Returning Home

Now that I am living and working on a schedule that is my own time and place I have returned a couple times to my childhood home. My father is 93. He does not see or hear very well. It is good that he can’t see me roll my eyes when I repeat what I have said for the 20th time today. It is good for my patience and a good reminder that this second act is not always going to be in my control and I should have a heck of a good time while it is. The odds are I will end up with these old age quirks – we all will. Our bodies will fail someday.

It is also hard not to get sucked back into that vortex that was growing up and the parental messages that were not even intended but that sunk in any way. One big one I realized I have is in relationship to money. In my home anyone with more than we had was “on their high horse” and “thought they were better than us.” This was never true. Those folks were just living their life in the best way they saw possible. I grew up with the belief that if I had money I would be a bad person. As you can imagine this affected my income level. I never charged enough for my services and worked very hard. I was ashamed of anything I had because I had “too much.” I needed to be barely scraping by to be a “good person.”

I am working hard to over come that parental message. We all deserve a living wage. Currency in the US is not backed by anything. The amount of it available is unlimited. If I make a lot of money I am not taking it from someone else. I am providing a service or good in exchange for a price that someone is willing to pay. I can take that money that I make and I can use it for good or evil. If I don’t make that money my choices are limited. I can’t help others if I can barely help myself. It is hard to be in a good mood if I am worried about that tax bill or meeting payroll.

Embrace the fact that it is OK to be wealthy if that is your choice. Don’t judge others for their choices. Live your own life in pursuit of your own ideals, beliefs and choices. LIfe is short. Don’t waste it worrying about how others spend their money or what they think of you.

Do you have any beliefs planted in childhood that are holding you back?

Are you putting yourself out there?

In January we went to a portion of the West Seattle Art Walk. We started a little late and only made it to three businesses. After the event I marveled at the way these small business owners, artists and musicians had put themselves out there, exposing themselves and bringing their gift out into the world.

Our first stop was Viscon Cellars https://www.visconcellars.com/. This small winemaker has been producing wine since 2004. I believe this tasting room on California Ave has been open since 2014. The tasting pours were presented by the owner himself. A very personable and talented wine maker Ben was enthusiastic and described in great detail the blends used to create the wines we were presented. The one I remember the most is the Rhyme/Reason Syrah which used co-fermented viognier 5% and Syrah 95%. It tasted fabulous but the reason I remember it is the fact that I had never heard of a white and a red blended together. It apparently is a technique used in France but not used elsewhere very often. I love learning something new. We went home with a bottle of viognier to go with our salmon dinner.We also bought it because of the very attractive label and the story behind it.

Artist Greta Musland http://www.gretamusland.com/ was displaying her work at Viscon. She is currently using acrylic paints on one side of the canvas and an encaustic (wax process) on the other. Her portraits of urban wild animals were delightful. She has been allowing herself to be an artist for about 10 years. I find it fascinating to consider what would happen if we all allowed ourselves to be what we want to be instead of what society, family etc thinks we should be. One CAN dare to dream.

Next stop was http://cannawestseattle.com. They were displaying beautiful photographs of a wandering traveler. The one that caught my eye was of a camel in front of a beautiful body of water with arid mountains on the other side. There was a horizantal stripe effect in the composition that was dramatic. Unfortunately I can’t tell you who the photographer was since there is no link on there website to the artist and my memory is not that good. A traveling photographer journeying to exotic locales and a cannabis company taking a chance in the current state of legal affairs are both putting themselves out there.

Final stop of the evening was at C and P Coffee where it was open mike night. We caught the last 4 performances of the evening – all guitar and vocal performances. The first one wrote their own songs and the other 3 played cover songs from a wide variety of known artists. I am so glad they shared their gift with us that night.

What is your gift? Are you sharing it and putting yourself out there or are you keeping it bottled up inside?

Changes

Changes

If you have been reading this you know that this blog is like the impromptu speeches I have given at Toastmasters. A challenge to myself that I don’t always succeed at, that meanders all over the place with no point. It’s purpose has been to explore my style and figure out what to do when I grow up.

Along the way I wondered if I wanted to be a personal stylist (I know pretty odd considering all those awkward photos of awkward outfits). I wondered if I could teach classes on finding your style (but that has already been done in a much better way than I could do it). Could I be a blogger that links to items I like and gets a small return? (Now we’re back to the awkward photos). For a while I experimented with a sewing blog thought. With patterns and instruction. Then I asked myself could I design women’s clothes and or patterns? Maybe but there is still a lot of learning that needs to happen there.
Then there is the question of the guilt over adding to the mounds of products we already produce and consume. I really couldn’t bring myself to add to it. Or else it was that secret fear that always lingers in the back of our heads of “I’m not good enough”.

I decided to go with the guilt. At last after a year plus of awkward writing and exploring I have decided to launch a line of up cycled and refashioned bike bags that are pretty enough to use everyday even if you don’t ride a bike. They would also work on a stroller handle or walker handle if life has taken you there. They can carry your bike equipment or your life equipment. They are designed to be easy on and easy off and bring joy to your life.

Most items are made from pound store purchases (rejects from even the thrift store) on their way to be turned into rags. I LOVE the challenge of looking at something that was once something else and turning it into a useful well loved item again. Everything gets thrown in the washer and dryer and put in a stack for future creations. It is a slow process that provides unique items.

What isn’t a pound store rescue is a remnant from a project in my life or someone else’s life. Buckles and webbing are new and I am exploring which options are most eco friendly. I recently purchased some past their prime leather coats that may provide handles or other bag pieces.

With this launch I am officially changing my blog page name to The Weekly Ride. Yet another way to walk my talk.
I’ve finally found my joy. I hope it brings you some as well.
What have you found to bring joy?

Focus

Focus

This post was started two hours ago and I am just now starting the first sentence. So not only am I having trouble figuring out what to focus on, I am having trouble focusing on what I choose. Since I started I decided to have lunch, manage my airbnb listing and put the laundry in. Now I am back and I promise myself to focus till I finish.

My original thought on focus was that I feel scattered in almost all areas. It is true I have created some priorities: Health through nutritious eating and exercise, learning and travel. It has become obvious to me that outside these priorities I am having trouble deciding what is most important and also how to integrate other interests into these main focuses. I want to do it all!

OR am I using my lack of focus as an excuse for lack of forward movement OR I am sabotaging myself so I don’t “succeed” – whatever that may mean to me OR I just need anxiety in my life.

I say that I want to learn and practice my sewing skills and share them through this blog and sewing meetups. In reality I am so busy traveling, trying to stay in shape and learning about how to share my skills that I am lucky if I find a day a week to sew. Plus now that I have free time I have not said no to many social opportunities.

Then there is the problem of what should I be making? There are so many things I want to try and then there is the looming reality of a trip coming up that involves hiking and biking. And wanting my slopers to be perfect before I use them to create new things for myself. I am back to some of my old habits that lead to less focus.

Spurred on by those distracting % off coupons from fabric stores I decided I needed to go out and get fabric to make a new hiking/biking skirt, two pair of outdoor pants that don’t look like outdoor pants and a couple t shirts that will dry quick and have pockets! And a bike bag to carry misc in on the trip.

My latest shiny objects

Here is my latest pile. 2 yards of fabric in each of 5 colors. Two meant for tops and 3 meant for skirts or pants appropriate for outdoor adventure travel.

I have limited time before the trip. Writing is helping me focus. I am going to make a hiking/biking skirt and a shirt with pockets and a small handlebar bag. Stay tuned. I already am getting unfocused by some more travel opportunities in my inbox.

How do you focus on priorities – or even decide what they are? If you are reading this blog is it helpful or another way to procrastinate?

The Honest Truth

My original intention for this site was to help teach others to find their colors and style. It has taken me 18 months to find my own so how can I help anyone else? I think the answer is to encourage you to experiment until you find the answer. A camera has really helped. Things I think look fabulous in the mirror are shown to be not so true from the camera’s objective eye. There are also some general “rules” which I will begin to share. But the “rules” can also hamper so don’t believe any of them are set in stone.

As you can tell this is also turning into a marvelous excuse to sew and experiment with fabrics, improve my skills and see what’s around me in a new way. It is also helping me see what my values are and how I want to spend my time. It is still a blog in the process of forming. As I am and as we all are. I am enjoying the journey. Because really all we have is the journey. The end is not the goal. It is everything that happens along the way. What you learn and discover are valuable.

Things that led me down the wrong path were “RULES”:

Tim Gunn’s recommendations. One was black and one was never wear shoes with rounded toes. I felt like a limping uncomfortable fraud. And when the camera showed me in black I can see why it is worn to funerals. Spanx. No comment needed.

Things that were difficult but that helped:

“Color your style”  book by David Zyla

“Looking Good every Day. Style Solutions for Real Women” by Nancy Nix Rice.

And a hundred little books, blog posts and photos.

Things that make sense

Tim Gunn’s rules of right silhouette, proportions and fit. (But figuring that out is hard work).

The other things that hampered me were internal.

Fighting against learning something new.

Recognizing habits and beliefs that were holding me back that I wasn’t aware of.

Fear of looking silly (and I’m sure I did a few times but everyone so far is polite enough not to say so).

Fear of spending time on myself.

Lack of desire to take and post pictures of myself.

What rules and excuses are holding you back? What has helped you? I look forward to your comments.