we got here at my house, but a friend a city away measured over 13 inches at her house.     I know we didn't get THAT much, because I shoveled most of it.     I am surprised every year at how much I enjoy shoveling.    I have always thought that I wasn't a very physical person but now, between the rock wall and the shovel,  I'm thinking -- belatedly, for sure --- that I might have been wrong all these years.

I may also have gotten a little insight into why my grandchildren think I'm so danged old.    My son called this morning, upset with me that I hadn't waited to have someone else shovel my driveway.    Telling me I have to be more careful, that they would be happy to do it.     I was torn between the sweetness of his concern and a knee-jerk denial of my age.    As I told him, I'll be unable to do these things a whole lot sooner if I don't keep doing them.   Even so, when I went back outside to finish the job, my sidewalks were already shoveled.      

I was supposed to shoot with the guys today but they cancelled on me because of the snow.    Sissies.   So instead, I made a little pot of soup from some leftovers, and baked a few cookies from dough I froze last time I baked.   I also made these cute little brown-paper candy packets for my grief group next week -- each one contains a handful of M&Ms and a little note.     
Laundry, crafting, and watching a 'Great Course" lecture on psychology on DVD are passing my time, but I'd rather be out doing something more active.     I am looking for a new hobby, and I really mean new -- preferably something that hasn't even occurred to me yet.     Hopefully something that is physical and needs to be learned.  And of course it will have to be something that I can do alone for the time being, because I am alone.   On top of all that, I guess it will have to fall into my lap because, really, where do you look for something you don't know exists?!   All I know is that, after a lifetime of telling myself all the things I'm not good at, I'm ready to keep proving myself wrong.     I was surprised, as I think I've mentioned, at how quickly and easily I learned Morse Code, after always telling myself (or perhaps repeating what I'd been told) that I wasn't good at symbols.    I'm hoping there are lots more surprises out there, just waiting for me.


Monday, February 4, 2013

Perspective

What a weekend, bitter and sweet.  
I went to a FlyGirls outing this weekend, a 3-hour drive from home, and had a really fun time.   I tied some very cool flies, made beer-cap fishing lures (although we do not fish with lures, these sure are cute), and climbed the rock wall.    Oh yes I did!   Straight to the top, loved the trip down, and only broke four finger nails with my death-grip on the rock.     Definitely ridiculous fun!    A ridiculous spectacle of myself, too, as you can see from the less-than-flattering photos, lol.    Didn't get a massage because the massage therapist had a family emergency, but drank plenty of wine and had a relaxing time.




I drove home on Sunday and went straight to Center Courts, where I wiggle walked 2 1/2 miles.    I think I will probably feel every muscle and fiber of my old body this week!

So I was feeling pretty healthy and cocky.    My grandchildren helped bring it all back into perspective.   My grandson helpfully explained to me that, when he is old enough to make a movie, I will be more than 85 years old, probably in a wheelchair, and too frail to be one of his actors.    My granddaughter even more helpfully explained that I am already old.     What I heard (loud and clear) was: daylight's burning.     My future is not getting any longer.    Time to fit in more ridiculous fun, for sure.

I also lost a dear friend this weekend.    Nancy, of Sand Between My Toes, with typical gentleness, left our physical world and became part of the larger Universe.   She was an example to me of courage (she spent her retirement dumpster-diving for injured racoons and transporting pelicans and eagles to help with wildlife rehabilitation), filled with grace and humor, as well as a heck of a good friend.     I'll miss you Nancy.

Friday, February 1, 2013

January Recap

January is over.   One month into the Best Year Ever, and time for a mini-review.    I am still walking almost every day, up to about two miles, and it is helping with stress and maybe even giving me a little more energy.   I haven't weighed myself, but I can pull my jeans off without unsnap/unzipping them, and that sure wasn't true a month ago.    
I am shooting about once a week, and getting (slowly, slowly) better.     Keith, the husband of a friend, beat me (badly) the last time we shot, and my goal is to regain my dignity by beating his record.   

After a couple of months, Mr. Might-Be-Wonderful turned into Mr. Let's-Be-Friends -- either a classic kiss off or the honest beginning of a new friendship, and I'll live with it either way.   We are none of us so elastic as we get older, and the meet 'n' greet sure gets harder.    I suggested that if he really wants to be friends,  he could think of someone to introduce me to, lol; I hope that wasn't snarky because he doesn't deserve that.   He's a good guy, I am very glad I met him, and it was good to be reminded how much fun the simplest things can be when you do them with someone.   I hope those lessons will make me more open to new adventures and relationships now, because I have closed myself in for too long and life is only getting shorter.  After a lot of years alone, I was able to convince myself that alone was okay with me and so this has shaken me a bit.    I am a little quirky and the men who interest me are few and far between, so I'm not going to hold my breath, but I plan to make a good faith effort.    And if I were to end up with no partner but a few new friends along the way, I would chalk it up as good. 
After getting rid of my cable service, I read three books, saw two movies, and taught myself Morse Code on a dare.   I have no idea what to do with that -- I don't have the equipment, I just do it in my head --  but I spell out traffic signs as I drive for practice.    (And it's great for crafting -- my stylized Morse Code pillow says "RELAX")   Now I wonder what other ridiculously fun things I can learn for no good reason.    But I no longer know who is on Bachelor or Biggest Loser, and no more HGTV, so people might differ as to whether this is a gain or a loss.  

I am learning new lessons every week at my job, although I am also wondering more often how long I will want to stay there.   As with many jobs, there are organizational irritations that can make a difficult job more difficult.   And increasingly, I am not sure how much more sadness I want to invite into my life; enough of it finds its way to our doors already.  

My de-cluttering project is still moving forward.    I started a few craft projects and they seem to pull in the opposite direction, so the progress isn't apparent to anyone but me, but I did empty one closet and I've sorted some stuff in the basement.   I am trying to begin by being more mindful about what I do and do not want and need.    No one needs the space at the moment, so I am not going to stress about it, but I'd like to have the house in better order by the end of the year.

So I have no complaints about January, but can't wait to see how February goes.   I'm starting the month by going to a FlyGirls retreat about three hours from home, where I plan to drink a lot of wine, hopefully get a massage, tie fishing flies, eat like crazy, and (if I don't chicken out) climb a rock wall. Perhaps I really am going off the deep end after all!     I know for sure that I will benefit from some distraction and a little me-time to help me shake off the disappointments of the last month.    I'll post about it if I survive, and of course I intend to survive.     I am still absolutely certain that this will be the Best Year Ever, if only because it's the year I'm privileged to be living.