Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Sew What?

Dear Diary,

I have two sewing classes under my belt now. The first class was really exciting at the beginning--I was thrilled about all of the things we would be learning--but then as the session wore on, I started to feel overwhelmed. I felt like everyone else in class had waaaaay more experience than me, and as I was still clumsily threading my machine, everyone else was breezing along, handling their machines with ease. I have never been super creative and I'm not one of those crafty people that can make beautiful things with seemingly no effort. Sewing has always been tough for me, although to be fair I've never given it an honest shot. I left class feeling like I was always, always going to suck at sewing. But then on the drive home, I resolved to not give up so easily. I WOULD figure this out. I would get my hands on a basic, used machine, and practice, practice, practice. And I would chill out about the whole thing.

Fast forward to last night, which was our second class. I had made up my mind that I was going to focus, not get flustered, and figure this out. And I did. We learned shirring and how to sew elastic into garments, and I did really well during our practice time. Then, we spent a big portion of the session taking measurements of ourselves and making a custom block pattern that we will use in future sessions to make garments for ourselves. I left feeling more confident than I did last week, and most certainly ready to try something on my own.

During the past week I managed to get my dirty paws on a used, very simple machine and today I set it up. I threaded the machine, wound the bobbin, and got ready to sew. During the first class, our instructor gave us two pieces of material that were cut into a pattern for a cell phone case, and all we had to do as "homework" was to sew them. I did that today. Here's the final result. They are NOT perfect by any means. And I think I used the seam ripper just as much as I used the sewing machine as I made several errors along the way. But I made them, by myself. No one helped me. And that's pretty cool.

I's really no big deal. I'm not making world-class couture garments here. But it's a start. Next I'd like to try making a skirt for myself or for Grace and some other small, easier things. And eventually I'd like to actually be GOOD at this.

There's something else, too. Grandma Faye was an excellent sewer. She made countless things for family members. Part of me wants to learn to do this as a remembrance of her. Today, as I was sitting at the table in my dining room (the table that was my great-grandmother's), sewing on my machine, listening to my Gipsy Kings station on Pandora, dog snoozing at my feet, it was almost like Grandma was sitting across from me at the table, sewing at her own machine. I could imagine she and I chatting as we sewed, laughing and gulping gin martinis. I could almost feel her there with me. It was a great way to take time and remember her. And that made the whole thing even more enjoyable for me.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

All About Meeeeeeee

Dear Diary,

For someone who has a personal blog, I sure do spend a lot of time writing about other people. And sure, my kids are great and cute and blah blah blah...but damn...I'm interesting too! Really I am! Stop shaking your head at me!!!

Anyway, some exciting (to me, anyway) happenings in my life:

-I have sworn off Pick 'n' Save and all other chain-type grocery stores, including (gasp!) Trader Joe's. I purchased a partial membership at Outpost Natural Foods which is a local co-op that carries mainly organic, local, natural, and fair trade food. I found a local, family-owned NON-CHAIN food market just a couple of miles from our house, Groppi Food Market, where we will do a lot of our grocery shopping. We will also join one, possibly two, local CSA's this summer, from which, along with our local farmer's markets, we will get a majority of our produce and meat and maybe even some dairy and eggs. I'll strive to preserve a lot of produce this summer and fall so we can build up some good reserves for next winter and spring. Yes, buying local, organic, and clean foods will cost us more on our grocery bill. But I just hate the whole idea that the food that's riddled with preservatives, sodium, nitrates, and other scary, bad stuff is the food that is cheap and affordable to most. It's not right. It's backwards. And I won't be a cog in that machine anymore. So there.

-I'm taking a sewing class! Part of my birthday gift from Aaron and the kids was the opportunity to take this class, a five-week beginner session that is being held at UWM. I had my first class this week and it was SO AWESOME. Sewing has always been intimidating to me, but I am determined to learn how to do it this time. I can't wait to be able to make things for my family. I even went online, found a very basic, used sewing machine that was cheap and bought it so I can practice. I also have an antique machine that was my grandma's waiting for me at my parents' house for when I am ready to graduate to something a little more involved.

-I am officially going back to school. I have been talking for a while now about taking classes to earn my Bachelor's in Nursing, but I finally took the first step toward actually doing that. UWM has a program for people, like me, who already have a Bachelor's degree in another field, to earn a BSN in one year. (Now, of course, it will take me more than a year to do this. I won't be able to go back to school full time until Harrison is in K4. And I have quite a few prerequisites to take before I can be admitted to the program.) Anyway, there's an orientation session coming up for this program at the beginning of April, so I am going to that session to figure out where and when to start. I plan to take my first class--and I'll just take one or two classes per semester--in the summer or fall.

-Turning 33 has caused my metabolism to slow down almost completely. Like, to a grinding halt. As in, I work out five, sometimes six, days a week, logging 25-30 miles per week, and I can still manage to gain five pounds in one stinking weekend of carefree and careless eating. Also, I'm having trouble seeing unless I have adequate lighting. I have several hairs sprouting from various locations on my face. In short, getting older sucks.

-Have you heard? I moved to FitzWalkerstan.

That last one might go over the head of those not following Wisconsin politics.


Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Dear Diary,

Today I complete my 33rd revolution around the sun. 33. I can remember when my parents were 33, and now here I am. Trippy, man.

Today I received a birthday card from my grandfather in the mail. As I opened the card, I felt heartbreak knowing that for the first time in my entire life I would see just one signature on the inside--Grandma Faye's signature wouldn't be there. But as sad as I felt, I also felt really, really touched that my sweet grandpa took the time to pick out a card for me and send it to me. I know Grandma Faye would have liked the card Grandpa picked and I know she would have been pleased that he sent it. And that made me happy.

Even though signs of my age are starting to show--wrinkles are forming in that little area between my eyes where I furrow my brow, laugh lines are starting to appear on my face, I've been plucking little gray hairs from my crown for longer than I'd care to admit, my prime baby-making years have come and gone--I have to say that I am happier now than I have been in...well...forever. I absolutely LOVE my 30's. My body is in great ph
ysical shape. I ran my first half marathon at age 32 and I'm planning at least two more this year. I am happily married to the most wonderful, lovely man who also happens to be a fabulous father. I have two beautiful children who, even though they exasperate me at times, are the loves of my life. I live in a cozy house in a great city. I have great friends. I travel and play and enjoy myself. I have everything I need and more. There are difficult days, and there have been quite a few of those over the past couple of months with the losses my family has endured, but most of the time I find myself insanely happy and content.

Life is really good. I have a lot to be thankful for. Year 34, I am so ready for you.