Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Thumbs, Swans, Avocado Toast and Purple Batiks

Bear with me, long rambling post with many thoughts.

I am recovering still. Rather slowly. I think I was farther along in my healing from my hysterectomy than this infection in my hand. My thumb still will not bend, I'm on round 5 of antibiotics, round 3 of all the skin peeling off and I'm weak as a baby. Get up, do a few things like updating NLQ and load the dishwasher, run an errand or two or fold laundry and I'm down again. Down and done. Very weak but just grateful I'm not going to lose the thumb or any part of the hand. Just sick of the pain and the constantly draining pus.

Guess I cannot bitch too much as they told me it was going to be a good solid month before I was recovered. I'm just over two weeks out from the first hospitalization and three weeks since the start of this thing. Time, the great healer. I'm just a very impatient person on so many levels.

Thankfully I'd ordered everything I had to buy for Christmas a long time ago. It's just now I cannot use the scissors or easily wrap the presents. Plus getting exhausted quickly by simple tasks has led me to use a small amount of my energy to get large gift bags. Everyone has a filled gift bag. Nothing fancy this year and I refuse to feel guilty about something I cannot help. Didn't even put up a tree, just threw a string of lights on the piano randomly like some palsied crackhead.

In the old days I would have been seriously freaking out at this stage that things are imperfect. Not now, there is no 'perfect' or 'normal' an it doesn't really matter what it looks like. No matter what I was taught in my old church. Normally the guilty would be wracking me about the imperfection of it all. Not this year. Fuck the guilt. It is what it is.

One of the things I've done a couple of times in the four days I've been driving again is go to the park to feed the ducks and walk around a tiny bit. A couple of observations today. I saw a number of Canada geese come to be fed that I'd not seen before, many of them banded like some migratory birds are. There are always a few wild geese that are content to live year round at our park but not the number I'm seeing now. I wonder if this very warm December we're having on the Eastern Seaboard is somehow throwing off the migrating birds. I've seen wild birds in the yard this week that are usually gone by now.

And they say global warming isn't real. Looks pretty real from here.

The other surprising sight at the lake park is that I finally saw a swan, close up, and had a chance to watch that magnificent creature take flight over the lake. Longest neck I've even seen on a swan. I was struck silent for once watching the swan's flight until it disappeared from view.

Years ago there was a swan couple on on the lake and every year they'd raise a few goslings/swanlings/whatever they are. Usually the offspring would disappear, but after a while there was about five or six living at the mountain lake park. Then after 9/11 when the frenzied building started here and most of the residents of Alexandria and parts east started moving into our area one of the local builders had construction run off going into one of the small ends of the lake, the same end that the swans used to congregate. A couple of them died and some disappeared before the county finally made the builder put in a drainage and dam system for the runoff. This was the first swan sighting I've had in years at the lake since the runoff killed a few.

Since I've been ill I've been living on canned soups, deli salads and my newest favorite food, avocado toast. How did I go this long without ever having had mashed avocado spread on toast?

And I had another epiphany this week, one that I'll be going into far greater detail on soon. On Monday I had an interview with a quilting shop a few towns over. It's been so long since I applied, like 18 months or so, that I'd completely forgotten all about it. I'd only applied because for years I'd worked a few hours here and there are the local quilting store just so I could get the employee discount. I was looking to do the same at this place since the other store closed. I got a call to interview and drove down to the shop.

The interview went fine, the shop is considering expanding their hours and were talking to a number of folks about possibly working the expanded hours. It went okay,  I'm not worried one way or another, because it would only be a few hours a week, like I said only to get the discount. High end quilting fabric is ex-pen-sive.

But that's not what started me thinking hard. What did was the fabric dilemma I was having. That was another reason I was cool with being called into the shop on a super short notice. Since I've been too sick to do anything I have spent some time every afternoon working on a new winter quilt for our bed. I didn't have to cut the fabrics because I'd planned, bought and cut most of the fabric six months ago. I'm simply feeding pieces through the sewing machine.

The quilt I started has been replanned twice now. First I started off trying to make a much bigger copy of a quilt I did three years ago that turned out to make my bedroom look cheery and bright. It was a sample quilt made for the shop I worked at in pinks, corals, light aquas, yellows and greys. Something about those colors just came alive in my light blue bedroom, but I was unable to get the exact same fabrics or anything very close. Realized I didn't want an exact copy, redesigned it, recut some of the pieces and away-way we go. Now I've got all the blocks done and needed a filler fabric to piece out the fussy cut blocks in those colors.

Now, I know most traditional quilters would have chosen a white or a off white filler/blender fabric. I was leaning towards a light peach, light blue or light yellow..but... the more I looked the more I started eyeing the purple batiks.

While I was thinking out loud and talking to one of my many friends working at the shop one of them that knows me very well said to me, 'I know you.. you're no conformist, so don't go with a pastel or a white.. go crazy, just jump out of the box and get the purple.'

I did get the purple and am already in the process of piecing it in between the fussy cut blocks. I'm not sure I love it, at least not yet. It does make the colors in the blocks pop oh so vibrantly. But it got me thinking about conformity, what a miserable killer conformity is and how strong the pressure is to conform in evangelical fundamentalist churches.

I'm going to write more on the subject of the dangers of conformity and the church soon, but not today. Still sorting out my thoughts. One think I do know, I'm glad I'm enough of a non conformist to no longer feel guilty about needing down time for recovering from an illness, to not feel guilty because I'm not measuring up to some false standard of perfection, to have the freedom to make potential mistakes, like the purple just might be.

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