I can always tell when I’ve slept well because I wake up with those sheet creases on my face. So, I’m sitting on the LIRR this morning and it’s still dark enough to see my reflection in the window and very faintly I notice on my right cheek…still there! Seriously? I’ve been up for over an hour! It appears that the amount of time it takes for those lines to disappear is in direct proportion to the amount of years you’ve been on earth. Until they meet in the middle and then it’s just a wrinkle. Now, anyone who reads this blog knows how much I love wrinkles and lines and worn edges in metal, but this morning? As the sky lightens and my reflection gets a little harder to see? That line is pissing me off.
So, I woke up this morning with all these ambitious plans, grocery shopping, cleaning, creating a funky little serving piece for my sister-in-law’s catering company, and finally finishing a piece commissioned by a friend of mine so long ago, it’s undergoing it’s third incarnation, (more about that in a later blog). I’m humming along and I sit down at my workbench…and I’m out of balls. That’s not nearly as bad as it sounds. Almost all of the work I’m doing currently uses a process called granulation, fusing silver together using a low flame and no solder. The designs are done using flattened wire and little teeny-tiny silver balls. And I’m out of balls. Now like so many things in life, I can’t just call Balls R Us and have a batch of balls delivered. I have to make them. This involves wrapping silver wire about a thousand times around a tiny metal dowel and then meticulously snipping each ring at the same place so I have a thousand little tiny rings of the same size which I will then melt into a thousand little teeny-tiny balls. I hate it. It’s tedious, time-consuming, and completely uncreative. But I love those balls. I couldn’t do what I love without those balls. So, I’ll wrap and snip and melt and swear when the balls roll off the table never to be seen again, or fuse into one giant ball because they’re too close together. And I’ll pray that after all the work, the finished product is as beautiful as the vision in my head, which is always a little scary. And that someone other than my mom loves them as much as I do, which is a lot scary. But I’ll do it anyway, because I love it and because sometimes, it’s just about the balls.
It never ceases to amaze me how conditioned we become in our responses to different situations. For instance, you have a bad day at work. One person might strap on their tennies and go for a run, one might meditate, or call a friend to vent. One might dive into a good novel or a bag of m&m’s. See what I did there? If you read fast enough, you’d never even see the m word. The point seems to be not the m&m’s themselves, but the smoke and mirrors around them. My husband knows all about my penchant for eating an entire box of skinny cow ice cream bars in one night. He once caught me pulling a box of chocolate-covered cherries from behind my pillow. Yet, I still tiptoe into the kitchen and verrrrrry quietly open the freezer, pulling out the ice cream like I’m playing Operation, trying all the while to avoid the crinkling wrappers which will surely give me away. Now, while my husband tries to explain to me that I should have only one piece of candy a day, for the most part nobody cares what I eat or how much. Why the abra-cadabra of it all? Do I really believe that if I hide the candy or chips or ice cream that I’m not actually eating them? The thirty extra pounds I’m lugging around like a giant purse would suggest the secret’s out. Someone once told me you gain 10 pounds a decade. I’m finding this to be almost true. For me, it was 10 pounds a year. I’m a big show-off. The things I did to take off 40 pounds in 6 months when I was 32 don’t work anymore, and that frustrates me. A friend at work lost some weight and is sporting new, smaller size clothes and that aggravates me. My body is completely different than it was 10 years ago and that pisses me off. So, the way I see it, I have two choices. Will I use the frustration, and aggravation, and anger to push me into finally taking control of my weight, eating right, exercising, working towards a goal…or will I go gently into that good bag of m&m’s?
Over Indulge carynjune>
Scarred Willow carynjune
So, I’m at this deli near my office and I’ve just picked up a container of mango slices instead of the peanut m&m’s I really want because I’ve convinced myself I’m being “good”, ( a word which should be struck from the dictionary, by the way). And I come in on the tail end of a conversation about kids between the cashier and a man of 60 or so, who says to the cashier, “oh your kids aren’t old enough. “. Then he turns to me and says “yours are “. Now, I don’t even know what he’s referring to. Old enough to go to school? Drive? Vote? Have kids of their own? But I’m pissed. What I really want to say is “you @&^%*#ing piece of @&$#*^! Why would you say that to anyone, you insensitive @&%#^!” What I actually did was mumble , “nope, no kids…”, return the mango and buy a bag of peanut m&m’s. Thinking about it later, I wondered why, when confronted with reality, as insensitive as it might be on the other person’s part, we often fall apart and into bad habits. An elderly customer asked me a couple of years ago if I was expecting. Seriously? I thanked her for assuming I was young enough to have kids and told her no, I was just fat. The truth was…is, I’m 30 pounds overweight. The truth is, I’m certainly old enough to have grown children. Why does that hurt so much? And while I can’t turn back the clock, I can turn to an apple instead of a bag of peanut m&m’s. Bend, Don’t break.
If you’ve been accompanying me on this journey, and actually paying attention, you might be thinking that these pieces don’t look like anything I would do. They’re prettier, more polished, possibly more sellable, definitely more accessible. I took a silver clay class this weekend. Really fun. Easy, quick. Knocked off a couple of pretty baubles in no time. Win-win. So why am I torn between easy, pretty, accessible and the distressed, scarred, not-for-the-faint-of-heart pieces that I love to do? I love the dimples and humps and battle scars that fire and pressure and smelly patinas coax out of a piece of metal. No piece is the same. Sometimes the same piece isn’t the same as it was 10 minutes ago. It’s unpredictable and frustrating, and rewarding and worth the trouble. But dimples and humps and smelly gray stuff don’t always evoke the same reaction when we look in the mirror. We flip through magazines and watch TV and still long to be easy, pretty, accessible, sellable. Some not altogether crazy looking guy in the train station told me yesterday that I looked fantastic. I grinned and got all giggly and strutted my dimpled humps back to work.
Late Bloomer carynjune
I’ve always been somewhat of a late bloomer. I hit puberty late, I didn’t have my first boyfriend until I was in college, and menopause? Not a sign of it. No hot flashes. No irregular periods, nothing. Now I want to stay young just as much as the next guy, but seriously? I’m 56. Granted my mom was 57, so there is a certain inevitability to the course my body is going to take. I suppose I could be all zen and express gratitude for all my body has done and apparently continues to do, the amazing journey we take and the changes that creep up on us even though we still feel 30. But I think I’ll just be all PMS-y and pissy about it instead. Last night, I started to get the cranky tremors that foretell disaster while shopping with my husband. The escalator up to Old Navy isn’t working? “Mutter, mutter, #%^*#… lazy …stupid…”. I can’t get Wi-Fi in Costco? “@#%^! Stomp, Stomp. So, what made me think hooking up a new TV was a good idea? Well, maybe it was the “Texas”- sized margarita at Dallas BBQ. Maybe it was my thirst for adventure. Regardless, it was not a wise decision. I couldn’t understand the instructions, it appeared I needed a cable I had to buy separately, there was no signal, so what did I do? I had a “Texas”-sized melt down. My husband tried to talk me down, but I was too far gone, screaming and sobbing and carrying on until finally, I sat down at the computer and had a nice chat with Skyler at Samsung who helped me get it working. Why didn’t I do that first? It’s not my fault, it’s PMS! I can’t control myself! Enough, already. I’m 56…I’m not gonna be able to use that excuse forever. People are just not going to believe it.
Man overboard carynjune
One of the greatest life lessons I have learned is that &*^%* happens. There are just so many things you can do to prevent it, and then you just have to have faith that whatever happens, you will be strong enough to deal with it, or at least get out of the way. While I know this to be true in my head, in my heart I firmly believe that if I worry, I can prevent disaster. How super power-y of me, no? So, I’m stewing, and fretting and throwing temper tantrums because I can’t find my keys and if I can’t find my keys, I’m going to lose my job because I can’t leave the apartment and if I lose my job, I’ll have to move because I won’t be able to pay my mortgage. See where I’m going with this? At one point in my life, I was afraid to fly, so my husband and I took a 17 hour train ride from New York to Savannah. It was extremely relaxing. But then I got worried about not having anything to worry about. And that makes me crabby. So now, I’m worried and crabby, and I’m sure that every person I’ve ever met and those I have yet to meet, are probably thinking , “Gee, she’s a crabby worrier. “And meanwhile, life goes on and &*^%* still happens, whether I worry about it or not. I guess I’ll have to have faith that I’ll be strong enough to deal with it, or at the very least, get out of the way.