Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Two Sticks And Some String

July is the first month in years and years - beyond memory - without a stitch of sewing although thankfully I had knitting. Without any making at all, I'd be a very crabby woman and I am absolutely positive that my family is grateful for two sticks and some string to keep me sane.





The purchase of the house in Salmon Arm was subject to an inspection which was scheduled for this past Monday. After searching every nook and cranny, we decided it was a solid house with great potential and have gone ahead with the purchase. Possession is mid September.

While my husband and sons were away last week on their annual holiday, I cleaned every box, basket, drawer, cupboard, and closet in the house pulling out what I could to take with me. It's amazing how you can remove almost an entire household of stuff and still leave behind an entire household of stuff without visible holes. Who knew we had that much especially since I'm not a keeper... except in my studio.





It's the space with the most. I've started packing and already there are a lot of "studio" boxes stacked in the front room and I've barely made a dent. I do like seeing everything I have, touching it, and thinking about what it could become. I have a LOT of potential and that's good... however... I haven't been exploring that potential the way I'd like to - digging in, discovering, and doing - which is probably why the quote below really resonated.

What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention
. - Herbert Simon

Several of the significant growth periods in my artistic life have revolved around using what I already have in the studio. There something about making do with what's there that prompts new answers. Growth has also come through new learning which is only valuable when implemented. Since 2012 when I started to attend the Design Outside the Lines retreats, I've gathered a lot of information and inspiration and now what I really want is to sit down, work with it, and see where it leads me creatively. I'm looking forward to getting back into routine once I move. I've decided not to attend another retreat this fall or to go to Sew Expo next year. I'm looking forward to some extended time to play, make mistakes, experiment, learn, and grow.





For now, my studio will be in the basement but eventually it'll move outside. When we looked at the ad for the house, it showed the picture above left and called the building a garage. I thought it was ugly and rather useless and intended to pull it down until I saw the front. Now I love it.

The previous owner was a woodworker and he created this studio with the garage door to get projects and supplies in and out. It's 12' x 16' with electricity. When we have the time... and the money... to insulate it, finish the walls, bump out a closet, add water, and covert the door to a window, it'll become my studio.

I've never had a separate building for a studio but I've certainly dreamed about one. One of the things that is both scary and exciting about this move is how closely it matches "my perfect day". If you've done any kind of self help type studying, you've most likely been asked to write down your perfect day. And I have. Time and again. And it seemed to go nowhere so a few months ago when I came across that question again, I got mad and had a little chat with God about the question and the lack of answers and what was the point. Perhaps getting mad was part of the point because then things started to shift starting with a shift in my thinking.





One aspect I've always talked about in "my perfect day" is a calm setting. In Kamloops, we have a view of the valley and the city lights that is gorgeous but we also live on a main road with a lot of traffic. The new house backs on a pond and a series of walking trails that are maintained by the city. This is the view from the kitchen, dining room, back patio, and the eventual studio. On Monday, we saw turtles and ducks and some children rode by on their bikes laughing. It's very peaceful.

My primary residence will be in Salmon Arm and Howard's will be in Kamloops. We'll spend four days a week apart and three days -weekends - together. This is not a typical set-up for most married couples which is causing comment and while I know other people's opinions don't matter compared to what we think, the questions are still being asked although I must say that I find it interesting the lack of comments when I was here alone for weeks and months with three kids and Howard was on the road travelling. The details may have been different but the outcome was the same.

I've been answering - No, we are not separating. No, we are not getting a divorce. Yes, we do intend to spend time together. Yes, we do love one another. Yes, he does support this move and yes, we both feel positive about it. As I said before, things started to shift and it's as if God tapped me on the shoulder and said now... go... and a series of events clicked together BUT... they couldn't have clicked if I wasn't willing to make the steps. We have to take action for God to work through it.

Last week, in my spiritual study, the author talked about how when we are seizing a divine opportunity the giants start to seem so big and we feel so small but we have to keep going because we are doing what we are meant to be doing. Even when I'm terrified, I'm convinced that this is the right move. While packing, I had particular empathy for friends who have left their husbands. It's hard enough when you have support and you're only shaking up the way things are done. But... sometimes... shaking up is a good thing.

In my opinion a piece of paper, a ring, and a shared address do not a marriage make. I've met many couples who have that in common and that's all. They do not have a relationship that supports the best in each other. I want the best for Howard and he wants the best for me. This move is part of me being my best and about creating a path for change in Howard's life - change that he's already initiating and that will mean less is more for both of us. This is good. The last time we talked about less is more, change, and retirement, he said he was in too much pain to even think about it but if I made a move, he could follow me. VBG - I'm making a move.

The other question is yes, he is ill and no, I am not uncaring. If you have an ill partner, you understand how your life can become all about their illness. It's as if you too have disease X and it becomes critical to maintain your own interests and individuality. The care of the caregiver is vitally important and drastically undermined. For caregivers, it's nice when someone asks how we are before they ask how our partner is. It's nice when they care about whether you're holding it together and what kind of support you need before asking what your partner needs. And it's nice when they don't think you can actually be all things to your partner with no support of your own - as if one person had the energy to be two people - and when they understand that pursuing your own interests does not mean not supporting your spouse.

I find that women in particular are expected to rotate their lives around their ill male partner's life and there's a different perspective toward men with an ill female partner that is as inconsistent as me moving being a "bad thing" versus him travelling being a "good thing". It's as if when the woman is ill and the man is the caregiver that things are different - not always - but often - and much of the negativity comes from a surprising direction that has me concluding that one of the big problems with equality between the sexes is women who don't value themselves enough.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - a solid house, a cute studio

31 comments:

  1. Love, love, love your little studio and your spanky new house. It is absolutely amazing how much stuff is crammed in the nooks and crannies of houses without us knowing it. Not that my opinion matters a jot, but I think you are heading down a grand path. One of the best years in terms of personal growth I ever had was the year that my husband lived in Calgary and I lived in Montreal. Sometimes there needs to be space in order to see the path forward. Yeah Myrna!

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    1. Thanks - and thanks for sharing your experience. I think this is going to be great. The house needs some loving on the inside but that's okay. I'll enjoy making it ours.

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  2. Oh! I'm so in love with that little garage! And the view! And that big yard! And, most of all, your time that is your own 4 days a week.

    I'm so happy for you that you get to do this, and that you had the courage to do it! Onward!!!

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    1. I know. As soon as I saw the front view, it wasn't coming down and I was moving in asap. The yard is big especially as we don't have one now but I think we'll enjoy the peace and space again.

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  3. I lived away from home 5 days a week for 6 years and it was the norm in the north. I had a cute little duplex and enjoyed my time there teaching and sewing. It was great for both of us.

    Isn't it amazing how much you can find in a house. We have purged until we thought we were done and we still have items to get rid of as we unpack. Which has stalled as we are focusing on the basement suite. We want to get it rented out in September. We have been fixing it up, scrubbing, painting, and it is going to be a nice place for someone to call home.

    Good luck with your packing and your move. Love your building that you will call a studio. It will be exciting to have a place outside your home to "go to" to create.

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    1. Our goal will be to get the suite ready by the first of October. I consider it "my job" since the rent will be paying the mortgage so it's the first priority and then settling in. Thanks for the encouragement.

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  4. Thank you for your comprehensive review of what you are doing and why you are doing it, all grist for my thinking mill.

    That garage door might come in handy some day if you ever want to install a loom, or move a huge wall hanging.

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    1. OH... I'd be so curious to hear what you're thinking about. I have several friends who moved from one coast to the other to start over and another friend who has moved twice on her own to start a business.and one who spent a year apart from her husband while they figured some things out and... and... and... They are inspirational.

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  5. Isn't it crazy how stuff breeds? It's the only explanation I have. Honestly, we weeded out about 1/3 of our belongings when we redid the basement for my father-in-law, and yet.....................! I need to do another culling.

    Love the little studio and the natural setting. And I'm truly amazed that you're having to answer all these questions. It's none of their &*(@#% business, IMHO. ;)

    Cheers to you, Myrna. I think this will be healing for both of you.

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    1. I know. I cleaned everything just a year ago and while there wasn't a LOT, I was surprised how much there was to weed out and surprised that I could pull out enough for the other house of things we weren't using regularly. At least they'll get some use now. You're right. It's none of their business but I'm the type to ask questions so I have to be the type to answer. For me, I'm just curious about how that's going to work and what I might learn from it so hopefully my answers help others. Already - having joined the knitting group - it does feel healing. I think you're right.

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    2. I can't say I understand all of this but I also think that if you reveal personal information in a blog post you may do well to do some follow up on questions that will surely arise, not all mind you, but certainly leading comments do provoke confusion to readers. I think creativity and the activities involved, do require privacy and separation for many of us and I wish you well and look forward to following your progress.

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    3. I'm not sure what I said that might be confusing but if so, I hope people will feel free to ask. As I said, I'm am inclined to asking but I will also not answer if I don't want to.

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  6. What a beautiful place you're moving forward to. I'm sure it will embrace you just as quickly as you've embraced it. Decisions partners make together should not have to be explained away, but now that you've put it all out there, perhaps it will stop the questions and innuendo. My husband and I have been living a similar three-days-on, four-days-off lifestyle for three years when the dogs and I moved to our place in the country full-time. Now that we've just listed our city house for sale, and he's due to retire at the end of the month, we're both praying we can learn to live together 24/7 again. VBG

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    1. The whole area is very pretty and I'm really looking forward to being there. Yes, answering does stop gossip - one hopes. Thanks for sharing your experience. With Howard travelling for work, we've done a lot of living apart and re-integration so hopefully that'll go smoothly on the 4/3 schedule and still smoother when he gets a new position and can work there full time. Having a separate studio will probably be helpful.

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  7. Myrna, I'm so happy for you and for this opportunity God is giving you to live up to your fullest creative potential. As one Creator to another, I would expect that of Him, wouldn't you? Best of the best to both you and Howard going forward. Hugs, Charmion

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    1. It feels very right. You've been sharing my journey for a long time, through many phases. I really appreciate your support. Thank you.

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  8. My husband worked a 4 and 6 shift with 4 days at home and 6 out at a bush station. No one batted an eye. Spent a few summer holidays up in the Salmon Arm area and it is indeed beautiful. May your hopes and dreams play out as you wish.
    On the topic of using what you have, I came across these lately and immediately thought of you. You wouldn't have to follow them , but hopefully it might set off some inspiration.
    http://www.craftsy.com/blog/2015/08/knitted-necklaces/

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    1. Exactly. No one batted an eye when Howard was away either but apparently this is different. I just don't see how but... Thanks for your well wishes and for the link. Some lovely pieces. One of the boxes I just packed is of the "yarn" I made from strips of knit fabric. I'm looking forward to making that into something. It's grey so it may combine with the knot beads I made recently and I-cord. That could be interesting.

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  9. > they couldn't have clicked if I wasn't willing to make the steps.

    The phrase "God helps those who help themselves" came to mind when reading your comments!

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    1. A part of my study that really made sense recently was that God can't bless us if we don't take the actions that make the blessing possible as in if I don't make the decision to go there and don't start looking for my perfect day setting then I definitely won't find won't find it or figure out how to buy it. I need to remember that.

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  10. This is so exciting!!! A big positive move and a darling little future studio! I think it's wonderful. I know you are answering the many questions about you and Howard and your unconventional (although not that unconventional) with clarity. And I am laughing a little bit imagining Howard's friends and colleagues from the time he traveled, pulling him aside to ask "Have you left Myrna?" "Are you getting divorced?" I bet that never happened, not once!

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    1. It never happened. Not once. Sigh...

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  11. Just wanted to share another 'unconventional living arrangement' story with you...

    When my husband and I first married, we were both still in school in different cities. So for the first 2 years of our marriage, we only lived together on weekends and summers. It was great! We got to ease into the whole 'being married' thing, and we both had enough skills to run our own households - so when we finally lived together neither one of us was stuck doing a task because the other partner 'didn't know how'. Even now, we like to have our private time and personal space. our son is at Grandma's for the week, and while we are enjoying the time together, we're spending a lot if it in different parts of the house, doing different things. And that works for us.

    I'm glad you are finding something that works for you. All the best!

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    1. VERY fun. What a great way to ease into being married and make it fun. Enjoy your week "at Grandma's house". It's nice to have those breaks. I'm off to visit my grandson ... and his parents... tomorrow.

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  12. Myrna this is all just so exciting i can't think straight to say anything! Wishing you and Howard all the best of course, and i think this will be lots of fun for you both. As a person with chronic health troubles and pain, it's awful to feel like my problems are preventing people i love from doing what they want and need to do....and sometimes it is also nice to have some space where i don't feel i have to put on a front when i'm feeling tired or bad.

    oh for pete's sake, gossips! you are a gem to answer the questions, but honestly if people want to gossip they will. haha, at least you'll be providing something very very fascinating for them to wonder about! Who knows, maybe they'll get inspired to pick up a pen or paintbrush themselves after thinking about what you're up to :) Big hug, steph

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    1. Thanks. I have that wiggly jiggly it's going to turn out great and when I get the itchy anxious what are you doing one, the wiggly jiggly is stronger. When a person has chronic health issues, it's not like they chose them or want to have them so I think it becomes everyone's job to not only support their loved one but to love themselves. And so true about being "real".

      One of the reasons I do tell my story is to inspire others - particularly women - to practice self-care and do those things that fascinate, engage, and energize them. We shouldn't be last on our own list.

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  13. How very, very exciting. Your new house looks beautiful. I love it that you have really thought, planned and achieved a major life change. Every happiness to you both in this new phase of life. The ingrained sexism is just part of life, it shouldn't be but it is, really who cares what anyone thinks? Just be happy.

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    1. I'm pretty excited to have put all this together as well. I know there will be less than amazing times but over all I think it's going in a great direction that's really going to benefit both of us. YES YES

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  14. I grew up in Mara Lake, which is near Salmon Arm. We had relatives in Salmon Arm and Grandview so I have lots of happy memories of Salmon Arm, including going fabric shopping with my mom. It is a really lovely little town.

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  15. Thank you for sharing the background to your decisions and I mean 'your' plural as these are decisions reached by you both.
    I wonder if part of the explanation for the reactions you have experienced is that you are not moving for paid employment.

    Plus probably, old-fashioned sexism, women who would love to do something because it was right for them, men who worry about their traditional lives getting equally 'disturbed' etc.

    Anyway you and Howard have discussed and agreed so that is all that matters.
    Please look in and share your joy when you can.

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  16. Hi Myrna, I'm so glad that everything is working out concerning the new house and the move. You have been doing a lot of hard work on a personal and spiritual level and your dreams are coming true. Good for you!

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Thanks for commenting. I appreciate the feedback and the creative conversation.