Experiment

I was talking to a friend the other day and mentioned that I was starting to question myself as a quilter. I haven’t quilted with any seriousness in ages. Sure I little around chipping away on an overdue wedding quilt and stitching the occasional appliqué block. I feel disconnected, in more ways than one. She encouraged me to reach out to make connections. Maybe the real solution is to reconnect with those I have already made. You are a part of that. 

I wonder what would happen if I wrote more, even if it was essentially about nothing? An experiment then. Let’s begin.


It was a fine day. A quiet one at work, the Friday at state government kind of quiet. I was actually making some progress that I can also apply to my personal life–teaching myself Adobe InDesign while creating an org. chart for our division. Life skills of the graphic design sort.

I left at close to my regular hour as I was scheduled for a week overdue haircut. This is key as with short hair you have to keep it shaped and the neckline tight. I get it cut every five weeks. I arrived and my stylist was washing someone else. As it turns out I was an hour late. I had rescheduled the previous week because I could’t make my regular appointment due to a public meeting conflict. I must have entered the wrong time in my phone when I updated the appointment. This is wholly my fault, but it immediately turned my mood foul. She is booked until November. Fortunately I book two appointments out and have one scheduled towards the end of October. But damn, if I can’t get in before then things are going to be rough. Fingers crossed a cancellation opens and it matches with my availability.

So. Here I sit. Writing it out.

I made an emergency comfort treat which should be cold enough to eat in a couple of hours. I also bought this pattern which I’ve seen pop up on the interwebs lately and which makes my 1980s heart smile and aligns with my love of mixtapes.

How do you get out of a funk, quilting or otherwise?

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Half

Write more, just start. Here goes…

It’s my birthday. Today I turn 45. 45.

Most people get freaked out when they turn 30. For me 45 has been the most contemplative. Not because I feel particularly old, although some days my body tells me otherwise, but it sort of feels like a halfway mark. I’ve heard people say they want to live to be 100 and all I can think of is “Why?” 100 seems fragile and rather lonely. Our bodies seem to absorb ourselves as we get really old. And while my current form with its excess could use less I don’t find this concept of desiccation pleasant.

Friends and family pass around us. Will my husband still be with me when I am that old? Who will find me if I die alone in my own home? How long will it take to make the discovery? Who will care? These are the things people without children worry about.

Maybe I am wrong about this.

Instead, a declaration. 90. That seems like a good year. As good as any. A long life filled and fulfilled.

Birthdays are special. I have seen a new phenomenon, or perhaps a new to me phenomenon, on the Internet lately. Of people celebrating “golden birthdays.” The year in which your age matches your day of birth. This seems like a fine idea.

April 12.

Although we didn’t know it at the time I celebrated mine with a trip to see the Beach Boys. My favorite band back then. My first concert. Or was it the that year I got to take a few of my friends to Bush Gardens? Was that 11 or 12? These are the things we lose. This accuracy of memory. Either way, doesn’t matter. Good times.

Perhaps more important than a golden birthday for someone born in mid April is the thought that your birthday could fall on Easter. This, I thought, would be like hitting the birthday jackpot. Birthday cake (I loooove cake) AND an Easter basket. Life doesn’t get better. This dawned on me when I was 8 at which point I decided to calculate when this synchronicity would occur. I don’t remember now (ahem) when I thought it was—sometime in my teens maybe—but it turns out it was when I was by myself in grad school. Completely bummed. But I went to the grocery and bought myself one of those cakes made to look like a bunny. You know the kind—single round layer cut in half then turned on its diameter, frosted and coated in colored coconut with a plastic bunny face squished on one end. It was delicious. It reminded me of the “coconut cut-up cakes“my grandma would bake for my birthday. One year a rocking horse, the next a butterfly. It is amazing the shapes you can get with a standard baking pan, a box cake mix, and a little creativity and food coloring.

Little did I know back then that Easter was a moveable feast. “It has come to be the first Sunday after the ecclesiastical full moon that occurs on or soonest after 21 March but calculations vary.” Note this is the Western Easter and not the Orthodox Easter. Damn schisms. Religion is complicated.

It happened again in 2009. We had dinner with family and I made my first “yellow cake with pink frosting.” It has been my go-to birthday cake ever since (except for trying that salted caramel buttercream last year which was not worth a repeat). Although truth be told I substitute a yellow cake recipe from this book which I like better, is moist and easy to make. Either way, this cake reminds me of the cakes my other grandma, my southern grandmamma, used to bake and that cake I had in New York City from Amy’s Bread on Bleeker Street.

I asked for the recipe. Turns out it wasn’t available but they had a cookbook in the works. I said I wanted to the recipe because this would end a quest to define my “perfect” birthday cake. When asked what my birthday was, April 12, they said that was Amy’s birthday too. A match meant to be. But maybe I’m remembering incorrectly (ahem). Either way, doesn’t matter.

45.

Best get to baking. Seems like a fine idea.

Jade

Do you see what I see? If you look closely, you can see. See those two little sprouts? They are a sign. A sign that with time, and gentleness, and nurturing, things will eventually be ok. And a little sunshine never hurts either.

A sign that things, life, will take root, and maybe, just maybe, one day we will begin living with our whole hearts again. That she is living through us, as was so eloquently pointed out to me as I broke down on Thanksgiving after hearing her voice in that of her youngest.

This is a very special plant. A jade that by all family accounts is about 60 years old. Originally owned by her mother in Ft. Lauderdale a piece was carried to Duke University in Durham, NC, I think, by Aunt Jo Ann then up to Washington D.C., where a piece broke off and made its way to Utah, where it grew to fill a huge pot, then lived alone in a ranch in Wyoming while others went to Hawaii, and eventually came back and adopted it once more.

I found this broken piece on the ground of the breezeway on the day that she died. She had meant to give me a piece but it didn’t happen. Or did it?

And so I took it home that day and planted it. And nurtured it. And waited.

Notes to Myself

DSC_0407Note #1: Be gentle with yourself.

It’s cool. I’m here to tell you something. You’re great. Do the very dang best you can do… then try to do just a bit better than that. There… as long as you’re doing that, that internal voice that might occasionally tell you that you’re not allowed or not enough… that voice is a jerk. And you know it’s a jerk because you know you’re doing your very best, and then some.

Joy the Baker

Untitled

Let us learn to appreciate there will be times when the trees will be bare, and look forward to the time when we may pick the fruit.

                                                        –Anton Chekhov

Ya’ll, I am happy to report that for the first time in a long time….I think I may be setting fruit. More later.

xoxo

E

Lost in My Mind

IMG_5647Playing catch-up. Always playing catch-up.

How to sum it up to date? Everything seems off. Like life is simultaneously happening at lightening speed as seen in slow motion.

And so a mixtape, per usual, to sum it up. It may not explicitly say FORWARD. But it is there, hidden among the verses. You have to trust me on this one.

There was running, of course, but slower and less consistent then usual. Running nonetheless. And even biking, although that doesn’t have a soundtrack. Drum corps and enthusiasm for annual meetings I have yet to attend. In early spring a sweet wedding in Mexico with a double rainbow, for the sweetest kids, one whom was just a baby when we first met. The one with the singing on the plaza and the fish tacos. Frankly, that one perplexed me the longest and hence the delay. But I figured it out, or at least pushed forward. And, after all, that’s the point of all of this anyway isn’t it? Another wedding, the one with the palm trees and café lights and celebrity attendees, and yet we were all just the same, singing at the top of our lungs to songs we all share as if we went to the same high school.

This was the summer (and spring and winter) of the new car. The one with the satellite radio that seems extravagant yet brings me so much daily joy. Thank you First Wave, for making my commute something to sing about, at the top of my lungs, shades on, sunroof open. There was slow progress made on the Tidy Up. Is it done, I am not sure, but it is close, and there is more space and order than ever. I am open to all that comes from that. That openness allows for reflection. And there is indeed reflection. In the why of it all, in the unfairness of it all, in the high moments and low moments. The lowest of the low. The laughter and joy through the tears. Of the songs without words.

I am ready for something good, I think—-and we’ve made plans for that. A road trip is order, and we’ll be sure to play it, all of it. Shades on, sunroof open, singing at the top of our lungs, moving forward. Watching it all in slow motion.


2015 OLW mixtape

  1. Technologic 4:44 Daft Punk Human After All
  2. Wind It Up 3:10 Gwen Stefani The Sweet Escape
  3. Dance The Night Away 4:23 The Mavericks Definitive Collection
  4. Panic 2:21 The Smiths  The Sound of The Smiths
  5. You’ve Got Time 3:10 Regina Spektor  Orange Is the New Black (Soundtrack)
  6. Turning Japanese 3:46 The Vapors Turning Japanese – Best of the Vapors
  7. 99 Red Balloons 3:51  Nena   99 Luftballons
  8. Heartbeats 2:42  José González  Veneer
  9. The Man Who Can’t Be Moved 4:01 The Script  The Script
  10. The House That Built Me 3:57  Miranda Lambert  Revolution
  11. Somewhere Over the Rainbow 5:12 Israel Kamakawiwo’ole Ka ‘Ano’i
  12. Picture Me 5:18  Yiruma Love Scene (Yiruma Piano Solo)
  13. Your Hand In Mine 8:17 Explosions In the Sky The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place
  14. Airstream Song 2:48  Miranda Lambert  Revolution
  15. Lost In My Mind 4:19 The Head and the Heart The Head and the Heart
  16. I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) 3:39  The Proclaimers  Sunshine On Leith
  17. Waves  3:49  The Cruise Slowly Drifting After U