We met in Everquest, the very first MMORPG I ever played. We’re still playing together all these years later, in SWTOR now and in the same guild at long last.
( It's like coming home... )
Our house in PA sold in record time, and my Dearest Husband J took on the almost overwhelming task of getting us sorted and out of there this past winter so that I was able to stay home in Florida and help our cats get well. We found a home for my MIL and she loves it and the area and is making friends and getting more visits from her daughters than they’d all planned.
We had time to visit with aunts and uncles and cousins this summer. I got to go to the Houston Quilt Show! And I’m inspired and excited with plans and projects for the coming year.
SO many blessings, truly: “A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over.” May your Thanksgiving be blessed also.
( Herbivores, campgrounds good and soso, Arkansas and into Kentucky )
That said, the tools for the week went really well. Morning pages happened, mostly in the morning. At least one set was incendiary, but that was ok. My walk was a truly lovely stroll in Longwood Gardens, fueled by the sudden realization that having an annual pass meant I could pop in for half an hour and enjoy anytime. (doh!) The weather was mild (not warm by any means but bearable) so I went for an outdoor stroll. Enjoyed the bones of the garden and saw two cardinals, one male and one female, sitting on thorn trees. Very beautiful, and inspiring. I’ve wanted to do a quilt centered with cardinals for about forever, so I took these two as a good omen.
My Artist’s date was another pass through the Orchid room in the Longwood conservatory. I went with a camera and a plan, and hope to produce a little photo essay down the line to give you all a better feel for that particular gorgeous corner of the conservatory. I took about a bazillion shots and weeded once I got home. Gotta love digital cameras. Wasted film? What wasted film?
Now it’s time to crack the book again and get going on the next chapter. I do plan to revisit this chapter and fit in the exercises as seems right. Maybe I’ll do them a little at a time; maybe I’ll revisit the whole chapter later on and do an extra week to finish up. I do think I missed out, not tackling the exercises this past week.
One last thought. I think the reason the author talks about anger as fuel for creativity ties in with this study about anger and decision making. Veerry Interesting…
Whether or not I ever do explore some of those alternate paths, what became very clear was that I need to make time for art, the way I make time to clean or work at the office or write the morning pages. And the Artist’s date isn’t for that, not really, so some other time (my most precious commodity at the moment) needs to be found to take those baby steps to finally doing some of the projects that have been sitting at the bottom of my brain for years. Because now, with the good stirring they got this week, they are all swirling in my brain.
[/snark] Though I have to say.. Task three, Shape Shifting, question 7: “If I’d had ideal parents and a perfect childhood, I’d be a ______________.” ‘Fictional character’ is the answer. I wrote ‘person’, and as usual came up with the snappy answer quite some time later. [/end snark]
Morning Pages: Two and a half to three pages every day. Sometimes ranty, sometimes insightful, once a detailed list of what to do and when on the day I was feeling absolutely buried with too much to do. I find three pages to be pretty easy to achieve provided I write everything out. Rather than trying to cram meaning into short-hand phrases I try to capture all of the thoughts and make sure I get all the meaning down on paper.
Walk: I got one walk in again this week. Good thing I did it early (Monday) because time to walk is not in great supply around here these days. The day was grey and drizzly and I bundled up well. Toasty warm, I walked in the damp. What I noticed most that day was sound, interestingly enough. Windchimes on a porch, the little birds wheeling and calling from the trees, the whoosh of distant traffic. It was very cool.
Artist’s Date: It took me a long time to decide what I was going to do this week. I finally thought of Longwood Gardens, a beautiful conservatory and garden near my home. After talking it over with my husband, I splurged for an annual pass rather than just a single ticket. It was great. The knowledge that I didn’t have to try to see everything in one visit let me really relax and just ramble through the space, taking about an hour and moving as my fancy led me. I took a lot of photos, mostly of ordinary flowers, for reference materials for appliqué projects. I am really looking forward to visiting the gardens many times this year to watch the seasons turn.
Ferns at Longwood Gardens:
The Orchid room (part of it):
So as part of the process, we’re to do a weekly evaluation of how things went.
Morning Pages: The book recommends writing three pages of stream of consciousness writing as soon as you roll out of bed. There is, in fact, a little contracty-thing at the beginning of the book so that you can commit to this and the other exercises required on a weekly basis in writing.
These went surprisingly well. On the days that I was not swamped with events, it was easy to write three pages. Things I learned: writing three pages a little at a time over the day doesn’t work for me; writing in the evening, not so good; writing with people coming and going/the TV on is a no go; and, even with a good pen my hand cramps at about page two. The only day that I didn’t manage at least 2.5 pages was the one where I was trying to write at the quilt guild meeting in between saying hi to folks trickling in. One page and I surrendered to the process of the meeting.
Insights? Yes, some, mostly related to my personal life. What really struck me with these pages was the sense of purpose? motivation? that I felt. I don’t know about jump-starting creativity, but I certainly felt overall much more productive going through my days. I suspect this is the morning pages doing what they are supposed to do: clear out the clutter and give cleaner vision for the rest of the day.
Artist’s date: Again, a weekly requirement. An hour-long trip: “Go do something your inner artist will respond to,” to paraphrase. Whether that’s a trip to the craft store or the library or the local art gallery or someplace else is left to you. Mine was more or less serendipitous. My friends and I bugged out of the guild meeting early, and as it was about an hour before lunch (usually the meetings break up at lunchtime) elected to meet at a local quilt shop. Well, right next to the quilt shop is a bead store. I went in to get a flyer about the yoga sessions they offer (odd, I know) and was seduced by the full wall display of seed beads. I spent quite some time perusing them and buying a few to use in beading blown eggs (something I used to enjoy years and years ago.) Then as a follow-up, went to the craft store and got a book that should be titled “everything you wanted to know about beading but were afraid to ask.” It even includes the style of beading I used to do, back in the day. (I didn’t know it was actually a style!)
Weekly walks: Walk at least once a week, for as long as it takes your brain to unkink. The gorgeous weather in our area made this one a breeze midweek. I learned that thirty minutes is about right for brain-dekinking, that I am sadly out of shape, and that I’d like to go walking more often. Good intentions were no substitute for action, but at least once a week is the requirement and that’s what I got.
Those are the exercises for every week of the journey. Beyond that, there are “tasks”, short assignments for each chapter. I got two of the three tasks in the chapter done this week before my check-in date of today. The last one, rest and imagine for fifteen minutes, I think should result in a nice nap. I plan to try it on Saturday.
The second task, make a list of ten positive (I missed that little word on the first reading and was glad to see it on the second read-through before I did the list!) attributes and use it to write an ad for yourself, generated this:
Artistic, detail-oriented quilter seeks like-minded community. Trustworthy and loyal. Dextrous fingers and keen close-sight* a plus for finicky projects!
*I’m severely near-sighted and have always regarded it as a blessing rather than a curse. Taking off my glasses lets me do the finest stitching with ease!
There’s the weekly report. I had fun this week and am looking forward to next week. I did get more creative stuff done than I have in the past. So, it must be working. Next week I am debating posting in smaller chunks throughout the week. This is quite a missive. Thank you to those kind readers that made it this far, to:
“What are you doing?!?” “Same as you,” sez J. “You can’t do that!” exclaims the older gent. “It’s ok,” sez J, “someone’s coming to help me get the seat back in place.”
I found this hysterical when I was told about it later. “You can’t do that!” Well, clearly, since we were, we certainly could.. Several passes of the vacuum later, we replaced the seat for the short drive into the washing bay. Out it came again, along with the battery connections, for washing with the foamy brush and then very carefully with the spray hose. Worked like a charm. And started right up afterward, too, so I don’t think we shorted anything washing the floor (with them there wires running across it.) Whew!
There was a lot of rust lurking under the vinyl, so instead of being able to start right in on the soundproofing, we had to sand off the rust and prime the bare metal. A couple of wire wheels and an extra long extension cord for our drill made that less painful than it might have been. That took care of Sunday and Monday. Yesterday we toted the new seats and the console out and test fit everything. Joy! The front seats and console fit perfectly, no drilling required (just a couple of new bolts.) Sorrow! The new back seat (60/40 split) will require drilling new holes in several places, and that stubborn nut never did yield, and finally had to be cut away. Fortunately it’s the seatbelt anchor and we can just move the anchor point over an inch or two and re-drill the needed hole. But all the seats do fit in there and they look very nice to boot. I did the test piece for the interior paint. I need to take more care with both cleaning up after scuffing the surface (steel wool fragments are pernicious stuff,) and making sure the paint covers completely (edges take extra attention.) But the color is everything I had hoped, and I don’t need to use the test piece at all so its lack of perfection is just a learning aid. So that was Tuesday.
Today we went out to the auto parts store and the fasteners store and the hardware store(s) and got the bolts and tack cloth and drill bits and the other miscellaneous bits and bobs to tackle the next things to be done. And then it was time to pull the last seat (replaced to mark one last hole) out so we could drill the new holes. It’s easier with someone (me) in the truck handing the seat out to J. So I opened the front door, grabbed the doorframe and hopped into the truck (you can see where this is going, can’t you..) One step into the cab jarred the door loose before I got my hand out of the way and WHAM! down it came on my thumb. It closed completely. A tentative tug made it clear that the only way out was opening the door with the latch. Fortunately, J was right there. “Dear? Would you open the door please?”
After a fast trip to a blessedly empty ER, I’ve got a splint, instructions to see my regular doctor this week, a Vicoden for tonight and a clean break just below the thumbnail above the first joint on my thumb. My right thumb. This is going to suck. Did I mention that today is our wedding anniversary? I think we’ll postpone the nice dinner out until I can really appreciate it.
Truck interior before:
Truck interior after (with seats):
Almost all our finances are online. We’ve been using a billpay service for years and years now, ever since I realized that I start ignoring the bills when I get in certain phases. This way I can “take a break” from the finances and everything just ticks along, requiring very little input which is sometimes all I want to do. And then there’s the other side of it. When I’m focused on a financial goal or just on the finances in general, and so every site gets visited a couple of times a day. (Someone seeing this in action might reasonably call it manic/depressive money management. Now that I can pay bills without paying attention I don’t care.. :-) ) It’s too bad that one of my manic phases recently coincided with being sans computer for a week. That was exciting..
I bought some stock (GSK if you care) with the money in the investment account right after the first stock dip last week. Good price but I should have waited for the second dip, since it’s not quite so good now. :p We opened a new short term savings account, and I started looking around for how to get money in and out of it. So now, it’s webbed to the bill pay account, and to the long term savings account, and Oh Look! My main checking account now has free transfers. Ooo, I better link the short term account. I wonder if it would be faster transfers into the long term account, better link that too (HSBC, great interest rates, terrible transfer times. I sure hope they are making money on the float because otherwise they are idiots).
So mainchecking links to billpay which links to shorttermsavings (in and out) and mainchecking links to shorttermsavings in and to longtermsavings in and out and investmentacct links to mainchecking and maybe to longtermsavings and and and one of these days this web is going to wrap ME up! I found it hysterical in setting all this up that the investment folks will enter two small deposits in the linked account to verify it (so far so normal) and then they take them back! Talk about cheap! Most companies give you the whopping 76 cents as found money.
There’s a few websites that I like for money matters. For saving and general money management there’s Personal Finance Advice (blog) and SavingAdvice (forum and website run by the person in charge of PFA) which are mostly normal folks figuring out what works for them. And there’s the Motley Fool, of course, which used to be more useful but now you have to dig for the information among the ads for their paid services. Still good for basic investing lessons though.
Today I cleaned a little, worked on my quilting a little, watched parades a little, hugged my husband more than a little, and posted a little. It’s a good start, I think. This week I’d like to exercise a little, eat a little less (junk) clean a little more. I really want to finish my sister’s quilt this year (maybe even THIS winter.) I want to work on quilty creative stuff every day. I want to practice the Flylady thing and get it working better for me. I want a bunch of other stuff. We’ll see how it goes. Begin as you mean to go on. My sewing storage room is a shambles. I think I’ll go spend fifteen minutes making order out of chaos up there, and then maybe take the big step and set up the quilt for quilting this evening. First steps are always a bear. Best of luck to all of you in your first steps in this new year. May it be a better year for us, every one.
Well, if we were doing anything for Halloween I could make a most impressive show. After nasal surgery this afternoon I’m wearing something called a “moustache bandage”, and it’s sopping up blood at a good clip (when I’m not spitting it out.) Gore fest! The surgery (my specialist claims that I’ll be able to breath through my nose after repair of a deviated septum and polyp removal) went well. I have shims in my nose, I’m told. After an initial mixup in which the nurse who checked me out of the surgery center told me I’d already gotten pain meds (should it hurt this much?) we called and sorted that out and the meds are doing their job.
So this weekend, if I look like somebody slugged me, it’s just the roto-rooter nose job. In the meantime, I’m resting comfortably. Though I scoff at the idea that I’ll be able to breath through my nose.
The double wedding ring is "almost done". There are 22 more stars to applique into the intersections of the rings, then I can put on the border (gotta figure out how wide to make it) and then I can figure out how I am going to quilt it. I've got a lot of possibilities on how to do that, but no favorite way. I plan to look for inspiration in the coming weeks and I hope that I can find/design a beautiful quilting pattern that will compliment the piecing.
Today I feel moved to bake bread, so I'll be starting that as soon as I hit send. Just a basic white bread. I'm trying to time it so that it's just done when J gets home. Very tough with yeast breads -- they take a lot longer to rise in our cold house so I can never count on the recipe's timing.
For Easter I think I'll make the gingerbread cake that J likes so much (and complains that I never make for him) in a bundt pan, and fill the center with dyed eggs. That ought to satisfy my craving to celebrate without going overboard and stressing out.
I hope everyone's having a good Spring, and all the best wishes for the various holidays we're celebrating.
Oh bother, as Pooh would say. Six unique (unusual, bizarre) things about me? I spotted the tag (thank you, Flavia) at about 2 am this morning; a stomach virus has me up at night the last couple days. This is a good task for a day when sitting at the desk seems like as much effort as I’m good for.
1. I count things by threes: 3, 6, 9, 12, 15.. Three is a magical number (duh) and numbers that look "three-ish" are cooler than numbers that can be divided by three but don't look right.
2. A few years ago my husband and I used to dance with a gay square dancing group. We loved it, but got burned out volunteering for the annual convention. I want to get back to it, hopefully this year. We both love to square dance, but the local straight clubs are too conservative for us (average age maybe 70, and they all seem to be Rush Limbaugh fans). The gay club is very welcoming, more our age, and their politics are a lot easier to take.
3. I belong to quite a few “subcultures”, some of which don’t overlap at all. Quilting groups, SF groups, roleplaying groups, square dancing (see above, and even a subset there), online gaming, etc. It’s made me very aware of the nature of subcultures, their languages and how grateful I am for the widespread use of the internet, which makes it so much easier to find like-minded people.
4. I love to do assisted pull-ups using a pull-up machine.
5. I have two Awards of Arms (the lowest rank of peerage of the Society of Creative Anachronism) granted by the same king of the East in two different reigns. I guess he forgot about the first time…
6. I read books voraciously, but almost never straight through. After starting a book, I often flip to the end and read it to see if the ending is worth slogging through the middle. If not, I’ll usually scan enough of the rest of the book to get the gist of the plot and call that good enough. It’s somewhat frustrating, as it’s a habit that is hard to break even if I don’t want to skip ahead.
I'm not going to tag six people. If six people ever check this blog I'd be astounded. If the four people that I think might actually see this, other than Ms. Rassen, would care to give it a go, they're welcome (and you know who you are.)
But then as I listened to people all around me making lunch plans, I really just broke down. If I ask them if I can come along they’re always kind about it, but none of them ever invite me to lunch. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong. Am I not friendly enough? I’ve been attending regularly for 2-3 years. I’ve been doing the Hospitality committee for two years. Do I have B.O.? Appalling personal habits? I was feeling very lonely and very sorry for myself and not at all in the mood for lunch.
So after a drive down to the office to pick up some stuff, I stopped in at the local quilt shop to talk to the proprietress about quilting patterns for the wedding ring quilt. She was engaged in helping someone with the construction of Christmas stockings. I hovered while she dealt with them, and was then drawn into a conversation with another lady on the best colors for her quilt. That was fun, and I think I was helpful; the shop owner had pulled out 6 black/gray patterned fabrics for the 6 darks the lady needed, and one of them was making her twitchy (it had too much purple in it for her). I was able to suggest another dark gray print that made her a lot happier. (I bought some of the purplish fabric later on spec – I thought it was lovely.) The owner was then kind enough to postpone her lunch again while she and I talked over quilting patterns, and we had a great time. I ordered a couple of patterns that I think will do very well for the navy quilt sections, and she was very complimentary about the quilt (said I had “great instincts”, which was very flattering.) It was 4 pm before I left her to her long-awaited lunch and went and had my own, feeling 100 percent better. Creative work, and compliments from people I respect; it’s a great cure for the weeps.
We won't get to shop for presents until J gets back from his trip, the weekend before Christmas (double ack!) And I may or may not be able to get enough done to put up a tree here at the house. We'll decorate one at my mother's, but it's not the same.
But all is not bleak. One of the blogs I read regularly had this link to share recently: http://amblesideonline.org/
I've been reading a story at a time. They're old-fashioned Christmas and Thanksgiving stories, and excellent selections; I especially enjoyed "This Way to Christmas" (which has some.. antiquated.. notions, but then again, it was written in 1916.) I adore these sorts of stories and it's been a treat reading them.
I'm in the process of making a keyboard shelf to raise J's keyboard and make it more ergonomically correct, so there's sawdust all over the kitchen, but the shelf will look spiffy (and work, more importantly) when it's done. I mismeasured the supports the first time, and bought ones that were about 1/4 inch too high. Rather than spending literally hours trimming off 1/4 inch from two 30 inch pieces with the inadequate tools I have on hand, I went out to the hardware store and spent 12 dollars to get a piece of stock that is the right size. Expensive, but just right, and well worth it on the cash for time equation.
And J is home, a little early because the weather was bad, and the problem with the truck which I thought was going to be a 400 dollars plus repair turns out to be fixed with a 39 cent fuse. So things are looking up. I've been sitting here drinking hot tea and reading and working on the quilt and listening to J play WoW. I feel like a cat on a warm lap.
..working on the finances, doing office stuff, cleaning house for the holidays, doing dishes, taking a shower, picking up the laundry, going grocery shopping, repairing the bathroom sink.
..putzing about with LJ, drinking tea, working on the quilt.
How irritating! I lost an arc today (the very last one of the 256 arcs, 240 of which have been sewn together and safely stashed in the project box.) I sincerely hope it has fallen into the bag J packed when he headed out this morning, to go to Sterling for a business meeting and thence to Richmond to help N and C move this weekend. He's promised to look for it when he stops but says he didn't see anything in the bag when he packed it.
Cross your fingers for me and think good "turning up" thoughts! It would be really aggravating to resew this one set of seven small patches; it has to coordinate with the seven surrounding arcs to look right, and I have no idea what it looked like. I did all the arcs more or less randomly, using each of many colors in turn to center an arc, and building around that color. Then I taped everything up to the design wall and matched the arcs so that they looked good together. But remember one of the 256? Heck no!