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Understanding My Demons

There has hardly been an art fair where I have found a piece of art made by someone else that I was willing to plunk down good money for. You know how we artsy types are. We see something and immediately think, “I could make that.” In fact, I will go so far as to say that we not only think we could make it, but were immediately calculating how we could sell some as well. But do we?

I have so many projects started that are hidden away in the deep dark recesses of my house, that even I don’t know where they are. Each and every supply was purchased with a feverish glee and a glowing visual of a long afternoon, crafting with my favorite tea cup.

Artsy folks have a different way of feeling about things. We get excited over scissors, crazy over crayons, and could lose our complete shit over a garage sale with drapery fabrics. So it goes without saying that no matter how much chenille we have vying for our attention, we will still get misty eyed at the opening of a new craft store.

Non-artsy muggles do not understand what happens when the magic takes over and the creative juices start flowing. It’s like being possessed. I remember one right minded person whining to me “You’re starting something else? Do you know how much crap you have in the closet already?” Hmpf!

I would just grin (mostly because it made him mad) and say, “I’m not in the mood to do THAT today.” It wasn’t a lie. All I wanted to do was knit, sew, or paint whatever it was that didn’t include what I had already started. I was not interested at all in a French knotted Christmas tree skirt or a mosaic tiled ashtray. I wasn’t trying to be wasteful. It was the joy of using my hands and working on a project that was my high. I think it’s similar to people who love to read when they crack open the book for the first time and smell.. well whatever it is THOSE people do.

I recently started thinking about my long lost projects, and even began working on a few of them again. Why would I spend so much time on something if I was never going to finish it? I was certainly able to finish them. I even thought I would finish them. So what was my issue? Then I started thinking about the creative process. Perhaps it’s not the bread I want to eat, but the kneading of the dough… maybe it’s not the flowers I wanted, but the digging in the dirt… and maybe it’s not a trim fit body I wanted… but the running on the treadmill… ok, let’s not go that far.

Then the blue light went off in aisle 7, the lightbulb in my head started to beam… I finally thought of something that made sense of all the bags and boxes of unfinished quilts and cross stitched bibs crammed in the crevices of the 3rd floor towel closet… I suddenly realized that it wasn’t the monogrammed bathroom tiles that made me happy… it was something so much bigger. It wasn’t the painted pots on my porch… and it wasn’t even the laminated Woman vs Wild bookmark that I started working on in 2012. It wasn’t the THING… it was the creating. The joy was in the DOING. Ah, I’m not a spend-a-holic. I’m a do-a-holic. Satisfied, I kicked a stray roll of raffia into the shoe rack and closed the door to my walk-in closet. I finally understood my demon. Your joy is not the flippin’ mountain, Deb, it’s the climb!

I Need More Fiber

This Saturday found me at a Medieval Fiber Arts event near Memphis. There were classes and display tables, vendors and an abundance of talk about… well fiber arts. For all of you non-artsy types, this includes things like, paper making (linen, cotton), weaving of all types, spinning, sewing, silk painting and so much more. There were over 20 classes to choose from and everyone was at a fever-pitch trying to squeeze it all in, but the best part of this event was the costuming. These are not just your average Renaissance Festival carnies, this is the real deal. These people put their heart and soul into their garb and are proud as peacocks to walk around showing it off. They research every detail, comb area thrift stores and hobby shops looking for the perfect fabric and accessory for there “persona”. Hell, I’ve known some of these peeps to carve their own buttons. What is a persona you ask? Well, this the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) the time period would be pre-seventeenth century, from many different countries. It took me a while to realize that the Medieval times did not just occur in England. Duh?

Everyone in the club also has a name for their persona. I still don’t know a lot of these people’s real names and we have been going to these things for 20 years! My SCA name is Sterling and I try to make Turkish garb. I am not serious about the fabric or anything else about the SCA, and usually just grab stuff out of my closet. I chose the Turkish garb because it doesn’t show a lot of skin, and it looks like a circus…. um… exactly like my regular clothes. Perfect.

Today was a huge success for the “Candlemas” event and the players came from far and wide to participate. At day’s end, there is always a feast, made by a mighty kitchen crew, who take great pains to make authentic food served on wooden trenchers with at least 5 removes

There were Squires, Scribes and Scholars, oh my! Lords, Ladies and some beefy guys in the parking lot with swords. No lack of excitement at this event.

My Optimum Life plan is to live life to it’s fullest and while it might have been dreamy to sleep in today, I am so glad I went and learned a thing or two. I know that sometimes you just gotta rest, but overall I am always happier that I put in the effort to do something rather than miss out. I always enjoy learning new things and catching up with old friends. Get up, get out and do something with your day, and if you are feeling a little sluggish… all you need is MORE FIBER!

Not Just a Pretty Face

Penelope, my Southdown Baby Doll/Shetland ewe, spends her day nibbling on hay and random sprigs of winter weeds. She is the smallest of my flock and the least vocal. In fact, you would hardly even notice her, until you saw her pretty face. She has a fuzzy little chunk of a body like her Babydoll mom and the sleek mischievous face of her Shetland dad. This combination makes for not only a purdy profile, but long luxurious locks. We think she is a cutie.

She may be a looker, but she is so much more. Penelope is my therapist. She nods her head, has no opinions and after giving her a good rub, the lanolin does wonderful things for my hands. It’s hard to find such a friend and loyal listener. This gentle little curly Q, follows along beside me, waiting for her treat and our conversation. Eventually, she will doze off in the grass and I will go about the rest of my chores, with her contagious smile.

I love my entire herd of wooly wankers, but this one is special. Who needs goat yoga, when I have a girl who is so much more than a pretty face!

HAPPY LABOR DAY!

In my line of work, every holiday tends to spill over into theme related fun for at least a month leading up to the big day. Movies, historical discussions and art projects, to name a few, and of course our big cookout with a Rosie the Riveter Look-alike competition.

I have been celebrating Rosie for many years now, and it always warms my heart when the ladies that I work with don their bandanas and show off their “can do” attitude for the camera. Sure it’s awesome to check out the gun show, but the cool part is that these ladies are the real Rosies. When their world was turned upside down and all of their plans for family life with a picket fence went marching off to war, these were the ladies that rolled up their sleeves and carried this country.

While speaking with some younger people this week, Rosie the Riveter came into the conversation. Most had no clue who this icon was, and some said it had to do with Women’s Rights. Sigh….

I looked around the room at the young women and realized that the concept of women carrying the country was nothing new to them. They have always known the power of women in the workplace and have never known the concept of a required role of “stay your ass in the house.” In their lifetime it has always been expected for women to work outside the home and in fact, most couples could not afford the homes they live in without the second income. Women are no longer holding the bag, they are involved in every aspect of ..well everything… and of their own choosing. Women have the power to be anything they want to be. I am sure someone will argue with me about that point, but I cannot think of one thing, including being a Boy Scout, play men’s sports or be the President of the United States, that I could not be if I wanted to. Please do not give me grief on this point. I am aware that there is injustice in women’s equality, but here in the United States, I am free to pursue my Red Shoe Life in any way I would like. In my lifetime, when I graduated from high school, my options where pretty much, secretary, librarian, nurse or teacher and although it wasn’t exactly said, the only reason girls attended college was to find a husband.

I now have a daughter and she has the internet. Where I would never have imagined what could be possible, there is now nothing in this world a woman can’t find on Google and pursue. College and beyond is discussed from birth and if they would like to get married and have a family, she can do that while she works, attends school and climbs Mt. Everest.

The role of women has gone from mere cheerleaders of their families, to hardy participants, and leaders of the world around them.

I am proud of today’s women and am honored to be one of them. We not only bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan, we are doing whatever else is takes to “Git HER Done.”

Rosie started it all and had the right idea all along. You CAN do it. You have always had the power to do it, and now you can do it with a pair of awesome red shoes.

Happy Labor Day, ladies, and for more awesome “can do” videos, check out my YouTube Channel called Red Shoe Life!

Technology- Push the Button

It is unfair to say that I am not a fan of modern technology, but I would say that there sure as hell are parts of it that are not my friend. I do not know what is my issue with keeping my devices charged, as it would surely be a simple thing to plug them in each night. This small move would assure that I am rip roarin’ ready in the morning, but in my defense, you can only plug the damn things in, if you can find them! It is a running joke about where have I left my phone in the office. I spend time each day looking for my iPad, to view the App that tells me where I left my phone. Oh it’s comical alright. Little do they know that I also misplace the bugger at home, in the car and well, just about everywhere I go. My husband, Chance, gives me a lot of grief over this, but in fact, he is likewise missing a lot of expensive hats! Just sayin’

The frustration with my electronic items does not stop there. I also cannot find the chargers that go with them. In the rare instance that I do have a charger, it is not the right one. Why the heck do they make so many different kinds and that does not even count the cords that hook them to other uncooperative things like my computer or my car.

It has been my greatest triumphs to figure out how to FaceTime with my kids, down or upload videos onto YouTube (I’m never sure which one it is) and set up my iPod with a killer playlist which is Blue Toothed to my new mini speaker. Booyah, this girl is on fire!! My Nikon can magically send pics to an App on my iPad, my FitBit can tell me when to pee, and I can set my coffee maker to perk a cup of Frappe latte at 4:30 a.m. every morning. What more do I need?

A lot. These are just gateway devices. There is a hell of a lot more to explore, but I gotta take it slow. Keeping up with technology is imperative for living my Red Shoe Life, but I usually end up in a virtual reality nightmare of an endless warren of wires, and the monotonous hum of a aol dial up.

Figuring out technology can be frustrating, but it is key to keeping up with current events, medical breakthroughs and of course, the Kardashians. Surfing the internet helps me carry on an intellectual conversation, save money on my car insurance and experience world events as if I were actually there. It stimulates my brain, keeps the temperature in my home at a steady 72 degrees and allows me to order a 50 bag of sheep food to be delivered without ever leaving the house.

If you think that sounds exciting, be sure to check out my latest YouTube video called Red Shoe Life-Virtual Reality for a good laugh. The kids gave me a quick tutorial on a few simple technical games and had a hearty snicker at my expense. Truly, if you want to know how to figure out something technical… ask a kid.

Guys, all joking aside, this is serious. Being able to use technology is a key component to living a Red Shoe Life, and it is very easy for it to get ahead of you. Don’t let it intimidate you. There are whole stores full of people just standing around waiting for you to ask them a question (and sell you the latest gizmo). Ask them. Ask everyone until you understand. Don’t be afraid. There isn’t a button on any home gadget that will end the universe. Live your Red Shoe Life and push the button. Push all the buttons.

I do, when I can find them.

Just Under the Wire

Sliding in head first, just under the wire, I have finally fulfilled my New Year’s resolution of writing a post in January.  I just couldn’t get started.  Not that I didn’t have things to talk about… just the opposite.  So much has happened.. better start at the beginning.   For those of you who are new to my Red Shoe Life Transformation Blog, you’ll have to scroll back through some of the old posts to get the gist. In a nutshell, it has been an account of last year’s efforts to transform everything about my life from my grass to my ass.  I had a lot of trials and tribulations with failed attempts to renovate certain areas, but in the end (no pun intended) I finished the year minus a crap load of well.. crap, a few re-organized areas on the farm, and give or take 50 lbs. vanished off the scale.  As my readers will attest, it wasn’t without a fight.  Every single thing that was accomplished was so freaking frustrating, but I am blessed with superhuman stubbornness and a psycho’s persistence to throw fits until I get my way until I get what I’m after.

An example you ask?  Well, the 30 foot mud hole in my backyard, that was once our pool, is now a fabulous party mecca complete with ice buckets  and red beach balls.  It only took three summers and 6 or 7 pool companies to make things right.  At last, I can sit poolside with my keto lemonade  and not worry about beavers building condominiums under the fiberglass slide.  Yes, I have jackhammered holes in my relatively new cement, the lawn is incredibly rutted up, and, of course, my bank account took about a 10 thousand dollar hit, but my fabulously fixed oasis now shoots jets of sparkling water hard enough to tear off your tankini and the water actually stay IN the pool.   If you have ever spent a summer in Memphis, you’d know… this is a wonderful thing.

If you are keeping score, the simultaneous floor debacle has at last resolved itself.  We got a raw floor just before Thanksgiving and the project finished  one week before setting up our Christmas tree. After two years of living without a floor and 1 year of living with nothing but dirt… all it took was a shit load of money and a new contractor.  Who knew?  I now happily slide around in socks singing “Just Give Me That Ol’ Time Rock and Roll”

Needless to say, I am very thankful for closing the book on those chapters, but am ready to finally move on.  You see, at the end of last year I almost got to the point where I was going to throw in the towel.  The contractors, lawyers, employers and doctors ALMOST got the best of me, and unfortunately I stopped blogging about it, mainly because it just sounded like whining. Friends said I should have just kept blogging, but it seemed like such a broken record.   I had followed my own advice and put myself out there.  I tried new things and met new people, and frankly, it didn’t work out as expected.  At all.  The drama, the frustration and the disappointment were crazy. Here’s the good part though.  Even when it sucked that it didn’t work out the way I planned, in the end it was EVEN BETTER!!!  I’ll have many more posts regarding each aspect of the transformation, but just note that I’m happy to be back in the game” and all of the blubbering from last year is finally over.  I am excited to say, however, you’ll need to get ready for some new blubbering.  January is the beginning of the second half of my transformation.  It will include another 50 pound loss, a fitness challenge, another renovation, new friends, new skills and a brand new grand baby!  Hang on for some really deep stuff…hahah, not just the hike through the Grand Canyon deep… but holy crap I’m almost 60 deep.

Happy New Year Red Shoe friends, and welcome to Chapter Two. I’m not just sliding in under the wire,  I’ve got my sights set on a whole new finish line.