Monthly Archives: September 2013

Quality vs Quantity

quilt

 

As I toil away on the next quilt, I notice that repetitive motions make the going difficult. 

I find that if I mix it up, the cutting, the pinning, the stitching, the pressing, it goes much easier. My body doesn’t get the chance to stiffen up and ache.

So I stand at my cutting/work table for a little bit. Then sit at my sewing machine for a while. And from there, I stand at the ironing board pressing each piece just so. Always pressing toward the dark side.

I always laugh when I think of it, the dark side. The idea is that the seam allowance won’t show as much if you press toward the darker fabric. But I can’t help thinking that applies to life itself. At least, to mine.

RA is the dark side. Trying desperately to recruit me as a permanent resident. Well, hell no, I won’t go!

I see the doc next week. I will stress quality vs quantity. I am more afraid of pain than I am of death. To me death is nothing more than a library filled with books, real books, and all eternity to read them.

I am not being morbid. Death comes to us all, as the saying goes. It’s something inevitable, unavoidable. We can do nothing about it.

But, life. That we can do something about. If we want to.

A few years ago I stopped working in order to increase the quality of my life. I’d lived in a fog. Pain had taken over the driver’s seat and left me trailing behind. Only I couldn’t bring myself to actually quit, to sever those long-held ties. So I just didn’t go to work one day. Months later they tenderly let me go with a letter that said: let us know when you want to come back.

Today that fog, that malevolent mist, is circling, beeping inside my radar screen, waiting for the opportunity to make its undesired approach. But I won’t let it land. My little traffic controller is acutely aware of it; it’s been in the trenches before. Surprise is no longer on RA’s side.

Still, sometimes it causes me to do funny things. For instance, I unwittingly wrote this title backwards at first, quantity vs quality. Freudian slip perhaps?

And today, while in the lab’s waiting room, I almost burst out laughing. I went to catch up on my emails and opened my DailyWritingTips newsletter. Today’s topic was on “gratuitous capitalization.”

Only I misread the title. I read gratuitous capitulation.

I’m still laughing. I’m thinking that would make a fantastic title for a short story.  The possible storylines are endless!

BTW, this isn’t what the quilt will look like. I was just playing around with the possibilities. Life is full of them, you know. Possibilities, that is.

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Fait Accompli

quilting

Well, I suppose I could undo this quilt, so it’s really not so fait accompli after all. The act of making it is presumably reversible. But it will remain an accomplished deed. Irreversible.

Sort of like life.

How many times do we say to ourselves, I wish I could do that over. Whatever it is we did.

Or: I should have done this, said that. Sometimes life gives us a second chance, but mostly not.

We have no choice but to go forward, and try not to look back. No regrets. Let hope lead us on. Toward that unknown horizon. Where sea and sky meet.

A line from the movie Out of Africa left echoes in my brain. It went something like this: Maybe the world was made round so we cannot see too far ahead.

That is good. Let tomorrow be forever a mystery.

A mystery occluding regrets.

Fanfare

Flare visited me last Wednesday. He hadn’t been around in so long, I’d not quite forgotten him.

I assume the day dawned dark and stormy for when I woke up I was surprised to see it was already 8:30 a.m. From the darkness of my room, I’d expected it to be at least two hours earlier.

As is my habit upon waking, I went to flex my hands. This time they refused.

They were not only stiff, but painful, and worse, swollen. And as I came to full consciousness, I realized the rest of my body felt the same.

I contemplated the door to my bathroom. Normally, it is only a hop, skip and a jump away. This day, as I moved through the fog toward it, the ten feet in distance became agonizingly longer.

Outside I could hear the raindrops falling on green grass that, at present, was growing faster than I was moving. I knew without looking that the accompanying sky was a dreary, dark gray.

I made my way to the kitchen, to the medicine curio, to down the magic formula that obviously wasn’t working.

I then stepped down to my office; perhaps I could at least catch up on some emails. But the words my eyes saw on the screen did not completely make it to my brain.

Then when the shivers hit, I gave it up. Instead, I backtracked to my bed to wait out the fever my visitor had so kindly awarded me. I knew then, without a doubt, that Flare had arrived with all his fanfare.