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!

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.

Blueberry Hill

It’s blueberry time here on the farm and I spent a lovely morning in the shade watching my husband pick blueberries. I had my little official blueberry picking basket, but really wasn’t feeling up to crawling around in our forest of fruit. The berries this year are enormous and juicy, so if you are interested, we will be having our driveway sale in the next couple of weeks.

I’ve wandered back up to the house after several conversations with the animals, found a good book, made a blueberry smoothie and will be planting my butt on the porch for the rest of the morning. I’ll be glad when this pneumonia plays out as I am already bored with sitting around.

Check out my pics for an anti-inflammatory treat: Almond milk, blueberries, strawberries, flaxseed and stevia.

Summertime at the Farm

One of the most wonderful things about being at home, is watching everybody else do yard work…haha! Pneumonia has it’s benefits.

Honestly though, I thoroughly enjoy just being at home hanging out on the porch or vegging by the pool. It has been a rough couple of years with the frustration of pool companies, but I am so thankful that this summer, all systems are GO!

As you can see by the pics, it was certainly worth the wait.

Many thanks to the most handsome pool boys EVER!

A Girl’s Gotta Eat

Hey gang, today has been pretty rough, and after a second trip to the ER with crazy RA complications along with the Pneumonia, I was ready to spend the whole day in the Halloween pajamas I wore to the hospital. (Yes, it was so embarrassing). And, BTW, thank you to everybody who has been checking on me. It is really appreciated!

Well about 5 hours after all of the new medications started to wear off, I came back to life and decided it was time to DO EVERYTHING. Apparently, Albuterol is made by the same folks that make speed, and I was starving! Food has been eluding me over the last few days, and nothing seemed to taste right. Of course, nothing really tasted at all, and the twins were cracking up when I didn’t even notice the milk had gone off… hilarious.

So in my brief moments of energy, I made a little sumpthin’ sumpthin’ and thought you’d get a kick out of what I whipped up. If this keeps up, I’ll be starting the Julia Child Cookbook by Sunday dinner.

Hey, a girl’s gotta eat!

Tuna steak (grilled by manly grill servant) and homemade yogurt dill tarter sauce. Side salad with spinach, daikon, celery and tomatoes from the garden. Yum!

Oh Snap!

I will rise, but I’ll be damn if I’ll shine… or at least for a few more hours.  I am dragging a bit today, and geez, I think I have a right to be.  It is nothing catastrophic, but it is overwhelming.  So what’s got me down.. this time?  Well, besides my beloved Mini is in the shop for a bs sensor issues, the idiot hardwood floor people are showing up today (maybe) to check out the roots that has been growing into my carpet from the pile of wood that has been in my dining room since Christmas, I didn’t get home from work until 9:30 p.m. last night and am back here again at 7:30 a.m. dressed as a flapper (which believe me is getting very very very old), I missed my kickboxing class (due to above grievance),  let’s see.. oh yes, my doctor, who says he  has important information regarding test results from last week’s visit, didn’t call me yesterday…and an incredibly long list of other piss-ant crap.

So, what to do about it?  Since it is not on my Keto diet to have tequila for breakfast, and sorry Lisa S., I can’t kill anybody, I guess I will do the Red Shoe Life thing and work my way up from the bottom.

1).  I will drive husband’s hooptie really fast,  eat all of his sugar-free gum,  and leave my coffee cup in the holder 🙂

2). Put red underwear on the pile of flooring and when the guys show up, I’ll ask them to leave it just a little longer….

3).  Call my doctor to ask for note for work since I was unable to go due to my “important” medical issue.

4).  Give note to employer and take the rest of the week off. 🙂

5). Go to kickboxing class tonight and beat the shit out of the heavy bag

I guess some days you just have to “suck it up buttercup” and today, I’ll do it dressed as a flapper!

Deb’s Dreads

Life on the farm has been a swampy mess lately.  It finally thawed out and now has had at least two weeks of monsoon conditions, causing my girls to be cranky and not their usual glamorous selves.  Even Andrew, my Southdown Baby Doll sheep is moping.  I miss his smiling little face as he waits patiently for the other roller rink floozies to fight over the sweet feed.   I just muck around in my waders, schleppin’ hay and tidbits to higher and higher ground.  I’ve even been eyeing a pile of old fence wood contemplating building an ark.  BTW, thanks Bri and Brandon for the IKEA bag… it is working great for hauling hay and keeping spiders out of my hair!

So yes, I have a collection of sheep that I originally got to spin their wool and make art yarn. I love their wool.  It’s soft and fluffy… and so plentiful…  I even have a wonderful spinning wheel that I use to hang clothes on in my bedroom and drag out to the Mid-South Spinning Club once a year. The tubbies in my garage are really stacking up.  What to do… what to do?

I guess I lost my enthusiasm for yarn when I realized that I just can’t knit or crochet…  tried it… can’t do it. Perhaps I should have taken that into consideration before I purchased the sheep…  The other downer is that most people in Memphis just don’t wear woolen socks and hats.  Go figure!  I just had to come up with some other way to use all this wool.   That is when it hit me…  woolen dreads!  If you are unfamiliar with these cool beauties, check out Google or Pinterest and see all the vibrant colors and adornments.  My brain exploded when I saw how creative I could get with it and immediately fell in love with the whole process.   Thus, Deb’s Dreads were born.

Today the dreads went even further out on the limb of the crazy tree… One of my awesome sisters has a beach side gig where she sells wooden nautical art and driftwood masterpieces.  It’s called “The Wooden Peg” (her name is Peggy) and if you are ever near Jensen Beach, you’ll have to check her out.  One of the biggest sellers at The Wooden Peg are mermaids.  She hand cuts them, paints them, puts on the do-dads and voila… Ariel swims off the shelf faster than Peg can make them.  So one day we were yakkin’ about a new project and it suddenly popped up that it would be cool if the mermaids wore dreadlocks.  Hmm…  hot pink perhaps??  This conversation resulted in me making a set for her today which will be ready for the dying process tomorrow.  I can hardly wait to sew on the little pink sequins and tiny sparkly shells!

This got me thinking about other types of dolls.  I rang Florida and asked if she could make me a stand up version that I could make colorful dresses, head raps and dreadlocks.  Now my head hurts… I’m going to have to get more sheep…

Stay tuned for the finished projects and let me know if my knitting days are over.  In the meantime, making dreads for my human customers keeps me happy and insures that I can continue to use my spinning wheel as a clothes rack… or better yet… use it as the helm’s wheel on my new ark!

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