Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Campcraft

I've been out of state for 3 glorious weeks:

  • 1 week at Boy Scout camp in Mississippi
  • 1 week of visiting friends and family in North Carolina
  • 1 week of Boy Scout camp in North Carolina
Always needing to have some small craft and not wanting to take a lot of supplies, I opted for working on an old-school friendship bracelet in Mississippi


and taught some staff members in North Carolina how to make lanyards with plastic lace, which I forgot to take pictures of

Image result for rexlace lanyard
image snagged from https://wanelo.com/store/keys2please


Before leaving, I also finished my t-shirt rug!

Saturday, June 3, 2017

it was no, after all

After a month of agonizing, thinking, planning, what if-ing, the door is closed.

The job that I wanted, and made it to the final interview for, was offered to someone else.

I couldn't have done anything differently or better. The interviewers/hirers know me, and know that I can do the job because I have done the job before. But they chose someone else.

I'm not going to lie. It hurt a little that someone was deemed better than me. I am very curious to find out who the new hire is (God bless the internet and the fact that I will easily be able to do this in about 2 months when websites are updated).

At the same time, I am enormously relieved that I don't have to put my kids in the position of having to make the choice about where they want to live. I have a lot of things already planned for this summer, so I'm glad that I don't have to add "pack up my life to move" to the list.

But I'm sad, too. There were so many things I was looking forward to about living in North Carolina again. Friends, food, and family will have to continue to wait for me, and I for them.

In my heart of hearts, I knew my work here was not done. I will continue to substitute teach, to lead a Scout troop, and to chaperone high school band events. I will invest in these people for another year.

And I will also have an exit strategy.

This WILL be our final year living in Louisiana. We WILL be putting our house on the market next spring. My kids and their friends and mine will know that we will be leaving at the end of next school year. Having closure in  advance, knowing that something is going to happen a year ahead of time, is a luxury that will be afforded to us.

My prayer is that we will be able to return to our home in North Carolina. My prayer is that a year's notice will be enough closure time for us. My prayer is that there are jobs waiting for my husband and I. My prayer is that we can sell this house quickly. My prayer is for patience in the waiting.

349 days to go. The countdown is back on.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

in knots

3 weeks ago, my job was posted.

Today, I have a phone interview, and my stomach is in knots.

I am interviewing for a position that I held just 362 days ago. I know every question that is on the interview sheet; I asked these questions of candidates when I helped conduct this same interview last year to find my replacement. I know the interviewers; they were coworkers and supervisors for 3 years. I'd like to say I have nothing to be nervous about, but that would be a lie.

I'm nervous that they might say yes. I'm nervous about asking my kids to leave the friends they just made when they moved to Louisiana 10.5 months ago. Today is the last day of school here. What if they're never going back to their schools here? Last year they knew they were saying goodbye to school friends in NC, at least temporarily. They would be thrilled to reconnect at their old schools if we move back, not to mention they'd get almost an entire extra month of summer vacation due to schedule differences.

This is not a place we'd return to, though. When we leave, it will be a permanent move. I certainly don't plan to make the 30 hour round-trip drive just so teenagers can visit their friends, but I don't want to invalidate their feelings because they have actually made some good friends here. I can't even ask them if they'd want to move back, though, not until I know if it is a valid option. It would've devastating to get them thinking about moving back, only to find out that I didn't get the job.

I walked out of my school today with kids asking if I would be back next year. I couldn't resoundingly tell them yes, because I may not. "I plan to" was the best response I could muster, because I will most likely be substitute teaching there if this is where I live.

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In other knot news, I came across a baggie full of hemp cord while I was cleaning up the other day. As I think back on it, macrame was one of the first crafts I learned, using this book.
BOOK ONLY # 886 Macrame for Ages 8 and Up - Beginner Patterns & Instructions
I made a LOT of really ugly plant holders when I was in elementary school! God bless my aunt who graciously accepted them, and I think to this day may be using one on her porch.

The knots and patterns came back to me quickly and I put together this little bracelet. Knots are much better worn as jewelry than in the stomach. 







Saturday, May 20, 2017

inspiration

I spend a lot of time on Facebook; mostly lurking, rarely posting. I can't help it. I love to know what people are talking about and see pictures of what they're doing. I often draw motivation to create when I see pictures of what my friends are creating.

One of my dearest friends surprised me a few months ago when she started posting pictures of colorful yarn creations, which was a departure from her usual mediums of painting and flowers. I am consistently encouraged by her truth-speaking motivational posts and I love seeing her passionate spirit at work in everything she does.

For her birthday, I chose to cross stitch the lyrics from an Indigo Girls song that has been on my heart for several years now as our friends and fellow citizens become more divided than ever by politics, beliefs, prejudices, and the like.


Let it be me
(this is not a fighting song)
Let it be me
(not a wrong for a wrong)
Let it be me
If the world is night
Shine my life like a light




I found inspiration on the Pinterest page of another friend. I've gotten to the point where I instinctively know whose pin I'm seeing on my feed, even before I see the name, because I'm familiar with boards they have created. This sweet friend recently lost her mother very unexpectedly. She lives far away from me and seinding a sympathy card seemed like such a meaningless gesture. I rarely talk to her, but I know so much about her through her social media pages. Recently, she's been pinning a lot of bee related images, and I felt urged to cross stitch a simple bee emblem for her.


Saturday, May 6, 2017

summer camp pajamas


In the Spring, a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love

With apologies to Alfred, Lord Tennyson, in the spring a not-so-young woman's fancy strongly turns to thoughts of summer camp (which pretty much equals love for me).

I had a long summer camp hiatus when my kids were growing up, but I got back as soon as I could. In 2010, I was able to go to a 3 night Cub Scout camp with my two older boys. I went in 2013 and 2014 with my youngest son, and graduated to Boy Scout camp with all 3 of them for the past 2 summers.

Prior to my 2010 camp experience, I felt compelled to make myself a new pair or pajama shorts. I'm not sure what I was wearing at home at the time, but I instinctively knew that summer camp was an occasion for new pajamas.

One of the summer camps I used to work at holds a staff reunion weekend every other year; I got to attend in 2011 and, wouldn't you know it, ended up making a pair of pajama pants for the occasion. When I realized this camp/pajama connection in my life a few weeks ago it was like a light bulb went off: "pajama breakfast" was a weekly event at both camps I worked at, and it was definitely an occasion to dress up for! Of course, pajama breakfast is not a thing in Boy Scouts, but I do need to look presentable for late night/early morning trips to the latrine.


Sadly, I wore out my 2010 pajama shorts and found myself in need of a new pair, so I scoured Pinterest for a pattern to use up some of my fabric. To say I have a lot of fabric is a gross understatement, but I tend to hoard it and save each piece for just the right project. I have some fabrics that were given to me and while I didn't particularly like them, they were good quality and at least a yard so I knew I would use them for something, someday.


The colors in this fabric are NOT my colors; I never in a million years would have purchased this fabric, but  it instantly came to mind when I discovered the free City Gym Shorts pattern & tutorial by Purl Soho.  I initially planned to use an orchid colored bias tape for the trim, but I LOVE how the turquoise pops against these warm pastel hues. Incidentally, I made the bias tape myself- it was my first time doing so and certainly won't be my last! It won't be my last time using this pattern, either. I am crazy in love with the bias tape and curved hemline.


For my next pair, I plan to draft side front pockets, and change the waistband up a little bit, but I'm definitely hooked! The tutorial was well written and easy to follow, and it's easy enough for someone with very little sewing experience.





house projects, revisited

Last year at this time, I was elbow-deep in home repairs & renovations as I simultaneously tried to make my house livable AND get it ready to sell (all while holding down a job, single-parenting 3 teen- and tween-aged boys, and packing up to move across the country)

Honestly? I miss house projects so much! When we were shopping for a house in Louisiana, I was pretty burned out from the remodeling scene. My purchasing criteria revolved largely around the move-in readiness of the house, and we settled on a house that was built in 2006, which is 3 decades newer than any house we'd ever owned before! The paint colors were great, the flooring was acceptable, and in we moved.

Carpet ran through the living room, down the hall into the den, and into all bedrooms. It was 10 years old and cheap, but neutral. The large kitchen/dining area was demarcated by vinyl tile which was in good enough shape and looked nice, but the division line between the carpet and title was too glaring for me. I've also surmised that Louisianians are not huge fans of carpet in the main areas of the house, as evidenced by the many, many tiled and wood/laminate floored living rooms I visited while house hunting.

A few months ago we committed to a unified floor for the living room, kitchen, and hallway, and purchased a dark hickory laminate from Home Depot. Because the area being covered was so large (and mostly because there are a million angles and things to cut around). we splurged on professional installation. The company came out and measured, we placed the order and Matt picked up all the materials to save on delivery costs.

2 months and a few subfloor issues later, we're ready for installation later this week. The carpet was ripped out over a month and a half ago (we've been living with plywood floors and relocated furniture... but that's another story), and the final step was removing the vinyl tiles from the kitchen. They're 12" x 24" and STICKY... and it's a big room. We can't take it all out right now because STICKY, but we can't leave it all for the night before because this stuff it a major pain to remove. I pulled about 10 tiles last night and had to stop. My hands hurt so much! The effort requires a combination of crowbar (which gets STICKY) and peeling tiles back by hand (hands also get STICKY) and lots of bending over and kneeling on the floor.

vinyl sticky tiles over sheet vinyl. classy.

Today I paid a kid $10 to pull up 30 tiles and it was the best money I've spent in a long time. He's on to how much work it is and I'm not sure he's desperate enough for money to do 30 more... and there's about 200 more that have to come up before Wednesday morning.

Side note- the dog doesn't understand sticky floor residue and seeing him get stuck when he walks across the area where we've removed the tile is hilarious. It doesn't seem to hurt or bother him, but the sound his paws make when he tries to walk is awesome.

Friday, May 5, 2017

just. say. no.

I was asked to go on a trip that I really wanted to go on.

I was needed on this trip.

I tried to find ways to make it work, but the timing just wasn't right.

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I am selfish. I want what I want, when I want it, and I don't want to pay for it. Gimme gimme gimme.

I am an adult, and a mother, and a wife. I have obligations and commitments that I can't shake off. I can't buy things I can't afford, and go places just because I want to.

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I said no to the trip.

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Not right away.

I thought about it for a long time, and one morning I woke up with a complete peace that saying no was the right thing.

But I still didn't say no.

Someone, that very evening that I decided to say no, had me second guessing my choice.

So I went on trying to think of ways to justify doing something that I wasn't even sure I wanted to do, anymore.

Making choices can be paralyzing. Commitment can feel oppressive. Doubt can pull you under.

-----------

I did say no. And now it's an official no and I don't have to think about it anymore.

I wanted to do it, but the timing wasn't right, so I made the adult decision and said no.



But apparently I'm not done saying no.

~~~~~~

This job thing has got me all kinds of heart-wrenchingly torn.

I want it. I want this job again. I want to move back to North Carolina. EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS SEEMS RIGHT... except it's not.

~~~~~~

My husband is not onboard with moving right now.

And in my heart, I know it's not time. I feel like my work here is not done. I don't want to be here, but I know I'm not done and that's the worst kind of paradoxical hole to be in. To have not just a rope thrown to you to help you climb out of a deep well, but to be sent some kind of hoverboard platform to gently rise you out. A sparkly hoverboard at that. One that it would make no sense in the world not to climb onto.

And so I hesitate. I waiver. I decide, and then recant, and then change my mind again.

I will.

I won't.

Can't I just try? Can't I just see if it's a yes? And if it is a yes, then I can decide?

~~~~~~

I can't stand the not knowing, the "what if."