Moving Spaces…

Going forward I will not be posting on this blog.  See here for all future rants and here for an explanation.  Thanks for reading, I hope you will travel with me to the other blog.  Pretty please?

Dining Room Dish

DH worked his magic and was able to find paint to match our wall color.  Which was awesome because we could fix the weird blue rectangle  in our dining room.  Phew!  Earlier this year, I made a wall hanging for the dining room using linen and some Japanese fabric I LOVE.  It works pretty well with my hexagon table runner. 

Before weird blue rectangle…

IMG_1763After weird blue rectangle…

I really want to keep little flowers on my dining room table.  THAT.DAMN.CAT does not allow such frivolities.  He knocked over a vase of flowers, drenching the table runner, more than once.  And so this weekend I bought a pretty polish pottery vase and ceramic flowers.  It adds flowers to the table, coordinates with the floral eclectic that is my dining room.

IMG_1816We got the flowers and vase at Renditions in Weston, MO.  Truly a great place – two thumbs up.  They have floral jack o’lanterns (no kidding) that I am going to get when Halloween gets closer.  I love the idea of being able to have a touch of seasonal decorating without having to switch out all of my flowery stuff.  Woot.

TULA PINK! Quilt Show – Something Interesting We Did

DH and I were talking about the pitiful state of our social life. We just have a hard time connecting with people. (TMI? Have you missed me?) With the 1/2 life that comes with shared child custody, it is difficult to make adult friendships work. Add to that – we both basically have a default setting of quiet and absorbed in our own worlds (quilting, books) and it takes a while for people to like us. And we are a skosh curmudgeonly and old. Ok, more than a skosh.

Recently while bemoaning our “fates”, I got sick of trying to think how to meet people who could be our “couple friends”. I decided that we need to make our lives interesting outside of trying to meet people. I HATE things I can’t control. And meeting people who can stand us enough to hang out with us regularly is definitely not something I have much control over.

Every weekend, kids or not, we are doing something interesting – so that our lives are interesting regardless of our social status.

Our first foray was a quick trip to see the Tula Pink and Luke Haynes quilt show at the Albrecht-Kemper museum in St. Joseph. This is an adorable little gem of a museum in n a cool old mansion.

IMG_1786

The quilts were more for me, of course. And they were amazing and beautiful. Tula Pink is sort of my favoritest person in the world I don’t actually know – so I was a goner. It was great to see all of the quilts I had fawned over online in real person.

IMG_1787IMG_1788

Luke Haynes does amazing work – true art pieces in fabric. I had been to a talk he gave a few months back, so knew a bit about his work. Again, so great to see some of these in real life.

IMG_1789 IMG_1791

My favorite is the dual Elvis… I LOVE the flying geese backdrop.

IMG_1790

And I love this picture. The kids with LUKE – Some prehipsters these two are, for sure.

IMG_1792

The paitings at the Allbrecht-Kemper are housed in about three rooms – and there really are some cool American art pieces…

IMG_1798

Victory by Lisa Lala took my breath away. I love the color so much – this picture doesn’t do the color justice. I want to make a quilt in this palette.

IMG_1801

My favorite painter is Janet Fish – so I was thrilled to see this painting, entitled Cows. So weird that I was this close to another of her paintings and didn’t go to see it until now.

IMG_1796

A very cool painting was this Fruit Ninja-like piece. I cavalierly thought that the paintings would be documented on the website, so I didn’t take notes. So I don’t know the name or who it is by.

IMG_1802

Another painting that had a color palette that caused me to drool was Afterglow in Mexico by Wolf Kahn. Lavender, cornflower blue, russety orange. Another set of colors on the quilting to-do list.

Albrecht-Kemper was an interesting thing to do.  The Tula Pink and Luke Haynes exhibit is open until September 7, 2014.

Running Without a Spreadsheet

Screen shot 2014-06-24 at 8.36.03 PM

I am going to try to explain something here, and am going to do it clumsily.  Your best option is to read this essay by Joshua Fields Millburn – a complicated, smart, pretentious, moderately sexist advocate of minimalism whose book Everything That Remains got me thinking about my life and my choices.  Damn him.  Anyway, it is a better use of your time to read his essay, but I am going to proceed anyway…

I track things.  I have as long as I can remember – in notebooks, then in Excel, now on Google Drive.  I set fun and not fun goals for myself.  Stretching back as far as I remember.  The summer between my 7th and 8th grade year, I set a schedule for watching reruns on TV.  I like structure.  Maybe it isn’t that I like it.  I am addicted to structure.  Yes, that seems right – addicted.

I could tell you that setting goals works for me.  But that is total bullshit.  For most of my life I have wanted only one thing.  To be thin.  I have never achieved this.  I have achieved being slightly less fat on occasion.  For a few days I was even more than slightly less fat.  But almost exclusively I fail at the things I track in notebooks, or Excel, or Google Drive.  If I could get back the time I spent tracking goals I didn’t achieve…  But I can’t.  And now I want to be happy and healthy – screw thin.  So maybe now it is time to stop tracking shit I want to do, and let it go or just actually do the things.

Here is what I was tracking (until this morning)…

* Completing my skin care regimen every morning and evening, as well as flossing

* Giving myself a manicure every week

* Completing 3 sessions of the couch to 5 K program every week

* Completing 3 sessions of kettle bell workouts every week

* Eating six servings of fruits and vegetables every day, drinking six glasses of water every day

* Tracking what I ate – just to be clear – I tracked what I ate and then tracked that I tracked it.  Seriously.  Not kidding.

* Blogging seven times a week

* Finishing a quilting project every week

* Finish a book every week

* Walking my dog twice a week

Well, that’s a humiliating list.  And other than finishing a quilting project every week, I never hit any of them.  I would read a book and constantly check my page count to make sure I was making enough progress for the day.  I would skip a workout, telling myself that I could make it up before the week was up.  I would size up my bag of carrots in my lunch to determine if I could count it as 1 serving or 2.  I managed my spreadsheet – moving through scenarios to see how I could get an “A” for the week.  I always got a D – once a low C.

At best the goal spreadsheet was a failing extrinsic motivation.  But, really, to be completely brutally honest with myself, it was a total waste of time.  Months after reading Joshua Fields Millburn disparage goal setting, I finally am ready to admit that I need to give up the ghost.  So I am running without a spreadsheet.  Today I did 30 minutes on the treadmill, and I will get no “credit” for it.  There is no box to check.  Whoa.

I am not sure what cold turkey looks like.  Probably a lot more of listening to myself.  I put the things I do still want to do (exercise, blogging, giving myself a manicure) on my calendar.  It still is a bit Type A, but I am new at this.  Baby steps.  That will not be tracked anywhere.  Whoa.

How I live, it got me here…

Love, love, love this.  Brilliant and brilliant.  “There’s a little cop inside that prevents me.”

Happy F’ing Birthday!

Happy F’Ing Birthday

I turned 40 about 6 weeks ago.  It was so different from my 30th birthday – they seemed like the birthdays of two different people.  Which I guess they sort of were in a way.

I had four parties when I turned 30 – a different party with a different theme for every decade I had lived in.  I can’t even comprehend that I did that now.  What an f’ing imposition on everybody.  I am hoping it was fun for at least some of the people, but who knows.  In that way that 30 year-olds do, I felt 30 was old – the end of my youth.  And I had figured I would never get married or have kids.  It would never be “in the cards” for me.  I wrongly thought that I would never again get to have a party for me.  Friends had weddings and baby showers.  And I had… well… none of that.  So I threw myself four parties.  Humiliating in retrospect.  Also because I still made everybody come to my wedding 3 years later.  And I had wedding showers.  Plural.  I wonder if I will ever pay off that karma.

This year was completely different.  As the date approached, I waivered between having a small dinner with close friends, or just doing something with Bill.  It was inertia, but I ended up just going to dinner with DH to celebrate my birthday.  And it was wonderful and quiet and ended up being exactly what I wanted.  And it was a little more than inertia.

A couple weeks before my 40th birthday, I was diagnosed with diabetes.  Eye-popping HbA1C levels.  And I was decimated.  Decimated and humiliated.  The stigma of being the actual embodiment of the obesity epidemic obliterated any positive conception I have worked very hard to get of my physical self.  Kaboom.  People who love me would try to explain that it was more than just that I was fat – but making “excuses” made me feel even worse about myself.  I had failed.  Period.  The jokes  and media reports and warnings about fat people – I am fat people.  I am the downfall of society.  Where’s my crown?

And my endocrinologist helpfully said “Diabetes is caused by eating portions that are too big.”  Fuck me.  Really?  I have cut my life to only 20 more years tops because of portion sizes.  Fuck.  And the only way to not have had a sentence of a brief life filled with going blind and losing my feet was to eat smaller portions?  I must be the dumbest fucking idiot in the history of dumb fucking idiots.  Again, where is my FUCKING CROWN??

That is where I was.  At the brink. And alone except for three little life rafts… which joined to become a rowboat, and I can see land now.

First, my excuses. 

I have a family history of diabetes. 

I felt hungry all the time.  I can see you rolling your eyes, but now that I am on the right kind of medication, I know the difference.  Being hungry all the time was real, not imagined – I could eat a giant meal and still want a giant meal.  Topped with whip cream.  Now I can tell the difference between eating because of hunger and eating because of emotion.  Before I gained some control through medication, it all felt like eating because of hunger.  I still eat because of emotion sometimes, but I know I am doing it.

I am a stressed person.  If my husband read this blog and read that sentence, his eyes would roll to the back of his head and the sheer magnitude of the understatement of that sentence. I get stressed easily and don’t always have the best skills to release that stress.  Stress is a contributing factor to diabetes.

These excuses, or rather contributing factors, to me having diabetes eased the bass drum of self-hatred in my head.  Sure, there is plenty of this that is still absolutely my fault.  But there were contributing factors.  I am not the worst person in society dragging us all down to economic ruin.  I am not.

Next, my husband.  DH is a superstar of husbands.  He stepped up and cooked yummy healthy meals and is always willing to go for a walk.  And he never waivered in his love and belief in me.  Sure, love comes from the inside, but it sure doesn’t hurt to have it from the outside also.

Next, my parents.  My mom told me that I wasn’t a total human failure because I had diabetes as many times as was possible.  And my dad had me start texting him my blood glucose readings – making it feel a bit more normal.

Support.  Love.  Regular exercise. Good health insurance.  All I needed to feel like a person who belongs to the world again.  Worthy of the world. 

So, happy birthday to me.  You are stuck with me, Society.  Say hello to the Queen of the Obesity Epidemic.  Long live the Queen!

We Went Camping!

For an embarrassingly long time, sweet SD has asked that we go camping.  We have taken two camping trips before – one where we spent a week in Colorado, and a brief one-night stay at a state park.  Both were awesome, and we should do it more.  We went to the same state park again and had a great time.  It is going to be our new Stepmother’s Day celebration every year… so at least we will go once a year.

IMG_1606

Master camp chef starting dinner.  DH created a ready-to-go camp box with everything we need – so theoretically we could leave pretty quickly any time we wanted to.  Now that it is hot though, I will not want to go any time soon.

IMG_1607

 

Our tent.  I love our tent.  I love waking up in a tent.  Actually I like the thought of waking up in a tent.  Because for me waking up in a tent means I have to pee.  boo.

IMG_1608

 

Awesome SS being awesome.

IMG_1610

 

Awesome SD being awesome.

IMG_1611

 

Tootsies by the fire.

 

IMG_1619

 

Lewis and Clark memorial thingie that is patterned after the Mariner’s Compass quilt block.  ;)  DH thinks maybe the quilt block and this memorial thingie are both just patterned after a Mariner’s compass.  Chicken. Egg.

IMG_1622

 

Unflattering but happy post camping selfie.

Our Downstairs Bath…

We redid our downstairs bath. It is a tale of failed subfloors, unnecessary time and expense, almost giving up, and then redemption. Cut to the pictures…

IMG_1384

IMG_1385

IMG_1382

IMG_1381

IMG_1380

 

IMG_1666

The shower curtain is from Anthropologie.  I made the curtains.  I hate making curtains.  The walls are blue.  DH laid the linoleum and installed the vanity.  I love the photographs above the toilet.  The End.

A Curated Life – The Refrigerator

9644a988-be35-4f7a-bbed-47e41c637aff_400

Curation:  select, organize, and look after the items in (a collection or exhibition)

I have just read (listened to) an awful book.  More on that in another post – I don’t want to confuse this post with my spitting hatred of that book.  Despite my dislike, one of the concepts that hit me BAM! on the head, is we are responsible for curating our lives.  And mine is poorly curated.

As I started to think more about curation – I thought more and more of my parents’ refrigerator.  It is a good representation of good curation.

I aspirationally grocery shop.  I do not have the skill to cook well – and I do not have the patience to cook enough to get better. But I keep thinking I will suddenly become a dedicated and skilled cook.  I plan meals and make lists.  And, well, I don’t follow through.  So my pantry (and sadly, my refrigerator) is full of things I will not use. That is embarrasing to admit.  There are salad dressings, spices, teas, oils, vinegars, meal packets, soups that I will never ever use.  This shameful list of aspirational foods is topped by a jar of vegetarian peking duck.  Not kidding.  So not kidding. 

This is the opposite of my parents’ refrigerator.  It could be used for refrigerator photo shoots.  My dad has very clear likes and dislikes, my mom cooks the meals that they both like, and buys only the ingredients that are needed for those meals.  Can you imagine?  And because she knows what they like, what they will eat, she can buy in bulk.  And still have vast space in her refrigerator.  It truly is beautiful.  It is curated.

So, when my parents want to eat some sharp cheddar cheese, my mom will go to the refrigerator and pull out some sharp cheddar cheese.  When I want some sharp cheddar cheese, I will go to the refrigerator and pull some sesame teriyaki marinade and get frustrated when I have to move several items to even get to the teriyaki?  Sigh.

Here’s the thing – when your life is full of crap you don’t want, then it is hard to find and appreciate the stuff you do want.  It is MY job to curate.  I need to let go of the fact that I will never be remembered by my stepkids as a great cook.  Their dad is a great cook.  And we just need the food in stock for the meals he makes.

Over the next several weeks I am going to work to curate my life – whittle it down to the hobbies, posessions, relationships that are worth my time and money (freedom).  I may even get to the refrigerator.  Stay tuned…  I hope reading this blog makes the cut of your curation choices.

Building a better day…

Today was a gift…

1. I have no trace of a sniffle, cough, or sinus headache left.

2. The horrible, cold, horrible, freezing weather broke.

3. My time and investment in baby feet finally started to pay off.  (eww… but awesome… but eww)

4. The guy *finally* showed up to start fixing our downstairs bathroom.  I see a light at the end of the tunnel of having all two of our bathrooms working.

It wasn’t perfect (discovered we need a new hot water heater, work is a bit frustrating, my hair was kind of flat), but it was a total jewel of a gift of an awesome day.  Mostly because of the weather probably, but it felt like a turning.

And I turned with it.  I filled my day with things that make me feel good about myself.

I woke up on time…

IMG_1275

 

Which meant I had time to do some yoga rather than rush to get ready to be at my cubicle on time…

IMG_1276

I ate yummy foods that made me feel good, and got to stop for green tea and crunchy oatmeal before my drive in…

Screen shot 2014-02-13 at 9.00.42 PM

 

And, on a whim, because it was 45 degrees (not 9), and because I already felt pretty happy, I stopped at my favorite park on the way home and raced the setting sun for a mile…

IMG_1284

 

And I will get to finish my day with a hard cider, a chat with DH, maybe a wee bit of patchwork.  So many of my days feel like me failing at life.  Today was a better day… not perfect, but a gift.