Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Tackling the Hoard

Stuff. Boxes and baskets and bins of STUFF.  Yards and yards of fabric, collected from my time working for Hancock Fabrics specifically to get their closeout prices. Fabric collected in the years BEFORE I worked there, also from Hancock Fabrics, because I had ideas and plans and each one called for more fabric. Fabric passed on to me by my grandmother, an avid quilter in her 90's, when she moved from her home into assisted living. Fabric cut from shirts and sheets I bought at thrift stores because of the pretty colors and patterns that inspired SO many ideas.... but very few completed projects, to be honest. I've only ever made 3 quilts, one for each of our 3 daughters. 

But not just fabric. Sewing notions, not only my collection but my grandmother's, and my aunt's when SHE moved from her home to live with her son in another state. Measuring tapes, seam rippers, standard bobbins (which do not fit on my Bernina), zippers still in packages, buttons collected by my stepmother from a thrift store where SHE worked and gave to me, needles in lovely little books with vintage art on the outside. Vintage patterns. 

Yarn. I store my yarn in Samsonite suitcases (purchased at thrift stores). And in totes to hold different projects "in the works." And lined wicker baskets. Yarn gifted to me, collected by me over years and years, hundreds of skeins and hundreds of magazines full of thousands of patterns I intended to make. And some I did make. I love crocheting. And I dabble in knitting. 

Books. Shelves and boxes and flats FULL of books. Books I enjoyed in childhood and either still have or hunted down and re-collected to share with my children and grandchildren. Books that were made into movies -- Peyton Place, The Egg and I, Cheaper by the Dozen (the original with Clifton Webb, not the entertaining but wholly fabricated remakes with Steve Martin -- I am a purist when it comes to books and movies and music and REMAKES. But I digress). Magazines. Crochet, Art, Philosophy, etc. Hundreds of magazines with inspirational pictures that I love to thumb through and go buy the materials to make one of the projects therein---and find myself back at the top of this page. 

There are many other things in my hoard. Clothes I'll never wear again, mementoes (sic?) from relatives long passed that none of my kids, and very few of my cousins even, have memories of. Cookbooks. Puzzle books that each have only a handful of pages completed. Ball point pens in the junk drawer. A cigar box AND a large peanut butter jar full of nuts and bolts and nails and screws and eye hooks and mug hooks that I may or may not need one day. 

So. This year will be the year of thinning. Not my body, not intentionally anyway. I'm not a dieter and I would love to exercise if it didn't make me SWEAT. But the stuff. Some I will use, some I will donate, some I will recycle, and some will just have to go into a landfill. I simply can't keep a landfill in my home, even if it's organized in neatly stacked boxes and cubbies. I'm currently going through a workshop type of course called "Put That Stuff Down," relating PTSD to our reluctance to let go of objects. I would recommend it to anyone in my position. It's been a real eye-opener for me, and I can quickly identify what triggered me when I started to go through a box to become discouraged and push it away.  Applying this information has helped me to remove several large boxes and one huge contractor-size trash bag of things from my home. Even though, I'll be honest -- I went back through the bag twice to see if I'd thrown away anything good. Haha!!!

Hopefully, although I never really get into a habit of posting on here regularly, I'll document this journey here. 

Happy and Healthy New Year,

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

2021 First Quarter in Haiku

January came
A violent, angry swarm
Still not much subdued

But they COULD NOT stop
the certification, nor

February was
Seriously fucking cold
But we did survive

Now already March
Through dead layers of winter
New life finds its way

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Not a Draft

I've had a blog for as long as blogs have been a thing, even though there are large gaps of time between posts. Sometimes that's because I'm unsure of myself and the post just gets deleted, and sometimes it's because I get myself all worked up and think I should just save the draft and revisit it the next day in a better frame of mind. And of course, I never do. The main point of this post is simply to do it. I am always trying to better myself, push myself, understand myself. So last week I came across this video on Facebook that talked about the "2-minute rule."

Sure, it's simple. But all week long I've been exchanging my usual nap for just "2 minutes" of _____. The nap is sometimes because I haven't slept well the night before, due to the absolute JOY that is menopause. Night sweats SUCK! But sometimes it's because I go to tackle a project and for whatever reason, I just shut down, hit a wall, something. And the only thing I think I can do is go lie down in the cool and dark of my bedroom, turn my fans up and my noise machine even upper, and have a great dream and then wake up with less day to deal with. So today I prepared for a nap, and instead I did "2 minutes of mask-making."

That is, making a Christmas face mask for my Nana, who is in a nursing home in Dallas, and making a couple of children's size masks to add to a pile that I'll be sending to a center for domestic violence that has put out word they are in need of more. 

This actually ended up taking several hours because I had to clean off my sewing desk, iron some fabric, and them improvise around a few errors in judgment (measuring of course). 

I also worked on some watercolor, practicing leaves to go with the poinsettia petals I worked on yesterday. I did this for quite awhile. But it all started with 2 minutes of intention and action. So now, having started with just 2 minutes (but working a little longer than that once I got started), I'm going to click "publish" instead of "save as draft."

Mask up. Better yet, stay home if you can!

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

A Thing to be Grasped

As an adult who grew up in a very Bible-y place, verses fly through my head in response to nearly every situation I come across. And, of course, these verses were originally taught along with their "accepted" interpretations, a la various, basically fundamental, Christian churches. I say this because although I grew up in the Church of Christ, as soon as I was old enough to dare I began studying other variations of Christianity, such as Baptist, Catholic, and Assemblies of God. Most verses have the same "accepted" interpretations, except a few used to validate or denounce certain practices singular to one denomination versus others.

So the other day I was contemplating the outright GREED that has overcome our lives -- yes, the whole world, but especially here in the United States. As a City on a Hill that Cannot Be Hid, we are radiating GREED to the rest of the world. In the name, by and large, of Christianity. In contrast, we are lighting our lamps and then hiding them under bushels. Yes! We're the best place to live! We have more, promise more, ARE more! But...we don't want you. Especially if you are actually in need and might drain us of our resources. Please drain elsewhere. We don't have enough.

Well, we DO have enough for luxurious airplanes and expensive entourages for golf outings. Political campaigns. Huge parades and celebrations of ourselves. Yay! Aren't we amazing? Wouldn't you like to be us? Well you can't. You weren't born here. Or maybe your ancestors were but we drove them out and that's just too bad.

Then there's this little verse in Philippians. Always brought up to demonstrate just how much Jesus loved us. But it carries so much more weight when we look at ourselves, as Christ's representatives here on earth. Here in America.

"Have this mind AMONG YOURSELVES, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who -- THOUGH HE WAS IN THE FORM OF GOD -- did not count EQUALITY WITH GOD a THING TO BE GRASPED, but emptied himself, taking the form of a SERVANT..." Philippians 2:5-11, edited and emphasized as per my interpretation of the text.

What if this were applied to us? To each American? To our leaders? Who, though being in possession of wealth and power, did NOT count that as a thing to be GRASPED, but emptied ourselves, taking on the form of... Servants? Immigrants? Criminals? Hungry? Homeless?

While Christ was in the form of God and WAS God, we are NOT. We should count ourselves BLESSED, not ENTITLED. And figure out exactly what it is we are considering a thing to be grasped, so that we can empty ourselves of that and take on the form of servant. And serve those in NEED not those who can in return serve our needs. I'll scratch your back, you ... enjoy it. You feel appreciated. Your betterment is not only my reward, it is my JOB.

What is it YOU count as a thing to be grasped? What would it take to empty yourself of it? Are you brave enough?

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Guns are at least *part* of the problem

The article below is worth the read. Even if you are a gun owner. Especially if you are a gun owner. Not because you should be convinced to give up your guns. But because as a gun owner you should be open to promoting and demanding responsible gun ownership. My dad, a true gun enthusiast, throws this one out whenever the subject comes up, "There's a loaded shotgun on my front porch. It's been there all week. And it hasn't gotten up and killed a single person." I've been listening to that sort of rhetoric for years. But the truth is, it's dangerous rhetoric. It's flippant. It's not even true! My dad would never leave a gun out in the elements! But if it were true, some idiot who heard him say it could go swipe it and use it to commit a crime.

Attitudes about guns are changing. People are using them to win (get the last word in, so to speak) arguments. To "express themselves," as it were, in mass shootings in schools and places intended for recreation! And those who don't use them that way, those who own them and don't use them in bad ways, are starting to use these types of flippant responses that show just as much lack of respect for the guns they claim are so important in their lives. These attitudes are promoting and perpetuating the misconceptions about what guns should and should not represent, and how they should be used.

Here is the reblog I want to share: Guns Are the Problem, Guns Are the Problem, Guns Are the Problem … | Erin Wathen

Thursday, June 21, 2018

A Day on the Floor

This post was written two days ago...I just saw it when getting ready to upload a new post. But apparently I was feeling so bad that day that I didn't trust myself to be able to live with the shame of this honesty. Yesterday I started feeling my spirits lift slowly out of the pit, and today is a little better than that.  

If you suffer depression at any level, work (or wait) your way through to the next part of the cycle. Even if you don't believe it's coming! If you are considering suicide PLEASE CLICK HERE FOR HELP. If you are familiar with the feelings I describe below, realize that I don't feel the same way two days later. 



It could be anything. PMS. Peri-menopausal symptoms. The oppressively hot air outside. The amount of things to do just to be caught up, not to mention get ahead. Also, it's not like there's been a shortage of pain or trauma in my life over the last year. And it seems like when necessary I can muster up just enough energy and determination to do anything, and to be enthusiastic enough that I believe I'm becoming the person I want to be. The person who can answer yes to every, "Does anybody happen to have any _____?" Safety pins. Aspirin. Bandaids. Super powers.

It lasts enough to feel really good. And then inevitably I sink into a pit of stagnant self-loathing, self-pity, and insecurity. I spend a lot of time chastising myself. Like, it's because I drank too much last night (which always means 1 drink above my 2-drink limit) and alcohol is a depressant so I'm just living a well-deserved day of depression and misery. Trouble is, I find other reasons to explain it if I didn't drink last night.

I usually try to work my way back into my own good graces, then feel overwhelmed and go back to sleep for (hopefully) a good dream and a reboot.

There's also L-theanine, which if I don't feel TOO terrible might help a me enough energy to lift my eyes above the quicksand of poo and see a butterfly off in the distance. But have you ever felt so bad you can't bring yourself to take the cure? Like -- it's right there on top of the fridge, and all you have to do is take it down and chew up two of the minty, TUMS-like tablets and most likely feel at least some relief from the oppressive weight. But you (I) walk right past. Because I can't believe I will ever feel better again and why take a stupid mint-flavored, chewable supplement?

So that's today. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Sermon Me Not

This past week I attended the funeral of my uncle, who could easily have vied for "most gentle man ever." I remember him from a very young age, when he was dating my aunt and then right after they married and lived in a house on the street behind ours. I never saw him express ugliness, never heard him bark at his kids, never felt afraid of him. Everything he was was right there, worn like his clothes, deep all the way to his heart. As a young mother and wife, my husband (now ex) and I spent a lot of time with my aunt and uncle, as she helped me navigate breastfeeding and he encouraged my kids' dad to get his HAM radio license and then we all played with then-burgeoning technology. He taught me to write batch files and to download games from bulletin boards, and we would play a particular game over our computers while he and my kids' dad talked over their radios. He was there when my kids were born. In one instance, he used his HAM radio to tell my kids' dad to hurry back to the hospital because I was about to deliver (I had sent him out on a fool's errand because he was driving me crazy).

My uncle was born in Nigeria to missionary parents, and he and my aunt met in Campus Crusade for Christ when both in college in Austin. He did many different jobs in his lifetime, and in each of these positions made friendships with people who were drawn to his gentleness, and in most of these cases people were led to believe in Christ, very much a case of "What you have I want!" That's who he was.

Last year he was diagnosed with, treated for, and conquered leukemia. Then a couple of weeks ago he collapsed, his system having been attacked by an unknown virus. By the time they identified it and began treating it, he was in near-total organ failure, and though every day there was some spark of hope, in the end he was removed from life support and slipped away; even after life support was removed he was alert and went on for many more hours than expected, surrounded by family and, I believe, being a comfort to them before he left. He was that kind of man, husband, father, grandfather...uncle.

Now, I'm not the right-wing conservative Christian I was raised to be, and my uncle and his family for the most part toe that line. Actually a little over half my family stays in that range. So it should have been no surprise that his funeral would be a somber Baptist-esque service with a sermon-come-alter-call, complete with fire and brimstone. Actually this one was about stillborn babies rubbed with bloody sheepskins, but it's all the same. It's the grace of Jesus with the threat of horror, trotted out before a room full of grieving grandchildren who should not be hearing this shit.

I know, if you're a Christian that's part and parcel. I won't get in to why I object and how I came to my belief against church services and sermons in general. I have come to feel confident as I study the Bible and other religious texts myself, and seek out conversations and traditions outside what I was taught as a child and through my young adulthood. There is absolutely no reason on earth that I should sit still for an hour and be threatened by an angry man from behind a pulpit.


(See, the gentleness isn't as strong in uncle married into our family and shared his with us, but it's all nurture, not nature!)

My uncle's life was a sermon, an offering of grace to everyone who was blessed enough to be in his sphere of contact. During his funeral, voice after voice told stories of how they met him, how his nature touched them, and how he eventually led them to Jesus. There was NO ONE in that room that needed to be exposed to the grotesque and gory pictures "just in case" they weren't saved yet.

I think I was a little mouthy afterward and although I believe I kept my voice silent to all except the person(s) I was talking to, I visibly objected, and I was angry! The truth is, the man who delivered the sermon has been on my poo poo list for many years because of his perspectives and the manner in which he delivers them. But that's another story altogether. I may tell it one day.

Don't get me wrong...there is a time and place for teaching about what life would be without grace. But when people come together to comfort, to be comforted, to say goodbye and be held in loving tenderness while they grieve...that's not right. I have instructed my children that in NO WAY should there ever be a sermon of any kind during my funeral or at my grave or wherever they decide to dump the body. If anyone scares or threatens my precious grandbabies or great-grands ( non-gentleness will probably see me through another generation) I will come down and stomp their ass. I will be watching!!!!

Our lives should be the only sermon others ever need. Our funerals should not be a "captive audience" opportunity.