Work

I’m sitting in a hotel suite with six other women right now. We’ve got various projects spread out on the tables in front of us  – scrapbooking – both family and business, crochet, knitting, catching up on billing, doing homework.  In between stitches, cropping, notation, etc, we’ve been catching up on our lives. Kind of crazy, since we all live within 3 miles of each other, and have a serious coffee date each week. 

But life gets in the way. One of us started full time school recently. Others have work schedules that have gotten crazier. And I’ve been stuck at home on my sofa. 

I’ve found myself getting a bit jealous of my friends as they talk about their jobs, especially Cyn, who has just jumped into a very intense computer engineering and start up program. She’s pushing herself in exciting ways that are similar to (but much more concrete and high level) than what I’d been hoping for when I quit my job just before my diagnosis.  They’ve all got so much going on, though, and it is exciting to hear about, even if the little green monster rears its head. 

Once again dealing with redefining myself. I realized that, although I don’t have a traditional job, and although I haven’t been able to put much (OK, any) work into it lately, I’ve got the chance to work on my art. And that’s pretty great. Especially when I can sell and show my work. 



I sold two quilts this week, which is awesome, I think. And I’ve joined the Hayward Arts Council, and will show a couple of quilts in a show later this summer.  Two quilts are in the county fair. There are exhibition opportunities later in the year. I’m working on getting cards made of my work, too, to sell in the gallery, and small matted pieces. 

So I’ve got things going on. Now if I could just pull my ass off the sofa to make more artwork. 

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UFO finish #1

Well, after quilting this one turned out totally wonky – wouldn’t lie flat for anything. So I had to get serious and engage in a little quilt bondage and water sports. Which is to say I sprayed it down and wrestled it flat on a knitting blocking board. Then I shoved it under my bed and forgot about it for a few days.  When I pulled it out this morning, it decided it was going to behave and lie flat like a good little quilt.   Got it squared and bound, and now I’m ready for lunch.

What? A sale?

No, I haven’t started listing my quilts for sale yet.  But if you’re interested in a pair of earrings made by Moi, today is your lucky day!  I’ve got a bunch of new earrings on my etsy site (lisabeedesigns), and older earrings are on sale for $6 or 7!  Plus, if you use the code APRILEARRINGS, you can get 25% off all orders of $35 or more through April 30.

UFOS be gone!

My closet of shame has been growing more crowded lately, as I continue to begin new quilts without finishing older ones.  So when I saw a group challenge to finish UFOs (unfinished objects) in one of my quilting forums, I figured I’d better take the hint and sign up.

A peek into the closet of shame

Obviously it’s much easier for me to get carried away by new ideas than it is to complete those ideas into a fully functional battle station.  Quilt.

For this challenge, each participant lists 5-10 quilts or projects they want to finish and then we have 3 months to try to get those finishes done. And if you do, everyone in the group sends you fabric!  Cause that’s just what we all need.  More fabric!

Here’s my list of projects.

1.  Patriotic pinwheels – I made this quilt top at a guild retreat about 2004. Everyone else brought red white and blue fabrics. Not me. Need backing fabric, quilting and binding.

2. Purple and orange garden – This needs backing fabric, quilting and binding.

3.  Purple, blue, and red garden – Needs backing, quilting and binding

4. Batik plus quilt – another oldie. Needs backing, quilting and binding. 

5. Yellow and red color wash – started in the early 2000s. Need backing quilting and binding.

6. Green and blue color wash – also started in the early 2000s. Needs backing, quilting and binding.

7. HST trip around the world – recent top made from charm squares I received in a package from the lovely Hillary at Entropy Always Wins blog.   Needs backing, quilting and binding.

8. Floral plus quilt – Needs a border, backing, quilting and binding.

9. Color fields, orange and white – Needs quilting and binding.

10.  Clown barf quilt – This one was going to be a coins quilt. Now it’s going to be something different.   Needs to be pieced and fully finished. 

Which should I try to finish first?

The good and the bad and the cancer brain

I had blood drawn today, you know, my every other week blood draw (which is much nicer than doing it once a week, but still…) I’m used to the drill. I make appointments for the lab work, which means it takes me 5-10 minutes, even if there are 30+ people waiting. (Suckers!) I show them my Kaiser card and ID before they ask. I look away before they poke me. I joke with the lab techs and reception folks. Today it was “You don’t cook because you’re working all the time. I don’t cook because of cancer” to the receptionist, and because I basically fell into the chair, “Oops, guess I shouldn’t have been drinking” to the lab tech. Ok, so I won’t make it on the professional comedy circuit.

Walking out of the hospital, however, I just thought, “Damn it, I’m over this shit. Can’t I just be done with cancer?”

Oh, if only it were that easy. Why the hell can’t it be that easy? Can I find some emotionally healthy way to block out all of the cancer related stuff, and only pay attention to the non-cancer stuff in my life? It’d be a lot easier if I weren’t spending hours a day sitting on the toilet as everything I eat goes straight through me. (And side note, why the hell have I gained a pound this week when I’ve had diarrhea for the past 3 or 4 days?)

On the upside, another part of my lab work ritual is that I usually treat myself to a trip to the mini outlet mall across the freeway, and today I found a great pair of pants and a couple of pairs of sunglasses (to go with my new Farrah Fawcett hairdo).

I am continuing to jump back into life, and I think my shopping habit shows it. Over the past week, I’ve purchased a lot (almost all on line, because I’m still tired) – a bunch of fabric, some summer tops, odds and ends for the household, and just tonight I ordered my face cream from Macy’s. I’d been putting that purchase off because it isn’t inexpensive and because, frankly, I was feeling pretty grim about my future. But dammit, if I’m going to die, I’m going to die with the best skin I can have.

I had a bunch of girlfriends over for an artsy craftsy day yesterday. We spent a few hours making fused fabric landscapes. Definitely gave me a sort of high to spend time with them and to see all of the amazing work they did. I’d like to extend an invitation of quilting lessons to anyone who wants to learn to quilt. I might put you to work on some of my stuff, too.

I wish I could weave all of these various threads into a more coherent, cohesive post. But that seems to be how my mind works lately. In order to make sure I remember something, I often have to put down a thought or an activity half baked. It makes everything more scattered, especially when I have to try to remember to go back to the original thought or activity. And I often don’t remember until much later.

Ugh, frustrating.

And I just realized that this Monday of last year, I quit that stupid ass job that was sucking the life from me, and I was re-evaluating everything that I was doing. I was excited for what I thought was coming – more school, new opportunities, etc. Just didn’t realize that everything would be turned upside down just two days later by the emergency room trip and the cancer diagnosis and horrible prognosis. But I think I’ve done pretty well over the last year, all things considered.

Back on the horse again?

My doctor finally got back in touch with me.  (Usually he’s much more prompt.)  He really encouraged me to give Inlyta another chance to see if the side effects will settle down, this time on a smaller dose.  I told him OK, but with two caveats:

  1. We start with a set time frame – if this doesn’t work within X weeks (I’m thinking 3), then we drop it and move on to the next therapy.
  2. I get palliative care to help with the pain.  The marijuana does help a bit, but not completely.  And if it’s any indication – before Inlyta, I was using it once or twice a week.  On Inlyta, it was as much as 4 or 5 times a day.

There’s a third caveat, but that has more to do with my friends and community, and not at all to do with my doctor.  I know this line of treatment will knock me out and wear me out, and leave me unable to do much.  So, for that, I’m going to need support, and lots of it.  I know I’ll be tired, but I’m also going to need to see people and talk to them.  So, texts and visits would be greatly appreciated.  Phone calls, too, though I’m not sure what my phone skills will be.  If you want to come by, but aren’t sure about whether I can do it, please just ask.  I will tell you yes or no, and I will mean whatever I say.  And yes, you may wear me out a bit, but I’ll have plenty of time to nap;  your company will help more than you might expect.

On the up side of it all, I feel really good right now.  No pain beyond what I normally had, being a 46 year old out of shape person with cancer.  My energy levels are much higher, though I still feel a bit of fatigue, as if I were getting over a bad cold or the flu.  So, that’s good.

Also on the up side, I bought some fabric today.  I needed a little fabric for the binding of one of the quilts I recently found again, and when I walked into the store, I was blown away by all the pretties.  So, I blew most of the last bit of money that was on my state disability card on a few cuts.  In away, I think this is a good sign for my mental health.  I don’t NEED this fabric (no, really, I don’t!  shhhh!), and purchasing it means I’m looking to the future, and being able to use it.  I’m seeing a future!

Pretties

Making a quilt, part 3

I’ve got my 100+ squares together, and it is time to head to the design wall.

For this piece, I decided to start in the center, with a large dark splotch.  I like to lay out a bunch of the log cabin squares, then fill in with the four patches.

First round

I’m liking this, but ended up removing the top two (partial) rows, and moving everything downwards, giving a rough gradation.

Second round

Filling in with the four patches, and it looks pretty good, but I’m bugged by the teal block that’s 3 rows from the right and 4 from the bottom.  It just sticks out a little too much, so I switched it for a slightly darker block.  (This is why I always make extra – gives me more play options.)

laid out

And there it is.  Thanks for listening.  😉

Finished quilt top

Finished quilt top