The Things I Miss

Saturday Morning

So I’m sitting here with these two on a Saturday morning, one week into the new world order of sheltering in place.  The house is still quiet, as I am the only one awake yet.

I can’t help but think about what the world is going through right now and how vulnerable we as a society are.  Our lives have been completely upended and we have no idea when we will return to any sense of normalcy.

As I look back, as recently as two weeks ago, but what now seems like a six months ago, I just want to list some of the things I now desperately miss.

  • Carpool – my children start online school on Monday and will probably continue this way for the rest of the school year.  The only upside I can see from this is that I no longer have to worry when I drop them off at school if it could be the last time I see them due to a school shooting.  I loved afternoon carpool.  It was a nice break and I got to read for 30 minutes before the madness began.
  • Lattes – I am a coffee addict, and much like my favorite foods, my lattes always taste better when someone else makes them.  I don’t go to Starbucks for a number of reasons, but I desperately miss the two independent coffee shops I went to.  One day, hopefully sooner rather than later, I will go to Ascension Annex or Turbo and have a latte again.
  • Eating out – I hate to cook.  I’m not good at it, my family complains often about what I make, so eating out was a treat.  That’s gone now, as are so many jobs for restaurant and bar employees.
  • Grocery Shopping – I actually use to complain about having to go to the store multiple times a week.  I feel like such a fool now.  If I even dare to go to the store now, I literally feel like I’m taking my life in my own hands, because I probably am.  The store workers don’t have the luxury of staying home and ordering delivery.  They are out there every day and deserve to be paid far more than they get presently.
  • Team Practices – Oh how I use to complain about this one.  The multiple practices a week I had to take my child to and sit there for two hours, not to mention the 20 minutes we had between getting home from school and having to leave the house.  If we ever get the chance to be that busy again, I promise I won’t complain about it!
  • The Gym – this was one of the few things that kept me sane and now it’s closed indefinitely.  Oh how I loved walking or running on the treadmill while watching HGTV.  What a gift it was to have all that equipment at my disposal.  Now I have to work out at home and it is not going well.
  • Running errands – Just being able to run out and get whatever you wanted or needed at a moments notice.  Those days are gone for now.  Stores are closed, shelves are bare and people are without jobs, so I know I have it good, but damn it sucks.
  • A healthy 401-K – I don’t even look anymore.  It’s too depressing.
  • Wearing makeup – Why bother.  No one really sees me.  At least I still shower and get dressed, but it’s sometimes not before 11:00 am.
  • Hugging people – Social distancing sucks even though I am an introvert.
  • Being alone – with my husband working from home and my children at home, there is no more alone time, except when I’m sleeping.  At least we all appear healthy for now and still have a roof over our heads.

Take care and stay well!

Raw Edge Applique’ Hand Stitched Journal Cover

This one is almost ready to be turned into a journal cover.  The pieces making up the flowers and butterflies were all stitched by hand.  Now it just needs some more embroidery around the edges of the flower petals and stems and then it will be time to assemble the cover.

blue and white floral journal cover
Hand Stitched Blue and White Floral Journal Cover

Slow Stitched

Fabric Scraps

Trying Something New

I’ve never been particularly great at hand sewing.  Truth be told, I actually despised it to the point of avoiding it as much as possible.  That all changed after taking a needle book class by Roxy Creations, which can be found here:  https://www.etsy.com/listing/670893598/online-course-petit-needlbook-with-pdf?ref=shop_home_active_29&pro=1

The books she created, completely by hand stitching, were gorgeous in their simplicity.  Another thing about this process that intrigued me was that they were portable.  This was something you could pack in a bag and work on while you were enduring your child’s weekly practices.  Her techniques could also be used to create journal covers as well. 

After watching her videos numerous times, I finally got out a fabric bundle I had purchased at Tuesday Morning and decided to take the plunge.  Auditioning fabric scraps for inclusion and placement is more difficult than I expected, but I managed to put something together.  

Now it’s time to thread the needle and get started.  

More to come!

 

 

Saying Farewell

I always knew the day would come that I would have to do the unthinkable.  As I watched you grow older and frail, I knew that our time together was coming to an end.

Tyler sleeping

You not being part of my life was unthinkable, so I did just that…Tried not to think about it until I could no longer deny the awful truth.  I knew your hyperthyroidism was taking it’s toll, but I had no idea that something far more sinister was stealing you away from me.

Tyler helping with my art

You were such a huge part of my daily life, and for 17 years, you have been one of the best gifts I’ve ever been given.  I will never forget the day we first brought you home.  You were not the kitten I was originally sent photos of, the one that I was supposed to get.  

But when we got to your house, you literally chose us.  You were right there, trying to get our attention, and when I finally noticed you, that’s when I fell in love.  We were a perfect match.

Tyler in his younger days.

We’ve been together through so much, you and I.  You have been there for me during my best days and my worst.  You were there when we brought both of our beautiful baby girls home.  You tolerated all of the other animals we introduced into our home – the birds, the rats, the lizards and the dog.

Tyler and Zoey

It’s hard to imagine the rest of my days without you in them.  We shared a bond that was completely unbreakable, even now that you are gone, I still feel you here.

There are times I think I hear you sneeze or cough or think I feel you jump up on the bed.  I felt so bad for you as you had to suffer with all those sinus problems you had for so long and the toll that the hyperthyroidism was taking on you.  Why did you have to be the 1% of cats who was allergic to the medicine?  If only that would have been the worst of your problems, you would still be with me today.

Curious cat

Most people don’t understand the amount of grief one can feel when you lose a pet.  They say “It’s just a cat, you can get another one.”  You were more than just a cat, you were my best friend and there is a void in my life and an empty place where you once use to be that no other animal could ever fill.  

Tyler

I knew when this time came that it would hurt, but I never knew the extent of the grief and the depth of the pain.  I guess I’m lucky in a way, considering that this is the most devastating loss I’ve experienced in my life so far.  If it hurts to lose a cat this much, I can’t bear to think what it must be like to lose a child.  I don’t believe I could handle something like that and survive.  I’m in awe of those that do.

The day I had to take you to the vet and be faced with the awful choice of having to “put you to sleep” or letting you live a couple for months at the most, but be in pain, was the worst day imaginable.  On the outside, you still seemed fine, with plenty of life still left inside of you. This made it all the more difficult.  Would it have been easier if you were outwardly sick?  Perhaps, but I don’t think that matters in the end.

Those eyes

The x-ray told a more sinister story and presented a picture of something I had no idea was growing inside of you, something which took you away from me far sooner than I had expected.

17 years seems like a long time, but it wasn’t enough for me.  We made it through one more Christmas together and rang in one last New Year’s together, but I selfishly wanted more.  I wish we had more time, although it still wouldn’t be enough.

Tyler

Rest assured Tyler, there will never be another one like you.  You were truly one of a kind. I will never forget you and I am so happy that we found each other.   I wish you were still with me every second of every day.

You were fiercely loved.

My studio cat

 

 

Try, Try and Try Again

mixed media collage
Carefree

There are times when a piece comes together almost effortlessly on the first try.  This was not one of them.

I originally planned on creating an abstract floral piece that consisted of a very detailed mixed media background, along with a vase and flowers.  I worked for hours on the background and the vase come out just the way I wanted it to.

Unfortunately, the flowers did not. They were a disaster.  The loose style I was trying to obtain never quite came together.  I tried to fix the flowers, but I only ended up making them look even worse than they already did. I was at the point of no return.

As much as it killed me to do, I had to cover up everything with gesso and start from scratch.  Hours and hours of work, now gone.

Next, I decided to go in a different direction and try some sketchy watercolor type florals.  I just didn’t feel confident enough to try the same technique I had just failed at.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t get this right either.  It was just not good. Although I was able to fix the flowers using stencils and acrylic paints, the leaves and stems were still awful.  I was thinking that I was going to have to start all over once again.

It was then that I remembered a vine stencil I had.  I pulled it out and decided to give it one last shot.  I’m glad I did because that stencil allowed me to save the piece.

I don’t think this will ever be one of my favorite creations, but I’m glad that I didn’t quit and that I was able to step back and take a moment and figure out a new direction.

Wouldn’t it be great if we were able to do this in our personal lives as well?  Sometimes, when things aren’t working out the way they should, whether it be a job, a relationship, a personal goal, etc., we tend to become emotional and just walk away.  We quit, we abandon, we sabotage.

I know I have done that so many times over the course of my life. I felt that it was easier to just walk away instead of digging in and doing the work that might have salvaged something and perhaps taken my life in a new direction.

I’m not saying that we should stay in toxic or abusive relationship.  That is never the case.  But I am saying that perhaps a friendship could be saved or deepened or a relationship with a child could be turned around if we just took a step back, took a deep breath and figured out what we need to do next instead of walking away.

So today, I’m going to choose to hang in there and do something difficult instead of giving up and walking away.  I know it won’t be easy, but I know it will be worth it in the end.