Monthly Archives: July 2010

13 posts

Meet Ella

Ella loves to dance ballet, draw, paint, play dogs and send her little toy horses on trips across the country. She lives in hidden places and only comes out when she’s feeling vulnerable, lost, and needs someone to hug her and tell her she’s good. Ella is perpetually 9 years old, just starting out and caught in between wanting to grow and being too scared to come out.
Occasionally though, she musters up the courage to come out and let her feelings flow through me. Because you see, Ella is me. She’s the me that I shut down, the me I sent into a corner with toys and feelings and vulnerabilities. She’s the 9 year old who wants to make and be a part of something beautiful. People and wonder inspire her. She wants to gallop through the forest with the wind in her hair and stop and sketch a picture of a butterfly before landing a tour jeté on stage in a crowded auditorium.
I got older and gave up and let go of most of those dreams, but she hasn’t. Now I’m finding her again, I’m rekindling old dreams, wiping off the dust and chains and putting them up front where I can see them. With the rediscovery and hope that comes with reacquainting myself comes pain, vulnerability, and sometimes the feeling of hopelessness. Sometimes going back and working on art leaves me feeling overwhelmed and depressed – Ella feels vulnerable and scared, what if it doesn’t work? what if she’s no good? what if she lets it go and loses it again? Why is it so lonely? Ella misses people, she misses the energy that comes from a room of peers with different styles yet the same goal. I think of local classes but suddenly feel intimidated. What if I walk into the room and I’m the only one under 40, or 60? Why are all the art places I’m finding either for middle and high school students, or are primarily made up of much older adults?
I think of colleges, because Ella’s need for people at it’s root, is mine. I grow confused. Why do I need people so much? Why can’t I be happy in solitude, reading books and doing my own thing? Why do I need to complicate it by needing people somewhere close to my age? Why does that inspire me? Why does that give me energy? Why does solitude drain me? Ella starts crying and losing hope, and I feel it too. It overwhelms me to the point where I can’t really do anything. I don’t know what to do, I don’t know how to comfort Ella, I’m fresh out of ideas and feel like joining her under the blankets crying together, hoping that maybe after our tears are dry we can figure something out. We feel lost, full of potential, but clueless as to how to turn the energy into something beautiful.

Nothing was going to change if I stayed depressed though. So I talked about it. I told Alex how I was feeling and what was wrong, and somehow, just talking about it helped me feel better and quieted Ella’s fears. It’s still frustrating, but it’s good to have someone else there, coming up with ideas, and willing to do things differently because Alex knows that (for some reason) I need people.
Ella comes out when I feel vulnerable and self-conscious, because she feels that way. Sometimes all it takes too quench that is  a hug and some soft reassuring words. You’re great at art. You keep getting better. We’re finding classes. We can go places. You can work on a project and connect with people virtually. Somehow those words bring hope. Ella goes back to her finger paints and I find my pens and set to work. Hopefully I’ll have something to show for it soon, and probably more playing around with deviantart until I can find or do something local (or save for a real college class. who knows.).

The Designer In Me

I recently got my own cell phone – the iPhone 4. It’s an amazing phone, but I can’t always take it around in my pocket (because they’re small) so I’ve been bringing my tiny little shoulder purse around with me where-ever I go. Which isn’t unusual but I prefer little purses that I can hold and hang from my wrist as opposed to something that likes to fall off my shoulder. While in the apple store last week (completely unrelated from the iphone, we were getting a new mac adapter) I had an idea.
I will design my own clutch!
I had the process mentally worked out in my head (before that happens I can’t really do anything, don’t know why) and I knew the design I wanted – I’m going for an apple-esque look. Shiny white with an apple. However, since that would involve buying new materials I wanted to do a test run first. I grabbed my sack of scrap material, found a nice pink fabric, grabbed a needle and pink thread and sewed while I watched a movie. By the time the movie was over I’d had the entire body finished and was trying to figure out what to do for the top. I looked all over for a zipper (turns out I didn’t have one) and then buttons (also, didn’t have) but I did find ribbon! So I made a quick run to the beads store grabbed three red buttons and ran back home to finish the top. Eventually I topped the ends of the ribbon with clear nail polish to keep them from fraying and officially completed my first (awesome) clutch.

Fire Drills and Hearing

I can hear! According to the doctor I have very twisty ear canals which means that my ears will get clogged easier since the wax can’t just come out…so she had a spray bottle with a tiny nozzle filled with hydrogen peroxide and cold(feeling) water and stuck it in my ear canal and squirted until I was dizzy (which is normal when cold water hits the inside of your ear apparently) and all the wax came out. I was then able to hear! yay! Everything seemed so much louder, I could hear myself talk and not be all up in my head, I could hear my husband make noises and I was much happier.
Then we had an adventure. I came home and started to take a shower and was in the middle of shaving when I heard this ringing. At first I was thinking, oh crap my ears are ringing? and then I realized that the crazy high pitched noise wasn’t my ears but my fire alarm. So I quickly turned the water off, grabbed a towel and ran out into the living room dripping wet to see where the fire was.
There was no fire so Alex came and tried to turn it off and I went back to my shower….a few minutes later it went off again, and surprised me (because, I thought it was off) and I screamed but didn’t bother getting out that time. So a few minutes later I’m all clean and smelling nice and fruity and I get out and head to the bedroom to find clothes and it goes off again.
The alarm is on the living room wall above our tv but right against our bedroom, everything I’d been hearing felt magnified and for some reason we weren’t able to turn it off easily. So I’m standing there, dripping in my towel, trying to find clothes while holding my hands over my ears and poor Alex is trying to turn the thing off and I’m thinking headline: girl returning from irrigation goes deaf due to fire alarm.
I somehow managed to move my hands away from my ear long enough to get dressed and talk (yell, really, due to loud ringing) to alex about finding our landlord’s number. Alex opened the door hoping the fresh air would help and after messing around with our talking fire alarm (it tells us what it’s yelling about) we got it to stop and it hasn’t acted up since.
So, today, I discovered the worst possible time for a fire alarm to go off, and I can still hear! Pretty good day overall. 😀

Faces

Looking at myself in the mirror the other day, I realized a better way to draw eyes – or something worth trying anyway, and I love it.

This was my first attempt, late last night, this morning I made another..

Hearing Saga

They say people with hearing loss are more likely to become depressed (well that’s what the hearing aid commercial told me). I’m here to say that, they’re right! I’ve been unable to hear well for over a week now (thank you, mr. earwax machine) and honestly, it’s really depressing and frustrating.
It’s not just depressing because your ear feels weird, it’s frustrating because you can’t hear what other people are saying when they talk, you can’t judge how loud you’re speaking (since you sound loud in your head), and machine noises (fans, air conditioning, or constant humming noises) get really irritating really fast – not to mention the ringing and the feeling-like-water-or-something-swishing-around inside.
Sometimes I feel so…overwhelmed (I tried going outside and talking to people against traffic and people in restaurants, I about lost it) it makes me want to just curl up into a ball and cry and hope that makes it all melt away. Unfortunately, I can’t cry on demand, or when I want to.
I’ve tried everything except ear-candling (which, according to my research isn’t really -medically- recommended and not something I trust myself to do) and very little relief has actually come from it. So tomorrow I’m going to the doctor’s, so hopefully they can take whatever is in there out (it’s not an earache, there’s just something..stuck…).

Unsolicited {Relationship} Advice

Seems like a lot of people I know are entering into relationships lately, which is an amazing journey full of twists and turns and adventures. I don’t pretend to know *everything* (or much at all for that matter) about relationships (though, I have an *amazing* marriage), but I have learned a lot and I thought, in light of awesome events, I’d share some of the things I learned the hard way, and some things we did that worked for us. Just take this as a grain of salt, everyone has different personalities and different ways of relating, but some things (like being real and honest) are universal.
(note, this is coming from a conservative/homeschooled viewpoint, others may or may not have some of the same issues or inhibitions)

  • – Take it easy and let the relationship flow naturally (no need to speed it up)
  • – Talk about *everything*.  I mean everything, including finances, what you want in life, what your view of a marriage relationship is, and sex (though, I wouldn’t start off with that right off the bat, conversation deepness comes with relationship deepness)
  • –  Talk *alone*, go on a walk, make sure you have privacy to talk about important things, with no one eavesdropping or peering over your shoulder. You’re potentially going to spend your life with this person, don’t shy away from finding out who they are outside of their families (I’m more real with my husband than I am when I’m with family, it’s just how it is).
  • – Don’t be afraid to become “emotionally involved” or “emotionally attached”. Dude, you’re human, you’re made with feelings, let yourself feel. Denying them brings about a ton more pain and confusion than it’s worth.  Don’t ask me how I know.
  • – Be real. Be yourself. Be transparent – wearing a mask the whole time is just asking for trouble (or at least confusion) down the road.
  • – If you’re worrying about being “prepared” enough or “ready” to get married, you’re probably as ready as you’ll ever be (and it’s a good indicator that you are actually ready – kinda like worrying about being crazy,  usually a good sign that you’re not).
  • – Don’t be afraid to say no.
  • – Don’t be afraid to say yes.
  • – Don’t be afraid to ask for advice, but realize that the ultimate decision is between you and your partner and no one else has any final say.
  • – Sometimes good relationships need to be fought for, don’t be afraid to fight for each other.
  • – Relationships don’t always look like the “ideal”, so don’t try to force your relationship into the “ideal” model, it won’t work (also, learned the hard way).
  • – Actually, there is no real “ideal” because every relationship is unique.
  • – Relationships aren’t always easy, fights and disagreements aren’t always bad, and actually can be healthy.
  • – Be willing to compromise, know which things are important and which things aren’t. Relationships work both ways, you need to be willing to be flexible, no need to make issues out of non-issues.
  • – People change and grow, make room for that, each of you reserve the right to come back and change your opinion on things (and this is really fun when you’re learning and growing together and talking about things)
  • Do fun things! Relax, go to a movie, or dinner, or a beach, cuddle on the couch and watch TV, make time for just relaxing and enjoying being  together.

Ants on my floor

Last year I wrote about the flies in my kitchen and this week we discovered a swarm of ants on our floor. Thankfully, in Maine, we don’t have fire ants, just the little tiny black ones that apparently like to eat peanut butter off the spoon that I didn’t know had dropped and they tend to avoid steak. We usually eat in the living room (our table is wobbly and full of coffee makage and recipe magazines) so more often than not, our plates wind up on the floor until I move them to the sink later. Anyway, when the army of ants converged on my floor and anything they could get their little feet on, we decided they needed to go.
I suggested spraying them with bleach, windex, or drowning them in peppermint water (yes, my first instinct is to spray things at pests and I didn’t really want raid all over my floor) but Alex pointed out that they sell ant traps. Yeah, traps, that they go in and die. I had no idea. So on Saturday we went out to find these ant traps and see if they worked. I was surprised. We got home, opened one up, and it looked kinda like the container that the pretzel and cheese snacks go in, except there’s ant poison inside instead of tasty cheesiness.
We used two, because the ants were hungry and told their little ant friends, and two days later there was only one little smart ant left wandering around the trap. We think he saw all his stuck friends and was trying to decide if he should join them or not, I think he got lonely because he’s not outside of it anymore. Yay! Ant traps ftw!