Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Walk in the Clouds

I see how easy it is to get addicted to internet sites.   I sometimes feel like I could literally spend entire days searching through sites for information, inspiration…take Pinterest, for example – I can’t wait to check it and see what people have put on there – it’s an entire world of ideas, just waiting for me to point and click!  Often those ideas lead to new discoveries – websites, idea sites, etc.  People are doing so much every day!  It’s amazing any of us get anything done! Take laundry, for example  – that reminds of a funny adage I saw on Pinterest:  “As I do more laundry, nudists look less crazy.”  Ha!-larious! 
        There’s another really funny one about Target with a mom going into the shop saying “We only need ONE thing.” Then it shows the Target symbol saying “Look deeply into my eye,” and the woman’s eye turns into a little target and she says “Yes, yes – I do need curtains…”  So true – love it!  I could go on and on (or you could go to Pinterest and see for yourself – just finish reading this first, please.)
        Through Pinterest I discovered Houzz – another really cool website where people show work they are doing on their properties and you can even get contractors through it – really neat – I could spend an hour or two, easy, on there, even though I’m don’t need any work on my house and I’m married to a brilliant contractor!  It’s just really interesting…
        But all the time I spend on the internet being inspired has a price – mostly paid by my house, but also by my posterior, which gets sat upon too much, and too, by my creativity.  Yes, there is inspiration everywhere on the magical clouds in the computer, and I’m not saying it’s a bad thing by any means – anything that makes people feel more connected to each other cannot be bad – we need to remember we are all the same, regardless of our stories  - it makes it harder for us to treat each other badly.
         For me, however, I perceive a danger of being swallowed whole by the behemoth and becoming so stuck in there that I can’t find my way out to actually create something from all the ideas that I’m floating on, air-like.  It’s almost like the Borg in Star Trek – I am becoming part of the collective and losing my own ability to make decisions and do things, and while it’s good to feel connected to perfect strangers through mutual interests, I know it’s not the right path for me to only reflect and not take action.   I am most definitely not a ‘frequency holder,’ as Eckhart Tolle puts it -  I do - that’s where my zen comes from.
         And as pleasant as all these websites, social media, inspirations are – ultimately for me, it’s just not that gratifying – it’s only pseudo-satisfaction.  It seems in the moment like it might be, but when I wake up from my computer coma with a sore backside and googly eyes, I realize it’s two-dimensional, and I like to live in three dimensions. 
        I’m not saying I won’t go on there and look around – maybe even on a daily basis – but I want strive to keep it in its rightful place – on the periphery.   The cool thing is that it will be there when I need it, and it will keep, but my time is finite, and I need to be mindful of how it’s spent – there needs to be a balance, and I’m trying to walk my line.
        Now...I think I'll go check my email and see what's going on with my friends on Facebook.  (Just kidding!)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Super Woman?

            I won’t say I think I can do anything but - ever since I made my first simple little quilt (any quilter knows the one I’m talking about –they were brightly colored squares of flannel that were sandwiched and sewn individually – the hardest thing about them was cutting the raggedy edges – my hands got cramps!) I have been feeling more and more confident.  Now, ten years later, I find myself thinking I can create pretty much anything I can imagine.  In short, I feel – well – rather invincible.  Here’s a recent example:
            A week or so ago, I was thumbing through an advertisement magazine and I saw the coolest, colorful, most elegant little poufs for the living room – priced at a mere $400 - and that was before shipping!  I thought to myself how nice it would be to have them, but I didn't really need one and couldn't really justify the expense...suddenly I got a wild idea - why not make them myself!  I mean - look at the other things I've made - surely I could do this myself - for way less money, too.   My goal was to make them for about $150.  Time was irrelevant because my boys were gone for a week to California and I had no responsibilities – no dinners, no housecleaning, no pick-ups, no laundry – for a full week.  (Yeah I missed them, but still – no cooking for a full week – Yippee!!!)
              I had no idea how to make a pouf, but that didn’t stop me.  I started out the way all quilters do – by picking out fabric!  I also got some two inch foam I happened to see because I figured it might come in handy, too.  And some cording to make piping, too, of course. I decided I would build a wooden frame and cover it with the foam, then sew a fabric cover, complete with stylish piping, to finish it off.  Simple!  Easy!  No problemo - I can do this!
            Aside from taking shop in middle school (umpteen years ago), I really didn’t have the slightest idea how to use power tools – or which ones I needed for that matter.  At least, I though, not yet. So I went to my brother (Why not my ever-supportive, helpful  husband, you ask?  Well, for one, he was out of town when the inspiration hit me, and for two – he would have been a little too helpful –as in doing it for me, and by golly, I wanted to do it myself!) for advice on what to get for the frame.  He told me ¼ inch plywood and 1x2 lumber, wood screws, and glue.  Sounded ever so simple  - now I knew I could do this!
            I blithely went to the lumber store and although I had to search the entire store three times to find it all (While I’m very familiar with Target, the grocery store, Wal-Mart, and Costco, I was like an ant out of line in the lumber store.  And besides - those aisles need to be marked better!)  Once I finally got the plywood on the rack and transferred all the other stuff to those funky lumber carts, I made my way carefully to the checkout, only knocking a few items off the shelves as I passed by (nothing broke, by the way).  Just as I was about to check out, I realized the plywood sheet was far too big to fit into the back of my car.  Oops!  Well, at least I realized it before I bought it.  Still confident and determined… 
            But what to do?   I was on a mission, and not about to leave that store without plywood.  So I thought for a moment, and then I did what anyone would do – I called my daddy.  He was full of good advice, but while I was talking to him I came across some plywood sheets that had already been cut – Eureka!  I realized that if I bought a couple of those, I could still leave the store with the lumber I needed and better yet – they would fit into the car!  Crisis averted - so clever and good at problem-solving am I!
            Once I got all the stuff home, I went to Jeff’s (my bro) house and he helped me measure and cut with a circular saw – not as easy as it looks, by the way.  Everything has to be so precise – luckily he had some extra lumber and lots of patience, because I made a few mistakes (just a few, tiny mistakes…really!)  We made a box so sturdy one can sit on it!  We even rounded the corners so it wouldn’t be too sharp!  I felt so empowered!  Next time I’ll really be able to do it myself! (Oh yes - there will be a next time!)
            Afterwards, we had a beer, and Jeffrey laughed when I said “Hey that was harder than I thought it was going to be, but it was fun.”  “ Ha!” he said, “that was the easy part.  The next part is going to be much tougher – making the cover.” It was my turn to laugh - I guess it’s all a matter of perspective, because  I knew making the cover was going to be a snap.
             Tired but confident from my bout with power tools, I glued the foam on that night before I went to bed, because I was so excited.  Hmm - the pouf was now a bit larger than I had anticipated – I had measured and cut the wood based on my desired finished size, not counting the foam. Originally I was going to put casters on it to make it move easily, but then it would have been almost twenty inches high – too high for a footrest for sure, but no problem – I just wouldn’t add the casters!  True - it was big, but still, I was undaunted!  It was excellent!
            As I predicted, making the cover was a snap!  Okay, not exactly – it turns out that piping is not so easy to get straight as I thought, and I ran out of cord for it (perhaps because the thing was so big) and had to run to town for more. (Thank heavens I had over-bought the fabric!)  But these were minor hiccups and did not deter me in the slightest – I wasn’t even crabby about them!  Why?  Because I was so capable, of course!
            Then there was the (minor!) problem of how to get the bottom covered.  I had decided to make the cover like a couch cushion cover with a split in the middle, but I ended up cutting it and stapling it to the bottom – no amount of grunting, pulling or cursing could make it  stretch enough to go over wood and still be tight.  Not so pretty – oh well – no one will ever know (except of course, now they will because I’m telling everyone!   No matter, it doesn’t show so who cares – the thing looks great, even if it is a bit large and is basically now a coffee table rather than the small, elegant pouf I originally designed.    The thing is, I love it, and I made it myself (well - mostly)! 
 I am a seriously Can-Do Girl!  And I can’t wait to think of the next thing I’m gonna make!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Blink of a Eye

          So….time.  It’s relative, you know.  Apparently, time moves slower in outer space than here on the old terra firma (not much difference, but still – go figure on that one!)  Einstein said that time is all a matter of perspective, and that if we could go backwards around the sun at the correct velocity, we could go backwards in time.  Eckhart Tolle says that time doesn’t really exist, it’s just a mental construct (however, something is definitely writing lines across my face, so whatever).  And of course, there’s the whole deal of time travel and whether it is actually possible or advisable to go backwards or forwards in time, and supposedly, time warps when you get close to a black hole or something…

           I don’t know about all that stuff.  But I do know that the part of the day when I’m awake between sun up and bed time seems to move a little too quickly for me.  Sometimes it seems like before I’ve even finished my morning coffee, it’s already 3:30 – time to pick up Jonas, come home, and start dinner.  Where did the day go?!  And the bigger question is “What did I accomplish today?” 

          Because whether or not time exists in the larger sense, I’ll tell you something – creativity takes it.  A quilt, from start to finish, takes - at minimum - eighty hours (and I’m probably being very conservative here).  Writing a two thousand word children’s story takes much, much longer, if you count revisions.  Even the little animals and pictures I paint take several plus hours each to make.  Gardening is an incredibly time-consuming thing, as well.  Not just growing vegetables, but even creating and maintaining a living yard takes a huge commitment of - whatever that thing is that keeps the earth moving around the sun.

          I mention all of this not to complain – all of the above are joyful, meaningful, soul-filling and productive in many ways.  It’s just that it is difficult for me sometimes to figure out where to direct my energies, when I have so many ideas and things I want to accomplish and the day (the parts that are left after the required, necessary stuff is done, of course) seem to be just so – so - SHORT!

          There’s so much abundance and desire to create that I sometimes feel paralyzed and am unable to use the time I actually do have to work on something, because I know my time is limited.  It’s quite ironic, really - I just have too much - food, possessions, people I love, interests, responsibilities…IDEAS!    Too much of everything, in fact, except that one thing that is relative and maybe doesn’t even exist – TIME!   Ha ha ha – the joke’s on me! 

          Or maybe it was on me, but now I’m wising up.  I’m realizing right now as I write this that it really is just a matter of perspective.  In reality, the only moment we have is right now – we can only hope there is a future, and the past has – well - passed.  While I’m here and full of ideas, energy, and excitement I should simply make the most of what is happening now, not worrying about the fact that this moment will soon be gone, or whether or not I’m going to accomplish  everything I want or finish what I start – DUH, Carrie!

            It’s like that Nike commercial –  I’m going to “JUST DO IT!”   I’m going to pour my energies and direct my thoughts to whatever I feel like (or whatever needs to be done) and just be in this moment.  I don’t need to take everything so damned seriously or to feel so frenzied because night (and the very necessary sleep) is coming – I just need to live now, in this moment – it’s really the only “time” I know I have, anyway.   

P.S. Yippee – I feel so FREE!  One of the perks of writing this blog is that I sometimes have a seriously insightful moment during the process!  It’s so excellent!  My purpose is mainly to entertain and to share my struggles and thoughts in the hopes that others can connect and relate to them, but if I accidently pass one of my” AHA” moments on to my readers, that would be most excellent, too.  On that note, please let me know if there’s anything you would like me to research, discuss, rant about – I’ll do my best to accommodate – if I have enough time, that is…