Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Summer slump

I have just figured out something that bothered me for years. I'm glad I did it before August, when I usually snap over it.

You see, every July I'm at an emotional and physical peak. I'm a summer baby (who turns 42 next month) and I have always loved hot weather. Summer is my absolute favorite season. I love the late summer sunsets, I love all the light, period. I'm on a personal high that doesn't end until October or so.

Creatively, however, I always find myself in a slump. I have all this energy but I can't seem to focus it into amazing projects. I go to a quilt show, and for the first time, I don't buy anything from the vendors. I'm not feelin' it. Perhaps I'm finally realizing I need to use what I've been collecting for 20+ years...just sew the damn stuff, kwim?! But I'm so scattered I just don't find the time. Oh, wait, rotary cutter + sewing machine + toddler = disaster. I'll use that as my excuse (this time...)

Then I take part in an online scrapbooking challenge. Wow! My work really pales in comparison to gals using the latest and greatest (which I have ceased buying to save up for CE08...can't help it). Really, it's embarrassing. My work can't possibly be picked as one of the four weekly winners, and I don't even have the collection they are using for extra "points" in the game, so I have no prayer of winning the Big Prize.

I almost let that get me down today (I went over to Webkinz and took care of my horse -- finally figured out that damn weight lifting class, sheesh!! -- that calmed me down) but perhaps being in my 40s helps put this annoying annual cycle in perspective.

I'm participating in the challenge, that's enough. I know creative mojo comes and goes (right now, for me, it's left the building). It will be back. It's just an online game, and I don't have to put my entire creative ego on the line over it. I'll participate next week, and the week after, even if I don't have a chance of winning, because it's stretching me creatively (even if I don't take it far enough at times). I can be inspired by the winners, by the other folks who participate and *don't* win, because really, most of the creations are truly amazing, given the crazy rules we are handed each week.

Perhaps I need to shift my creative priorities. The quilt show was amazing. It's only held every two years, and the last time I attended I was 7 months pregnant with Ben. In two more years, he'll be nearly four years old. I think I can sew SOMETHING by then, don't you?

Not as lovely as this, but SOMETHING, right?

The Lizzie Quilt
made by Jean Ballou
and Alison Winter
quilted by Crystal Smythe
I had a hard time deciding between this one and a pictorial quilt for my Viewer's Choice...but being that this was made for a six year-old, and had a very sweet dedication, sentiment won over sensibility.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Summer Indoors

I keep a list of all the books I have read in the front of my daily diary, and recently I was AGHAST to learn I've only been averaging 6 books a month. Shameful. Well, it's not like I have a busy schedule or anything...or a toddler ready to crawl all over me, demanding cuddles & tickles (seriously, who can resist?!) every time I collapse on the couch to polish off a chapter or two.

We've been heading to the library every Monday so that Tess can record her books for the week (she's committed to 7 books a week, or chapters of a book, easy enough, for their summer reading program) and get a weekly prize. Last week (when I discovered my lack of reading prowess) I took out a pile of books & got to reading.

So far, I'm enraptured by Gone With The Wind (although I'm having a hard time getting Clark Gable out of my head...such perfecting casting...Vivian Leigh? Not so much...too old). I can only imagine the opinions this work of fiction raised when it was first published in 1936...so different from the narratives then on the market...I think of the depressing and ponderous works of oh, say, Hemingway or Fitzgerald, and find this work flows so much easier...really, the first modern romance novel since Jane Austen (who is ponderous only for the language of her day...I'm sure she was an easier read back in her day).

Many times I really have to get my head into the "voice" of an author (like Jane Austen) before my reading starts flying. I can't believe I'm nearly done with GwtW, a 1,000-pager, in just over a week.

However, the other books are coming due and I need to move on.

In other (probably TMI) news, I went to my OB/GYN doctor for my annual check-up (2.5 years overdue, oops) and found out I have indeed been dealing with a yeast infection...since taking antibiotics at the end of November. The symptoms weren't the usual (that is DEFINTELY TMI), and they were mild enough that I managed to "fight" it for that long.

However, now that it is taken care of, I'm beginning to realize exactly how hard my body was fighting...over the weekend, I felt like a wrung-out dishrag, and last week (before the diagnosis) I had a killer migraine that almost made me vomit. My glands were so swollen that I could hardly swallow (and I'm still dealing with the remains of a sore throat) and overall I was tensed up like a boxer waiting for a hit.

The moral of the story is, get to your doctor A.S.A.P., especially your "female" doctor, if you're dealing with strange symptoms Down Below. I actually had an appointment in June, but had to...ahem..."re-schedule" due to the visit of my Red Haired Friend...okay, definitely TMI.