Tuesday, January 27, 2009

sleep deprivation

I'm tired. Much of the time. Like, yesterday I worked a 24-hour shift, cut out for 3 hours in the evening to run up to church for choir practice (thank you SSH for babysitting for me), got back to the unit in time to go to the delivery of a baby who needed immediate transfer to Seattle Childrens and despite that got midnight rounds done generally around midnight, got to bed ~ 1am, got woken up twice, got up for good at 6am, then came home from work, and, instead of trying to get a nap, stayed up and read the 4th Sookie Stackhouse mystery - for the 2nd time. So some of the sleep deprivation might be self-inflicted. And while that big long sentence sounds like a lot, it's not out of character for me. My friends call me the Action Verb. And I do get a lot done, with or without sleep. But my eyes are crusty today, and the Girl Scouts need snacks and I should really go to the grocery store. I feel like I'm a little drunk, or at least that I should watch what I say, although I haven't had anything to drink. Maybe I should watch what I write, too.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


So over the weekend I was at the Chant Retreat put on by the Center for Sacred Art. It was a beautiful and restful experience and I've spent the last 2 days trying to figure out how that 48 hour period fits in with the rest of my life. The theme for this retreat was the work of Thomas Merton, and we talked a lot about how his disciplined commitment to both contemplation and creativity influenced his faith, as well as the larger faith community that he was a part of. It's kind of funny, every year I seem to leave the retreat with an idea for a needlework project that I then don't really ever get very far with. This year, with Thomas as inspiration, I might.
Sunday afternoon we had a 3 1/2 hour period of silence. I really enjoy that part of the retreat - in years past, thinking about it has been a carrot that got me through the Christmas kerfuffle. This year I wasn't as stressed out by Christmas, so the period of silence didn't seem to be as big a contrast. But it was a wonderful way to spend an afternoon. I started out with a hike up into the hills behind the retreat house. St Andrews Retreat House is right off the beach, and at that level it was very foggy and everything was still covered with frost. The higher I got, though, the fog cleared and it was sunny. I could see the tops of the Olympic mountains and got glimpses of the ocean through the trees. There were still patches of frost on the trail, wherever the sun hadn't hit, and I wished I'd had a camera because there were some cool moments between the sun and the frosty bare branches and crunchy grass.
After my hike, I tried to walk the labyrinth. I'm not a good labyrinth walker; I'm too goal-oriented. "When am I going to be done? How much farther? What am I supposed to be thinking about? Am I walking too fast? When's the revelation going to hit?" I thought I must look pretty funny, at least at first, marching along at a pace that wasn't a lot slower than when I was on the hiking trail. I think I slowed down a little, but didn't have an "aha!" moment of any kind before I was done. So I tried it again the next day, trying harder to stay focused on the moment, the right now, the breathing. And maybe my lesson is that slowing down and learning to walk a labyrinth - or engage in any contemplative prayer - is a process. Maybe I have to learn how to get through a labyrinth without needing to feel like I've accomplished something in order to accomplish something, if that makes sense. Maybe even "trying to figure out how that 48 hour period fits in with the rest of my life" is too much of a goal. Maybe I just need to let those ideas be, and they'll fit in wherever they need to.
And in the meantime, there's a blackwork Celtic cross that I might sketch out, and maybe even stitch. Will keep you posted. After all, once Our Lady of Fabio is finished, I'll need another big project. Although I called My Dear Sister yesterday to wish her a happy birthday, and it seems I mailed her Christmas Socks to the wrong address, so will need to try again. Fortunately I've already got a pair started.
[Add On - 2 hours later] Just went for the Modified Maple Leaf Death March walk (2+ miles up and down the hills of my neighborhood). When I was a little over 3/4 of the way through, I passed a man. He walked up to the corner of 94th just as I was passing it, and said, "Ho, Good Morning" when he saw me. He was a little rumpled, looked like a younger, shorter version of Bill Murray with shoulder length hair and better skin. He was carrying a black duffel bag of some kind and possibly a beer bottle (maybe root beer?). Anyway, I said good morning, and he said, "You're an exercise walker. I'm a get here to there walker". I laughed and responded that there was something to be said for both kinds. "No", he said, "only the get here to there kind. Otherwise there's no point". I laughed harder, kept walking, and thought, "Dood, you'd really hate the labyrinth, then."

Saturday, January 17, 2009

our lady of fabio

(photo above taken 1.17.09)

(photo above taken ~ 10.15.08)

So, as you can see from the photos, progress has been made! I worked on it for a while yesterday, and came to the realization that I'm nearly done with the actual cross stitch parts. I have some gold Kreinik braid to fill in, and some outlining to do, but then it's just putting on the beads. Oh, and I have to go over it carefully and fill in all the missed stitches. I'm a little nervous about the beading. I've been working with a 12" hoop, but there's so much beading all over the piece that I'm afraid the hoop won't work. It'll catch the beads it's clamped over and may pull them out of place. I do have a plastic "Q-Snap" frame w/ the clamps, but am not sure it's big enough. So I might need to get stretcher bars to do it right. I've not done a project that has this much beading before, so it'll be a learning experience. On the plus side, though, I should easily have it done and framed in time to donate to the St C's auction. And in case you missed the joke, I've christened the piece "Our Lady of Fabio" because if it was a movie photo for some kind of Christmas movie, you'd need Fabio to play Joseph. I'd done a large Our Lady of Guadelupe cross stitch and really liked how it came out, and always wanted to try one of these Mirabilia pieces, but the more I worked on it, the more I realized it's too romantic for even my taste (which tends towards the romantic). Hopefully one of our St Catherine's parents will appreciate it enough to bid on it.
And now I'm off (or will be later today) for my annual Gregorian Chant retreat, but on by the Center for Sacred Art. It's a chance to chant the hours with a group of other like-minded (off-beat, a little wierd, eccentric at least) souls. This year the theme is Thomas Merton, which should be interesting. I don't know a lot about Thomas Merton, but have checked out a few of his books from the Library, so look forward to a weekend of learning and reading and chanting. I was going to bring Our Lady of Fabio along, to work on tomorrow during the 3-hour silence, but unless I can get ahold of some stretcher bars, I'm afraid I don't have enough work left to do to make it worth the trouble of bringing her and all the necessary supplies. Which leaves me sorta scrambling for a project to bring. Because you know I can't go away for two nights without something to do with my hands!

Monday, January 12, 2009

sock photo

This is the photo of the nearly-completed Christmas socks that I'd meant to include with the previous post. They looked much better when they were blocked (and, in the case of the last pair, when they were finished). I've got the pattern down pretty good, and am looking forward to hearing back about how well they wear.

can't take it all seriously

Watched the Golden Globes last night. I may be the only person in the country who LOVED Drew Barrymore's hair. She looked like she was channeling Marilyn Monroe in a good way, and it was fun and different and cute. And I thought Renee Zellweger was channeling Sharon Stone, and NOT in a good way. And there were way too many white/cream/metallic/NO COLOR dresses. And I LOVED Marisa Tomei - but I've always had a thing for long lacy sleeves. I might have to go buy the Target version of that outfit as soon as it comes out. And when I first saw Sting on the red carpet I thought, "Who's that old fossil?", and about had a heart attack when I saw it was Sting. Wow, Dude, No. You're making the rest of your generation feel REALLY OLD. Other than that, there were a few winners and losers, and then there were the awards. What did you guys think?
In the meantime, I finished crocheting 5 pairs of socks to give as Christmas gifts, and now am working on a pair for myself. And I've started to put some serious time into Our Lady of Fabio, the Mirabilia cross stitch Madonna and Child that I started like 18 months ago. I want to donate it to the St C's school auction, and am hoping to convince one of our local frame shops to give me a break on the framing as an auction donation. Will take a picture soon to show progress. Because I am making progress. Slowly!