Thursday, November 29, 2018

Missing momentum managed

Maybe my sense of adventure receded from focus
To dwindle and then disappear
Or maybe it's just getting hard not to notice
There's plenty to do around here.

Have you, by any chance, seen my momentum anywhere?

I seem to have misplaced it.

It's probably hanging somewhere with my missing motivation and mojo.

I hope they all found a nice sunny place for their vacay.

And I sure hope they plan on coming home soon.

I miss them.

It's true that in their absence, I'm not especially getting a whole lot done.

In fact, mostly what I feel like doing is sitting on my sofa in soft pants and crocheting. I'm making another crazy rippled, striped blanket. This one is for my grandson.

I asked him what colors he wanted. His favorite color these days is red. I said, what other colors should I use. He said blue, make it red and blue.

I said, how about if I also use some green. And yellow. And purple and orange. He got really excited and said, make a rainbow blanket.

He is almost six and a half years old.

I'm doing my best to oblige.

My sweet little boyfriend in his cool new glasses.
The other thing I feel like doing is looking at yarn online. I think I spend as much time looking at yarn (and sometimes ordering yarn) as I do working with yarn.

But I am making progress and I'm already thinking about my next project and feeling a little sad that this blanket is already almost half done.

I've made beads just once or twice since we got back from Florida. I have to say it was fun. But there are a lot more steps to bead making than there are to blanket making.

I have to mess with bead release, dip mandrels, let them dry, ramp up the kiln. I make the beads, let the kiln ramp down, and then I have to take them off the mandrels and ream out the bead release.

Then if I want to sell them, I have to sort them, string them, photograph them, edit the photos, write the listings, send invoices when they sell, package them for shipping.

I don't think I will be selling any blankets.

For one thing, yarn is expensive, there is easily more than $100 of materials in my blankets. I like nice quality yarn, wool, merino, alpaca, silk. And if I'm going to invest the hours and hours of handwork, I'm going to use the good stuff.

You never know, but for now I'm just working on family projects.

My beautiful daughters modeling the scarves I made. I love stripes as much as I love dots.

Anyway, we spent four days in Orlando. We met Laurie, Luke, & Blake there, and stayed at a Hilton Grand Destinations resort. Laurie and Luke had a beautiful suite at no charge, except for a two-hour time-share presentation they had to attend. Neil and I babysat for Blake and that was the high point of the trip. Blake was totally happy the whole time he spent with us, two on one.

The rest of the trip was a blur of dining at Disney resorts, working around the schedule of an almost two-year-old toddler. We had the seafood buffet at the Beach Club, dinner at Dole Whips at the Polynesian, and the African-themed buffet at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. We rode the monorail for Blake's sake.

Laurie lost a day to being suddenly violently ill. Neil, Luke, and I took Blake to Sea World. I personally loved the dolphin show and the sea lion show. Blake was just as interested in a pole as he was with the sea turtles and other aquatic life.

Neil and I stayed on a day after the kids went home. We had High Tea at the Grand Floridian and rode the boat over the Seven Seas Lagoon to Magic Kingdom and back.

We flew home on Thanksgiving Day, and since apparently we hadn't had enough to eat, we went to the North Harbor Club for the buffet dinner, marking a tradition, since we had done the same the year before.

It's still hard for me to believe that we're well into our second year here.

I have two more ceramics classes and have to decide if I am going to sign up for another session. I'll probably try to do at least one more class.

As I said, I've lost my momentum.

And still the days go by in a flash and there is never enough time.

Neil and I went to see Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, which was better than the first film in the Harry Potter prequel series, but slow starting and more than a bit confusing. Still, it had some moments and I'd probably see any movie that stars both Eddie Redmayne and Johnny Depp.

The weather has been less than fantastic, too damp, not enough sunshine, and my allergies have been playing up. I'm popping Benadryl like Tic-tacs and trying to hold out until next year, after my annual checkup, to see an allergist.

We'll be traveling again in mid-December, for Blake's second birthday party and for Neil (mostly) to see some of his friends. I'm hoping to hook up with some of mine, but it's hard since we'll be sharing a car.

We have no firm travel plans after that until May, when we'll be in Colorado, and June, which will see us in Utah. Why ask why we planned two trips so close together. That's what happens when you roll the dice and book a lodge a year out since you can never get last-minute reservations when you want them.

I'd been toying with the idea of a spring-break trip back to Texas, some sort of open-jaw to Dallas-Austin-Houston. I know Neil wants to visit Texas at least twice a year and the summer months are a no go.

But then my daughter Kandace and her boyfriend got engaged to her boyfriend Chris the weekend before Thanksgiving. I'm really happy for her, and waiting with bated breath for them to set a date, so that we can plan around that.

All in all, I have nothing to complain about and everything to be grateful for.

And despite being momentarily momentum challenged, I'm really a lot happier than I was a year ago, when I wrote this post about grief and gratitude.

I used to hope the aliens would please pick me
Now if I saw a spaceship
I would u-turn and floor it
Ta-ta ET

Maybe my sense of adventure receded from focus
To dwindle and then disappear
Or maybe it's just getting hard not to notice
There's plenty to do around here

I used to run fast just to dive to the ground
In our Cheyenne and Sugarfoot game
Now it's true I get stiff just from sitting around
But I do like to sit just the same

And I don't mind the old, I don't mind the gray
It's not like I was Miss Clairol anyway
And it's okay with me that I will not be
The first to find out if the swing works okay

'cause I don't have to remember Laissez-Faire taught us
I don't even own any good shoes
And if you're having apples with mayonnaise and walnuts
I can just say, no thank you.

(Cheryl Wheeler - Penrod And Higgins Music/Amachrist Music/ACF Music Group)

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Comfort zone mania

One day you got the glory and then you got none
One day you're a diamond and then you're a stone.

I haven't written here for a while. There are a number of reasons for that.

The predominant reason may be that I've been going through a spate of feelings of self-doubt, insecurity, and floundering self-esteem. And who wants to read about that?

If not you, and I don't blame you, then wait until I write again. I'll engage to not let so much time pass betwixt posts.

Because my muse has apparently decided that I'm going to write about it after all.

Its' nothing new. It age-old, life-long feelings of underachievement, unworthiness, of being unlovable. Sure, I could say that it's all in my head, that it's all untruths based on faulty neurotransmitter synapses, that I'm just as good as anyone else, and possibly better than some.

But there is this deep-rooted nagging sense that I'm broken in some fundamental way. And it's hard to argue in the face of the evidence. To wit, I've been here for a year and I still have not made one real friend.

I've had chances. There have been at least four women who might have become friends, but haven't. There was our Airbnb hostess who (I thought) I hit it off with. There was an artist who lives on the other side of Lake Norman who I met up with a couple of times. There was a lady who I knew from an online lampwork forum and who I got together with once or twice. And there's a woman in my subdivision who found me on Facebook, who does glass fusing, used to do lampwork, and wanted to meet. But so far that hasn't happened.

Obviously I'm not being very assertive about any of these relationships. I put out feelers and if I don't get positive reinforcement I let it go. And it circles back to my lack of self-confidence and all that other crap. I need someone like my old friend Shawn who would call me and call me and suggest doing things and talk me into them and pick me up and drive me. Shawn never worried about who called whom last. She just picked up the phone and made plans. Then she moved to Austin, got pregnant, got married and moved to California, and we lost touch until I found her on Facebook. We talked on the phone, got caught up on each other's lives, but that's as far as it went. And that was OK, I had other friends then, and Shawn did too. And people change.

Truthfully, there's another element to all this, maybe even the paramount one, and it's that I self sabotage. I'm lazy. I don't really want to get dressed up and go out most of the time. And I'm busy. I've added crocheting to my daily routine of bead making and my treadmill-crime-drama binging regime. I spend time with Neil, we grocery shop and do errands, get things for the house, work on house projects, and then there are our weekly rituals of $5 smoothies on Fridays and frozen custard pretty much anytime. I also read, I'm still working my way through the Margaret Maron mysteries, and the Jill Paton Walsh mysteries, with some Rumer Godden and a little Celeste Ng interspersed. And Neil reads to me every day, right now it's the Peter Wimsey novels.

So I fiercely guard my time and there never seems to be enough of it. I'm ambivalent about leaving my comfort zone. But I know I need friends, a support network of some kind, and I feel clueless about how to create one. Yet I know that the time to build that network is now, before I need it, not after.

Doing nothing about it adds to my feelings of low worth and guilt. Its not the best substrate for compelling writing. Not writing weighs on me, adds to to my self-defeatism. You see how this snowballs.

At the same time, every single day, I am aware of and deeply grateful for this life that I have with so much good in it. I promise that I take not a whit of it for granted.

I'll just do a quick catch-up of the highlights of the last (gasp) month or so. Because life does go on while I'm flagellating myself.
  • Neil was away for two more softball tournaments, the last two of the season. I used the time well by binge watching The Killing for the second time. I l first/last watched it about three years ago and wanted to re-watch it before it got too dated. I loved rewatching it, knowing who the perpetrators were. It has some incredible acting, especially in the third season. And of course the ending slays me, always.
  • I signed up for and started a weekly ceramics class at the Cornelius Art Center. I've been to three classes (of five) and I like it a lot, although its 9:30 am start time means I never want to go. But once I'm there it's lovely, and I'm hoping to take the next session. I like the teacher and I like that the class is mostly retired ladies like me. New friends? Maybe.
  • I've made a lot of beads for Beads of Courage, the October bead of the month, and a couple of hundred Carry-a-Bead pairs. Bead sales aren't exactly booming but on the whole I'm still selling enough beads to make it worth listing them.
  • I've already spent more than $1,000 on yarn. I finished my first blanket (love love love it), four scarves, and now I'm making Ryland a blanket in a rainbow of colors. But just like with glass, when I started out I made mistakes, paid too much for things, bought things I wound up not loving, so it is with yarn. It's much better to have an idea what I want to make and then buy the yarn to make it, but I get sucked in by the colors and textures and sales. So I have yarn I love but won't let myself use because I'm not good enough yet, and yarn that I don't exactly love but it's mine and I feel committed to making something with it.
  • I went to see/hear Glennon Doyle - writer, activist, truth-teller - speak at a Baptist church in Charlotte. I went alone, because I couldn't think of anyone to ask. I'm glad I went, although there was a clusterflub getting there, due to a Leukemia & Lymphoma Society fund raising walk, which had streets closed and traffic stalled or diverted. And Siri just would not understand the command, find an alternate route. Then I realized that I'm not in Texas any more, churches don't have parking lots, and older neighborhoods don't have streetlights. I parked in a space that wasn't marked as a space but was the only bit of real estate I could find, and walked, trying to make a mental map of the route. Then of course afterward I wandered around for half an hour looking for my car, trusting that it hadn't been towed. It took me a bit longer to find it because when I parked it was in a lot full of cars, and when I got back it was the only car at the back of an empty space - and a dark blue car doesn't stand out in a dark place. All in all, it was worth it, not least because I got out and took myself somewhere and found my way home safely.
  • We're getting ready to head to Orlando for a few days, where we'll meet Laurie, Luke, & Blake and do Disney on some dollars a day. Neil has made dining reservations for each night at a Disney property. We've heard there is no more free parking, not even for hotel guests. I'm just hoping the monorail is still free.
  • We've had a lot of gray days and rain here, the rain garden pond stays full most of the time, but the weather in Florida promises to be balmy, so I'm looking forward to that.
I'm probably forgetting some things, but there's always another day, another post.

I'll try not to let that be almost 30 days again.

And I'll try to look down less, and look up more.

Well it's a strange old game you learn it slow
One step forward and it's back you go
You're standing on the throttle, you're standing on the brake
In the groove 'til you make a mistake

Sometimes you're the windshield
Sometimes you're the bug
Sometimes it all comes together baby
Sometimes you're just a fool in love
Sometimes you're the Louisville Slugger
Sometimes you're the ball
Sometimes it all comes together
Sometimes you're gonna lose it all

You gotta know happy, you gotta know glad
Because you're gonna know lonely, and you're gonna know sad
When you're rippin' and you're ridin' and you're coming on strong
You start slippin' and slidin' and it all goes wrong

One day you got the glory and then you got none
One day you're a diamond and then you're a stone
Everything can change in the blink of an eye
So let the good times roll before we say goodbye

Sometimes you're the windshield
Sometimes you're the bug
Sometimes it all comes together baby
Sometimes you're just a fool in love
Sometimes you're the Louisville Slugger
Sometimes you're the ball
Sometimes it all comes together
Sometimes you're gonna lose it all.

(Mark Knopfler © Universal Music Publishing Group)