This last week has been a little overwhelming for me.
I've adjusted to the "new normal" of staying at home. It's not much different than it was before.
I've adjusted to grocery shopping being a new routine. It was scary at first, but less so now.
I've blocked friends on facebook who report every single negative story about our current situation. Without fact checking or even thinking, it seems. That was stressing me out.
I've stopped watching television, except maybe the local news every couple of days. I didn't watch much, but it seemed no matter what channel you turned to, talking heads were speculating. They had no more information than I did, but an hour or three to fill. Hearing them echo the same things I was hearing inside my own head was stressing me out.
But in the meantime, I was on overload. I didn't read. I didn't sew. I just sat and scrolled through facebook and instagram and blogs...looking for tidbits of hope. And played a few games before doing it all again. And staying up too late. Sleeping in too late.
I was seeing a lot of people sewing masks. And just as many more telling me they won't work. Leaving me in a paralysis of indecision.
I found a lot of new quilt-alongs. I've been tempted by a few.
There are a lot of musicians doing concerts from their homes. Acoustic versions of songs. I've enjoyed them, but it is more phone time. And a reminder of the situation.
There are folks with blogs posting more frequently. I end up spending more time reading those, too.
It was too much.
Too much phone time.
Too much information.
Too much conflicting information.
First, I started by telling my hubby (home on actual vacation last week - he is an essential employee, but had planned the week off a long time ago for his birthday) that he couldn't watch talk shows. He was watching sports shows and all they did for days on end was moan and groan about the games that were cancelled and the upcoming events that MAY be cancelled. Every. Single. Show. No new information, just saying the same things again and again.
That may have been a bad choice because his alternative shows were rather moronic. But at least watching Al Bundy, circa 1990, refuse to acknowledge he was no longer a high school football hero was a break!
Next, I made myself put down my phone and read. I'm halfway through a book that is pretty good. So I read a few chapters (they're generally short) before I let myself consider the phone again. It's been getting easier. Blocking the friends who are being so negative helped, too. I wasn't seeing disasters in my news feed, that, like a car crash, you just have to look at.
Finally, I talked myself into sewing. Last week I finished the princess castle, so there's no piecing project, aside from the ongoing, never-ending ones, waiting for me. I considered a quilt along or two, but when I really thought about what I would be making, it wasn't something I WANTED. It would just have been a time filler. And honestly? I have so many tops waiting, so many quilts in my house, that I have no business starting a quilt that doesn't really inspire me. To make it just because someone said "let's all do it together" seems a bit like lemmings jumping off a cliff.
So I decided to start a project that has been on my mind for quite a few years ago. I actually bought the book with this quilt in it probably 5 years ago because I loved it so much. I bought some fabric for it in December, thinking I would supplement from my stash and take it to retreat. I even washed and pressed the fabric, but never got it cut. And knew taking ALL my red and green stash, just to be able to make the choice at retreat was foolish. And taking only some would lead to the downfall of the wrong something being there while the right something was at home.
I'm making a quilt I WANT to make. I've actually wanted to make it for a while. So rather than being motivated by collective deadlines, I'm motivated by the fact that I want this quilt. It may not end up living at my house, but I want to make it. And like so many others, it will tell me where it should be. If I can't live without it when I'm done, it will stay here. If I can, I know it will find a home. They always do.
If you've made it this far, now come the photos! Rewards!
I have two more with red centers and green outside points to go and then seven with green in the center and red outside yet to make. The original pattern calls for 9, but would be a small throw. I upped the ante (because I always do something different!) and am making 16 for a bigger quilt. I like throws to be large enough for two to snuggle under. Or long enough for my tall hubby to use!
The colors are all a bit different from photo to photo, but only the reds and greens are different. Eventually I'll get a photo of all of them together in the same lighting, but for now, this is what I have.
I've been cutting these haphazardly. A strip of white will make so many squares, so I make that many and sew until I run out, then cut more. That red and that green look good, so I'll cut just those and sew that one star. Not my usual, but I've done too many mass-produced quilts lately. I'm trying a new method. And for this quilt, I like it. It may not stick.
The online concerts I am limiting. I have one artist in particular who is super crazy smart and very talented musically, so I will continue to watch his weekly shows, but pretty much everyone else is being ignored.
I actually, in part due to this and in part to Pandora, my music streaming service of choice that is struggling to identify "punk" and keeps playing sugar-sweet pop in there, went digging through dusty closets last night looking for my cassette tape player. The kind you have headphones with and would clip to your belt in the 80's. I had one I got with Kool-Aid points and it was bright red. I don't know where it went, but boy did I dig!
Instead, I found this:
A bit newer technology, but I have as many cassette tapes as I do CDs (and I continue to buy CDs because I want that physical thing in my hand, not downloaded onto my computer, thankyouverymuch), so I was pretty excited when I put new batteries in and IT WORKS! And the sound is actually really good. (I continued to dig for a plug to go into the wall, but failed there.)
It is old enough to drink, though. It has a sticker on the bottom that says "manufactured in 1998" and I about lost it when I did the math. But I think I will keep it dry.
I still haven't found the tape player and it is driving me bananas. I am coughing worse today than I have been in about a week, but I'm pretty sure it is due to all the dust in inhaled last night. (But this three-week-long cough can go away now, please!)
And a post isn't a post without kitties, right? As I was sewing, I looked down and saw Gabby sleeping...
She popped her eyes open when I went to get the phone/camera (charging across the room from the sewing machine because old house = few plugs), but was snoozing away like this. She is learning to housecat from little brother Finn. I caught her in a different cat bed this morning in about the same position. Apparently cat beds are only for the back half of a cat?
Soon after, though, she decided gerbil mode was in order and went after this piece of wrapping paper that should have been thrown away, but hasn't been...
She likes to shred paper. I have no idea why, but she will get on my desk in the evenings, when she wants the laser mouse, and shred whatever she can find. (Needless to say, my desk is free of anything she shouldn't shred now - looks better, even if it is annoying!)
Freddie and Finn are also running around like loonies here and there, but I didn't capture them this time around. I'll try to do better for next time.
But I do want to say that I am thankful for the people who are sewing masks. And hosting quilt alongs. And posting useful information about the current state of things. And writing blog posts (with cat photos). I know we all need an outlet and the internet has provided us with one - I realize that I am doing the same and thought a while before sitting down to post this myself. I think it is an amazing thing, this internet. We are distancing ourselves physically, but have loads of options to keep in touch safely. And everyone processes things differently. I am just working through each new change and figuring out how to make it work for me.
The one thing I am having trouble deciding is how I will celebrate when this all comes to an end. A lot of folks are talking about it, but I've known all along that my life hasn't changed much. I work a few days a week (still happening) and stay home most of the rest of the time. We are eating out less, for obvious reasons, but otherwise? Not much has changed except the IDEA that I can't just go where I want when I want. So I'm not sure what I'll do. Hug my friends, probably. Maybe even some strangers!
And with that, I am off to run the vacuum (perhaps pick up some of the dust that inevitably spilled out of those often-closed closets?) and have some leftovers for dinner. Just a normal night for me!
Wash your hands!