Thursday, August 26, 2010

"Because when I look good... You play well"

I've never been one to put much effort into my appearance. I've been known to pick clothing up off the floor, shake it a few times, and wear it again the next day. Of course the older I get, I put in a bit more effort. More for me is not much for others. It's all relative. I was never the teenager to experiment with make up, in fact, my parents paid for someone to put make up on me when I got married and I didn't even recognize myself! I prefer the "natural look." When my eldest daughter got married, my younger daughter convinced me that to look good in the photo's, I needed to wear make up and when I found out how much it cost to have someone do it, she also suggested I learn to do it myself. "We'll just go to Nordstrom and then buy what they suggest." Such a thinker, that one. It was actually fun and I saw the benefit's in the photo's, so now, on occasion, I wear make up. Tomorrow is such an occasion. It is the first game of Caitlin's senior season playing volleyball. I have been on the sidelines, cheering for one my girls on the court for 16 years, it's been a good ride, I have loved it, and I am in anticipatory grieving over the end of this time in my life.

I love women's volleyball. I loved to play when I was young, I loved that both of my girls played, I love how the game has evolved, I just love it. The only other sport I love is surfing and women's volleyball is the only sport I love being a spectator, especially if one of my girls are on the court!

Most athletes have good luck charms. Mine happen to be dressing up, wearing certain pieces of jewelry, and yes.... putting on makeup. Not a lot, but enough. It didn't start until about 7 or 8 years ago. I realized that the better I felt in the stands, the better I cheered, the better I cheered, the more other people cheered. The fans cheering are the 7th player in volleyball. I remember Jace, one of Caitlin's team mates saying, "Catherine, you look good!" My reply, "when I look good, you play well!" It stuck. It got to a point where I had to start planning outfits when they had far away tournaments. The team did well. It was my good luck charm, a way for me to channel my energy, it was me doing my part for the team without ever setting foot on the court.

Doing well doesn't necessarily mean winning, although winning IS a beautiful thing. It means going out and doing your best, using your brain and the talents God has given you. So while those girls are on the court, I'm gonna do my best cheering and my best looking put together. I will wear my mother in laws pearls because she loved to come to games. I will love every minute that I get to see the team play this season.

After work tonight, I was putting things together. "What are you doing?" "I'm putting my outfits together." Robert asked, "Do I need to plan my outfits?" "Nope, just me."

When Caitlin was 9, she started playing volleyball. Her coach, Ed handed each girl a notebook. He explained to these little girl sponges the importance of a good nights sleep, clean socks for games, sportsmanship, being on time, and it had a quote from John Wooden, "Failure to prepare is preparing to fail." I can't sleep right now because I am so excited and I'm not even playing! My outfits are just about ready. As I prepare, I also looking back with so much fondness, at what my kid's athletic's have taught me.

So for now, I will continue to say thank you as I plan the weekend's outfits.


I'll figure what to do with the rest of my life when the season is over.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

I'm a Fabriphile....

Is that a word? Fabriphile. I think it must be. A person who loves fabric. I like to sew, I'm a kinda good at it, I get by. Along with those old things I like, I like to take old sewing patterns and them update them a bit. Like this little treasure I found in a thrift store a long time ago.... It's a McCall's, from the 70's!

I've been known to buy fabric just because of how it feels, I've also been known to greet people and then ask to feel the fabric of their clothing. I like fabric "with a good hand", there's a fabriphile saying for you. Anyway, a couple weeks ago, before my credit card was used fraudulently and I could shop at will.... I was in my favorite local fabric store, perusing the remnant table. My original purpose was to buy batting for some quillow's I was making, it's near impossible to go into a fabric store and only spend 5 minutes. I glanced upon this green, black, and yellow gem at the bottom of a pile and thought, "Hmm, those are good colors for me. I thought to myself "it's a bad economy and I need to save money and NOT buy more fabric", I purchased the batting and was on my way.

In the back of my mind, I kept thinking, "you should have bought it, it was only $2.98. Remember those green silk pajamas you DID'T buy in New York!" Well, about three days later, I couldn't take it anymore and went back. I prayed as I drove to Yardage Town. Hallelujah! It was buried underneath and the treasure was mine!!!! I still had quillow's to finish, but those stripes kept calling out to me from the sewing room.... "Hey, Catherine, don't you think I'd make a cool jacket to wear to Cardiac Rehab?" The wheels of creativity were spinning. Quillow's mailed to New Jersey, I got sewers block. This is what happens when I know I want to make something that involves doing things I've never done before...for example sewing stretch knits, using less than than adequate fabric for a project, sewing in separating zippers, and that ever present fear.... what if it's ugly, doesn't fit, and it's a total waste of time.

Self Doubt. It will knock you down every time. It's been known to keep me and many others from doing things that could be great. Happily, I worked it through in my head and one night, in a spur of energy, I thought "now or never, just do it, Catherine!"
As I started to put the pattern pieces out, I realized (1) I really didn't have enough fabric (2) look at those stripes and (3) who are you trying to fool? I pushed that doubt guy back, shortened up the arms and the jacket body, I figured if it didn't fit me, it would fit someone else...

I waited before I cut. I waited before I sewed. Fear. I decided to google sewing stretch fabric. Heck, I learned to free motion quilt from a 4 year old on youtube, maybe there's something. Sure enough, there was.

A few days of struggle, a walking foot failure(this is a special foot for stretchy stuff and different types of fabric being sewn together) and my own self doubt.....Voila!!! A cute little jacket to wear to work!!
I ended up adding black Lycra to the arms for added length, the non shiny side. I'm excited to try making another, reversible jacket with some contrasting fabric on the inside. Oh, the possibilities are endless.

"Imagination is more important than knowledge"~Albert Einstein

When I learned to sew in junior high, there were a lot of rules. Those rules were important, but somewhere along the way I got lost in the rules and didn't let my imagination take me where it needed to go. Mistakes get made, some projects turn out right, some not so right. More life metaphors.... The good news is that I allowed myself to experiment a little, it turned out well, so I'm gonna go experiment some more. I'm thinking it's good to have some creative challenges. It's a really good release for life stresses.

In the meantime, a shout out to all those youtubers and bloggers that are sharing their how to and explanation video's. There's a lot of stuff to create in the world.

You got any creative challenges in the back of your brain? Ready, set, go! Until next time......

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Geromolina's Last Ride

I have had a long standing love of Volkswagen's since before I could remember. I was thinking last night that it is my German roots trying to overpower my more prevalent Irish roots.... Either way, a love of old VW's is one of my genetic flaws. Last night I said good bye to Geromolina, my 1969 bus that has lived with us since July of 2000. A friend commented a couple weeks ago, "Catherine, I don't know you to be one who is attached to stuff, so why the angst about a car?" Well, only a lover of old VW's knows the feeling. We just love them and don't ask why. It did however give me reason to think of all the great VW memories I have. I'll share just a smidge of them now.

1977 Joan McMann and friends would chip in 25 cents each for gas and drive all over Huntington Beach in her VW Bug. 1977 I was in my first car accident in Joan's Dad's VW Bus. 1978 I ran away from home in a VW Bus, I don't remember what I returned in....

1979 Graduated High School and left on a west coast excursion with Kim Benedict in her VW Beetle. Left home again that year, I could fit everything I valued in that beetle including my sewing machine, stereo, and favorite chair.
1980 Gave birth to my daughter Molly. My parents were in Mexico, I had my roommates go get my Gramma who was visiting from Wisconsin so she could see her great grand child, born on her 80th birthday. She wouldn't go in my parent's car. Danny picked her up in his bus....
1985 Robert and I got married. Our car of choice for our honeymoon/surf trip....A Volkswagen...

Somewhere around 1992 we got our first bus. Born in 1967, her name was The Magic Bus. It was a good time driving her around. Caitlin got her first black eye when she tried to run from one end to the other...Inside the bus. She had beautiful wood carved cabinets and a comfy bed. We enjoyed many a beach day and "bus dates" with her. When Molly started driving, the Magic Bus went to go live with Billy. It was nice to see her driving around Carlsbad. Billy had restored her and we recently heard she lives in England now!!!!

One spring break in Molly's junior year, we were wondering why we were depressed. We realized that we didn't have a Volkswagen and ended up buying a Vanagon. We thought this would be safer and not so much work. Wrong. We didn't keep her too long.

July of 2000, we were surfing in Cabo and met a lovely Australian couple, Craig and Marnie, who had bought a bus in Washington, drove her all over the west coast including Yosemite and Las Vegas, and now were in Cabo. We invited them to visit on their way home. They ended up staying a week, we bought their bus, and gave them a ride to the airport. $1200. So many good times, good memories, she became a neighborhood fixture.

When I turned 40, Robert surprised me with a great gift! A brand new VW Beetle.

Wow! Two Volkswagen's living in one house. She was fun to drive, Caitlin and I had many fun volleyball road trips in Bella. Lot's of heart to heart conversations, we got lost driving to Vegas once, she went a lot of cool places. I used to drive my father in law Bill, to see Violet or go to Dr appointments. He would always say, "Are we gonna take the red car?" He loved German engineering. But Bella was made of plastic and more and more things were getting broken, so she was replaced by my Honda, Emma.

All the while, Geromolina is getting rustier and rustier, and she spends more time getting worked on than riding the open roads or going surfing and the kids have all left home so she doesn't go on bus dates anymore........

Sometimes, it took a few neighbors and the dog to get her going......

Unless you are one of those people....(I know they are out there) That have this love of the Volkswagen, you many not fully comprehend the relationship some of us have with our vehicles. My dentist recently remarked that my mourning was like that of losing a family member.... Not the same, but as a feeling being, we may sometimes attach feelings to an object; a favorite blanket, the rocking chair where I fed my children, a yellow bowl, or a Volkswagen.
Geromolina has gone to live with Brian now. Originally from Hawaii and newly laid off from his computer engineer job, he's got some time and money to spend on a project. He said his girlfriend wants to go camping in her. He won't try to restore her to her original beauty, but so she can get around and be reasonably safe. He said he'd bring her buy and we could have a party. After she left on the tow truck last night, a few neighbors expressed sadness and disbelief that she would no longer be with us here on Alviso. As one boy pushed his new baby brother in a stroller, he said, "I loved that car, Man." No, the street will never be quite the same.

I had originally thought I would keep the rear door and window, to make an art project in my back yard. After all, it had some of favorite bumper stickers. Through some gentle urging by my friend Rod, I decided to keep her whole, minus a few hubcaps. I found enough trinketry and history inside her to make a nice little art project. The proceeds from her sale will go towards a custom Roderick Treece mirror for my bathroom. Somewhere in the mirror will be a mother of pearl inlay in a VW insignia. Yes, my love of all things Volkswagen is a metaphor for life. We start young, we go on adventures, we gather up good stories, we start to get rusty, we need more and more work. Then we go on to another adventure. It doesn't mean we are unlovable, we just need a little more time, some occasional bodywork, and then some more love. Then we're ready to go some more. Thanks for all the good times, Geri. I will always love and miss you, I hope your new family makes some good memories with you.

What are your fond VW memories?