Monday, January 30, 2012

Spa Day Tea Party

This post is late!    I found it in my drafts, from when I wrote it a couple of weeks ago.   But I know you still want to hear about it, because it was quite an event!     

I was invited by my granddaughter to a Spa Day and Tea Party.   The spa part of the day actually took place before I arrived, with scented baths and nail polish.   I opted to shower at home.    
I was instructed to dress as pretty as I could,  and to add "an extra smell," so I pulled out every necklace, sparkle and perfume I had.      My granddaughter and her mom took the less tacky route and looked gorgeous, both of them, but my gallant grandson (who was, he said, a prince for the occasion) greeted me at the door and told me I looked beautiful.

We had tea and tea cakes, and watched a Care Bears movie.   It was the nicest party I've been to in a long time.    I hope she has another Tea Party soon.   Next time I'll wear a hat.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Perfecting My Laziness

If I can't be active and productive, it seems like I could at least be better at utter laziness.   But something always interferes.   Sigh.

I decided to put out some birdseed because it snowed last night, and I thought it would be nice to lie about and watch the birds.   But when I went to the basement, I discovered that Someone had chewed a hole in the bag and seed was strewn everywhere.   So instead of the sit-and-watch I had planned, I had to clean up a big mess and (worse) think about what to do about my hungry intruders.

I did finally get out of my pajamas, at an embarrassingly late hour, and decided it would be a good idea to go out for groceries since there's nothing much to eat in the house.   But I got distracted along the way and went to the bookstore instead, where I spent a couple hours thinking of books and magazines I could buy, and projects I could do.    On the way home, I didn't much feel like grocery shopping anymore, so I stopped at Arby's for a sandwich.    I am generally not a fast-food eater, and this is the slippery slope I feared when I gave into the coupon-driven yearning for an Egg McMuffin last week.    This time it was even more serious -- no coupon to use as an excuse.  And worse, the lingering junk food shame.   I definitely feel better when I eat better.
I found some large scraps of material in a corner of my room when I was thinking about how I should clear out the fabric I'm not using, so I squared and cut it to make a lap robe.    Hopefully I will finish it this weekend.

I decided to start working on a "Bloomin' Blossoms" quilting kit that I won from Quiltscapes, but made the mistake of trying to read the instructions while I was soaking in the bathtub.   They slipped out of my hand and I had to jump up and spread them out so that the pages didn't stick together.    Now I will have to wait for them to dry before I can begin.    I really hope I don't mess their piecing-part up because it's a very pretty pattern -- I'll post the finished product . . . . when I finish it, that is.   My goal is to have it done within the next couple of weeks.

I also tried tying a "fly" pin to see whether my fishing hobby has jewelry possibilities -- when I was a little girl, my oldest brother tied a fishing fly on a safety pin for my mom, and she occasionally wore it on her lapel.   I was so envious, it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen, and so proud of my big brother.   So I tried to duplicate the idea with craft feathers I had lying around the house (which are very different and lower in quality than fly tying feathers).   I think the idea has possibilities, but I'm a long way from having it exactly as I want.   I might have to meet up with my 'brudder' and see if he remembers how he did it over 50 years ago.

All in all, my efforts at being lazy today made several new messes for me to clean up, and didn't accomplish much else.   And I'm okay with that!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Tying Myself Up In Useful Knots

I signed up again for a Fly Tying class.   I realize that crafts bring me the same sort of benefit as meditation.   I focus on what I am doing and get lost in it, which lets the worries and stresses fall to the wayside for a few minutes.    I had hoped that Fly Tying would be a way to meet other people who want to fish, or at least who know where I could go to fish.   But instead, I create my own little cocoon there and, although I can hear the others chattering away, I am busy just tying.   Oh well.    As Popeye used to say, I am what I am.     So last night I missed out on the fishing tips, but I tied 10 egg sucking leeches.   My instructor likes them leggy, and he held mine up as examples of a well done pattern.    What could be better?

I tried this week to read a crochet pattern on my own, for the first time.    I have a lot to learn!   Another class might be in order.   I was going for a toddler size, but if I am lucky, the finished product might fit my granddaughter's 18" doll.    Honestly, it might even be too small for that.    Here it is modeled by Sweet Pea, the adorable dolly I won from Emily at The Nest last year:
Even though the hat obviously didn't turn out as I had hoped, I was ridiculously pleased with it -- a sign, no doubt, of how low my standards are.   Because see, it isn't the hat is was supposed to be, but it IS hat-shaped, and cute as a bug's ear, so I am happy with it as a first attempt.   So happy, in fact, that I treated myself to a Sausage McMuffin with Egg today, after a meeting at work that I had dreaded and survived.   I know, I know.   The stuff is poison.   But I had a coupon.

Monday, January 23, 2012

I'm On A Home-Made Roll!

I didn't think that my quilting teacher was very good, until I made a block by myself.   Now, several wasted cuts and ripped-out seams later, I can see that she was very helpful, indeed!   It took a lot longer without her, but finally I finished my second block.  For those who asked, I also discovered that the pattern is called Hole In The Barn Door. 
I sewed my two blocks together and now I have a quilted two-sided pillow and a new skill.  

I won some quilting materials recently, so now it's time to get serious and see what I can do!

I am also still practicing my crocheting -- a couple of mini-scarves are done!     I'm not sure how useful they are, but I am hoping that my grandchildren will be easily impressed.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

My Crafty Side Is Showing

Today I had meetings at work all morning.   I excused myself for a lunch break, but went instead to a Quilting mini-class.   A couple hours later I was back at work, with my first quilted piece, a 14" square.    Are you kidding me?!    I am turning into a crafting machine!    (yow, I just noticed how the colors turned out in this photo -- it is actually lime green, bright blue, and white.    I may be a crafting machine, but I am clearly NOT a photographer!)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

As Good As It Gets

This might sound awful to some of you, but this is what I thought about today on a long drive home from a small town.     Much of the time, when I visit people who have lost a spouse, I feel so bad for them, I wish I could take some of their suffering.    But sometimes, like today, I find myself simply in awe of the relationship they had.   On those visits, although I am sad for the spouse who is still here, I am also struck by the knowledge that this is as good as it gets.   A long and loving marriage, where both people respected and loved one another, where the grown children are certain and secure in the love and pride of both parents.    It is sad that one of them died first, but it is a pure sadness, with no tinge of anger or bitterness or guilt or regret.    I can gladly sit and listen to the stories of those families for hours on end, and the only feeling I have when I drive away is envy.    Our lives are so short, they are melting away before our very eyes.    But we are capable of such beauty, and I was privileged today to see some of it.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Finding My Crafty Self

I took a beginning crochet class tonight.   It was as if I was channeling my dead mother, who was an expert crocheter, making lovely things even after her other mental facilities faded away  -- I couldn't understand a thing my instructor said, by my fingers went along and single/double/half-double crocheted away for a couple of hours.    I don't know if I'll keep doing it, but it was a fun way to spend an evening.  And I've gotten my new year off to a good and crafty start!
Then home to a late dinner of taco soup and wine.    Life is good.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Pretty Is As Pretty Does

Yes, I know She looks soft and nice and pretty.    But I have been here before, and I can tell you from experience that once I get involved, and I know that I will, I will be given the cold shoulder.    And cold feet.    And frozen fingers.     Because, no matter how pretty She looks, Snow has a heart of ice.    If I had any inner strength, I would walk away from this relationship forever.    But today, I will shovel.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Getting Old Is Like Watching Turner Classic Movies

I know, I've been moody lately.   But heck, I spent the last couple days sitting with people as they died and presiding at a funeral.     It's moody work and, as you might imagine, we tend to lighten things up when we can.    So I was joking with a coworker today who asked me if I ever considered leaving my job.    Are you kidding, I responded.    I start looking for the exit the minute a relationship begins.    I was JOKING.   But then, of course, the light moment passed, and I was left to wonder about what I had just said.    And I replayed another old movie in my head.

When I was a little girl, I was told that someday I might come home from school and no one would be there because all the good people in the world would have been swept up in The Rapture.   And that I, no question, would be left behind because (for reasons I am still not clear on) I was not a good girl.

No complaints.    The emotional independence that I gained early on, preparing to be left behind, has served me well in many ways.      I know where the exit is.    I am ready to stand on my own if I have to.    But seriously, could I take a few minutes now to relax?

Monday, January 9, 2012

Losing Touch

I was reading a post the other day about touch, with the lovely suggestion that our soul surrounds our body, so that "when we connect with our bodies - holding hands, rubbing shoulders, making love... one soul is communicating with another," and that touch is "the way in which our highest spirit expresses itself to another."   I suppose that would explain why hugs and touch are so important in hospice.    

In his discussion, the author, who calls himself The Shadow, talked about his childhood family, and the lack of touch that existed there.    It made me think of my own childhood, where touch was mostly absent.

Although our family didn't otherwise hug or kiss, we were required as children to kiss our father goodnight.    Once he slapped me for forgetting.   I hate to think that was his "highest spirit."     I would hate even more to think that such a spirit passed on to me.

Good grief, what a legacy!    Quick, give yourself - or someone else - a hug!    Let's awaken those souls as often as we can.

She's Got Talent!

I got such a lovely "pay it forward" gift today!   Mrs. A -- in Australia! -- from Wish Upon A Star, was one of the people who signed up for a gift 'swap' waaaaay back on March 9, 2011!    I had forgotten that I had a gift coming, so it was a lovely surprise to hear from her.   She is a very talented lady, who does lovely quilt-work and beautiful photography of envy-inspiring travels.    And she sent the most lovely gift -- a large quilted square, exquisitely done.    Thank you, Mrs. A, I love it -- I wish I had that kind of talent, and I am amazed to have been given such a lovely gift!

I made a new recipe yesterday, one of those test recipes that I am not allowed to share, with brown rice, poblano peppers, tomato, lime, and avocado.  Nothing about it sounded good to me, but, to my surprise,  it was delicious.
Things at work are in some sort of flux.    Political factions seem to be pulling and pushing in ways that I don't understand, and I don't know whether or when any of it will affect my role.  At the moment, things seem to be the same as always, except that I don't know where to turn in my time sheet this week.     Part of me isn't sure whether to care because I am still not convinced this is a good fit for me.   Hospice work can be, if you'll pardon the obvious, a little unsettling.     It is wonderful to feel helpful, but not so good to feel constantly awash in sadness and death.     On top of that, I so often feel like a hypocrite.    I am not sure, not one bit sure, what I believe, and I have never experienced the kinds of relationships that so many of these people have.    Also, I am not entirely convinced that it is good for me to be involved in this series of intense, short, and very real relationships at work when I don't have the security, the safety, of a genuine relationship to center me once I'm home.  

And I find myself getting superstitious.   I'm not sure whether this comes from my fundamentalist upbringing or my pagan youth, or maybe it's a combination of my troubled youngest and my aging body.   But I wonder whether, by sending me to hospice, the Universe is teaching me to grieve, or to die?   I am, of course, hoping to be spared both.
At this point, I am not thinking about quitting this job, because there are, obviously, many lessons here, just wondering whether the job will be swept out from under me.     I am trying to be more aware of the currents than I was in my last job, noticing that changes are afoot.  I need to remember that the extra money has been a good thing, but that it would be better for me to spend less rather than make more.    If another "downsize" is coming, I would like to be less surprised than I was the last time.  But I've learned, over and over and over again, that you can never be really prepared for the surprises around the corner.   I comfort myself, a little, with the knowledge that I will roll with them when they come.    And who knows.   Maybe whatever life has in store for me next will be delicious, despite my concerns.