Category Archives: life

the one about being true to yourself

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This is my firstborn. At a birthday party. He hated every minute of it.

He is very gentle, has a good sense of fairness, isn’t very outgoing, does not like team sports and is absolutely consumed with music. Any kind of music. He was excited when he heard about this party, but when we arrived and he saw the first group of adults race, he hid his face into my sleeve and said he really doesn’t want to do it. He felt bad, I could tell, afraid that he was going to be teased by other boys in the party. There was a lot of waiting around and by the time our group was ready to race, and after reassurances by the guys running the show that he could stop at any time, he decided to go. It was a bit of curiosity and some peer pressure, but I was proud that he would at least try it. At first I thought he was enjoying it, not knowing that in the first lap a kid bumped him (even though that was not allowed) and he spun out of control. But the worst thing was that the kid laughed at him. That did it. He did not ask to leave early, he finished the race, but decided not to do the second one.

After the birthday party he told me it was the worst. He felt bad because he felt out of place. He knew he was so different than the other boys and that was bothering him. I told him it is ok to be different, his true friends won’t care, he should be proud of what he is… you know how it goes…

Thinking about it later, I realized that was exactly how I was. When I was his age I preferred to be an observer. I shied out of most of group activities and I hung out with a couple of close friends. That was my comfort zone. But did I follow my own advice, was I being true to myself and proud of what I was doing?

Then I remembered a post I started to write in my head several times. About something that was bothering me. But I felt bad about admitting that I felt bad about admitting I was a quilter, so I never wrote it. What? you say… Yes, I have been quilting for many years now. But who knows about it? A few (read two) of my closest friends and then maybe one more that I gifted a quilt to. I am not even sure that she is aware that I made it.

But I felt bad about admitting this. What does it say about me? How I am going to say that I am what? ashamed of being a quilter. Wouldn’t that imply I think quilting is somehow beneath me. Wouldn’t that imply that I don’t think much of other quilters?

Which is not the case at all. I follow many quilter’s blogs, I have a tremendous respect and appreciation of their art. The truth is I don’t know any quilters in person. No one I know is even remotely interested in any fabric related art. I guess I did not want to be judged. As always, I have this feeling of not fitting completely with my social circle, and I thought if they knew I was a quilter they’d think I’m even weirder (which I guess assumes I think they already think I am weird; ah, insecurities…). And of course, if they knew, they might ask me to show my work, and that would just be too much. They would not like it for sure. Well, I feel like a 10 year old again 🙂

I came close to outing myself a year ago, with a plan to attend a Holiday Boutique at the kids school. Parents sell… stuff and percentage goes to the school. And just as I was about to sign up, do the paperwork, I chickened out. Quit. Found some lame excuse, probably that I don’t have time to finish the quilts. I don’t even remember what the excuse was… (some of the quilts planned for that even are still sitting unfinished).

I am not writing this to whine, or try and get sympathy. I am definitely not proud of how I feel. But, I think of this as a step forward to being more true to myself. To follow my own advice. To set an example for my kids. Don’t think that I’m going to print a bunch of business cards tonight and start handing them to all the moms at school tomorrow. I probably will not attend the Holiday Boutique this year either. But I made the first step. Even if it’s only admitting all of this to myself.

What do you mean to yourself? You just broadcast it to the whole world! But here is the thing… In this whole wide world of internet you can be just as isolated. Because… ha! nobody really knows I have this blog. Not really. I mean, I have some hits, but it’s mostly about the quilts or pillows I made. A tutorial maybe. But, who would really read this? I am now typing my 840something word. Who has time for that?

I am going to finish here. And hit ‘publish’ before I chicken out and change my mind.

the one about dreams

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From our hike a few years ago

Welcome to Hollywood! What’s your dream? Everybody comes here; this is Hollywood, land of dreams. Some dreams come true, some don’t; but keep on dreamin’ – this is Hollywood. Always time to dream, so keep on dreamin’.

Do you know where this is from? If you said “Pretty Woman” you would be right. If you did not – well, you need to brush up on your movie trivia, don’t you?

I did, I watched Pretty Woman the other night, trying to pass the time during heat induced insomnia while hubby enjoys much cooler temps overseas. I have seen this movie a few times over the years (I am a movie buff; just a bit of me trivia), but I don’t remember these lines, just before the closing credits, after “She rescues him right back.”, Julia Robert’s last line. It got me thinking of my own dreams, where they’ve been and where they are heading (if anywhere).

Pretty Woman came out in 1990, the year I finished high school and troubles were brewing for Croatia, a little country in the Balkans I come from. Actually, to be completely true to the facts, Croatia was still a part of Yugoslavia, but not for long. I was also in a souring relationship, but we still enjoyed going to the movies together, which is why I waited in line for hours to see this movie on the opening night.

But most importantly, it was the time I was still working on my dream. And I had a big one. Move to US. I didn’t know how it’s going to happen or when but I knew it WAS going to happen.

See, when I was 10 years old my father moved us all to Houston, TX for a job. It came out of the blue, after a more senior engineer found out he would not be able to go due to his heart problems. We only had a few weeks to pack up, learn a bit of english and move 8 time zones away. I was terribly shy but also very impressionable and those 9 months we spent in Texas, were the best in my life. So going back was hard. Yugoslavia was a poor communist country (we were on this side of the iron curtain and it wash;t so bad as for those communist countries on the wrong side) and we didn’t have much! We had enough, but to an 11 year old, who just a few months ago spent a few days in Disney World, returning to a tiny apartment was a bit of a shock.

And then one day a store on the other side of the road from our apartment building got a shipment of oranges and coffee. I sat at my 7th floor window and watched people line up in front of the store, around the parking lot and all the way to the other building. In Houston I could eat oranges, and watermelons and green bell peppers year round! I could’t really understand what was going on and why but that day, looking out that window, I promised myself that I will do everything in my power to go back.

And that was my dream. That’s what I thought of every moment of every day.

It did eventually happen, as you might guess. Many years later, after I graduated from college, I packed up two suitcases and flew this time only 6 time zones away, to Atlanta, GA. Ok, it wasn’t that easy. I spent two years prior figuring out graduate schools, applying and waiting. In September of 1995 I started graduate school at Georgia Institute of Technology (the MIT of the South as it is known) as a doctoral student in Mechanical Engineering. That’s right – I’m helluva engineer (not really sure about spelling here).

And she lived happily ever after, you might think. But this is not the end of the story. No. Actually looking back on those years I realize that soon after I arrived in Georgia something happened. My dream was fulfilled. And I was ecstatic. But I was struggling in graduate school. Not academically, but I didn’t really like what I was doing. I was in the right place but I was also in the wrong place. Graduate school turned out to be just a means to an end, in this case moving to US. Turns out that my dream was flawed, incomplete if you will. I actually had no dream. No new dream. No new direction.

I realize that from then on I just let life happen to me. Don’t get me wrong, it was not bad. I met my husband. I eventually left graduate school after obtaining a masters degree. I moved to Austin and had a pretty good job. And then 10 years after I watched Pretty Woman I found myself in Southern California. The land of dreams. Wedding (actually eloping) happened, a lot of traveling, a house in Venice, first kid at 32, second attempt at graduate school, failed again; second kid at 36, becoming a stay at home mom. It was just happening to me. I had no plan.

And now I am 42. Yes, 42. How did that happen. At 38 attempt at another child. Failed. With the second baby I found out I had a genetic condition that makes it hard to conceive. Without going into much details, basically 2/3 of my eggs are bad. Useless. It was a little miracle, doctors said, that my kids were conceived naturally. But third time, no charm.

And that hurt. That still hurts. It hurts so much I really don’t like thinking about it. And I do not talk about it, not even to my husband. Because I am afraid I will break down. It hurts so much it is hard to look at old photos. It hurts constantly.

I think it is time to stop letting life happen to me and have another dream, a goal. The baby train has left the station, so I must turn around and find a new path. A new passion. For the last few months we have been talking about moving from LA. It was my idea. I have always had a love/hate relationship with LA, especially since I started driving kids around and spending ridiculous amounts of time in the car. But now… I have a feeling (and I will borrow words from another movie I saw recently “The Hundred-Foot Journey”) that “the vegetables in LA have no soul”. It’s not about veggies, of course, but I do feel something is missing here. Something is lost maybe. Or is it just that the grass is greener… and all that. Or is it that I lost my soul. Could it be that in the process of life I lost myself?

I want to feel passionate about something again. There are many things I like, a few a like a lot. But I want to feel that same passion that drove me to fulfill my first dream. That will keep me up at night. That will give me that feeling you get when you climb on top of the hill and see the magnificent view; the feeling you get when you hike through a rain forest; the feeling you get when you are caught in the rain. This might not do it for you, but you know what I mean. But to have a passion is to have a dream. And I don’t have one right now.

Where do I go from here?

(maybe that should be my blog tagline :))

too hot to quilt

If there are any regular visitors to this blog they might be surprised that there is very little quilting or weaving or just general making going on here. The reason is the heat. Yes, the heat.

Before I elaborate, let me show you what’s waiting to be quilted:

Basting. Isn't my ductape fun? (How do you spell ductape?)

I actually quilted about a half of this one before this current heat wave. I do not really want to change settings on my sewing machine, because I had some tension problems, so the machine is sitting unused until this one is quilted.

Final arrangement?

Then there is this one which was waiting for an appropriate backing. And then it got hot. so it’s waiting. I don’t even have a decent picture of the finished top (which is finished, just not sandwiched yet), just this bad instagram photo. I might have fallen out of love with this one. A little bit.

Top finished

Another crappy pic, but at least of the finished top. I almost quilted this one in the spring but I had no idea how to quilt. I like straight lines, but I just wasn’t feeling it. So it waits.

And finally there is this one. That makes it 6 quit tops to sandwich and quilt. Hmmm

Definitely don;t know how to quilt this one. This one might need some hand quilting.

You might this that’s it but I actually have one more, that I never photographed. It ended up quite big, so I was even thinking of just tying it. I should get off my butt right now and take a picture of it, but you know what – yes, it’s too freaking hot.

So what about all this whining about the heat? 90ish F is not that bad! No, it’s not if you are used to it, if you have air-conditioning, if it happens rarely, or when it’s supposed to happen like during Summer. But here in Southern California, especially on the West Side (read – near the ocean), we are not used to these temperatures; maybe a few days a year but not off and on for months. If you didn’t know, California is experiencing the worst drought on record, coupled with the hottest year to 18 months since late 19th century, when they started keeping records.

Our houses here on the West Side were not built for this kind of weather. Even the new homes usually do not have ac, because we really never needed it. A few days around Labor Day and we were done with the heat. Anybody can take that. But over the last year or so, it feels like the worst of the summer never ended. So, take a person like me, who does not take heat well, who defines nice weather as fog and or drizzle (or at least temps below 70 F) , and conditions like this – and you’ve got one very grumpy and uninspired person. OK, maybe not completely uninspired…

Our house was built in 1912, and then expanded in the 70s, with a two room addition to the back of the house, which faces south. For reasons I do not understand, they did not use insulation in the walls. So those two room would get quite cold in the winter and hot during those infrequent heat spells. The problem we are experiencing now is that the house never really cools down, even if we have a few cooler days. So why not installing an ac? Well, the house was gutted in the 70, but again it was built for the coastal weather. Windows are single pane, a few are glass shutters windows that never really close all the way, and we don;t really have many doors – except for the bedroom, it’s one open space. It would be very, very inefficient and expensive to have ac. So we survive with fans. But let me tell you, I have had enough of the heat, fans giving me a headache, sweating all the time. I did not sign up for this. If I wanted these temps, I would have stayed in Texas – at least I would have ac! I think I might be going heat crazy…

This past spring break we RV-ed through British Columbia, CA. And on a really bad, hot day, I think of all the greenery, rain and fog. That’s my kind of weather. That’s the weather that inspires me, lets me think… Heat is overrated, exhausting and seriously mind numbing. Sometimes I feel like I am a north-west girl trapped in the south.

So can you imagine sitting at a sewing table in this heat, holding a blanket over you? No, I didn’t think so. Also my sewing room is in the back of the house, it has no doors so I cannot cool it off at all. The quilts just have to wait. Weaving will have to wait. Posts about quilting or weaving will have to wait. Until the temps cool off. In the meantime, there will be photos, blackout words, and who knows what else.

Thanks for listening to the rant. Most people do not understand how one can not like sunny hot days, and enjoy fog and rain. But that;s just how I am…

flekka

September 4, 2014

some days there is an abundance of ideas. it seems that everything or anything you look at, listen to, smell, touch or hear can be turned into a project. but then other days… maybe you are a little tired, a little overwhelmed with everyday things, maybe you are just sick and tired of the heat… but ideas are not coming, inspiration is lost, and it is hard to motivate yourself to finish those projects just sitting there forgotten. you find comfort in knowing that the good days are going to be back soon, that the slump is never too long. I love my inspiration filled days, but sometimes I wish my days are more even. maybe I would be more productive. but then… it’s not about quantity, it’s about quality, right?

flekka

September 3, 2014

We are very neighborly in this part of our lovely Venice, with houses within a spitting distance apart. For instance, our (new) neighbor to the east…. I hear his alarm clock blasting in the morning, smell his food in the afternoon, and then in the evening I second-hand smoke his weed. Cozy.

priorities

this is a conversation a girl from Sven’s class (Sven is my 6 year old) had with her mother over the Summer:
mom: so, who was your boyfriend in kindergarden?
girl: oh, nobody. I didn’t really have one.
mom: Really? What happened?
girl: well, I tried to make Sven my boyfriend, but he liked basketball better.