Thursday, April 10, 2014

Simplicity

I wonder if anyone ever finds true simplicity. You know, where you have what you need but also lots of white space. Theoretical white space, of course: I'm not wishing for actual white walls or anything over here because that would make me a bit nuts.  I sort of suspect few people ever feel they're There, no matter how much they simplify. But maybe they do: maybe there are lots of people out there who have cleared out their lives and spaces and closets and heads to such an extent that everything feels clear and spacious and open. They're just not online 24/7 telling everyone about it, so we don't hear about them as much.

I don't know. Sometimes I feel like I'm getting there, and sometimes it feels like there's no progress at all, even though I know there must be, given all the work I'm doing on it. Here's what I know:

1. I don't want to be busy. I want to do the work I love, but I don't want ever to feel "busy." I used to think that being busy was a sign of success, of being in demand, of being right smack dab in the middle of everything that was going on. Being relevant, perhaps. Gah, is that a concept I loathe or what? Relevancy. You know: "He's no longer relevant," "I want to still be relevant." It's something I just started hearing in the last couple years, and it makes me nuts. Who decides relevancy? And relevancy to what? Oh, sure: I get the way it's used in the world: if your ideas and input are still fresh and valuable to whatever market/media/endeavor you're involved in, then you're relevant. People worry about getting old/stale/redundant and becoming irrelevant. It's mostly about ageism, of course, and I'm going to stop before I begin to rant because I reallyreallyreally *am* trying to work on having fewer opinions about stuff. It's not going so well, but I'm giving it the big try.

Anyway, in the last couple years, I've come to think of being busy not as a sign of all that but as a sign of something else. I try not to be busy. Since I set my own schedule for work and deadlines, being busy reflects a lack of planning on my part. I make a real effort not to answer "Busy. You?" when people ask, "How've you been?" I want to suggest, by my response, that maybe there's another way besides busy. I used to think there wasn't: stay busy right up until the moment you can't be busy any more, and then die. I've rethought all of that. I want to do the things I love, but I don't want to be "busy" at them. I don't want to rush. I don't want to feel overwhelmed. I want to live at a slow pace, doing careful, thoughtful work. I feel good about how this part is going.

Note: I just thought of this, of putting it into words: because I love the work I do (interviewing artists and writing/talking about them), I want to bring my full attention to the process. I used to try to cram everything in to a couple weeks per month so I had free time to do other stuff (my own projects). Now I realize how magical what I get to do really is: I get to talk to creative people about the creative work they do. I want to savor it more, and I've worked out a schedule that allows me to focus on one person at a time, never overlapping any of them. This means that, for a week at a time, I'm thinking about one person and that person's work and process and inspiration. I think about them when I'm walking and in the shower and when I'm stitching. Almost always, they'll have said something amazing, something I hadn't thought about before about the way creativity works or how inspiration feels for them. Not being busy allows me to really enjoy these (to me) revelations.

2. I don't want to be a caretaker of Stuff. I've written a ton about this lately, so I'll be brief. I don't want to take care of/worry about/insure a bunch of stuff I don't use and don't need, stuff that has no point now and will have even less point the moment I'm dead. Getting rid of this stuff—in most cases, finding new homes for it—has been tough and freeing and scary and exciting, and I'm really loving its not being around. No, I have not for a moment regretted dumping all 150+ journals.

3. I want to be able to get by on less money. This is an amazing thing to say in the US, especially in Midland, Texas, where everybody is trying to make it while the making is good. Midland has the lowest unemployment rate in the nation for the latest reporting period, and the oil business is making lots of people more money than they ever dreamed they'd have (they actually say this to us). I have just lost one of my primary jobs, just this month. I guess I was fired; it's a strange situation. I helped design and plan CreateMixedMedia.com, and there were big plans. We were told last year it was ending, then we were told to just keep going, and then I was told they were going to keep going but *without* me. Like I said, kind of strange. It effectively cuts my yearly income in half, and let's just say there wasn't a huge big thing to halve in the first place. Is it scary? You bet. The work I do for a living is work that I've kind of created: it's not like there are other identical jobs with other employers. So the work I was doing for CMM isn't something I can do somewhere else. A couple of years ago, this would have been terrifying, but now? I look at it as a challenge. Instead of thinking I should go out and find a job in Midland's crazy economy, I think I should figure out how to live on less.

And let me just stop right here and say: if it weren't for medical and vet expenses, this would be a piece of cake. Right now we're in the middle of an experiment to try to get Moe's nasal issues under control. He sneezes, he snorts, he coughs, he wheezes. He's totally miserable when this stuff is at its worst. He's had exams and had his sinuses irrigated with the results (ewwww, I know) sent to A&M. He's had bloodwork sent to A&M. We've tried all sorts of antibiotics. We've done steroids (you don't want to do those for too long because of the kidney issues). Right now he gets a dose a day, going through Week #3 now, of some horrible stuff that costs about $4 a dose.  And he is just one of 8 cats, 7 of whom are over 10 years old. You get the picture.

4. I don't want to spend a single moment of time doing ANYTHING just because I'm supposed to do it. If it doesn't have a purpose or make somebody happy, if it's not fun or productive or inspiring, I'm out. This explains, in part, the hair and nails and stuff: it wasn't worth the time it took. News, current events, opinions, rants, petitions, marketing, ads: not worth the time. Which leads into—

5. I want to realize, every single day—every hour of every day—how little time we actually have on this little planet, how fleeting this life is in the scheme of things, and how lucky we are to get to experience it. Everything I said up above feeds into this, and I'm making good progress in noticing less and less the crap (all the stressful, argumentative, crazy-making stuff we pile into our lives) and noticing more and more the stuff that makes up a simple life. I stop in the middle of my walk, in the middle of the street, and stand and admire a mockingbird going through his entire (or maybe not: I've never heard one run out of variations, ever) repertoire. I squat down in the gutter to smell the newly-bloomed chocolate daisies by my new friend's house (I don't know her name, but she's a Schnauzer who use to bark loudly at us every time we passed by until I went up to the fence to see what she was saying, and she went nuts and slobbered all over me. Now it's a ritual with us). Standing back UP from squatting to smell the daisies is tougher and tougher, and that makes me appreciate it all the more. In part, knowing that arthritis is progressive and incurable actually helps me on this path because I realize that, if I live long enough, there will be a time when I won't be able to do most of what I do now (I can look at the progression of my father's for a good clue about the future).

6. And then, tying it all together, I want to spread joy. Make more people laugh out loud, give more hugs (I'm working hard on this one!), be an example of a different way to live. Am I doing a good job? Not yet, but I do think I'm getting better.

In my head I have an imaginary world filled with calm, happy, creative people, moving through life at a comfortable pace, sharing ideas and inspiration, avoiding greed and the urge to amass huge amounts of money and stuff. In this fantasy, a tiny moment comes back to me of walking on a sidewalk in downtown Santa Fe one morning and passing a woman, probably the age I am now, with a long, brightly-colored skirt and sandals, her grey hair long and loose, walking with her dog, looking happy and present in the world. I imagine more people like that, like maybe a commune with better bathrooms and more privacy, communities where the simple life was valued more than huge new fortunes and MacMansions to match (The EGE and I keep saying we're going to go out and get some photos of the ones going up around here to show you, but it's kind of sad, given the ugliness of the drought and lack of landscaping: just huge, sprawling houses with lots of dirt).

Time to go take a walk, but first I have to wash the dried antibiotic (it dries a brilliant yellow) out of Moe's eyebrow. Yes, we had a battle this morning. . . .

Thanks for coming by~~XO

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Jumprons 2, Perhaps

Or Jumprons, Too. Or something like that, because otherwise I still don't know what to call them. Someone suggested coveralls, but those make me think of workmen's one-piece suits. Or coverups, but those make me think of swimsuits or the poorly-designed tattoo you get when you're trying to hide your boyfriend's name that you got tattooed on your throat before you found out he was married and spending his days with his *real* family instead of working for The Donald, as he'd told you. And so now you have this sort of whale-esque sort of creature tattooed from right under your chin down to your clavicle because his name had to be hyphenated and put on two separate lines because your mama was right: only you would have a boyfriend named Throckmorton.

But never mind. The Jumprons are those things I make from scratch, a cross between an apron and a jumper, and that will have to do.

Anyway. Who CARES what they're called? None of us, right? So here's the latest one, which I just now finished. It was a Flax sundress, with a band around the chest and spaghetti straps. I did it like I did the blue one, below:

and the part I cut out, I used to make pockets. It's much longer and fuller than the others, and it has nice deep slits up the sides, so I left it long. 
 It looks kind of like it's fitted, but it's not: it's loose and plenty big enough to wear over jeans and a t-shirt. And to sit cross-legged in, of course.
 The first two photos were great, and then the camera started trying to adjust for the black fabric, and it got wonky. I had a bunch more detail shots, but they were grey fabric with pastel buttons, so I gave up.  It buttoned up the back, which I loathe. How many men's clothes have you ever seen that button up the back? They don't. Women's clothes that button up the back offend me, as if it's a given that I should require help in getting myself dressed.

Oops. Rant narrowly avoided!

Anyway, so I sewed big honkin' non-functional buttons there instead. In the front, I had to take a tuck, and I made that part in the middle at the very top into a pen pocket. Not that I ever use a pen any more, but just in case. It could be a tampon pocket, I guess, but I'm way past those, too. Chapstick! That's it! By the end of his life when arthritis was pretty much totally kicking his butt, the only thing my dad carried in his pocket, ever, was a tube of Chapstick.
 The straps were sturdy but very thin, and I thought it would be fun to see if this treatment would work (and be washable). The ends of each color are sewn through the strap and then the rest is wound tightly around. I used to do this to random strands of my hair back when it was long (minus the sewing part: I just tied knots). Not all the time, because it didn't wash well. Duh. And I washed all that hair every. single. day. So I'll see how the floss holds up on the straps.


Tall those squares? They were left over from this:
I hate throwing stuff away if there's a chance I might use it. I mean, really: colors I like, already prepped with fusible web, already cut into little squares. You gotta save it, right? So I emptied out the bag, divided everything into two roughly equal piles, and ironed it all on. And then stitched it with black floss. I did most of that on Saturday on the way to and from San Angelo.

So here's this one. 
Now on to the next one. . . .

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Just The Teeniest Bit Obsessed with Whatever-These-Are

Aprons? Pinafores? O, please no, NOT "pinnies." Jumpers? But not British Jumpers. See the problem? I don't even know what these should be called. Aprons, maybe, except me in an apron is like a javelina in a tutu and is just about as useful. Being the totally non-domestic person I am, the traditional uses for an apron—you know, pairing it with heels and lipstick for vacuuming or baking cakes from scratch—are kind of out there. Far, far out there.  Beyond Pluto.

But. But! I am not domestic, but I *am* messy. Very, very messy. As in: I may be the only adult you know who can get my clothes dirty eating a grape. Drinking a cup of lukewarm coffee. Brushing my teeth (toothpaste is hard to get off once it's dry unless you just go ahead and wash it, you know?) I splash myself every time I wash my hands, and soap dries funny on fabric, too. Oh, and don't forget the cat hairs. Cat hairs everywhere. So here I sit, covered with stains and crumbs and cat fur and lint and dust and who knows what else.

Used to, I just had some scungy clothes I put on when I was at home. Ugly t-shirts, faded sweatshirts. Whatever was around. But when I quit doing that and started wearing Only Clothes I Love, I also started wearing something over my clothes when I ate. Also when I did pretty much anything else. And as I've been working to refine my wardrobe, making it totally functional and totally fabulous, I've realized that layers are my best friend for many, many reasons. Warmth, because I'm always cold. Protection, so I can peel off the top layer and pre-treat it with a stain stick and just put on another top layer. And both The EGE and I wear layers because it's the perfect way to add more color. He usually wear 2-3 shirts; in the winter he might wear even more. They're all color-coordinated, along with his underwear and socks, and it's how he likes to dress.

On one of the many trips to the vet so far this year, I had on one of these, and it was perfect: I didn't have to come home and change clothes but could just take off this Thing and stick it in the laundry bin. (In the past, I'd put on The Painting Clothes to go to the vet. Painting Clothes—the set of clothes you keep to wear when you're painting walls and ceilings. I have Summer Painting Clothes (t-shirt and shorts) and Winter Painting Clothes (sweatpants and sweatshirt), and you can look at them and figure out the color of every room in our house.

Anyway, so I started making these. This one I showed you: it was already whatever it is, given to me by my friend Miss Julia, and embellished by me. I wore it and realized it was too long,
 It hobbled me when I walked, and I can't deal with that.

so I cut it off and re-hemmed it, and then I realized it was still too long and cut it off again.
 It's perfect now. I wear it over jeans or leggings, of course.
 Then there are these next two that were Flax sun dresses, and I showed you the beginnings of that experiment here, with these photos:

I didn't show y'all this one when it was a dress, but it was similar. I altered it and showed it to The EGE, who said, "Wow. That's great. But it's. . . .black." He was right, so I had to figure out a simple way to add a lot of color. Simple because I don't know how much I'll like it until I wear it a lot.

 The secret, for me, to turning a dress into one of these is cutting down the sides. It gives you more room for whatever you wear underneath, and the part you cut away can easily become pockets.
 This was fun to stitch at The Wine Rack. I like having something to take with me that's easy and mindless and requires only one color of floss = less stuff to lose or drop or make a mess with.
 Then here's this one finished. I started out using the blue and the off-white because of the buttons, which are old ones that I think maybe be bone or something. I don't really know. And I put the red cross on it and then went, "Bleah. Red, white, and blue are *not* my thing." So I added in a lot of orange because I really like red and orange together.







I'm currently working on four more of these and hope to have more to show soon. I'll try to get some photos of me wearing them with actual clothes and stuff. If only selfies didn't creep me out so. . . .

I don't know that I love having skinny straps, but I'm kind of intrigued by them right now and so ordered a set of 4 sizes of bias tape makers, the little metal-and-plastic ones, to try making some of my own just to see how that goes. Three of these things I'm working on have just regular shoulders, rather than skinny straps. The brown one, above, has some issues staying put on my shoulders, so I have to work on that part. I wanted the back open like it is, and doing that means a long piece of strap that wants to fall down all the time. I tried criss-crossing them in the back, but that makes the whole back waist part bunch up, of course. So I'll do more experimenting there.

I heartily recommend these for everyone, in whatever shape and fabric you want. Better than a store- bought apron, they're useful and can be embellished and, of course, worn as a part of your regular clothes (not just at home; I wear these everywhere because: pockets!). I find these simple Flax linen dresses for like $10 at the resale shop (they're way more online, but you can still find them). If you make some, let us know!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The F-Word

I think I have one last rant left in me (yeah, OK: one last one *today*), so you might want to just skip this. It's about feminism, which has become a nasty word, worse than The F-Word (go ahead: count the times you hear the two words in the course of a day or a week; which one is more prevalent and is uttered without apology?) I remember, oh, so long ago, when it was an idea that was vibrant and exciting, a movement that meant something. Now it's just passé, a relic of an idealistic, unreasonable time (universal love! global peace! weed for everyone!)




I have posted a ton on Facebook over the years, and the two topics that always get the most comments? Weight and make-up. Yeah, I know. It's like all the hair and nail and make-up and lacy underwear boards on Pinterest. You just hope Hillary Clinton and Wendy Davis never have time to see what their constituents actually think about all day long.


Anyway, so recently Melanie Testa, who is, in my opinion, one of the bravest women on the planet, did a post about breast cancer, her choice not to reconstruct, and her efforts to show other women that there are options they're seldom told about. You can read her most recent post about it here.


This week on Facebook she posted a photo of her torso and a link to a piece she wrote for another site (which I cannot find, but you can find it on Melly's FB). Apparently this inspired some people to post selfies with no make-up to engage in spreading the idea of self-acceptance, and I posted a photo (not a selfie, thankyoujesus) of myself, sans make-up (since I've quit wearing any at all). And then I wrote this:


Here's the thing about make-up: for whom do you wear it? If you say, "For me," then, realistically, how much time do you spend looking at your made-up face in the mirror? And do you wear it if you're going to be alone in the house all day long? People say, "It makes me feel better," but if you're on the inside looking out, how does that work? The truth is that we wear make-up for other people because we were raised to believe that's what we're supposed to do to be acceptable, to be well-thought-of ("She takes care of herself," "She makes an effort," "She's aged well"). What do you really feel about yourself and how you look? What about how you feel about how you *feel*? And another thing: if we didn't spend time/money/effort on hair/nails/make-up, what might we do with that time/money/effort?


What I was hoping for was a conversation about how society has convinced women that they're not OK as they are. We grow up believing that we're not enough, that we need mascara and pantyhose, Spanx and Botox, Hair Products and self-tanning cream. I was hoping to contribute to Melly's efforts to get women to realize they're OK just as they are, however they are, by getting women to stop and think about why we believe this stuff: we're too pale/dark, our hair is too straight/curly, our ________ is/are too ______________. I was thinking people would maybe chime in about how the men in their lives get up, wash their faces, and are ready to face the day, while the women spend however-much-time-it-takes putting on a new face and squeezing their bodies into casings of hose/shapers/lifters and cramming their feet into 3-inch heels.


What I actually got were 88 comments that, for the most part, fell into two groups. One group was mostly along the lines of (and this is NOT a specific comment; I'm deliberately inventing this one because I don't want anyone to think I'm talking about them), "I don't wear make-up except for a little bit of eye-liner and some foundation and a bit of blush and some mascara. And when I got out I add red lipstick. Otherwise I never wear it." Or "I never wear make-up unless I'm going to work or going shopping or going out for the evening or dressing up. Or going out to the mailbox or walking the dog. Or answering the front door. Or the phone." I think for a lot of women, "make-up" means "foundation" (or whatever the current equivalent product is), and everything else (eye shadow, lipliner) isn't.


So they were mostly, "I never wear make-up except. . . ."


The other group was made up of comments about why the poster wears make-up, and they ranged from covering up something on their face (skin issues, paleness) to likening make-up to paint on a canvas, i.e., an art form. A few were just the teeniest bit defensive, as if I had attacked a woman's right to wear make-up and people wanted to defend their choices and remind me that everyone has the right to choose what they do and that we don't all have to be alike.


Now, these are all fabulous comments. I appreciate people taking time to respond to my post, and every single comment is valid and valuable. OK? So I'm not making fun of anyone or being snotty here. I'm just disappointed we didn't have a different conversation. I don't think anyone commented from a feminist perspective, not about whether it's OK to wear make-up or not, but: why are we (females) conditioned from birth to think it's something that we (and not boys/men) are "supposed" to do to be a successful member of society? And why do we, supposedly intelligent adults, go along with it, spending our time justifying our "choices" (because you could effectively argue that if you're indoctrinated from birth, you're not really making a choice) instead of examining the pressure behind those choices? Why would we rather post about how make-up makes us feel pretty/confident/safe/professional than about how society pressures women to be perfect, from their hair to their toenails, and how most of us go along with it without thinking, making snarky comments about unkempt women in ways we don't about unkempt men? Think about it: we comment on other women's clothes, hair, make-up ("She'd look so much better with a little concealer" "She has great bones; she should highlight her cheeks.") breasts (or lack of: "She could use a trip to Victoria's Secret.") butt, thighs, lips, the tiny wrinkles between her eyes ("Botox would help her look less tired"). A man has to look like a rabid fox dragged him in from the woods after gnawing on him for a week before anyone says much of anything about how he looks. "Geez, you'd think he'd wipe off the blood and slobber before showing up for the meeting."


We watch TV and movies and aren't offended that the female characters almost always show cleavage, never mind their role. We've been Netflixing the various CSI series, and I'm constantly grousing about how the male detectives are wearing suits and ties or maybe shirts and jackets, but the female characters almost always wear tank tops (what kind of weather do you have where the men need jackets and the women (and, no, they're not old enough to be going through menopause, but you knew that: who wants to watch a show full of old women?) don't even need sleeves?) and show rather a lot of cleavage. Oh, and the high heels! Even on the beach! You'd think if you were a crime scene investigator in Miami and you were dressing to go to work, you might think there was at least a marginal chance that you'd end up slogging through the sand at some point. But no! Even though your title is Crime Scene Investigator, you seem to believe that the crime scenes you'll be called on to investigate will all be in nice office buildings or upscale malls, not alleys awash in bodily effluvia and beaches covered with, you know, sand and stuff. Dog poop. Dead fish.


But it seems so natural to us, that the women on TV and movies must "look good," that we don't even question it. There was one episode with an overweight woman, and of course her weight was the focus of the crime. Of course! And a female character over 50? Only the grieving grandmothers. With aprons.


OK, let me move on here. I think about this stuff periodically, but I refrain from writing about it because, well, why? What's the point? I get outraged at the steady chipping away of women's reproductive rights, for instance, but what good does it do me to rant about it? Most women seem fine with the way things are going, and young women, for whom these issues actually matter, aren't going to listen to those of us who have been there already. This stuff isn't important to them; they're sure they'll never need public reproductive health care.


I could rant for hours, for days, about how when the job market is tight and scary, there is always a move to get women to stay home. Sometimes it's overt; sometimes, more subtle. The recession was harder on working men than on women, and we're seeing the effects. Ours is a patriarchal society, and it's not going to change, and those in power aren't going to relinquish significant power willingly. Who ever does? Huh: that makes me wonder if, in the animal world, there are species where power is handed on freely, without battle. I should check about the bonobos, maybe. . . .


Anyway, I'm getting sidetracked here, and I know why: this stuff seems to obvious to me (not "simple," it's not simple at all) that I am like anyone who's passionate about anything: you can't imagine that everyone else doesn't feel as strongly about it as you do. You can either rant and rave and drive away all your friends and family, buttonholing people on the bus to ask them how they feel about Plan B and the Spanx Slim Cognito® Shape-suit, or you can just walk away and go make stuff. Which is what I'm going to do now because I can hear, already, people telling me just to breathe, not to worry about this stuff, how it will all work out and it's not nearly as big a deal as I think it is. And that's true: it will all work out, one way or another. Young women in their teens and 20s will have to figure out for themselves ways to deal with society's expectations and the rights they're allowed to have. Perhaps they'll choose Manolo Blahniks and Prada, or perhaps they'll choose cupcakes and glitter, or maybe, just maybe, they'll choose a revolution.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Yay! A Brand-Spanking-New Podcast: Living in Generosity with Art Is You

As you may know, The EGE and I work at the Art Is You retreats, and one of the wonderful programs Sal and Ellen have created is Living in Generosity, which gives people a chance to give back to the community. From donating to breast cancer research to giving to St. Jude's Children's Hospital to trying to help save the koalas in Australia (they need more help than I realized), the efforts of attendees and faculty and people who don't actually attend an In Real Life retreat—it all makes a difference, and here's how you can be involved.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Wishing I Could Rant

Oh, man, how I wish you were sitting here with me. We'd go out on the porch and I'd give you a cup of coffee and beg you to let me whinge a little. A lot, maybe, because: holy moly! I posted on Facebook yesterday about how being a diva = being a dick, and although I can't say much here—or there—let me just say the divas of the world get on my last nerve. I'm sure they don't know or care how much their sense of entitlement screws with the plans of The Little People, but yikes. Just yikes.

Having to pull up the calendar and try to shift everything around just because—well, just because. Let's get on to something else before I go into Full Rant Mode, shall we?

I'm still working on this:

and will be until I die, I'm guessing. Because it's tedious, I started this so I could switch back and forth:

 I made the Jumpron long ago, so it was just waiting for An Idea.
I have no idea where this Explorer of The Interior thing came from, but there it is.


I'm loving this guy and am having fun trying to figure out how to make the same-color stitching indicate shape. I don't know if I'll be successful, but it's fun to try.

Then this weekend I started working on these three dresses I got last week in San Angelo. Flax, summer weight, flimsy. I have developed a Major Thang for aprons and jumpers. Basically for things I can wear over other things: jeans, dresses, skirts. Things with pockets, and things that will keep stuff off me (mostly: food. I am the messiest eater on the planet, I swear. I can eat a cookie and get it in my hair, no lie. And I have no idea how it happens. It's not like I'm chewing with my mouth open or cramming 45 pounds of food into my mouth at once. I'm not even playing with my food! Not like I did in college, where "dinner" was me eating the frosting off three pieces of cake and then sculpting buildings out of the actual cake, which was dry and more closely related to building material than to an item of actual food).

But anyway. Aprons! But not any that go around the back of the neck. Oh, hell, no. Nothing on the back of the neck! My neck has enough problems without any weight.

Side story: this past week was Spring Break. The Ever-Gorgeous Earl, Man of My Dreams, and I always do the taxes on that Monday, meaning the weekend before is spent preparing for the appt. Then the rest of the week is spent hauling and moving and cleaning and all that kind of stuff. Spring Break is also, alas, the week the chiropractor takes his family to Cancun. Or Cabo. Cozumel. Canada. Columbus. Something like that. Somewhere that begins with "C" and means he's not available when the stress of Tax Prep and the strain of lifting and toting all join together to make it impossible to turn my head without whanging pain. We went to a dance Thursday night. I mostly sat around and tried not to move. Someone rec. their chiropractor, and Friday morning I called and, I guess, sounded pretty pathetic, because even though they were booked, they worked me in. I was there for 2 1/2 hours, and that guy did pretty much everything you can do to a neck except 1) break it or 2) bite it. I wasn't really sure about #1, in fact, as it felt worse after than it had before. He couldn't do an adjustment because, he said, the muscles were so tight he was afraid, after two tries, that he would tear them. But pulling and stretching, twisting and turning, heating and electrocuting? Oh, yeah. All of that. Plus, because I was A New Patient, it wasn't just the nice little co-pay fee. Oh, no. In fact, all of last week was pretty much me throwing money at people in desperate attempts to Get Things Done. Moe had his teeth cleaned because he had to go in and have his sinuses irrigated to try to find out what's in there causing him to sound like a 70-year-old cowboy (snorting, snarkling). They sent samples to A&M vet school for analysis, so you can imagine the expense on that one. There was the hideous tax prep fee (it takes roughly 2 hours even with all the prep we do beforehand). There was paying the guy who came and wrapped the window that's been waiting for Robert to finish it since—get this—last September. There was the new printer, since this one is biting the big winkie and refuses to scan.

Etc.

Where was I? Sorry about the whining, but I feel better, so thank you! My neck got better over the weekend with lots of heat and rest, and the regular chiro will be back this week for my regular appt., hooray!

So: aprons. I had these flimsy little dresses I got for $10 each, all Flax, and I wanted to see what I could do with them. Here's the one I'm working on now:
 It was stupid in the front.
 but the back: hey!
 There's possibility there.
 I had this brown one. Remember it? Miss Julia gave it to me, and it had a tear at the hem. Rather than mend it, I cut the bottom off and used that to make pockets, added stitching and some appliqués, and love it. Except that it's, um, brown. Which I never wear.


 But the way the front is made inspired me. Bib-like:
 The back of the blue apron was just right for this, so I turned it around:
 and that seam at the bottom of the bodice part was in the perfect place to be cut off. The first thing I did was to rip out the seams on the binding/straps and remove those from the parts I was going to cut off.
 I laid the blue one under the brown one, drew a soap line, and cut.
 I turned the raw edges under twice. No measuring or anything.
 I sewed them on the—gasp!—sewing machine.
 I cut the cut-off part of the bodice in half and made two pockets out of it.

I'm not finished with the handwork, but here's what it looks like so far:
 It was tough to get photos: it's really windy out there. Duh: spring in West Texas. Why was I surprised?
 I think one strap may be longer than the other. Or it could just be the wind. It doesn't matter: I'm still trying to loosen up. Loosen Up & Get Funky. I should write a disco song.

 So that's where I am now. I've got another one I did, but I didn't think to photograph the process on it. And there's one more, one that's kind of funky and may be more difficult to alter. But I'm going to Just Do It and see where it goes. I plan to hang these around the house so I can just grab one whenever. Plus I've got some appliqué stuff I want to try, and I think these would be perfect.
OK, back to, well, back to The Whinging Part of The Day. Wish me luck, please.