Monday, December 31, 2012

Welcome 2013 -- Best. Year. Ever.

 As many of you have noticed, I am a list maker.    I make lists for every day and every project and every dream of my life.   I apparently think there is power in the written word, although there has rarely been enough 'power' for me to actually get the things on my lists done.    But this year I am taking a different approach.    My New Year's Resolution for 2013 is a simple one.   Simply this:   I am going to make it the Best Year Ever.    I have some ideas about what that might mean, but I am going to be flexible about it and hopefully open to new adventures and opportunities as they arise.   I have watched a lot of people die this past year, and I know how fragile health and life is.     Would it have been a good idea to make this resolution 30 years ago?     Indubitably.   But all I have is the now, and so now it's going to be.

I'm like an old house; the more I fix, the more I find that needs fixing.   As a start, there is exterior work to be done.   I've already begun to walk a mile several times a week, and I've joined a gym where I hope to do circuit training at least once a week.   All of the strong, beautiful women I know who are my age or older exercise regularly.    It's no longer an option, it's going to have to become as regular as breathing if I want to have the best of anything.

And of course, there is a lot of interior repair needed, too.    I am more aware all the time that it hasn't been inadequacy, or lack of prettiness/skinniness/smartness/value that's held me back from the things I want.    More than ever, after following the Books by Women on Sew We Quilt, I am more convinced lately that it hasn't even just been fear; but that it's been that pervasive shame that springs up from that treasure-trove of embarrassment and humiliation that so many of us carry through our lives.    Yes, you might as well know:  I did go to school once as a little girl wearing my skirt inside out.   My mom wasn't good about noticing what I did or wore or wanted, so I was on my own from the time I was very small, and I wore more than one poor choice of outfit over the years.    To this day, if anything I wear brings notice, I assume that it's because it's inappropriate somehow, never because it's nice or attractive.   I've carried the assumption that every failed relationship failed because of me, and that every job disappointment was because of something missing in me.    It's just another way of making myself the Center of the Universe, I guess, but in a way that gives me no benefit.   I'm going to try to stop taking that negative credit for things that don't go my way and embrace, instead, the wonderful randomness and unpredictability that simply happens as we falter through life.   Sometimes things work.  Sometimes they don't.   Sometimes there's chemistry.   Sometimes there's not.   No fault.   No blame.

I have enjoyed being more creative and crafty this past year, and I want that to continue.   I hope to piece at least two quilt tops, and try some other crafts.

I want to bring more of the outdoors into my life.   I have a kayak.   I have a fly rod.    I have a gun.    And I live in a beautiful state.    I hope to find ways to explore it all.

And I hope not to do it alone.   This will be my biggest challenge.    I've been alone a very, very (very) long time.  I know all about the odds, and how against me they are.    I might be past my sell-by date.    I might not be flexible enough to fit someone in.   But I'm going to give it my best shot.

And I'm going to try to freeze frame these moments with my Grands.    They are such a delight.    I am already so very lucky.

Happy New Year everybody.    Welcome to 2013.    It's going to be the Best Year Ever.

December UFOs

Although I feel like I've done more sewing/quilting/crafting this year than ever, I didn't start much this month.   I guess December was spent finishing projects, not starting them.    Here, for my blog-land friend Cat Patches, are my last pitiful beginnings for 2012:
I  started to turn this wonky block into a pot holder.   It still needs to be bound and finished.    I made a couple of others this month, and haven't quite gotten the hang of sewing the binding yet.   The ones I've finished look VERY homemade.    I'm hoping to perfect the method sometime this year so that I can make them as gifts for next year.   A perfect use for all those little scraps that are cluttering up my house!
And I finally cut out the pieces from a clutch purse pattern that I am hoping will be good for gifting.   Of course, there is no pressure since Christmas is a full year away.   And let's face it, I am not feeling very motivated these days, with the cough-y crud that seems to have taken permanent hold on my life.    But hopefully I'll be full of vim and vinegar again soon, and I hope these projects won't sit in my sewing room for long!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Craft Project Plans for 2013

Cat Patches has posted a "2013 New FO Challenge" and she made me think about what projects I would like to do next year.     I actually finished this years projects, which makes me wonder what I could have done if I'd thought of it before the year was mostly over!

1.  I've already started making pot holders for next Christmas -- I've made three and messed them all up, but hopefully the learning curve will soon turn in my direction! 

2.  I have an idea for a project for a new friend, but I want to wait a bit and see if he actually remains a new friend before I invest any time in the project.   If he does, I will make it for his birthday.   Or more likely freak him out way before the right time.   It was funny, the idea came to me in the middle of the night, and awakened me right out of a deep sleep.   He is the only one I know who would appreciate it, if anyone would.     It's either clever or pathetic and overdone, too soon to tell.    I'll post it if I actually make it, but it's planned out and ready to go.   Fingers crossed.

3.  I want to make pieced quilts for my grandchildren.    I am having so much trouble just figuring out how to ditch quilt the potholders that I will probably have someone else quilt them if I get them done.

4.  I won some beautiful yarn that I want to knit into a hat before next winter.   I'm still searching for the perfect ridiculously easy pattern.

5.  And finally, after making a dozen or more coin purses this year, I want to make some clutch purses next year.    I have the pattern and the fabric for the first two, and I am really hoping they are as fun as the coin purses were!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Moving Along

It has been a productive week.    I made a couple more little purses and a potholder, I finished my brother's Christmas gift, and I went on my first date in ten years.    I'm not sure yet how well any of them turned out, but I'm giving myself credit for trying.

Happy Solstice

The day has been dark and dreary and much too cold, but winter is half over and that has to be reason to rejoice!    This feels like an in-between time in my life, neither good nor bad.   I find myself withdrawing at work, not wanting to feel all the sadness.   I find myself toying with the idea that I should be working more on happiness than on wrapping my mind around death.   Death comes soon enough, whether we are ready or not.

Many of the people I work with have lost their spouse.   They are filled with stories, especially this month, of strange experiences that comfort them.    The light that only works at night, when he would know that she is afraid at night without him.   The object that appeared, in plain sight, only after he said aloud that he didn't know where she kept it.    The music, or television program, that turns on by itself.

I do not tell them my beliefs, or my dis-beliefs.     I do not point out the obvious, that there are natural explanations for almost everything.   I tell them to hold those stories close, not to share them too freely because of the danger that people will explain away the details if they do.  I tell them that no one can explain away the comfort the experienced, or the connection they felt.   I tell them that nothing about love is logical, but it's still the truest thing we know.    

I don't tell that that, to my shame and surprise, I am so jealous of them.    Not for the love they lost, but for the love they had.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Every Time A Bell Rings

I had a conversation with a man recently about holiday movies.    He told me that his favorite Christmas movie was It's a Wonderful Life.   

Now, full confession time, so you sentimentalists had better cover your ears.     I watch that movie almost every year, and it annoys me each time.    I mean seriously, the world would NOT be a more terrible place if George Bailey had never lived.    Am I really supposed to worry that his little brother would have drowned by falling through the ice without George, when it is unlikely the little kid would have gone sledding at all at that age without a big brother?   And if the pharmacist hadn't had George working as an errand boy, he might not have mixed up the medicine until he'd had time to grieve the loss of his son, and so the poisonous capsules might never have been made.    And so what if Mr. Potter had taken over the bank and it got harder to buy a house -- didn't we end up there anyway?   There was nothing particularly important about George's life, and it was silly of God (and Clarence the angel) to try to prove differently.    And, of course, charming conversationalist that I am, that's exactly what I said.

Ah, the man responded.   I can see why you wouldn't like the movie.   But that's not what it's about at all.     The point is, that George didn't have the life he wanted, sometimes because of his own bad decisions, and sometimes because of things outside his control.    But when he finally opened his eyes and looked, he discovered that he still had so very much to be grateful for.   It wasn't a wonderful life because he was important, or because of anything he'd done in the past.     It was a wonderful life because he still, despite it all, had reason to be grateful.    And so do we.

I've been thinking about it ever since.   I can't wait to see the movie again.   And every time a bell rings, I remind myself how lucky I am.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Looking Forward

Madame Samm at Sew We Quilt suggested recently (on my birthday, in fact!) that we think of the words that we hope will define 2013, a sort of mantra.    Since I just turned the page on another year,  this sort of thing is on my mind lately, and - although I usually focus on a to-do list sort of 'plan' -- this year I like the idea of turning the focus to ideas instead of tasks.  (Besides, anyone who has watched my past two years of 'To-Dos' knows that I have NOT been very successful at tasks!)    Madame Samm suggests that these words will become part of a quilting/sewing project, but for me they will more likely become part of a blog banner instead.
I know that one word that I hope will be a focal point in 2013 is HEALTH.    I have been lax in both diet and exercise, and I am feeling the effects.       Another word that I hope will be important is TRAVEL, because I know that my travel days are becoming more limited and I want to do what I can, while I can.   In a related theme, I think I'll steal the word DAYLIGHT from my sister, whose mantra is "daylight's burning," because it's a good way to remember to make the best possible use of every day.   I'll toss in the word GRAND, both for its optimism and for the adorable grandchildren I love so much.        I thought about Love, both in appreciation for the love I have in my life, and for the love I still -- however foolishly -- hope to find.  And Friendship and Fun, because I would like more of both.   But those words seemed too limited, and I finally decided that all of those hopes could be summed up with the words JOY and MORE.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Dangerous Work

I am still trying to get my Holiday projects done, so today I started on the next phase of my brother's fish-throw.    Simple, simple, simple.    I am not quilter and this is my first project of this sort.    I plan a simple machine quilt, just boxing off the squares, with maybe some hand quilting on the fish themselves.    The sort of thing that the quilters I follow would snap off in an hour.    
Two hours later, my hands torn and picked where the pins caught me, I have two of the 12 main seams done.    I can already see that my batting is barely big enough and my backing wasn't big enough at all, so it's a very good thing that I didn't have a specific finished size in mind!    I have to stop for the day or my brother's gift will be stained with bits of me, and although I intended to put myself into the project, I don't think he needs a pint of my blood!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Winner Winner!

A long day at work, with our (2nd) Annual Luminary Program.    The families who lost someone in our hospice this past year were invited to this memorial service,  so it was an emotional evening.   We worked hard to try to provide a service that would acknowledge the pain they are feeling, but also offer some hope.    People cried a lot, but I think that was a good thing.
On a (much) lighter note, I drew the winner for my Holiday Pillow Blog Hop prize and (ta dah) the winner is Kris from krislovesfabric!    I've sent her an email and will mail the package out this week.   Congratulations, Kris, I hope you enjoy your prize.