Sunday, October 7, 2018

Is This Thing On?

Yikes -- it's been over a month since I last posted. As is the case every few months, you can blame the usual end-of-quarter madness for my absence, but I am happy to report that the quarter is now over and I am officially on FALL BREAK! Woo hoo!

The first 48 hours of the break have been spent sleeping (can't get enough of that wonderful stuff), finishing one book and starting another, eating at the best sushi place I've been to yet, giving lots of behind-the-ear and belly rubs to my doggy loves, watching A Star Is Born (which is less of a love story and more of a horror story, as it turns out), trying to regulate my heart rate and find my center again after the Kavanaugh confirmation, and washing laundry that's been piling up for far too long (we're talking Everest here).

Today I had an actual breakfast-using-a-plate-and-utensils for the first time in months. Usually I grab coffee and a croissant in the morning, shaking off crumbs as I enter campus. I also plan to eat lunch daily over the break, something I rarely do, even when I remember to pack it. I have an unhealthy tendency to work through lunch. After 20 years of teaching, you'd think I'd have figured out how to carve out a section of the day to ensure my continued survival, but no, I still lack that ability.

While the past month or so has resulted in high levels of efficiency and engagement at work, it has been a real struggle on the crafty front. I've had so little free time and so little energy that as deadlines have approached, it has taken everything in me to pull myself away from my "to do" list and to try to feel creative. As grudgingly as I started projects this past month, however, I always ended up being grateful that I started at all. Creativity takes effort to summon at times, but it is also a release, a reminder that outlets are so very important.

Here are a few of the projects created over the past month:

This project was created for a Get It Scrapped blog feature on making journaling the center of one's story. It is possibly the most difficult layout that I have ever made, and it was many years in the making. I've looked at the photo of my uncle as an innocent young boy many, many times. Every time I have considered what photo to use on a layout, I have held this photo in my hands and have wondered, "Now?", and each time, I have not been ready...not until Debbie Hodge and Amy Kingsford at Get It Scrapped invited me to create a page that put the story -- and not a technique or product or trend -- at the center. The supplies here are minimal; the story is everything.

My mom read through the comments that people had posted on Instagram when I first shared this, and she said that she felt as if she had failed me. She hadn't known it was this bad. How could she have known when my ability to express this as a child was limited, when every story I told was countered by my grandmother playing it off as if my uncle was just in a mood and needed some time to cool down? As I mention in the journaling, we were all afflicted. There are no heroes and villains in this narrative.

My mother tells me that if she had known what I had experienced -- really known it, as detailed here -- she would have thrown herself in front me, protected me. I know she would have. I don't blame her for this. Again, we were all afflicted, all coping in our own way.

She says she has let it go, put it behind her, that she is a "healer" and that it does not affect her because she has forgiven my uncle. I tell her, none of us can let it go. It shaped us and it shapes us still. You are the child of an alcoholic, the sister of a mentally ill drug addict, I tell her.  There is no past tense with addiction. You are a healer precisely because you spent much of your life trying to piece together brokenness. I abhor violence of any kind and struggle against voicelessness because I know what it is like to look down the barrel of a gun, screaming silently. Because we are shaped by our experiences, we may believe that we have let go of them, but they will not let go of us.

On a lighter note...
I created this tribute to my favorite weekend family treat, dim sum, using a sketch that I designed for Hip Kit Club. 
I can't believe how long it took me to finally acquaint myself with the wonder that is dim sum. I crave it all week long now -- especially shrimp spring roll look fun, which is a textural delight, combining a soft wrapper outside with a crunchy inner layer. So good!

Another Hip Kit Club page with the September kits...
This sweet kitty is 17 years old and still keeping us on our toes. I caught her here in a sweet moment, just before she stretched out and started yowling for food, as she does about sixteen times a day. Last night, she snuggled up next to me as I was reading in bed, and just as I was sighing over her cuteness, she attacked my hand as it shifted under the covers.  For an old cat, she's pretty spry. 

And finally...
Although I'm not a Project Life-style scrapbooker, I'm still committed to documenting the everyday, which is the focus of this mini-album I put together using the Hip Kit Club September kits. More details on the process can be found on the Hip Kit Club blog

Here's hoping that with the break ahead of me, I find more time to be creative and, in the process, find my bearings once again. 

Thanks for stopping by today!

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